Category Archives: Israel

“We’ll be back…” Benjamin Netanyahu

For many people, having Netanyahu out of power was a relief.  In fact, there were those who worried that (like Trump) Netanyahu would refuse to relinquish power even though he was defeated in a national election.  But, Netanhahu’s replacement (at least for the time being), Bennett, is not much better.

According to Sarah Kenzior at Gaslight Nation (an essential podcast):

  • Netanyahu’s replacement, Bennett, is “incredibly dangerous in his own right.”  Naftali Bennett is an ultranationalist, has represented the violent Jewish settlement movement, has bragged openly about killing Arab people, opposes any Palestinian state within Israel, and has recently criticized Netanyahu for not boing violent enough with Gaza. 
  • Bennett is only one leader among the coalition of leaders taking over from Netanyahu, but he is among the most conservative.  His position as Prime Minister is supposed to be temporary and he is supposed to step down after a certain period of time to be replaced by one of the other members of the coalition.

NPR (6/13/21)

  • The new coalition government is made up of eight parties who have agreed to “hold off on major decisions surrounding controversial issues, like the future of the occupied West Bank.”
  • “Over the last 12 years, he (Netanyahu) has used his time in office to allow the growth of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, frustrated Palestinian aspirations for statehood and aligned Israel with right-wing leaders internationally.”
  • “…the former prime minister also faces corruption charges including bribery, fraud and breach of trust — allegations Netanyahu denies. A trial is already underway.”
  • Bennett is Netanyahu’s former chief of staff.
  • He is to serve two years before handing off to Lapid for the second half of a 4-year term.  Lapid holds more than double the seats of the “centrist” Yesh Atid party led by Bennett, but an agreement was made to allow Bennett to take the first term to “maintain political solidarity.”  I have no idea what that means.
  • This coalition includes a party representing Arab citizens.
  • Netanyahu called the coalition “…the scam of the century.”

In a speech shortly after handing over power, Netanyahu said: “We’ll be back – and faster than you think.” (NPR)

Sources

NPR (6/13/21)

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/13/1005724415/netanyahu-is-out-naftali-bennett-will-be-installed-as-israels-new-prime-minister

Don’t bother, you don’t need to know. After all, it’s uncle joe

ISRAEL

The Biden administration is taking on the same elitist “we’ll handle this you don’t need to bother” attitude that characterized the Obama administration.  And, the result will probably be the same. 

When there was clear evidence that the Russians had hacked into the election infrastructure in 2016, Obama, fearful of appearing partisan, refused to make the information public.  Harry Reid all but announced the information, but the corporate media ignored him.  But, Obama, remained silent.

According to staffers, Obama was so confident that Hillary was going to win, he figured she would take care of the issue after she was elected.  “We’ll handle this.”  Right.

Well, it didn’t turn out that way and we wound up with a Russian puppet in the White House for four years.  We will never know the extent of the devastation of that four years.

Obama cared more about his legacy than he did about the American people and the damage is incalculable.

Biden is issuing the same patronizing kinds of statements about the recent outbreak of conflict in Israel.  The administration is  doing “quiet diplomacy.”  That’s the story.  “We’ll handle this you don’t need to bother.”  It’s behind the scenes because really cool guys (like Biden) with experience (like Biden) know that it’s better to move behind the scenes than come out publicly and (in this case) demand a ceasefire.

In fact, not that you would know it from watching corporate news (celebrity gossip, agent driven interviews about new books, rap lyric quotes, hand wringing about the hypocrisy of the Republicans, the creation of Liz Cheney as a super-star) but the U.S. government has blocked a UN Security Council call for a ceasefire three times since this conflict began. 

Why, why would the U.S. block a call for a ceasefire?  What possible purpose would that serve unless you wanted to signal to Netanyahu that we support driving the Palestinians into the sea?

But, there is not a peep about this on the corporate news, or at least not that I have seen.  It’s all reassuring elitist head patting.  “We’ve got this under control.”  “Don’t worry.”  “You don’t have to know what’s going on.  Just trust us.”  “After all, it’s uncle Joe and his son died.”

When Barak Obama decided he knew better than the American people what to do about the Russian hacking, we wound up with the disaster of Trump, three Supreme Court justices not to mention a legion of federal court judges who comprise a ticking time bomb.  Biden adopting the same “trust me” attitude is not comforting. 

The corporate news by and large is promoting its usual “both sides” analysis.  Well, the Israelis are launching some missiles and Hamas is launching some missiles.  But, as was pointed out on Christine Amanpour’s show on 17 May 2021, there is no symmetry in the destructive power of the two entities. 

And, as Ehaled Elgindy, former advisor to the Palestinian authority commented on Amanpour’s program, the Israelis are essentially asking that Hamas stop firing on Israel in exchange for the Israelis stopping firing at some time in the future as yet undetermined. 

Elgindy noted that what was needed was the “robust” involvement of Biden in the situation, not the passive approach he is taking at the moment.  Elgindy argued that Biden was essentially saying to Netanyahu, go ahead, we’ll run diplomatic interference for you until you get what you want.  Biden should be calling for an immediate cease fire.  Because he is not, Biden is “greenlighting” the process. 

Elgindy continued that the policy in Washingon is basically that we have to “hug Israel” to get them to do anything.  Through 54 years of occupation, expulsions, and blockades, all Washington is willing to come up with are “positive inducements.”  The U.S. has “enabled” the situation for decades.

This week on the horrible Morning Joe (home for all middle of the road has beens who have nothing, and I mean nothing,to say) David Ignatius claimed that there wasn’t really anything the U.S. could do about the situation. 

Meanwhile, Washington approved $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel.  The Democrats were largely silent.

Sources

U.S. Today

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-05-17/biden-administration-approved-735-million-arms-sale-to-israel-sources

Christine Amanpour (5/17/21)

“everything toxic” Neera Tanden and Biden

Biden’s Choices

Biden’s choice of Neera Tanden to head the Department of Management and Budget is yet another slap in the face of progressives and a further indication that progressives need to leave the Democratic Party.

As Briahna Joy Gray, a former press secretary for Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted about the nomination:  “Everything toxic about the corporate Democratic Party is embodied in Neera Tanden.”

Since 2003, Tanden has been the head of what some in the media term a “left of center” think tank, the Center for American Progress.  This think tank was supposedly established to counter more conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation.

But, according to article in Business Insider, “Tanden has come under scrutiny from some of her own colleagues over allegations that she censored employees who were critical of Israel while the organization attempted to build a stronger bond between the Democratic Party and the right-wing Israeli government. Under Tanden, the think tank shut down its independent journalistic arm, Think Progress…following its unionization.”

Former employees of CAP also criticized Tanden for using the think tank as more of a vehicle for her own ambition than an institution based on any left of center policy commitment.  Tanden has openly opposed single payer health care, supported cuts in Social Security, and is friendly with Israel’s conservative leadership. That simply cannot be termed “left of center.”

Tanden is being nominated for this important position after having been a close advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns, both failures.  And, she was closely involved with engineering the ACA, another notable policy failure.

But, Tanden is part of the entitled professional class surrounding Clinton and Obama who are being put back in government by Biden just as progressives warned.  As Biden said in a speech to wealthy donors – “nothing will change.” That’s what progressives who were being badgered to vote for Biden feared, and that is what we are seeing.

The nomination of Tanden is yet another indication that the corporate elite in the Democratic Party have contempt for the progressive vote and are determined to block any meaningful social change. 

“There are very few people who have been as aggressively critical — I would say sometimes obsessively critical — of the progressive left, and in particular of Bernie Sanders, than Neera,” a former senior Center for American Progress employee told Business Insider.

Tanden is already cynically using her supposedly deprived family background to try to evoke sympathy.  She is saying that her family found it necessary to use the social services she will have an impact on funding.  She is evidently using this argument as a way of placating the progressive wing of the party. But, this only means that her opposition to Medicare for All and adequate funding of Social Security is all the more ruthless and contemptuous of working families.  She had to rely on these services herself, but that doesn’t mean she believes others are entitled to them. 

Neera Tanden is part of a little mafia of women (Zerlina Maxwell, Jennifer Palmieri and others) who felt themselves entitled to win the presidency, entitled to be in the White House and livid that Bernie Sanders had the nerve to run against the Queen. 

In addition, these women felt that they had some kind of right to the presidency because of gender. A question asked Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary sums it up. Yamiche Alcindor (who, after confronting Sanders, went from being a low level New York Times reporter to being on television every night and then hosting programs on NPR) asked Sanders if he didn’t think it was sexist to run against Clinton.

This little mafia ring of women never stopped blaming Sanders for all their own failures in the Clinton campaigns.  And, they never missed an opportunity to slam and slander Sanders and his campaign in the corporate media. 

Neera Tanden, as Gray says, is just the beginning and she illustrates everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party.  The leadership in the Democratic Party is smug, entitled, vindictive, ruthless and bought up to the eyeballs by corporate money. 

Resources

Relman, E. (11/30/20) “Biden’s…” Business Insider

Podcast: Broken Jeffrey Epstein

Podcast: Broken Jeffrey Epstein

This is a fascinating and heartbreaking podcast about two of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s victims.  The choice of these two victims in particular illustrates the class nature of the exploitation.

The stories also illustrate another crucial point about the media coverage of the Epstein case.  Journalists are presenting the Epstein/Maxwell story as if it exists outside of the context of the international political blackmail scheme of which it was a part.  The host of the podcast even talks about Epstein’s “pathology” as if this is a story about mental illness.

The Epstein/Maxwell story is not only about sexual exploitation, it is about political power.  It seems to me to be perfectly obvious that Bill Barr’s father, himself with a history of clandestine activity, saw early on the potential Epstein had to advance the goals of compromising political enemies.

What Epstein and Maxwell ran was a ruthless systematic, methodical  recruiting, grooming, and utilizing business.  They recruited, groomed, educated and placed the right young women in strategic places to compromise and secure the complicity of important people for political purposes.

To discuss this operation as the raging mental illness of one man, or a man and a woman is to completely distort the nature and purpose of this operation.

The stories of two victims are talked about in this podcast – Melissa, a talented cellist and Michelle, a high school student in Palm Beach.  Michelle fits the profile of the hundreds of girls the pair lured into Epstein’s property, abused and then discarded.  Melissa is an example of a young woman who was recruited, groomed over a period of years and then discarded partly due to her own lack of willingness to comply.  Even though a substantial amount of time and money was spent on the long-term grooming of Melissa, she was never sexually assaulted.

The host of the podcast explains the long-term investment in Melissa as an example of Epstein’s “pathology” of power.  She argues that Melissa illustrates Epstein’s obsession, indeed “addiction” to power games.

The host, however, completely ignores what is the more obvious explanation for Melissa’s experience.  Epstein and Maxwell were not just sexually exploiting young women for their own sexual gratification.  They were methodically grooming young women and placing them in strategic positions to compromise political targets.  You don’t just send a lower class little girl into a high society environment and expect her to seduce Prince Andrew.  You groom, make beholden, and place a Julliard cellist in the room with Prince Andrew and then use that young woman to compromise the target.

That is exactly what they tried to do with Melissa.  They spent years supporting her financially, working her into a pseudo-family situation with them and then even demanding that she attend the higher status school, Julliard, to make her a more attractive lure.  Epstein’s “pathology” didn’t prevent him from spending years cultivating this girl.  But, the journalist here, doesn’t even discuss this.  Instead she launches off on a discussion of Epstein’s supposed power mad psychology.

The issue here is not psychology.  That’s not even what’s interesting or significant about the case.  But, the corporate media will turn the story into a lurid tabloid narrative to avoid talking about this massive, international kompromat ring.  That is not only a shame.  It is yet another example of the corporate media distorting reality, maintaining a delusion which protects powerful people who are aggressively pursuing an authoritarian agenda.

 

 

 

Maxwell, Epstein and Political Context

jeffrey epstein

There are two documentaries out about Jeffrey Epstein.  One, “Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?” is part of a series by Investigation Discovery.  The other is a Netflix release “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” based on a book by James Patterson.

But, as Elizabeth Vos points out in an article in the Consortium News (6/18/20), neither covers Epstein’s place in a larger political narrative.  In treating Epstein’s activities as separated from their political context, they turn Epstein into a sexual predator, committing crimes that float free of their political context.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were part of an international scheme to compromise and then blackmail influential people.  There is evidence that this operation was part of the compromising of the Republican party long before Trump became the nominee.

Even though Epstein’s death in prison is widely accepted and indeed repeatedly reported as a “suicide” no thinking person can accept that narrative on face value.  There is so much that is suspicious about the death and there is a plethora of evidence of the interests of powerful and rich people in his silence.  Epstein knew the secrets of a lot of powerful people and his death was essential to protect those people.  The refusal of the media to question that death is just part and parcel of their subservient status with regard to those in power.

Ghislanie Maxwell, who had finally been arrested in New Hampshire on July 2, 2020, is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, the former owner of the New York Daily News and The Mirror.  He was given what Vos describes as a “state funeral” in Israel after his mysterious death in 1991.  Maxwell “fell off” his yacht in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, much like enemies of the Russian state repeatedly “fall” out of windows.

Israeli sources say that Epstein worked for Israeli military intelligence.   Ari Ben-Menache, a former Israeli intelligence officer, told Consortium News that Robert Maxwell introduced his daughter and Epstein to Israeli intelligence after they engaged in a blackmail operation for Israel.

According to Ben-Measche’s book “Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “[Epstein] was taking photos of politicians f**king fourteen-year-old girls — if you want to get it straight. They [Epstein and Maxwell] would just blackmail people, they would just blackmail people like that,” he says in the book.

 

Alternative Podcasts: Sheer Intelligence

Robert Scheer interviews Max Blumenthal about the “lesser of two evils” approach centrists in the Democratic Party have been pushing for decades.

The Clinton Machine Will Do Anything to Stop Bernie

https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/the-clinton-machine-will-do-anything-to-stop-bernie

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