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March 28, 2006
 

Round 2: Anti-Semitism & The New "Jews"
 

As I guess I should have anticipated, my recent "Anti-Semitism and the New 'Jews'" essay stirred up a lot of dust. You can't write an article that touches on religion and expect otherwise, I suppose. When you fold in politics and mention of Jews, the mixture goes combustible.

For those who missed last week's piece, here's a quick summary. In times of crisis, scapegoats are needed; Jews historically have served that role, and, given the increasing tensions in the Middle East, continue to do so these days as anti-Semitism blossoms again both from the Right and the Left.

Sometimes it's difficult to detect the fine line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, but it's possible to do so if you pay attention to the overall thrust of the writings.

REACTIONS ALL OVER THE PLACE

The reactions to my article ran the gamut: I was too pro-Palestine, I was too pro-Israel; I was too hard on the Zionist neo-cons, I was a stooge of the Zionist neo-cons; I was a courageous Jewish liberal for bringing this anti-Semitism-on-the-Left issue out in the open, I was a "self-hating Jew" for criticizing Israeli policy; U.S. governments are ruled by Israel, the U.S. is constantly telling Israel what to do, and it doesn't always obey; all Muslims want to wipe out all Jews and so Islam must be smashed now while they're weak, most Muslims could live in peace with Israel if the Occupation were to end and a viable Palestine state were to be accepted by Israel; and so on.

I learned several lessons from this experience.

First, since both extremes denounced me, I figured that maybe I had written a pretty decent piece. Zionist Jews thought I was a sell-out because I support Palestinians having their own viable state, anti-Zionists thought me a stooge of the Likud Party in Israel, perhaps even a Mossad agent; anti-Semites uncorked their filthy mouths just because they are overflowing with bilious hate.

Second, I learned that readers often don't actually read what they see in front of them, especially when religion and politics are involved; instead, they see through a lens of their own biases and think they've read something that the authors never wrote.

Third, I learned that even though I believe Zionism and Judaism should be thought of as two separate issues, that appears to be extremely difficult to pull off for some critics because of the very nature of Israel as a Jewish State to which many Jews have at least an emotional connection.

USING AND ABUSING

In a powerful 2003 article, "Anti-Semitism, Israel & the Left," Philip Green talked about how anti-Semites use and abuse that connection:

"A fair-minded person, in short, looks for explanations of phenomena; the racist 'explains' them by attaching them to his favorite race. So to 'explain' American policy solely as the result of machinations of 'the Jewish lobby,' without mentioning oil, water, or expansionism; or the interests of the military-industrial sector; or the electoral and ideological utility of substituting guns for butter; or the way in which permanent crisis serves the interests of the Republican Party, is indeed to engage in anti-Semitism. Conversely, it is misleading to mention all those factors and then, for fear of appearing anti-Semitic, omit all mention of 'the Jewish lobby' or of the right-wing ideologues, who are also strong supporters of Israel, in key policy-making positions in the Bush Administration."

In short, criticizing Israeli policy, or even its Zionist roots and reason for existence, is an excruciatingly ticklish situation for many writers, especially if they're Jewish.

But, even conceding that difficulty, it's clear that what cannot be countenanced in denunciations of Israel or Israeli policy is when those critiques slide over the line into out-and-out anti-Semitism directed against "the Jews." Similarly, as Green points out, single-focus denunciations of "Zionist neo-cons," without also mentioning the multi-faceted complexities of public-policy making, can easily slide into anti-Semitism.

What is also clear is that anti-Semitic expressions, whether they come from the Left or from the Right, are despicable and bring nothing to the table of rational discourse. Indeed, they poison the well of respectful discussion.

AUTHOR OF THE ANTI-JEWISH ARTICLES

Finally, I should note that a number of readers wondered why I didn't name the author of the anti-Semitic articles that engendered my essay.

I didn't supply that name because I wanted readers to focus not on the writer but on the issue of anti-Semitism coming from both the Left and the Right. (Perhaps my logic was mistaken.) Several readers guessed right away that the author in question was one John Kaminski, since they too had run across his problematic articles at a wide variety of legitimate and suspect websites.

His article that I had mentioned first, the one suggesting the existence of a conspiracy by Jews, was "The Setup to Destroy America," which I originally saw at the popular LovearthNews.net website. The article also can be found at a host of lesser-known websites, such as Signs-of-the-Times.org, and ThePeoplesVoice.org, as well as at his own website. (Interestingly, I no longer can locate the article at Lovearth; it was #49 on the listing of 100 top stories the day I read it.)

Kaminski has written many strong, non-controversial articles over the past few years -- for such respected websites as ZMag.org, Scoop.co.nz, Antiwar.com, OnlineJournal.com, FreeSpeechRadio.net, et al. -- which may make it easier for him to be published at a wide variety of Left-leaning or at least anti-Bush sites. A number of his more distressing essays often begin with well-written attacks on the Bush Administration, the Iraq War, and the government's 9/11 scenario, then drop in a few rants about "the Jews" -- usually located toward the end of the pieces.

So I wondered if maybe editors at some alternative-press websites had read only the opening anti-Bush and anti-Iraq War paragraphs, and didn't realize the inclusion of hate commentary buried further down; I figured that they had either read or published his mostly "clean" political analyses earlier and thus weren't paying much attention to the totality of the articles, and the "dirty" stuff that was contained therein.

What was scarier to contemplate was whether any of those editors actually agreed with the anti-Semitic stuff -- or simply didn't care. (See Thomas McCullock's important letter below where he quotes some of those editors to whom he complained about Kaminski's raging anti-Semitism as saying, "Yes, but this article is OK.")

On occasion, Kaminski's openly anti-Semitic essays -- usually published at the large number of hate or fringe sites where extreme Right and extreme Left overlap -- were devoted almost entirely to scathing attacks on "the Jews." For just one revolting example, see "The Jewish War on Freedom of Speech", which was reposted widely at the extremist sites; it'll make you hear stormtrooper jackboots on the cobblestones.

I continue to assert any author's right to publish whatever reasoned or cockamamie analyses he or she come up with. It's our responsibility as intelligent readers to accord those essays our approval or disdain, to advocate for those moving humanity forward in the light, and to warn against those taking us backwards to a darker age. We find both types of writing these days about the complex affairs in the Middle East and America. Keep your eyes and minds alert for bamboozlement and demagoguery.

MAY I HAVE THE ENVELOPES, PLEASE?

I found the emails reacting to my article most fascinating and useful; I learned a lot, as I think you may also when you peruse them. In some instances, you'll note, I responded back, and a kind of mini-debate ensued. Since there were so many letters, I've put together a sampler plate that reflects the wide range of opinions in that deluge of correspondence; my thanks to all those who wrote in, and apologies to those whose letters weren't able to be reproduced below.


"I happened onto an article at a number of alternative-press websites by a widely published Internet author."

Let me guess, John Kaminski?

I had a run-in with him years ago. I had published a couple of his articles on my website, then he sent me one that had a very anti-Semitic comment. We got into it, and he told me that ALL Jews bear the guilt of everything Israel does, and that "the Jews" are personally responsible for everything that is wrong in the world. Being half-Jewish myself, it came as quite a shock that I, a pro-Palestinian activist, was responsible for the crimes of Israel in Palestine. Needless to say, I've never published anything by him since, but have been amazed to see how many others still do. I sometimes write the editors to ask if they know about his vile bigotry, and the response usually is something like, "Yeah, but this article is ok..."

On the other hand, I'm constantly being bombarded by Zionists with accusations of being anti-Semitic, because I don't support Israel's land grab of Palestine, and genocide of the native inhabitants. To which I usually respond, "I'm a Jew, you moron."

Thomas McCullock (3/28)


...People sometimes take comfort in stating that they are simply "anti-Israel" and would never, never, never be "anti-Jewish."

Any resort to group stereotypes or to fantasies of Jewish control or secret manipulation reek of the grossest rank familiar anti-Semitism.

Even Paul Krugman, a very perspicacious man when it comes to economics and most political questions, didn't understand that when the Malaysian Prime Minister made his egregious comments a couple of years ago.

Old anti-Jewish stereotypes -- e.g., Jews are immoral, Jews are cruel, Jews don't care for anyone but themselves -- can also become transmuted into apparently "innocuous" anti-Israel statements: Israelis are cruel, thoughtless, bloodthirsty, etc. Anyone who compares Israelis to Nazis shows a profound lack of sympathy for Israelis and all Jews, and an obvious desire to be needlessly provocative.

Of course there is a difference between criticism of Israeli policies and anti-Semitism, but the line is not always crystal-clear. Does someone who criticizes Israeli policies think that the Jews like other peoples have a right to a state? Does that person engage in criticism of any other group with anywhere near the amount of attention they devote to decrying Israel?

Does that person ever criticize the other parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, whether the Palestinians or any Arab state? Or do they hold Israel accountable for everything?

You are absolutely right to point out that big oil -- e.g., Cheney, Halliburton, Bush, Carlyle Group -- requires no input from Jews or Israel in order to pursue the policies they want. I read a very good piece recently about their cynical manipulation of support for Israel as a deflection from their true purposes.

Yes, the issue is real. I am not an alarmist who sees anti-Semitism everywhere, but one cannot ignore its existence, resurgence and transmutations.

L.D. (3/28)


I just read your article on the Democratic Underground.com site, and was extremely happy to hear that someone from the Left is working on this issue. I've become very involved in leftwing activism in Connecticut, and I've seen exactly what you are talking about. I've been very concerned about this issue, as it is doing nothing to accomplish peace in the Middle East and it is very dangerous for the Jewish people.

At first, when I heard it becoming fairly predominant in leftwing politics, I thought that everyone on the Left went along with it. My husband and I thought we were the only ones that felt hurt by the anti-Semitism in some of the statements that were being said. Little by little, I started finding my voice, and speaking assertively about the difference between criticizing Israel's policies and militaristic actions, and outright and profound accusations about the Jewish influence in controlling American policy in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, this has reached a pretty disturbing divide in Connecticut's peace movement, resulting in 2 separate statewide demonstrations during the March 18th and 19th commemoration of the 3rd anniversary of the war in Iraq. While some members of each group were able to be rational about the divide, other members became angrier and less willing to understand the differing positions. My thought was that the peace movement needs to demonstrate in our community, the ability to work out our differences and understand the feelings of each perspective.

I've been trying to do that here in Connecticut, and I am hoping to eventually work to bring people together to understand each other and find common ground on the issue of anti-Semitism AND the issue of Palestinian rights. So far, there are many more people in the peace movement, including those who aren't Jewish, who are reasonable and willing to hear and understand the differences and work with me. There are others who aren't, and they make me wonder whether they are truly interested in working to solve this conflict, or just need more time and patient explanation to understand.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I applaud you for the work you are doing in this, and it would be wonderful to start a dialogue of similar-minded people to work on this nationally.

Miriam Kurland (3/28)


I have wondered for years whether you noticed that your fellow liberal critics of Israel are often wielding not-so-subtle ulterior motives. This iconoclastic piece is a step in the right direction. The next step will be more difficult and require confronting the unpleasant fact that far from being the "New Jews", the Palestinians are implacably determined to be the "New Nazis" (read Hamas' charter).

Of course, such an acknowledgement would mean abandoning your recent declaration that "pressuring Israel" is the key to peace." Anti-Semitism and the new Jews" offers hope you will one day cross that Rubicon.

David Podvin (3/28)

Bernard Weiner responds:

There are so many candidates for the New Nazis title (Likudniks, Bush&Co., Palestinians, et al.), but tell me more about how you feel I can educate myself on this journey to full Podvinian enlightenment. I'm always open to learning, and on this topic especially so.

Podvin replies:

 There are two paths to the enlightenment you seek, but I will restrict myself to providing the concise and complimentary version:

Nazis = Ethnic Genocide (and really cool military regalia, but mostly Ethnic Genocide).

Ergo (which is Latin for "I am pretentious")

New Nazis = Advocacy of Ethnic Genocide (irrespective of garb).

Despite what you may have learned from reading "Buzzflash," neither Begin nor Shamir nor Sharon ever advocated genocide, and neither does Netanyahu. They simply refused to accept the Israelis assigned roles as latter day Ann Franks (once again, read Hamas' Charter, or Fatah's Charter, or the Palestinian National Charter).

Bush & Co. aren't Nazis because a) they don't advocate ethnic genocide, and b) Nazis are primarily motivated by bigotry, not greed.

The Palestinians are the New Nazis because they explicitly advocate killing all the Jews. They advocate this goal in their mission statements, in their newspapers, on their television programs, within their schools, and in their music. They teach their children that an orgiastic eternal reward awaits those who murder Jews. They dance in the streets when Jews are killed. If you're really unaware of just how hateful the Palestinians are let me know and this weekend I will send to you a voluminous compilation of Jew-hating Palestinian sociological pathology that would make Mengele squeamish.

However, I suspect you are a little more up to speed on the topic than your gently sarcastic gibe would indicate. I think you know that the Palestinians are so suffused with anti-Semitism that they even rejected an Israeli blood donation to save the lives of West Bank children because Palestinians would rather have their offspring die than be infected with Jew blood.

That, dear doctor, is Naziesque.

Weiner responds:

Naziism didn't have the single goal of genocide; that movement adopted methods of brutality, torture, domestic spying, mass imprisonment, one-party rule, etc. etc. In that, I think it's fair to nominate the candidates I did. Israel, in addition to brutally occupying Palestinian territories, has made loud noises about ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, even some proposals to move them by force to other locales. Hamas and other Palestinian groups, as you note, still have destruction of Israel in their charters (was it ever removed from the old PLO Charter?). Bush&Co. torture, imprison at will, use police-state tactics, spy on their citizens, heighten one-party rule, etc. Maybe I should have used the word "fascist" instead of "Nazi," but you know what I mean. The point I've been trying to make in my articles is the need to go "beyond (this) history" and behavior, in order for both sides to reach an agreement that will grant Israel the security it wants and needs, and grant the Palestinians a geographically and economically viable state. It won't be easy to do, but harping on which is the worst side, who is more of a victim, etc., ain't gonna get us there. Nice bouncing this one around with you, on this topic especially so.

Podvin replies:

[You talk about the need of the Palestinians for] a geo graphically and economically viable state. They don't want what you want for them. They want a Jew-free Greater Palestine. When Mort Zuckerman and other naive Jewish liberals paid $14 million to buy Gaza greenhouses and then handed them to the Palestinians so that local residents would have the beginnings of a viable economy, the Palestinians destroyed the greenhouses so as to rid the area of all Jewish remnants. They would rather starve than be demeaned by the presence of anything Jewish. They would rather have their children starve.

Forget history, as you suggest. What does Dr. Weiner think would happen if Israel unilaterally laid down its arms and threw itself on the mercy of the Palestinians. And what would happen if the Palestinians unilaterally laid down their arms and threw themselves at the mercy of the Jews. If you do not believe that the former scenario would lead to slaughter and the latter to peace then I greatly overestimate you.

As I stated earlier, I look forward to the day when you take the plunge and accept that Palestinian pledges to kill all the Jews are made sincerely. Thanks for the dialogue. I await your epiphany with joyous anticipation.

Weiner responds:

I have no doubt that a great many Palestinians want a Jew-Free Greater Palestine; nor do I doubt that a great many Israelis want an Arab-free Greater Israel. Peace will come when both sides recognize that what they want and desire is not what they can realistically expect to come true. If both peoples are ready for peace, peace will be made -- even in the face of terrorism. I think the conditions are potentially ripe for the beginnings of that path to peace now, if Hamas and Israel can be led to the table by their own citizens.

Note: Nowhere did I suggest or even imply that Israel should disarm and throw themselves on the mercy of their Semite brothers; that would be foolish. But to throw up one's hands, as you appear ready to do, and say "you can't make peace ever with those vicious, Jew-hating Arabs" -- and Palestinian hardliners saying the same thing about the "Arab-hating Jews" -- is to make sure peace never happens, and another generation or two must slaughter each other before they both realize again that enough is enough. The goal always must be peace and one must always be open to the slightest crack in the other side's position to let in light for that movement toward peace.

Podvin replies:

 ... We agree that the Palestinians are evil and would slaughter all the Jews. We disagree on what the Jews would do. I say they would rejoice at the Palestinian peace initiative, grant the Palestinians immediate autonomy, and be extremely generous in helping the Palestinians construct a modern, prosperous society. You believe that the Jews would commit genocide. These conflicting perceptions create an unbreachable impasse, a collision of alternate realities so extreme that there is no common ground possible. Good luck and keep writing. I thoroughly enjoy your work, resultant ulcers notwithstanding.

Weiner responds:

Two things: 1) I see that you like to invent strawmen and then knock them down with your unassailable logic. You ascribe a point of view to me that I never said and do not agree with; to wit: "You believe that the Jews would commit genocide." What I did suggest was that until there is a peace treaty, as is customary in conflicts like this, both sides stay armed, prepare to defend themselves, and keep their powder dry; when there is an opening toward peace, both sides, still armed and suspicious, remain wary and try to move the process along. If and when a peace treaty is ever signed, both sides remain alert but prepared to negotiate the various side treaties that will follow. I also suggested, if not here then in numerous other places, that even though there will be violence from either side's extremists in an attempt to derail the peace process and the treaty, both sides must ignore them and move forward to the ultimate goal of maintaining the peace and stabilizing and growing their economies and social services.

2. You also ascribe to me the following, a statement with which I most vociferously disagree: "We agree that the Palestinians are evil and would slaughter all the Jews." One of the major points I was making in my article was that these universal, generalized statements -- "the Jews," "the Palestinians," "the Serbs," "the Croats," "the blacks," et al. -- are a symptom of the problem. Of course, there are murderous Palestinians, just as there are murderous Jews. But unless the Israelis can start seeing the various strands within the Palestinian community, and the various individuals, they are doomed not only in a realpolitik sense -- because they will miss opportunities for peace -- but also in their souls.

If "the Palestinians" all think alike and are evil, as you imply, then the Israelis would be justified to move toward genocide. It seems to me that that is where your logic is taking you -- very similar to Nazi propaganda that asserted that "all Jews" were evil, no better than vile cockroaches, vermin, and therefore should be exterminated. You don't want to go there, I know that. The Golden Rule always works: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Jews do not like to be treated as a monolith entity -- "the Jews" are greedy, are filthy, or scheming, or whatever -- and should not lump all Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims into neat little stereotyped categories. That way leads to moral and political disaster.

Shall we call it a draw, and agree to disagree? If not, the ball is back in your court. Thanks for this exchange, David; despite our obvious disagreements, I appreciate it.


I share your concern about anti-Semitism. Whether on "the Right" or "the Left" makes little difference. I wish you had named your "article at a number of alternative-press websites by a widely-published internet author" so that we could all understand exactly what you are talking about.

But I am afraid that the lid kept on debate of U.S. politicians' unquestioning support of the AIPAC and of the carte blanche they have given to the far-right wing in Israel with the enactment of the Israeli Entitlement Program is like the lid on a pressure cooker.

When the American people finally do break the ice the AIPAC has frozen over that lid, and the report "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, of the University of Chicago and Harvard respectively is, I hope, the harbinger of just such a thaw in American political discourse. (Even more is the candidacy of Jonathan Tasini against that panderer to the AIPAC in New York, Hillary Clinton.) [If that happens,] then some of the same people who are now railing against immigrants, against Arabs, against homosexuals, against "liberals" will undoubtedly rail against "Israel" and "the Jews".

We must keep our sights focused on our real problem: our corrupt system of "campaign finance" which has allowed organizations that can mobilize funds for specific, narrow purposes to literally buy our American political class.

For they have done so. None but a handful of the Replublicrat or Demoplican incumbents represent the interests of the American people, and then only some of the time.

Instead they represent the interests of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, of Bill Frist's Hospital Corporation of America, of Merck and Monsanto, of the AIPAC, and all of the other people and institutions who bought them and direct their actions.

It is not "Israel" or "the Jews" that have hijacked American foreign policy, it is the Israeli far-right acting through the AIPAC and its myriad kin here in the United States, with plenty of help from the military industrial complex slaking their thirst for war now! against a parety to be named later, that is behind the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.

Finally I applaud you for reminding us all that "There is no vaccine against hate" :

Jonathan Cook writes in "The Emerging Jewish Consensus in Israel": "Another poll this week, published by the liberal Haaretz newspaper, showed that 68 per cent of Israeli Jews reject living near an Arab -- and 41 per cent want apartheid-style separate recreation facilities. Surveys show repeatedly that nearly half of Israeli Jews favour the forced emigration of Arabs from Israel. '

It is an ironic commentary indeed that racism and anti-Semitism, for the Palestinians are as surely Semitic as are the Jews of Israel, should infect, of all places and of all peoples, Israel itself and the people who suffered so much in Europe just sixty years ago.

John Francis Lee (3/28)


My husband's grandparents were among the Jews killed in the holocaust and, yet when he and other Jews have expressed their opinion about Israel's government and the treatment of the Palestinians, they get labeled as anti-Semitic. Somehow, there is something odd about labeling Jews as anti-Semitic.

I think there is less of a problem with people being anti-Semitic than there is of people being wrongly labeled because of their politics. Israel has more weapons of mass destruction than any other nation in the Middle East. It is in no danger from Iran or any other country in the Middle East. It can certainly more than defend itself. The use of Israel by Bush as an excuse for war is real anti-Semitism, though I didn't see your article calling Bush an anti-Semite. Perhaps, the labels need to go and people need to honestly debate international policy without labels.

I. Tones (3/28)


I was surprised---in fact nearly astonished---when I happened upon your opinion piece this evening regarding the anti-Semitism of the Left.

As an American Jew, and a political moderate (historically), I have found myself increasingly saddened, dismayed and more recently disgusted and angry at the increasingly strident anti-Semitism present in much of the rhetoric that passes for political "opinion" emanating from the Left and so-called Progressives.

This disgraceful and deeply hypocritical phenomenon has manifested itself most strikingly in Europe -- the UK, France, Scandinavia, etc. It also seems to be deeply entrenched in New Zealand. And of course, it is quite at home in the Bay Area -- my former home. In the EU -- and the UK in particular -- anti-Semitism among polite society is of course very much in vogue, and Neanderthals like Ken Livingstone and George Galloway don't even attempt to mask their Jew-hatred.

The British media does its part to help the Jew-haters along, with polemics like Chris McGreal leading the insidious charge. And those who attempt to point out the clear anti-Semitism evident in the media coverage and outrageous pronouncements of folks like Red Ken and his minions, are labeled "zealots" who are guilty of being part of some vast "Zionist Lobby," in an attempt to marginalize and discredit them. Of course this canard is as old as anti-Semitism itself.

Unfortunately, we've seen this show before, and it didn't end well.

As you rightly pointed out in your piece, anti-Semitism is a disease or virus that sometimes lies dormant yet unfortunately seems to never die. The fact that it exists on the Left is not surprising -- no political ideology can claim a monopoly on hate. It is, however, particularly scurrilous when it manifests itself from the Left, because of the 'holier-than-thou' claim to the moral high-ground often asserted by either naive or arrogant Progressives. Your cited example of A.N.S.W.E.R. and their implicit position that would lead to the genocidal elimination of 5+million Jews in their homeland Israel, speaks directly to this point.

The Left, as evidenced by such groups, has to a large degree been hijacked by extremists who are no Progressives at all. They are little different than neo-Nazis or Islamofascists with whom they seem to have found common cause, at least as it concerns "The Jews."

I heard a very articulate and insightful presentation on these issues at a forum last week, where the speaker identified anti-Semitism as a sort of canary in the proverbial coal mine when it comes to hate. Your essay seems to imply concurrence with that notion.

Lest the narrow-minded and petty dimwits forget that important point -- first they came for the Jews, but the homosexuals and others in the minority of societies are often not far behind once the Jews are taken care of.

We live in a harrowing and difficult period in world history, and many Jews feel that their very existence as a people is once again threatened by the convergence of Leftist anti-Semitism with Islamic fascism. With President Ahmadinejad's repeated clear statements of intent to destroy Israel and deny the Jews [in Israel] their very existence, to the incremental delegitimization of Israel by the Left, one need be truly concerned about the future.

It is within this context that Jews like myself find our attitudes hardening and our disillusionment with Progressive ideals growing.

Where once I considered myself quite the "Liberal," today I'm very much a realist who unfortunately sees the world as it is, and doesn't like much what I see. With that in mind, I'll almost always give Israel the benefit of the doubt when it comes to issues of security, even at the expense of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians. At least until such time as there is more honesty in the overall debate, and a clear recognition across the spectrum that we Jews have a right to our homeland and that our passionate advocacy to exist as a people -- like any other --is valid.

Daniel I. Tarman (3/28)

Bernard Weiner responds:

You had me until the end, when you went Zionist to the max. I, for one, don't give any person or country the "benefit of the doubt" when they act badly. When Israel violates a law or treaty or promise, they need to be called on it, the same way as when the Palestinians do something outrageous. The only way to move toward peace in the Middle East, as I see it, is to recognize that both sides are right, and both sides are wrong. Out of that stipulated balancing act, perhaps some truth and acceptance can emerge. Demonizing the Other hasn't worked, so why not try accommodation and tolerance?

Thanks for writing.


I'd like to thank Mr. Weiner for addressing the problem with many "liberal" organizations pushing anti-Semitism. I'm not Jewish, or of Jewish descent, but I recognize a lot of hatefult comments and attitudes directed towards them at left-wing sites, and I think it's deplorable. It's a problem that's gone unaddressed for a long time and it's high time to deal with it. Thanks again.

Dale Holmes (3/28)


It's refreshing to see a "leftwing" pundit acknowledging the Left's romance with anti-Semitism. The parallels between 21st century European and North American academic communities views and the path blazed by intellectuals in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s is frightening. Why is this being accepted?

Suzette Cross (3/28)


...Like you, for the past several years (since 2000, actually), I have been attempting to make the above distinctions [between criticism of Israel and Judaism in general] in the most reasonable and refined fashion my critical capabilities will permit. Moreover, the policies unleashed by the above-mentioned and their disastrous global consequences have forced me to struggle with my own once-proud Jewish identity.

Don't know about you, Bernard, but I have to hold on to my comforting Jews of the Enlightenment. Thankfully, there are many, like the late Paul Wellstone, Noam Chomsky, and even Rabbi Michael Lerner's brave attempt to preserve our Jewish identity as an infinite journey on the path of peace and justice -- an identity of evolution which ever seeks more enlightened interpretation. In the context of a true mensch like Wellstone, and now his successor Feingold, I am proud to be a Jew. Next to Wolfowitz and his fraternity of diplomatic slumlords, and how could we not mention the most pious Jack Abramoff, I am ashamed to call myself a Jew. Am I anti-Semitic? You most likely know there is no real ultraleft left in this country. I am designated "left," but (perhaps like you) I am not now nor have I ever been a member of any leftist organization. Rather, I am simply an unreconstituted Democrat. I would name names but there are way too many of us! The Nation Magazine, Eric Alterman, Bob Scheer and many other distinguished journalists and editorialists like yourself, do their best to sort out our predicament. Bravo! But consider that the neocons mentioned earlier were once lefties. More specifically, ultralefties. Perhaps they are the true progenitors of anti-Semitism coming from the Left. The Old Left with a mutated gene.

P.S. Check out "The Israel Lobby," by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, which in great detail lays out the workings of AIPAC, the Big Daddy of the American Jewish lobby, and its underlings. Most unfortunately, AIPAC appears to have solidly framed not only the Israeli/Palestinian debate but the very definition of anti-Semitism. Most of our politicians from both sides of the aisle cannot seem to escape the clutches of this Jabberwocky and its "frumious bandersnatch." Anita Beckenstein (3/28)

Bernard Weiner responds:

About "The Israel Lobby" article, whch we've linked to at Crisis Papers: As solid an essay as it is, it tends to focus so narrowly on AIPAC that it may give the impression that that lobbying group exercises near-total control in creating and shaping American foreign policy. There are plenty of other (non-Jewish) organizations, individuals and greed- and geopolitical-forces that help create and shape that policy; I wish they had covered that aspect of the situation.

Thanks again for writing.


I could not help but wonder if the atomic bomb, The Lobby, dropped by Meirsheimer and Walt, ... has anything to do with the timing of your article.

That is not to say that I disagree with your points. But it is laughably dishonest to suggest that Jews are not "over-represented" in media and government, or that our foreign policy is not Israelicentric. Yet even this is forbidden.

The Protocols is an absurd piece of nonsense, but it is not nonsense to acknowledge the fact that Jewish producers and writers have used their influence in Hollywood to demonize and stereotype Arabs and Muslims for decades. This has accomplished more than the Protocols ever could, with the same intent in mind.

Anti-Semitism will continue to grow unless and until Jews in this country and elsewhere start to speak out against racism and intolerance committed in their name by Israel and organizations like AIPAC and the ADL here at home. So far they are for the most part silent. And complicit.

I think it is also time to explode the myth that the majority of Jews here and in Israel really want peace with the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors, a two-state solution and generally believe in the equality of others. Go to Ha'aretz and read comments. It sounds like Nazis. Look at how Meirsheimer and Walt are being trashed. Look at our Jewish leaders in Congress working to "starve" the Palestinians into denouncing Hamas and the way they sanction every inhuman and illegal move Israel makes.

No, all Jews do not approve of these things. Obviously you yourself do not. But when someone can run for the Knesset and advocate genocide, or recently propose assassinating the courageous and humane Uri Avnery, the voices of the Jews who should be denouncing loudly this incredible supremacism are deafeningly and ironically silent.

M Johnson (3/20)

Bernard Weiner responds:

A quick response. 1) Which is chicken and which is egg? Are Arabs and Muslims demonized in Hollywood movies because Jewish producers influence the scripts, or are the scripts responding to popular sentiment in American culture? (Not saying it's morally right, just asking the question.) 2) By phrasing it the way you did ("anti-Semitism will continue to grow unless and until Jews in this country..."), you make the victim the instigator; perhaps a better way to phrase it might be, if you permit me to do some rewriting here: "Anti-Semitism will continue to grow unless and until Jews in this country and elsewhere, along with Christian leaders and congregations and other non-Jews, start to speak out against racism and intolerance by countries, leaders and organizations, such as..." 3) What you call the two-state "myth" has been demonstrated in polls both inside Israel and inside the Occupied Territories; what both peoples seem to want most is an equitable, secure peace that will allow them to raise their kids and work and travel freely. The question is whether the leaders, of Hamas and Israel, will follow the desires of their populations for peace.

Thanks for writing.


I am an Asian living in Houston. A few years back there was a spate of vicious attacks, some of them lethal, on Asian merchants -- mostly owners of gas-station convenience stores. All assailants were African Americans. The Asian community consisting of Indians, Chinese, Pakistanis and Vietnamese, appealed to the local NAACP for a solution to the escalating violence. An NAACP spokesperson when asked about the attacks, thoughtlessly blurted out her own feeling about Asians. Some of what she said amounted to blaming them for their own misfortunes because they "only care about money", "keep to themselves" and "do not like to share". What she said with casual contempt and anger, if translated into German, would have evoked the Germany of the 1930s. She later apologized and the leaders of NAACP and the Asian community of Greater Houston issued a joint statement condemning the attacks.

I have a small blog mostly devoted to anti-Bush politics. But I do write about other matters including book reviews. As it happens, just today I published a post about stereotypes and the harm that they can do.

...This may appear to you as a blatant attempt on my part to make you read my blog. But it is not. I too am very much concerned about the issues you raise in your article and would like to share my views.

Ruchira Paul (3/28)


Let us try and nail a particular piece of propaganda to the floor! Criticism of Israel is not a synonym for anti-Semitism, notwithstanding that it is orthodox Jewish practice to support Israel unconditionally.

There is a genuine and strongly held opinion that the tactics of the Israeli state in its handling of the claims of the former indigenous people of Palestine who are fighting for their rights (expropriated by the UN in 1948) are brutal and disproportionate and that the US collaboration is suspect to say the least.

Human and civil rights are not the prerogative of Israel and it is high time that she ceased the practice of rejecting any criticism with shrill accusations of "anti-Semitism."

If you hit a Palestinian on the head, he bleeds, just as an Israeli will bleed and if you kill a Palestinian child, it is a human tragedy, just as would be the death of an Israeli child. Palestinians are no less human than Israelis and both have a right to be on this earth, a right to live, a right to eat, a right to work and a right to respect.

It may be orthodox Jewish practice to give unconditional support to Israel, but the majority of Jews in the Diaspora are not orthodox and the constant harassment, and worse, of non-Jews by the Israeli state is viewed by many of us with extreme distaste.

Michael Halpern (3/28)


There are problems that simply can't be solved, but that never stops people from taking sides and indulging their emotions. Monotheists have generally been lunatics throughout history. 2000 years ago a bunch of lunatics living in Judea got kicked out of their country because they couldn't figure out how to get along with the Romans. Around the same time a lunatic fringe group broke off from the parent group and started a new nutty religion. These nutcases prospered and eventually destroyed the health of the Roman Empire. Their loopy version of history led them to hate and oppress the people who practiced the parent religion or were part of the parent racial group. All of this in spite of the fact that the philosophical doctrine of the founder of the new religious branch was supposedly based on love of one's neighbor. After facing the threat of genocide in strange lands some members of the original group decided to restart their nation in Judea. The only problem was that the country was now overrun by nutcases who followed another offshoot from the original corrupt bush. They didn't want to move, so the members of the original group had to torture and oppress them.

Go ahead pick a side and join the lunatic fray.

Neutrino (3/28)


This article was an eye-opener when I read it yesterday because it confirmed my own observations. I thought I was imagining this but I'm not.

I'm an American Jew and for some time now on what purport to be progressive websites I have observed the rise of anti-Semitism -- not anti-Zionism but ANTI-SEMITISM -- from the mouths of supposedly progressive people.

One does not expect progressives to be intolerant or racist but that seems to be what is happening. Most progressives wouldn't dare open their mouths and utter anti-black or anti-Arab or anti-Hispanic filth but apparently it's perfectly okay to do this when it's aimed at a Jew.

Throughout history Jews have been at the forefront of progressive movements -- whether civil rights, civil liberties, unions -- you name it. But, because some of the neocons are Jewish, this is used as an excuse to treat us all, verbally, like garbage.

It is despicable, disgusting and utterly unacceptable, and if you are one of those supposedly progressive people who are doing this, I suggest that you rethink what you are doing and open your eyes to your own bigotry and racism.

Details on Wednesday (3/28) from SmirkingChimp.com


"But there are Jews and there are those who might be considered the 'new Jews,' who take their lumps as well: homosexuals, Chinese in Southeast Asia, Palestinians and other Arabs in Israel and the U.S. (and often in Arab nations as well), African-Americans in the South and in the inner cities, Mexican immigrants, whoever. It's the same process of stereotyping and repression, which often leads to discrimination and violence, even when the group being victimized changes."

You are mixing your metaphors. The groups you mention are not influencing our foreign policy as is Israel. BIG difference, don't you think? Try to be a little more balanced in presenting your arguments. Although you might try to step aside from your heritage, it is obviously influencing your defense of AIPAC's and Israel's influence over U.S. policy.

Carol Bronder (3/28)

Bernard Weiner responds:

1) In that section of the article, I wasn't referring to these groups in any context related to affecting Mideast policy; the metaphor was to how "outsider" minority groups tend to be treated by majority groups in much the same way Jews have been treated throughout history. 2) After coming down hard on AIPAC and indicating that I do so regularly with regard to Israeli policy, I find your reaction most puzzling, that my comments are "obviously [influenced by] your defense of AIPAC's and Israel's influence over U.S. policy." Love to hear more about how you got there.

Thanks for writing.

{Note: Bronder's reply below is annotated by my indented italicized reactions. -- B.W.]

Thanks for responding. My point is that these "outsider" minority groups cannot be considered in any way as are Jews in our nation's history (or in world history, for that matter). None of them has influenced WORLD policy (never mind the ME) as has the "Jewish problem". The issue revolves primarily around religion in any case, rather than race--and the groups you mentioned are recognized minorities primarily on the basis of race (or sexual orientation in the case of homosexuals which is an inherited trait as is skin color), whereas religion is a CHOICE and in no case should be a pretext for any nation's existence or declaration of rights to another nation's land. And, NONE of these groups has a lobbyist group with influence, power and membership akin to that of AIPAC.

Again, I never said or implied that they did; I was making a metaphorical comparison between how Jews have been treated historically as scapegoats and how these minority ethnic/sexual-preference groups are treated in their majority cultures. The AIPAC argument was totally separate.

You infer that many on "the left" are somehow hiding their anti-Semitism behind arguments against Zionism. I am really tired of this accusation and in particular whenever this subject arises on the Democratic Underground (where I found your article) it is fodder for multiple on-line battles and subsequent relegation of the pertinent threads to the dustbin. In fact I was deep-sixed off DU for engaging in just such a thread. I am NOT an anti-Semite; I AM an anti-Zionist and I do NOT mix the two. Further, you state that people who cite a "Jewish conspiracy" in our government "forget" about all of the other non-Jews in power. NO, we do NOT. What we DO recognize is that the "neoconservative cabal" that has taken over our government IS, at its basis and in its inception and prime movers a ZIONIST conspiracy and it has seized power over our government. Or do you discount the influence of Michael Ledeen and Richard Perle?

They are a powerful group, of that I have no doubt -- and those two intellectual brutes in particular make my skin crawl whenever I think about them, along with Cheney and Rumsfeld -- but many neo-cons, most of them not Jewish or Zionist or overly influenced by AIPAC, come to their point of view from pure greed and power-hunger places, and join in with the Zionist stream out of pure ambition, geopolitical realpolitik, or ideological commitment.

How I came to the conclusion that you are defending AIPAC/Israel's influence is by virtue of the fact that you have ignored a fair discussion of them that raises the points above and by the fact that you are attempting to do that which you apparently abhor -- paint with a broad brush in characterizing people on "the left" who criticize Zionism with being closet anti-Semites.

You write above that I imply that "many on 'the left' are somehow hiding their anti-semitism behind arguments against Zionism," and then you say that I am guilty of painting "with a broad brush in characterizing people 'on the left' who criticize Zionism with being closet anti-semites." Let's take a closer look at what I actually did write and I think you'll find that it doesn't accord with the statements you claimed I wrote. Check it out:

"Note: I'm not talking about anti-Zionism, i.e., articles opposed to Israeli policy and even to the existence of Israel, about which reasonable minds can agree or disagree. No, I'm referring to out-and-out raging rants about 'the Jews,' as a people....

"For those so inclined, it's easy to slip from denunciations of Israeli policy -- many of us on the Left are quite vocal in opposing Israeli policies and actions -- to out-and-out anti-Semitism.

"It's often difficult to locate that fine line. Jew-haters often can hide their true feelings and arguments inside broadsides against Israeli policy, but those opposed vehemently to certain Israeli policies (and I count myself as one of that breed) are definitely not anti-Jewish in this context. So how to tell the difference?

"Certainly, AIPAC (the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has no problem: Anybody writing anything in opposition to Israeli policies is all too-often smeared with the 'anti-Semitic' or 'Jew-hater' brush; if they happen to be Jewish, AIPAC types often throw the phrase 'self-hating Jew' into the denunciation.

"In my experience, in order to judge articles about Israelis and Jews somewhat accurately, you sort of have to follow a pundit's writings over time, and discern where the arguments are coming from and where they are going.

"Most liberals and leftists, including those who have grave disagreements with Israeli policy and U.S. policy toward Israel, abhor generalized statements about any subgroup of people, be they Jews, Arabs, Muslims, African-Americans, gays, women, et al."

So again, please tell me how after reading those harsh words about AIPAC and Israeli policy you come to the conclusion that I am coming to the "defense of AIPAC's and Israel's influence over U.S. policy," and that I accused "many" on the left (I never used that word) of being secret anti-Semites.

I'm open to criticism when I deserve it, and to further factual education from those who disagree with me (by the way, I'd love to hear what you might have to say about my previous essay, "The Middle East Muddle: Is Peace Still Possible?", but I don't believe I have much to apologize for in the article in question here.

Thanks again for jousting with me; you're a fine writer.


And now for something completely different...

What exactly was your point? Was it to emphasize that the "new Jews" aren't as good of scapegoats as the real Jews? Was it to emphasize the "poor Jews" status once again? You didn't say anything about Israel's abhorrent treatment of the Palestinians, or the Bush administrations willing infiltration by Israeli sympathizers and the co-opting of American foreign policy by Israel.

Looks like just another pro-Israeli screed to me in the guise of a left-leaning op-ed piece with the unspoken "you people on the left should not have negative opinions of Israel because we are the original martyrs, not you" message.

As Cheney would say, "go fuck yourself".

T. Wallace (3/28)


[unedited]

LOL. Another Jew trying to pretend he does not know what the fucking fuss is about jews. hey almost everyone who runs US government is a Jew. an Israeli jew wrote the American foreign policy(woolfowitz), the rest all are spies and traitors.

This author is a traitor too. there is no difference for me between ani-semitism and anti-zionizm. we must all become anti-Jew. jew are trying to confuse us that there are good jews and there are bad jews. well there are only one kind: treasonous, greedy, hateful, perverted, Christ killing, Christian hating , American hating, devil worshipping jews who want to destroy USA and control the rest of the World.

the Jew F writer forgot to mention that during the Olympics in Greece the greek Foreign minister said these Jews are a disease because they did everything to fuck it up for greeks to enjoy hosting the Olympics. why? because jews are Satan's children and I don`t mean that in jest. I mean it in reality they share lucifers genes they are decietful, hateful and corrupt and evil every single one. why we blame the jews why did 4000 American jews did not go to work that day of 9/11???? why?

ou war is with the jew. this world does not have any more patience for the jew and the pre3ssure cooker is about to blow and The jews like this fuck face jew writer know it too and trying to distance themselves. well when the jews chains are off none of you is safe and none should be. you have proven you have fucked every country in the world which has welcomed you. you Christ killing maggots. All of you go to hellevery single one of you now just try and enjoy the end of the party jews

Quigly (3/28)


Perhaps the good doctor could study some history of the continual problem of the "jews." Why have they been kicked out of so many countries? Italy, Spain, England, etc. and etc., and of course, Germany -- the latest of "bad guys")

...There are scapegoats and there are vermin. History shows the scapegoats may change from time to time, but some things/ideas/realities remain the same. You may call it looking for "scapegoats in a crisis" but a problem-solver would call it looking for the kernel of the problem.

Joseph Peterman (3/28)


[unedited]

Your article is complete gibberish. Everything you say is subjective -- with no evidence or knowledge. You know nothing of the world, satan, or who worships satan and controls the money supplies of the globe. Go back to the books and THINK! Obviously your piled high and deep degree has made you completely dysfunctional. This is the way THEY planned it. You know nothing about the Dynasties, do you? Follow the money and learn about the Society of the Hidden Hand before you have the Nerve & Audacity to say One More Word. Shame on you for this completely empty essay worth less than the PNAC "OIL" (Operation Iraqui Liberation) Bush Administration who would sell their Mother for a Profit!!!!! It's obvious that you are educated, and that's your problem*****

Edlmsv (3.28)


I suspect there is no way for a Jew to understand what goes on in the mind of someone who has been jewed. I use the term Jewed, because there is no other term. When two jews collude for ethnocentric reasons, in business, court, finance, or politics -- it always goes under the radar because no one is "allowed" to mention that the Jews are colluding against the non jews.

I was not raised to hate Jews. I have watched this for 58 years now. People go into court thinking they will get a fair deal, but if the judge is Jewish, and opposing counsel or their client is Jewish, you lose. OR - if you are silly enough to hire a Jewish lawyer against another Jew - you don't even have representation.

Sorry sir, the world is just reawakening to what the Germans and Italians tried to tell us in WWII.

Jews are enemies to any host country they inhabit.

They work for each other, against the host population. I knew this from life experience, but it wasn't until I read Kevin MacDonald's Culture of Critique, that I put it all together.

Jew hatred is REAL, and it will grow as the West engages Islam. There will be more and more public discussions of why Jews have been reviled throughout history.

I am a third generation Latina. Our family is prosperous and legal. But we learned early on that Jews are the enemy - not just to Aryan Americans, but to ALL people who are NOT Jews.

Shame on you for libeling innocent people. Jews cause their own misery. They are a repulsive people.

Arsenia Gallegos & Familia (3/28)

 


December 12, 2006


The Oxygen of Hope

I hadn't seen so many smiling Democrats in a long while. Yes, of course, there were lots of grins on November 7 when the GOP went down to a flaming defeat in the House and Senate; but much of the Dem response among my friends at the time was tentative, not quite believing the Dem victory was really happening.

But last Saturday in the Gold Ballroom of San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel, we all were believers. This was the rollout of the "New Direction for America" campaign for Democrats, celebrating Madame Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, local girl made good.

Congressman George Miller, a certified liberal hero, the incoming chair of the House Education & Workforce Committee, introduced Pelosi to a roaring invited crowd of more than a thousand deliriously happy Democrats, finally able to believe that change was going to happen.

Even those of us progressives in the room, anxious for more radical change than the Democrats seemed to be offering, got caught up in the enthusiasm. Partly because the issues Pelosi, Miller, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the other speakers were talking about were the right ones with which to start off the incoming Congress: protecting Social Security, increasing the minimum wage, cutting college loan interest in half, having the government negotiate with the pharmaceutical giants to lower the cost of seniors' prescriptions, and, above all, to end the war in Iraq.

And partly because we know that what we are celebrating is not so much a Democratic victory -- since we can anticipate that many Dems will sell out aspects of their principles on too many occasions -- as celebrating that the dark shadow that has blotted out so much of the possibility of hope during the past six years is giving way to the light of possibility for change, no matter how slowly or piecemeal it will arrive.

No wonder everyone was joining in the singing of "America the Beautiful," some with genuine tears in their eyes. The America we know and love, which has been spat on and abused by the Bush Administration and its Republican lackeys in Congress, at last has a political advocate in charge who promises to defend the Constitution and civil liberties of all its citizens.

Pelosi, constantly trying to bridge political gaps, has a tendency to abandon at least part of the liberal philosophy that is her deepest guiding light; we here in San Francisco have watched her do this on numerous occasions. But, in general, she's one tough pol, and I'm hopeful that, now given the power, she will know what to do with it in serving the people.

And when she goes astray, as she will, it'll be up to you and me to make sure she hears about it, and corrects her course.



Pelosi's Strange Nomination

One such glaring mistake by Pelosi may well be the naming of Sylvestre Reyes of Texas to chair the House Intelligence Committee. Pelosi decided not to choose Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat for many years, because of bad blood between them and because Harman was weak in opposing Bush on the Iraq War.

OK, so far so good. Except that it turns out that Reyes is all in favor of sending 20,000 to 30,000 more U.S. troops into the Baghdad rat-hole.

Justin Rood at TalkingPointsMemo Muckraker  quotes Reyes as saying that on a "temporary basis, I'm willing to ramp them up by twenty or thirty thousand . . . for, I don't know, two months, four months, six months but certainly that would be an exception."

Oh, by the way, this new chair of the intelligence committee is a wee bit shy of understanding Iraqi culture. He was unable to correctly answer whether Al Qaida in Iraq was composed mostly of Sunni or Sh'ia. Uh, Nancy, maybe you should re-think your nomination.


Predictions In the News

Last week, in my essay ##"Who Brought Us to the Iraq Abyss?", I predicted that al-Maliki would not be prime minister of Iraq for much longer -- especially after he dissed Bush by not showing up for their first "summit" meeting in Jordan. It would seem that things are happening much quicker than I anticipated.

It appears that the Bush Administration is orchestrating a behind-the-scenes ouster of Maliki. The candidates for replacement have been visiting Bush in Washington, to work out the details and who will occupy what governmental slot."

According to an Associated Press story yesterday out of Baghdad:

"The new alliance would be led by senior Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who met with President Bush last week. Al-Hakim, however, was not exp ected to be the next prime minister because he prefers the role of powerbroker, staying above the grinding day-to-day running of the country.

A key figure in the proposed alliance, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab, left for Washington on Sunday for a meeting with Bush at least three weeks ahead of schedule.

The Maliki story reminds one that if Bush ever praises you to the skies, watch your back. Bush did that with Michael Brown of FEMA infamy before distancing himself from the man, Rumsfeld a week before he accepted the Defense Secretary's resignation, and Maliki several weeks ago when the Iraq P.M. visited Washington.


Censoring Bad News in Iraq

In that same essay, I predicted that the heavily-protected Green Zone in Baghdad, where the U.S. headquarters are located, would be attacked both from outside and perhaps even inside in the near-future. That symbolic, "Tet"-like attack, would be designed mainly as a symbolic demonstration of the vulnerability and weakness of the U.S. military in Iraq.

I stand by that prediction, but I am reminded that an area close to the Green Zone was the victim of a recent major assault, one that most Americans never heard of. This silence apparently because the attack resulted in so much death and injury and caused so much physical damage that the U.S. government did not want to acknowledge it publicly just a few short weeks before the November election.

To admit the magnitude of the attack might have led the American public to the same conclusion that the Baker-Hamilton Commission later came to: that there is no way the U.S. can win in Iraq and it's time to figure a way out.

Brian Harring's original report of the attack appeared in only a few fringe media outlets in America; to date, no major newspaper or network has mentioned the deadly assault, which took place on October 10. Here's what Harring wrote:

...On the evening of October 10, 2006 some Iraq insurgents lobbed mortar and rocket rounds into the U.S. Forward Base Falcon, 13 kilometers south of the Green Zone, Baghdad. There were probably about 3,000 American troops with Iraqi counterparts present. The base was full of ammunition, special fuel, tanks and other vehicles.

The huge stocks of fuel and ammunition erupted into immense explosions that went on for most of the night and were seen by people in the Green Zone. In the morning large planes with Red Cross markings came to take away the dead and wounded. It is asserted that about 300 American troops were casualties and 165 needed medical attention. Most were taken to the U.S. Military hospital at al-Habaniyah, west of Baghdad.

Photos from satellites and aerial reconnaissance showed the base suffered major damage, with immense stores of fuel and ammunition destroyed, plus six Apache helicopters and many other vehicles. Press observers saw a long line of army vehicle recovery units dragging heavy tanks and carried to a separate base near Baghdad.

Stars & Stripes, the military publication, backed up the fact of such an attack, but quoted U.S. military spokesmen as denying that anything major had occurred at Camp Falcon, and that only two troops had suffered minor injuries.

Now, add that to a mostly unnoticed conclusion in the Baker-Hamilton report that noted that the "Bush administration routinely has underreported the level of violence in Iraq in order to disguise its policy failings," according to Jonathan Landay of McClatchy Newspapers.

If they fudge the dead-and-wounded numbers in Iraq, it shouldn't come as a great surprise that they are willing to manipulate the voting results in elections in America.


More Bernard Weiner's Blogs

Spring, 2004 -- Summer, 2004 -- Autumn, 2004

2005 -- 2006 -- 2007 -- 2008 -- 2009 -- 2010

 


Crisis Papers editors, Partridge & Weiner, are available for public speaking appearances