Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 21, 2012

Bard College, Israel and the Palestinians

Filed under: bard college,middle east — louisproyect @ 12:12 am

Peter Beinart

Walter Russell Mead

The Fall issue of the Bard College alumni magazine came with its regular New Republic type propaganda, this time taking the form of an article by Peter Beinart titled “Israel’s Challenge: Can Democracy and Zionism Coexist?” Sigh, all I ever wanted to find out from an alumni magazine is whatever happened to Shoshana Rosenberg, the art major who liked to listen to Olatunji records when we were having sex. Why do I have to put up with sermons from the right wing of the Democratic Party? I want my tuition money back, all $8000 of it.

Beinart’s article was actually a speech he delivered at Bard last spring on his new book “The Crisis of Zionism” at the invitation of the campus chapter of J Street, a liberal Zionist group that is viewed in AIPAC circles as little different from Hizbollah. To show you how unhinged groups like AIPAC are, J Street is a group that now states:

Israel’s current military operation is a response to the hundreds of rockets that have rained down on Israel from the Gaza Strip over the past year. Every day, Israel’s southern residents carry with them the fear that a sudden Qassam rocket could change their world forever.

It should be said that Beinart has been the target of the American Likudniks as well. When he was invited to speak at the annual Jewish Book Fair in Atlanta, the powers-that-be disinvited him. In my view, this is not so much a sign that Beinart’s views are progressive but that official Judaism is veering ever more sharply to the right. Given time, they will be ostracizing Alan Dershowitz. (Well, maybe not.)

The talk was sponsored by the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities, one in a host of liberal think-tanks largely paid for by George Soros. It is useful to remember what Hannah Arendt once said about the kind of people who run Israel today and the well-funded lobby that speaks on its behalf. This was an open letter to the N.Y. Times on December 4th, 1948 signed by her, Albert Einstein, and other Jewish notables:

TO THE EDITORS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES:

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin”s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.

Read in full

Breinart’s speech was filled with all the old bromides. I found this one particularly nauseating:

Most of Zionism’s founders were people who originally wanted to live in the countries of their birth in Europe, and who desperately hoped that Europe would live up to the Enlightenment liberal ideals that they believed in fervently. They reluctantly came to the conclusion that they could not live safe, full lives in Europe, and that the Jewish state could be more true to Enlightenment principles than the countries they came from.

Talk about denial. Let’s look at one of these champions of “liberal ideals”, a fellow named Israel Zangwill who was born in London in 1864. At one time he was an advocate of colonizing Palestine but later on favored settling in any territory deemed ripe for a takeover. This was a guy who championed Jewish emancipation, woman’s suffrage, and peace among nations—just the sort of high-minded person Beinart was referring to.

But from Wikipedia we learn:

In 1901 in the New Liberal Review, Israel Zangwill wrote that “Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country”.

In a debate at the Article Club in November of that year, Zangwill said, “Palestine has but a small population of Arabs and fellahin and wandering, lawless, blackmailing Bedouin tribes.” Then, in the dramatic voice of the Wandering Jew, “restore the country without a people to the people without a country. (Hear, hear.) For we have something to give as well as to get. We can sweep away the blackmailer—be he Pasha or Bedouin—we can make the wilderness blossom as the rose, and build up in the heart of the world a civilisation that may be a mediator and interpreter between the East and the West.”

In other words, the “democracy” that Beinart blathers on about was democracy for the Chosen People, not the dirty fellahin. If there is any real difference between the original aspirations of the Zionist movement and that of the French in Algeria, it is lost on me. At least the pied-noir spared us liberal, democratic pretensions.

Apparently some students at Bard were not taken in by Beinart’s nonsense. In a profile on Peter Beinart that appeared in New York Magazine a couple of months after his appearance there, we learn:

In late April, Beinart takes an Amtrak train out of Penn Station and heads two hours north, up the Hudson Valley. Like any author flogging a book, Beinart has become a familiar presence on the speaking circuit—although, given his book’s subject, his particular circuit largely consists of synagogues, Jewish community centers, and Hillel houses. Oftentimes, he faces a hostile audience. At the Columbia Hillel, he debated Daniel Gordis—the event was promoted as a “Heavyweight Fight on Zionism”—and was heckled. “I feel like from the clapping I have about a quarter of the room,” Beinart said during a rare moment of applause, “which is better than I expected.”

On this April evening, Beinart’s schedule calls for him to be at Bard College. It is Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, and he has been invited by the school’s J Street student chapter. The mood, however, is anything but festive—although this time he is facing anger from his left. As he walks into the lecture hall, he is handed a flyer by a student protester that reads celebrate ­israeli ethnic cleansing “independence.” He then spends most of his 90 minutes insisting to those in attendance that Zionism is not racism and that Tel Aviv is not the center of all the evil on Earth. When it is over, Beinart looks whipped. “I wish Jeff could have seen that,” he says.

(The “Jeff” referred to immediately above is Jeff Goldberg, another “liberal Zionist” who shares Beinart’s early support for the war in Iraq and tepid criticisms of Israeli policies.)

My guess is that Leon Botstein has probably evolved toward a J Street type of Zionism. He is smart enough to show his new clothing by advising (I’m sure) the alumni magazine to include Beinart’s speech. He has also attempted to burnish his reputation among progressive Jews by defending the right of the International Solidarity Movement to have official status on campus.

Over the past several weeks, Bard College and I as its President have been the object of unsubstantiated, exaggerated, and often vitriolic accusations regarding a student group on campus that has chosen to affiliate itself with an organization called the International Solidarity Movement. Some of those who have posted on blogs and written emails claim that ISM is a “terrorist” organization committed to the destruction of the State of Israel and its people. The information on the Bard ISM student website is being misrepresented to suggest that the college and its students are involved with illicit activities, encouraging and training terrorism.

http://inside.bard.edu/president/letters/bardism/

One can only welcome the president’s stance on this issue. Anything else of course would have been a sign of gross capitulation to the Israel lobby and clearly an unwise course of action.

The latest IDF blitzkrieg on Gaza has elicited a “think piece” by Bard professor Walter Russell Mead, who I have described once as the school’s Thomas Friedman. Titled “America, Israel, Gaza, and the World”, the article attempts to answer the question “Why aren’t the Americans hating on Israel more?”

Mead cleverly tries to make his position more tenable by reducing ostensibly radical positions to a caricature: “Others allege that a sinister Jewish lobby controls the media and the political system through vast power of Jewish money; the poor ignorant Americans are the helpless pawns of clever Jews.” Well, the fact is that the major media is careful to omit any analysis that is to the left of Peter Beinart, but few of us blame this on “Jewish money”—starting with me. Israel gets kid gloves treatment because it is a reliable protector of American imperialist interests in the Middle East. Once upon a time Walter Russell Mead, before he became fat and sloppy at the trough of academic privilege, understood how this worked—at least to some degree.

This is the Publishers Weekly blurb on Mead’s “Mortal Splendor: The American Empire in Transition”, written in 1988, when Mead apparently still had some dim memory of a leaflet he wrote 20 years earlier:

Since the end of World War II, Mead asserts, the United States has maintained the largest empire in history. This neoimperialism, he argues, is built on intervention in the domestic affairs of Third World countries and coercive political efforts to block those countries’ sustained economic growth. Both Nixon and Carter tried to regulate change in underdeveloped nations in ways that would be acceptable to U.S. corporate interests.

Nowadays, Mead enjoys a perch at the American Interest, a magazine with an editorial board including the likes of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Niall Ferguson, Bernard-Henri Levy. What the hell. If you are going to sell out your youthful beliefs, you might as well do it in grand style.

Assuming a kind of professorial neutrality, Mead draws a contrast between most people on earth who are appalled by Israeli barbarism and the “Jacksonian” American people who do not believe in proportionality. This is a reference to Andrew Jackson who did not believe in fighting by the rules. I would say that the fate of the Palestinians and the Cherokees—seen side-by-side—gives some credence to that.

Mead tries to explain the average American’s response:

Thus when television cameras show the bodies of children killed in an Israeli air raid, Jacksonian Americans are sorry about the loss of life, but it inspires them to hate and loathe Hamas more, rather than to be mad at Israel. They blame the irresponsible dolts who started the war for all the consequences of the war and they admire Israel’s strength and its resolve for dealing with the appalling blood lust of the unhinged loons who start a war they can’t win, and then cower behind the corpses of the children their foolishness has killed.

Key to Mead’s presentation of the American mindset is this analogy:

Certainly if some kind of terrorist organization were to set up missile factories across the frontier in Canada and Mexico and start attacking targets in the United States, the American people would demand that their President use all necessary force without stint or limit until the resistance had been completely, utterly and pitilessly crushed.

But that’s where Mead drops all pretensions of being a James Chase Professor entrusted with the hard-earned $50,000 dollar a year education of Bard students and becomes what he really is beneath the pretensions: a crude propagandist of the sort that pops up regularly in the op-ed pages of the N.Y. Post.

While Mexicans certainly had grievances against American imperialism (the reference to Canada of course was absurd–almost as absurd as Ali G. advising  Brent Scowcroft to bomb Canada), imagine if the American Southern slavocracy had defeated the North and colonized Mexico in order to reproduce the plantation system. To make it work, it would find it necessary to expel the native peasant population into El Salvador and Honduras. At that point, it would be logical for the expelled Mexicans to fight for the right to return to their homeland.

Once upon a time Mead might have understood this. Nowadays he is an addled old sot drunk on his own propaganda.

24 Comments »

  1. Isn’t Beinart a big favourite with the NYR, which, BTW, just published a hit piece on Japan entitled “You can expect to be lied to in Japan” by Ian Buruma which attributes that sin to their national character. I would have thought his title more appropriate if it referred to the USA instead

    Comment by uh...clem — November 21, 2012 @ 1:21 am

  2. I forgot to mention: it’s Brent SCowcroft, iirc.

    Comment by uh...clem — November 21, 2012 @ 1:23 am

  3. Buruma is another Bard “public intellectual”. I wrote about him here:

    http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2005/07/18/burumas-morals-and-ours/

    http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/the-paul-berman-ian-buruma-feud/

    Comment by louisproyect — November 21, 2012 @ 1:28 am

  4. Lou: another great & timely article to be sure. That $8k tuition line was a great dagger in the heart of the monstrosity that the modern University business system has become, especially since today departments that want funding are utterly beholden to the Pentagon.

    I’ve never seen a parentheses within a parentheses like the one in this paragraph below, however, which isn’t to say it’s not acceptable — it’s just that I’ve never seen it before and thus was a bit disconcerting?

    “While Mexicans certainly had grievances against American imperialism (the reference to Canada of course was absurd (almost as absurd as Ali G. advising Brent Snowcroft to bomb Canada), imagine if the American Southern slavocracy had defeated the North and colonized Mexico in order to reproduce the plantation system. To make it work, it would find it necessary to expel the native peasant population into El Salvador and Honduras. At that point, it would be logical for the expelled Mexicans to fight for the right to return to their homeland.”

    Regardless I offer the warmest comradely holiday regards to you & your lovely wife.

    Karl

    Comment by iskraagent — November 21, 2012 @ 2:09 am

  5. Thanks, Karl. It was just a typo.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 21, 2012 @ 2:23 am

  6. One thing I never get is what exactly makes a “homeland” and a right of return. You talk about the Mexicans being driven from their homeland by the Slaveocracy. But weren’t “Mexicans” a recent construct, themselves of mixed heritage between indigenous people and Spanish colonists? Wasn’t Mexico invented not long before the American Civil War? And didn’t the indigenous people of Mexico that existed when the Spanish arrived themselves defeat other indigenous people before and drive them from the land?

    And at some point the indigenous people of Mexico migrated from North America, before that Asia, before that Africa — where in fact we all originally came from. Does that mean we all have a right of return to Africa? Of course you could say that for people born in a place that’s their homeland. But that would be the flip side of the nativist coin that says people who aren’t born in the US aren’t Americans and should “go home.” So it’s no better. You could also say that there was no nation state in Mexico before the Spanish, but there wasn’t a nation state in Palestine either. So it’s the same thing.

    Stuff like this (and the failure of even a single “national liberation” movement post WW2 to create a viable, roundly developed country ANYWHERE in the world) makes me think nationalism and the quest for a national state is something that belongs to the old bourgeois revolutions, something that can’t come into being any more. I think socialists would look forward to a secular workers state, based on civil and not ethnic criteria as a solution to problems like the one in Palestine.

    Admittedly I’m no expert. That’s just what seems to make sense to me. Please correct any errors.

    Comment by Confused on Nat Lib — November 21, 2012 @ 2:56 am

  7. @6: But weren’t “Mexicans” a recent construct, themselves of mixed heritage between indigenous people and Spanish colonists?

    Israeli historian Benny Morris said once that civilization only moves forward by one superior race dominating another more inferior one. He said that if the USA became a modern powerful country by exterminating the Indians, why should anybody begrudge the Israelis. Okay. All right. My point is that I decided in 1967 after I became a socialist to oppose all forms of racial and economic domination. You are entitled of course to live by the rules of this dog-eat-dog world.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 21, 2012 @ 3:11 am

  8. Wow, this totally rules. Awesome. I never looked back when I left Bard a few decades ago… And I only occasionally run across any information about it, being back on the Left Coast now. I used to roll my eyes every time my mom asked if I wanted the Alumni magazine, still being sent to her house. She doesn’t ask anymore. Thanks for this!!

    Comment by Linda Sneed — November 21, 2012 @ 5:34 am

  9. “Confused on Nat Lib”: You’re not confused. You’re just finding a cute way to say Israel, because of its military power, is right to cleanse Palestine of Palestinians. Why don’t you just say it without the flummery?

    Comment by Peter Byrne — November 21, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

  10. the argument made by ‘confused’ is the same as saying that since everyone dies anyway, it’s not such a big deal to kill them [as in the milllion killed in iraq under bush, or the million under clinton - do these slaughtered masses count anywhere anymore?].

    this is essentially just an excuse to plunder and pillage, as #9 says. i have the feeling that if ‘confused’ were on the receiving end, he’d be less pseudo-philosphical. away with all pests

    Comment by jp — November 21, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  11. As you know, I have my disagreements with Chris Hedges. But here, I think he hit the nail on the head: “Elites Will Make Gazans of Us All”
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33086.htm

    Or, as Subcommante Marcos called it years ago, “The Fourth World War”. A war against the world’s poor. Sadly, the Palestinians have been in the front lines for decades. Hence, it is not surprising to see so many intellectuals volunteer for duty as Beinart and Mead have done.

    Comment by Richard Estes — November 21, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  12. What the hell are you talking about Peter? Why are fellow leftists so blinded by ideology that they have to read imaginary stuff into everything. Not only did I call the place Palestine, I wasn’t even assertive in my position. As I said, please correct me where I’m wrong. I belonged to a Leninist sect for a decade and upheld the right of nations stuff Lenin has Stalin churn out, which has been carried out almost without question by every group since (except Luxemburg, the Left Coms in Europe and Asia, and the

    The question is not “should Israel be able to bomb Gaza?” since that would get a resounding no from anyone who isn’t blind, brainwashed or a monster. Of course the fighting in Palestine is terrible, of course it must be stopped, of course Israel has western Imperialist backing/funding and much more fire power, and of course it is not acceptable for people living in Palestine to be driven off the land and held in what I’ve heard at least one person living in Gaza called “a living prison.”

    My question is why the left continues its concentration (bordering on obsession) with the nation state when there hasn’t been a well rounded, developed state formed anywhere in the world as a result of a national liberation movement since before the Big War — anywhere, ever. Isn’t this, and the concentration on ethnicity and race, the realm of the bourgeoisie and their period which is coming to a close? Shouldn’t socialists be forward looking? Why not adopt the most modern science, as Marx did? Modern science shows us that race and ethnicity are entirely social constructs, not biological. That all humans have a shared and common origin, that humanity has always been in a state of migration and intermingling.

    So why do socialists not promote workers states based on civil criteria, as part of socialist federations, instead of pushing for something that obviously doesn’t work and is rooted firmly in yesteryear, and the interests of other classes than the proletariat.

    In this battle in the Mid-East there are no victories for the toilers. The nationalist-theocratic gangster clique in charge of the “living prison” is fighting a battle it cannot win against an imperialist outpost. Who suffers most? The toilers who are sent to do the fighting while the bosses make battle orders from afar. Normal people just want to hide and escape, it’s no wonder. The only ones who seem to push the fight on are the rightists and nationalist/theocratic leaders and their left wing cheerleaders from afar (I gotta wonder why these “comrades” don’t form some international brigades if they’re so into the fight).

    The Palestinians have been fucked over supremely. But there are people in Israel who were born there, who are “home,” who were raised there and indoctrinated with the Zionist crap. Should they be sentenced to death for that? Isn’t the socialist position fraternization across battle lines, common class interests, and turning the war against the ruling classes that declare them?

    Why do the American leftists who call for crap like that not call for their own country to be emptied and left for the few indigenous people there they didn’t kill in the process of plundering it? Do native Americans have a right to return? Then what about the African Americans?Ancestors brought against their will, no one knows where from. They now live in second class citizen status on land taken from indigenous people. Who gets what there?

    Should the Russians and Koreans leave Sakhalin for the Japanese? Maybe the Vietnamese should abandon the south of their country, because that was once the kindgom of the Cham, who are now as fucked over as the Roma in Europe.

    There is so much inconsistency and irrationality behind all of this, and as soon as you question any of it, as you see, you are branded a Zionist (even when you’ve marched in dozens of protests and pickets against Israeli aggression). It’s as bad as the Zionists who brand anyone who criticizes Israel as an anti-Semite.

    I’m for a classless world, the abolition of national borders, the end of exploitation, oppression and war. That is: communism. Not mass murder for some quasi-Biblical vindictive revenge fantasy that does nothing for humanity but drown it further in blood. I don’t see how calling for more senseless, un-winnable war, or the creation of unworkable nation states will lead to any of that.

    Again, please show me where I am wrong. I am still trying to work all of this out after finally abandoning the dead end of Cargo Cult Leninism and the subsequent period of burnout that always follows.

    Thanks.

    Comment by Confused on Nat Lib — November 22, 2012 @ 2:03 am

  13. Louis should have mentioned here Bard’s firing of Joel Kovel four years ago. He himself covered it here shortly after it happened:
    http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/bard-college-terminates-joel-kovel/

    Comment by Red Snapper — November 22, 2012 @ 4:39 am

  14. My dear “Confused on Nat Lib,”
    Families I know are being bombed night and day in their open air prison. So you will understand that I’m not touched by your musings on the “Kingdom of Cham” or your personal problems with “Cargo Cult Leninism” and subsequent “burn out.” Should I send you a “Get Well” card?

    Comment by Peter Byrne — November 22, 2012 @ 8:37 am

  15. No. Perhaps just address any of the points I made, or the questions I raised. Or you can raise emotional appeals in an attempt to brush it all aside as you seem to prefer.

    I like Louis’s blog because he questions a lot of the old dogma, especially on party organization and anti-imperialism. I’m wondering why this particular part of the Leninist doctrine is not up for even discussion?

    And why is the Kingdom of Cham in quotes? Are the Cham people not legitimate for some reason? Champa existed in what is presently half of Vietnam from the second century AD until about 190 years ago. Cham people today are some of the most down and out you’ll find anywhere, living in shacks and on rickety boats in Vietnam and Cambodia. They were also subject to a genocide by the Khmer Rouge in my lifetime.

    Yes, people are being fucked over in Palestine. But not only in Palestine. This is all tied into bigger questions. Unrepentant Marxists have to be like Marx, looking at the small and detailed but also the bigger picture it fits into.

    Comment by Confused on Nat Lib — November 22, 2012 @ 9:17 am

  16. Louis writes: “Israel gets kid gloves treatment [from the major U.S. media] because it is a reliable protector of American imperialist interests in the Middle East.”

    The Israeli state, like many, if not most, others in various parts of the world, serves U.S. imperialist interests as well as those of its own ruling class. But I would challenge anybody to show how the putative value to U.S. capitalists as a class of the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state is so great as to explain the extreme genuflection before that state and its leaders by most U.S. media and by just about anybody running for elective office, and especially for national office, anywhere in the U.S..

    The refusal to acknowledge the in-your-face power of the Israel lobby even by those who strongly oppose what it stands for just shows how fear of being labelled ‘antisemitic’, or of being seen to say something, however true, that traditional ‘antisemites’ also say, has made of the Israel lobby the elephant in the room that even the anti-Zionist left either doesn’t see or chooses not to see.

    Comment by Red Snapper — November 22, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  17. BTW, if the Israeli state is so fragile that it needs such special protection from the U.S. ruling class against any serious criticism, how can it be “a reliable protector” of anything?

    Comment by Red Snapper — November 22, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  18. I don’t think it’s “so fragile.” It’s just that the U.S. media is beholden to the U.S. ruling class and their friends over there. The same reason they paint South Korea, where a kid just got 10 months prison for sarcastically retweeting DPRK propaganda, as a democratic miracle and cannot say anything but the very worst about the DPRK.

    Comment by Confused on Nat Lib — November 22, 2012 @ 11:46 am

  19. About “kid glove treatment,” “Gaza and the US media narrative” is a worthwhile discussion on Aljazeera TV today. (http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestoryamericas/). In the lesser of the evils department, ALJ on the Middle East is less slanted than BBC World or CNN. Of course, funded by Gulf money, it has its own agenda, pro-Sunni. anti-Assad, for instance.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — November 22, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

  20. “But I would challenge anybody to show how the putative value to U.S. capitalists as a class of the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state is so great as to explain the extreme genuflection before that state and its leaders by most U.S. media and by just about anybody running for elective office, and especially for national office, anywhere in the U.S..”

    The genuflection of Israel is really self-love: The USA saved the world during WWII, the Jews “we” rescued created Israel, a fellow democracy, now it’s us alone against the Muslim terrorists who are a merging of the Navajo and Waffen-SS into one convenient punching bag. It’s part of constructing a narrative where the US military has divine right to attack anything. Israel is subsumed into this world savior concept.

    Thing is, most discussions about the lobby place it in some vacuum where a hapless US govt. is bribed by foreign agents to shoot itself in the foot. And it’s hard to read Mearsheimer and Walt’s treatment without wincing (“This assessment is necessary not because we have any animus toward Israel or because we think its conduct is worse than that of other states,…”). Does anyone seriously believe we could get congress to pass BDS resolutions if not for AIPAC?

    Comment by andrew r (@alrf37) — November 24, 2012 @ 12:36 am

  21. Who cares about congress getting down with the reformist BDS campaign? Honestly. What a pipe dream, and a useless one at that. This is the kind of poop I’m talking about.

    Apartheid was attacked with labor actions. American port workers refused to touch cargo ships headed to S. Africa. Cuba sent volunteers to fight the mercenaries in Angola. Now we’ve got college students petitioning musicians to skip concerts and begging bourgeois governments to pass toothless resolutions. Anyone else see a huge difference here?

    Who disappeared the proletariat from its own movement??

    Comment by Confused on Nat Lib — November 24, 2012 @ 3:28 am

  22. I am aware of only two U.S. labor actions against South African shipping, both of them in San Francisco. (Were there others?) There was no general, ongoing refusal of U.S. port workers to handle such shipping. The only major labor actions against South African apartheid were those of South African workers.

    For the most part, the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S. and in other imperialist countries was essentially a more militant, confrontational, version of BDS, that had the advantage that the White-South-Africa lobby had only a small fraction of the influence of the Israel lobby (which was, in fact, covertly supportive of the White-South-African one), there had been a massive Black struggle that had mostly eliminated formal apartheid in the U.S., and nobody was afraid of being labeled an ‘antiafrikaner’.

    And the BDS campaign, while not a proletarian-revolutionary movement, does challenge the entire ideological foundation of the Jewish state. It’s not for nothing that the ZIonist apparatus has put enormous resources into fighting it. Given that its demands on Israel are entirely supportable and that it is promoted by most Palestinian activists, not supporting it (while criticizing and trying to go beyond its limitations) is akin to scabbing.

    Comment by Red Snapper — November 30, 2012 @ 6:00 am

  23. andrew r @20: “Does anyone seriously believe we could get congress to pass BDS resolutions if not for AIPAC?”

    No, but does anyone seriously believe that the Congress would routinely declare nearly unanimous support for Israel’s outrages if not for AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Community Relations Councils, etc., and wealthy individual Jewish Zionist campaign contributors. (They’re not all as crude, obvious and terminally ugly as Sheldon Adelson, and more of them support Democrats than Republicans.)

    The rest of andrew r’s comment, though, just illustrates the intellectual contortions one has to go through to maintain one’s Israel Lobby Denial.

    Comment by Red Snapper — November 30, 2012 @ 6:24 am

  24. “No, but does anyone seriously believe that the Congress would routinely declare nearly unanimous support for Israel’s outrages if not for AIPAC…”

    (…)

    “The rest of andrew r’s comment, though, just illustrates the intellectual contortions one has to go through to maintain one’s Israel Lobby Denial.”

    Given that we’ve established the reps are not going to turn anti-Zionist without the Lobby, maybe you’d care to lay out what of any substance I’m denying about it. What has this “in-your-face” power gotten the Lobby other than a bunch of H Res? Why would it take the Lobby to erase any discussion of Palestinian civilian deaths from network tv when they do an equally rigorous job with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen?

    You may cite the military aid, but even here the Lobby is not a sufficient explanation because 75% of it goes to US defense contractors, and while the other 25% can go to Israeli firms, any given one is more than likely to be in a joint project with a US firm and listed on a US stock exchange to boot.

    Comment by andrew r (@alrf37) — November 30, 2012 @ 12:59 pm


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