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Rosenblum writes: "Rather than seeking a durable accord based on quid pro quo, Trump propped up Netanyahu with the gift of Golan. That ensured the flow of Benjamins to Republicans from American Zionists. And it stoked hatreds across the unholy land."

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo: ABC News)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo: ABC News)

About Those Benjamins and the Survival of Israel

By Mort Rosenblum, Reader Supported News

05 April 19


UCSON, Arizona – Donald Trump’s daft assertion, “Democrats hate Jews,” not only reflects an Israel policy that fans smoldering anti-Semitism across the world but also threatens the very survival of a hard-won Jewish homeland in a region armed for Armageddon.

“Democrats have become an anti-Israel party,” Sarah Sanders told reporters recently. Then, sticking by that absurdity under harsh questioning, she added: “They’ve become an anti-Jewish party.”

Judaism is a faith and a heritage. Zionism is politics. They can overlap, or not. No one speaks for an ancient religion defined by perpetual argument. And if Jews did have a pope, he or she would hardly be Bibi Netanyahu, much less Sheldon Adelson, Trump’s Israel-First funder.

Since 1967, I have reported off and on from Israel, nearly every Muslim country, and European slums where Islamist zealots whip up hatreds. Today, I see Trump’s embrace of hardcore Zionists feed growing hostility that risks conflict no one’s God can stop.

Tom Friedman had it right in a New York Times column evoking an existential danger from Congress and AIPAC, the formidable lobbying group: “It’s the threat that America will love Israel to death.”

If a two-state option remains open, negotiation is possible. “But once that’s gone,” he wrote, “all hell will break loose in the Jewish world.… It would rip apart every synagogue, Jewish Federation and Jewish institution in America.”

That’s in the United States. Imagine the impact across the Middle East, beginning with the West Bank and Gaza with no Palestinian Authority to balance extremists.

Trump’s casual recognition of Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights opened wounds festering since 1967. This comes at a time when Syria, now fortified by a belligerent Russia, is determined to reassert its role in the region.

Iran, reviled by Washington, spent $14.5 billion on weaponry in 2017, nearly as much as Israel. Despite sanctions, it arms anti-Israel militias with sophisticated weaponry. ISIS lost its caliphate, but it is as dangerous as ever with shadowy cells from Africa to the Philippines.

Across Europe, perceived injustice to Palestinians provokes indiscriminate attacks against Jews, including those who want an equitable peace with an end to illegal settlements.

In Washington, lunacy erupted after the Republican House minority leader dug up 2012 tweets from Ilhan Omar, now a Minnesota congresswoman. She called Israeli overkill in Gaza “evil” and blamed U.S. support on AIPAC lobbyists’ funding for paid politicians.

In fact, plenty of Israelis and American Jews agree with her views. But her offending tweet earlier this year – “it’s all about the Benjamins baby” – turned a reference to $100 bills into what sounded like an especially nasty slur in the politically charged circumstances.

Omar apologized, saying Jewish allies and colleagues had educated her “on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes.” But she was criticized again two weeks later for telling an audience that some politicians were wrong in expressing allegiance to a foreign country.

Rep. Liz Cheney, whose unapologetic father set the Middle East ablaze on spurious evidence, said Democrats enabled anti-Semitism by not repudiating Omar. The House passed a compromise kumbaya resolution against all hate speech, as if that might stop anyone’s bigotry.

And then Jeanine Pirro weighed in with her habitual invective. It was so extreme that Fox News put her temporarily on ice despite Trump’s defense of her. But she’s back again with hate-laced diatribes that harden divides in a polarized America prone to shallow thinking.

I happened on Pirro’s Fox News raving in 2015 after a terrorist attack in France. “We need to kill them,” she began. “We need to kill them, the radical Muslim terrorists hell-bent on killing us. You’re in danger. I’m in danger. We’re at war and this is not going to stop.”

Such sweeping Islamophobia translates to carte blanche for hardline Israelis who intensify colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Netanyahu countered corruption charges at home with a grand trip to Washington, where he gushed over Trump’s Golan Heights recognition.

A closer look at Ilhan Omar, a naturalized Somali who escaped brutal war in the early 1990s as a kid and found refuge in America, explains global realities too often missed when seen at a distance in simplified generality.

Omar kept her hijab but developed a sense of humor, excelling at school despite taunts and attacks by classmates. In Minnesota, she sailed through the state legislature and was elected to Congress at age 36 with a large Jewish constituency.

“You know, I have P.T.S.D. around, like, guns and ammunition and bombs,” she told The New Yorker. “I have vivid memories of the bodily reactions that you have as you contemplate whether you get under the bed, and if that will keep you safe or if that’s going to crush you, and maybe you should just stand by a wall. I see conflict that has violence and I think deeply about what the little children are going through.”

Omar exemplifies what America now badly needs: freshly minted patriots who want their adopted nation to do the right thing — and know what the right thing isn’t. They know the complex answers to that hoary question: Why do they hate us?

Most Jews support the idea of Israel, but a hefty percentage want it to function as designed, a democratically run state that respects international law and shares territory according to negotiated boundaries. Hardliners want it all as a biblical right.

Many Arab Israelis prefer being second-class citizens in Israel to living in Palestine, where conflict and neglect by Arab nations have crippled education, health care, and employment. Many Palestinians blame their plight on Israeli settlements and border controls.

Golan is a tough one. After the disruptions of World War II, U.N. accords forbade countries from seizing territory by invasion. That’s why coalition forces liberated Kuwait. But Israel was attacked in 1967. It pushed back and then kept the Heights to protect rich farmland below.

U.N. Security Council resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw from occupied territory, but that is contingent on a negotiated settlement that secures peace on Israel’s borders. After a half-century of failed efforts, smoldering tensions risk conflagration.

Now, rather than seeking a durable accord based on quid pro quo, Trump propped up Netanyahu with the gift of Golan. That ensured the flow of Benjamins to Republicans from American Zionists. And it stoked hatreds across the unholy land.

This is dangerous beyond description. In the past, with few exceptions, Muslims saw Jews, like Christians, as people of the same book with shared origins. I, for one, am now acutely aware of my name and nose in places I once loved to travel.

Back in 1981, I drove from Damascus to the Syrian side of the Golan Heights with a military minder, and we looked down over Israeli settlements below. “Rosenblum?” he asked. “Is that a German name?”

“You know perfectly well what kind of name it is,” I replied, “and you know the difference between Jewish and Zionist.” He laughed. I wouldn’t try that today.

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Mort Rosenblum has reported from seven continents as Associated Press special correspondent, edited the International Herald Tribune in Paris, and written 14 books on subjects ranging from global geopolitics to chocolate. He now runs

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+12 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-04-05 15:39
The all out wars by the US on Israel's enemies following 9-11, have produced the opposite results dreamed up by B. Netanhayoo and his fellow neo-cons who wrote the "Clean Break" documents in the mid-1990s. Those documents proclaimed a "clean break" from Isreal's past efforts to try to negotiate and co-exist with its Arab neighbors. It would instead dominate them militarily (with the US military, of course) and determine what government exist in these nations.

But now a little more than 20 years later, Arab or Muslim nations have suffered military losses that rank up with the plundering of Genghis Khan but they are still strong and independent. None wants a fight with Israel but also none are afraid to stand for their rights.

The Golan will never belong to Israel. The next 20 years are likely to belong to Israel's neighbors as the mirror opposite of the last 20 years. Very few people in the world support the two fascist horror states of Israel and Saudi Arabia.
+29 # Anne Frank 2019-04-05 18:09
God bless Rosenblum for pointing out that Judaism is a religion, Zionism a political movement. The bloodthirsty culture of Israel is nothing like the Judaism I was raised with. Zionist Israel is no more the "Jewish state" than Nazi Germany was the "Christian state."
+2 # Citizen Mike 2019-04-05 18:25
Well, the Israelis and the Arabs both claim the same territory as a homeland and that kind of dispute never ends, it just provokes genocidal hatred on both sides. The US should just stay out of it and American Jews must stop thinking of this endlessly hostile foreign nation as in any way their homeland and affirm the US alone as their national identity.
+16 # jwb110 2019-04-05 18:28
Trump can't give away give away what he doesn't own. That land is officially Syria. Just because this BS falls out of Donnie's mouth doesn't make any of it true Both Donnie and Benny will lay down with any dog to get up with any flea. This could be the thing that awakes a sleeping giant. Should the Middle East unite around this issue then all bets are off.
+11 # Robbee 2019-04-05 19:09
"Trump propped up Netanyahu with the gift of Golan. That ensured the flow of Benjamins to Republicans from American Zionists." - Mort Rosenblum, Reader Supported News, 05 April 19

- over mob bosses like nutty yahoo and dickhead, district attorneys typically console each other with the words - "how do they find each other?"

these dictator wanna-bees prop each other up!

nutty yahoo relies on dickhead to do whatever it takes, to reelect him!

and vice-versa!

what blest opposition can best this corrupt duo from hell?
+11 # ellen.rosser 2019-04-05 19:16
Since in 2011 I went to Gaza with a Code Pink delegation that included four Natura Kartae rabbis, I'm sure Rosenblum would still be safe in identifying as a Jew who is not a Zionist, or even as one who is for the two-state solution.
+25 # elizabethblock 2019-04-05 19:19
"She called Israeli overkill in Gaza “evil” and blamed U.S. support on AIPAC lobbyists’ funding for paid politicians." She was absolutely right.

"In fact, plenty of Israelis and American Jews agree with her views." Yup, I'm one of them.

Many America Jews want Israel "to function as designed, a democratically run state..." Well, no. It wasn't functioned as a democratic state, but as a colonial one, where the settlers rule and the original inhabitants have no rights that any Jew is bound to respect. Arthur Balfour said, a century ago, that the British - who proposed to give to the Jews what they didn't own and had no right to give - had no intention of even going through the formality of consulting the wishes of the "present inhabitants" of the land.
+2 # maindrains 2019-04-06 09:09
but part of the Balfour agreement did say that the existing inhabitants of the land that was to be given to Israel were to stay there.. Israelis have not respected that. Why do we not get articles in the MSM like this, or even on the TV news. There is a major e;lection in Israel this week and there has been NO COVERAGE on the Canadian news, don't know abou t in the US. Everyone is so terrified of being tarred by the anti semitic accusation that no-one dare speak out. Even this author, with his Jewish name is risking being called a "self hating Jew" but at least because he's Jewish can avoid being called anti semitic. Its good that he repeats the difference between Jewishness and Zionist.. the MSM seems content top blend the two.
+1 # economagic 2019-04-06 12:18
Sorry; that was supposed to be an up-vote.
+3 # Cat Mom 2019-04-06 17:30
I have been concerned about this for some years. It took me about 65 years of my life to understand the facts since either coordination by well placed American Zionists or lazy and ignorant press told me the opposite all my life. As a child I was taught that the Israelis were noble, almost perfect pioneers in their land while the Palestinians (always called "Arabs") were barbaric and uncouth. They were supposed to want to destroy Israel simply because it was "Jewish".
+2 # Cat Mom 2019-04-06 17:26
This is a good summary. There is a tiny minority of such like minded people who propose a full on secular one state solution. It would require international guarantees for 5 or 10 years that would ensure justice and fair treatment for every imaginable religious or subgroup that would live in the totality of what once belonged to the Palestinian people. Perhaps it would be a kind of modern "protectorate" with the UN, the US, many Mideastern states agreeing to the security of the place and to the democratization of the place.
+3 # economagic 2019-04-06 20:57
Hmmm, did you by any chance see the movie, "Exodus" (or read the book) in middle school? If so, you have a lot of company. We were hoodwinked.

I remember the Six Day War as if it were yesterday. It was finals week of my less than wonderful junior year in college, and we watched the reports on a TV a dorm mate had brought the previous fall. Some of us had misgivings, but with nothing to go on except what we had learned from the movie we were rooting for the Israelis. For me, a decade passed--maybe two--before I began to understand the real story.
+8 # yolo 2019-04-05 21:11
"But Israel was attacked in 1967." If Rosenblum is referring to the 6 day war in June of that year it was Israeli jets which bombed Egyptian airfields which started the war. Israel also attacked the unarmed USS Liberty during that same war. If the Israeli people want peace why do they keep electing politicians who implement policies which provoke war? Holding onto land which isn't yours isn't going to promote peace.
+8 # allanmillard 2019-04-05 22:28
I think Rosenblum is wrong in saying that Israel was attacked in 1967. When Nasser threatened to close off the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping it was the excuse irredentist Israel had been counting on for 19 years. At time, 1967, I was in India and my diplomatic colleagues asked me, based on my experience in Israel from 1958 to 1961, what Israel would do in the face of the threat. I replied that Israel had always said closure of the Gulf would be casus belli and that Israel would start a war. A week later the so-called Six-Day War began. Israel was not attacked before or during the War because, with careful intelligence and planning, Israel knew where every military aircraft was in Egypt and Syria and destroyed them all on the ground in the first few hours. Almost the same fate for every tank in the Sinai.

Zionism is a lethal mixture of (pretend) faith and aggressive nationalism. The State of Israel was not founded to be a peaceful home for Jews or a democracy for non-Jews. Zionists said at the start, and long before the start in 1948, that the goal was to establish Eretz Israel.
+10 # janie1893 2019-04-06 00:48
Trump and Netanyahu are hand in glove in attempting to start a war to slaughter Palestinians. Neither of them give a damn about people. A nice hot killing war will make money and give them both more power and attention. They are savages. Get rid of them!!
+5 # Cat Mom 2019-04-06 17:34
Iran would not have been funneling so much money to Hamas and Hezbollah in the last couple of decades if the Palestinian cause were not ignored by the major countries of the world. If the Palestinians did not have any real movement toward justice. The Iranian hardliners domestically have eaten high on the hog over the external issue of Israeli injustice. Makes it much easier for them to ignore serious issues among their own people.
+6 # futhark 2019-04-06 18:50
Another Benjamin (Franklin) wrote at the time of the conclusion of the War of American Independence in 1783:“I hope it (the peace) will be lasting, and that Mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable Creatures, have Reason and Sense enough to settle their Differences without cutting Throats; for, in my opinion, there was never a good War, or a bad Peace.” These are words of wisdom from a founder of the American republic who was also a noted journalist, inventor, scientist, and humanist, all of which amount to far better credentials than those possessed by the neocon yay-hoos.

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