The Passionate Attachment

America's unrequited love for Israel

Archive for September 2012

Netanyahu — The Voice of Modernity?

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 28, 2012 at 8:05 am

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The Ubiquitous Pro-Israel NYPD

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 27, 2012

In his latest column entitled “The Ubiquitous New Yorker,” Philip Giraldi notes the New York Police Department’s troubling post-9/11 passionate attachment for another nation. Writes Giraldi of the NYPD’s International Liaison Program:

The ILP has perhaps not surprisingly been most active in Israel. Orthodox Jewish detective Mordecai Dzikansky was sent to work with the Israeli police in Jerusalem in March 2003. Dzikansky, a former Israeli Defense Forces volunteer, was fluent in Hebrew and described his role as working with Israel to face “…the same enemy: It’s radical Islam. I think the whole western world is facing this evil demon…” Since that time, the NYPD has upgraded its presence, recently opening an official liaison office in Kfar Saba, a town close to Tel Aviv. The office is manned by Charlie Ben-Naim, an Israeli citizen by birth and a dual national. He is also an NYPD detective.

In “Adam, Get Their Guns,” I also wrote about Dzikansky’s warm working relations with the Jewish state:

While Cohen’s man in Tel Aviv, Mordecai Dzikansky, had virtually no contact with his American counterpart from the FBI, which opposed the creation of the post, the Orthodox Jew and former IDF volunteer enjoyed close relations with his Israeli hosts. A few months before her 2005 “resignation,” Judith Miller wrote in the New York Times: “[A]s the New York detective walks through the corridors of police headquarters in Jerusalem, home to Israel’s 27,000 police officers, he is invariably greeted as Morty, in the Hebrew he now speaks fluently, with a quip and a smile.”

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 27, 2012 at 9:33 am

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Crosstalk: Leading Israel lobby critic, mediocre lobby apologist, and lobby-denying “critic” of Israel debate the lobby’s influence on U.S. policy

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

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Pro-Israel think-tanker urges next U.S. president to prioritize Middle East democracy

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 26, 2012

Notwithstanding the widespread and obstinate belief that the so-called “Arab Spring” threatens Israel, it seems clear that Haim Saban—the Egyptian-born Israeli-American media mogul who established the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution specifically to advance Israeli interests—favors more, not less, “democratization” in the region. In a Campaign 2012 policy brief entitled “Prioritizing Democracy: How the Next President Should Re-Orient U.S. Policy in the Middle East,” Shadi Hamid, director of research at the affiliated Brookings Doha Center, recommends:

Active and consistent support for democratic change in the Arab world—even if it means occasionally angering long-standing allies—is important for a number of reasons. First, it aligns American policy with regional trends that are irreversible. Instead of being caught unaware once again, the United States should anticipate the changes to come—and recognize that the region is growing more, not less, democratic. It means little to support the demands of protesters after they have already won. It will send a much stronger signal to the region’s future leaders if Washington encourages and defends them when it is not easy and when their victory is far from a foregone conclusion.

The remaining autocratic regimes in the Jewish state’s neighborhood can’t say they haven’t been warned.

As for those charged with making U.S. policy, they should ponder the astute question posed in a recent column by Patrick Buchanan:

If the probable or inevitable result of dethroning dictator-allies is to raise to power Islamist enemies, why help dethrone the dictators?

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 26, 2012 at 6:08 am

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Israel lobbyist hints that ‘Pearl Harbor’ may be needed to get US into war with Iran

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 25, 2012

Last Friday, during question time at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy policy forum luncheon on “How to Build US-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout,” the director of research at the pro-Israel think tank hinted that a Pearl Harbor-type attack might be necessary to get the United States to go to war against the Islamic Republic.

“I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough,” said Patrick Clawson, who also heads the Washington Institute’s Iran Security Initiative, in response to a question about what would happen if negotiations with Tehran fail. “And it’s very hard for me to see how the United States … uh … President can get us to war with Iran.”

As a consequence, Clawson said he was led to conclude that “the traditional way [that] America gets to war is what would be best for US interests.”

Intriguingly, he went on to recount a series of controversial incidents in American history — the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and the blowing up of the USS Maine — that US presidents “had to wait for” before taking America to war.

“And may I point out that Mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call out the federal army until Fort Sumter was attacked,” Clawson continued, “which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.”

“So, if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise,” the Israel lobbyist concluded with a smirk on his face, “it would be best if somebody else started the war.”

Note: Clawson begins his answer around the 1 hour 15 minute mark.

Update: It’s worth noting that op-ed in the Jerusalem Post magazine earlier this year raised the possibility of just such an attack. In a piece entitled “The looming war with Iran,” Avi Perry, who served as an intelligence expert for the Israeli government, confidently predicted:

Iran, just like Nazi Germany in the 1940s, will take the initiative and “help” the US president and the American public make up their mind by making the first move, by attacking a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian attack on an American military vessel will serve as a justification and a pretext for a retaliatory move by the US military against the Iranian regime. The target would not be Iran’s nuclear facilities. The US would retaliate by attacking Iran’s navy, their military installations, missile silos, airfields. The US would target Iran’s ability to retaliate, to close down the Strait of Hormuz. The US would then follow by targeting the regime itself.

Elimination of Iran’s nuclear facilities? Yes. This part would turn out to be the final act, the grand finale. It might have been the major target, had the US initiated the attack. However, under this “Pearl Harbor” scenario, in which Iran had launched a “surprise” attack on the US navy, the US would have the perfect rationalization to finish them off, to put an end to this ugly game.

Unlike the latest attempt at an Iranian revolution, this time the US would not shy away, rather, it would go public, openly calling for the Iranian people to join in with the US in working to overthrow the corrupt Islamic fundamentalist regime. The Iranian people would respond in numbers.

Spring would reemerge, and the Iranian people would join the rest of the Middle East – this time with the direct support of the US.

The greatest irony behind this most significant episode in 2012 is that the Iranian regime would affect their own demise. Attacking the US navy in the open seas is equivalent to carrying out a suicide bombing.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 25, 2012 at 9:39 am

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Gingerly Pussyfooting Around the Third Rail: Semi-Brave Washington Post Ombudsman Mentions Israel’s Nukes

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By Stephen J. Sniegoski
The Passionate Attachment
September 22, 2012

For a number of years the mainstream media and politicians have been in an uproar about Iran’s nuclear program, alleging that the Islamic state is developing a nuclear weapons program, or at least the capability of developing nuclear weapons, and thus threatening the peace of the world. But no reputable source claims that Iran actually possesses a nuclear weapons arsenal. In 2009, the then-dean of the Washington White House Correspondents, Helen Thomas, was so intrepid as to ask President Obama in his inaugural press conference if there were any Middle Eastern countries that currently possessed nuclear weapons. President Obama was caught flat-footed, uttering that he did not want to “speculate” (somehow America’s varied claims about Iran’s nuclear program do not count as speculation), and then, resorting to the verbal gymnastics common to American politicians, dodged the question as best he could. (A little over a year later, Thomas would be hounded out of journalism for what were widely regarded as anti-Semitic remarks about Israel, which were made in private but were video-recorded by an individual unknown to Thomas who turned out to be a an ardently pro-Israel rabbi, and then publicized by the major media.)

On August 31, the Washington Post’s ombudsman, Patrick B. Pexton, dared to touch on the taboo subject of Israel’s nuclear-weapons program in a piece titled “What about Israel’s nuclear weapons?” The Post’s ombudsman is supposed to deal with complaints about the newspaper and he began by noting: “Readers periodically ask me some variation on this question: ‘Why does the press follow every jot and tittle of Iran’s nuclear program, but we never see any stories about Israel’s nuclear weapons capability?’”

Pexton then offered some ostensible reasons for such a state of affairs. He wrote: “First, Israel refuses to acknowledge publicly that it has nuclear weapons. [Israel’s policy is known as “nuclear ambiguity.”] The U.S. government also officially does not acknowledge the existence of such a program.” But the very purpose of a purportedly free media is to ferret out and mention things that governments don’t acknowledge. And the fact that Iran actually denies trying to develop nuclear weapons does not prevent the U.S. media from charging it with that very activity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 22, 2012 at 8:02 am

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How the U.S. Became Israel — And Who It Benefits

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 20, 2012

In an important article in The American Conservative, international relations scholar Andrew J. Bacevich argues that the U.S. has become Israel — a geopolitical metamorphosis that does not augur well for the supposed dominant partner in the so-called “special relationship”:

A nation seeking peace-as-dominion will use force more freely. This has long been an Israeli predilection. Since the end of the Cold War and especially since 9/11, however, it has become America’s as well. As a consequence, U.S. national-security policy increasingly conforms to patterns of behavior pioneered by the Jewish state. This “Israelification” of U.S. policy may prove beneficial for Israel. Based on the available evidence, it’s not likely to be good for the United States.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm

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Pro-Israel Copt’s Phone Call Provoked Anti-American Outrage

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 17, 2012

On September 15, McClatchey reported that the anti-American outrage in the Muslim world over a crude YouTube video insulting the Prophet Muhammad had been triggered by a phone call to an Egyptian reporter from a controversial U.S.-based anti-Islam activist:

Morris Sadek, a Coptic Christian who lives in suburban Washington, D.C., whose anti-Islam campaigning led to the revocation of his Egyptian citizenship earlier this year, had an exclusive story for Gamel Girgis, who covers Christian emigrants for al Youm al Sabaa, the Seventh Day, a daily newspaper here. Sadek had a movie clip he wanted Girgis to see; he e-mailed him a link.

“He told me he produced a movie last year and wanted to screen it on Sept. 11th to reveal what was behind the terrorists’ actions that day, Islam,” Girgis said, recalling the first call, which came on Sept. 4. Sadek, a longtime source, “considers me the boldest journalist, the only one that would publish such stories.”

The report made no mention of the provocateur’s extreme pro-Israel views, however. On his blog dedicated to the “National American Coptic Assembly” — of which he describes himself “a president” — Morris Sadek provides an erratically punctuated outline of what he claims should be “The Coptic Position on Israel”:

We recognize the sacred right of the state of Israel and the Israeli people to the land of historic Israel .

“The right of Return” of the Jewish people to the land of their foremothers and forefathers is a sacred right. It has no statute of limitation. The return must continue to enrich the Middle East .
We recognize Jerusalem as simply a Jewish city, It must never be divided, She is, and shall always be, the united capital of Israel .

The future of the Palestinians lies with the Arab states. A Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria constitute an imminent danger to world peace.

The Chantilly-based National American Coptic Assembly, Inc., a private company with a staff of two, has an estimated annual revenue of $97,000. Considering the fawning pro-Israel statements of its principal, it’s not too difficult to speculate as to the source of that revenue.

Update: In his profile of Morris Sadek, Right Wing Watch’s Josh Glasstetter somehow manages to miss the blatant Israeli connection in his analysis of Sadek’s Facebook “likes” which include the likes of CUFI, Daniel Pipes, Pipes’s MEF, the Hudson Institute and Congressman Frank Wolf. While obscuring Sadek’s ties to extremist pro-Israelis, Glasstetter observes that the “extremist Christian” activist is “a fan of the Republican Party, George Bush, Allen West (for president no less!), and number of other Islamophobic, conservative and/or Republican institutions and leaders.” With watchdog sites like this, one is prompted to ask: Who will watch the watchers?

Update II: Right Wing Watch is affiliated with the progressive advocacy group People for the American Way. One of the group’s board members is Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of Reform’s Religious Action Center and an outspoken pro-Israel activist.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

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Smug Israeli officials disingenuously rebuke Washington for ignoring “Arab radicalization”

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 16, 2012

In today’s Haaretz, Barak Ravid cites anonymous Israeli government officials claiming the U.S. ignored their repeated warnings of anti-Western “radicalizing trends” in the wake of the Arab uprisings. Writes Ravid:

For months before the most recent attacks on U.S. embassies in North African states, Foreign Ministry and U.S. State Department officials had been arguing over developments in these countries. Senior figures in Jerusalem claimed that Washington was burying its head in the sand and ignoring the increasing radicalization in states such as Tunisia and Egypt.

The Obama administration, which since the beginning of the Arab Spring has aided, directly or indirectly, the forces that brought down the dictatorial regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Lybia [sic], now finds itself in a position of helplessness.

Not surprisingly, the Israeli officials conveniently seem to have forgotten Tel Aviv’s role in inducing Washington to provide this aid to the radical forces they are now warning against. For example, during an April 2011 visit to the Israeli-occupied Capitol Hill, President Shimon Peres urged support for “the awakening of the Arab world,” arguing that “the spread of democracy in the region could dramatically improve the staunch US ally’s circumstances.”

Instead, Ravid’s piece gives the impression that a concerned Israel was frustrated with Washington’s stubborn refusal to listen to its friendly advice about the dangers posed by this “awakening.” Exuding a condescending “we told you so” tone, the article concludes:

“Only now, after what happened to their embassies, the Americans are beginning to understand the situation,” the senior official concluded, “to hear the president of the United States declared [sic] that Egypt isn’t an ally, but also isn’t the enemy – that’s a real earthquake,” he said.

Of course, the implicit narrative being advanced by these Israeli officials through their “trusty stenographer” is that now more than ever — thanks to the so-called “Arab Spring” — the Jewish state is America’s sole remaining reliable ally in a dangerously radicalized region.

Update: On NBC’s Meet the Press, Netanyahu made that narrative explicit:

We’re the best of allies. And Israel is the one reliable ally of the United States in the Middle East — and if that wasn’t understood until yesterday…

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 16, 2012 at 6:32 am

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Raphael Patai — The Jewish Zionist intellectual source of provocative anti-Islam film

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 15, 2012

Writing about the anti-Islam film that has provoked a storm of anti-American rage in the Muslim world since September 11, Antiwar.com editorial director Justin Raimondo identifies the most likely “intellectual” source of the deliberately provocative “Innocence of Muslims.” Observes Raimondo:

On a somewhat higher level, the excerpts we have seen resemble nothing so much as a dramatization of the “theories” of one Raphael Patai, a cultural anthropologist who averred in his 1973 book, The Arab Mind, that Arabs are peculiarly susceptible to sexual humiliation. As Seymour Hersh put it in his 2004 investigation into the horrors of Abu Ghraib:

“The notion that Arabs are particularly vulnerable to sexual humiliation became a talking point among pro-war Washington conservatives in the months before the March, 2003, invasion of Iraq. One book that was frequently cited was The Arab Mind, a study of Arab culture and psychology, first published in 1973, by Raphael Patai, a cultural anthropologist who taught at, among other universities, Columbia and Princeton, and who died in 1996. The book includes a twenty-five-page chapter on Arabs and sex, depicting sex as a taboo vested with shame and repression. ‘The segregation of the sexes, the veiling of the women . . . and all the other minute rules that govern and restrict contact between men and women, have the effect of making sex a prime mental preoccupation in the Arab world,’ Patai wrote. Homosexual activity, ‘or any indication of homosexual leanings, as with all other expressions of sexuality, is never given any publicity. These are private affairs and remain in private.’ The Patai book, an academic told me, was ‘the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior.’ In their discussions, he said, two themes emerged —‘one, that Arabs only understand force and, two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation.’”

Shame and humiliation — followed by murderous rage. Precisely the reaction that greeted the posting of Innocence of Muslims online and led to the deaths of four Americans, and the first such incident involving an American ambassador in quite some time. If someone was deliberately setting a fire in the Middle East, this was the fuel that would burn hottest.

Whether deliberate or not, both Raimondo and Hersh fail to provide their readers with some crucial background information on this influential “cultural anthropologist.”

Born Ervin György Patai in Budapest, Hungary in 1910, Raphael Patai grew up in a prominent Jewish Zionist family. His father authored numerous Zionist writings, including a biography of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. József Patai also founded a Zionist organization in Hungary that supported the settlement of Jews in the British Mandate of Palestine, where Raphael and his parents moved in the 1930s. In 1936, the younger Patai received the first doctorate awarded by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Unlike many of his fellow colonists, Patai was not a secular Jew: in the late 1930s he had been ordained at the Budapest Rabbinical Seminary. Later, he served as the secretary of the Haifa Technion, Israel’s oldest university, which, as its website notes, “played a key role in laying the country’s infrastructure and establishing its crucial defense and high-tech industries.” Yet in 1947, a year before the creation of Israel, the successful young Zionist moved to New York, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1952. However, by going on to produce and promote such works as “The Arab Mind” in his new home — the world’s leading military power — Patai perhaps served the interests of the expansionist Jewish state far better than if he had remained in Palestine.

For anyone who wants to know who might be “deliberately setting a fire in the Middle East,” Raphael Patai’s ideological background provides some very strong clues.

Update: Raphael Patai was Professor of Anthropology at Dropsie College of Hebrew and Cognate Learning, Philadelphia from 1948-57. He was not the only prominent Zionist on Dropsie College’s staff. Benzion Netanyahu, the late father of the current Israeli Prime Minister, earned his doctorate from Dropsie College during the 1940s while serving as secretary to Vladimir Jabotinsky, who was seeking to build American support for militant Zionism. During the 1950s and ’60s, Netanyahu lived alternately in Israel and in the United States, including a return to Dropsie, first as professor of Hebrew language and literature, and chairman of the department, (1957–1966), then professor of medieval Jewish history and Hebrew literature, (1966–1968).

Update II: Whether or not Israel was ultimately behind the making of the anti-Islam video, they are certainly taking advantage of it. Haaretz reports on the Israeli Prime Minister’s campaign to win American public support for his position on Iran:

Netanyahu is expected to mention recent attacks against American embassies in the Middle East. In a preview clip of the interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Netanyahu said, speaking on what he called Iranian fanaticism, “it’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today. Do you want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 15, 2012 at 7:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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