May 24, 2011

"AIPAC as an AIPAC Lobby"

Matthew Yglesias writes:
"There’s no way the AIPAC 2011 annual conference would be a huge deal had the Arab-Israeli dispute been settled in 1997. Nor would it be possible for writers and editorialists with hawkish views on Israel to earn generous paydays speaking to Jewish organizations around the country. And with the (fortunate!) decline of anti-semitism as a practical issue in American life, advocacy around the Arab-Israeli conflict has also become more central to the mission of the Anti-Defamation League and other American Jewish organizations that weren’t initially founded with Zionist missions. Obviously, I don’t think the leadership of these organizations are insincere in their efforts. But it’s still the case that objective interests end up influencing people’s behavior through motivated reasoning and motivated skepticism. And the fact of the matter is that we have a fairly large and very successful network of organizations in the United States that both influence Israeli and American policy and also have strong objective interests in seeing the conflict continue. Indeed, in a weird way the more embattled and isolated Israel becomes, the better “pro-Israel” organizations do."

Have you noticed that Notre Dame and USC never get around to announcing a peace treaty where they permanently settle all their differences and renounce forevermore any resort to the gridiron? It's almost as if the leaderships of Notre Dame and USC think that all those young men getting bruised and injured in their annual football match is somehow in their institutions' interests...

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep, nothing Jews like more than being killed by a psychotic death cult.

Those damn Jews, always causing problems by dying. Jerks!

Anonymous said...

is the mainstream left finally admitting the decline of anti-semitism as a relevant factor in american life?


noam chomsky has been saying this for years--but of course, he's a self-hating jew because he doesn't support israel crushing palestine.



this seems like a pretty sane summary from someone who experienced various forms of anti-semitism. but i suppose we must reiterate that anything chomsky says is crazy by definition:


"CHOMSKY: Anti-Semitism has changed, during my lifetime at least. Where I grew up we were virtually the only Jewish family, I think there was one other. Of course being the only Jewish family in a largely Irish-Catholic and German-Catholic community--

QUESTION: In Philadelphia?

CHOMSKY: In Philadelphia. And the anti-Semitism was very real. There were certain paths I could take to walk to the store without getting beaten up. It was the late 1930s and the area was openly pro-Nazi. I remember beer parties when Paris fell and things like that. It's not like living under Hitler, but it's a very unpleasant thing. There was a really rabid anti-Semitism in that neighborhood where I grew up as a kid and it continued. By the time I got to Harvard in the early 1950s there was still very detectable anti-Semitism. It wasn't that they beat you up on the way to school or something, but other ways, kind of WASP-ish anti-Semitism. There were very few Jewish professors on the faculty at that time. There was beginning to be a scattering of them, but still very few. This was the tail end of a long time of WASP-ish anti-Semitism at the elite institutions. Over the last thirty years that's changed very radically. Anti-Semitism undoubtedly exists, but it's now on a par, in my view, with other kinds of prejudice of all sorts. I don't think it's more than anti-Italianism or anti-Irishism, and that's been a very significant change in the last generation, one that I've experienced myself in my own life, and it's very visible throughout the society."

Anonymous said...

You know, you're making light of this [it's really kinduva sick joke, when you think about it - low level urban guerilla warfare as a testosterone palliative for the, ah, "oriental" psyche], but we, ah, "occidentals" need to be prepared to consider the possiblity that the, ah, "oriental" mind is willing to engage in thought experiments which we simply can't allow ourselves to imagine.

For instance, in surveying the wreckage of the liar loan debacle of the last decade, you're left scratching your head and wondering whether these people are equipped with any sense of moral boundaries whatsoever: If you can figure out how to profit from barn-burning [and especially when short contracts are recognized by society as a legitimate way to conduct business], then what's to stop the profiteers from burning every single barn to the ground?


The End
by Michael Lewis
Nov 11 2008
portfolio.com

...Enter Greg Lippman, a mortgage-bond trader at Deutsche Bank. He arrived at FrontPoint bearing a 66-page presentation that described a better way for the fund to put its view of both Wall Street and the U.S. housing market into action. The smart trade, Lippman argued, was to sell short not New Century’s stock but its bonds that were backed by the subprime loans it had made. Eisman hadn’t known this was even possible - because until recently, it hadn’t been. But Lippman, along with traders at other Wall Street investment banks, had created a way to short the subprime bond market with precision...

The arrangement bore the same relation to actual finance as fantasy football bears to the N.F.L. Eisman was perplexed in particular about why Wall Street firms would be coming to him and asking him to sell short. “What Lippman did, to his credit, was he came around several times to me and said, ‘Short this market,’ ” Eisman says. “In my entire life, I never saw a sell-side guy come in and say, ‘Short my market.’”...

That’s when Eisman finally got it. Here he’d been making these side bets with Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank on the fate of the BBB tranche without fully understanding why those firms were so eager to make the bets. Now he saw. There weren’t enough Americans with shitty credit taking out loans to satisfy investors’ appetite for the end product. The firms used Eisman’s bet to synthesize more of them. Here, then, was the difference between fantasy finance and fantasy football: When a fantasy player drafts Peyton Manning, he doesn’t create a second Peyton Manning to inflate the league’s stats. But when Eisman bought a credit-default swap, he enabled Deutsche Bank to create another bond identical in every respect but one to the original. The only difference was that there was no actual homebuyer or borrower. The only assets backing the bonds were the side bets Eisman and others made with firms like Goldman Sachs. Eisman, in effect, was paying to Goldman the interest on a subprime mortgage. In fact, there was no mortgage at all. “They weren’t satisfied getting lots of unqualified borrowers to borrow money to buy a house they couldn’t afford,” Eisman says. “They were creating them out of whole cloth. One hundred times over! That’s why the losses are so much greater than the loans. But that’s when I realized they needed us to keep the machine running. I was like, This is allowed?”...

Anonymous said...

" he's a self-hating jew because he doesn't support israel crushing palestine."

Wanting not to die = crushing Palestine

"Never again" indeed.

Anonymous said...

Similarly, have a gander at the following story which is making headlines at Yahoo tonight:


The Fate of Huguette Clark's Fortune
By Adam Martin
Tue May 24, 4:37 pm ET
news.yahoo.com

The intensely reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark died Tuesday at the age of 104. Now, the fate of her estimated $500,000,000 fortune she inherited from her copper mining magnate father, W.A. Clark will have to be determined. And for someone who has dedicated the last two decades of her life to keeping people away from her, that's going to be very, very difficult. She divorced in 1930 and never remarried. After her mother Anna died in 1963, she cut herself off from the world, shutting herself into the family's massive apartments at 907 Fifth Avenue, in New York...

All of Clark's affairs are handled by her lawyer, Wallace Bock and her accountant, Irving Kamsler, who themselves are the object of some suspicion. A series of reports on MSNBC last year led to an investigation, still underway, into whether the pair have been inappropriately taking advantage of their positions of power over Clark's fortunes. Kamsler has been convicted of distributing indecent material to 13 and 15-year-old girls in an AOL chatroom...

Clark's charitable donations have already lead to some scrutiny of Bock. Dedman reported on MSNBC that, shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, "he had solicited a donation from Clark of more than $1.5 million, which she gave to a West Bank community where his daughter is a settler." Such a solicitation is prohibited under New York ethics rules, so a court could conceivably intervene, but it would be hard to prove a charitable donation was made under coersion...

It seems plausible that Bock or Kamsler may be beneficiaries in Clark's will. The lawyer and accountant have been two of a very small handful of people Clark has had dealings with for the past 20 years or so, and if her relatives are to be believed, they are unscrupulous in taking advantage of her trust and old age. Bock and Kamsler themselves have stated that they have only ever acted according to Clark's wishes. The dispute is currently in court...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Yep, nothing Jews like more than being killed by a psychotic death cult.

Those damn Jews, always causing problems by dying. Jerks!


Actually, it's mostly gentiles that die for them.

agnostic said...

"Yep, nothing Jews like more than being killed by a psychotic death cult."

Except for joining them:

Jews 10 times over-represented among cults

Anonymous said...

"Wanting not to die = crushing Palestine"

Yep, preemptively wipe them all out because they want to wipe us out.

I seem to recall that view being very popular in 1939.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the power of the "Jewish Lobby" is deliberately exaggerated:
The professional lobbyists need Jews to believe they're effective to keep the money coming in;
American Jews who'd do anything for Israel except go and live there and have their daughters conscripted like to believe they're doing a vital job for Israel in the US;
American pols might as well get Jewish votes for what they were going to do anyway;
The US govt can tell Arabs their hands are tied by this democracy problem - it might work on the stupider oil sheiks.

Anonymous said...

Israel vs Palestinians is more like the Dallas Cowboys vs a high school football team than Notre Dame vs USC. Yet, AIPAC has fooled Americans that Israel is the highschool team and Palestinians are the big guys.