Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Sarah Palin met with pro-Israel lobbyists to express her support for U.S.-Israel ties.

Palin, the Alaska governor who was tapped last week by Sen. John McCain to be his vice-presidential running mate, met for 45 minutes Tuesday in the Minneapolis area with several leaders of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Also in attendance at the AIPAC meeting was U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), the McCain campaign’s most prominent Jewish backer.

McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb said Palin spoke about “the relationship between Israel and American national security, and the threats to Israel from Iran and others.”

“She was extremely well received,” Goldfarb said, noting that Palin was interrupted by applause twice.

AIPAC also praised the meeting.
 - Palin meets with AIPAC leaders.


  1. Et tu CVC? Then fall Judea!

    I kid, I'm still standing with Judea. I'm no fan of lobbying groups of any sort but I have to say that, in my opinion, Israel is very very far into the territory of the 'morally right' with regard to her struggle for survival against her numerous enemies and that therefore there's nothing wrong with moral people standing up in her defense.

    Again, I can't stand the special privileges that our democracy awards people who can pay for those privileges (through the lobbying middlemen) but I believe that Jews have taken enough shit from people through the centuries that standing up for the fifteen million of them when well over some BILLION people would like to see them annihilated... is morally honorable (even if the politicians REASONS are more prosaic).


  2. I would be concerned if the Dairy Farmers lobby had as much influence as AIPAC, and let's not forget that AIPAC is a lobby for a foreign country.

    I don't (seriously) have strong opinions one way or the other regarding Israel. I do strongly believe that whatever the United States policy toward Israel is, it should be based on the interests of the United States. The same goes for Georgia and any other country.

  3. There should be a reality TV show called "Through the Hoops" where the four candidates compete to see who can degrade himself or herself the most on tasks thought up by AIPAC, such as "What will you do for convicted traitor Jonathan Pollard?"

    Obama: I'll pardon him.
    Palin: I'll give him a medal!
    McCain: I'll give him the Medal of Honor!!
    Biden: I'll resign so he can be VP!!!

  4. As Steve humorously observes, Mnuez, instead of the small country in a "her struggle for survival against her numerous enemies" hustling for support from the mighty US like you would expect, it's the other way around, and you have US politicians currying favor with AIPAC.

  5. What makes me angriest is you can't even say what Mnuez says here, let alone what CVC and Steve say. I mean, you can't say, "let's be open and wary of lobbyist power, but in my opinion we ought to have a national policy of sticking up for Jews for historical reasons." You have to pretend that a) everything about supporting Israel is in our interest and there is no downside (eg, give Pollard a break) and b) there is no lobbyist power, only the lies and paranoia of antisemites. Eg, Andrew Sullivan said Palin was being indoctrinated by AIPAC and now the blogosphere calls him a jew-baiter and worse.

  6. That makes me angry, too. You can't even describe AIPAC as you would a mundane interest group lobby that doesn't involve a foreign power - think of how 'Big Tobacco' and 'Big Oil' get characterized in regular news stories. And it's huge influence with both parties is barely newsworthy.

    "Andrew Sullivan said Palin was being indoctrinated by AIPAC and now the blogosphere calls him a jew-baiter and worse."

    The stupid 'right' is usually on the receiving end of bigotry accusations, so they can't resist the chance to accuse someone else - not that I don't find most of what Sully has been saying about Palin insane. Maybe I will do a post about why she upsets him so much.

    It probably is a mistake to say "indoctrinated" (body snatcher allusions, on the other hand, are perfectly OK). Politicians hate thinking and have lots of 'important' things to occupy their time, so they are more than happy to outsource policy matters to a friendly an obviously powerful group like AIPAC if they can. See Weiss's article in AMCON where he quotes Senators Coleman and Mikulski essentially saying just that.

  7. Didn't Jon Stewart in a rather lame sketch refer to AIPAC, rather accurately as, the Elders of Zion? But I suppose you can get away with that when you are a Progressive.

    When Russell Kirk made the comment that "not seldom has it seemed as if some eminent neoconservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States." - wasn't he accused of Antisemitism?

    As for Andrew Sullivan's attacks on Mrs Palin I think the most obvious reason would be that he simply hates "breeders".

  8. I agree "indoctrinate" isn't a very good term here, and probably is just due to Sullivan being a lousy writer most of the time. I think it's more like Steve's game show, no indoctrination needed. But the point is like you say about BIg Oil: political descriptions that are unremarkable in other contexts are here the highest crime--racism/antisemitism. Both sides know their enemies are either brainwashed by or in the pockets of whatever groups they don't like--teacher unions, the religious right, oldies, the NRA--and say so regularly with various degrees of fairness and hyperbole. And how else can you argue about public schools or the role of religion or so forth without bringing up these interests? Yet no one is influenced by this one group in particular.

    I guess if influence prosper, none dare call it influence.

  9. MCB: Excellent points. Kirk was called an antisemite, perhaps most notably by original neocon Midge Decter.

    I think "breeders" is exactly why Andy is so upset: his husband can't impregnate his anus, so Palin and her children are affront to the equality his heart desires.

    Garland: Besides being able to accuse opponents of antisemetism (what moral transgression can 'Big Oil' accuse opponents of?), AIPAC's network is incredible, with friendlies or actual current or former members in media, academia, government, finance, and the political parties themselves. Think of how easy it is to leverage the parts of a network like that for/against a politician.

  10. As Steve humorously observes..."?!?! May I remind you that Pollard is actually in middle of serving an overly cruel life sentence for a crime that hardly warrants (by relative standards) a fraction of that?! Steve doesn't "humorously observe" shit on this issue. He (and you, and me, and everyone else(correctly observe that AIPAC, as a lobby, has too much power and that part of that is because no one is allowed to question or speak ill of any minority group, Jews included. But to point to Pollard, who is a prime example of discrimination against Jewish interests, and then to be seconded by you CVC, is quite the slap in the face to reality. Not to mention to pollard.


  11. "Pollard, who is a prime example of discrimination against Jewish interests"

    Spying on America is a Jewish interest? If you say so. So did Pollard's wife, not that I think about it, she said, "I feel my husband and I did what we were expected to do, and what our moral obligation was as Jews, what our moral obligation was as human beings, and I have no regrets about that."

    I feel I'm expected to not spy on my country, and that I have a moral obligation as an American not too. Unlike a lot of moral obligations, it's one that's actually really easy to live up to. I've done it my whole life without even trying.

    Was Pollard's sentence excessive? It's not clear to me it was. I notice that Pollard's supporters don't seem concerned about excessive sentencing in general. Many even are in favor of excessive sentencing, in the form of "hate crime" laws.

  12. Seriously CVC, you caught me on a bad choice for a single word - the context of which should have been clear.

    By practically all accounts Jonathan Pollard received a far harsher sentence than he would have were he accused of engaging in precisely these activities for any other country - the Soviet Union inclusive.

    Therefore, while complaints can very legitimately be made regarding AIPAC (or haven't I been sufficiently clear on that point?), making a joke out of pardoning Jonathan Pollard is a horrific example of doing so. Pollard received the extreme punishment (relative to others) that he received precisely on account of the common fear of "dual loyalties" and the need to make a public example out of him.

    I'll go so far as to say that were there no powerful Jewish community and powerful Israel-lobby in the United States, Pollard would long ago have been freed.

    Accuracy if some import, I believe.


    P.S. Being as this resurgence of antisemitic sentiment in the paleoconservative community is on account of the neoconservatives, the mire that they landed us in and the fact that some of the most prominent ones are Jewish, I'd like to point out three things:

    1. When it looked to the general public like neoconservative ideas were going to "make the world safe for Democracy" (back in 2003-2004), practically every Republican voter (and not a few Democrats) were proud cheerleaders of the neocons. It may be difficult to remember those days, but believe me, they existed - and for a good two or three years. To choose one's sides based on which one is (in the words of OBL) "the winning horse" is to a be a principle-less individual. And a very stupid one. - And those who currently call themselves "paleoconservatives" or some such (but who didn't even know to fish that term out of the history bucket some three years ago) are often both stupid and principle-less.

    2. The neoconservatives made Iraq their showcase and they fucked up royally. In my opinion however, the main reason for the royal fuck-up that is Iraq (and Afghanistan and Georgia, etc) is that we had an ignorant dumbfuck in the driver's seat. I don't intend to vote for McCain and I wouldn't vote for Giuliani either but I'm of the opinion that were either of them President from 2000 onward, the neoconservative doctrine would likely have more successes than failures to show for itself. Again - there are far too many variables to take into account here for me to be able to say in a sentence what I think might be different or why, but I think it takes no great stretch of the imagination to point out that the very worst thing that could ever have happened to the neoconservative ideology (or any ideology for that matter) would be for George Bush to have taken it up as his own. His heart may or may not be in the right place (on any of a number of issues) but he's far too unintelligent, ignorant and arrogant to be successful at implementing any good idea in any case.

    3. To me, the hallmark of the antisemite is the intellectually lazy individual who chooses to notice the preponderance of semites at the fore of every ideology he finds alien while he conveniently ignores the fact that Jews hog the dais at almost every ideology in existence.

    For whatever reason, Jews are a smart and successful bunch and they're to be found among the leaders in the porn industry as well as among the leaders of the anti-porn movement and everywhere else besides. "Paleoconservatives" can be antisemitic if they like to, but they should realize that Jews are pretty damn prominent in that sphere as well.

    Selah. I've been awake for some 30 hours now so please don't catch me on one poorly chosen word again. If anything makes sense here I'll be pleased and count it a miracle.


  13. "Seriously CVC, you caught me on a bad choice for a single word - the context of which should have been clear."

    I wasn't trying to exploit a typo on your part, I thought you really meant that. Pollard and his wife certainly meant it. Many of Pollard's supporters are on record making similar statements, including, I've learned, arguing Pollard, as Jew, had an obligation to spy to protect Jewish interests.

    "By practically all accounts Jonathan Pollard received a far harsher sentence than he would have were he accused of engaging in precisely these activities for any other country"

    Which accounts? Not Ron Olive's. Pollard and his wife violated their pre-sentencing plea agreements. His side claims his espionage wasn't "that" damaging. Casper Weinberger, a great American, thought otherwise. Speaking of Weinberger, I've only skimmed the information about this case, but I notice most of Pollard's supporters have a habit of casually smearing Weinberger. Not the sort of thing to make me sympathetic. Many of us don't find the arguments that other spies got less convincing beceause we would be perfectly happy seeing the other spies get punished more.

    "this resurgence of antisemitic sentiment in the paleoconservative community"

    I certainly hope you aren't characterizing the discussion here as such.

    The nature of neoconservatism is sort of beyond the scope of comments here, but I'm compelled to note they have gotten nearly everything they've wanted: they hold the positions of power, they've sucessfully marginalized the paleos/old right, they've gotten their preffered policies, both foreign and domestic.

  14. Man, if there was one topic that was going to ignite heavy discussion on this usually wonderfully irreverent blog...

    Mnuez's definition of antisemitsm is more generous than the one that actually prevails in public discourse today. It's *failing* to ignore that Jews hog the dais in most intellectual endeavors that gets you in the antisemitic ballpark in the first place.