Valerie Plame’s Circulation of an Anti-Semitic Article Was Deliberate

Sept. 25 2017

On Thursday Valerie Plame, a former CIA officer, sent a tweet reading “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars,” followed by a link to an article with that title by one Philip Giraldi, who regularly writes on the theme of malign Jewish influence on U.S. foreign policy, usually for far-right websites. The article asserts that Jews should recuse themselves from positions in government in which they might influence policy, and Jewish pundits should be identified by their religion when appearing on television. After receiving much criticism, she apologized. Alan Dershowitz writes:

The article [in question] contains the usual anti-Semitic tropes: Jews are guilty of dual loyalty; they control politicians, the media and entertainment; they want the U.S. to fight wars for the country to which they have real allegiance—Israel; they are dangerous to America. . . . This was not the first time Plame retweeted Giraldi’s garbage. [In her initial response to criticism of the article, before backing down and apologizing], she described it as: “Yes, very provocative, but thoughtful. Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish. Ugh.”

Nor is this the only time that Plame has tweeted other nonsense from the bigoted platform this piece came from. I actually read the Philip Giraldi article—before I was aware of the Plame tweet—on a neo-Nazi website, where Giraldi’s articles are frequently featured. For Plame to claim that she was unaware of the anti-Semitic content of Giraldi’s article is to ignore reality. Plame had to be aware, since she was aware of Giraldi’s bigotry. Her apologies ring hollow. . . .

The Plame incident reflects a broader problem. . . . There is a growing tolerance for anti-Semitism. Even when some people themselves do not harbor these feelings, they are willing to support those who do, as long as the anti-Semites are on their side of the political spectrum. . . .

The problem exists both on the hard right and the hard left. Both extremes see the world in racial, ethnic, and religious terms. Both engage in identity politics: the hard left gives more weight to the views of certain minorities; while the hard right gives less weight to the views of these same minorities. . . .

What the hard right and hard left share . . . is bigotry toward Jews: the neo-Nazi right hates the Jewish people, and the hard left hates the nation-state of the Jewish people and those Jews who support it. Both views are bigoted and must not become acceptable among centrist liberals and conservatives.

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More about: American politics, Anti-Semitism, Politics & Current Affairs

When It Comes to Syria, Vladimir Putin’s Word Can’t Be Trusted

July 13 2018

In the upcoming summit between the Russian and American presidents in Helsinki, the future of Syria is likely to rank high on the agenda. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has already made clear that Moscow won’t demand a complete Iranian withdrawal from the country. Donald Trump, by contrast, has expressed his desire for a complete U.S. withdrawal. Examining Moscow’s track record when it comes to maintaining its past commitments regarding Syria, Eli Lake urges caution:

Secretary of State John Kerry spent his last year in office following Lavrov all over the world in an attempt to create a U.S.-Russian framework for resolving the Syrian civil war. He failed. . . . President Trump [now] wants to get to know Putin better—and gauge his willingness to help isolate Iran. This is a pointless and dangerous gambit. First, by announcing his intention to pull U.S. forces out of the country “very soon,” Trump has already given away much of his leverage within Syria.

Ideally, Trump would want to establish a phased plan with Putin, where the U.S. would make some withdrawals following Iranian withdrawals from Syria. But Trump has already made it clear that prior [stated] U.S. objectives for Syria, such as the removal of the dictator Bashar al-Assad, are no longer U.S. objectives. The U.S. has also declined to make commitments to give money for Syrian reconstruction.

Without any leverage, Trump will have to rely even more on Putin’s word, which is worthless. Putin to this day denies any Russian government role in interfering in the 2016 U.S. election. Just last month, Putin went on Austrian television and lied about his government’s role in shooting down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. Why would anyone trust Putin to keep his word to help remove Iran and its proxies from Syria?

And this gets to the most dangerous possible outcome of the upcoming summit. The one thing that Kerry never did was to attempt to trade concessions on Syria for concessions on Crimea, the Ukrainian territory that Russia invaded and annexed in 2014. There was a good reason for this: even if one argues that the future of Ukraine is not a high priority for the U.S., it’s a disastrous precedent to allow one nation to change the boundaries of another through force, and particularly of one that signed an agreement with the U.S., UK, and Russia to preserve its territorial integrity in exchange for relinquishing its cold-war-era nuclear weapons.

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More about: Crimea, Donald Trump, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy, Vladimir Putin