Peter Myers Digest Dec 28, 2023

(1) Spengler discussion on Twitter: Gaza breakout likened to Warsaw Ghetto uprising
(2) David P. Goldman (Spengler at Asia Times) supports “mopping up Hamas”
(3) Spengler on the LaRouche cult: “We were all about thirty, and most of us were Jewish.
(4) Mock Funeral for Gaza
(5) Israeli president Isaac Herzog signed shells to be fired upon Gazan civilians
(6) Herzog: we’re going to take Gaza over. Downplays settler & IDF violence in West Bank
(7) Matthew Ehret on Greater Israel project of PNAC, omits Jewish role
(8) Jewish Neocons ties to Likud – Chalmers Johnson. Perle, Feith & Wurmser wrote A Clean Break for Netanyahu
(9) Iraq War was conceived by 25 Neocons, mostly Jewish – Ari Shavit in Haaretz
(10) In 1996 NYT opinion page, Israeli journalist Ari Shavit says US “in our hands”

(1) Spengler discussion on Twitter: Gaza breakout likened to Warsaw Ghetto uprising

David P. Goldman
I’m heartbroken over the mass murders of Israelis — the death toll will rise significantly above present reports. My best guess is that Israel will send the army into Gaza, with significant losses and a lot of collateral damage. The Abraham Accords will be frozen if not ditched.
10:45 AM · Oct 9, 2023

Rass Bariaw
Oct 9
Were the residents of the Warsaw Ghetto collateral damage?

David P. Goldman
Oct 9
The Warsaw Ghetto uprising didn’t murder civilians at random.

David P. Goldman
Once again: I warned right after 9/11 that Jihadists would stage scenes of horror to overwhelm Western sensibility. That is precisely what Hamas has done in Gaza. It’s Hitlerian except even Hitler didn’t maximize German civilian deaths.
12:06 AM · Dec 1, 2023
(2) David P. Goldman (Spengler at Asia Times) supports “mopping up Hamas”

Israel in the shadow of American decline

Israel in the shadow of American decline
Hamas is a less significant existential threat than the collapse of US leadership

DECEMBER 21, 2023

Strictly speaking, Israel’s Gaza war is not a tragedy, but rather a hideous accident. Many wars wait for years to happen until they can’t be stopped. Those are the tragedies.

This one never should have happened. Israeli intelligence had the plans for the October 7 Hamas attack a year in advance, as well as urgent warnings from lower-echelon officers just before the event. But the top military and political leadership brushed them off.

This fits a venerable pattern. Stalin had the plans for Operation Barbarossa from his spy Victor Sorge; US Naval Intelligence had warnings about the attack on Pearl Harbor; and the FBI had the jigsaw puzzle pieces of 9/11, but failed to fit them together.

Intelligence services are not rewarded for timely warnings, but for serving their masters’ political agendas, and Israel’s fabled spies turned out to be no different than their counterparts in other countries. Believing that US$40 million a month in subsidies from Qatar and other economic concessions would keep Hamas quiet, the Israeli government refused to consider anything else.

There simply is no contest between 300,000 regular troops from the Israel Defense Forces and 30,000 to 40,000 lightly armed Hamas irregulars, any more than there was a contest between ISIS and the American army and its proxies. Whether Hamas is entirely or largely extirpated from Gaza depends on the extent to which Israel can resist American pressure to vitiate its operations.

The outcome will not be much different in any case. Whatever happens, most of Gaza’s two million residents will spend the next couple of years in tent camps while the rest of the world dickers about what to do with them. Their living conditions will be similar to those of the more than 200,000 Jewish refugees who lived in tent cities for up to two years after they were expelled from Arab countries following the 1948 war.

For all the horrors of the October 7 attacks, they did not constitute an existential crisis for a country with the region’s most powerful military and an extraordinary capacity for national solidarity in the face of external threat.

The existential danger to Israel comes not from its southern border, but rather—as in Jeremiah 1:13-14—from the distant north, specifically Ukraine. The Biden administration previously imagined that it could force regime change in Russia through crippling sanctions.

Instead, a large part of world trade and financial currents skirted American sanctions, leaving Russia with barely-diminished oil revenues and a steady supply of high-tech components from China, directly and through such intermediaries as Turkey, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Armenia.

Rather than collapsing by 50% as President Biden predicted, Russia’s economy grew by 3% in 2023 after contracting by just 2.1% in 2022. Putin had an 80% approval rating as of October 2023. The Biden team is responsible for the grossest blunder in the checkered history of American foreign policy.

America’s strategic position is about to suffer a blow on par with, and perhaps more devastating than, the 1975 collapse of Vietnam. With a resident population of less than 30 million against Russia’s population of 147 million, Ukraine cannot put enough men in the field to hold the line against a Russian army with comparable technology and much greater firepower.

The West can’t produce enough artillery shells, so Ukraine is firing hundreds of howitzer shells daily while Russia fires thousands. Both sides have lost 70,000 to 100,000 and three or four times that number wounded, but Russia has several times more people. None of the West’s Wunderwaffen have made a difference, and the Russians have some nasty weapons of their own, as well as clear air superiority.

Attempting to move NATO’s boundaries to the Russian-Ukraine border may have been the stupidest act in the sorry drama of American foreign policy, and President Biden’s declaration on March 26, 2022, that Putin cannot be allowed to remain in power may be the emptiest boast ever by an American leader.

With few exceptions, the American foreign policy establishment has wagered its credibility on the outcome of this war. Although a few establishment stalwarts like Richard Haass talk of “redefining success in Ukraine,” i.e., declaring victory and going home, most of the Establishment has closed ranks. The professional penalties for doing otherwise are severe.

Making enemies
The atmosphere in Washington resembles Vienna in the Spring of 1914 as depicted by Robert Musil in “The Man Without Qualities” (1930): The reader, but none of the protagonists, knows that their world of illusions is about to come to a horrible end. The American Establishment refuses to know this, but Russia knows it, as do China, the Gulf States, and everyone else.

The change in the world balance of power after the collapse of Ukraine will be so dramatic that all the players in this global game are cautious about their next step. But Russia and China are probing American weaknesses in ways that remain well below the threshold of a casus belli, testing American responses.

Israel will suffer collateral damage. It needs American weapons, ammunition and spare parts, especially with ammunition stockpiles depleted by the Ukraine war. It also depends on America’s veto at the UN Security Council.

It does not help that the Biden administration, with a view toward the pro-Palestinian sympathy of its progressive base, is doing whatever it can to hold Israel back from the military actions required to mop up Hamas. Although the American alliance is indispensable for Israel in the short term, the decline of American power will contribute to the strategic encirclement of Israel over time.

The late Henry Kissinger was asked on October 20, in his last published interview: “Is there the possibility for Russia to show greater involvement in the Middle East?” He answered: “Before the Ukrainian war, Russia was generally in favor of Israel in the confrontation with Arabs. If Russia now would intervene, it has two options: to engage on the side of the Arabs or to appear as a mediator in the crisis—which would be strange in light of the Ukrainian war.”

Since Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2015 to prevent the Sunni jihad against the Assad government from creeping into the Russian Caucasus, Israel and Russia have maintained correct if not cordial relations in the Syrian theater.

The Russians stood by while the Israeli Air Force flew thousands of sorties against Iranian-backed militias in Syria. That is critical for Israel’s security on its northern flank, where it faces a Hezbollah force three times as large as Hamas, armed with perhaps 150,000 missiles, including many modern models that may be able to evade Israeli defenses.

Now Russia’s turn toward Iran is cause for serious concern. At the end of November, Iran announced that it had “finalized” a deal to buy Russian SU-35 fighters from Russia, an airframe roughly comparable to the F-15s flown by the Israelis. It is not known whether the Russians will sell fully-loaded warplanes with advanced avionics and air-to-air missiles, or a less potent export version. Presumably, that is a matter for negotiation.

The Russians play chess while Americans play Monopoly, and the obvious Russian move in response to an American attempt to control the center of the board in Ukraine is to open a fianchetto with Iran.

I warned in 2008:

If Washington chooses to demonize Russia, the likelihood is that Russia will become a spoiler with respect to American strategic interests in general, and use the Iranian problem to twist America’s tail. That is a serious risk indeed, for nuclear proliferation is the one means by which outlaw regimes can pose a serious threat to great powers. Russia confronts questions not of expediency, but of existence, and it will do whatever it can to gain maneuvering room should the West seek to “punish” it for its actions in Georgia.

One irony of the present crisis is that Washington’s neo-conservatives, by demanding a tough stance against Russia, may have harmed Israel’s security interests more profoundly than any of Israel’s detractors in American politics. The neo-conservatives are not as a rule Jewish, but many of them are Jews who have a deep concern for Israel’s security—as does this writer. If America turns Russia into a strategic adversary, the probability of Israel’s survival will drop by a big notch.

Putin’s state visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, complete with military aircraft streaming the Russian colors, was “nothing less than Putin’s return to the world stage,” Germany’s Die Welt wrote on December 12. Later that week, Putin received senior Iranian officials in Moscow.

Knives out
Iran evidently decided to sit out the present Gaza conflict, rather than (as many feared) opening a second front against Israel in the north. But it is probing through its cat’s paw militias, testing Western responses.

Hezbollah fired about 50 rockets at Israeli positions in November, compared to 4,000 rockets during the 2006 Lebanon war. The Houthi militia of Yemen has fired anti-ship missiles and drones at civilian ships, effectively diverting freight traffic out of the Red Sea. On December 18, the Pentagon announced a ten-country coalition (with the glaring absence of the Gulf States) to protect shipping.

In Asia, meanwhile, China’s navy on December 10 staged a minor standoff with Japanese vessels near the disputed Senkaku Islands. Chinese ships have harassed Philippine vessels with water cannons as they attempted to resupply Philippine forces in the South China Sea.

These are probes rather than preparations for war. The reading that China drew from Xi Jinping’s mid-November summit with President Biden is that America is frightened by the prospect of military engagement with China.

The main American ask in San Francisco was the restoration of the hotline between the two militaries, which China suspended after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. China also extracted an unambiguous statement from the White House that “we obviously don’t support independence for Taiwan.”

The US Navy is outgunned within 1,000 miles or so of China’s coast. “The [People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s] ground-based missile forces complement the air and sea-based precision strike capabilities of the PLAAF and PLAN,” reported the Pentagon on November 29, 2022.

“The PLARF continues to grow its inventory of DF-26 IRBMs, which are designed to rapidly swap conventional and nuclear warheads. They are also capable of precision land-attack and anti-ship strikes in the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the South China Sea from mainland China.”

Like the Battleship Lobby of the 1930s, the Pentagon built the wrong kind of fleet: Too many aircraft carriers, now as vulnerable as battleships in 1940, and not enough submarines. To call attention to this fact is career suicide, which explains why the public debate focuses on cheap, quick fixes—more 155mm shells and HIMARS rockets for Taiwan, for example.

A Ukrainian defeat in the form of a significant loss of territory and a long-term ceasefire would remind the rest of the world of Kissinger’s quip that it is dangerous to be an enemy of the United States, but fatal to be our friend.

Israel will have to deal with a less cooperative Russia that dallies with Iran, a China that seeks to exploit anti-colonial resentment in the Global South against Israel, a more assertive and better-armed Iran, and a vitiated American commitment to Western Asia. Its immediate problems are less dire than they appear: Except for Qatar and possibly some parts of the Turkish political spectrum, the rest of the world is happy to see Israel destroy Hamas.

The Sunni jihad to which Hamas declares its allegiance is a persistent security problem for both Russia and China. Iran has armed and funded Hamas, but it does not want a Sunni entity to emerge as the main opposition to Israel. Israel’s long-term problems, though, are worse than they appear, and will come to the surface when the dust settles in Ukraine.

The event most likely to mitigate Israel’s strategic predicament would be the election of Donald Trump to a second term in 2024. Unlike the neoconservatives and global liberals presently in charge, Trump has no interest in regime change in Russia and has no reason to perpetuate the blunders of others. He has pledged to end the war in Ukraine, which means cutting America’s losses.

He is likely to maintain strong American support for Israel while limiting damage to America’s position abroad by conflict avoidance with Russia and China. Unlike the Biden foreign policy team, Trump has little interest in how other countries manage their affairs: his concern is the best deal for the United States.

This article was first published in The American Mind and is republished with permission. Read the original here.

(3) Spengler on the LaRouche cult: “We were all about thirty, and most of us were Jewish.


by David P. Goldman

5 . 7 . 09

Early in April, with the publication of the May issue of First Things, I stepped out from behind the pseudonym Spengler to begin arguing my more considered ideas under my own name. The experience has been an interesting one: constricting in some ways and yet freeing in others.

My Spengler columns actually began as a joke. In 1997 the Asia Times asked me to write a humor column, and the name Spengler seemed a funny touch: the author of The Decline of the West as a comic writer for an Asian daily. The print edition of the newspaper soon went under, but I revived the persona for the online-only edition in 1999. Contrary to my expectations, it won an audience and became a vehicle for more than I had originally imagined it would be.

One reason for the Spengler name was that I was working on Wall Street at the time, and a pseudonym allowed me to keep my two worlds separate. But I soon found that the Spengler mask also gave me freedom to employ striking ideas and provocative formulations—to take intellectual as well as literary risks. Along the way, I developed a core thesis that the response of nations to their own mortality was the key to understanding the great events of our time, and the existential theology of Franz Rosenzweig provided unique insights into geopolitics. What’s more, I had a great deal of fun writing as Spengler.

What I didn’t have was a great deal of responsibility. Not that those columns were irresponsible; looking back on a decade of writing as Spengler, I see many misfires and over-phrasings, but little to revise in the core thesis to which I came. Still, when writers take on a successful mask, they also shrug off a certain burden of accountability. A small group of friends slowly convinced me that to argue publicly for things one really believes requires standing behind them publicly. It demands a commitment, and to continue arguing under a pseudonym eventually came to seem to me an attempt to have it both ways.

Yes, I’ve found that the emergence from the Spengler name has constricted my writing in some ways: forcing me to be more considered and more careful in how I say what I want to say. But I’ve found that the rejection of pseudonym has, in another way, freed me—freed me to make a fuller commitment to the ideas I think worth fighting for in the public square.

Even during the Spengler years, I never entirely stopped writing under my own name, penning financial columns under my real byline in Forbes magazine and publishing research for Wall Street firms. But all that was different from the writing I’ve begun to do now. This experience—disappearing for a decade behind a mask and then reemerging—remains an odd one. Trying to evaluate it, I’ve found myself forced to retrospection: a looking back at some of the ways in which I’ve used and misused my life.

Can you bear a little more autobiography? The critic Harold Bloom once argued that the characteristic American religion is a species of gnosticism, and I have good reason to believe it to be true, having spent some years—from 1976 to 1986—in a gnostic cult under the leadership of a man named Lyndon LaRouche.

Was it all bad? In March 1984, Norman A. Bailey, then special assistant to President Reagan for international economic affairs, told NBC news that the LaRouche organization had “one of the best private intelligence services in the world.” The supply-side publicist Jude Wanniski—my future business partner—had introduced me to Bailey in 1981, when I ran the economics desk for LaRouche’s publications. Among my colleagues were several researchers who went on to distinguished careers. The Asia desk chief, for instance, was Dan Sneider, afterward a distinguished correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and the San Jose Mercury, and now director of a university research institute. European economics was handled by Laurent Murawiec, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute; the Middle East desk was headed by Bob Dreyfuss, now a regular contributor to the Nation, American Prospect, and New Republic; and the chief science writer was Jonathan Tennenbaum, a brilliant mathematician who had taught at the University of Copenhagen.

We were all about thirty, and most of us were Jewish. The question, of course, is what were a group of young Jews doing in the company of a cult leader with a paranoid view of the world and a thinly disguised anti-Semitic streak.

Here is one answer: We were all long-in-the-tooth student radicals. LaRouche’s organization was the flotsam washed up by the wave of the collective madness that had swept through the youth of the world in 1968 and left many of its participants maladapted to ordinary life for years afterward.

During the 1960s, LaRouche was a one-man Trotskyite splinter group, teaching free-lance courses on Marxist economics at whatever venue would have him. He culled student radicals with an intellectual bent who were repelled by the mindlessness endemic on the left in the late 1960s. LaRouche’s pitch was insidious: How can you justify yourself morally unless you know that what you are doing is right? There existed a science of mind, LaRouche claimed, that would enable the adept to reach the right conclusion.

We were atheists, of course—the concept of “religious intellectual” was unknown to me in my student days at Columbia and the London School of Economics—and the idea that truth might come through revelation seemed beyond snickering. The Vietnam War, the crisis in race relations, and the cracks in the economic structure of the 1970s persuaded us that we had to do something and that indifference was morally inexcusable.

And that is where LaRouche had us. His intellectual method resembled the old tale about stone soup: Having announced that he had the inside track on the hidden knowledge that underlay Western civilization (one of his essay was titled “The Secrets Known Only to the Inner Elites”), he attracted a small parade of intellectual orphans, whom he then put to elaborating the details. By the late 1970s he had collected some highly credentialed acolytes, including a group of physicists and mathematicians at his front organization, the Fusion Energy Foundation.

LaRouche claimed to trace a tradition of secret knowledge across the ages, from Plato and Plotinus, through the Renaissance, and down to the German scientists and philosophers of the nineteenth century. Of course, that raises a question: If there exists this kind of knowledge, then why isn’t it universally shared? The reverse side of the gnostic page is paranoia: There must be a cabal of evil people who prevent the dissemination of the truth.

In LaRouche’s Manichean view of the world, a conspiracy had suppressed the truth in the service of evil oligarchs. Starting with Aristotle, it continued through to the nominalists, the British empiricists, and that supposed pinnacle of modern evil, Bertrand Russell. The Venetian Inquisition, the British Empire, the Hapsburg family, the Rockefellers, and the Trilateral Commission all figured variously in this grand conspiracy against LaRouche’s supposed intellectual antecedents. Jewish banking families kept popping up in LaRouche’s accounts of the evil forces.

You might think—you should think—that this would have sent us running for the exits. But, Godless and faithless, we were all possessed by a fear of being Jewish, and LaRouche offered us a rock to hide under. LaRouche feigned a sort of philo-Semitism, praising marginal figures who could be fit into his mold: the Platonist Philo of Alexandria, for example, and the German rationalist Moses Mendelssohn—Jews, that is, who sounded more like Greek philosophers than like Jews. He also portrayed himself as the opponent of Nazi tendencies that lurked everywhere. In a caricature of the reductio ad Hitlerum, everything he didn’t like pointed to the Nazis. The economist Milton Friedman, whose students had advised the Pinochet regime in Chile, must be a fascist because LaRouche didn’t like his economics, and I coauthored a book with LaRouche in 1978 with that silly allegation.

LaRouche’s anti-Semitism was rarely in the open, but it often lurked just beneath the surface. Sometime in the early 1970s, he had played political footsy with the Liberty Lobby, a group headed by the anti-Semite and Holocaust denier Willis Carto. In a Carto-influenced article LaRouche later tried to suppress, he put the number of Jewish dead at around 1.5 million. I knew about all this, and I looked the other way.

In 1978, I did a study for LaRouche of the economics of the narcotics traffic. The numbers I crunched showed that narcotics was a hundred-billion-dollar-a-year business—not a controversial conclusion today, but at the time it seemed startling. LaRouche took my quantitative study and combined it with the paranoid musings of other researchers into a book, Dope, Inc., that had unmistakable anti-Semitic overtones. I knew about this, too, and again I looked the other way.

When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, LaRouche was doing well, with a pocket publishing empire, a more-or-less accepted scientific front in the Fusion Energy Foundation, and a remarkable capacity to raise money (a good deal of which, it later turned out, was obtained by fraud). Nonetheless, within a few years nearly all his key people had quit. Once they began to engage the real world at a serious level, they broke free of LaRouche’s spell. For my part, I owe a great deal to Norman Bailey, then director of plans at the National Security Council. My political education began in his lair at the old Executive Office Building in 1981, when he explained to me that the United States would destroy the Soviet Empire by the end of the 1980s.

After I became convinced that the Reagan administration knew what it was doing, my break with LaRouche was inevitable. He cashiered me as economics editor for his publications in 1982, for the offense of predicting (correctly) that the Reagan reforms would bring about an economic recovery (since if the American economy was on the mend, it did not need a savior like LaRouche). But I was still stuck emotionally in LaRouche’s flypaper. I moved to Europe, consulted for Bailey, and pursued musical research under the auspices of another LaRouche front, the Schiller Institute, until 1986.

I had grown up as a red-diaper baby in a secular Jewish household (although my parents put me through the motions of a Bar Mitzvah at a Reconstructionist synagogue). I joined the left-wing Zionist youth organization Hashomer Hatzair and spent a summer on a kibbutz in Israel where the Israeli flag flew underneath the red flag of international socialism. Like so many leftist Jews, I came to believe that only a universal solution to humanity’s problems would solve the problems of the Jews, and the more universal the solution, the less Jewish. In plain English I was afraid to be Jewish: The less Jewish I was, and the more universal, the less likely I would be to be killed for being Jewish.

And yet, physical fear in the background of the Holocaust was only one consideration. Another, deeper fear kept me at a distance from Judaism. My only sense of the sacred had come from classical music, the great avocation of my adolescence. The over-representation of Jews in classical music is no accident: Jews who cannot bring themselves to acknowledge God sometimes find music a safer means by which to evoke religious feelings without the fearful demands of encountering a personal God. To approach the sacred, Jewish tradition admonishes, is both exalting and dangerous, and it is less frightening to look for the sacred in Mozart’s sonatas than on Mt. Sinai. I had studied piano intensively and composed a bit while young, and I continued my studies through college. This bound me to LaRouche more closely than many of his other dupes, for he was a great aficionado of classical music, using the ill-gotten proceeds of his fund-raising machine to sponsor public as well as private concerts by first-class musicians.

Around 1985, the ugly awareness that I had spent almost a decade in a gnostic cult coincided with a dark time in my personal life. Deeply depressed, I sat at the piano one night, playing through the score of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and came to the chorale that reads: “Commend your ways and what ails your heart to the faithful care of Him who directs the heavens, who gives course and aim to the clouds, air and wind. He will also find a path that your foot can tread.” For the first time in my life, I prayed, and in that moment, I knew that my prayer was heard. That was a first step of teshuva—of return.

I worked for Bailey’s consulting firm after he left government service in 1984, and that paid for my graduate studies in music theory at the doctoral program at City University. Still, it took me a long time to find my way back to religious practice. I began studying the Jewish sources and joined a synagogue in 1993. A.J. Heschel’s book The Sabbath began my slow accommodation to Jewish observance: Reading his account of the Sabbath, I kicked myself for thirty-five wasted years.

Still, it was not until I began to study Franz Rosenzweig’s The Star of Redemption during the early 1990s that I was able to reconcile my experience of prayer with my sense of the sacred in music. By then I had published academic articles on Renaissance music theory, including a 1989 study in the Vatican’s music journal about Nicholas of Cusa’s contribution. Studying the origins of Western classical music also helped me put religious things in perspective. Magnificent as it is, music remains a human construct, with a hint of divine inspiration in some cases, but not a substitute for God. The great works of Western classical music are not revelation, but they are perhaps the next best thing. Next best, however, no longer seemed good enough.

Rosenzweig may not be the best introduction to Judaism, but he was probably the only theologian who illuminated the path that ran from where I began to where I needed to go. The religious poems of Heinrich Heine, written during his final illness, were also a source of strength. These two German Jews who had returned to Judaism in adulthood were my guides. And Heine’s take-no-prisoners prose became the conscious model for acerbic style I used in the Spengler columns.

In the meanwhile, the part-time employment in financial analysis that had paid for my graduate education during the 1980s blossomed, to my surprise, into a full-fledged career. By 2002 I came to head debt research at Bank of America and sit on the bank’s fixed-income executive committee. Exile among the fleshpots of Wall Street had its benefits, but I had other ambitions that would find some expression in the Spengler columns for the Asia Times —and now have found more in writing under my own name and working at First Things.

Looking back over it all, I see that though I was born Jewish, I am nonetheless a late convert to Judaism as a religion—and a convert from the worst sort of religious background. Heine once quipped that the purpose of every memoir is to lie, and he cited Rousseau as an example. Rousseau had used his memoirs to represent himself as a monster for having consigned his natural children to orphanages. But, Heine claimed, Rousseau made himself out to be a monster in order to cover up the more humiliating fact that he was impotent and the children he sent to the orphanage weren’t his to begin with.

In reviewing my own missteps in life, I feel that temptation to represent myself as a monster in order to cover up something even more painful: I was a coward. I was afraid of being Jewish. Everything else is rationalization. My intellectual life really began only a quarter-century ago when I reconciled myself to being Jewish. The truth is that I did not think my way into praying. I prayed my way into thinking.

David P. Goldman is associate editor of First Things.

(4) Mock Funeral for Gaza

NYC Protesters For Gaza Ceasefire Hold Mock Funeral

By <>AFP News
12/28/23 AT 5:21 PM EST

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets of New York on Thursday, staging a mock funeral in a demonstration against Israel’s continued heavy bombardement of the besieged Gaza strip.

Holding banners demanding an immediate ceasefire, the activists gathered in Manhattan’s Bryant Park while some briefly stood in the middle of the busy Sixth Avenue in the heart of New York’s Midtown district.

Several women shrouded in black held baby dolls swaddled in white cloths to represent the toll the fighting has taken on children in the coastal territory.

The mock funeral procession headed to New York’s iconic Times Square where the protest continued with giant electronic advertisements as a backdrop.

“Today’s action is to draw attention to the fact that, as of now, almost 10,000 children, just children alone, not counting everybody, not counting all Palestinians, have been killed… in Gaza,” said archivist Grace Lile, 64.

The war, which started with Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, has devastated much of northern Gaza, and the bombardment and fighting has intensified especially in the southern city of Khan Yunis.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in retaliation for the October 7 attack, which left about 1,140 people dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Israel’s relentless aerial bombardment and ground invasion have killed at least 21,320 people, mostly women and children, according to Hamas-run Gaza’s health ministry.

New York City has seen dozens of protests since the October 7 attack and Israel’s military response, with both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators taking to the streets.

(5) Israeli president Isaac Herzog signed shells to be fired upon Gazan civilians

Starmer’s guest Herzog signs shells to fire on Gaza

Starmer’s guest Herzog signs shells to fire on Gaza

Genocide-mongerering Israeli president warmly welcomed and presented with gifts by right-wing Starmer and Labour Friends of Apartheid

<> Israeli president Isaac Herzog has been photographed signing shells to be fired upon Gazan civilians. Herzog, like other Israeli government figures, has said that there are no innocents being killed in Israel’s wanton slaughter of Palestinian civilians:

It’s an entire nation that is out there that’s responsible. It’s not true, this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true.

So closely identified is Herzog with Israel’s war crimes that his comments were cited byexpert Raz Segal, the program director of genocide studies at Stockton University, as an example of the Israeli regime’s expression of intent to commit that and other war crimes.

According to <>Euromed Monitor, Israel has so far killed 30,000 people in Gaza, well over half of them women and children. Approaching 60,000 more have been injured, many of them severely.

As Declassified‘s John McEvoy has pointed out, Herzog recently received a fawning welcome from ‘Labour’ ‘leader’ Keir Starmer – who left him a signed note in a copy of a book presented to him by Steve McCabe, the parliamentary chair of the so-called ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ (LFI).

Starmer and LFI are no friends of working-class people – but they can’t get enough of those eager for war crimes against the Palestinians.

(6) Herzog: we’re going to take Gaza over. Downplays settler & IDF violence in West Bank

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on the Israel-Hamas war and the future of the Middle East

December 19, 2023

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on the Israel-Hamas war and the future of the Middle East

By Atlantic Council

Tue, December 19, 2023 • 2:00 pm ET

Uncorrected transcript: Check against delivery


Isaac Herzog
President of the State of Israel


Mary Louise Kelly
Host of NPR’s All Things Considered

ISAAC HERZOG: Oh, we had many efforts all the time. But truly, Hamas didn’t want to, and it’s their problem because we are going into Khan Younis more and more. We just completed the total conquest of Shuja’iyya—Jabalia, sorry. And we will complete Shuja’iyya. And then we intend to take over the entire Gaza Strip and to change the course of history. And enabling Palestinians and the Israelis live in peace in the future, without a platform of Iran driving everybody down into the abyss of bloodshed and warfare. […]

MARY LOUISE KELLY: We’ve been focused on Gaza, as has much of the world, but I do want to throw you a question or two about the deepening violence in the West Bank. When I was there last month reporting we visited a town called Deir Istiya and interviewed a Palestinian farmer named Ayoub Abuhejleh, who told us he was being blocked from his land, from his olive trees. And he tried to show us. And as we walked, my team and I were surveilled by a drone. And then about a dozen Israeli soldiers appeared and pointed their guns at us, and shouted at us, and separated the farmer from us, detained him, handcuffed him, blindfolded him, and questioned him for hours. Why is—why is the IDF doing this?

ISAAC HERZOG: So I would be very cautious in generalizing Israeli activities on the ground. But we have to understand what we went through as a nation. What we’ve gone through as a nation, and I think that is what is missing in the entire discussion about the day after, is a major, major national trauma. Israelis who believed in peace throughout their lives, Israelis who are neighbors with Palestinians, woke up one day and found the Palestinians—the same Palestinians that they were working with, or living with, or supporting—coming with knives and hatchets and guns and killing and burning and torturing them.

And this has impacted the entire situation on the meeting points between Israelis and Palestinians all throughout, until things calm down. And yet there is a major scar within the Israeli national psyche. Can anybody trust his or her neighbor? That is why there was such a major alert in the West Bank. I can tell you that, with respect to complaints about violence in the area, the Israeli authorities—the legal authorities have clamped down dramatically, including issuing a legal tool, which is not known in the United States, called administrative detention. Which means arrest without due process on certain Israelis in order to lower down the tension. But you should also be aware that there is a lot of tension because if a certain premise with Israelis, mostly women and children are there, and somebody gets close, people are getting on alert. And that is part of the tension that you’ve seen on the ground.

MARY LOUISE KELLY: Yeah. I suppose the basic question here is just is Israel doing enough to stop Israeli settler violence in the West Bank?

ISAAC HERZOG: So there’s a major, major clamp down. And the trajectory has been a substantial reduction of events of that nature. But I also would be very careful on generalizing Israelis who live in the West Bank. There are about half a million of them. And 99 percent of them are not involved in any of this. And those who are involved are under investigation. I heard so many numbers. The fact of the matter is that the numbers are all different.

(7) Matthew Ehret on Greater Israel project of PNAC, omits Jewish role

Matthew Ehret’s current article at VT:

is welcome, but it omits certain things.

It portrays the plan for “Greater Israel” as American, not Jewish. No mention that the Neocons (Perle etc) were mostly Jewish, or that they had first hatched their scheme in Israel, in conjunction with Netanyahu. No mention of the Yinon Plan.

Like most Larouche literature, this article omits the Jewish role.

Instead of calling the Neocons “mostly Jewish”, as Ari Shavit does in Item 9 below, Ehret calls them “American-born”, as if the PNAC think tank was an American project not a Jewish one.

The only place where the words “Jew” or “Jewish” occurs in Ehret’s article is the sentence
“end-times eschatology with a Messianic twist (taking both Christian and Jewish forms)”,

where the Jewish role is diluted by mixing it with a Christian one.

Items 8 to 10, below, put the ‘J’ word back in, the word that Ehret won’t say.

(8) Jewish Neocons’ ties to Likud – Chalmers Johnson. Perle, Feith & Wurmser wrote A Clean Break for Netanyahu

Iraq Wars

by Chalmers Johnson; tom; January 14, 2003

The U.S. may be able to oust Saddam, but seizing Iraq’s oil is quite another matter. […]

Another popular theory holds that the primary influence on U.S. thinking about the Middle East is the ruling Likud Party of Israel. It is thought that the desire to oust Saddam Hussein reflects the long-range interests of Israeli rightists who want to ensure the country’s continuing regional military superiority. Many of the key figures in the second Bush administration and in PNAC have intimate connections with Likud. Among these are Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, which reports to deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz; Douglas Feith, assistant secretary of defense for policy, one of the Pentagon’s four most senior posts; and David Wurmser, special assistant to PNAC founder John Bolton, who is undersecretary of state for arms control in the Bush fils administration. They all have long records of opposing peace initiatives like the Camp David accords between Israel and the Palestinians, and calling for American wars not just against Iraq but also Israel’s other enemies Syria, Lebanon, and Iran.

Perle is a member of the board of the Jerusalem Post and author of the chapter “Iraq: Saddam Unbound” in the PNAC book Present Dangers. In private life, Feith is a partner in a small Washington law firm that specializes in representing Israeli munitions makers seeking tie-ups with American weapons industries. Before going to the State Department, Wurmser was head of Middle Eastern projects at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of the AEI-published book Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein (1999), which has a foreword by Perle. During the Reagan administration, Feith served as special counsel to Perle, who was then assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. One other figure, Meyrav Wurmser, is David Wurmser’s wife and co-founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), which translates and distributes stories from the Arab press that invariably portray Arabs in a bad light.

In July 1996, these four wrote a position paper for then-incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” It called on Israel to repudiate the Oslo Accords as well as the underlying concept of “land for peace” and to permanently annex the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. It also recommended that Israel advocate the elimination of Saddam Hussein as a first step toward regime changes in Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. In November 2002, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, also of the Likud Party, echoed these ideas when he urged the United States to turn to attacking or subverting the Iranian government as soon as it had finished with Saddam. There are many other officials and hangers-on of the second Bush administration who hold these or similar views. Given their well-known sympathies, it is not implausible to think that they are attempting to implement them under cover of the “war on terror.” (12)

Still another perfectly reasonable theory is that America’s war fever against Iraq is a concoction of shrewd political operators in the White House. … I agree with aspects of each of these explanations. Oil, Israel, and domestic politics have all played a role in the Bush administration’s stance toward Iraq. But I feel the need to put them into a larger historical context. A second American-Iraqi war will also be the culmination of a process that began a half-century ago when the United States for the first time employed its Central Intelligence Agency secretly and illegally to overthrow a democratically elected government. The 1953 CIA-engineered coup d’état against Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq of Iran started a chain of events that included Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution of 1979 against the Shah and his patron, the United States. This revolution destroyed one of the “twin pillars” of American strategy {end}

(9) Iraq War was conceived by 25 Neocons, mostly Jewish – Ari Shavit in Haaretz

White man’s burden

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it’s possible. But another journalist, Thomas Friedman (not part of the group), is skeptical

By Ari Shavit

Haaretz, September 06, 2011 Elul 7, 5771

Shavit, Ari. (2003, Apr 03). White man’s burden. Haaretz.

(10) In 1996 NYT opinion page, Israeli journalist Ari Shavit says US “in our hands”

The May 27, 1996 issue of the New York Times included a OPED by Ari Shavit, an Israeli journalist, admitting to Israel’s wanton killing of more than a hundred Lebanese civilians in April.

Shavit said that Israel got away with it because the White House, the Senate and much of the American media are “in our hands”.

“We killed them out of a certain naive hubris. Believing with absolute certitude that now, with the White House, the Senate, and much of the American media in our hands, the lives of others do not count as much as our own….”

How Easily We Killed Them

By Ari Shavit

Published: May 27, 1996

“We killed them out of a certain naive hubris. Believing with absolute certitude that now, with the White House, the Senate, and much of the American media in our hands, the lives of others do not count as much as our own….”

Shavit, Ari. (1996, May 27). How Easily We Killed Them. New York Times, Oped, p. A21.

Scans of the article
NYT May 27, 1996, the Op. Ed page – p. A21 (not p. A19)

are at
scaled to 40%:
scaled to 25%: