Obama and the Lobby

Listen to Philip Weiss, one of the smartest writers around, on the Israel lobby and Obama: the Lobby, he says, considered Obama “a green no-account,” and they all jumped on Hillary’s bandwagon without realizing that the wheels were about to come off, while the neocons went first to Rudy and now are attaching themselves to the McCain campaign. The Lobby never saw what was coming straight at them:

“Barack Hussein Obama was always low on the Haaretz Who-loves-Israel ratings. Which is to say, Obama rose without the active support of the lobby. Much as Ned Lamont did in Connecticut. Now the lobby is freaking out and trying to claim him after all. Marty Peretz is writing articles saying he is good for the Jews, because Marty hates to feel left out of the Democratic Party party, and Obama himself is making a good show of it. But Marty is a romantic and an enthusiast not a shrewdy, while Malcolm Hoenlein, a very shrewd man, knows better, and sees the writing on the wall. These guys really don’t know whether to shit or shine their shoes right now. It’s too late to embrace Obama and really make a difference (he’s already won, per the theory). And if they follow Joe to McCain, they could get swamped in the fall…”

Weiss goes on to say that progressives of his sort “aren’t worried about Obama’s lip service re Israel. They know in their hearts that a man with a Muslim parent who grew up in, among other places, the largest Muslim country on the planet, Indonesia, cares about Palestinian human rights. And what’s most important– he will owe the lobby nothing….”

Which is precisely why the Obama campaign had better get ready for the Barack Hussein Obama business — that is, if the Clintonites haven’t already started it before this gets posted. Yet this much-anticipated low blow is likely to boomerang if anyone, of either party, dares say it out loud: the backlash will help Obama, or, at least, blow away his enemies, who will finally discover that change is not a platitude.

42 thoughts on “Obama and the Lobby”

  1. i am not as smart ( in political matters ) as you and weiss . i am how ever amazed at the extent you both are buying ( perhaps seeing things you would like to see ) into obama bromide .
    let us see he wants 100000 more troops , more money for war machine , bigger war in afganistan ( i will be charitable and accept that talk about war in pakistan in just talk nothing more ) , talks from three sides of his mouth when it comes to iran and has not suggested any inclination to curb US empire .
    he may have advisers who will suggest milder versions of jackboot on palestinian necks or supposedly ” realist ” face of empire . but all are wedded to EMPIRE and US role as HEGEMON .
    how does his foreign policy team make / suggest a really significant change in US middle east policy really escapes me . whether lobby owns him or not .

    1. Badri: Obviously. Obama was in bed with the lobby from the beginning. Are his advisors better than Clinton’s on foreign policy? Somewhat. Is his candicacy or victory worth crowing about? Not in the least. Is Raimondo trying to placate those that read Antiwar by supplying a victor in Obama to cause solace to the cause. I’m still feeling angry. More so with Raimondo’s sudden capitulation from peace.

  2. Obama is the only candidate to be unequivocally against torture, is also the most anti-Iraq-war. As Justin has shown elsewhere, he is not as staunchly anti-imperial as would be preferable, though his campaign is critical of the Washington elites.

    A related factor is the way he trades on the sentiments of the popular will against all that has happened during Bush's tenure. This ought to have a good effect on the so-called political landscape, or the American 'national conversation', should he be elected.

    But for me, as a foreigner, I am particularly drawn to his rejection of those hallmarks of Bush's US – pre-emptive strikes and 'harsh interrogations'. We are used to America throwing its military weight around, for many decades. But the Iraq war, Gitmo and the legalisation of torture (which existed anyway in secret) – – these are the 'new' things about America which scare those of us in the rest of the world.

    So while we in the rest of the world liked Paul's foreign policy (if not always his domestic plans), we cannot but see Obama as a substantive improvement on the status quo, with a real chance of making America safe for the world.

    And, yeah, its symbolically nice to have a guy in charge who grew up in Indonesia, a Kenyan father, and a Muslim middle name. Surely this reflects the demise of the Christian Zionist, evangelist and RACIST stranglehold over US politics . . . and (by extension) the rest of the world.

    1. Obama, the Constitutional scholar, did vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act. He had 5 years to read and analyze it and yet saw nothing wrong with this civil rights abomination. I don’t see how he can make America less feared overseas without also making the Feds less feared here at home.

  3. Disaffected by Paul’s withdrawal, it would be understandable that Raimondo might now gravitate in Obama’s direction. But to say Obama is unfamiliar to the Lobby is to forget Scott McConnell’s piece at ACM not long ago from which I’ll now quote this brief snippet:

    “One prism through which to gauge the impact of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy is a September incident involving Barack Obama. His campaign had placed small ads in various spots around the Internet, designed to drive readers to its website. One turned up on Amazon’s page for the Walt and Mearsheimer book. A vigilant watchdog at the New York Sun spotted it and contacted the campaign: Did Obama support Walt and Mearsheimer?

    The answer came within hours. The ad was withdrawn. Its placement was ‘unintentional.’ The senator, his campaign made clear, understood that key arguments of the book were ‘wrong,’ but had definitely not read the work himself.”

    It would seem to me wise to enter upon any new enthusiasm for Obama sans the rose-colored glasses. One doubts if he now considers Walt and Meirsheimer’s key arguments “right”, given the history. Yet what arguments could be seen as being more central to the themes so frequently expressed here by Raimondo. A certain restraint would seem well advised.

    1. “Paul’s withdrawal,…”????

      It sure seemed like Ron Paul was still in the race when I saw him at the University of North Texas campus in Denton, Texas yesterday. Why pass on the media’s lies and distortions?

      1. Yeah, Paul’s withdrawn alright, withdrawn into himself and the insanity that some imagined convention deadlock will give him the Republican nomination. See, what we’ve all failed to understand is that Paul and his “revolutionaries” are “boring from in”, they’re going to cleanse Republicanism and bring it to us in a sanitized version and all by July! I mean, can you just grasp that? And its all going to be so compelling that it’ll change the whole world!!!

        Let me explain something to you: The only way Ron Paul has ever had any political meaning whatsoever is as an independent. He is an utter irrelevance as a Republican and always has been. He might have used the Republican Party as a instrument to launch an independent bid but he’s been so caught up in his own cow flop that he can’t distinguish it from reality. Two weeks ago, I would have voted for Ron Paul but after he renounced an independent run, it became all too clear that he was always the schlemeil that I suspected he was. Frankly, if he losses his Texas congressional seat, there’d be the blessed relief of our never having to hear from him again. Ron Paul’s withdrawn, alright. Its just that he can’t see that everyone would like to go to bed now.

        1. Good comments from John Lowell. Replace “Ron Paul” with “Dennis Kucinich” and the same commentary applies. Kucinich called it quits early to focus on holding onto his Congressional seat, which makes him just as much of a schlemeil as Paul. Like Lowell, up until a couple weeks ago I would have voted for Paul. I would also have supported an independent Kucinich bid. But now both candidates proven that party loyalty and power are more important to them than principle.

          The “choice” left to the electorate is now limited to McCain, Clinton or Obama. So we’re doomed no matter who is elected President (though, perhaps, we’re less doomed with Obama — but only slightly).

        2. Are you listening to what Ron Paul is saying? If you are not, you will never get it. He is talking about the creation of money by the Federal Reserve, which is neither Feceral or Reserve. (it is a private outfit)It creates our money out of nothing and charges us interest on it’s creation. Does not create the interest at the same time and as a result we have to borrow the interest on the money to pay it back. We hock our country and it’s assets and ourselves. Can you see the obsurdity of such a rip=off. Ande then create the IRS to collect from us interest we should not have to pay. It’s bogus. Do some research before you go half cocked on to critisize a real patriot.

        3. Ah, yes, timmy ramone, a man of discernment, considerable depth, and sound political instincts. Your kind words are deeply appreciated. :-)

          Yes, some fix we’re in isn’t it? I come away from the Paul business amazed at the childish lack of reality in so many of his supporters. I mean, really, the desparate clinging to the thought of there being some kind of “movement” apart from an independent candidacy and the possibility of taking over the Republican Party from within. Its all just the most fanciful rubbish. In November, as Paul struggles to hold on to his congressional seat and it becomes clear that the term, “movement”, refers to something more bodily than political, someone’s going to need to be on hand to pass out the anti-depressants. It won’t be me, you can be certain of that.

      2. Ron Paul posesses more than the combined forethought and foreknowledge about how to re-establish our country to its “constitutional” original than all other candidates combined and noone can ever hope to fill his shoes. We will all be amazed in the not-too-distant future.

  4. what is the lobby going to do? attack themselves to Mcains doomed campaign? it will do nothing but illustrate how out of touch they are. they have to get to obama. this election is beltway vs non beltway and non is going to win.

  5. You guys are all so worried about the “Israel lobby.” Okay, fine. But what about the Arab lobby?

    Did you know Egypt is second only to Israel in the amount of foreign aid they get?

    Are you not outraged that we support a disgusting regime headed by that fat pig of an old man named King Abdullah? A regime where they recently sentenced a woman to lashes after she was gang raped? Are you not upset that we recently gave the Saudis billions of dollars in military hardware? And do you know how much money they donate to our universities? So they can have influence here? Why is it that you let their lobby off the hook and only complain about Israel’s?

    1. Tim R ,
      Once again, we have to wade through your toxic waste to make sure that no casual viewer gets the wrong ideas. First, this country never GIVES the Saudis “billions of dollars in military hardware” – we SELL it to them. We GIVE billions of dollars in military hardware to Israel. We give Egypt foreign aid only to bribe them into selling out the Palestinians. Yes, the Israeli Lobby bothers us – they begged, conned and lied us into attacking Iraq, in the process killing many innocent people, sacrificing our military, dragging our national reputation through a sewer, and pissing away a trillion dollars. And for what – so a bunch of spoiled “settlers” can abuse the Palestinians and steal land from the rightful owners. Damn right, I despise Israel.

      1. Here! Here!

        Why do we always pick on the poor “israelis”?
        Well, they and their patrons have poisoned US foreign policy discussion for over 50 years.

        The thought-nazis of AIPAC, ADL et al. have ruined the careers of many, many journalists and academics who have dared to suggest that maybe the interests of the US people are not the same as that of a pack of wefare-addicted colonizers on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.

        How many well-meaning state department workers have been hounded and fired because they put their patriotism before thralldom to the zionist occupation of Washington, DC?

        In truth, we really don’t pick on the “israelis” per se. The israelis are a madison avenue-generated sit-com. Designed to hold the attention of middle amerika long enough for the hardsell commercials of big oil, the arms merchants and the assorted riff-raff who feed at the trough of never-ending war in North Africa and SW Asia.

      2. Richard Vajs “despises” Israel. And that is his right. I’m sure you also despise Saudi Arabia, correct? And another thing, you probably “despise” Israel because of all the Palestinian refugees, correct? I’m sure you are just as upset about and despise Algeria for expelling over ONE MILLION Christians and Jews in 1962. I’m sure you despise Syria as well for looting Jewish property and sending over 15,000 Jews fleeing for their lives after Syria gained independence in the mid 1940’s.

        I am sure you despise Eygpt for expelling over 25,000 Jews, stealing their property and turning them into refugees as collective punishment for Israel’s 1956 Sinai campaign. I am sure you are outraged and despise all the other Muslim Arab nations that forced over 800,000 Jews to flee lands they had lived in since biblical times. Or is your hatred and venom so poisonous that it can only be focused on Israel? To the exclusion of all others?

        1. Most undoubtedly. I also despise the US for funding many of the above listed regimes, among its numerous other crimes.

        2. Tim R,
          I despise Israel because they have dragged America into supporting their ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Can you possibly deny that that is what Israel is doing – stealing the land, water and human rights of the Palestinians? Can you deny that the “settlers” do things like stone little Arab school children, destroy centuries old olive groves, spread rat poison where the Palestinians graze their livestock? Can you deny that Israel has turned Gaza into a replication of the Warsaw Ghetto? I doubt that you can deny any bit of that.
          So what is your defense? Oh, yeah, Israel may suck but so does the Arab countries. Let’s see – Algeria was subjected to colonial occupation; when the occupation failed, a lot of French-identifying Algerian Jews left Algeria. I personally knew an Algerian Jew – she considered herself as French and had a great feeling of superiority towards Arabs, her family emigrated to France rather than live in a free Algeria. You call that being expelled? I call that being a camp follower to an occupying army.
          I don’t know about the 15,000 Jews from Syria and the 25,000 from Egypt, but then you probably don’t know about the several million Palestinian refugees living in exile due to Israeli forced expulsions during the various “expansions”. I also know that there are about 20,000 Jews in Tehran who are obviously not abused enough to accept Israeli bribes to move to Israel; thereby, denying the IDF from turning Iran into a free fire zone.
          I don’t know what to make of your 800,000 Jews
          “fleeing lands that they have lived in since biblical times”. Somehow, I think that they moved on their own to Israel.
          Your last sentence makes no sense at all. I am ethnically Jewish; I was married to woman from a Holocaust surviving family; my only daughter is from that marriage; my paternal Grandmother’s family in the Ukraine were all butchered in WWII by the Nazis. So, you are out-of-line working that “anti-semite” angle. I consider myself an American first and I hate what America’s indulgence of Israel has done to America – it has made us destroyers.

        3. A refreshing piece. I might add that counterposing Israel against its Arab rivals is not exculpatory in the slightest, and recalls the “and you lynch negroes” defense employed by various exponents of Stalinism.

        4. Well, yes, I totally agree with Richard Vajs that we should put America FIRST, before Israel or any other country. On the other hand I do deny many of your allegations.

          Israelis throwing stone at Arab children? I guess there might be some fanatics but I will tell you something: I travelled extensively in the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem etc, and a few times, I was minding and the Arabs started throwing stones and bottles and rotten fruit at me and the group I was with. And not that you will believe me, but I promise you I did absolutly nothing to provoke them!

          And while I agree with you that Israel should do a lot better in their treatment of the Palestinians, I completly disagree with your term “ethnic cleansing.” If there was an ethnic cleansing they would forcibly expel them.

        5. And not that you will believe me, but I promise you I did absolutly nothing to provoke them!

          Perhaps not, but their memories of Israeli atrocities, abuses, and liberal use of terror were probably sufficient to impel them. Being a white Anglophone, I would expect much the same treatment from Iraqis, and I would empathize with, though not excuse, that- violence and oppression on the part of one group tend to create a reciprocal cultural animus out of nothing.

        6. Tim R,
          Let us agree on several things:
          1. The invasion of Iraq was promoted by pro-Israel interests.
          2. The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq has been a disaster for America.
          3. AIPAC has an unhealthy influence on our Congress – such influence depending largely upon threats and media bias.
          4. Without American backing, Israel would be forced to make some humanistic concilliation with the Palestinians (such concilliation actually being in Israel’s best interests for the future).
          5. Israel is not America’s ally; it (under its present right-wing, apartheid government) is not “the only democracy in the Mid East”; it has no bright future surrounded by vastly more populated enemies that it refuses to negociate with instead depending upon America’s “muscle” to get it their way always.
          Bottom line – America needs to distance itself from a militaristic, racist Israel.

    2. Here we go again, always crying about poor Israel. Do you realize that what you are saying is hyperbole as usual and needs proof? There is no proof necessary however to say that Israel has more WMD’s (nuclear weapons, sophisticated a survaleance system, stolen from the U.S.A. [see “GIDEONS SPIES, By, Gordan Thomas. Pg. 408-409]. Multiple F16 aricraft and wharehouses full of missiles) Stop crying for the most powerful state on earth.

  6. No peace is possible when the Israel’s have access to the treasury of the USA and the modern weapns of war supplied by the same USA. And no peace is possible until the Israeli WMD are placed in charge of the IAEA and Israel signs the NPT.

  7. It is a crying shame that when a patriot like Ron Paul acting as a PAul Revere is shunned like the plague by the mass media instead of parreting his American Ideas via the menues of the Constitution. There will come a day when the media will fall from it’s perch in the halls of the elite, when history books will require the truth of history..

  8. ‘You guys are all so worried about the “Israel lobby.” Okay, fine. But what about the Arab lobby?’

    This is a variation of a ploy that I’ve noticed is used regularly by Zionists as a fall back position whenever they run out of arguments on behalf of their favorite state. It goes something like this: Okay, Israel may not be perfect…but the Arab states are FAR WORSE.

    In short, the first line of defense is to define Israel as basically the 51st state, but when it is shown up to be the institutionally racialist ethnocracy it truly is, Zionists start comparing it to the “far worse” Arabs and claim moral superiority.

    Israel may or may not be more worthy of US aid and assistance than the Arab regimes on its merits, but let’s put to rest the canard that it is in any way comparable to the US in terms of the civil rights extended to its minority citizens (and that doesn’t even include the occupied Palestinians under its control.)

    Oh, and by the way, those lobbying on behalf of Arab countries are forced to register as foreign lobbyists; those lobbying on behalf of Israel are not. So what about the Arab lobby? It is forced to declare itself one, unlike the Israel lobby, which like always, sneaks by with a nod and a wink.

  9. Foreign interests of all stripes have PURCHASED the power to decide the course of America as the Americans stare at the stars..

  10. Obama is a lesser evil of the 3 candidates corporations and media are offering to former USA.

    Barak Obama did make pilgrimage to AIPAC, accepted their money and offered UNCONDITIONAL support and SERVICES (American blood and treasury) for Israel.

  11. subhuman- at least obama is a person and an amaerican. mcain and hillary are Beltway-ans and thus completely devoid of common sense. with huckabee or obama there is a chance

  12. Obama’s positions on foreign policy issues are better than Clinton’s, though his votes in the Senate, when he has been present and has cast a vote, have never failed to support the war in Iraq. He is taking a great deal of money from corporate donors, but also from large numbers of small donors. The movement his campaign is generating creates an opening, but an opening to bring pressure on what will still be an imperialist government, committed to using US economic and military muscle to shape and control the planet.

    Pressure on Obama from the right will grow, and we can count on it to be nasty and vicious. The Republicans have not changed their stripes. Will Obama stand tough and hit back, or will he shift to the right to try to diffuse the attacks? Support and pressure from the movement and his mass base may have an impact, but it is sobering to consider how far to the right Obama has already shifted since his days as a progressive Illinois State Legislator. And how will Obama deal with an “October surprise”? Will he respond to a “terrorist attack” by jumping on the war bandwagon, or by challenging its rationale and demanding a level-headed response? Again, time will tell.

    In any case, we must be clear: electing Obama would bring not a new era of peace but a new era of struggle for peace. Our challenge is to turn a rising tide of hope into a surge of popular pressure.

  13. i hope it is not considered bad form. here is a comment by chris flyod in his post about wilson / wilsonian ” idealism ” to some one who has drunk a lot of obama kool-aid :
    Hundred-Year Hangover: Betrayal and Blindness in the Making of the Modern World
    chris: … http://www.chris-floyd.com
    Well, first you’d have to show me a speech where Obama says we will “pull out of Mesopotamia.” I know he talks about withdrawing “combat troops” from Iraq within a fairly hefty time frame after taking office. I haven’t heard him say anything at all about pulling American troops out of the Middle East — or anywhere at all, for that matter. Where has Obama stood up against the idea of an American empire of military bases strung across the entire world? Instead he calls for an even bigger military. He boasts that he would strike inside Pakistan whether the government there approves or not. Show me anywhere that Obama says, eloquently or otherwise, that he will dismantle the empire that Chalmers Johnson, among others, has detailed so thoroughly. – I’m not here to bash Obama in particular. I mention him because he looks like the likely Dem candidate, and I haven’t heard anything from him about making these kinds of substantive changes in the militarist-imperial thrust of American policy, beyond taking some measures to correct the “mistake” of Iraq. I’ve said over and over on this site — I can’t be clearer about it — that, in my opinion, any public official (much less candidate for the highest office) who is not using all of his or her power to end the war crime in Iraq RIGHT NOW, and using all of his or her power to impeach and remove the gang of Bush criminals, is complicit in all of these crimes, and does not deserve to lead a genuine, democratic republic.

    Again, that’s just my opinion. But as I said, it’s a long-held and very public opinion of mine, and I’m not going to change it just because there’s an election going on. As far as Obama’s occasional “jaw jaw not war war” statements — long experience has taught me never to take anything that any politician says at face value, however good it sounds, or however much I might want to believe it.

  14. This is pretty watery mashed potatoes!

    “Weiss goes on to say that progressives of his sort ‘aren’t worried about Obama’s lip service re Israel. They know in their hearts that a man with a Muslim parent who grew up in, among other places, the largest Muslim country on the planet, Indonesia, cares about Palestinian human rights. And what’s most important– he will owe the lobby nothing….'”

    If Weiss and “progressives of his sort” (whatever the hell his “sort” is) aren’t worried about “lip service,” it means they pay no heed–and advise the rest of us to follow in their stead–to what candidates say. And just where are we poor mortals supposed to separate the wink-nod-“lip service” from the true blue skinny?

    Oh, but I see: we’re not supposed to read anything into the “lip service,” we’re simply supposed to buy into the manufactured bio–kid with Kenyan father grows up in Indonesia; conclusion: must be pro-Palestinian!

    if this is what passes for analysis these days, I’m rushing out to buy a new box of tea leaves!

  15. Well here we are Feb 19, 2008 (20th in Shanghai) and a most amazing historical developmet is about to unfold; that is , a Black American
    seems likely to win baring any use of the bush methodology in stealing elections. Secondly, Barak appears to be a hopeful candidate that will owe nothing to the Zionist lobby and all those israel firsters. Thirdly, the emasculation of the african american male is finally over, Barak’s rise elevates the dignity of the american black man to the plane of hope
    as never before. In so doing he redefines forever the role of minorities in general as acceptable members of the society at large. Fourth, the color line has been breached, those young white workers finally understood that the support of racism does not bring food to the table, that we are all in this fight together between our sweat and tears and those in lavish unfettered comfort. It is not surprising that those red staters that supported the bush regime are now suffering the most as their homes are foreclosed on, and their white collar jobs disappear. We are merciful, we say to them join us in a true crusade for equanimity, justice, and true unity in the face of the few powerful manipulaors of society. May God save the nation and Barak, let us be one voice in a war of social justice, a war of mercy, love of our neighbor, and forgiving of our shortcomings. Only then can unity between the races be achieved.

  16. I saw George Soros promoting Obama in a TV interview here in Australia a few months back…….I got VERY worried. These “war/Israel lobby groups” probably started “helping” & “befriending” all the people like Obama from before they win office the first time (& on both sides). AND THEY, (being Banking/Military supply….) ultimately “own & control the Media” via finance …..this IS the problem, MEDIA LIES. When did you last see an even remotely RATIONAL war or foreign policy or even DOMESTIC economic report in the media? They just do not exist!….but, despite this we meet Doctors & Lawyers and many others who believe every bit of it without thinking or checking anything.
    If Obama hasn’t made commitments to fix wrongs I would not put much faith in him….it’s more of the same I suspect.. Fact is it is almost impossible to engage ANY politicians in “rational conversation” re utterly corrupt & stupid policy ……because, they know if we did the MUST change it!!! They are EXPERTS in “insulation” with staff & in not letting us talk to them.
    Perhaps we ought form small antiwar groups and insist the talk to us and EXPLAIN &, consider different policy. If we could speak with them they MUST capitulate on bad policy…….BUT WE DON”T. WE MUST …..or else….it’s “Goodnight Irene” because I BELIEVE these mad and pathologically greedy supremacists (who profit from all this) will think nothing of killing countless millions MORE for their own power, greed & to “cover up” their unthinkable EVIL crimes.
    We must all be tough minded and nicely & intellectually stand up to the “true believers” in bad policy.

  17. Philip Weiss is dead wrong. If he’s supposed to be a good analyst, then I’m the prince of Wales. Next week on my blog at http://www.stop-obama.org I’ll be posting installments about Obama’s relationship with Palestinians and Jews.

    As AIPAC correctly surmised, Obama is “a green no-account” and opportunistic. He has no moral compass or any position to speak of. His opinions on the Middle East are irrelevant, because his decisions will be made elsewhere.

    You are entirely wrong to state the lobby was behind the ball, and didn’t see this phony coming. Being a phony or virgin, doesn’t mean you can’t be taken for a ride, nor that you particularly care who drives.

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