Eric Cantor and the Israel question

Right, and I think the idea brett is getting at (and the one I definitely am) is that the charge was an inaccurate smear then, and no more justified now just because he’s someone who likes to play that card. While it would certainly be poetic justice it’s not actually fair unless people want to stoop to his level of mudslinging, where I don’t think that many can compete over the long term. He shouldn’t be attacked as a traitor per se, just forced to resolve his apparent hypocrisy on the subject.

Exactly, its the one thing that I hate so much about both sides is that tactics that you tell the other side they are wrong in doing are ok when they are done by your side.

Has anyone on the left accused Cantor of treason though? If they have point me to the source. Everything I’ve read has just pointed out the hypocrisy in various ways.

Anyone on the left who accuses Cantor of treason on this would just do it by using his own quotes against him. When stuff like this happens (and it happens constantly, it’s not even the first time a Republican congressman has expressedly undermined the President’s foreign policy overseas) the most common response from the left is a sigh and an utterance of IOKIYAR (it’s OK if you’re a Republican).

It ultimately doesn’t matter if it is a “dumb charge” because the end result is that the Democrat gets accused of treason while the Republican keeps on trucking. If this rhetoric is to enter the discourse it must enter it for both sides.

Yes. And Eric Cantor (literally) termed it treason. Then he turned around and did the same thing.

The word you’re looking for is ‘hypocrisy’.

Specifically, the right wing; the Christian right believes that Israel is literally a holy nation and should be unquestionably supported no matter what, while the neo-conservative right believes that Israel is a front-line state fighting evil Muslim terror and because of that can do no wrong. The two beliefs tend to combine in odd ways.

Likud in Israel has also taken advantage of this as much as they can, appearing often at right-wing Republican events and stonewalling the Obama administration as much as possible in the hope of outlasting it until one more to its liking (ie, one that believes Israel should be supported in all they do no matter what) takes power. Cantor and other congressional Republicans have been active participants in this; Cantor just was intemperate enough to say so.

From my link in the OP

Soon-to-be GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor met on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – the same day when the actual U.S. Secretary of State met with Netanyahu – and vowed that he and his GOP colleagues would protect and defend Israeli interests against his own Government.

That’s treason in all but name, and as much as it pains me to say, it’s a pretty unfair read of Cantor’s admittedly problematic words. The key word for me is “against”. Mind you, Greenwald is a pro and well aware of how fine a line he is treading; other people have no qualms about saying it out loud. I think it’s easy to make this needlessly adversarial by parsing words, but the distinction brett was drawing was an important one. I don’t agree that everything’s equal between left and right wing media when it comes to the tone of the debate as brett seems to believe, but I don’t think that’s a particularly useful argument since it seems to always re-settle around which team you favor from the outset. At this point, I think it’s tremendous progress to see a conservative protesting the equally unfair nature of the media as opposed to the vast lefty bias complaint that I grew up surrounded by.

Thanks for the quote and link, LK. I think Brett too often draws false equivalences between left and right, but he isn’t wrong in this case.

I’d break this out a little more.

The leaders of the Christian right, and Likud connected businessmen in Israel, make money hand-over-fist from tourist (pilgrim?) dollars. It’s wackily medieval and hardly ever mentioned but there’s humongous money in hordes of born-agains going to Jerusalem and other holy sites. So while there is the big End Times crazy thing going on as a motivator there’s also something a little more comprehensible at play as well.

Neocons aren’t just anti-Muslim for the heck of it. Many leading Neocons are Jewish hence, during the Bush years, any attempt to question their policies was shouted down as anti-Semitic - even when it came from fellow Jews. They are also radically right wing and pro-Likud and many have very close ties to the Israeli government. Several of the leading lights, including the very architects of the Invasion of Iraq, had years previously submitted studies to the Israeli government counseling much the same course of action.

So this is why several of us looked at them skeptically. It just so happens that America would need a “Pearl Harbor” situation to invade Iraq and suddenly we’ve got a “Pearl Harbor” situation, one which has no link to Iraq, and you’re pushing for an invasion all the same?

Underneath the myriad back and forths over evidence of WMD preceding the invasion two big factors always played in my mind, and caused me pause. One was the historical position of the neocon, and their then current level of influence in the White House and civilian side of the Pentagon (later an associate of Doug Feith himself would be convicted of espionage for Israel and is serving a 12 year sentence) and the other was a lack of confidence in Bush and his advisers to sort out reality from bullshit. Why? Because all they had were scraps of evidence already being contested before the war and “trust me”. “Trust me” doesn’t fly in matters of war. Not for me. Not in a democracy. Beyond that both Bush and Cheney had their own reasons for wanting a war in Iraq.

Despite all of the conspiracy theory crap, the reality of the situation is that Israel provides the US with a solid ally in an area of the world which is exceptionally important due to its oil reserves.

How so? What has the alliance ever gotten us?

Including only facilities located there… The Dimona Radar Facility, maintenance of the 6th fleet, and storage of a war reserve stock.

That doesn’t seem like much for how much flack that same alliance brings the US.

I would have thought being friends with the people who have the oil would be more useful, especially when the alternative is constantly pissing off their populations. But hey, I am crazy like that.

Well, we are “friends” with folks like the House of Saud, but the reality is that you’re never going to be friends with countries like Iran (or even really with Saudi Arabia), while their current leadership is in place.

Israel’s also the only democratic nation in the region. (one of two, if you count Turkey) For all of the crap that people talk about Israel, it’s really not too bad a place. I’d definitely prefer living there over living in most of the other nations in the region. Their lack of barbaric practices like stoning wins them some points in my book.

Ultimately though, Israel provides the US with a presence in the region, and the importance of the region makes that valuable.

Stoning isn’t as bad as oppressing an entire nation… Apples to oranges, yes, but it still is barbary…

Yeah, stoning criminals is pretty bad, bulldozing houses and building walls where you please is pretty awesome though!

Seriously, this isn’t an either/or situation. Oil works on a global market, you don’t have to kiss anyone to be able to buy it. The Chinese don’t have to spoon Israel to mysteriously somehow enable their energy provisioning, and I doubt the US does either, except the US choses to do so. And that is something for the voters to be told by Fox News which way to lean, I suppose.

You have an odd definition of “solid ally”. There are no US forces based in Israel, and there are in far closer parts of the world (Qatar and Kuwait, not to mention Iraq). Israel’s own military is quite busy defending its own issues, which are not those of the US unless you think occasionally shooting Palestinians in the head is a vital US strategic interest.

You forgot Lebanon, Iran, and the small matter of the millions living under Israeli rule who have no voting rights thanks to being born Palestinian.

Live in Gaza or Hebron for a few months and then get back to us, please.

Except that Israel’s conduct actively alienates everyone in that region, which doesn’t exactly make it a net positive. Considering the billions which are funnelled yearly in aid (which the Republicans are rapidly, in a panic, trying to exempt from the budgetary axe), Israel is a drain in every sense, not a benefit. We support Israel due to intangible ties, not out of cold strategic interest.

You forgot Lebanon, Iran, and the small matter of the millions living under Israeli rule who have no voting rights thanks to being born Palestinian.

Did you honestly just suggest that Iran was a democratic nation?

There are no US forces based in Israel

I already pointed out examples demonstrating that this statement of yours is false.