Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Last year, Pete Buttigieg, then the mayor of a failing Indiana city with a small Jewish community, and with unlikely aspirations for higher office, visited Israel. He suggested that Israel’s approach to security offered “a very important lesson in that that hopefully Americans can look to”.
Buttigieg had joined an American Jewish Committee delegation of mayors and came back with a seeming understanding of Israel’s precarious security situation and the danger of simplistic solutions.
“One of the first things that was very clear to us is that there is not a unified or single voice for the Palestinian people. Most people aren’t aware of the difference between what’s happening in Gaza, run by Hamas in a way that is contributing to a lot of misery there, but also totally different than an environment where you would have a negotiating partner across the table,” he observed.
Fast forward a year and Buttigieg is running for president and threatening to cut aid to Israel.
In his foreign policy address, he falsely claimed that “the Netanyahu government is turning away from peace” and warned Israel, while, referring to himself in the third person, that “President Buttigieg would take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill.”
What happened? There are two answers.
When Buttigieg was running a conservative city with an active Jewish and Christian community, where it’s not unusual to see churches flying the Israeli flag, it was safe for him to be more pro-Israel. On the campaign trail of a radical primary, where anti-Israel protesters dogged his steps, things changed.
But the bigger answer goes inside the foreign policy factory to see how the sausage gets made.
Buttigieg’s foreign policy team is headed by Doug Wilson. Wilson, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and the highest-ranking gay Pentagon official, is an obvious choice. Wilson chairs the Board of Advisors at the Truman National Security Project making him the guy to talk to for 2020 Democrats like Buttigieg interested in developing a foreign policy position at the national level.
The second member of Buttigieg’s foreign policy advisory team named in the media is Tarek Ghani, the son of Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, who is a senior economic advisor to the other Soros’ International Crisis Group. There is an obvious conflict with the son of the president of Afghanistan advising a man running to be the president of the United States.
But the most crucial name on the team list is Ned Price.
Price was the deputy of Ben Rhodes. As Obama’s National Security Council spokesman, Price worked closely together with Rhodes, who had boasted of creating an echo chamber in the media.
That echo chamber manufactured a pro-Iran and anti-Israel narrative.
A New York Times story profiled the echo chamber in action as Rhodes used Price to spin the crisis that ensued when Iran took ten American sailors hostage and humiliated them in front of the world.
Ned Price, a former Clinton donor, threw $1,200 to Buttigieg. It was the largest donation to come from a member of the Obama foreign complex topping Susan Rice’s cool thousand. Price had previously backed Hillary Clinton. But he broke out a $250 check to Buttigieg in January and then another $1,000 in March.
Those were Price’s only donations in the 2020 race. Rhodes’ deputy had picked his man.
When Buttigieg delivered his speech bashing Israel and touting the Iran Deal, the echo chamber’s fingerprints were already all over it. The 2016 election didn’t kill the echo chamber. It just morphed into National Security Action, a group co-chaired by Rhodes, which included Price, aimed at, among other things, preserving the Iran Deal which protected the terror regime’s pathway to nuclear capabilities.
That’s what Buttigieg promised in his foreign policy address.
The attacks on Israel and support for the Iran Deal are a staple of Rhodesian foreign policy. Prime Minister Netanyahu had defined his foreign policy by opposition to Iran’s nuclear program, Obama had defined his support for aiding Iran’s nuclear ambitions with sustained attacks on Netanyahu. Buttigieg has followed the same pattern of repeatedly attacking Netanyahu to protect his standing on Israel.
After his Israel trip last year, he seemed to understand that simplistic solutions like negotiations were not a real answer. As he conceded at the time, there wasn’t even a single voice to negotiate with.
Now, Buttigieg has embraced the Obama tactic of accusing Israel of refusing to negotiate a solution.
Buttigieg’s lines of attack on Israel, the false claims that Israel had gone far to the right, that it did not care about peace, and that the two-state solution was the only way it could survive as a Jewish state are cut and pasted directly from the Obama foreign policy scrapbook. They’re flashbacks to 2015.
That’s not because Obama is whispering in Buttigieg’s ear. But the guy whispering in Obama’s ear is.
A memo profiling the echo chamber had been passed around the National Security Council last year. Price had appeared in the memo as one of a number of “likely operations officers”. Ronan Farrow, a co-author of a New Yorker piece attacking the memo, had just released a new book, War on Peace which repeatedly quoted Rhodes. Farrow has also authored a number of hit pieces targeting Israeli supporters.
The chamber was alive and well. And had plenty of media allies.
The Atlantic claimed that Buttigieg’s foreign policy speech channeled Truman, not Obama. The claim was so absurd that it might have come from the echo chamber. Buttigieg’s foreign policy was not only being shaped by Obama vets like Price and Wilson, but the actual policies he proposed, treating global warming as a national security crisis, crawling back to Iran and bashing Israel, were Obama classics.
Even his call to end the AUMF, the authorization of military force passed after 9/11, is an Obama policy.
Buttigieg’s speech called for repealing the AUMF to end “endless war”. Obama’s 2015 speech calling for the AUMF repeal had also warned of “endless war”. Even the rhetoric consists of the same dated clichés.
Media accounts touting Buttigieg praise his original policy vision. But a leader with an original policy vision doesn’t need to surround himself with Obama retreads like Wilson and Price. If Buttigieg really wanted to define a new foreign policy vision, he wouldn’t sound exactly like an Obama clone.
The echo chamber speaking through Buttigieg’s pursed lips is praising its puppet for his original vision.
Buttigieg hasn’t outsourced his foreign policy to Obama’s echo chamber because he knows what he’s doing. Despite the media spin about his experience, his knowledge of foreign languages, and his time abroad, he’s so clueless that he just signed on the dotted line for every failed Obama foreign policy.
That may be one reason the echo chamber chose him. Another is that he sounds so much like Obama. The pros who wrote for Obama don’t have to bother learning to shape their message to another voice.
Buttigieg’s rhetoric, the warnings that the clock cannot be turned back, the impossible call for a holistic worldview for dealing with world problems, disguising military cuts as modernization and veiling the lack of a meaningful policy in sermonizing are all the classic parts of an Obama foreign policy speech.
There’s a good reason for that.
As the New York Times documented, what we think of an Obama’s voice was often Rhodes’ voice. At one point, Rhodes wonders, “I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama ends.” It’s getting harder to tell where Obama ends, where Rhodes ends, where Ned Price ends and where Buttigieg begins.
The US Treasury added three top Hezbollah figures to its list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday, including two members of the Lebanese Parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s security agencies.
It was the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s Parliament under a sanctions list that targets those accused by Washington of providing support to terrorist organizations. Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
South African fans in Cairo celebrating their team’s win over Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. Photo: Reuters / Sumaya Hisham.
Three days after South Africa stunned the world of international soccer by knocking hosts Egypt out of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, the sound of elation remains clearly detectable in the voice of the team’s Jewish midfielder, Dean Furman.
“It was a fantastic victory, just fantastic,” Furman told The Algemeiner during a break in training on Tuesday, as South Africa prepared for its crucial quarterfinal game against Nigeria, another of the continent’s toughest sides, tomorrow.
Pieter van Oordt, left, with his brother, Roger, at the Israel
For the second time in recent history, a Dutch Christian organization dedicated to supporting Israel has gone head-to-head with the government. With their family tradition of belief in Israel that preceded the state of Israel by almost one hundred years, it seems unlikely that the van Oordts are about to back down, no matter what the odds.
Last month, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy made a request from the management of the Israel Products Center (IPC) to ensure they were in compliance with regulations adopted in 2015 by the European Commission requiring products made by Jewish owned companies in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and sections of Jerusalem to be labeled in a manner indicating their origins.
Studies have shown that dairy cows contribute large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the organisms living in their microbiomes.
Genetically modifying cows may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and feed world populations, a new study led by Prof. Itzhak Mizrahi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev suggests.
“Our findings are both a major breakthrough for basic science and will have a positive impact on two major challenges facing the international community for the foreseeable future: climate change and food security,” Mizrahi said.
The decision by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to promote Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter reflects his future political aspirations.
Incoming Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi walks out at the end of a handover ceremony where he replaces Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 15, 2019.
Israel has its own version of Napoleon’s famous saying, “Every soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his pack.” In these parts, every general carries a prime minister’s baton — or at least that of a defense minister — in his pack
As Islamist Watch has pointed out many times before, Islam is enormously diverse – containing many competing schools of theology, schools of jurisprudence, sects, ethnicities, cultures and mysticisms. Islamism is also not a single force; it comprises dozens of (both) competing and collaborating radical ideologies.
One of the most intriguing divisions, then, within both American Islam and Islamism of late has been growing dissent over the question of liberalism.
Right after Trump’s inauguration, I ran an article about how incredibly fake the news coverage was about his inauguration. (Those reading my site know I’m not a big Trump fan, but credit where credit is due and calling fake where calling fake is due.) The media was nothing short of spectacularly fake in the news it contrived that week on CNN, the New York Times and the other major fake media, and they mostly got away with it.
It wasn’t condescension or contempt. Recent remarks by former Mossad head Shabtai Shavit reek of racism. That is the proper way to frame them, calling them anything else is letting him off easy. In its classic, formal sense, racism is when a certain social sector perceives itself as superior because of clear racial criteria. Shavit represents an updated version of racism that doesn’t require ethnicity or religion as proof of a defect – you can call it “essential racism.”
Little Napoleon Barak is going to save Israeli Democracy? What a bunch of claptrap Orwellian doublespeak.
Well let’s check out history. How well did the original Napoleon save France’s democratic revolution against the monarchy?
Hmm, if I recall he crowned himself emperor!
For years, the pundits have been telling us that Israeli democracy is in danger because of the Arab birthrate, or because of the Jewish nation-state law, or because of the debates over the powers of Israel’s High Court.
I wonder if they will recognize the danger posed by the 10 left-wing American Jewish organizations that have formed a new umbrella organization, the essential purpose of which is to undermine Israeli democracy.