Aletho News


Greg Palast, the left wing of the Lobby

By Israel Shamir

I always had a problem with Greg Palast. Apparently this critic of Bush and Blair, an opponent of the war in Iraq, who wrote for the Guardian and the Observer is a man on our side, a good left-wing guy. He is apparently against the corporations, against the neoliberal setup; some of his ideas are surely good. He is considered “Chomsky for Dummies” [“more accessible than Chomsky”, his publisher-suggested quote from a newspaper] and he has a good class attitude, for instance: “The world’s three hundred richest people are worth more than the world’s poorest three billion. The market’s up, but who is the market? The Gilded One Percent own 4/5th of the nation’s stocks and bonds.” His philippics against Bush (“an evil sonovabitch”) are as fiery as those of a preacher in a mosque in my neighbourhood, and this is not a fault in my eyes. He is equally outspoken against the war in Iraq. What else could one ask from a guy?

But at the second sight, there were small alarums. He was against Bush and passionately – for Gore and Kerry. As if Gore and Kerry would keep the US troops out of Iraq. As if Gore and Kerry would pass the spoils of three hundred richest men to the poorest three billion. He claimed that Bush administration covered up… “Saudi financing of terror”. This smacked of a familiar claim – that the US made a mistake to attack Iraq – instead of Saudi Arabia, or Iran. He disliked America, his native land, with too strong a passion. “Antisemite is one who dislikes Jews too much”, quipped Yael Lotan, an Israeli writer. The same goes about America: it’s quite all right to dislike the superpower, but do not dislike it too much, it’s bad for your karma.

Palast wrote: “The United States is ugly. [It is] a numbing repetitive vortex of sprawled Pizza Huts, Wal-Marts, Kmarts, the Gap, Jiffy Lubes, Kentucky Fried Chickens, Starbucks and McDonald’s up to and leaning over the Canyon wall.” In my view, this is too much. Even if your mother – and one’s native land should be as important as your mother – is ugly, you do not say it, not even think it.

Palast’s unequivocal support for unlimited immigration was not inspired by his compassion to les miserables of the Third World (also an erroneous position, in my view, but still comprehensible), but by his profound disdain of the ordinary local indigenous native. Characteristically, in his Best Democracy Money Can Buy Palast argues with a London cockney cabby, whether England should accept millions of refugees and asylum seekers. The cabby was horrified by his multiculturalist attitude, by his indifference to local culture and tradition. But Palast pooh-poohed “the cabby’s fear of losing his English identity. Face it, Shakespeare’s dead. England’s cultural exports are now limited to soccer hooligans, Princess Di knickknacks and Hugh Grant.” Face it, Palast, “England’s cultural exports are now limited to soccer hooligans” because England’s cultural imports were limited to Greg Palast and others of your ilk. A new Shakespeare may be alive in England, as well as a new Melville in the US, but you won’t recognise him for he won’t fit your ideas. For you, ordinary people are “brown-shirted antiforeign electoral mobs”, for us – the sovereign people.

Palast is obsessed with money, as evident from his title Best Democracy Money Can Buy. He is not even aware of other motives, whether noble or vile. For him, “the number one question on the minds of Americans was not, “Does Saddam really have the bomb?” but “What’s this little war going to cost us?”

I have no idea of Palast’s ethnic background, but ideologically, nobody can be more Judaic than this man, who worships money, despises the native and wishes to bomb some place in the Middle East. These are classic Judaic attitudes, so I was not surprised when Palast emerged as an apologist for the Jews and an accuser of greedy WASPs and Arabs. In his Was the Invasion of Iraq A Jewish Conspiracy? essay published in the Jewish ‘progressive’ magazine Tikkun, Pallast pulls usual ropes; for him, whoever thinks that the Jewish establishment pushed for the war on Iraq (including Mearsheimer and Walt, apparently) must adhere to the Elders of Zion and Christ-killers paradigm. He writes: “after killing Jesus, did the Elders of Zion manipulate the government of the United States into invading Babylon as part of a scheme to abet the expansion of Greater Israel?” Not surprisingly, he finds the Jews “not guilty”. The bad guys are “a devout Christian, Norquist [who] channeled a million dollars to the Christian Coalition”, and “the Houston-Riyadh Big Oil axis”. The Jews? Forget it: “Wolfowitz and his neo-con clique— bookish, foolish, vainglorious—had their asses kicked utterly […] A half-dozen confused Jews, armed only with Leo Strauss’ silly aphorisms, were no match for Texas oil majors and OPEC potentates.”

This is not the place to repeat the discussion of the Jewish Lobby. This was done by many people, including Mearsheimer and Walt (their recent response to Lobby’s attacks is on  ), by Philip Weiss (whose blog makes more and more sense – actually, this man grew a lot since his triumphalist pieces of 2001, and I read him with great interest), by our friend Jeff Blankfort, whose emailing list scans much of American and British media, and even by my humble self.

The conclusions we reached are only fortified by the massive apology for the Lobby coming from various Trots, from Socialist Viewpoint, from Greg Palast and others. The Jewish Lobby is like a Stealth jet, and these guys provide it with invisibility. Palast will have to live many more years if he wants to see us weeping over the “neo-con leader of the pack Wolfowitz being cast out of the Pentagon war room and tossed into the World Bank”. We know of worse fate. And he will have to live as long as Methuselah to see us feeling sorry for General Jay Garner, the first Gauleiter of occupied Iraq sacked by his superiors –see item 4.

In short, we went part of the way with Mr. Palast, but what’s enough, enough. Let him prefer General Jay Garner to Paul Bremer III, Kerry to Bush, Jews to Texans and Saudi Arabia to Iraq as a good place to bomb. Coprophagi may choose between various kinds of excrements, but we are free from this worry.

P.S. After the first publication of the article, our friend Ian Buckley wrote: According to this, Greg Palast is indeed ‘a Jewish leftie’ : . He is often funny and has an agreeable habit of getting up the noses of some of the powerful, but the above article illustrates his deficiencies… The article in the Jewish newspaper Forward makes it clear:

[In his eyes] his fans are too conspiracy-theory-minded. Too anti-American. Too antisemitic. “A large part of my European readership I wouldn’t urinate on,” Palast told the Forward. Some Europeans aren’t so wild about him, either. Unlike some of his fellow Jewish lefties, Palast is not ready to dismiss antisemitism when he sees it. “The members of the Jewish left — and I certainly am one of them — are very glib about antisemitism and the dangers out there,” he said. “The British left is infused with the worst elements of antisemitism.”

He even sees antisemitism in the pages of his own newspaper.

“When the Hebrew teachers in Tehran, in Iran, were put on trial as spies for Israel — which was beyond unlikely — my paper had an editorial by some fool saying, well, we shouldn’t attack Iran — there’s very good evidence, and we shouldn’t vilify everyone George Bush says is our enemy,” he said. “They want Israel to release people who are admitted child killers, but the Hebrew teachers should rightly be in jail.”

Never one to compromise his opinions, when the Arab news channel Al-Jazeera offered Palast a job, he turned it down cold; he refers to the station as TNN, Terrorist News Network.”

Thus an opinion of Mr Palast about the Lobby is as valid as that of Abe Foxman and Daniel Pipes.

P.P.S. To my great regret, our wonderful Cynthia McKinney accepted Greg Palast’s help in her electoral campaign, and she wrote:

From: “Cynthia McKinney” Subject: Free!! Blog with Greg Palast and me 7:00 this evening!

Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 15:12:47 -0400

If you’d like to blog directly with Greg Palast and me, please join us by following the directions sent to me below by Christy in Palast’s office.  It’s free and hopefully, will be loads of fun!

Probably we shall witness erosion of her position vs. Israel very soon. She is not to be blamed: no politician in the US can do without a pipeline to the Lobby.

  1. Here is a response of Jeff Blankfort:

This is an interesting article by investigative journalist Greg Palast who has, in the past, has avoided any mention of Israel or the Israel lobby even in his book, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” when, if he really wanted to know who the biggest buyers were, he could have readily found them in the internet among the Mother Jones 400, and the big donors from the Communications and Finance industries on the Center for Public Integrity site, and they are not oil men. Of the 400 top donors to the 2000 election cycle, 7 of the top 10, 12 of the top 20 and at least 125 of the top 250 were Jewish. Haim Saban, an Israeli-American, and a big backer of AIPAC, gave to the Democrats in 2002, $12.3 million, which is two million more than Ken Lay and Exxon gave to the Republicans over a 10 year period but strangely, it didn’t get the same media attention.

On the other hand, this article of his bears out what I have been saying for the three years, that the neo-con notion to take over and privatize Iraqi oil was nonsense and flied in the face of how the oil industry operates, that the neo-cons were no longer running the show, but what Palast doesn’t deal with is the initial opposition to the war on the part of Bush Sr., as well as James Baker, and oil company executives including Phillip Carroll of Shell, nor does he, once again, mention that not only were the neo-cons the main tub thumpers for the war, it was also supported by the major organizations of the Israel lobby, led by AIPAC and the parade of pro-Israel Jewish columnists who are nationally syndicated and led by Tom Freedman, William Safire (since replaced by David Brooks), Charles Krauthammer, Jeff Jacoby, and all the publications of Rupert Murdoch and Mortimer Zuckerman. The war was also called for by the major principals of both Likud and Labor in Israel, Sharon, Netanyahu and Peres, as well as Chef of Staff Shall Mofaz who said that after taking care of Iraq, the US should do the same with Syria and Iran.

If Palast was not so intent on shielding Israel and its American supporters from scrutiny, he would have acknowledged that the reason that the Democrats joined the Bush administration in supporting the war was that the majority of their funding comes from pro-Israel lobbyists which makes the Party, as Prof. Francis Boyle recently said, “a front for AIPAC.” Now that the war has taken out Saddam and literally destroyed the country, the Democrats are allowed to criticize the conduct of the war, but not so directly the war itself, and will be ready to serve the lobby’s call when it comes to taking on Iran. They have already overwhelmingly approved the Iran Freedom Act, the latest AIPAC war-mongering effort.

It is a shame that Palast has not employed his excellent investigative skills to examine this aspect of American society and instead has allowed them to play second fiddle to his attachment to Israel. Otherwise, he would not also be trying to convince us that both Bolton and Wolfowitz have important roles still to play for the Bush regime.

February 21, 2021 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | ,


  1. Too bad this isn’t dated either here or at the source; to me, time and context are always equal in import to content. I did open to one article re Japan, 2016 vintage. (Note: Could the last sentence above date this back to 2007 or even earlier?)

    This is disheartening, and it serves to remind me that I discovered a Zionist tinge to William/Bill Blum of The Anti-Empire Report fame. I was initially a fan of the man, but several years ago we exchanged bitterly vitriolic and insulting words over (my position) his journalistic malfeasance in going too easy or not at all on Zionism and its transgressions against the Palestinians and thus being a hypocrite,

    Now I must reassess — big time — my opinion of Palast, at least vis-a-vis his dalliance with Zionism. Thanks to Shamir and AN!


    Comment by roberthstiver | February 22, 2021 | Reply

    • 9/11 really was the litmus test for political analysts. I can see how some may have chosen to avoid the subject, but those that attacked the skeptics must be seen as sources of (left) authoritative disinformation.

      This category destroys entire wings of the political commentariat, some that actually pretended to oppose Western militarism.

      In hindsight, “controlled opposition” is an appropriate phrase.


      Comment by aletho | February 22, 2021 | Reply

      • Agreed! (I once, circa 12 years ago, corresponded regularly and cordially with Jeff Blankfort — a fellow New Yorker and baseball fan as well as activist brother [he of course a bitter disaffected Jew] — have lost track of Jeff, but he’s gotta be upper 80s by now…. His background in labor matters and overall common-man solidarity made/makes him a beacon of inspiration, a hero, to me.)

        “controlled opposition”: yes, or perhaps more simplistically “gatekeeper.”


        Comment by roberthstiver | February 22, 2021 | Reply

        • Gatekeeper is the exact category for Amy Goodman and Jeffrey Sinclair. More harmful than FOX News from my experience.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by aletho | February 22, 2021 | Reply

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