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Reich writes: "People of Israel: You should know that the new-found alliance between your Prime Minister and our Republican Party, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and some wealthy right-wing Jews here (such as billionaire Sheldon Adelson), is poisoning the relationship between Israel and the United States."

Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)
Economist, professor, author and political commentator Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)


People of Israel: You Should Know...

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook

01 March 15

 

f Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is entitled to speak to Congress and the American people on his disagreement with American foreign policy, a lowly former U.S. Secretary of Labor (who also happens to be Jewish) has every right to address the Israeli people on an issue over which he disagrees with official Israeli policy. (He doesn't have a formal way of communicating, so if you know any Israeli’s please forward to them the following message.)

People of Israel: You should know that the new-found alliance between your Prime Minister and our Republican Party, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and some wealthy right-wing Jews here (such as billionaire Sheldon Adelson), is poisoning the relationship between Israel and the United States. Netanyahu’s decision to address Congress on Tuesday to argue against a nuclear deal with Iran that’s one of the President’s highest priorities, and also to speak to Aipac – just two weeks before your own national elections – foists your own domestic politics onto ours. As such, it is having a polarizing effect here in the United States, pushing many Americans to side against Israel, and thereby posing a long-term threat to Israel’s security. Meanwhile, many American Jews who have refrained from speaking out against the right-wing radicalism that has taken hold in Israel – a radicalism that rejects a “two-state solution” and continues to build new settlements on the West Bank, and which we believe imperils the future of Israel - are now feeling emboldened to do so. Aipac does not speak for us. House Republicans do not speak for us. Billionaires do not speak for us. We have been silent for too long.


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+170 # maheanuu 2015-03-01 20:14
Bravo Zulu Mr. Reich! I am not anti Jew, Anti Israeli, or anti Semite in any way, shape or form. I am a 77 year old retired US Navy Chief Petty Officer and have served with many people of the Jewish Faith who were and still are wonderful people, and shipmates.

I am not of the right wing, but a liberal/progres sive and I also am a dual national having both US and French Nationalities.

I also have a stronger feeling for my French Nationality than I do for my US one, and that is to to the Humanitarian aspects of France over that of the United States.

I also would like to see the Israeli's and the Palestinians both having their own countries and allowing all peoples who live in their countries to have equal rights.

Keep up the good work, I will back you completely in your endeavors.
 
 
+113 # Walter J Smith 2015-03-01 21:23
Oh, no, never let a crisis go to waste. Israel is still more supportive of Netty nut cake than anyone else. Israel is ripening, though not yet ripe, for the sobriety check it needs for its own survival. When Israel lets Netty nit picker disrupt US foreign policy, the disaster will have a very long tail, starting with a promised reduced trust between the US and Israel. With any luck, this will also mean less US welfare dollars for Israeli genocidal policies and practices against the Palestinians.

Please, let the nutty nit picking crank bring on the needed reality/sobriet y check for the state of Israel.
 
 
+4 # candida 2015-03-04 02:03
The only positive outcome of this shameless negative politicking is to create fissures, as you, Walter, and Reich suggest. But this could go much farther by creating cracks in the US-Israeli alliance, among Israelis (who seem dominated by the same militarism and racism as we in the US), among US Jews, and perhaps even among everyday nativists who might be truly perturbed by seeing an Israeli Jew interfere with US internal politics ("even if Obama is black, he's OUR black") or the normally under-the-radar power of AIPAC surface in such a big and public way. We can only hope Netanyahu and Boehner have overplayed their hands. More certainly, their conspiring is likely to inspire anti-Jewism (most Israeli Jews are not Semites) in the US and elsewhere. I have always thought the placement of Israel by Western powers in the middle of Arabs was the most anti-Jewish act next to the Holocaust.
 
 
+95 # Anonymot 2015-03-01 22:54
I agree completely. There are Israeli newspapers (online & print) that would surely post your comments. Please send it to them.
 
 
+37 # nuttmeg 2015-03-01 23:31
Funny-much as I like Robert R he mentions nothing about the illegal occupation of Palestine and the brutal treatment of Palestinians by the Israelis, much as he glosses over the real problem with our economy: capitalism.
Two elephants in the same living room.
 
 
+76 # auroraconsultants 2015-03-02 00:23
If you have read other pieces by RR...you would have seen that he targets capitalism frequently. He also alludes to the 2 state solution in the Middle East, not evading the issue. He states that AIPAC does not speak for all Jews. I don't think there's an elephant left in the room. Check it again.
 
 
+34 # mmcmanus 2015-03-02 09:55
Unfortunately there is an elephant in the room--the republican party. Its brain, to the extent it has one, is miniscule, it wanders around aimlessly running things over with no plan or ability to fix them up, and takes up a lot of space.
 
 
+91 # Ojai Bill 2015-03-01 23:50
Right on! A lot of Americans who strongly supported Israel's creation in their youth are now, in their senior years, greatly concerned to see Israel continuing to take steps which ensure that their conflict with their neighbors will not be reduced, but will instead build to a breaking point which will threaten their very existence. A viable two-state solution with Palestine is essential, as is an accommodation with Iran which guarantees Israel's safety without denying Iran a right to reasonable nuclear development. Israel cannot exist forever living in a hostile environment, their current steps are adding to and ensuring its continuance.
 
 
+26 # kath 2015-03-02 08:52
In my opinion a two state solution is no longer possible unless Israel abandons most of its illegal settlements, or Palestinians settle for scattered plots of land walled in amid Jewish-only settlements and roads. Don't see either of those things happening, do you?
 
 
+4 # tgemberl 2015-03-02 10:40
I think a two-state solution is impossible unless there is an effort to reduce population pressures. Right now Israel and the Palestinian territories have three million more people than New Jersey, a state which is about the same area and our most densely populated. We should offer immigration to both peoples.

I doubt many Palestinians or Israelis would want to immigrate, so I think a two-state solution has become impossible.
 
 
+8 # tclose 2015-03-04 08:58
Note that Bibi has recently invited and encouraged all European Jews to immigrate to Israel - where do you think this added population will be settled? West Bank settlements maybe?
 
 
+22 # lfeuille 2015-03-02 16:18
Quoting kath:
In my opinion a two state solution is no longer possible unless Israel abandons most of its illegal settlements, or Palestinians settle for scattered plots of land walled in amid Jewish-only settlements and roads. Don't see either of those things happening, do you?


Israel has to give up the settlements. Voluntarily or under threat of losing all it's US and international aid.
 
 
+54 # Rockster 2015-03-02 01:29
Thank you, and may your courage encourage others to speak their truths also. Having taught at Brandeis , I know that there are scores of faculty , staff and administrators there who agree with Proff Reich on these points! They have been intimidated over the years into private only conversations but Now it is time to tell the truth. Until the American Jewish community looks deeply and honestly into their hearts as he has done and goes public with a moderate peaceful vision, there is little hope . Fear has never won out in the end. The young David's first big win was over the fear that Goliath visited on all Israelis.
 
 
+64 # since1492 2015-03-02 02:32
The American Congress is occupied Israeli territory.
 
 
+33 # Paul Larudee 2015-03-02 05:44
Israel will always have the problem of too many non-Jews in a state that has to be Jewish. Can't we dump this racist society? Let's find a better best friend to suck up our tax dollars, drag us into wars and buy our Congress.
 
 
+51 # ericlane 2015-03-02 06:20
Thank you, Mr. Reich, for speaking out on such an important issue. If I remember correctly, the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Re-electing Netanyahu is doing the same thing and getting the same thing: fear, destruction and war. It's time for change. Move on, Israel. Show the world you aren't filled with only hate.
 
 
+54 # walt 2015-03-02 06:59
Secretary Robert Reich has stated it perfectly with this. It's time the American people woke up and realized the amount of money AIPAC spends lobbying the US Congress at our expense for war. The even greater shame lies with those in Congress who comply and now are even willing to try and shame our duly elected two-term President Obama. That is unprecedented and a total disgrace that should not be overlooked.

We elect a Congress to represent us, the American people, not Israel.
 
 
+28 # kalpal 2015-03-02 07:59
The notion that if you fail to wholeheartedly agree with RW Israeli politics requires that you shut up, is typical RW BS.

Bibi has no vision for a future that accepts the presence of Palestinian people as anything other than the Jewish notion of Muslim Dhimmis under Jewish rule.
 
 
+11 # MidwestTom 2015-03-02 08:10
Outlaw holders of dual citizenship from serving in our government, and our war tendencies will decrease drastically.
 
 
+14 # reiverpacific 2015-03-02 10:04
Quoting MidwestTom:
Outlaw holders of dual citizenship from serving in our government, and our war tendencies will decrease drastically.


I have to disagree but I understand that you may be talking about AIPC (I hope) but that would remove much of the point of dual citizenship along with the right to vote. Apparently anybody of Jewish birth automatically gets dual status.
Most of the super-hawks, neocons and aggressors are born and raised right here in the "Homeland" and remember that many Nazi scientists who should have been strung up at Nuremberg were spirited over here to help accelerate the Manhattan Project.
Let's be honest, there is NO department of defense here; it's just a nice name for finding an excuse to keep the biggest rogue nation in the world's equally bloated military busy in conjunction with Nutty-yahoo' LIKUD's smaller version.
I've often thought about taking out dual-citizenshi p so I can vote here but officially anyway, I'd have to give up my UK/EU nationality and I'm not about to do that as I'm working at going back in a few more years and due to the crappy for-profit medical set up still extant here.
I know some people have done it but they keep raising the application fee and making it tougher; and I want to visit Cuba soon without being hassled.
Anyhoo, I think you'll find that the "War Tendencies" are heavily inculcated in the national mien here, from grade school onward, encouraged by the US Owner patsy media.
 
 
+4 # tclose 2015-03-04 09:08
One small correction: the Nazi scientists (most were Nazi only because they had to be) were spirited over here to work after the the Manhattan program was over (late 1945). They were instead recruited to work on the nascent Cold War weapon program, mostly aircraft (jet engines and high speed aerodynamics) and rocket/missile technology.
 
 
+28 # fredboy 2015-03-02 08:20
Thanks Robert. I've been worried about this since I learned of the visit and speech. I am not Jewish, so it is hard to raise the concern without being branded anti-Semitic. I have many wonderful Jewish friends both in the US and abroad who share the same concerns.
 
 
+35 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-03-02 09:17
Fascism at its finest. Let Netanyahu speak before the INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT.
 
 
-55 # Dennis Newman 2015-03-02 09:19
Reich's commentary is but bulldroppings: Yes, Netanyahu has erred, blah-blah-blah. But the bigger issue is not at all about domestic politics -- it's about a critical world development to which too many are numb, oblivious, deaf, dumb, blind, you-name-it -- namely, the mother of all proliferation events, if you will -- and while Israel is arguably the first ground zero, the deal to permit Iran to continue enriching uranium --which is, for good reason, counter to many years of bipartisan agreement in the U.S. and anathema to much of the world's polities -- including the U.S.'s, by the way, because it will empower terrorists on a scale that by comparison makes ISIS's medieval carnage look like geeks playing Dungeons and Dragosns, destabilize not only the region but the world, and invariably lead to wars that the U.S. will not be able to sit out. The thesis that this is primarily about either the U.S.'s or Israel's domestic politics is absurd in the extreme. Netanyahu, a base politician should have handled it differently -- waiting until after the election would not have appreciably mattered to the material issue -- but from his vantage point, which admittedly is biased, were he to lose and not to have the chance to influence a change in a horrific policy, it would be a great loss not only to Israel but to the world. It is not entirely a self-serving flaw in reasoning, when you think about it. Of course, this will be lost on anyone who does not understand Iran's nukifying.
 
 
+37 # Philothustra 2015-03-02 10:14
You need to work on your run-on sentences and run-on at the mouth prime minister. If Bibi wants to take out Iran's nuclear capacity. But he wants the US to do this for him, just like
we dealt with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and so on.
How have those interventions worked out for you?

Netanyahu's strategic goal has nothing to do with Iranian nuclear capacity (Israel has over 250 nukes) nor with imaginary Weapons of Mass Destruction. The objective, as clearly stated in the seminal 1996 A Clean Break document prepared by Israeli dual citizens Perle, Feith, etc for Netanyahu, based on a "principle of preemption" which calls for armed attacks on Israel's neighbors (think 1967 war) to ""contain, destabilize, and roll-back" any and all perceived threats.

Get someone else to do your dirty work if you are too cowardly to do it yourself....
 
 
+18 # Merlin 2015-03-02 13:21
Philothustra

You are right.

Dennis is a shill.
As usual, he is sputtering and flailing about, out of fear and anger. The calm, "Mr Intellect" he once displayed is gone and this is what was underneath. A sad, desperate child, with no concept of what is going on. He is hopeless.
 
 
-3 # Dennis Newman 2015-03-04 10:13
Merlin -- your name connotes magic, but there is no magic in hurling epithets, whether as nouns or verbal nouns.

The fact is that the commentary and postings here are dominated by the hard left, which is known by all reasonable observers to be anti-Israel jaundiced, some of them to an extremity that suggests social and/or political psychosis -- e.g., those who liken Israel to Nazis, and its occupation of the disputed territories to apartheid (the meaning of which they of course know not).

By your very backhanded compliment (i.e., bestowing upon me the monkier of former "Mr Intellect," you have acknowledged that I usually use words very well and endow them with some content. I'll be the first to acknowledge the factual content differs from most of what's seen here, but that is because what's seen here is drawn from the narrow hard-left ideological spectrum, and badly needs balancing. I do read a lot, not just from what's on the left.)
 
 
-3 # Dennis Newman 2015-03-04 10:07
Philothustra is dead wrong on facts and context. No Israeli leader has ever asked that a drop of American blood be shed in its defense; Israel defends its own. No Israeli leader, Netanyah included, has ever asked the U.S. to use military force against Iran. Rather, Bibi explictly asked for continuing and tightening of sanctions, and linking their being lifted to Iran's stopping the activity that earned it the State Dep't.'s opprobrium (and State is no friend of Israel)under both Dem. and GOP administrations , as the number #1 exporter of terrorism on the planet. Moreover, when Netanyah sought permission from Obama to militarily knock out Iran's nukes while it still could if diplomatic measures failed, O. said no. Only then did Bibi ask O., in return, to pledge that the U.S. would then act militarily if diplomacy failed and it was too late for Israel to get the job done, and O. again said no. If you think Israel and its people are cowardly, you need to learn at least a little about Israel. It's obvious you are a hater of the Jewish state, and your representation of Israel's nuclear policy is hopeless false.
 
 
+14 # Phillybuster 2015-03-02 10:06
Netanyahu to U.S. - "Let's you and him (Iran) fight".
 
 
+3 # Merlin 2015-03-02 12:48
Phillybuster 2015-03-02 10:06

Have you studied and applied Bernian psychology in your personal life? I have.

You are dead on the money here. It would be great if more people would understand this Game and how it is being used here.
 
 
-4 # Dennis Newman 2015-03-04 10:19
You obviously did not read or watch Netanyahu's remarks. He made clear that Israel has, is now, and always will fight its own battles. He is asking the U.S. to stand with Israel and the free world in not capitulating vis-a-vis an agreement with Iran that will allow it to maintain and expand uranium enrichment capability, which will almost certainly lead to its obtaining nuclear weaponry. He does not say in his speech, but clearly implied is what close observers knows has been going on for some time: Obama is seeking what's termed a "grand bargain" with Iran in which the latter is allowed to continue toward nuclear weapons status at a calibrated pace, in exchange for allying with the U.S. et al. against ISIS, the big pay-off for Iran being the annointing of it as a major regional power and significant world player. There is ample evidence that this is where Obama has been going as his premier foregin policy objective since his re-election. Most of the American populace and polity who know of this initiative think it is a horrifically ill-advised game-changer that is badly out of step.
 
 
-43 # WaaDoo 2015-03-02 10:37
Robert Reich, politely I say you are quoting the very words of the NEWSPEAK of the White House. Indignantly I say you are full of s--t.

PUTZUS got elected in '08 and went on the apology tour in '09, with his Cairo speech and his abultion before the Saudi King ( who by the way was funding terrorists). Since then it has been betrayal by PUTZUS and his incompetent staff-gang of high school kids who forget the civics class lessons.

Mr. Reich, you should focus on economics and getting those views right first before you enter the political arena. Any government forced to borrow money to operate is doomed to go bankrupt. You fostered the same wrong principles.
 
 
+29 # video4315 2015-03-02 11:22
Two hundred high-ranking former Israeli military officials have just gone on record opposing Netanyahu's course of action...the speech he plans to give to Congress and the direction he is taking Israel. This is a major blow to his credibility, and, hopefully, Israeli citizens will respond at the polls in a few days to elect someone else to lead their country.
 
 
+31 # reiverpacific 2015-03-02 12:01
Quoting WaaDoo:
Robert Reich, politely I say you are quoting the very words of the NEWSPEAK of the White House. Indignantly I say you are full of s--t.

PUTZUS got elected in '08 and went on the apology tour in '09, with his Cairo speech and his abultion before the Saudi King ( who by the way was funding terrorists). Since then it has been betrayal by PUTZUS and his incompetent staff-gang of high school kids who forget the civics class lessons.

Mr. Reich, you should focus on economics and getting those views right first before you enter the political arena. Any government forced to borrow money to operate is doomed to go bankrupt. You fostered the same wrong principles.


Hey "Yaahoo"; Reich has been in the political arena for decades, including the administration that left the country with a huge positive surplus, obliterated by the succeeding apology for an administration that ruined the nation's and much of the global economy, fibbed the US/UK into wars which ruined one nation and is still ruining another, with the resultant continuing deficit which the current administration is at least making a dent in.
And BTW, Ron Raygun, the reactionary's heroic icon for whom "Government was the problem" ended up increasing government spending by a record 189%, mostly blown on an already bloated military.
This rather makes you full of merde, dunnit!?
 
 
+3 # tanis 2015-03-03 07:49
I am delighted that the always positive R. R. gives a little yell at stupidity here. Let's hear more of THAT!
 
 
+9 # Corvette-Bob 2015-03-03 12:38
I think that Bibi is poisoning the well with the United States but maybe some good will come out of it with the United States having a more balance view between Palestine and Israel.
 
 
+3 # gofish 2015-03-04 06:07
http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2015/3/2/watch_in_un_speech_noam_chomsky

We must divest and pressure Israel and our gov't to stop the immoral and illegal behavior towards Palestine & its people. I always felt the appropriate image was of Jewish people throwing their children out the window of a burning building to save their lives -- a sad but necessary reality. And hurting those they landed on - another sad reality. The policy of the Israeli gov't is racist and reactionary, Netanyahu is a lying and evil man....as are those who spread anti-Semitic, murderous ideas about Jews. The US Congress & gov't has gone to the dogs - no longer are we a Democracy. We don't get news of the peace/sanity truly 2-state movement in Israel. Settlements and failures of the past will condemn Israel & the Jewish people's safety zone there -- and this greatly concerns. FEAR & corruption has the upper hand. People must awaken and take back our sanity and civil society. And serious pressure should be put on Israel. They must be protected, but not from the insanity of their own religious fanatics and corrupt politicians. Once again, we must support realists and moderates....if we don't -- it certainly looks like all hell WILL break loose at some point relatively soon -- affecting all Nations! How painful it is to watch this suffering....an d take part in it - on all sides. US policy must change. The blindness and hatred will not lead us out of this desert of sanity.
 
 
+3 # JSRaleigh 2015-03-04 21:34
I don't think it's a good idea for Iran to have nuclear weapons, but I do wonder why it's a good idea for Israel to have them?
 

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