Sunday, November 09, 2008
Down the Haaretz Cesspool
any more, serving as little more than a daily dose of anti-Zionist
apologia for Arab fascism and "Post-Zionism," nevertheless today's issue
of the Palestinian daily printed in Hebrew is astounding even by the low
standards this "newspaper" has set for itself.
First, the banner headline is that the head of Hamas is willing to
recognize Israel inside its 1967 borders. The only problems? It is
written by Amira Hass, who is not a journalist at all but rather a full
time anti-Israel propagandist, who has already been convicted in court of
lying. So Haaretz would have Israel risk a Second Holocaust on the basis
of a news story that Hamas recognizes Israel and all we have is Amira's
word for it. Second, a closer reading shows that even Hass is not really
saying Hamas recognizes Israel. She cites the head terrorhoid of the
Hamas as saying that Hamas will agree to a temporary ceasefire if Israel
agrees to go back to its 1967 borders, but not to a peace. (Hamas already
agreed to a ceasefire of sorts where Israel did not go back to anything -
to avoid having its own leaders assassinated.) The "recognition" Hass is
talking about would be Hamas acknowledging the fact that for the moment
Israel is still in existence behind its 1967 borders.
Then we have the celebration and endorsement of Dov Chanin, who is
running for the mayor of Tel Aviv. Chanin is an unreformed Stalinist and
leader in the Israeli communist party, dreaming of setting up Gulags from
the Jordan river to the Mediterranean. That Haaretz likes communists is
not exactly news. But the job of writing a sycophant piece endorsing
Chanin for mayor was assigned to Ari Shavit, usually considered to be the
most pro-Zionist and patriotic columnist in Haaretz! Chanin, by the way,
said that if he does not get elected mayor, he will not even take up his
seat as alderman in the Tel Aviv City Council - I guess because he can do
so much more for the jihad serving as a communist party member of the
Then we have an infantile column, appearing as a front page news item,
by Haaretz' Neri Livni practically swooning with joy at Obama's victory
and wondering whether Israelis, like Americans, can abandon their
narrow-minded racism and selfishness. Haaretz cannot get enough of the
slogan "Yes We Can" and uses it whenever it cannot decide which
punctuation mark to use. Ultra-anti-Semite Gideon Levy has a column in
Haaretz today proclaiming his deepest desire that Obama not turn out to be
a friend of Israel (HIS title!). See it here:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1035415.html . That is because,
according to Levy, a true friend of Israel would be one who helps the
Palestinians throw the Jews into the sea.
Then there is the report on how the terrorists and some members of
the Eurotrash Left ran yet another pro-terror boat to Gaza to assist the
Hamas, where Haaretz' headline, crayoned by Amira Hass, is "This is How
WE Broke the Siege of Gaza (http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1035433.html
)." Note the use of the first person plural pronoun. The firing of 13
Qassam rockets at the Negev is mentioned in passing by Haaretz, but on an
internal page. It has about the same space as an item, probably fictional
and carried only by Haaretz, claiming some Jewish kids in Hebron beat up a
6 year old Palestinian boy for no reason at all and hit him in the head
with a stone. My suspicion is that every single story in Haaretz about
settlers beating Palestinians is pure fiction.
There is great coverage about the annual rally of deification for
Yitzhak Rabin, held last night, in which speaker after speaker denounces
"those who taught and inspired the murderer Yigal Amir." I wonder if they
mean his law school professors. Ehud Barak, the fellow who fired 4000
katyusha rockets at my nose, was there screaming about the "cancerous"
Israeli Right, meaning I guess that he would like those who disagree with
his lunatic leftist ideas to be eliminated using chemotherapy and
radiation? Then there is a story about how Israel "like a thief in the
night stole the lands of Holocaust victims." Haaretz has long tried to
represent Israel as the moral equivalent of Swiss bankers and others who
stole assets of Holocaust victim. Of course, in this case the real story
is about a memo in 1946 in which lands bought by Jews whose entire
families were presumed murdered in the Holocaust were simply taken over by
the Jewish authorities in the pre-state land of Israel and used ever
since. Big big scandal. Labor Party airhead Collette Avital postured her
indignation about this immoral outrage.
3. At least a REAL YES WE CAN!!! See
4. Bibi Netanyahu is showing he is not serious about getting elected
and changing the national course. The proof? He just recruited Dan
Meridor, a one-time Likud cabinet minister but today someone to the left
of Yossi Beilin who belongs in Meretz. True, Benny Begin is rejoining the
Likud, increasing the number of Likud members who do not ordinarily steal
the silverware, but I think his positive presence is offset by the damage
of having Meridor in the party.
5. Well, one encouraging sign is that the Left is having conniptions
over the appointment of Rahm Emanuel. I have my reservations about him,
although I admit I do not know much about him, because he played a role in
engineering the Rabin-Arafat paw shake. But I am nevertheless encouraged
when I read the foaming hysterics of people like leftist Neo-Nazi
Alexander Cockburn of Counterpunch (or is that Burncock? I get so
confused) and now also a long-winded fatwa from pseudo-rabbi Mikey Lerner,
the LSD-touting guru who publishes Tikkun magazine.
Here is the take from the rabbi-impersonating 60s fossil:
Rahm Emanuel is no Reason for Hope or Celebration
by Rabbi Michael Lerner
Election night tens of millions of us wept for joy. We sang the songs that
we had sung as young men and women when we were fighting segregation in
the south and then in the North, some of us being beaten, others jailed,
some even killed. For the first time in three decades we could sing
"Imagine" and "The Times They are a'Changing" without feeling that we were
holding onto utopian fantasies that had been
buried by the cynical realists who have shaped public discourse.
How exciting to believe again in the possibility of America as the
potential embodiment of our ideals for social justice, peace, and
ecological sanity. We could hardly believe our own eyes-we were living
through the rebirth of a nation and its attempt to heal its racist past.
So no wonder why many of us were shocked and deeply disappointed when
we learned on Thursday that Congressman Rahm Emanuel was to be the Chief
of Staff in the Obama White House.
Emanuel, for those who don't recall, was the Congressman who traveled
the country in 2006 finding "suitable" candidates in "swing districts" to
run against Republican incumbents, and in many instances he succeeded. But
his theory of how to succeed was destructive: he sought the most
conservative possible candidates in each district, insisting that local
Democratic Party organizations reject more liberal candidates who, he f
eared, might not win.
There were many among the House Democrats who deplored this tactic.
The main issue on the mind of the electorate was the war in Iraq, and
public opinion had moved so far in opposition to that war that the
Democratic leadership in the House was pushed to proclaim that it would
cut off funding for the war if Democrats won control of Congress. Well,
the outcome was that Democrats did win control, but since the candidates
that Emanuel picked were more conservative and militarist than the
mainstream of the Party, they were not reliable allies when it came to
voting against war funding. Instead of cutting fund for the war, Nancy
Pelosi's House increased the funding, explaining that they had to appear
"responsible" in order to solidify their control of Congress in 2008..
Clever? Not for the people, Americans and Iraqis, killed or wounded in
This was no mistake on Emanuel's part. Rahm Emanuel has a long
history of militarist ideology behind him. His father was a member of the
ultra-right-wing terrorist organization Etzel that killed British
civilians as part of their anti-British struggle in Palestine in the
1940s. Emanuel, himself a citizen of Israel as well as the United States,
has been one of several Congressional leaders enforcing the "Israel Lobby"
concensus on the Democrats, in the process shutting out the peace voices
that believe Israel's security would be better served by the U.S. putting
pressure on Israel to end the Occupation, move the Wall to inside the
pre-67 boundaries, and remove the settlers from the West Bank or tell them
to live there as Palestinian citizens.
It's not just the pro-peace and reconciliation forces that are
unlikely to be given a serious hearing in a White House in which Rahm
Emanuel controls who gets to talk to the President. Emanuel will al most
certainly be protecting Obama from all of us spiritual progressives and
those of us who describe ourselves as the Religious Left-so that our
commitment to single-payer universal health care, carbon taxes for
environmental protection, a Homeland Security strategy based on generosity
and implemented through a Global Marshall Plan, will be unlikely to get
a serious hearing in the White House.
When these issues were avoided by Obama during the campaign, most of
us spiritual progressives told ourselves, "He's just being political, but
once elected he'll reveal himself committed to the values that he
whispered into our ears privately over the course of the past many years."
The Rahm Emanuel selection is an early warning that the peace and justice
agenda dropped by Obama after he won the Democratic nomination may be
permanently on hold, and the progressives themselves may have to settle
for "access" and flowery words at an inauguration address rather than the
substance of change. For many of us, just the fact of having a brilliant
young black man in the White House will be such a healing experience that
we won't care about this newly emerging reality: unless Obama creates some
other path to access and to public input into his policies by those of us
who helped build his electoral success, or unless we organize to do so
outside the framework of his campaign organization, we may be in for lots
Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun Magazine www.tikkun.org, chair of
the Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives.org,
author of 11 books (most recently the 2006 national best-seller The Left
Hand of God) and as a member of Rabbis for Obama recently debated Bill
Kristol about how Jews should vote in the election. RabbiLerner@tikkun.org
Meanwhile, here are excerpts from a Wall St Journal item on Emanuel:
'Do What You Got Elected to Do'
The incoming chief of staff says expect a pragmatic White House.
By JASON L. RILEY
In Rahm Emanuel's telling, the Democratic victories on Tuesday were a
continuum of what began in the 2006 midterm elections, when his party won
majorities in the House and the Senate for the first time in 12 years.
"After 2006, I said it was George Bush and the desire for change," the
congressman from Chicago's North Side tells me. "And the same cocktail
contributed to this turnout. You had Barack Obama's message of change and
Bush and the Republicans' record of incompetence."
Mr. Emanuel would know. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee, he helped engineer that GOP thumpin' two years ago.
And as Mr. Obama's incoming White House chief of staff -- a position he
accepted on Thursday -- he's certain to have an outsized say in how the
Dems use their political monopoly come January.
Recently, I spoke with Mr. Emanuel during a short layover at the Detroit
airport. Officially, he hadn't yet been offered the new post, and when
queried about the prospect of serving in the Obama White House he
demurred. But Mr. Emanuel, who turns 49 later this month, was eager to
discuss Congress's agenda going forward. He explained how Democrats can
avoid the mistakes that felled the Republican majority, and he reflected
on the lessons learned as a high-ranking member of President Clinton's
brain trust in the 1990s.
Asked what Barack Obama was elected to do, and what legislation he's
likely to find on his Oval Office desk soonest, Mr. Emanuel didn't
hesitate. "Bucket one would have children's health care, Schip," he said.
"It has bipartisan agreement in the House and Senate. It's something
President-elect Obama expects to see. Second would be [ending current
restrictions on federally funded] stem-cell research. And third would be
an economic recovery package focused on the two principles of job creation
and tax relief for middle-class families."
Editorial board member Jason Riley discusses the Rahm Emanuel pick. (Nov.
The last time a Democratic president's party also ran Congress was 1992.
Just two years later, however, voters changed their mind about that
arrangement and gave the GOP control of the House and Senate. Mr. Emanuel
said he's not at all concerned that the party will overplay its hand this
time. He insisted that his caucus is mindful of what happened to Democrats
in 1994 and the Republican Congress in 2006.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Emanuel defended President Clinton's decision to
push through a tax increase in 1993 -- "a tough call" -- after having
campaigned on a middle-class tax cut. He also denied that it had much
impact in the midterm elections a year later. Instead, he cited issues
like "gays in the military" as more damaging politically. "It's not what
we campaigned on," said Mr. Emanuel. And as an example of Republicans
losing their way, he cited the Terri Schiavo episode in 2005, where
President Bush and the Republican-controlled congress intervened in a case
involving a brain-damaged woman's feeding tube.
In both instances, "the lesson is to do what you got elected to do," said
Mr. Emanuel. "Do what you talked about on the campaign. If you got
elected, that's what people expect. Don't go off on tangents where part of
your party is demanding an ideological litmus test. Neither of those
things was part of the campaign."
Mr. Emanuel's slight build and basset hound eyes belie the "Rahmbo"
moniker that aggressive tactics have earned him over the years. So does
his background. The lawmaker's interests ran to ballet, not battleground
states, while growing up on Chicago's tony North Shore in the 1970s as the
middle son of a pediatrician who emigrated from Israel. A dance prodigy,
he was offered a scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet but settled for a
liberal arts degree from Sarah Lawrence and a master's in communications
The political bug bit him in college. A stint with the consumer advocacy
group Illinois Public Action led to fund raising for Illinois Democrat
Paul Simon's 1984 senate run. Later, Mr. Emanuel would put his
money-raising prowess to work for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and,
ultimately, Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. In 1999, Mr.
Emanuel left the White House, where he had served as a policy aide to the
president. But there was little doubt that he would return to the
political arena eventually.
After three years working as an investment banker, Mr. Emanuel ran for Dan
Rostenkowski's old congressional seat. With help from the legendary Daley
political machine, he won election in 2002 and quickly rose in the party
ranks. Today he chairs the House Democratic Caucus, making him the No. 4
Democrat in the House.
Mr. Emanuel has a reputation as a bullying political operative who stops
at nothing to fill seats in Congress with Democrats. As head of the DCCC,
he was not only responsible for fund raising but also for vetting
candidates. His methods often upset members of his own party, even when
they were successful. In 2006, he made a tactical decision to recruit
candidates who opposed abortion rights and gun control to run in more
conservative-leaning districts. And although the strategy worked, it meant
passing over more ideologically pure candidates, which didn't sit well
with some orthodox liberals.
Policy-wise, Mr. Emanuel has fashioned himself as a "New Democrat" in the
Clinton mold. He has long been an advocate of governing from the center,
reaching across the aisle to seek consensus. As a Clinton adviser, he
championed welfare reform and free trade. He's even called for a flatter,
less progressive system of taxation. As a congressman, Mr. Emanuel
Barney Frank wants to slash Defense spending by 25%. Charles Rangel wants
to bring back the draft. John Conyers, who has called for slavery
reparations, is also sympathetic to Europeans who want to indict Bush
administration officials for war crimes. And Henry Waxman is angling for
steep energy taxes to combat global warming.
The question is whether these veteran lawmakers will simply steam roll the
supported the Bush administration's decision to remove Saddam Hussein,
though he subsequently criticized the president's management of the war in
So I asked Mr. Emanuel if the election of an unabashed liberal like Mr.
Obama has made the New Democrat strategy obsolete. Perhaps what we
witnessed on Tuesday means that liberalism is ascendant and the U.S. is no
longer a center-right nation. "I think the country is incredibly
pragmatic," he responded. "Pragmatic and progressive. But you still have
to mix and match different approaches to reach your objectives. You have
to be flexible."
He said the similarities between Barack Obama and the last Democratic
president matter more than the differences. "Both Barack and Bill Clinton
have an incredible connection to the public," he said. "Both ran on a
message of hope. Both ran against failed policies that let the country
down prior to them being elected. I don't think the country is yearning
for an ideological answer. If anything it's the opposite. They want real
solutions to real problems. And if we do an ideological test, we will
fail. Our challenge is to work to solve the actual problems that the
country is facing, not work to satisfy any constituency or ideological
wing of the party."
An Obama administration could very well be planning to govern from the
center. But there's still the reality of the Democratic congressional
leadership, which is brimming with left-wing barons who have their own
new White House occupant, the way previous liberal majorities in Congress
had their way with Presidents Carter and Clinton.
"Barack Obama can stand up to them," countered Mr. Emanuel. He started to
defend a couple of his colleagues -- "Charlie Rangel also supports
reducing the corporate tax rate, and go ask corporate America how
pragmatic Barney Frank has been during the financial crisis" -- but then
he paused. At first, I thought it was because Mr. Emanuel had run out of
examples, but it turned out that he wanted to make a larger point.
"Let me say this as to my colleagues," he began. "Although committed to
their philosophy, they are incredibly pragmatic. They have lived through
an experience in the minority. And they know how they got to be in the
minority. And they know one very important political principle. They know
that if President-elect Obama succeeds, all of us succeed. And if he
doesn't succeed, his failures won't be limited to him."
Mr. Emanuel avoided the word "mandate," but the future White House chief
of staff said that the future president has been given "clear directions
by the country to change policies in Washington -- to change a health-care
policy that is bankrupting the family budget as much as the federal
budget, and to change an energy policy that has us exporting $700 billion
of our wealth to countries overseas."
Mr. Emanuel said that the best way for Democrats to avoid overreach in the
next two years is by thinking "less ideologically and more in terms of
future versus past." You have to "constantly be turning over the
intellectual topsoil in order to stay fresh," he said. "The economy
demands it. The political system demands it. The country doesn't want
divided government. It wants progress."
Asked where John McCain's campaign went wrong, Mr. Emanuel said that the
Republican didn't properly address the issues Americans care about today.
"McCain ran a campaign that he thought he had to run rather than the one
he should have run," he said. "You can't do that and be successful. We
have an energy crisis, a health-care crisis, a public sector that hasn't
reformed to the globalized economy." Mr. McCain "tried to make this about
small things like Bill Ayers. Barack made it about health care.
"The American people penalized the candidate who talked about small things
and rewarded the candidate who talked about big things," he said as our
conversation wound down. "You can't win an election where the American
people want to talk about one thing and your candidate wants to talk about
something else. The American people are unbelievably pragmatic. Have
confidence in their pragmatism. It's the operating philosophy of our
Mr. Riley is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.
6. Wanna bet that the Obama girls get sent to private school in DC?
7. Israeli academic struggling for Stalinism: