本日(2002/08/28)、think globallyだけでなくact locallyもせにゃならぬので、午前中、武蔵野市議会で陳情の口頭陳述をやり、午後は、日課の水泳後、一休み、夕食後には、仮題『911事件の真相と背景』の原稿仕上げを予定し、さて、夕食準備に取り掛かる前に、「腹が減っては戦はできぬ」などと呟きながら、電子手紙を受信したら、こりゃ大変！
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
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Published on Sunday, August 25, 2002 by CommonDreams.org
Don't Blame the Jews for Cynthia McKinney's Defeat
by Stephen Zunes
With the defeat of five-term Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in the August 22 Democratic primary in Georgia, the U.S. House of Representatives will soon be losing one of its most outspoken progressive voices. This is very bad news for those of us who support peace, human rights, and social justice. It would be even worse news, however, if the blame for her defeat is placed primarily upon the Jewish community.
As has been pointed out by both the mainstream and progressive media, political action committees with close ties to the right-wing Israeli government of Ariel Sharon -- funded primarily by conservative American Jews -- poured in thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions to her opponent, former state judge Denise Majette. Unlike most liberal Democrats, McKinney did not make an exception for Israel in her outspoken support for human rights and international law. As a result, she became a target of the so-called "Jewish lobby," which vigorously challenges elected officials who dare question U.S. military, financial and diplomatic support for Israel's occupation and repression of the Palestinians.
Despite this, it would be a big mistake to blame Jewish money for the defeat of this progressive African-American Congresswoman.
To begin with, there were more significant factors that led to Cynthia McKinney's defeat:
The first is Georgia's system of crossover voting, where voters can cast their primary ballots within any political party they choose regardless of their own party affiliation. In a district where barely half of all registered voters were Democrats, 14 out of 15 primary ballots cast were in the Democratic Party. In short, thousands of conservative Republicans -- without a similarly significant primary race in their own party -- voted in the Democratic primary for the sole purpose of defeating one of Congress' most outspoken defenders of civil rights, labor and the environment and one of its most vocal critics of President George W. Bush.
These Republicans were particularly incensed at McKinney's criticism of President Bush's "war on terrorism," including a couple of remarks that even progressives believed went too far, such as her claim that the Bush Administration may have known about the September 11 terrorist attacks beforehand. The media added to the fury by blowing these comments way out of proportion.
By some estimates, as many as two-thirds of Majette's votes came from registered Republicans. Without these Republican votes, McKinney would have easily won.
Furthermore, her opponent's campaign coffers were enriched by contributions from individuals and PACs affiliated with big business and other special interests that surpassed that of the "pro-Israel" groups. Majette had the backing of such wealthy corporate donors as Home Depot founders Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus, Georgia-Pacific's Pete Correll, Fidelity Bank's James Miller, Cousins Properties' Tom Cousins, Mirant Corporations's Bill Dahlberg, and Alston & Bird's Ben Johnson. Other leading business figures in the Majette camp included Marce Fuller, Virgil Williams, J.B. Fuqua and Inman Allen. Money to oust McKinney also came from donors associated with Wachovia Corporation, Equifax, SunTrust Banks, and other corporations. None of these donors are known to have any affiliation with groups supporting the Israeli government. A look at the records currently available show that Majette's top contributors include a sizable number of major Republican donors and very few names commonly associated with a Jewish ethnicity.
In short, Cynthia McKinney would have almost certainly lost anyway, even without the infusion of "Jewish money" into the campaign.
McKinney was a thorn in the side of the Bush Administration. Unlike most Democrats in Congress, she was unwilling to play the role of a consensus-builder. She asked the hard questions. She challenged the bipartisan consensus of post-9/11 foreign policy. She spoke up for those, both at home and abroad, who so often have been denied a voice in the halls of Congress.
It is no surprise, then, that the Republicans wanted her out. In such an overwhelmingly Democratic district, however, they knew they could not defeat her in November with one of their own. As a result, they had to find a Democratic surrogate to defeat her in the primary.
For progressives to instead overstate the role of Jewish campaign contributions serves to re-enforce ugly anti-Semitic stereotypes and exacerbates the divisions between Jews and African-Americans. Once close allies in historic struggles for civil rights, labor and social justice, there has been a growing division between these two communities in recent decades as the increasingly affluent Jewish community has drifted to the right and African-Americans have asserted their support for Third World causes, including the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.
Such divisions between these two historically-oppressed minorities can only help the wealthy white Gentiles who control virtually all the reins of political and economic power in this country. Indeed, pitting Jews and African-Americans against each other is a classic case of divide and rule. Exacerbating these divisions, in fact, may have been part of the Republican strategy all along. Blaming the loss of Cynthia McKinney on Jews or Zionists only benefits those who seek to continue to dominate and oppress.
To challenge this, we must focus upon building coalitions rather than tearing them apart. For example, we need to recognize the large numbers of progressive Jews who supported McKinney's re-election as well as the many other cases of ongoing Black/Jewish solidarity and cooperation.
In particular, we must rededicate ourselves to electing more candidates to office who are genuinely committed to peace and justice -- for the Palestinians, and for everyone else.
Stephen Zunes (email@example.com) is an associate professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco.
Published on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 by CommonDreams.org
A Reply to Stephen Zune's on the Jews and Cynthia McKinney's Defeat
by Edward S. Herman
Stephen Zunes's "Don't Blame the Jews for Cynthia McKinney's Defeat" (Aug. 26) is seriously misleading on the facts and perverse in its policy conclusions. Zunes says it was not just Jewish money that did McKinney in, there were "cross-over votes" and even larger sums from business and other establishment parties hostile to her. But Zunes fails to mention that just a few weeks earlier Ike Hilliard, another black representative who had been critical of Israeli policy, was similarly crushed, and there were no "crossover votes" or business hostility in that case, just massive sums of Jewish money. The unique factor in both elections was the anger at these blacks for daring to oppose Israeli policy, which suddenly made their elections of national interest and led to strong support for their opponents.
But Zunes's analysis is equally deficient in its failure to provide context.. He has long challenged the notion that the pro- Israel lobby is a major force in influencing U.S. policy, and in his frequent (and often insightful) articles as Middle East Editor of Foreign Policy in Focus, he regularly discusses U.S. policy toward Israel without mentioning the lobby's existence. This is truly head-in-sand analysis. Numerous U.S. legislators of high quality have been driven out of office for opposing a carte blanche to Israel, and some who have survived have openly acknowledged that they follow a pro-Israel line for political safety and survival. William Quandt stated recently that "Seventy to 80 percent of all members of congress will go along with whatever they think AIPAC wants," and the recent Senate vote of 94-2 supporting Sharon suggests that this may be an understatement.
James Petras asked recently, "Can the petroleum lobby get a 94-2 vote in favor of the Saudi plan?" A related question: are the almost unanimous votes for Sharon and his policies based on a rational consideration of the needs of U.S. foreign policy?
Zunes also ignores the extremely aggressive bullying tactics that the Jewish lobby has been employing throughout the United States during the past several years, boycotting the New York Times, Washington Post and other papers and carrying out pressure campaigns against CNN, NPR and other TV stations and programs in an attempt to enforce a totally one-sided reporting of the Israel- Palestine conflict. They have also steadily attacked faculty and academic and public panels with the same objective, and have been very effective in reinforcing the already biased treatment of these issues. Their intrusions into the Alabama and Georgia elections and successful removal of Hilliard and McKinney is arguably a form of disenfranchisement of black voters, by money power rather than legal tricks or coercion, and should be strenuously opposed by progressives.
Zunes shows not the slightest concern about the consequences of these bullying practices on freedom of speech or for policy-making on the Middle East.
He mentions that the Jews, like the blacks, are a "historically oppressed" minority, and he alleges that power is held by wealthy white Gentiles. This is a specious argument. Jews are not oppressed in the United States today, and in fact their power to influence U.S. policy in the Middle East is vastly out of proportion to their numbers in the population.
Furthermore, they are exercising that power by means that coerce and violate the spirit of the First Amendment and that also threaten the ability of the leadership to form a rational foreign policy.
Zunes is worried that criticism of the Jewish lobby and its operations will reenforce ugly stereotypes. Perhaps he ought to be directing this point to the Defamation League (self-designated an "Anti-Defamation League") and other lobby members, rather than to progressives who seek a decent policy on the Middle East, and who are very often victims of lobby attacks. Writing in Canadian Dimension (July-August 2002), Mordecai Briemberg says that "Concerns about fuelling anti-semitism should be addressed to the Israeli government, not directed against progressives who wish to analyse the structures and practices of Israeli state lobby forces within our own political system."
In short, Zunes's call for constraint in criticising aggressors who are
using nasty methods for nasty ends, because people might become hostile to them, is misdirected. Beyond that, it is even immoral, because it deflects attention from the urgent need to protect the lobby's victims at home and abroad, which calls for actively contesting the lobby's power and tactics.
Edward Herman is a Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, an economist and media analyst, with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy and the media. He is the author of numerous books, including Corporate Control, Corporate Power (1981), Demonstration Elections (1984, with Frank Brodhead), The Real Terror Network (1982), Manufacturing Consent (1988, with Noam Chomsky), Triumph of the Market (1995), The Global Media (1997, with Robert McChesney), and The Myth of The Liberal Media: an Edward Herman Reader(1999).
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