Is Israel off limits?

 It has long been the case that anyone who dares criticize the policies of Israel or those of the United States toward it is immediately branded anti-semetic or worse. We have just seen that Charles Freeman had to withdraw from consideration for a post in the State Department because he was insufficiently rabidly pro-Israel. He is not alone. Members of Congress and President after President know better than to piss off AIPAC and the pro-Israel lobby if they want to be elected. It is time to stop this insanity and ask the tough questions.

How we got to this untenable situation is a matter of debate. I contend that it started out of America’s sense of guilt for having abandoned Jewish emigrees in the days of WW II, coupled with the horror of Hitler’s attempt to eliminate the Jews of Europe. But we need to declare our debt paid in full at some point and then consider Israel in the same way any other friendly nation is regarded – with clear sight and sound mind. We do neither with Israel.
I will not rehash the many controversies about Israeli settlement policies, battle tactics or horrible oppression of Palestinians. Again, there are strong opinions about all of these and I neither have the knowledge nor the time to deal with each. However, whatever view you may have about them, at the very least they raise issues regarding our lavish financial assistance and even more our unfaltering political support of Israel.
We spend more on Israel than any other nation, and for what gain? Their military is by far the overwhelming force in the region, so continuing to pour money into weapons for them seems inappropriate at best. We have tolerated their well-known nuclear capability in a way no other nation is treated, yet that capability is further destabilizing the region.
Now that Israel seems poised to install a more bellicose government with open hostility to the difficult process of finding a way to peace in the Middle East, it is time to reconsider our relationship with a clear head and without preconditions. We are in a position to impose conditions of our aid and their behavior that could help the peace process immensely. But if no one is able to speak about Israel in anything approaching a critical fashion, we will never do what is needed and appropriate.
Israel is a wealthy nation, able to afford its own defense. It can defend itself. It is time to cut the cord or at least condition it on Israelis pulling out of the settlements, opening up trade to Palestine, and ending its aggressive tactics in the region. Israel is not the only problem by far. But they are tethered to the US in a way none but Egypt is, and we must have the kind of open discussion of our policies that a healthy democracy depends upon.
It is time we stop being a nation of cowards with respect to Israel.
[Note: Because this can be a topic on which comments get nasty and explosive, any sign of the same and I will close down the comments function]



  1. L. Reichard

    I got the anti-Semitic tag when running for office. Consistent with the Libertarian philosophy, my position was to eliminate ALL taxpayer-financed foreign aid.

    One reporter asked me if that included foreign aid to Israel. Being naive, consistent — and honest (which isn’t necessarily advisable if you hope to get elected) — I said, “Of course!”

    That was plenty to get me my official “anti-Semite” badge from ADL.

    AND, while I wasn’t at all anti-Semitic BEFORE that experience, I assure you, it’s quite difficult to overcome the natural, emotional, urge to convert after experiencing that level of ill-advised chutzpah.

  2. DejaVuAllOver

    Great comments, Paolo and L. Reichard. As for me, I’ve worked in various aspects of the media, mostly music and TV, for over half my working life and all I have to add is that anyone who DARES to criticize or even tell the unfavorable truth about Israel and/or the zionists will be out on the streets so fast they know won’t know what hit ’em. (I heard this one at least once year in my former career.)

    EXHIBIT A: A common joke in Hollywood in the 1980’s. (I heard this one at least once year in my former career….):

    Q.) How do you recognize a Gentile working on a film set?

    A.) By his broom.

  3. Phil Hoskins


    Please comment on the topic only.

    Bashing of israelis, Jewish people of any sort, or jokes like the last one will close the comments fast.

    Phil Hoskins

  4. Jerry Bentley

    Gerald L Bentley,

    Phil, I sense a feeling of fear in your article. I don’t know why
    Americans are afraid to talk about our relationship with Israel.

    I have known several Jews in my lifetime, and not one of them has made me afraid of Jews. Quite to the contrary, they have earned my
    respect and I love to talk to them because I learn a great deal by
    listening to them.

    Why is America afraid to talk to Jewish people about our relationship?

    Are the Jews the big bad boogyman? I don’t think so.

    There are just as many Jews that are unhappy about the US/Israeli
    relationship as there are Americans.

    I am glad that you wrote this article, because it defines the quandary
    that we face.

    Sometimes we just can’t face our problems because we are afraid of

    Sure, America feels guilty about the Holocaust, because we could have
    stopped it sooner or prevented it entirely had we acted more promply
    and decisively.

    But the fact is that we did act, however late, to stop it.

    I don’t think that the Jews hate us.

    I do think that some unsightly Jews and Americans have taken advantage
    of this situation. But, this is not the majority of Jews or

    We need to work to do what our God has instructed us to do.

    How would American southerners feel if the Cherokee Nation demanded
    that their land be returned after 300 years? Chances are that they
    would fight. How do the Palestians feal when the Jews say that their
    land was taken from them 3,000 years ago?

    Chances are, that the Palestinians would fight.

    The Jewish people know this and they reach out to us to help them solve this dileama.

    The point of this writing is to get everyone to realize that peace is the answer.

    There is not much difference between a Christian and a Muslim and a Jew. It is time that this war ended.

  5. Jerry Bentley

    Gerald L Bentley,

    OK, I had my say but its now time to get down to basics.

    I Googled American aid to Israel, I found that American aid to
    Israel costs the American taxpayer $23,000 per Israeli per year.

    That means that the average family of four in Israel receives
    $93,000 per year in American subsidies. We also know that Great
    Britian does much the same.

    The American people are struggling to survive. We are only one
    illness away from bankruptcy. We do not have national health care
    as most European nations do.

    We are not afraid of sacrifice, in fact, we are proud of our sacrifice, we fight for liberty for all peoples.

    We can grow our own food. We can hunt and kill enough animals to
    feed ourselves, for our vegetables we can grow them. We are not
    afraid of anything.

    We came from Europe, afraid of nothing, we hope to be good and
    rightous. We only want to do right in the world but sometimes we
    are confused.

    We are confused by our politicians, who say that we should just
    listen to them, while they confuse us.

    The American people are ignorant of many of the world issues.

    They are people that can grow their own food and can shoot or catch
    their own meat. They are not powerless.

    We feel that we have something to say to the world, you are not
    powerless, you have all the power in the world, you just have to
    realize it.

    From the beginning of recorded time, the world has fought continuous
    wars, one after another, WHY?

    Did any war settle any thing? How do our political leaders continue
    to convince young men to fight for nothing?

    The political leaders did not fight, they sent the “poor boys” to fight for them. The “Poor Boys” died in droves.

    As a war veteran, I am sick of these eletists, I don’t care about
    their views. They have never killed a man, and they just
    don’t know what its like.

    Jerry Bentley

  6. f33dback

    It is time to stop the insanity, now all you have to do is get that message out thru the MSM that is almost entirely owned or run by the Jewry.
    Frankly the term “anti-semetic” has lost its bite.

    An example:
    Gerald Levin, CEO and Director of AOL Time Warner

    Michael Eisner, Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company

    Edgar Bronfman, Sr., Chairman of Seagram Company Ltd

    Edgar Bronfman, Jr, President and CEO of Seagram Company Ltd and head of Universal Studios

    Sumner Redstone, Chairman and CEO of Viacom, Inc

    Dennis Dammerman, Vice Chairman of General Electric

    Peter Chernin, President and Co-COO of News Corporation Limited

    Those seven Jewish men collectively control ABC, NBC, CBS, the Turner Broadcasting System, CNN, MTV, Universal Studios, MCA Records, Geffen Records, DGC Records, GRP Records, Rising Tide Records, Curb/Universal Records, and Interscope Records.

  7. hologram5

    I am a Christian, was a registered republican up until the “Bushco years”. I now vote independant as I don’t buy into the two party system as it is and always has been a sham. But anyways, I don’t agree with anything that is going on over there. (IE Gaza).
    I think that the Isrealis are acting like thugs. There is plenty of land to go around, what should happen is a third country should take over the land, IE Holy rock or whatever and let whomever wants to come and pray or see it come and be done with it…

    To Boldly Go…
    Anywhere there is sanity…

  8. Paolo

    An excellent perspective by Phil Hoskins. A recent poll showed 71 percent of Americans felt we should take neither side in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. So we can conclude that 71 percent of our people are smarter and have better judgment than 99 percent of our alleged “leaders.”

    There is only one reason the US government remains blindly loyal to Israel: political advantage. The Israeli lobby is well organized and ready to respond ruthlessly to any perceived attack on the official orthodoxy. They also have strange-bedfellows arrangement with right wing Christian televangelist nut-cases, as well as right wing nitwit radio hosts. Together, the three wield tremendous political clout.

    The question is whether the Israeli Lobby will overreach. It’s already led the US by the nose into a six-year commitment in Iraq, and would love to see that commitment expanded in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. The Iraqi escapade has already cost over half a trillion dollars (while “fiscal conservatives” rail about million dollar earmarks).

    In the end, the US will be forced to withdraw from the Middle East, not because of military losses, but because of financial losses. Folks, we just can’t afford imperialism. When the unemployment rate and inflation rate hit twenty percent each, the American people just might wake up.

  9. KatzFreedman

    Katz Freedman says:

    Thank you for attempting to match Haaritz, albeit in a typical American way.

    You said:Please comment on the topic only.

    Bashing of israelis, Jewish people of any sort, or jokes like the last one will close the comments fast.

    Phil Hoskins

    Why is it that so many people have so much trouble telling the difference between “Israel” and “Sharon”, “Olmert”, Peretz, Livni, Perez, Nezenyaho”, “Perez”, “Lieberman”, and individuals who’s actions have supported the actions of of the Knesset, Mossad, Unit 101, and the religion “Judaism”, or the general population of “Israel”? Why all the confusion about differing terms?

    If we were to consider the difference in meaning of the government of the USA, versus the actual citizens of the USA, or the various religions that Americans practice, as compared to individuals like George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Barak Obama, or Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Madoff, or Geitner, or Rubin, or Wolfowitz, or Richard Perle, or Steve Rosen, or whomever, we could clearly see that one of these above, do not equal the whole.

    So, what’s up with this fear of discussion of individuals who may have caused disaster and bankruptcy? Are we not allowed to call people out, by name, for anything that they have done that is clearly and obviously wrong, or immoral, or illegal, or in any way antisocial and against the rules of decent humanity??

    Are we supposed to be blind, because we are biased for any particular group>?

    I keep thinking about what Sharon said to Perez, that day, when the microphone was on, and he didn’t know it.

    That is what really gets me angry. It’s true. We know it. This pussyfooting around proves it.

  10. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Phil Hoskins for your spot-on analysis concerning the Israeli question?!

    The final solution is to simply cede the State of Texas to Israel and pay for the moving of the holy wall and any other things important to the residents and their religion allowing them to feel “down home” in Texas.

    They would vacate the Middle East and let the Palestinians have their land back. Israel seems to handle border confrontations fairly well so they would make an excellent buffer zone between a seemingly out of control Mexico run by narcotrafficantes and the soft underbelly of the U.S. The climatology is similar too and no doubt would be amenable to most Israeli citizens.

    The end result would be a great savings to American taxpayers and a major defusing of this ongoing Middle Eastern powder keg since the founding of the modern Israeli state.

    It would also be poetic justice for all the Christian fundamentalists living in Texas and elsewhere that are itching for the last great confrontation between good and evil; ie., Armageddon, now defused as a function of this mass migration to their new homeland…/:|

    Carl Nemo **==

  11. barak

    Good idea Carl. It might even change Texas from being a state with the most anti-semites to a livable place where technology flourishes along with oranges!

  12. retiredbiker

    I would modify and expand your excellent suggestion in several respects. Let the Muslim nations use their oil wealth to buy out the Jewish settlers in Israel. This could be accomplished over a decade or more. Purchase the infrastructure, and give each Israel citizen a fat check to move to Texas, or anywhere else they might wish to go. Those Zionists with a Masada complex, who think their imaginary god promised them this land 4,000 years ago who refuse to relocate would have to learn to get along with their neighbors.

    The U.S. could not be accused of anti-Semitism, as we would welcome the new (now wealthy and generally highly educated) emigrants with open arms.

  13. KatzFreedman

    Katz Freedman says:

    Not all Texans are Christian Fundes.
    Plus, Texas doesn’t need anyone. Texas was a nation of it’s own, and if things keep up, it will be a Republic, on it’s own, again.

    This proves the point: You can’t just shuffle people around, hand them land that has Texans on it, and then expect Texans to sit around and give up the back 40 acres to any foreigners.

    Just don’t forget: Texas doesn’t need anybody, not even the Feds.
    You are lucky to have us, so don’t push your luck.

  14. RichardKanePA

    One would think that when reading “Is Israel off limits” that The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Power” is the size of its teeth. However it lobbies early while progressive groups get into the lobbing act late in the game when they look like they are trying to push Obama around. Obama works hard at avoiding the image of being pushed around.

    The Religious Right tries to stop Jews from opposing their agenda of Christmas pageants in public schools, and squares etc., by lavishly praising Israel, and as with Rush Limbaugh running self-appointed errands for them. I think his errands are self-appointed since his efforts to stop what he calls evil socialism destroying America, makes things rough for the two most prominent Jewish politicians Arlen Specter and Joe Lieberman. If Rush asked what they wanted or made a deal, I’m sure they would suggest something different than making things rough for Specter and Lieberman. The coordinated Israeli conspiracy theories don’t fit here.

    It upsets both of us and many more that the US is letting the Palestinians starve even helping it happen with veto power at the UN, and lack of strings in US aid to Israel. Perhaps we should point out how much bin Laden appreciates that the US is still helping him recruit.

    Al Qaeda preaches antisemitism in its English language blogging, and America is really the enemy in its Arabic broadcasting, and there is plenty of traditional prejudice involving Jews and business. Moussaoui in his 9/11 trial where the jury chose between life and death, spent the trial condemning his Jewish lawyer and urging American’s to condemn Israel, and Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal correspondent was lured to Pakistan and beheaded, and forced to parrot a confession of Jewish conspiracy. Of course there is also a lot of anti-Muslim prejudice thrown around. But bin Laden would be overjoyed if there was a systematic attempt to remove both Jews and Muslims from Western countries to supposedly fight their wars in their part of the world not ours. Some may say al Qaeda is less and less organized and thus less of a problem, but if al Qaeda members get connived that their multi-generational plans for the future is hopeless, they may seek isolated individual acts of martyrdom.

    Unfortunately insinuations of intense conspiracy, though many other articles more intense than the above in the above article, will make it a little less likely that Obama will risk a public row with Israel that might encourage a lot determined anti-Semites to get much limelight.

    (After thought now added) I think Obama wants to do the right thing I hope that I, Phil and the others worried about needless oppression will help him find a way to do it. Somehow we got to get involved early the way those who basically differ with him do.

    For more details see,
    Richard Kane

  15. SenatorBilboa

    Why is the Israel Lobby viewed as so pernicious when the Vatican Lobby (equivalently defined) is far worse for most of us. If it is true that the Israeli Lobby controls foreign policy with respect to that place far off known as the Middle East, it is assuredly clear that the Vatican Lobby exhibits far greater control of our government. There are only two Jewish Supreme Court justices, as opposed to five Roman Catholics. Whereas there are only 32 Jewish Congressmen and 13 Jewish Senators, there are 132 Roman Catholic Congressmen and 25 Roman Catholic Senators. Although there is a Jewish Chief of Staff in Emmanuel and a Jewish Treasury Department head in Geithner, there is the Catholic Vice President Biden, the Catholic Secretary of the Interior Salazar, the Catholic Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, the Catholic Secretary of Labor Solis, the Catholic HUD Secretary Donovan, the Catholic Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano. All Catholics swear fealty to the Vatican, an independent Nation State! Worries about the dominance of a religious group should not be the Jews, but the Catholics. Of course, one might wish to not concentrate on religion at all, as John Kennedy suggested, but it seems that is impossible.

    Although one might wish to have the Israeli Lobby muzzled with respect to the Middle East, clearly an amazing amount of muzzling will be required with respect to the Supreme Court on such things as abortion and euthanasia.

  16. woody188

    In respect to the greater population, there is a disproportionate amount of Jewish government figures which is why they are singled out. The thinking goes, if there is only 2% of the US population that is Jewish, why then do they control 17% of the SCOTUS, 7% of Congressmen, 13% of Senators, etc. Incidentally this is also why many would claim Jewish control over the media.

    Roughly 26% of the US population claims to be Roman Catholic. According to your figures, they have 42% of the SCOTUS, 30% of Congressmen, 25% of Senators. So I’ll agree they are disproportionately represented on the SCOTUS, but their Congressional representation is more in line with the general population.

    Then there is the whole Franklin/Weissman/Rosen espionage case where AIPAC officials received secret documents from Laurence Franklin. Franklin is currently serving a 12-year sentence, a slap on the wrist for espionage while Weissman and Rosen are in the trial process.

    Gee, I wonder why we don’t see Weissman and Rosen’s trial every day on the news? Spy rings usually make such explosive news stories, one might think at least one network would bother to mention it!

  17. barak

    Hoskins is right. We should abandon our only true supporter in the Middle East. Not only would it end the arabs reason for allegedly hating the USA, but it would restore that land to the state it was before the Jews moved in–a land of swamps, desert, and donkey crap in the streets.

    But it WOULD be picturesque!

  18. Paolo

    Okay, Barak’s comment was tongue-in-cheek, and I acknowledge that.

    However, observe how antisemitism is perfectly acceptable, so long as it is the Arab Semites who are the target.

    But thank God, the Jews moved in and cleaned up all the “donkey crap” left in the streets by those unhygienic, subhuman Arabs!

    Do I need to point out that this is exactly the propaganda put forth by the Nazis against Jews? That they were all dirty, grubby subhumans?

    By the way, Israel is not our only true supporter in the Mideast. Israel is not supporting us when it goads into pointless war after pointless war, where the US has nothing to gain and everything to lose.

  19. KatzFreedman

    Katz Freedman responds to the below comment:

    Hoskins is right. We should abandon our only true supporter in the Middle East. Not only would it end the arabs reason for allegedly hating the USA, but it would restore that land to the state it was before the Jews moved in–a land of swamps, desert, and donkey crap in the streets.

    But it WOULD be picturesque!

    KF says:

    We have lots of allies in the Middle East, or at least we used to.

    What good is something obtained by violence?
    How does it benefit anyone to have blood on their hands to take what is not yours?

    In the end, this repression of discussion will reap a hailstorm of more hatred, more criminality, and more immoral acts. A lack of examination of truth, and the facts, will lead to ever worse disaster.

    Look what is happening now. Do you see how bad it is getting, yet?
    The same men’s names, keep coming up. Too bad the names are not on arrest warrants!

    Do you honestly believe that this social experiement was an improvement on what was before? Before 1948, all three major religious groups lived in harmony.

    That was before ruthless men used innocent civilians, to make a land and money grab…..and have since profited by the blood.

  20. kate9954

    Phil, you are dead on, but you’ve missed a point that few Americans are aware of, and that is the issue of dual citizenship. During my USAF years, I held a TS clearance. If I’d been a dual citizen with any nation on Earth – even England, our closest “friend” – it would have raised serious questions. That is, unless I was Jewish and a dual citizen with Israel.

    During the last administration, the top 3-4 decision makers at the Pentagon under Rumsfeld were dual citizens with Israel. Israel, the nation that conducts the most espionage operations *against* the US of any so-called “friendly” nation.

    I’m not picking on Jews – or even Israelis. I don’t hate anybody in particular these days, and the Jewish people least of all. But I do believe that the .01% of jobs in the US that require more than a simple criminal check should be barred to anyone who holds dual citizenship, period, absolutely regardless of nation. Divided loyalties at those levels contain too much potential for disaster.

    Just common sense, it seems to me.

    Follow me on Twitter!

  21. woody188

    I got banned and called an anti-semite for mentioning the dual-citizenship and providing a list of government officials currently in office that hold such status. So watch your back sister!

  22. remoran

    “Never stop questioning.” Einstein

    Terrific article. AIRPAC and the Fed are 3rd rail issues for politicians, something sad to see as we slide further into the Abyss.

  23. almandine

    “I neither have the knowledge nor the time to deal with each”…

    Nuff said, Phil, but you tried to anyway.