I support the state of Israel. That statement almost immediately causes consternation among some of my fellow travelers on the Left. Not because they are antisemitic, but because they view the Palestinians as an oppressed people and Israel as an aggressive imperialist force that serially violates human rights. I fundamentally disagree with that view. I believe Israel is the jewel of the middle east (or near east as some prefer) in both its social organization and artistic and scientific achievements. Israel is a democracy, a liberal democracy that guarantees its own citizens essential rights to live free and prosperous lives, including the right to a free press despite being in a near constant of war. It is also one of the most innovative countries on the planet not just turning the desert green but becoming a global hub for research and development. Israel has also preserved a unique and powerful culture in its language and traditions and even improving upon it by embracing evolving standards of acceptance in regards to gays and lesbians - especially compared to its neighbors. All while facing annihilation. Not perfect and obviously there is room for improvement but I believe, without equivocation, the creation of Israel has been a positive development for the world.
But you know what? That has nothing, literally nothing, in every possible sense of the word nothing, to do with Occupy Wall Street. Why? Because Occupy Wall Street has nothing to do with Israel, it is irrelevant as irrelevant can be. They are issues as far apart as exploring mars and partial-birth abortion; interesting in their own right but completely unrelated.
You see Occupy Wall Street is about Wall Street and Israel is about Israel. I guess that is somehow confusing.
So despite no apparent connection Mr. Kristol or rather The Emergency Committee for Israel issued that statement and this ad:
Yes there were a few people at a massive protest who said and did horrible things. Such as clearly deranged man spouting conspiracy theories and some punk kid who seems to be a genuinely antisemitic piece of garbage. Occupy Wall Street is a massive organic and open movement not the FBI or any organization with some thorough vetting process, anyone is free to show up and say anything they like even if the overwhelming majority of organizers, participants, and supporters totally and completely disagree. Lots of racist and antisemitic losers crashed tea party events, where is the ad? Oh I guess Mr. Kristol recognized that the overwhelming majority of organizers, participants, and supporters totally and completely disagree with those views and decided airing an ad smearing the tea party as racist, antisemitic, and anti-Israel would trivialize important issues and alienate potential allies. Good call.
But let's get beyond political amnesia, Mr. Kristol has now claimed that the Occupy Wall Street movement is the product of antisemitism and hate - representing the protesters as ignorant bigots who see the problems of Wall Street bankers as a result of Jews. Really?
This is absurd on a number of levels. The first reason, and lets just stop here, is that most of the people who participated in the bailouts were not Jewish.
George Bush - President - Evangelical Christian
Tim Geithner - NY Fed Chair - Episcopalian
Hank Paulson - Treasury Secretary - Christian Scientist
Ben Bernanke - Federal Reserve Chair - Jewish
Christopher Cox - SEC Chairman - Roman Catholic
Sheila Bair - Chairperson FDIC - Lutheran
Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the House - Roman Catholic
Harry Reid - Senate Majority Leader - Mormon
John Boehner - House Minority Leader - Roman Catholic
Mitch McConnell - Senate Minority Leader - Baptist
Virkram Pandit - CEO Citigroup - Hindu
Llyod Blankfein - CEO Goldman Sachs - Jewish
Jamie Dimon - CEO JPMorgan - Greek Orthodox
Ken Lewis - CEO Bank of America - Baptist
Edward Liddy - CEO AIG - Roman Catholic
John Mack - CEO Morgan Stanley - Lebanese Christian
So there. If somehow there was lingering suspicions about this being some Jewish conspiracy let it be known the overwhelming majority of those involved in the bailouts were Christians, actually maybe it was a Catholic conspiracy? Or maybe, just maybe, they all really worship mammon (for those playing at home that's the right answer).
Previous to this odd accusation by Kristol I never even thought let alone cared to research the religious affiliation of the banksters and their allies in government. This, despite an intense interest in Wall Street after the financial crisis of 2008. Where did I go to learn? I read books by Michael Lewis, Scott Patterson and Andrew Ross Sorkin. Read articles by most major news outlets with a special emphasis on Matt Taibbi's awesome reporting. And I even watched the Academy-Award winning film Inside Job. Low and behold none of those media items proposed a Jewish conspiracy. Why? Because no reasonable person has that view, nor has that view ever been proposed by anyone with the slightest shred of credibility. It's a fringe beyond the fringe no one serious believes that. It is a simply a non-issue in the Occupy Wall Street movement and the world at large. Are Greeks, Spaniards, Italians etc. out in the streets protesting against Jews for causing their banking crisis? No. This is simply not part of any movement anywhere. Nor will this smear diminish the underlying causes of the movement - an economy crippled by a Wall Street gone wild and the political corruption Wall Street has wrought with its undue influence.
But what is consequential about Mr. Kristol's ridiculous smear is the damage it has done and could potentially do to support for Israel in the United States.
Mr. Kristol has promoted the notion that the public position of Israel is against Occupy Wall Street, an extremely popular movement. In fact, even more popular than the Tea Party. Which is a surprise to absolutely no one paying attention because one of the only things liberals, conservatives, and centrists agree on is that Wall Street has too much power. Mr. Kristol is now trying to paint the majority position of the country as antisemitic and anti-Israel. Is that really a good idea?
Furthermore, one of the most inspiring aspects of this movement is youth involvement. That younger generations of Americans are engaging in activism for perhaps the first time in their lives. Many of them have not yet formed their opinions or could be completely agnostic on the issue of Israel - Mr. Kristol has now possibly poisoned the next generation of American activists against Israel by presuming to position the state of Israel against the Occupy Wall Street movement. And for what? Cheap and ephemeral political points! The height of irresponsibility and poor judgement which now jeopardizes the support of current and future political coalitions needed to continue robust American support for Israel.
All this is made even more ironic if not tragic given the name of Mr. Kristol's organization "The Emergency Committee for Israel." At a time when the state of Israel is facing delicate and dangerous challenges the political strategy from Mr. Kristol's group is to... create further division among Israel's American supporters by smearing a growing populist movement as antisemitic?
UPDATE: Videos exposed as abnormalities.
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