Archive for Binyamin Netanyahu

Newt Gingrich’s Agenda-Setting Big Donor

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2012 by loonwatch
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is the biggest patron of Newt Gingrich's presidential bid, giving a reported $10m to a Gingrich-supporting Super Pac. Photograph: Vincent Yu/AP
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is the biggest patron of Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, giving a reported $10m to a Gingrich-supporting Super Pac. Photograph: Vincent Yu/AP

Newt Gingrich’s agenda-setting big donor

By donating $10m to the pro-Newt Gingrich Super Pac campaign, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, one of the richest men in the US, and his physician wife, Dr Miriam Adelson, have kept Gingrich in the Republican primary race, and given him the resources to win in South Carolina and, potentially, in Florida, without having to build a large donor base.

The power of corporate money in American politics is nothing new. But the rules set by the US supreme court in its Citizens United decision – that money is speech and corporations are people protected by the first amendment – have undone the limits set by Congress in the 1970s, allowing, in this case, one family to transform the Republican primary race.

Of course, like all private funding of politics, there is no way of knowing with certainty what the Adelsons expect to achieve with their money. And the mainstream US media has been coy about referring to the Adelsons’ political views. The New York Times story on the latest $5m donation to the Gingrich-supporting Super Pac merely described Sheldon Adelson as “a longtime Gingrich friend and a patron”.

This ignored the fact that the Adelsons use their wealth to fund rightwing groups in Israel and anti-Muslim campaigns within the US, causes that are also strongly supported by Gingrich. In Israel, Sheldon Adelson has been accused of using his newspaper Israel Hayom to promote support for his friend, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is also a political ally of Gingrich. In addition, Adelson is a financial backer of the One Jerusalem group, which opposes peace negotiations that would lead to parts of Jerusalem coming under Palestinian sovereignty. The couple’s Adelson Family Foundation donated $4.5m to the founding of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies in Jerusalem, headed by Likud party former minister Natan Sharansky (pdf).

Adelson has also funded the leading pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac). Aipac is known for its strong and effective advocacy of Israel’s interests in Washington, but four years ago, Adelson reportedly complained to its director that it was too supportive of the Palestinians. He has called the two-state solution a“stepping stone for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people”He also reportedly supports the Clarion Fund, which produces scare-mongering films advancing the conspiracy theory that Muslims seek to impose sharia law in America.

Gingrich shares the same political agenda. On 9 December, in an interview with the Jewish Channel, Gingrich stated that the Palestinians are an “invented” people. Asked about the comments while in Israel,Adelson defended Gingrich. In an address to the Republican Jewish Committee last June, Gingrich called for the US to end negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and for the closure of UN camps that house 1.4 million Palestinian refugees. He has also said there is no reason for Israelis to slow down settlement activity and give up on “maximizing their bargaining position”. He has enthusiastically perpetuated the narrative that Obama has been a poor friend to Israel, despite Obama’s repeated statements and actions to the contrary.

Gingrich is “realistic” about the threat of Islamic fundamentalism,according to Adelson. He has endorsed the conspiracy theory that Muslim organisations are using a strategy of “stealth jihad” to infiltrate sharia law into US institutions. Speaking to the American Enterprise Institute in July 2010, Gingrich said: “I believe sharia is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.” He favours a federal law to ban sharia from US courts and has said he would require American Muslims to make a loyalty declaration before serving in his administration. With his wife Callista, he produced and narrated a 2010 film on the threat of radical Islam, entitled America at Risk: The War With No Name. Bernard Lewis, who coined the phrase “clash of civilisations”, appears in the film, saying: “This war will go on until the entire world either embraces Islam or submits to Islamic rule.”

While Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have also declared their strong support for Israel, only Gingrich has embraced a vision of civilizational conflict between the west and Islam – a convenient narrative for the right in Israel, which fears growing international support for the human rights of Palestinians, and would prefer Americans to think of Israel as a bastion of western values threatened by Islamic barbarism.

The number of Americans holding this view is declining. One index of this shifting mood was the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writing last December that the standing ovation Netanyahu received at Congress was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby”, implying that money rather than shared values underlies the special relationship.

Yet there remains a reluctance to fully discuss these issues for fear of fueling the old hate libels about Jewish money controlling world events. This is a real concern: antisemitism continues to be central to much far-right ideology in the US and Europe. Equally, though, we should not be discouraged from properly scrutinising the millions of dollars being spent to advance the career of a politician who promotes conspiracy theories about a Muslim takeover of America and is running for the presidential nomination while espousing a Greater Israel agenda.

Yehuda Bauer: Israel’s Genocidal Nationalists

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by loonwatch

Yehuda Bauer

Yehuda Bauer

An important insight into Israeli society.

Yehuda Bauer: Israel’s genocidal nationalists

(AlJazeera English)
http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

As tensions grow between ultra-Orthodox Jews and the Israeli state, the scholar discusses Jewish identity and extremism.

When ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters recently clashed with Israeli government officials over gender segregation in public places, many of the demonstrators played on a link between Israel and Nazism by dressing up as Nazi concentration camp inmates.

Such clashes have become more frequent in recent years, as ultra-Orthodox Jews, who make up 10 per cent of the country’s population, are said to be growing increasingly aggressive in their attempts to impose their conservative ways on others. So is the religious divide in Israel growing? And is there a link between the Holocaust and the existence of the state of Israel?

Earlier last year, before the recent demonstrations, Talk to Al Jazeera met Yehuda Bauer, a prominent Holocaust scholar at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who says that the foundation of the state of Israel and its link to the Holocaust is weak. In fact, he says, the Holocaust almost prevented the establishment of the state by destroying much of the population the Zionist movement had expected to move to Israel.

On the question of how to achieve peace with the Palestinians as Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, stands firm on his demand that the Palestinians must recognise Israel as a Jewish state, Bauer says: “I think that is proof of his [Netanyahu’s] internal insecurity. If you are secure in your Jewish identity you do not need Abu Mazen or Saeb Erekat to tell you that you are a Jew. Do they need me to fortify their belief that they are Palestinian?”

Bauer believes Palestinians and all other minorities living on Israeli soil should be given equal rights to Israelis, because a national state “should grant absolutely equal rights, not just formal rights, to the minorities that are within it”.

On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, Yehuda Bauer talks to Teymoor Nabili about being a historian in a region where there are as many versions of history as there are people telling them, Jewish identity and extremism and navigating between conservative Jews and Palestinians.

“There is a certain closeness in attitudes, in outlooks, in social psychology …. We are cousins. Cousins very often quarrel in a very unpleasant way, but I think that we could arrive at an arrangement where live and let live could become a viable option – it is not now, obviously, but it could become that. There is a danger of a violent Jewish radical, genocidal nationalism with a minority of Israeli Jews. There is such a minority, it’s very dangerous, I think we have to exert great pressure on these people to limit that, and finally to conquer it. This group of radical Jewish nationalists, genocidal radical Jewish nationalists, are a mirror image of radical Islam that wants to annihilate all the Jews in the world. But on both sides there is a danger. Here it is a minority, but that could change ….”

Yehuda Bauer

ADL Contradicts its Goals by approval of Fascist

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2009 by loonwatch

adl-large

The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) is one of the oldest civil rights organizations in America and Abe Foxman has been its public face for over 20 years now. The ADL bills itself as the “nations premier civil rights/human relations agency” and states that it “fights Anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.”

These are lofty goals and one must recognize the contribution that the ADL has made to civil rights both in legislation and advocacy over the years.  This is the reason why Abe Foxman’s comments in support of the new Israeli administration led by Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman are all the more troubling.

He implies that he is not troubled by the ascension of Avigdor Lieberman who has been described by many in Israel as a fascist because of his desire to make all Israelis take loyalty oaths and if they do not comply have their citizenship revoked. As we reported previously Lieberman was a member of the Kach party which was inspired and created by the late terrorist Meir Kahane.

All of these facts should have raised red flags for Foxman but in a piece titled Lieberman loyalty proposal finds support in U.S., Ben Harris writes,

the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that is quick to spot instances of discrimination, says Lieberman is right to be concerned about apparent acts of disloyalty by Israeli Arabs.

Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, noted with concern the trips by Arab Israeli Knesset members to enemy states and expressions of solidarity with Hamas by Israeli Arabs during Israel’s recent military operation in the Gaza Strip.

“There were a lot of people who said, ‘Hey, that’s disloyal,’ ” Foxman told JTA. “That’s what he’s talking about. He’s not saying expel them. He’s not saying punish them.”

This is a very troubling justification for Lieberman’s agenda and a convenient glossing over of the

Abraham Foxman

Abraham Foxman

facts. It is ironic considering that this is a similar accusation that was leveled against Jews in Europe at which time their loyalty was also called into question. It is a slippery slope when anyone brings up the card of “loyalty,” it leads one to ask who defines loyalty to a state? Is any criticism of the state considered disloyal? When many Israelis, Arabs and Jews protested against the Gaza offensive they were called disloyal, is this the type of action that merits a program to test the loyalty of a nation’s citizens?

Lieberman and his party define disloyalty by what you wear amongst other things,

If you are an Arab student and dare come to school wearing a kefiyah, you are ‘disloyal.’ He has called for the expulsion of Arab Members of the Knesset, threatening them that “a new administration will be established and then we will take care of you. He led the drive in Israel’s Central Election Committee to have Arab political parties banned from running in the most recent election, which passed successfully and was overturned only by the Israeli Supreme Court”

Abe Foxman should have known better, instead of siding with a fascist with a murky past and a penchant for radical and hateful statements such as Lieberman he should have held fast to the stated goals of the ADL to “defend Democratic ideals,” instead his actions undermined them and put into question ADL’s commitment to Democratic values.