Aug 1, 2010

Tikun Olam : ADL Says Claims 'Survivors' Entitled to Be Racist


Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place
August 1, 2010 12:50 AM
cordoba house muslim cultural center

Cordoba House, NYC Muslim cultural center

Abe Foxman, one of American Jewry's leading Islamophobes, announced the ADL opposed Park51, the new Muslim cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero.  The project, also known as Cordoba House, has the strong support of Mayor Bloomberg and all the appropriate community planning boards and agencies.



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Israeli Revisionism On Stalin




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Israel to deport 400 children




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Chomsky update



From: [] On Behalf Of Israel Shamir
Sent: Sunday, August 01, 2010 8:23 PM
To: readers
Cc: Jeffrey Blankfort
Subject: [shamireaders] chomsky update



Chomsky Pro and Contra follow-up

From Jeff Blankfort

[replying to Sara Kershnar, of International Jewish anti-Zionist Network],

While being Jewish and being Zionist are not necessarily the same thing,  most Jews are philosophically Zionists, although the majority is not part of the Israel Lobby. On the other hand, anyone reading the Old Testament, our friends in Neturei Karta not withstanding, can see that there is a direct connection between Orthodox or Fundamentalist Judaism and Zionism; that the mentality that created the Jewish god who then, we are told, ordered the early Jews to commit the most violent of genocides against people who never harmed them, is the same mentality that lies at the root of Zionism as practiced in modern day Israel. To repeat, it is also true that despite its well publicized crimes the vast majority of Jews and virtually the entire organized Jewish community in the US, Western Europe, South Africa, and Australia, support the Zionist Jewish state. To pretend that those of us who seriously oppose Zionism and the existence of a Jewish state are anything other than a relatively small handful is to deceive ourselves and others.

To pretend that Judaism can be separated from Zionism is also a deception. Just take a look, for example, at three Jewish holidays, all of which celebrate death, not of Jews but of others. Passover memorializes the story of the angel of death passing over the Jewish homes while marking those of innocent Egyptians for death. Who was that angel working for, if not Yahweh, the Jewish god?

Then we have Purim in which Jewish children dress up as clowns and everyone has fun. What are they celebrating? The massacre of 75,000 Persians by the Jews (an early pre-emptive strike since we are told, as we have been told lies about Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon) that they were ready to do the same to the Jews).  Finally, there is Hanukah which celebrates the bloody victory of the Jewish fundamentalists over the Jewish secularists, called Hellenists at the time. Frankly, there is something wrong with a religion that celebrates such holidays, the authenticity of the stories being irrelevant.

There was a time, when I was much younger and thought much as you did, because I was raised in an atmosphere where Jews were in the leadership and predominant in the ranks of virtually every progressive political struggle. That was my parents' generation. But then I discovered to my horror, when I returned from my first visit to the ME in 1970, that when it came to the Palestinians, almost all of them were transformed into racist, screaming Afrikaners, my parents being a rare exception. I know since I experienced their venom.

I also take serious issue with you and [Scottish anti-racist] Mick discounting the number of Jews in the Obama administration as a distraction and that it "takes us toward the extreme right." Rather, it points us towards the truth. If it was only the number of Jews we are considering I would agree but in the case of the Obama administration we have what the Israelis consider to be "warm Jews," those strongly pro-Zionist, in a number of key State Dept. positions as well as in the Treasury including Stuart Levey and David Cohen, the top two men deciding what Muslim groups will be put on department's "terrorist list,"  Daniel Benjamin, in charge of "counter-terrorism" for the National Security Council, and Kenneth Katzman, in charge of analyzing the Persian Gulf region for the Congressional Research Service. The head of that department in Treasury, Levey frequently speaks before Zionist organizations where he brags, as he does to the mainstream media, that he is "the decider."

Not a word of criticism let alone mention of his name and what he does have I heard from any Jewish anti-zionist other than Phil Weiss on his Mondoweiss blog. It was, in fact, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Conf of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, who bragged to the Jewish weekly Forward in 1995 how he helped to formulate the first Effective Death Penalty and Counter Terrorism Act under Bill Clinton which initiated the economic war against Palestinian institutions. Is speaking about that and Levey's role in enforcing the law a dangerous distraction or an important fact everyone should know in waging a serious struggle for Palestinian rights?  Passionate rhetoric, on the other hand, such as what we hear and read from Chomsky and Finkelstein, who also never mention the role of Levey and the history of Hoenlein, leaves me cold. Particularly when they oppose BDS targeting Israel.

Should we be concerned about oil company insiders and pharmaceutical drug lobbyists getting jobs with the government but keep silent when it comes to pro-Israel Jews in Washington and try to silence others who raise the issue? Is it not of historical importance that the election to presidency of Bill Clinton led to what an Israeli journalist described as a Judaization of the State Dept., a situation that has not only not changed but grown more serious with each successive administration? Does IJAN not take any interest in that? Is it "anti-semitic" to bring it up? I am not only bringing this up because I unconditionally support the rights of the Palestinian people to regain and return their ancient homeland but I am also concerned with what the American Jewish Establishment, through its ham handed support for Israel and its stranglehold on Congress and on the White House have done to undermine what is left of our democracy. Does IJAN taken a position on that?


Jeff Blankfort
[Not surprisingly, Sarah's response ends with "I really think this discussion is not useful and not going to produce anything useful for actually confronting Zionism or capitalism.]

From: Bekir L. Yildirim, Turkey


Without getting bogged down in deciphering, parsing the nuances here is my two cents worth on the big picture:

Chomsky does perform a useful function in getting us to the "good".

We should not fall in the "perfect enemy of the good" trap.

Average informed Western mind cannot get to Shamir, Shahak, Finkelstein or the like without the likes of Chomsky.

Alas, I agree with the Israel's characterization of "a discussion within our camp".

We live in a world of relative morality. Not compromising from pure idealism might be the right thing to do for the moralist who is not concerned with expediency. But some of us cannot wait a thousand years for the utopia.


Chomsky better than no Chomsky.


From John Wheat Gibson

The US government is, indeed, like a gigantic truck, barreling through the streets, killing innocent people and smashing property.  Israel is not such a large truck.  Israel, however, is driving the truck.

From Alla Nikonov, Tel Aviv

Honest, I am not THAT worried about who is worse - USA or Israel, or even who wags whom. But when Chomsky openly disregards Palestinians' call to BDS, on the ground that  BDS would  harm Jews in Israel, I rest my case :(

From Roger Tucker

As I see it, the bottom line is that Chomsky is a Zionist, if one accepts the definition of a Zionist as someone who asserts that "the Jews" had the right to colonize Palestine. The fact that, otherwise, he's a very influential spokesperson of the Left means that the damage he does is just that much more destructive. Obviously he's basically a good guy and smart as a whip, and his critique of the Empire is very effective, but that's why Jeff, Ken and others who take him on are performing an essential task. People like Chomsky, not to mention Uri Avnery, Jimmy Carter, Michael Lerner, Walt and Mearsheimer and so on (all fine folks), confuse the issue, leaving the ZPG more or less free to maintain their stranglehold over public opinion in the West, and leaving Israel free to give the middle finger to them and the rest of the world. We won't make any headway until we make the case stick that the Jewish State does not have "a right to exist."


Re: They Trampled him into the ground


From Ian Buckley

Hello Israel Adam,


This man's deplorable fate acts as a sort of public warning to independent thinkers. The message is: do not venture too far away from received wisdom. Pour encourager les autres and all that.


In the final analysis, the system rests on fear and all the bland corporate media men, smoothy politicians and conformist academics know it well enough. As a movie buff (like me) you'll be familiar with Jacques Tourneur's 'Night of the Demon'.


Karswell's words in that film:' And I do what I do out of fear also. It's part of the price' would seem to sum the prevalent attitude among such types.


best wishes,




From Steve Campbell

Here is a most revealing interview with the late Dr. Dariusz Ratajczak from 2002.    


From Jim Dean


I had not heard of Professor Ratajczak getting the Judeo-Aztec treatment...Polish style.


This focus on a single victim can often grab the public's sympathy more than a shipload or corpses. When a school of tuna decimates a shoal of mackerel the public goes about their business. And they generally do the same when the Jewish Lobby destroys lives, families and businesses.


But this man's cruel death could be the beginning of something, maybe a catalyst for those Poles who no longer want to live on their knees. But of course there are always those, the ones with knee pads...who don't find it too bad. And sadly much of the professional historian community falls into this group.


My thanks to Mr. Bellinger for the tribute to this brave historian to whom we are all indebted for his 320 booklets. What happened to him was an act of terror if there ever was one...the slow make him a better intimidation example. Maybe we can be inspired to lower the future body count.


And to all those Poles, Jews and non Jews, who participated in the lynching of this man...may you all burn in hell, and slowly please so I can enjoy the odor longer while I read over the names of your victims.


Thanks for this. When we get the time we will build a virtual memorial wall on line for the victims of the Hebrew Klansmen.


We can ask for national holidays and government subsidies to build museums in their honor, etc...and drive a lot of people crazy. When they say no, we can then demand that funding be eliminated for their chosen victims so the rest are not sent to the back fo the bus.


If someone can find a photo of this man, I should like to see his face to remember him by.


Jim Dean

Heritage TV...Atlanta


Next victim? 

From Frank Scott


Judge faces anti-Semitism probe after speech attacking Israel helps free arms factory protesters

Judge Bathurst-NormanRemarks: Judge Bathurst-Norman is being investigated after summing up in a trial which led to protesters being acquitted

A senior judge was under investigation yesterday after being accused of making anti-Semitic remarks in court that may have swayed his jury into acquitting a group of protesters.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman was said by critics to have persuaded a jury to clear a group of campaigners who smashed up a factory making parts for Israeli warplanes.

Summing up in the criminal damage trial, he compared Israel to the Nazi regime and accused the country of ignoring international law.

The judge added that 'there may be much to be admired' about the chief protester, and that 'in the last war he would probably have received a George Medal'.

The Office for Judicial Complaints, which deals with objections over the conduct of judges and magistrates, confirmed that an inquiry into how Judge Bathurst-Norman handled the trial of five political activists at Hove Crown Court in June is under way.

Its findings will be considered by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, who have the final say on any disciplinary action.

A number of complaints are said to have accused the judge not just of anti-Israel rhetoric but specifically of anti-Semitism.

The case involved a group of activists who broke into and vandalised a Brighton factory run by engineering firm EDO MBM.

The company was making parts for use in the bomb-aiming equipment on Israeli F16 warplanes.

The invasion shut the factory for a week and caused £187,000 worth of damage. But five men and women who appeared in court claimed they had done nothing wrong under criminal damage law. 

The law says someone is not guilty of causing damage if they believed it was necessary for the immediate protection of someone else's property.

It is framed to protect, for example, someone who smashes a neighbour's door down if they believe their house is on fire. 

However, in the Brighton case, the activists claimed they believed their invasion was necessary for the protection of property in Gaza.

Several similar defences by protesters have been successful in recent years.

In 2008, six Greenpeace protesters were acquitted after causing £30,000 worth of damage at a coal-fired power station.

The jury in that case accepted they had acted to prevent climate change causing greater damage. 

Describing evidence shown in court, Judge Bathurst-Norman told the jury that he could only describe the 'horrific' events shown as 'scenes which one would rather have hoped to have disappeared with the Nazi regimes of the last war'.

In his summing up, he gave his backing to the evidence of one defendant, Ornella Saibene, a former Greenham Common activist.

The judge said: 'She took us through the horrors, and there really is no other word for it than horrors, that emerged in the press and on the news and the footage as to what the Israelis were doing in Gaza.

'You may think that perhaps "Hell on Earth" would be an understatement of what the Gazans endured.'

Among groups complaining was the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Its president, Vivian Wineman, said: 'The judge's comments give rise to profound concerns about the appropriateness of his directions to the jury.'

Jonathan Hoffman, of the Zionist Federation, said: 'This opens the door to any group which thinks the British presence in Afghanistan is wrong to go and smash up plants supplying British forces.'  

Read more:


Read a new piece by Nadia Kevorkova:



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UK government appoints first-ever envoy for Holocaust-related issues


UK government appoints first-ever envoy for Holocaust-related issues

14 June 2010

The British government has appointed its first-ever envoy to deal with post-Holocaust issues. Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that Sir Andrew Burns, a former ambassador to Israel, would take the job. Hague said his country was committed to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and would support efforts to make sure that the lessons of this period in history are not forgotten.

Burns will oversee efforts to resolve outstanding issues and claims related to property and art restitution. He will also take part in education efforts and promote remembrance and research about the Holocaust. "Sir Andrew's appointment will ensure that we continue to support those working to right past wrongs," Hague said.

Burns' appointment was applauded in Israel. "We think it's a very positive and important step ... and we wish him a lot of success in his work in promoting Holocaust education and fighting for the rights of the survivors," said Estee Yaari, a spokeswoman for Yad Vashem, was quoted by AP as saying. "The Holocaust is an issue that is part of all of our history." 

Recent international efforts have focused on providing restitution to aging victims of Nazi persecution. Last week, more than 40 countries agreed on a set of international rules for returning real estate stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners or heirs.

The Latest from Mondoweiss


The Latest from Mondoweiss

Link to Mondoweiss

The back-of-the-envelope history of the Anti-Defamation League

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 07:48 PM PDT

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was formed by B'nai B'rith in 1913 to be the leading Jewish defense agency in the wake of the conviction of Leo Frank, an officer of the National Pencil Co. of Atlanta,Georgia,, for the murder of 13 year old Mary Phagan, a shop floor worker at the pencil factory. It was a verdict that many believed to be a miscarriage of justice, which was compounded by Frank being kidnapped from prison two years later and lynched, the only American Jew known to have suffered that fate.

By 1937, the Anti-Defamation League had embarked on another occupation, keeping files and spying on what it considered to be communist or pro-communist organizations and individuals. In that year, a 1947 Congressional hearing revealed, it had begun providing information on the recently formed National Lawyers Guild and on individuals applying for government jobs to the original House Committee on Un-American Activities chaired by the notorious racist and anti-semite, Rep. Martin Dies, which came to be referred to simply as the Dies Committee.

In the anti-communist witch hunts conducted at the beginning of the Cold War, the ADL assisted and acted as a go-between for both the Congressional committees and members or former members of the CPUSA who chose to inform on their former comrades and friends, including, in at least one instance, family members.

While the ADL's public face was that of an organization determined to rid the country of neo-Nazis and skinheads, its raison d'etre in the absence of any serious threats of anti-semitism, was not defense of Jews, per se, but defense of Israel and the intimidation and public humiliation of its critics. While that invariably gained the ADL headlines, what was hidden from the public was of equal importance. The ADL, by the late 1980s had begun one of the largest private spying operations in the United States, a fact that was discovered by the San Francisco police in 1992 when it raided the ADL office after discovering that it had been working with a rogue SF cop, Tom Gerard, who had been providing the organization with personal non-public information about a host of American citizens, but, in particular, those supporting the Palestinian cause and opposing South African apartheid.

It turned out that this cop was partnering with a San Francisco weight lifter, Roy Bullock, who had infiltrated the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and a number of other organizations and had in his files the names of over 10,000 individuals and over 600 organizations, most of which were kept in what Bullock labeled as Pinko files. Bullock and Gerard were also being paid by South African intelligence officials to provide them with the same information on anti-apartheid activism that they had been collecting for the ADL.

Bullock had been identified as the ADL's "main fact finder" by the late Irwin Suall, who headed the group's intelligence apparatus, but depositions taken at the time revealed there were similar spying operations being conducted by the ADL across the United States. Despite the ADL having promised to cease trying to illegally obtain information on its enemies at the time in exchange for not being prosecuted, there is no evidence that it has. Rather it has strengthened its ties with police across the country through its LEARN program (Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network) in which it trains police in dealing with "extremist groups" and "hate crimes." 

The ADL has become identified with the antics and pronouncements of its long-time national director, Abe Foxman, who has made a name for himself by taking on anyone he considers guilty of anti-Semitism, which means criticizing Israel or the abuse of Jewish power. In the past this has included Marlon Brando, Mel Gibson, and most recently Oliver Stone. Jews are not immune, as Tony Judt found out in 2006 when Foxman interceded with the Polish Consulate in New York to prevent the British Jewish writer from giving a talk in the building's meeting room on "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy."

Now, Foxman is in the headlines once again, trying to prevent an Islamic center, one that would be open to everyone, from being constructed adjacent to the site of the World Trade Center bombing. This would appear to be a clear violation of the mission statement of the organization, part of which states that its "purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens." For Foxman, apparently, that mission no longer includes Muslims.

Does Israelo-fascism exist?

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 12:54 PM PDT

Robert O. Paxton, the distinguished emeritus professor at Columbia University, is perhaps the world's leading authority on fascism. His book Vichy France (1972) has become a classic, not least in France itself, for telling truths about the collaborationist regime that the French themselves had been too ashamed and timid to say. More recently, The Anatomy of Fascism (2004) is a masterful survey that looks thoroughly and intelligently at "fascism" instead of just using it as an epithet.

Toward the end of the book, Paxton looks at the possibility of fascism in "Other Times, Other Places" outside its peak in Europe between the two World Wars. Among several examples, he says that ". . . one must address the potential – supreme irony – for fascism in Israel."
He recognizes that

"Israeli national identity has been powerfully associated with an affirmation of the human rights that were long denied to Jews in the Diaspora. This democratic tradition forms a barrier against 'giving up free institutions' in the fight against Palestinian nationalism." 

But, he writes, more recently there is cause for worry.

"The suicide bombings of the second intifada after 2001 radicalized even many Israeli democrats to the right. By 2002, it was possibly to hear language within the right wing of the Likud Party and some of the small religious parties that comes close to a functional equivalent to fascism. The chosen people begins to sound like a Master Race that claims a unique 'mission in the world,' demands its 'vital space,' demonizes an enemy that obstructs the realization of the people's destiny, and accepts the necessity of force to obtain these ends."

The Western mainstream devotes a great deal of time and energy to every Islamic extremist statement, and the word "Islamofascism" has even been used by an American president. But their Israeli extremist equivalents, who have only gotten louder and more powerful since Paxton's book appeared, hardly ever appear in U.S. news reports.  The unstated assumption is that the "Israelo-fascists" like Avigdor Lieberman are only crazy uncles hidden up in the attic, not worth paying attention to. 

'And along come the Israelis and knock their house down'

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 12:42 PM PDT

I honestly don't know how you can be a Zionist and see this kind of report without screaming-- from Al Jazeera, about the destruction of 20,000 Palestinian houses in "Occupied East Jerusalem," some of them repeat demolitions of individual families' houses. From reporter Jacky Rowland, with the great Jeff Halper of ICAHD saying the intention is "to drive Palestinians out of the country." When is this stuff going to be on American television? When will American reporters say the words, "Occupied East Jerusalem." When is American Jewish leadership going to come to terms with these horrifying facts on the ground? Thanks to Reem Mokhtar.

Foxman plays Holocaust card

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 11:44 AM PDT

Joe Klein says Abe Foxman should be fired now, and points to Foxman's long disgraceful record, including calling Klein anti-Semitic for saying that Jewish neocons had pushed the Iraq war (and now Iran war) without disclosing their true concern. 

During the high-tide of anti-semitism, and then again during the civil-rights movement, and often since, the Anti-Defamation League transcended its Jewish origins to stand as a courageous American voice against prejudice. But now, it's making a mockery of its original mission and, in the process, it has sullied American Judaism's intense tradition of tolerance and inclusion.

Klein's memory is a little short. Let's don't forget that the ADL spied on Americans who were critical of Israel more than a decade ago, and sought to blacklist Tony Judt, causing the Polish Consulate to cancel a speech of his about the Israel lobby 4 years back.
Now Foxman ups the ante. I can't follow his logic, but I know it aint cricket. From AP:

Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, defended his position. In a phone interview, he compared the idea of a mosque near ground zero to the Roman Catholic Carmelite nuns who had a convent at the Auschwitz death camp. In 1993, Pope John Paul II responded to Jewish protests by ordering the nuns to move.

"We're saying if your purpose is to heal differences, it's the wrong place," Foxman said of the mosque. "Don't do it. The symbolism is wrong." 

The children whose spirit a siege couldn't break

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 09:23 AM PDT

Haaretz has the story on the latest record set by the children of Gaza.  They've broken their own record from last year's UNRWA Summer Games for the number of kites being flown at one time. 

gaza kits

The UN website has the video:

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Palestinian Girl No 1:
"Seriously, it is a beautiful that the UN gave us this chance to feel happy while we are under siege."

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Palestinian Girl No 2:
"We thank the UNRWA and the UN for helping the children who are living under the siege to express their feelings and to have good times."

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Palestinian Boy No 1:
"Last week we went to the airport for bouncing and we broke a new Guinness record, and this week we came here to set a new world record by flying kites"

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Palestinian Girl No 3:
"I am so happy because we broke two new records in one week, and we raise the slogan: Creativity is not impossible, and we are children like other children around the world, we want to be happy and to learn, and for that we decided to challenge the world by breaking new records in bouncing and flying kites. I hope that we will win, because we have a strong spirit and we don't know anything called impossible despite of the difficulties we faced, and a new generation will raise the Palestinian flag and always we will have a strong spirit."

When you hear someone defending the siege remind them that they are denying the children in this video's rights to access: clean drinking water, adequate medical care; and until recently crayons and coloring books.


I felt alone till I heard about the Jewish boat to Gaza

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 09:21 AM PDT

Editor's note: I'm going to be writing a lot about boats these days. Americans are organizing a U.S. boat to Gaza, with a cruise around New York this Thursday to raise money for the effort, and in the meantime a Jewish boat to Gaza will be sailing from Europe. No departure set yet, but it could be in the next couple of weeks. Yesterday I met Lillian Rosengarten, who arrived in this country as an infant refugee from Nazi Germany, and she related her excitement about joining the Jewish boat. She writes:

It all began when a friend sent an article on June 17 written by Adam Horowitz entitled, "Due to demand Jewish boat to Gaza is becoming a flotilla." Without a moment's thought, I knew I had to find the organizers and contact them. I felt inexplicably driven to find them. I found Edith Lutz and Kate Leiterer, organizers of "Judische Stimme" or Jewish Voice for a Just Peace located in Germany. In my search, I stumbled across other sites, Jewish ship to Gaza, American Jews For Just Peace and Jewish Voice for Peace in Oakland, Calif.

I became aware that day I was not alone, a German Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who vehemently opposes the Israeli government's use of collective punishment for the purpose of crushing the freedom and spirit of the Palestinians.

Here is what I wrote with some additions:

"I am a 75 year old refugee from Nazi Germany (Frankfurt) human rights activist, poet, writer and psychoanalyst. I have traveled around the world including Germany and Israel (have relatives there.) Other German Jews mostly elderly relatives as well as American Jews many of whom are progressives in all areas but Israel, are in complete disagreement. As a Jew and particularly as a German Jew, I feel isolated in my commitment to equal human rights for everyone. 'Never Again' has a deep personal significance and requires that I not only speak out but take action against humanitarian injustice and human rights abuses. I am painfully aware of a growing split in Israel between Likud and Labor, a split that divides the country and becomes increasingly violent within the two factions of the Jewish community. My uncle Hans Lebrecht (now over 90) formerly from Ulm, predicted this two decades ago. I have been with him many times in Israel and it was he who first introduced me to Palestinian families, his friends in the Wes t Bank. They were academics at Beir Zeit University as well as journalists. I met families I grew to love in the years we continued our friendship. They are lost to me now and I miss them. Perhaps you know Hans? He is a wonderful man, former journalist, human rights activist who fought against injustice for all of his life, first in Germany and then in Israel where he settled. I would like to join the flotilla in an effort to break the blockade and to end Israel's horrible siege. I speak fluent German although my ability to read is better in English. How can I make this happen? Awaiting your reply,

Lillian Rosengarten

(formerly Gisela Lebrecht)

On June 19, I was invited to join the ship. I feel I have been given a gift. The organizers are in communication with the American and Israeli governments in an attempt to guarantee safe passage for the Jewish boat and to permit entry into Gaza to accomplish it's peaceful and humanitarian efforts.

Why did a Democratic congressman's aide speak of 'Jewish money'?

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 09:05 AM PDT

This is interesting. Mike McMahon, a first-term Democratic congressman from New York, fired a staffer after she said that McMahon's Republican challenger was getting a lot of out-of-state donors and "Jewish money." NY Observer:

The file, labeled "[Mike] Grimm Jewish Money Q2," for the second quarter fundraising period, shows a list of over 80 names, a half-dozen of which in fact do hail from Staten Island, and a handful of others that list Brooklyn as home.

"Where is Grimm's money coming from," said Jennifer Nelson, McMahon's campaign spokeman. "There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees."

Haaretz details the wrath that came down on Nelson:

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matthew Brooks said on Friday in a statement that "in more than 25 years in politics I have never seen anything more despicable and offensive than this"...

"Congressman McMahon has fired his communications director, but what about the other staff involved? Who asked for that list to be compiled? Who approved that action? Congressman McMahon needs to do more than apologize for 'inappropriate comments' - he must be held accountable for actions that his campaign staff took to count Jews supporting his rival," Brooks said. "I don't think this is something that should be swept under the rug. Seeing such bigotry from a sitting congressman's campaign is deeply troubling."

Even the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) President and CEO, David Harris, had to denounce the McMahon campaign's lapse.

"It is never acceptable to 'count Jews' in this way or to perpetuate age-old stereotypes about the Jewish community", he said.

But if Jewish money is a stereotype, god knows it's one that many political people employ. It is often noted that more than half of Democratic campaign-giving comes from Jews; and just the other day, Martin Indyk raised the "Jewish factor" in campaign spending with that same Haaretz reporter, to explain Obama's collapse on confronting Israel: "American Jews...provide a good deal of funding for political campaigns. So the Jewish factor is always a critical factor for Democratic candidates. I don't think it's telling any secrets that there are a lot of people who have been upset with President Obama. And I think that the White House came to the understanding that they have a real problem there and they are going out of their way trying to show they are friendly to Israel and committed to peace. Republicans will try to exploit the anger."

Exactly: Republicans like Mike Grimm. So I don't think Jennifer Nelson is an anti-semite, a lot of people in American politics think hard about this question. Despite their claims, the NJDC and RJC both count Jews; and they do so because the Jewish community is still monolithic on the Israel question, big Jewish givers tend to be extremely conservative on the question; and these organizations can use the idea of Jewish money just as Indyk does, to try and impose a pro-Israel line on all candidates.

It gives me no pleasure to do a post like this. I seek diversity in Jewish life, so that a term like "Jewish money" has no significance. But right now it means something, and something important. Seymour Hersh used the term "Jewish money" a year or so back on Amy Goodman, when explaining the political pressure building for war against Iran. He wasn't using an old anti-Semitic stereotype, he was trying to explain how the policymaking works.

I wonder how much of a real factor Jewish money is in the Grimm-McMahon race. I've met Arab-Americans in McMahon's district. They told me he won in 2008 in a traditionally-Republican district in part through the support of the big Muslim community in the Bay Ridge neighborhood. He turned out to disappoint on foreign policy: McMahon has lately stated that members of the flotilla are "supporters of Hamas."

Why do you think he's making such statements? And do you really think Jennifer Nelson came up with that category of political gifts on her own?



Michael Santomauro
Editorial Director
Call anytime: 917-974-6367

Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton

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