“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Budding US Political Fruit of AIPAC, Netanyahu and The GOP Likuds Force: The Republicans and The Lobby: Screwed Together

Do the Democrats and Israel Have a Future Together?
Last September, on the afternoon of Rosh Hashana, the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, Elliott Abrams sat cross-legged on a basement carpet in Virginia playing marbles with his grandson. The former George W. Bush administration official, who supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East, is the father-in-law of a young rabbi at a reform synagogue in Washington that had been torn between its love of Israel and its loathing of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government.

Abrams, a staunch supporter of Netanyahu, told me that he wasn’t particularly worried about fading Jewish support for Israel, like that on display in his son-in-law’s congregation, even among the more skeptical younger generation. “Fifty-year-olds are always more supportive than 18-year-olds,” he said. “And so give them 30 years, and they will be more supportive. I don’t see any long-term erosion of support.”

What really concerned him, he said, were the non-Jewish voters who make up the rank and file of the Democratic base. “Look, I’m Republican,” Abrams told me. “But the problem that no one wants to talk about is the erosion of support in the Democratic Party.”
I thought of Abrams’s remarks this week, during the final chaotic days before Israel’s national elections, in which Netanyahu — trying to rally conservative support in a tight race against the Labor Party challenger, Isaac Herzog — disavowed the two-state solution, warned about the threat posed by “droves” of Arab voters and acknowledged the tactical appeal of expanding Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories. Although he has since tried to walk back his comments about the two-state solution, at least, the Obama administration and Democrats in general remain enraged. The party was already furious with Netanyahu for his slights of the Democratic president, and many now consider him the de facto president of the Israeli chapter of Republicans Abroad.

While a deepening polarization among American Jews about Netanyahu puts Obama’s potential successor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a politically uncomfortable position, it is the transformation of Israel into a partisan issue that fills Democratic Jewish officials with dread. Clinton’s advisers can always take solace knowing that the Democratic base will vote for a Democratic candidate no matter what. But Jewish Democrats worry about the prospect of keeping liberal support for Israel a viable long-term position for a party base that is overwhelmingly non-Jewish and increasingly critical of the country.

After all, many younger Americans know Israel only as a nuclear-armed force that is the dominant power in its region. On college campuses, pro-Palestinian groups like Students for Justice in Palestine have long framed the Israeli occupation as the civil rights issue of our time. A Pew Research Center poll over the summer showed that 29 percent of voters under the age of 30 blamed Israel more than Hamas for the war in Gaza, while only 21 percent blamed Hamas more. African-Americans and Hispanics were also more likely to blame Israel.

This trend has clearly frightened the Jewish establishment. The powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee has sought to improve its engagement with progressives and college students, calling on, among others, Ann Lewis, a confidante of Clinton, to assist in progressive outreach. And Malcolm Hoenlein, the head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told me he was reaching out to Hispanics and Hollywood. “We have now taken several trips of movie stars to Israel,” he said. “We have had the stars of ‘Avatar,’ ‘Twilight,’ ‘Baxter’” — he presumably meant “Dexter” — “‘House M.D.’, ‘Hollywood 202101 whatever.’”

And support for Israel has also declined within American government in general. A recent focus group of congressional staffers — tomorrow’s policy makers — revealed ebbing support for Israel. “If national politics and the presidency continues to be in the hands of the Democrats,” said Hebrew Union College professor Steven Cohen, a leading tracker of Jewish demographic shifts, “then most of the mid-and-low-level policy analysts and foreign-service people will essentially be sympathetic to the Palestinians.”

But as far as Netanyahu’s right-wing government is concerned, the future is now. They see Obama and his potential nuclear deal with Iran as a threat to their security. They see American support for a two-state solution and a freeze on settlement growth as a naïve recipe for more missiles landing on Israeli homes.
And so Netanyahu has essentially thrown his lot in with the Republicans. His open hostility to Obama has infuriated Democrats. When he spoke to Congress this month — an invitation he accepted from the speaker of the House, John Boehner, without informing the White House — several Democratic members refused to attend. Significantly, the boycotting congressmen included members of the Congressional Black Caucus, an indication about the feelings of the party’s base.
This realignment by Netanyahu is a drastic shift. Even as U.S. foreign policy has grown increasingly partisan, support for Israel has generally been a rare point of agreement between Republicans and Democrats, and successive Israeli governments and their allies in Aipac have generally made a priority of keeping it that way. For instance, before returning to Israel in 2013 and entering politics there, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren reached out to progressive synagogues and think tanks for their help in improving the relationship between Israel and the Democratic Party’s ascendant base.

But Oren was replaced by Ron Dermer, a Miami Beach native and Netanyahu’s closest confidant, who, before becoming an Israeli citizen, worked for the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. Widely credited with organizing Mitt Romney’s election-season trip to Israel in 2012, Dermer is viewed by Democrats and the White House as part of the Republican opposition.
I met with Dermer last year, during a visit to Israel’s heavily guarded embassy in Washington. In a compound decorated with reproductions of ancient mosaics, Dermer waved his bodyguard out of his office and called for a cappuccino. He spoke so incessantly over the next two hours that the foam sank before he could take a sip. “The challenge now is that people see a strong Israel,” Dermer told me. “But people don’t understand something the prime minister often says — that Israel can go from great strength to great vulnerability very fast.”

Like Abrams, Dermer wasn’t worried about liberal Jews. He argued that “a lot of the fissures” in the American Jewish community would seal up the moment Israel came under attack. But when I asked him about the broader liberal antipathy toward Israel on college campuses and among Democratic voters, he said: “Israel is a symptom of a problem, but it’s not actually the problem that’s on campuses. It’s not an anti-Israel thing. It’s a problem of moral relativism. And we are low hanging fruit.”
“I think the progressive case for Israel is an easy case to make,” he went on. “We’re the only country that’s had a chief justice of the Supreme Court, a speaker of the Knesset and a prime minister who were women. You have gay rights in Israel. You have a gay-pride parade in Tel Aviv, and gays all around the region are strung up in public squares. And then you have respect for minority rights in Israel.”

To make that case, Dermer said: “I’m going to go into every arena. You have to correct the misperceptions. When I see someone who is on the progressive side of the aisle and they are concerned and say, Well Israel is doing A, and Israel is doing B, I want to engage them, and I want to explain, and I want to put it in context for them. I’m not willing to give up.”

A few months ago, Dermer did attend a private meeting at the Center for American Progress, Washington’s leading liberal think tank, to meet with leaders from the black and Latino communities who had concerns about what they considered the Israeli occupation of Palestine. But unlike his predecessor Oren, Dermer’s outreach was less than diplomatic. According to one person at the meeting, he was defensive and aggressive, browbeating attendees with familiar Israeli talking points.
It is clear that both he and Netanyahu prefer a Republican audience. Dermer was the keynote speaker of the Christians United For Israel meeting at the Washington Convention Center last July. Netanyahu sent in a grateful video message. CUFI, as the organization is known, was founded by John Hagee, a Texas megachurch pastor who has preached against Catholicism, Islam and homosexuality and has written books including “Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change,” which argues that four big, red moons in 2014 and 2015 will harken a major shift for Israel.

Last year’s conference featured some of the Republican Party’s staunchest Israel supporters, including Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. A ballroom of 4,000, including a tattoo-covered man with a Star of David on his cheek, applauded uproariously as speakers bashed the Obama administration. “John Kerry,” Hagee bellowed, “you can park your State Department jet in the hangar. Your effort to win your Nobel Prize at the expense of Israel is over!”

In the halls, organizers had erected an installation dedicated to “The Battle for the Future: Israel on Campus,” featuring a replica of a campus Apartheid Wall, which organizers said was used on college campuses to “to turn the student body against Israel.” Resembling a piece of set design from a Michael Keaton-era Batman movie, the colorful graffiti on the wall referred to Hamas as “Freedom Fighters” and depicted an Israeli flag bearing the words “Fascist State” next to the equation “End of Zionism = Peace.” Next to the wall stood a banner featuring a healthy-looking college student smiling under the advisory, “Remember: These materials DO NOT represent the views of CUFI.”

During the evening’s gala held in a grand hall, a group of singers — including Pastor Hagee’s children — sang Hebrew anthems on stage. Evangelicals jumped out of their seats, joining conga lines and raucous hora circles. Sheldon G. Adelson, the Republican super donor and the object of much wooing from potential 2016 Republican candidates, was given the Defender of Israel Award. Dermer’s speech at the end of the evening was interrupted by shouts of “War criminal!” from protesters who infiltrated the event. Dermer seemed less than eager to engage them, or to explain or to offer context. Instead, to the rapturous applause of the people in the room, he called them “moral idiots.”76
The protesters might have represented the left-wing fringe, but their criticism, and hostility to Israel, is gaining steam in the mainstream of the Democratic Party — in large part because Dermer and his boss seem to have aligned themselves with Obama’s Republican enemies.

It is hard to believe that, come election time, Israel will be the primary voting issue for black, Latino and young voters. But Jewish Democratic supporters of Israel nevertheless don’t like advocating a minority position within, or against, their party. And Republicans like Abrams worry that the increased Democratic pressure could result in a weakening of American support for Israel in the United Nations. It may already be happening. This week, White House officials suggested that Obama might now support a Security Council resolution calling for the establishment of a sovereign Palestine
“Democrats have to address it,” Abrams told me in September, as he reached to retrieve one of his grandson’s marbles. “Democrats who feel less supportive are not going to listen to me. They are going to listen to Hillary Clinton.”

Jason Horowitz is a correspondent in the Washington bureau of The New York Times.


  1. >>Do the Democrats and Israel Have a Future Together?<<

    No, the American Democratic Arm of the Iranian al-Quds Force and Jews/Israel have no future together.

    1. You need to use your language skills and chomp with your own original material instead of aping everyone else.

  2. The Magic is Gone.

    The intimidation has misfired.

    Now, it is a numbers game. The numbers are against the GOP Likuds Force. The GOP is more concerned about doing their master’s work instead of those that sent them to Washington. These movements start as a slow but steady drip. This movement is way past that.

    The cynicism of Netanyahu and the transparent hatred by the GOP Likuds force for the President of the USA and their willingness to publicly humiliate him with the connivance of The Prime Minister of Israel in our country was so over the top, it broke the spell.

    Who do these people think they are? Netanyahu has told us, in a taped meeting, who he thinks we are.

    General Clark told us seven years ago what the Neocons and The Lobby plan was for the ME.
    He was right on target.

    Setting the Middle East on fire was their goal. George Bush claimed Mission Accomplished and he was right.

    Even The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are posting stories on how AIPAC writes legislation for their paid shills in the halls of The US Congress. AIPAC and the Zionist paymasters blow the rams horn and call US Congressman to duty assignments with trips to Israel. At AIPAC meeting, US politicians are required to stand, one at time to repeat their loyalty to Israel. Something right out of the Soviet Politburo.

    The Republican Speaker of The House is not visiting Ohio cities on his break, he is bid to Jerusalem.

    It is wrong. It is without precedent and it needs to be broken. It is time to put the US back into The US Congress.

    Remarkably, the only party that has the courage to begin the reform is the Democrats.

    1. You need to begin writing in something other than totally stupid propaganda speak or someone might begin mocking you.

    2. Really you undercut your own message that way.

      The GOP Likuds Force.

      What non sense.

      Real Americans support Israel, have always supported Israel and will continue to support Israel regardless of who the current Prime Minister may be.

      They always have and it will continue.

      And your effort to link American support of Israel to Christian crazies is laughable.

      I know lots of Christians and I don't know of one Christian end timer.

      I can't recall ever personally running across one, to be honest.

      Only on TV.

    3. Really, you are a cutting and pasting machine from a myriad of Israeli-Firster web sites. You are far too modest. Your team is prolific, 24/7 on message and ever alert with the everyday back-up AS daggers if something slips through.

  3. I am an amateur compare to your guys. They never stop. Surely, you see it on your visits to The AIPAC website.

    The Lobby demands public votes on support for Israel in US State House! Look at the video. How does that happen and what happens to the brave politicians that vote against the? The Israeli and Zionist Lobby machine moves in to destroy them.

    The posted video is remarkable. It is a watershed. Twenty did not quite have the courage to just say no. They got up and left twice so as not to vote.

    What does that tell you? The intimidation is pervasive and the revenge of the Lobby has ruined many a brave man. Does that please you? Does that appeal to your inner OOrah for god and country?

    Israel über alles.

    It is a rot. It is un-American and in plain sight it is being challenged and dismantled. It will be a slow painful process for you and it will take down your beloved rotten party with it.

  4. .

    "Real Americans"

    What an asshole. The talking points aren't coming from Deuce. They are coming from Hannity.


  5. Fox is reporting the last US Special Forces are being pulled out of Yemen because of the deteriorating security situation. Obama had called Yemen a shining success a few short months ago.

    ISIS is making large gains in Libya.

    Syria is chaos.

    Iraq is chaos, and the southern part is becoming an arm of Iran.

    Obama is a disaster.

    He refuses to even properly arm the Kurds.

    1. Neocon Mission Accomplished - The Middle East is on fire.

    2. Obama was handed the Neocon shit sandwich from the moron George Bush. Obama made a huge error by ever returning the first salute. No one advised him otherwise. I certainly would have explained to him never to do it. Let them know who is boss. They conned him with Libya and he foolishly almost repeated the catastrophe in Syria.

      The UK & US public said no. He has learned. He saw the brutal and cynical murderous carnage dished out on the Palestinians by Netanyahu. He sees the continuous demands and intimidation to sink the US into a disastrous war with Iran.

      The Israelis don’t give a shit about anyone except themselves. I respect that and want to return the favor.

    3. .

      Bob, that frontpagemag article you put up on the last stream was the most libelous, disgusting piece I have ever seen posted here and that is saying a lot.


    4. Thank you, Quirk, that IS a compliment.

  6. .

    It is wrong. It is without precedent and it needs to be broken. It is time to put the US back into The US Congress.

    True enough. However, how can you say it is without precedent when it has been going on for decades?

    Remarkably, the only party that has the courage to begin the reform is the Democrats.

    I disagree. It's a right of passage for everyone in Washington, GOP and Dems, staff, families,key party leaders in and out of government. Check in Google and find out who in this Congress since 2000 has visited Israel, how many from both parties attend the AIPAC conferences.

    I share your hope that we have reached a tipping point but I doubt it. The Dems (some of the Dems) have a bug up their ass right now because of the insult to Obama. However, I believe they take it as a personal insult not an insult to the US. It is likely something that can be smoothed over with the appropriate amount of baksheesh.

    When legislation is pushed at the end of the month to add additional sanctions it will likely be a bipartisan bill.

    As for the GOP, they have once again not only proven that they lack the ability to govern but also for the most part that they are dumb as rocks.


    1. True enough. However, how can you say it is without precedent when it has been going on for decades?

      I cannot think of another country, great or paltry that has pulled off what the Israeli Lobby has done. I know how they did it and the timing and duration is not the point. The deed is.

  7. "Election win for Netanyahu and one misstep closer to a Palestinian state

    The Globe and Mail
    Published Friday, Mar. 20 2015, 8:26 PM EDT

    When Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted earlier this week saying there would be no Palestinian state on his watch, he may have thought he was consolidating right-wing support for his Likud party and keeping those irresponsible lefties in the Labour Party from coming to power.

    The impact of his tactics, however, has been to trigger a potentially debilitating backlash from the U.S. administration and to jump-start a Palestinian campaign for international recognition. Rather than set back the cause of a Palestinian state, his measures have brought such a state closer.

    “Netanyahu’s manoeuvre was probably the best possible thing to happen as far as the Palestinians are concerned,” said Daniel Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt and now a professor of Middle East studies at Princeton University. “Their diplomatic path is now clear.”

    A leading Palestinian politician made the same point. “It’s wonderful for us,” said Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of the Fatah Central Committee, speaking to The Times of Israel.

    “This will just prove to the international community that we have no one to speak to on the Israeli side.”

    Not even Mr. Netanyahu’s clarification on Thursday, saying he still supports a two-state solution “if circumstances change,” could stanch the bleeding.

    “The White House does not believe Netanyahu has reversed course at all,” said Mr. Kurtzer, who has advised U.S. President Barack Obama in the past. “He [Mr. Netanyahu] will have to do more, say more, take action to demonstrate his commitment to a two-state solution … if he’s going to undo the damage he’s done.”

    Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, in an e-mail: “Netanyahu was never a supporter of the two-state solution. His campaign in 1996 was based on destroying the Oslo Agreement. Now … he continues building settlements which makes the two-state solution impossible.”

    If that is the international perception, the Palestinians have a tremendous opportunity to advance their cause.

    “The Palestinian leadership is looking to move on two tracks,” said Canadian-born Diana Buttu, an Arab with Israeli citizenship living in Ramallah, who was an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – the “international recognition” track and the “punitive” track, meaning ways intended to pressure Israel to change policies.

    There’s been a lot of talk about Palestinians taking Israel to the International Criminal Court – Palestinian membership in that body becomes formal on April 1 – but the process to prosecute someone there takes years. It also would cost the Palestinian Authority dearly.

    Already the Israelis are refusing to transfer tax revenue to the PA – about $120-million (U.S.) a month – unless the PA withdraws its ICC complaint.

    And the U.S. Congress recently enacted a provision that will cut off $400-million a year to the Palestinians if the PA takes its case to the next level.

    There are quicker and less expensive ways for the Palestinians to go – to the UN Security Council, for one.

    1. U.S. officials made it clear this week that the Obama administration is reassessing its policies in a number of areas in which commitment to a two-state solution is required. One of them is the protection Washington has long provided Israel when Security Council resolutions critical of Israel are voted on. In most cases, the United States uses it veto power as a permanent member to annul such resolutions.

      Now, Mr. Kurtzer said, it’s possible that resolutions could pass that were unthinkable just a few weeks ago: condemning Israel for settlement construction or for heavy-handed security action, for instance, or setting a deadline for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank or embracing the borders of a Palestinian state.

      While Mr. Obama assured Mr. Netanyahu in a brief phone call Thursday that nothing will stop U.S. military support for Israel, a White House spokesman told reporters that the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership is something that is being reassessed, since it hinges specifically on a two-state solution for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

      Safeguarding security has been one of the accomplishments of the Palestinian Authority, allowing for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank. PA security forces routinely round up Hamas and Islamic Jihad suspects to prevent attacks.

      This security is something the PA has said it will suspend unless Israel resumes the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues. It also is something that could be dropped more permanently as a means of pressuring Israel.

      “The whole question of security co-ordination and ties to Israel depends on the establishment of a Palestinian state,” said Mr. Rajoub, who served as head of preventive security under Yasser Arafat.

      “The [Israeli] right needs to understand that it will not receive security as long as there is no peace.”

      Watch also for Palestinians to increase their diplomatic efforts, especially in Europe. Already the European Union has recommended a number of measures to curb the sale of products from West Bank Israeli companies. If the EU, like the U.S., now believes Israel has dropped the two-state solution, its members will likely be willing to go further.

      The next step may be for European governments to adopt some of the provisions advocated by the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” movement aimed at all Israelis and their government.

      The United States, too, may tighten the financial screws, perhaps by ending tax benefits for donations to Israeli charitable organizations that operate in the West Bank.

      Even Canada may want to review its very pro-Israel policies. While Mr. Netanyahu’s clarification Thursday may satisfy the government, officials in Ottawa have made it clear that the two-state solution – the creation of an independent Palestinian state, alongside Israel – is long-standing Canadian policy.

      Mr. Rajoub, the Fatah official, is defiant.

      “We are not going to wave a white flag,” he said. “The right does not scare us, but only hurts Israel and regional stability.

      “If the new government in Israel continues its previous policies, then it will lead to conflict,” he added. “There will be a Palestinian state whether Netanyahu wants one or not.”"

  8. The 'two state solution' will never work.

    Martha Gellhorn was right decades ago.

    All they do is hate.

    You can't build a state out of that. Not for long anyway.

    Sisi - NOT Sistani, Ash, Sisi - has offered the haters some addition land west of Gaza as a homeland. They should take it.

    They could all go hate together there.

    If 'Palestine' were populated by Swedes, or Swiss, or Canadians or Hindus a two state solution would be perfectly possible.

    These groups are not out to genocide the Jews.

  9. Our Napoleon on the Potomac has the middle east totally fucked up now.

    I was prescient.

    I said when he was first elected a disaster was in the making.

    So the question is:

    Is Bozo just totally incompetent or

    Is it intentional ?

    Quirk has affirmed it is 'libelous' for anyone to suggest the latter.

    Quirk sometimes comes across as being as innocently naive as young Noble Ash. Which is odd, as Q is a 'man of the world' for sure.

    1. .

      Is Bozo just totally incompetent or

      Is it intentional ?

      Quirk has affirmed it is 'libelous' for anyone to suggest the latter.

      You flaming nitwit, don't you even bother reading the shit you put up here?

      Meir-Levi didn't accuse Obama of be incompetent. Hell, I've accused Obama of being incompetant.

      Meir-Levi accused Obama of wanting the jihadists to win, that he wants to destroy western civilization, that he is on the side of America's enemies, and that he is a traitor. The fact that all of that translate in the miasma that is your mind that Obama is incompetent is telling.


      What other explanation can there be other than that he wants the Jihadists to win?

      What other explanation can there be but that he actually wants Iran to achieve nuclear capacity, to surround Sunni Islam in the Fertile Crescent, to reign as a supreme regional hegemon, armed with atomic weapons, controlling the Straits of Hormuz, and equipped to fulfill the jihadist dream of obliterating Israel and annihilating another 6,000,000 Jews?

      What other explanation can there be but that he does not merely sympathize with Islamic fascism, but that he is at one with the ideologically driven psychotic murderers who seek to destroy all of western civilization and replace it with the 7th century barbarism that they call “true Islam”?

      What other explanation can there be but that our president is fighting on the side of our enemies, and that he is, therefore, committing treason?<<

    2. .

      Whoops, forgot the initial >>


  10. Draws multiple standing ovations...
    'Going to be looking at him a lot harder now'...
    'I like leader that's inspiring'...
    'Concerned' about Clinton...

    O'MALLEY FIRES UP IOWA ..................Drudge

    Whoever this totally unknown may be, it's hardly possible he could be worse than Hillary, who should be in prison, if God's great creation had any justice in it.

  11. How many here support having the United States Senate vote, as they have not only a right, but a duty to do, on the coming 'arms control' treaty with Iran ?

    I do.

    Step up and declare yourselves.




    1. .

      A silly question as the agreement with Iran would not be a formal treaty.