Leibowitz Leak Story in NY Times
I’ve kept silent till now about the publication of yesterday’s front page story in the NY Times about my collaboration with Shamai Leibowitz in leaking U.S. surveillance of a covert Israeli campaign to drum up hostility in this country toward Iran. I’ll have more to say about it by and by. Right now I’m just trying to absorb what’s happened. But suffice to say it’s been quite a whirlwind. Today alone, I was interviewed by the BBC World Service, AP, Hurriyet, Al Quds, Salon, Jerusalem Post and the Seattle Times. Though not, curiously enough, by Haaretz.
Haaretz’s first Hebrew language report said that Shamai worked for the Defense Department! It’s headline predictably focussed on the fact that the U.S. was spying on Israel (shocking!) instead of on the real story, which was that Israel’s diplomats were finding out who was naughty and nice to Israel in the U.S. Congress in order to prepare for a possible run-up to a war against Iran. When you think about the fact that Israel’s leading so-called liberal newspaper couldn’t be bothered to hear my own perspective on the story, it’s well, almost dumbfounding.
The far-right pro-Israel blogosphere is shreying for blood saying I should be prosecuted for obstructing justice. Even Dan Sieradski, who prides himself on being quite a radical snarkily amplifies the right wingers, saying he hopes I have a good lawyer. I’ll tell you what Dan, you tell me who your lawyer is and then I’ll tell you who my lawyer won’t be. And sorry fellas, the government has known for almost two years what I did with the documents. Not to mention, it would quite something to prosecute a journalist for publishing a leaked document. If they did it would close down political reporting in this country for quite some time.
My BBC World Service interview on The World Today program with Max Pearson is here (audio). Thanks to those readers who helped locate it.
UPDATE: Finally, I want to make crystal clear that Shamai Leibowitz has played no role in my current decision to make this matter public. Until yesterday, I had had no contact with him whatsoever since well before he was indicted.
- Shamai Leibowitz, a moral giant (mondoweiss.net)
63 thoughts on “Leibowitz Leak Story in NY Times – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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“Not to mention, it would quite something to prosecute a journalist for publishing a leaked document. If they did it would close down political reporting in this country for quite some time.”
True. But you are not a journalist. Rather, you’re a blogger, and not a very reliable one.
To be fair, your handling of the classified material could have been worse. I hope you don’t get prosecuted, but if you do, it’d be rather amusing. 🙂
That’s hilarious because the Committee to Protect Journalists wants to discuss the Leibowitz case with me. Now why would they since they should know yr opinion of me. And knowing it they couldn’t possibly think that I am, could they? And you of course went to journalism school and are a professional journalist & would know a journalist if you read one, right? Who’s a journalist? All your friends in the Israeli right wing media biz of course.
That’s funny. I’m laughing too. Except that I’ve just lost my sense of humor. Funny thing about that. When people wish me ill I get very cranky. You’re now moderated.
A journalist does not use embarrassing Internet abbreviations such as “yr”, and a journalist usually does not have such poor writing skills as you do.
I’m kidding man. I hope you don’t get prosecuted. On the other hand, it’d be rather poetic to have you charged with colluding with a spy.
‘Poetic’ as in you getting hit by a Qassam or something? I fail to see the joke.
Shamai wasn’t a spy. He was a whistleblower. As for poetry, you wouldn’t know it if it jumped up & bit you in the ass. Now journalism, on the other hand, about that you’re a REAL maven.
I said it once and I’ll say it again:
Such Izik junk as above should be allowed here as a continuous reminder to those not familiar first-hand with modern day Israeli culture, to what levels of thought, reasoning and argumentation has that branch of the Jewish collective has sunk.
I know you are tongue-in-cheek, but I actually do find Itzik and other Israeli mainstream commentators instructive. I have come to appreciate both the fanaticism and ignorance of many of these commentators and that is helpful.
So you DID go to J School where they taught you that no self respecting journalist would ever use “yr” in the comment thread of a blog?? Is that the sum of yr claims against my claim to be a journalist?
Why do you burn the documents rather than publishing them?
My goal wasn’t to harm U.S. interests which I would’ve done by publishing them. My goal also wasn’t to harm my source which this would’ve done far more quickly had I done so. My source asked me to destroy the documents & I did so.
Thanks so much for the response.
Here’s something I am still confused about:
Didn’t the source give you the documents in part because you were a prominent blogger who could make public the information contained therein?
I’m not understanding why the documents would have been leaked to you if not to publish them a la Wikileaks.
I read about this story last year today read about it up on intelligence news and I couldn’t believe it when I saw your name and blog! link.
Good on you, and on Shamai!
I would like to see AIPAC forced to register as lobbyist for a foreign country. Do you think that would have been possible if the documents could have been released instead of burned? Same characters?
This subject raises a point that no one seems to relate to; when does an employee of any security service (or similar) have the right or moral obligation to reveal knowledge he has access to by virtue of his job, to an outside source (be it a journalist or foreign country or even a congressman who is not privvy to the intel)?
Any such employee will have signed some form of secrecy commitment, thus any unauthorised revealing of intel would be known by such leaker as a criminal offence.
Is Shamai any different to any other spy who works for ideological motives? Is he any different to Anthony Blunt and the other 1960’s spies from Cambridge UK who worked for the Russians for ideological motives (and, I believe, even lived in Russia afterwards until his death)?
One must allow for a State to determine what is best for itself through its elected government and institutions, for the alternative is anarchy where every employee will decide for himself what to leak and what to keep secret.
Is a country not entitled to keep certain secrets from all its citizens? Or should all records of everything be public knowledge?
In my opinion a spy is a spy is a criminal, who must be willing to pay the consequences of his action even if ideologically motivated.
And how the hell did the FBI come to employ the likes of Shamai with his ideological background?!! Same for Pollard’s employment??
Here is the real “fashlah” – as we say in Hebrew “לא הגנב גנב אלא הפירצה” (“The thief is not responsible but rather the hole in the fence”)
In my opinion, Richard is the whistleblower (and is doing his job as a journalist), Shamai is a criminal and a breecher of his country’s trust.
Both Shamai and the Cambridge group broke secrecy laws, but there ends the comparison.
The group worked for an enemy (fatally exposing pro-democratic Soviet citizens).
Shamai exposed government secrets to the very public of that government, from which these secrets were kept, trying to draw public attention to the gross degree of influence a foreign-interest lobby-group has attained on local politics.
Yankel, as Richard himself states “My goal wasn’t to harm U.S. interests which I would’ve done by publishing them”, Shamai by leaking them in fact did harm, or at least could have harmed, your country’s interests.
That is a very serious risk to take in deciding on your own what ought to be published or leaked and what not. Even if someone may have progressive views and may have done good things in his life, this was a big mistake of judgement and dare I say presumptuous to have thought that he was some messenger of morality and above the judgement of his superiors in deciding what secrets ought to be leaked.
In fact it’s not dissimmilar to the religious freaks who insist that they got a message from god to do whatever crimes they may commit.
Vanunu, Pollard, Shamai, Blunt and yes, even some of the settlers, are all the same in thinking that their ideology is better than that which society has intrically and carefully designed.
Discuss, shout, demonstrate, lobby – but don’t endanger your country!
I don’t know about Israel, but in my country “Befehl ist Befehl” is always quoted in a negative sense. It is strange and surprising for me to hear an Israeli of all people say that it is presumptuous to think that one’s own morality is above the judgment of one’s superiors.
Nazi Germany was a tyranny and the US and Israel are not. But the US and Israel (and my country and basically all other countries too) are far from perfect and sometimes follow policies that are purely insane and dangerous or even criminal. In such cases they should be disobeyed by people of conscience.
Elizabeth, it’s very different if you’re a conscripted soldier who cannot resign and a voluntary worker for the FBI.
Shamai should have first turned to his superiors and expressed his opinion, and if that failed, then resign his post (if he felt so strongly that his moral point of view was incongruous with that of his superiors)
And as for the “obeying orders” defence – not every order can be subject to individual moral criticism or action. The Israelis set a rule of “a black flag flying opposite the (illegal) order crying out “Stop! this order should not be obeyed””, and this is only to be used in extremely serious breeches of morallity such as a command to indiscriminately murder (from the Kfar Kassem incident in 1956)
Unfortunately too many soldiers have become blinded to black flags, but I think Shamai saw one flying where there was no wind or even a breeze.
Resign his post when he’s privy to Israel’s lobbying on behalf of war with Iran in this country? That’s like a fireman who’s worried that his fire dept. isn’t combatting arson adequately. When the next arson fire occurs, he resigns rather than fight the fire. Does that make any sense?
The diff. bet. u & Shamai is that he was willing to sacrifice all on behalf of a set of moral values & you’re not. Of course there is a tremendous danger of war against Iran. Of course, Shamai was right to be afraid. I’m amused or bemused by all the arm chair quarterbacks on both the right & left who know so much better than Shamai or I did, what we should or should not have done under the circumstances then. Your hindsight is 20/20.
That is true, marginally. We had to make a moral assessment of which was more important–a continuing FBI surveillance program of the Israeli embassy or the secret, underhanded activities of the Israelis themselves. We chose the latter. Whatever harm was done to U.S. interests was marginal at best.
It is & it is a risk that journalists around the world, including in Israel, take every day. Secret documents are leaked & published all over the world every day. What we did is nothing new. The only thing new is what Israel was doing here & why.
Not at all. The mistake in judgment would have been to remain silent in the face of Israel’s secret campaign. As I said, journalists make these “mistakes” every day and they do it for the right reasons & for the right cause. It is you who would walk stone faced off the barricade at the command of a superior. Others of us don’t follow orders so easily.
As for the “religious freaks” comments it’s just plain stupid, nonsensical & not worth addressing. This isn’t divine morality. This is a decision made by a man who wished to do his part to prevent a war. If Shamai had had a chance to do so & remained silent & there was an attack & thousands died he would’ve been grief & conscience stricken the rest of his life. As opposed to you who would sleep like a baby confident in the right you did by remaining silent & obeying orders of yr superiors. Dare I say much like those Germans did during WWII who argued that they too subsumed their own conscience within that of the fatherland.
Not at all. Shamai was not driven by ideology. He was driven by morality. He is an Orthodox Jew who believes firmly in Thou Shalt Not Kill, among other righteous mitzvot.
A war with Iran will endanger Israel & the U.S. far more than anything Shamai did.
I quickly wearying of this subject. If you decide you have something further to say it ought to be brief and not repeat anything you or I have already written.
I could carry on with the argument, I don’t agree with you, but I respect your wish and move on to the next blog.
Thanks, I appreciate that.
But the diff. in Shamai’s case is that the U.S. gov’t hasn’t jailed a leaker for over 30 yrs & then the leaker it did jail did it at least in part for pecuniary reasons–he was paid. Shamai wasn’t. And again, Shamai did not intend to harm American interests as Blount et al did British interests. They were working for a foreign power–Russia. Shamai wasn’t.
Unlike in Israel, the U.S. has strong constitutional protections in place for journalists and their sources. The protection isn’t ironclad of course. But it’s much harder to gain prosecutions against such figures here than in Israel. Our Founding Fathers considered all the issues you raise & came down largely in favor of protecting the press & their sources, feeling this was a greater good than protecting the govt’s right to maintain secrets.
Shamai again was not a spy. A spy works against his country’s interests. Shamai worked if anything against the war interests of recent Israeli gov’ts. And this was in favor of U.S. interests.
You are refusing to recognize that one of the FBI’s worst fears is that anyone who could translate Hebrew for it would be a secret Israel agent passing on info to Israel. In Shamai they knew this could never happen. I reject summarily the notion that someone with strong human rights values or someone who strongly opposes Israeli policy is ipso facto a security risk.
I resent you calling Shamai a criminal. He has taken far greater risks than I & paid a far heavier price for those risks. And he has done so for the right reasons.
So when Steven Rosen leaks documents he’s a criminal, yet when Leibowitz does it you ‘resent calling him a criminal’? (As a side note, I am not condemning Rosen’s alleged activities, but that seems to non-relevant, seeing as how the charges were dropped.)
No matter what his intentions were, he committed the same crime, and should be held to the same standard.
Let’s do a little elementary education for those thick of head: Steve Rosen leaked secret U.S. documents to Naor Gilon, senior diplomat of the Israeli embassy. That is, a foreign power. Rosen was working on behalf of Aipac & that power. Shamai Leibowitz leaked documents to a journaiist and both of us were working against a war on Iran and in favor of U.S. interests. Do you understand the diff.? No, of course you don’t because for you Steve Rosen is a pro Israel patriot despite the fact that he has rather odd sexual predilections, but don’t let that stop you (or him).
He did not commit the same crime as his motives were entirely different & the result was entirely different. Also, Rosen got an $8 million gold plated Aipac financed defense. And Shamai got borsht. That’s why Rosen went free & Shamai went to prison.
Is there any particular reason you felt the need to insult me? And as I said above, I would be entirely in favor of sentencing Rosen to a lengthy prison sentence, if he had been found guilty. As he was not, however, he did not receive a prison sentence, as is the common case in most criminal cases. I don’t particularly care about the mans sexual predications as it relates to the case; the law (the Espionage Act) should be enforced regardless of ones support for any causes.
Does that mean I like the law, or think it’s just? I don’t know. However, until the law is amended, I believe it should be applied equally.
I apologize if my original post was rude and/or uncouth.
I think whistleblowers — particularly those who blow a whistle in violation of local law or a binding contract (oif employment, usually) — undertake to accept the consequences (prison, money-damages) because they believe themselves to be in the right.
Their belief may not agree with someone else’s belief. The government will, reliably, take an opposite view and prosecute crime (espionage, perhaps) and litigate breaches of contract.
No-one should undertake such an act without a lot of thought about consequences, including damage to their own reputation for patriotism, even when, as here, the act was undertaken as a patriotic (at least in a citizen-of-the-world) sense.
USA’s just gone 10 years and about $4T in two (or more) ridiculous wars, not paid for but bought on credit, while our fat-cats have their taxes cut and bonuses ramped up. Our Congress is squarely responsible for most of this, being bought and paid for by the fat cats, including those of AIPAC.
Shamai sought to alert American citizens to the status of much of Congress as paid agents of Israel who endanger world peace by seeking war with Iran.
He is a hero. He may also be a law-breaker. Who knows what they threatened him with to get him to agree to 20 months in prison WITHOUT EVIDENCE OF GUILT BEING SHOWN TO THE JUDGE. Whistleblowing is not a sport for the lily-livered.
I could not agree more. What Shamai did is a form of civil disobedience. It was very brave of him (and Anat Kamm and so many others) to follow their conscience. What would the world look like, if everyone just followed orders?
The fact that whistleblowers (Shamai, Manning, Politkovska to name a few) undertake to accept the consequences, amplifies their bravery but doesn’t necessarily justify these consequences (whether those whistleblowers had signed for secrecy or not).
Here’s the link to the BBC interview with you:
It starts at about 35:45.
If it is not illegal for journalists or bloggers to print material given by “spies” like Shamei, then I really don’t think it’s the rightist blogosphere’s business to point a finger at Richard.
First amendment rights and all that mean anything to do with so called “free speech” should be fine. Live with it!
Thank you for the clarification, Richard.
Move over Julian Assange,
Can anyone answer this..
This Leibowitz character was a dual Israeli/American. How then was what he did detrimental to the US? or Israel? It again raises the issue of where the loyalty of dual citizens lies when they are in the other country of their citizenship.
The only wrongdoing I see here is if he broke his employment contract. Beign put away in prison for that is a bit much.
The leaking part is so ho hum. It is just as you said — just the way that I read it in the newspaper: the story is that Israel was spying on US congressmen. That is the story. The US spies on Israel? Who cares? Everybody spies on everybody.
But why should we sit there and not object when a foreign government is trying to influence, control our legislators. That is creepy. It proves everything that Walk and Mersheimer wrote in that book The Israel Lobby.
Just out of curiousity, did the NYT story bring any more traffic here?
I note you mentioned in your article above:
Though not, curiously enough, by Haaretz.
Isn’t the Haaretz owned by the same company as the NYT is? The International Herald Tribune, Haaretz and NYT are sister publications.
As such, usually when one has an exclusive the others steer clear for about a week or a few days.
The last two paragraphs in my post above above shouldn’t have been italicised.
“The diff. bet. u & Shamai is that he was willing to sacrifice all on behalf of a set of moral values & you’re not.”
I took these words you wrote in a reply above, and would like to apply them to you.
Desertpeace is a site I regularly visit to catch up on the Occupation and it’s a site I respect. Yours is also a site that I visit for similar reasons and unlike on Desertpeace, where I read only, I have frequently commented here. There has been no doubt in my mind regarding the integrity of the views expressed by Desertpeace as far as I know.
Today I came across this article on Desertpeace:
The author’s name does not appear on the blog comment. I’m not sure if the author has a stake in this site, but I imagine the article is representative of the perspective endorsed there and the goals of Desertpeace.
These particular passages stood out for me: [my comment in square brackets]
“I have said dozens of times on this site NOT TO TRUST ANYONE YOU MEET ON THE INTERNET. There are many out there who are not who you might think they are. Leibowitz, himself said at his sentencing that it was “a one-time mistake that happened to me when I worked at the F.B.I. and saw things which I considered were violation of the law, and I should not have told a reporter about it.”
He definitely should not have told this particular ‘reporter’ about it. Richard Silverstein seems to have a tendency to talk (type) before he thinks. When he published the information on his blog that Leibowitz handed over to him was he aware of the fact that this could lead to a prison term for Leibowitz?
[The following passage really stood out for me… ]
He is an Internet Opportunist’ in the true sense of the word. In Yiddish terminology, he is nothing more than a Yenta, far from actually being a ‘reporter’ as he claims to be. In his own words FROM: I am a progressive (critical) Zionist. I support a two state solution to the conflict involving Israeli withdrawal roughly to pre-67 borders (with some adjustments) and an internationally guaranteed peace agreement with the Palestinians. Progressive zionist??? That’s a new one to me…
Bottom line in this is what I have maintained for years … DO NOT TRUST ANYONE YOU MEET ON THE INTERNET.
Richard Silverstein, for one, has proven that he himself is not to be trusted.”
Richard, I know you get lots of flak for what you write from other Zionists and some have tried to shut you down and take you to court. This being said, there is something that continues to drag your integrity down to the level of those very Zionists who’d like to put you out of business. And it mystifies me why you would want to share the same ideology with them.
So I throw your own comment back at you in the form of a question: Why are you [not] willing to sacrifice [Zionism, i.e.] “all” on behalf of a set of moral values [and your conscience]?
How can you reconcile your values and conscience with being a Zionist? And don’t reply that you believe Zionism could be something else in future. That’s a hypothetical argument I refuse to engage in any longer. I want to know how you reconcile your conscience with the Zionism that has always been the racist, supremacist defensive mechanism that secures a Jewish state.
You continuously hide behind an idealist version of Zionism to justify sticking with Zionism today. This keeps you from having to deal with the moral dilemma it represents in reality and at the same time you argue the methods of Zionists to achieve this Jewish homeland which also helps you evade the moral question as it relates to you as an individual. Blogging about the injustices produced by Zionism which on the one hand brings awareness to the plight of Palestinians can on the other hand appear opportunistic as that Desertpeace blogger believes it to be and at best it appears to be morally therapeutic or a moral panacea for your unwillingness to “sacrifice all”. Despite what Zionism has produced, and despite how morally bankrupt it has proven to be for 63 years, you keep insisting that this is not Zionism. Aren’t you really trying to absolve yourself of your own individual responsibility by hiding behind what you wish it could be?
The Desertpeace post also links Debbie Schlussel’s blog and disgusting smear piece on Leibowitz that compelled me to want to shower again after reading it. It’s ironic she doesn’t mention you, almost as if she’s pleased with your decision since Leibowitz is behind bars and out of a job. I won’t judge on this matter without more information, but I do think you should have waited to publish anything. Perhaps, you should have used restraint at that moment, since Leibowitz was in a position to get so much more; now he can get nothing which is devastating. He was sitting on a future treasure trove of information. He was in essence the perfect person for that job and perhaps the perfect person to avert disaster at a strategic moment in future. (SIGH…)
Schlussel says Leibowitz was out to hurt Israel AND America. America? I thought he was being loyal to America FIRST! But she’s removed all doubt about her own loyalty: “the U.S. shouldn’t be spying on Israel because Israel is our ally.” … “Israel has a good reason for spying on America: America doesn’t trust Israel and doesn’t share information it’s supposed to pursuant to treaties and agreements. Among the information Israel sought and got from spy Jonathan Pollard was important information on Iran, which America was supposed to give Israel.”
Of Leibowitz one should ask whether he cared to save Israel from itself or could care less since Israel as we know it is not worthy of being saved because it’s gone too far! I think his father saw the train wreck coming and he’s taken his father’s perspective a step further since the train wreck has happened. Everyone should cease seeing this still as a train wreck waiting to happen – it’s happening for God’s sakes! It’s a train wreck, folks! Leibowitz’s “betrayal of Zionism” is a step his father would have taken were he alive today! Zionists no doubt believe that Leibowitz has betrayed Zionism. Good! There is no turning back now. In the eyes of Zionists he has become the quintessential anti-Zionist. However, I’m hoping this incident hasn’t weakened his resolve to live up to this distinction, I repeat, d i s t i n c t i on.
Yeshayahu Leibovitz defined Zionism as follows:
המגמה והמעש המכוונים להשגת העצמאות הלאומית המדינית של העם היהודי בארצו
Roughly translated: “The promoting and the action that is directed to attaining the national-political independance of the Jewish people in its land”
(From רציתי לשאול אותך Keter publishing p 319). He defined this in a letter he wrote in 1984 when he was 81 y-o)
He claimed there that this definition is suitable for all zionists from Gush Emunim (the settler movement) to Peace Now.
I’m certainly there, and, Kalea, so is Richard whether you like it or not! Why is it so important to you to make Richard anti or non zionist?
Using Y. Leibowitz to defend Zionism is like using MLK to defend Zionism.
I must rely on this wiki passage:
“He was among the first Israeli intellectuals who warned immediately after the 1967 Six-Day War that if Israel would hold on to the occupied territories, this would lead to the decline of Israel’s moral stature. From then on to his death Leibowitz was an outspoken critic of Israeli values and national policy. His remarks accusing Israeli soldiers of a “Judeo-Nazi” mentality provoked a public outcry amongst Israelis.”
You see, he was evolving as Zionism evolved into what it is TODAY! Unlike YOU!
So I don’t care what he said once upon a time. And your point proves squat!
What is important to me is JUSTICE and the end of suffering for millions of Palestinians and that will never happen as long as you and others enable Zionism.
The problem with yr sledgehammer approach to ideology is that you believe anyone who uses the term “Nazi” in a context referring to Israel is ipso facto an anti Zionist. Not so, I’m afraid. As to what he was evolving to, sure if he’d lived to be 2,000 maybe he’d support alternate life forms and no longer be a Zionist. Who knows? But why does any of this matter really?
Update on my comment: I think the Desertpeace article was written by its founder Steve Amsel, but I’m not 100% sure.
I took note of another passage in that article:
“Adding to my shock was the fact that Shamai Leibowitz was ever employed by the FBI in any position. He has been an activist for many years in Israel, has been outspoken for Palestinian rights and is one of the most respected lawyers here. He is the grandson of a known leftist, Yeshayahu Leibowitz. Surely the FBI was aware of his background before they hired him as a translator.”
Surely indeed. Of course they knew and of course it does make sense to pick him. How could the FBI trust a loyal Zionist to spy on the Israeli, i.e.Zionist Embassy, without imagining he might turn into a double agent and fail to translate everything or fail to disclose important information or even provide a false translation that Israel might feed him to mislead U.S. authorities? I mean Leibowitz was the perfect spy; considering he was the son of someone who also had serious issues with Zionism and especially the Occupation. Do spies sign some document promising unquestionable loyalty?
Permit me this somewhat sarcastic lapse: That means Richard that you can breathe easy because you only fulfill one part of the equation along with the language skills, i.e. prerequisites, which means you won’t be getting a call to be their next recruit.
But if you did, would the fact that you consider yourself Zionist get in the way, no matter what you learned on the job that might be hurtful to Israel? Would you be able to remain a loyal spy no matter what you heard from either side? I suppose you’d be inclined to respond: depends on the degree of “hurtful”. And my reply would be: Ahh, but as a loyal spy, yours is not to reason why…
I find a discussion on this hypothetical fascinating. Zionism is indeed a double-edged sword that plays tricks on one’s conscience.
My first inclination was not to publish this comment since I find it objectionable on so many levels. But since others have commented upon it it wouldn’t be fair to do so. So I’ve published it.
First, I couldn’t give a fig what Desert Peace says about me or anything I’ve done. His interests are anti Zionist and he’s attacking me solely because I’m a Zionist and don’t share his ideological views. Second, Shamai & I discussed every possible permutation we could think of before we decided to go public. We discussed everything we thought might happen to him. I wanted to make clear to him what the consequences might be. I never considered prison since no one has been imprisoned for leaking to a journalist going back to the 1980s. That being said, I did not take this lightly. Not at all.
I’ve gone over & over the Zionist issue with you & I’m simply not going to reopen it. This is your idee fixe & you’ll have to deal with it yrself.
As for Debbie Schlussel, why would Desert Peace or anyone link to or publicize this crazy-assed person. And why would you expect I’m going to gratify her or anyone linking to her with discussion of anything she says or believes?? She’s a total nutcase. And I don’t just mean her politics. I think she’s certifiable (well, I’m not a doctor so I can’t pronounce a medical opinion on the matter).
You’re also confusing his father with his grandfather. Neither are or were anti Zionists. You see, the problem is you simply don’t know what you’re talking about when you talk about Zionism or its adherents.
Right wing Israelis don’t see Shamai as betraying Zionism. You do. They see him, if they see him at all, as betraying Israel, which he has not done btw.
“And why would you expect I’m going to gratify her or anyone linking to her with discussion of anything she says or believes??”
I don’t think I asked you to link to her site. I used that quote of hers to make a point about Shamai’s loyalty to the U.S. first. Desertpeace linked to her site to make the point that one can’t trust “Liberal” Zionists any more than one can trust Right-wing Zionists, maybe because both are blinded in different degrees by their loyalty to an ideology that compromises moral integrity.
Yes, I was referring to his grandfather not his father. It was an oversight.
You say that his grandfather and father were Zionists. But would his grandfather continue to be a Zionist today? Do you really think his grandson will be allowed back into Israel? I’m not sure if Shamai is a Zionist. He certainly doesn’t sound Zionist or act on behalf of Zionism. And if he is, whether he chooses to remain Zionist, or not, although I can’t for the life of me imagine why he would, it’s obvious by the virulent criticism of him out there that he is no longer welcome in the larger Zionist community after what he’s done.
By the way, now that you’ve once again chosen to moderate me, I will again stay away from this site.
You have a blind spot when it comes to Zionism. You are wrong, completely and utterly WRONG, and you are alienating good people because of this.
I understand that you want Richard to call himself an anti-Zionist, you have said so many times before. But why drag the Shamai Leibovitz case, and Amsel’s nasty piece into it?
I’m not sure what your point here is, nor this Desert Peace character. For one, he tells us not to trust anyone we meet on the internet, so why are you trusting him? Richard is open about his identity, Desertpeace reveals nothing about himself. Is he Jewish? Christian? What is he? Until we know about his background, we can’t take what he says seriously. So how about we apply his advice to him. And to you, since you refused to reveal what your own religous background is when asked.
Second, you’re an opportunist yourself, using this to bash Zionism, when you have yourself to explain what you call a wish to return to israel if not Zionism.
His post is meaningless, in that he bashes Richard for revealing the document to the NYT. He did that now, not at the time of Leibowitz’s sentencing. So what does he mean? His whole post is a meanlingless rant, to me it sounds like he is using Leibowtiz being in prison as an excuse to bash Richard for his not being an anti Zionist.
That is opportunism that he accuses Richard of.
The guy’s American and has lived in Jerusalem for 25 years. Which leads me to wonder, how he can live there so long and still think of himself as anti-Zionist…hmmm, unless he’s living among Palestinians in East Jerusalem, who knows? Look, I like the blog and have found nothing to disagree with since I’ve been visiting it…YET. I may have missed something since I don’t go there every single day, but generally speaking, I like that blog.
I believe I’ve more than explained why I feel the way I do about Zionism and what I believe Zionism to be from what I’m witnessing.
Oh, and that’s all I’m going to say. I won’t even dignify your comment on me.
Oh, and that’s all I’m going to say. I won’t even dignify your comment on me.
Oh but you did,
you answered that which wouldn’t jeopardise your own agenda and ignored the rest. Is Steve Amsel JEwish or Christian or atheist or what?
You deliberately always leave out the religious element so you can pretend it’s not important. Hence all your “democracy” talk.
as for that Debbie Schlussul character, she is a b&** and a fifth column.
Why are American’s not questioning why the likes of Debbie Schulussl who have no loyalty to the USA are not booted out?
Well, I see we finally agree on something….hallelujah! But…
By the way, does anyone know why The New York Times covered this story at this time? Was Leibowtiz due to be released? or was there another reason?
Maybe something we’re not aware of?
1. Steve Amsel is Jewish, an anti-Zionist Jew. Anyone claiming to read his blog for so long would certainly know Steve is Jewish.
2. Richard wrote: “Right wing Israelis don’t see Shamai as betraying Zionism. You do. They see him, if they see him at all, as betraying Israel, which he has not done btw.”
Israel is the embodiment of Zionism. Anyone who is a Zionist sees the establishment of the state of Israel as ZIONISM’S goal and fulfillment. The old adage, “be careful what you wish for” is apt. You are a “Zionist” as an individual you better damn well take responsibility for its outcome because no blogger in Seattle or elsewhere has control over this monster which cleansed Palestinians from their land. Wishful thinking and chiding will not make ZIONISM anything other than it is which INCLUDES the crimes it has committed. I could sit here and say but but but, Manifest Destiny wasn’t really wrong, I’m a nice Manifest Destiny person who just wanted it all to work out in a nice way.
It’s utter bull pucky. Either one severs oneself from the philosophy which is the toe in the door that allows for all degrees of behavior including atrocities or one is just as guilty as the worst of the worst of them because it is bigger than anyone individual no matter how much they want to be seen as fighting against it while constantly basking in the fame of being a “good” Zionist because there is NO SUCH THING. Geesh, it utterly amazes me that any American who has been raised to BELIEVE as embodied by law that one’s religion should not have ANY roll in discrimination could cling to Zionism. Zionism is NOT an American value! To even “go there” that one’s religion entitles them to create a state which by it’s very nature would hold primacy over those of other faiths in that created state is utterly beyond my comprehension. It is a recipe for disaster, the very disaster which it has become so continuing to cling to the thing that CREATED the disaster is well, beyond LOGIC.
There I said it. Haven’t commented here in a long time. I am an American and I believe based on the Constitution of our country and our civil rights laws that Zionism is NOT an American value. Prove me wrong and I will gladly change my mind. Show me WHERE in our laws such a creation as the Jewish state could have occurred if our own Constitution and civil rights laws were applied. Is Zionism exempt from the values you grew up on Richard?
The above comment was written because Richard has claimed Steve wrote his post because he is an anti-Zionist and Richard is not. Therefor it is Richard who needs to answer for the allegation he threw out there trying to dismiss Steve’s post on a difference of adherence to Zionism.
I don’t need to defend or explain anything. But you need to explain & defend your own offensive contribution to this discussion. I don’t see Zionism at all the way you do, nor do I see it as remotely anti American. In fact, the claim that it is borders on anti Semitism, which I abhor. I don’t mind anyone who’s anti Zionist. But what I detest is the holier than thou brand of it that you represent. I detest those who claim that the world can’t exist with both anti Zionists & Zionists in it because Zionism is evil and all Zionists are evil. I’d suggest that if this is what you believe that you don’t belong here. Because I am what I am & if you wish to denounce that you’re wasting yr breath. I get enough flak from the pro-Israel crowd that I don’t need my supposed friend or former friends nipping at my heels as well.
So Richard, are you saying that our Constitution would allow for the creation of a state here based on religion? Guess you have not read the Establishment Clause? Pretty basic tenant of our beliefs as a nation.
Zionism doesn’t call for anything related to America therefore is not anti-American.
You have not answered the question Richard. Does Zionism fit within your American values which certainly do include the Establishment Clause as well as the Civil Rights Act which does not allow for discrimination based on religion. How does Zionsim get a free pass from you? Don’t your American values apply to Israel and the Palestinians?
Forgive me, but I would like to say one more thing regarding this statement, “Zionism doesn’t call for anything related to America therefore is not anti-American.”
yes it does, it calls for and welcomes American Jews to make Aliyah and to pledge their allegiance to a country other than the US. The very country that receives more US aid than any other country. Taking our citizens, taking our money, Israel certainly does “call” for a great deal from America and it also is asking us to set aside our American values to make an exception for a set of laws which don’t resemble in ANY way our own laws. Not to mention the catastrophe to the Palestinian people.
You’re confused. Classical Zionism calls for an Ingathering of the Exiles to Israel. Classical Zionism believes the only place Jews can survive in the long term is Israel. Classical ZIonism is rapidly dying as an ideology accepted by most Jews, even many Israelis. Most American Jews consider themselves Zionists yet would never subscribe to the idea that they must make aliya or place allegiance to Israel above that of the U.S. You simply know very little about contemporary Zionism, the type I believe, or American Jewry.
More nonsense. I don’t even know what this means. Zionism asks American Jews to set aside American values? Even if it did, the vast majority of Amer. Jews who, once again consider themselves at least nominally Zionist, would not subscribe to this.
I have no idea what you’re talking about. None of this makes any sense to me. And I’m offended by people whether on the left or right who try to put me through various litmus tests. So stop with this right now.
I am going to try this again.
“More nonsense. I don’t even know what this means. Zionism asks American Jews to set aside American values?”
1. Do you value the separation of church and state which our country has? If so, then how can you support Zionism which established a religious state for your faith?
2. Do you value the civil rights laws of our own country which prevent discrimination based on religion? If so, how do you reconcile your valuing of our own civil rights laws but yet support a STATE that was created to be the home of one faith which certainly does discriminate based upon religion?
3. Since you know American history and the importance of our founding fathers to see that church and state are not joined, HOW do you grant a free pass for Zionism when the result to the Palestinian people has been devastating? What and who perpetrated and is still perpetrating these crimes on Palestinians? Was it Donald Duck and the let’s make a home for all ducks in the world?
A few years ago I heard a Palestinian member of the Knesset speak. He said something so obvious yet I had not thought of it in the manner he phrased it. Zionism sought to create a home/state for Jews. But they ALSO had a driving need to make this state “democratic”. Well, it certainly couldn’t be a “democratic Jewish state” without a majority Jewish population. How was that accomplished? The Nakba. Now you wish to say that “classical Zionism” called for an “ingathering of Jews” but “Most American Jews consider themselves Zionists yet would never subscribe to the idea that they must make aliya” Tell me Richard, how is Israel going to survive when more Israelis are emigrating than immigrating? Israel HAS to maintain a Jewish majority or there goes the idea of “democracy” for a JEWISH state because I hate to tell you, I don’t think too many Palestinians would want to maintain the status quo should the demographics shift in their favor. How is this going to be maintained Richard? Is it so important that a state was created to the DETRIMENT of another people? Is that what you want to cling to? Do you really think this was a good idea to begin with considering demographics really HAD to occur in order to create this state which is the fulfillment of Zionism?
Simply put, I ask the question again, how can you reconcile the values you learned as an American with Zionism? I know for me as someone who holds the values enshrined in our Constitution and civil rights laws, I simply cannot. This is not “bordering on anti-Semitism” as you suggested above, it is simply looking at Zionism and it’s results which were BOUND to occur the minute a state for one faith was established in a home where others had lived for millenium, where just because of membership in a religion, that was seen as giving preference. SomeHOW my American values tell me this is wrong.
Hey Robin, are you Steve Amsel then? You shouldn’t be so cagey on your blog about your religous background then 🙂
If you’re not the “desert peace” warrior, I take back what I said.
No I am not Steve Amsel Chayma. If anyone has followed Steve’s blog for years they would know he is Jewish. He doesn’t have to declare it every day or even once a week or month. He has never attempted to hide his faith ever. To think he has is simply a fallacy.
SL deserves his prison sentence. And to be frank, Richard S. deserves to be in jail as well. Whether that happens or not, I don’t care, but it’s the truth.