March 8, 2019

“Tell me who you cannot criticize and I will tell you who is your master”. (Attributed to Voltaire).

Saying anything negative about Israel has long been the third rail of US politics and media. Israel is our nation’s most sacred cow. Any questioning of its behavior brings furious charges of anti-Semitism and professional oblivion.

I keep in my bookcase a cautionary book, ‘They Dared Speak Out’ written by US senators and congressmen who all lost their positions after rebuking Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinians or daring to suggest that Israel had far too much influence in the US.

Journalists learn this first commandment very early. Criticize, or even question, Israel at your own peril. Until recently, we journalists were not even allowed to write there was an ‘Israel lobby.’ It was widely considered Washington’s most powerful lobby group but, until lately, mentioning its name was seriously verboten.

Now, young Democratic stars Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a feisty congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, have suddenly broken the taboo and said what dared not be said: there is too much rightwing Israeli influence and there must be justice for Palestine.

Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have come to the defense of Ilhan Omar against the usual charges that she is anti-Semitic. So have black groups and smaller liberal Jewish groups. The Democratic Party, that once received half its financial support from Jewish sources, is badly split over the Palestine crisis. Its old guard is retreating and does not know what to do beyond issuing fiery denunciations of the heretical Miss Omar. The Democrat Party split comes just at a time when it is trying to bring down President Donald Trump.

Many people seem unaware that Islam is now America’s third largest religion and may soon surpass the number of Jews. In Canada, Muslims are already the second religion.

Ilhan is not anti-Semitic. I grew up in New York and New England where vicious anti-Semitism abounded. I know real anti-Semitism when I see it. But she is quite right in charging that vast amounts of pro-Israel money have bought Congress and the media.

Sheldon Adelson, the pro-Israel casino tycoon, has given well over $100 million to the Republican Party and its leaders. This money comes from legal gambling, a sickness that preys on addicts and the unfortunate.

In the 1700’s, Dr. Samuel Johnson well defined lotteries and gambling as ‘a tax on fools.’ Such is the source of Adelson’s billions and his influence over the US political process. He is also the primary financier of Israel’s prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, who now faces serious charges of corruption.

Interestingly, Britain faces a similar political storm. Its left-leaning Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, has called for justice for the Palestinians and a viable state for them. Britain’s pro-Israel groups and media have launched furious counterattacks on Corbyn and his allies, barraging them with false accusations of being anti-Semitic. This is utter nonsense. To find real anti-Semitism in Britain you need look into the recesses of the Conservative Party. I’ve seen its ugly face.

Israel’s brutal repression of Palestinians has sparked bitter anti-Israel sentiments across Europe. Not so much in America, where media leans far over to Israel’s side and evangelical Christians have been bamboozled into believing that a Greater Israel is somehow necessary for the Second Coming.

But young Americans, and even more so Europeans, are increasingly hearing the call of justice for Palestine. They want no truck with Israel’s right-wingers, whom many leftist Israelis, including the late great writer, Uri Avnery, brand ‘fascists.’

The prescient and courageous Pat Buchanan said it years ago: the US Congress was ‘Israeli occupied territory.’ His political career was ruined.

So was my mother’s career. She was one of the first American female journalists to cover the Mideast in the early 1950’s. After extensively reporting the unknown fact that there were nearly one million Palestinian refugees driven from the new state of Israel, she was silenced by advertisers pulling ads from the papers she wrote for and, finally, threats to throw acid in my face. Her career was ruined.

So I say to Miss Omar and the other brave ladies, full speed ahead. Damn the torpedoes. Do what is good for the world and your country. Break the hold of big money over our republic.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2019

This post is in: Israel, USA

7 Responses to “MORE POWER TO YOU MISS OMAR”

  1. Raj Sathya says:

    “No one in the Arab world ever accepted the notion of a Palestinian nation. They wouldnt grant them a state.We’ve granted them a state in Gaza and they turned it into Afghanistan in the heart of Israel. We aren’t about to make that mistake again” said by Naftali Bennet ,the official of Israel some years ago.He made a true statement about the fake Palestinian issue and artificial Palestinian state.They dont know how to build a prosperous peaceful society instead carrying their infants and tires to the Israel border after their friday payers.This is the terrorist mentality, the problem is with them not with Israel.I wish the Somalian born Ilham Omar will remove her head scarf and make a trip to Evin prison a notorious outside Tehran, to say hello to human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh who is facing 38 years jail sentence and 148 lashes for defending women who refuse the head scarfs.

  2. Steve_M. says:

    Bravo, Eric. As you have previously noted, the pro-Israel lobby played a major role in persuading the US to invade Iraq in order to topple Saddam Hussein and is also behind Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Iran accord. Still, it’s quite understandable that many American politicians are afraid to speak out against the Israeli government for its treatment of the Palestinians and for the influence it has in the US Congress. But, it’s good to see that some politicians are now willing to do so. Bernie Sanders, being himself Jewish, is certainly well-placed to support them.

    • Steve_M. says:

      It has just been reported (on Sun., March 10th) that Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is the homeland “only of the Jewish people,”. In other words, Palestinian Arabs, be they Moslem or Christian, and the non-Palestinian Christian minority in Israel generally, are considered second-class citizens. American Pentecostals and Evangelicals should take note and see what kind of Israeli government they are supporting.

  3. “Saying anything negative about Israel has long been the third rail of US politics and media. Israel is our nation’s most sacred cow.”
    .
    The Israeli lobby is very effective at ‘marking’ any criticism as anti-semetic. There is always a fierce response to any unflattering comments. I was not surprised at how fast was the response to Omar’s comment that it about the Benjamins. I was, however, surprised that the Democrats were equally vociferous. As you note, speaking the truth about Israel can be dangerous to political and journalistic careers. Yours has likely suffered for being candid.
    .
    The UN, not without its problems, is accused by the Americans for being anti-semetic; people have to realise that this term is often used to denigrate others that may be speaking the truth about Israel. Their strong lobby vilifies critics. The western world is consumed by a ‘guilt complex’ from WWII. The UN is correct in their support for the Palestinians, but, is thwarted by the Israeli lobby. I’m pleased to see that Corbyn of the UK is for the Palastinians; he is often critised because of his political stance for this and other things. This morning, from ‘The Interecept’, “U.N. investigators concluded last week that Israeli troops may have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity during their weeks long bloody crackdown against Palestinian protesters last year, a charge that the Israeli government automatically dismissed.” This news is censored and not covered by the main Western newspapers.
    .
    The Democratic party is on a bit of a cusp. The existing ‘old white guys’ are still pulling the strings, Pelosi being one of them. They want to maintain the party as being something ‘right of centre’. The ‘new blood’ wants to take the party to the ‘left’. For the US to regain their ‘greatness’ it is a matter of the government to provide basic health care and education to the ‘masses’. The population has been ‘dummed down’.
    .
    The ‘old white guys’ likely rely on the donations from key industries for running their campaigns; the ‘new blood’ is out ‘beating the bushes’ to obtain independent financing. The ‘new blood’ is not beholding to any major contributor. The American political system has to change so that there is nothing to identify a contributor to a political party. The IRS can assign them a ‘donation number’ for tax purposes. In this fashion there is no appearance of ‘bribery’ or corruption. Your reference to Sheldon Adelson and Benyamin Netanyahu is a prime example.
    .
    The Democrats seem to be teamed against Trump, and not without cause. This is a ruse; to Make America Great, they should be directing their efforts to improving/correcting voter turnout, registration, gerrymandering, and the Electoral College. To improve their chances of success, they should commence an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s perjury. They should also address free health care and education. These things are being ‘held back’ likely by the old white guys in the Democratic party that don’t want the American system to change; they are happy to maintain the status quo. There is little difference between the ‘old white guys’ that are Republicans or Democrats.
    .
    We currently have an issue in Canada where SNC Lavalin has admitted to guilt in paying donations (aka bribes) to foreign individuals. The Liberal party is ‘breaking’ the Rule of Law to accommodate SNC. Coincidentally SNC is a large contributor to the Liberal Party (donations not bribes). The same consideration of Rule of Law is not afforded to Meng Wanzhou of Huawei. Trudeau uses the excuse that we are following the Rule of Law with respect to China (We are not American lapdogs). It would be interesting if China could take this matter to the World Court, since Canada is a signatory nation. As noted above, Canadians need the same anonymous donation system in Canadian politics. Corruption seriously undermines a nations faith in government. Junior is just as dangerous as was his dad, Pierre Elliot.
    .
    There will likely be many changes in Canada and the US with the increasing Muslim population. Improvements in the political system to encourage people participation will accellerate this.
    .
    “So I say to Miss Omar and the other brave ladies, full speed ahead. Damn the torpedoes. Do what is good for the world and your country. Break the hold of big money over our republic.” They have their work cut out for them. Amen
    .
    Dik

    • CORRECTION:
      We currently have an issue in Canada where SNC Lavalin has been charged with paying donations (aka bribes) to foreign individuals. I had understood that there was a requirement that a guilty plea be entered prior to seeking preferential treatment. The Liberal party is ‘breaking’ the Rule of Law to accommodate SNC. Coincidentally SNC is a large contributor to the Liberal Party (donations not bribes). The same consideration of Rule of Law is not afforded to Meng Wanzhou of Huawei. Trudeau uses the excuse that we are following the Rule of Law with respect to China (We are not American lapdogs). It would be interesting if China could take this matter to the World Court, since Canada is a signatory nation. As noted above, Canadians need the same anonymous donation system in Canadian politics. Corruption seriously undermines a nations faith in government. Junior is just as dangerous as was his dad, Pierre Elliot.

  4. The way our media and the western governments of the world are so controlled by Israel, if Israel herded the Palestinian people into extermination camps all would fall on their faces and chant the mantra “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

    • I’m usually opinionated, but your comment is classic. Almost like Donald saying he could probably shoot someone in public and not be charged.

      Dik

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