Shmuel Rosner, one of the U.S. Israel Lobby’s best friends in the Israeli media, is on the warpath against Wes Clark. Why? Because he had the temerity to “out” the Lobby (particularly Aipac) for beating the drums for war against Iran.
Arianna Huffington got a call from Clark after he’d read a Bibi Netanyahu interview with Arnaud de Borchgrave in which the old ‘peacenik’ detailed his efforts to lobby the Bush regime to take out the Iranian nuke facilities. Bibi asserts in the interview that American military intervention is all but a done deal. I don’t know about you, but I’m with Wes on this one. This sort of stuff is Netanyahu’s metier. It’s what he’s made for as a politician. Manipulating public opinion in favor of harsh nationalist Israeli policies using hysteria and paranoia. I, for one am glad Clark called Netanyahu out on this one. If Netanyahu wants to be Slim Pickens ridin’ that H-bomb down to the ground to nuke some “Russkies” in Dr. Strangelove, I’d prefer that the bomb not have U.S. markings on it. Let Bibi find someone else to do Israel’s dirty work for it (not that I’m advocating that Israel bomb Iran either).
This was Wes’ statement to Huffington:
“How can you talk about bombing a country when you won’t even talk to them?” said Clark. “It’s outrageous. We’re the United States of America; we don’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the military option is off the table — but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It’s not, What will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq? It’s sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships.”
When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: “You just have to read what’s in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers.”
Boy oh boy is Wes in hot water with the Israel Lobby. He just yanked their chain and are they going to roar like a lion. This guy’s gonna be called an anti-Semite and far worse things. Actually, it’s already started. Rosner wrote this:
Gee, what can he possibly mean by “pressure being channeled from the New York money people”?…How and why has it become so easy to speak in this way about the Jews? Second: What does it mean politically?
It is, actually, rather troubling, even scary. People in elite circles somehow came to the conclusion that denouncing the Jewish community and its support for Israel is now becoming acceptable. Walt and Mersheimer came first, than former president Carter, now Clark – and we already have a new trend on our hands. A Jewish leader with whom I spoke yesterday asked me this most disquieting question: Is the ice thinner than one might have thought?
Politically, it is voices coming from the Democratic party, again, a nuance that the Republican Jewish Coalition could hardly miss. Yesterday, it released a statement [sic] “strongly condemned ‘blatantly anti-semitic’ remarks made by Retired General Wesley Clark in an interview with Arianna Huffington and urged the Democrat presidential aspirant to apologize… This is yet another sign that the veiled and not-so-veiled anti-Semitic sentiments that are rampant in the left-wing blogosphere are seeping into the ‘mainstream’ of Democrats’ political discourse.”
Gimme a break. When asked about U.S. military action against Iran, Clark correctly notes that the mainstream American Jewish community is “divided,” but that the Israel Lobby’s leaders (“New York money people”) are united in favor. What is factually inaccurate about that statement?? Nothing. Everyone knows that Aipac has been promoting war with Iran for a terribly long time. If you don’t believe me go look at the media coverage of their last national gathering. And do you really believe that Aipac is NOT trying to influence the White House & Congress on the issue of bombing Iran?
I wouldn’t have said “NY money people” because Aipac’s leadership is spread all over the country. It’s an unfortunate and imprecise choice of words. But calling them “pro-Israel donors” would’ve worked just as well.
The Republican Jewish Coalition is a bunch of neocon hacks trawling for an issue. Clark’s interview seems just as good a way to take it to the Dems as any. So they went on the warpath. And Rosner is their willing handmaiden. A non-issue, boys. As Bill Clinton used to say: “This dog won’t hunt.” But hey, you can’t fault ’em for trying. They spent $1-million plus trying to dent Jewish support for Dems in the last election. What happened? Jewish support went UP.
Wes, DO NOT apologize. Hold your ground. You’re precisely right. Much of the national Jewish leadership is sounding the trumpet for us to blow Iran’s nukes to smithereens. But American Jews are by no means united behind such a position. Democrats need to oppose U.S. military action against Iran. If that means tangling with Aipac then so be it. Aipac should get out of the way on this issue and let the U.S. decide what is in its national interests. It should not be trying to tell U.S. leaders that what is in Israel’s interest (and it is highly debatable whether such adventurism would be in Israel’s interest) is also in the U.S. national interest.
Haaretz, known for its progressive analysis of the Israeli-Arab conflict, has some of the most acute, passionate, and profound columnists writing on this subject. It has had tremendous correspondents like Amos Elon covering the U.S. beat. Now it has Shmuel Rosner. It’s as if CBS passed the national news anchor baton directly from Walter Cronkite to Charles Johnson. What an embarrassment.
Welcome to visitors here coming from Rozwadow’s Daily Kos link. Thanks to him for raising the visibility of this post and blog. It’s also delicious having been banned from Kos to be able to raise my head once again there even if only via a link from a Kos poster.