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Take it easy there, Cap'n Ahab

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday October 14, 2006 12:50 PM

JSP writes:
Is American zionism about to grow a second head? Two parties, two lobbies -- all the better to scam you with, my dear?
Excerpts from the item that caught JSP's eye:
A top staffer for billionaire philanthropist George Soros has met recently with senior representatives of the dovish pro-Israel community to discuss setting up an alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee....

Morton Halperin, a director of Soros' Open Society Institute and a veteran of senior positions in the Clinton, Nixon and Johnson administrations, confirmed... that a meeting took place last month.... [A]nother meeting focused on funding will take place in New York on Oct. 25.

Soros is to attend that meeting, and other major Jewish liberals are invited, including Peter Lewis, who like Soros is a major contributor to MoveOn.org, the Web-based, liberal fund-raising group; Edgar and Charles Bronfman, former liquor magnates who are major contributors to Israel and Jewish causes; and Mel Levine, a former Democratic congressman and high-powered West Coast lawyer.... One of the leaders of the initiative is Jeremy Ben-Ami, a senior policy adviser to President Clinton....

In addition to Halperin and Ben-Ami, those in attendance at the September meeting in Washington included David Elcott, the executive director of the Israel Policy Forum, Debra DeLee, president and CEO of Americans for Peace Now; Mara Rudman, a Clinton-era member of the National Security Council and now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank; Daniel Levy, a former adviser to dovish Israeli politician Yossi Beilin who now works at the New America Foundation, another Washington think tank; M.J. Rosenberg, director of IPF's Washington office; Jeremy Rabinovitz, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), a congresswoman who often backs positions taken by the dovish pro-Israel groups; Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Reform movement's Religious Action Center, and his deputy, Mark Pelavin; and representatives of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, another dovish, pro-Israel advocacy group.

Now usually I yield to no one in my suspicion of anything connected with the Israel lobby, but I personally think this one might be just what it appears to be. AIPAC and much of the Lobby generally are dominated by very wild-eyed and fanatical Likudniks, and it doesn't seem surprising that this fact might make many American Jews nervous.

Establishment figures like those listed above are seldom monomaniacs. Many of them are no doubt quite devoted to Israel, either because of conviction or because Israel's importance in American politics enhances their personal influence through their connection with it. But they are also people who understand that ultimately, the various factions and blocs and sectors of the loosely-structured American elite need to play nice with each other. This is an insight that Captain Ahabs -- or better, Captain Queegs -- like Wolfowitz and Perle have forgotten, or failed to grasp in the first place.

When the famous Mearshiemer-Walt paper appeared, a few months back, I rather suspected that it might be a straw in the wind -- an indication that other factions or blocs or sectors of the aforementioned elite were starting to feel that institutional Zionomania was getting a wee bit off the reservation. It's tempting to read the Soros initiative in a similar way.

Comments (8)

Jesus Reyes:

The kinder and gentler imperialism. Many people think that the Soros Foundation is a major player in the "colored revolutions" and Central Asia in general. These revolutions are very much a part of and maybe even the heart of the long term geopolitical strategy of the take down of Russian contol of energy. But you really got to love the idea that the only way to alter/modify the course of US foreign policy is to send another set of jews into the halls of congress. The Battle of the Jews. We are not talking conspiracy here folks, we are just reading the newspaper.

If you don't want to be acused of seeing conspiracies, Reyes, try writing that the folks in question are "Zionists," instead of using the term "Jews" like the terms are interchangeable.

js paine:

the soros
open society model
cash value:

so he's a reformed pirate
turned commodor of the trade lanes
what a pompous ego maniac
" boys now mind your manners "

so what if he
wants to put
frill cuffs
on the trans nat

the plug uglies
get global band width max
and the free profit extract
fly zoning
still get to go
in or out
with their hot capital

if that ain't still
today's version of empire
at least with a skeleton crew aboard
then what is ....

js paine:

thanx to all those color revs
the encirclement of russia
has gone from soviet paranoia
to simple fact of life

js paine:

" "Zionists," instead of using the term "Jews" like the terms are interchangeable...."

very key and very complex point

seems the zionics may be attempting
to fly here
under the cover of
just plain old
liberal/progressive american jews


Same old Good Cop, Bad Cop routine.




Interestingly, (esp. to mental health professionals) there are also those who consider AIPAC "left wing":


There's nothing terribly mystical about this. The Democrats, the gang at the Daily Kos and atrios, are sick of losing pro-Israel Jews to the Republicans. And liberal Jews are getting a bit queasy at having the most visibly pro-Israel voices look a bit too much like fascists.

You saw this earlier in the year when Eric Alterman and Mollie Ivins came out and not only defended Walt and Mersheimer's right to publish (although not their conclusions) but went absolutely Medieval on Dershowitz and the crowd at LGF.

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