Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Norman Solomon Plays "the Lobby" Card

Between MJ Rosenberg, Barry Lando, and now Norman Solomon it appears that the Huffington Post is well on its way to Veteran's Today status in terms of the number of writers who seek to blame everything on the "Israel Lobby." Norman Solomon and his wife(?) Abba Solomon wrote an article about how basically everything America does vis a vis Israel is because of lobbying, using this latest Iranian deal as a springboard to go into the talking points.
"More than ever, Israel is isolated from world opinion and the squishy entity known as "the international community." The Israeli government keeps condemning the Iran nuclear deal, by any rational standard a positive step away from the threat of catastrophic war."
Actually the jury is still very much out on whether this is a positive step. I mean you think so but the rest of us aren't obligated to feel the same way. I might also add that this may have taken the USA away from a war, but there's not much to indicate that it's a step away from Iranian nuclear weapons. Quite the opposite, in fact. So at best one threat has been replaced with another. Speaking of threats, it's time for Solomon to make some more ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims:
"But Netanyahu and the forces he represents have only begun to fight. They want war on Iran, and they are determined to exercise their political muscle that has long extended through most of the Washington establishment."
As others have pointed out before us, this is classic Orwellian newspeak, not to mention poisoning the well. According to the Huffington Post and its blogosphere, anyone who is at all critical of negotiation and/or deals with Iran "wants war" or is a "neocon" or something like that. The truth is that nobody wants war: what "Netanyahu and the forces he represents" want is for the Iranian nuclear issue to be dealt with. What separates them from people like Solomon is that they entertain the possibility of force to attain that goal...but then again so does President Obama. Yet Obama isn't targeted by Solomon's pen because he isn't part of the "Israel Lobby." With that in mind, time for Solomon to make some truly ridiculous claims:
"A widespread fear is that some political precedent might be set, undercutting "pro-Israel" leverage over U.S. government decisions. Such dread is inherent in the negative reactions from Netanyahu ("a historic mistake"), GOP lawmakers like House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers ("a permission slip to continue enrichment") and Senator Saxby Chambliss ("we've let them out of the trap"), and Democratic lawmakers like Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Robert Menendez ("this agreement did not proportionately reduce Iran's nuclear program") and Senator Charles Schumer ("it does not seem proportional")....Netanyahu and many other Israelis -- as well as the powerhouse U.S. lobbying group AIPAC and many with similar outlooks in U.S. media and politics -- fear that Israel's capacity to hold sway over Washington policymakers has begun to slip away."
If that's too long for you, here's the short version. If you criticize this Iranian nuclear deal, it isn't because you have your own opinions and came to the conclusion that it's a bad deal. Oh no. See, according to Solomon, it's really because you are afraid that "pro-Israel leverage over U.S. government decisions" aren't as strong as they used to be. Apparently that makes total sense to him, though it doesn't to me.

After making some further grandiose claims (such as that Israel tells America things OMG) Solomon tries to tie two favorite anti-Israel talking points together, with mixed results:
"Looking ahead, as a practical political matter, can the U.S. government implement a major policy shift in the Middle East without at least grudging acceptance from the Israeli government? Such questions go to the core of the Israeli occupation now in its 47th year....Israel keeps building illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank; suppression of the basic human rights of Palestinian people continues every day on a large scale in the West Bank and Gaza. There is no reason to expect otherwise unless Israel's main political, military and economic patron, the United States, puts its foot down and refuses to backstop those reprehensible policies. They can end only when the "special relationship" between the USA and Israel becomes less special, in keeping with a single standard for human rights and against military aggression."
Classic left-wing cognitive egocentrism. The problem is the occupation, which is perpetrated by Israel, and only because they are allowed to by the USA. It's probably never occurred to Solomon that Israelis and Americans don't like the occupation either, the same way it has probably never occurred to him that maybe the Palestinians have some responsibility for their own lives as well. America, Israel and in fact the international community have come around to realize that pressuring Israel into ending "those reprehensible policies" doesn't accomplish anything and even if it did, it wouldn't solve the conflict.

These paragraphs are all we've come to expect from the Huffington Post: an overly simplistic solution to a historically complex problem, an unwillingness to understand why anyone would think otherwise, and moronic conspiracy theories to justify that cognitive egocentrism.

In fact, according to Solomon, nothing is true! Everything that might be seen as 'pro-Israel' is just a lie spun by the lobby! Don't believe me? He continues:
"Baked into the foundation of their work was the premise of mutuality and compatibility of Israeli and American interests. Until the end of the Cold War, routine spin portrayed aid to Israel as a way to stymie Soviet power in the region. Especially since 9/11, U.S. support for Israel has been equated with support for a precious bulwark against terrorism."
Yep, of course. Screw all those military commanders and Presidents who thought that supporting Israel was in America's best interest. Obviously they are all idiots, or cutouts of "the Lobby," or "Israel firsters" as MJ Rosenberg might say. Everything America has ever done that is pro-Israel is just because of "spin," according to Solomon. Apparently all you need to do to get America to support you is to convince the American people to like you. That's almost like democracy! And could it be that Israel's enemies haven't succeeded at doing the same because Americans don't like them as much as they like Israel? Sorry, we can't ask questions like that on the Huffington Post.

Solomon then follows up his ridiculous statements with even more ridiculous ones:
"As any member of Congress is well aware, campaign donations and media messaging continue to nurture public officials cooperative and sympathetic to Israel. For the rare officeholders and office seekers who stand out as uncooperative and insufficiently sympathetic, a formulaic remedy has been applied: withholding campaign donations, backing opponents and launching of media vilification. Those political correctives have proved effective -- along the way, serving as cautionary tales for politicians who might be tempted to step too far out of line." 
Citation needed. Citation really, really needed.

There have been politicians who claim that "the Lobby" sunk their campaign, but background research usually finds that they lost for reasons completely unrelated to Israel. I for one would like to hear about a politician who was "insufficiently sympathetic" and therefore was subject to "media vilification." If Solomon is so sure this is a thing, surely he'd be willing to back up his claims with researched and proven examples, right?

ZOG conspiracy theories have been common at the Huffington Post, but they are rarely this blatant.

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