March 22, 2007
If measured by the number of letters, there has been a lot of buzz around Gary Kamiya’s Salon article about the power (real or perceived) of AIPAC, the “mainstream” Jewish Israel lobby. In case you have not read it, or have no intention to read it, his main points are
1. AIPAC is one of the most powerful K Street lobbies, rivaling AARP and the NRA.
2. AIPAC has supported, and by (his) extension has helped to shape some of the most disastrous parts of this and past administration’s Mideast policy.
3. AIPAC purports to but in fact does not represent the majority and plurality of the Jewish community.
4. It is primarily up to the Jewish community to speak up about, and at, AIPAC in order to assure skittish legislators and candidates that they are not representative of us, and that we see the harm AIPAC’s lobbying has had.
It is hard to argue 1 or 2, or even 3. All things being equal, it is a well argued and balanced assessment. AIPAC certainly does not represent the Jewish community, and surely AIPAC backs repugnant foreign policies, many of which I would argue hurt Israel.
However, in the hundred-plus letters I scanned on Salon in rebuttal or support of Kamiya’s article, I found very few that hit one major point of contention (number 4) and none on another, perhaps more sensitive and personal topic. I will take them in order.
Is it up to the Jews to challenge AIPAC? Well, yes and no. Read the rest of this entry »
March 13, 2007
I wrote in an earlier post that naïveté was an unlikely excuse for any serving senator, least of all for long-serving, high-ranking members such as Clinton and Dodd. But as I’m preparing to put the image of the doe-eyed senator to rest, some Rudolph keeps raising his head for another stare down at the White House.
In reaction to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ deflecting confession that he “accepts that mistakes were made,” in the firing and replacement scandal of US attorneys, none other than Charles Schumer, the long-standing senior senator from New York, was quoted by the NYtimes.com as saying that this “…prove[s] beyond any reasonable doubt that there has been unprecedented breach of trust, abuse of power and misuse of the Justice Department.” Read the rest of this entry »
March 3, 2007
When I was a child, I lived in London with my family. I was 5. My parents, with all the best intentions, decided to send me to a public (which in the UK, of course, means private—very confusing) kindergarten. Oh wait, that is a topic for another time…
Let me take a step back, for this is a post about getting reacquainted with a long lost (but never forgotten) artifact. In this case, Bruce Springsteen’s seminal Born to Run.
But I really did want to start in the London of my fifth year. Almost daily, I rode the Tube with one of my parents on the way to pick up my brother or sister, to the market, to-and-from all the ordinary things of a child’s tag-along life. Read the rest of this entry »
March 2, 2007
Stanley Fish, always a thoughtful, and almost always worth the read for any topic he cares to comment on, misses the point in his New York Times Blog post of February 25.
“[Clinton] is admitting to putting her faith in the wrong person (she has said, “I take responsibility for that vote”), but refusing to accept the blame for what he subsequently did, that is, refusing to take the blame for the war.
“This distinction between delegating authority to someone and holding oneself accountable for the actions he then performs might seem too fine and casuistical for Senator Clinton’s critics, but it is one I recognize from my own experience.”
This entirely misses the point. I don’t care if any of these senators have the stomach to apologize or not. John Edwards apologized (sort or, with a “if I knew then” chaser on it) and Hillary didn’t. Kerry is still deciding, I suppose.
They all either made a huge misjudgment on the facts, intentions and character of the Bush administration (less likely), or else a miscalculation on what the political effects of a “nay” vote would be in 2004, ’06 and ’08 (more likely).
Either way, they failed us. And frankly, an apology now does nothing to change my opinion—no one that cast a vote in favor of JR 114 will get my support.
See my earilier post for a more complete discussion of this.