Haaretz

The Donald Trump Show (Typing in Stereo)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C., 3 December 2015.

“On Thursday, Republican front-runner Donald Trump delivered a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition in which he essentially praised members of the organization for being a bunch of Shylocks.”

Scott Eric Kaufman

Daring openings are what they are, and Scott Eric Kaufman of Salon delivers one that might well be, according to murmur and buzz, worth its punch.

Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed chose a more sober lede that pretty much makes the point:

Donald Trump repeatedly invoked stereotypes about Jews and money during a speech to a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting on Thursday.

Zack Beauchamp summarized for Vox―

The nicest thing that you can say about these comments is that they play on ancient stereotypes of Jews as money-grubbing merchants. The meanest thing you can say is that they’re outright anti-Semitic.

―and pointed to some social media reaction, including Chemi Shalev of Haaretz, who tweeted his critique: “The time that Trump spit on a Jewish audience and everyone pretended they were in a water park”.

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The Senate GOP in Crisis

Mitch McConnell

“It is a useful thing when a political party reveals itself as utterly unsuited for national leadership.”

Fred Kaplan

In a way, everyone else is taking it well. That is to say, even the Iranians are trying very hard to enjoy themselves in the moment, and why not? It is not every day the United States Senate goes out of its way to afford a foreign nation the opportunity to school it on American constitutional issues. Or, as Akbar Shahid Ahmed explains, for Huffington Post:

After sparking a furor in Washington Monday with a letter signed by fellow Republican senators warning Iran against nuclear diplomacy with the Obama administration, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) went to the extra trouble of having his message translated into Farsi for Iranian leaders. Among his targets: foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Cotton needn’t have bothered with the translation. Zarif is more than capable of reading the Republicans’ letter in English. He attended prep school in San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Columbia University, and the University of Denver’s School of International Studies (where, Zarif told The New Yorker’s Robin Wright, a professor who had taught GOP foreign policy icon Condoleezza Rice once quipped to the young Iranian, “In Denver, we produce liberals like Javad Zarif, not conservatives like Condi Rice.”)

Zarif, leading his nation’s negotiations with the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China, put that education to use in his response Monday to the Republican message, which suggested that Iran’s leaders “may not fully understand our constitutional system.”

Zarif answered that it was Cotton and the 46 other Republican senators who signed his letter who suffered from a lack of “understanding.”

“The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfil the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations,” Zarif said, according to Iran’s government-controlled Tasnim News Agency.

He suggested that the Republican warning that a successor to President Barack Obama could undo any agreement with Iran was baseless. Zarif said the “change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor.”

Yeah. See, it’s one thing to say there is a problem in that Mr. Zarif has a point. But the problem isn’t that an Iranian foreign minister has a point, rather that he needs to make it at all.

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The Netanyahu Way

Detail of cartoon by Dave Granlund, 25 February 2015, via Cagle Post.There is a lot going on, but in terms of our House of Representatives meddling in the Israeli election, there comes a point when one no longer wonders at the character of this Prime Minister. Mr. Netanyahu is beset by scandal, increasingly viewed as a bully with nothing left but to whine about how everybody should feel sorry for him, and apparently in need of foreign intervention in order to secure a new term. In other words, Benjamin Netanyahu is a disgraceful coward and, as such, perfect company for the likes of our House Republicans.

• Should we be surprised that Netanyahu’s speech before Congress is such a bad idea that he kept his own National Security Advisor in the dark? (Tikkun Daily)

• Nor should we be surprised that Netanyahu and his supporters disdain rule of law in favor of cheap politicking. (Haaretz)

• Here’s a proposition: Netanyahu undertakes cynical politics, but won’t do anything to dispel that appearance because it would be too political. (msnbc)

• Remember that no matter how much Netanyahu wants to insist that criticizing Israel crimes against humanity in Palestine is some form of anti-Semitism, Israel does not equal Judaism, and Judaism does not equal Israel. (Tikkun Daily)

And one other thing. It sometimes occurs to wonder why so many non-Jewish Americans are so interested in maintaining a Judeosupremacist state and protecting war crimes. This, perhaps, is the sickest of ironies; that support comes from our evangelical Christian sector, where many believe in something akin to premillennial dispensationalism. They need Jewish people to control Israel and Jerusalem, so that when Jesus comes home, He can kill them.

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Image note: Detail of cartoon by Dave Granlund, 25 February 2015, via Cagle Post.