South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg wants to be president, but first he has to show his love for Israel—and he is working sickeningly hard to do just that.
By Philip Giraldi
There is a war for the soul of the Democratic Party being waged, but don’t expect that it will be over soon. A handful of Democratic representatives, which includes Rashida Tlaib, born in Michigan to Palestinian parents, and Somalia-born Ilhan Omar have opened the barn door and the conjoined issues of Israeli dual loyalty and the corruption of American government by Zionist money have escaped into the open. Now that the discussion has begun in a serious way it will not be easy to restore the status quo ante, though the entire Democratic Party leadership and the related media is working overtime to make the issues go away.
The Democrats are hobbled by having numerous adherents who are nominally progressive but actually highly selective in terms of the constituencies they serve. One of the recently announced candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 is South Bend, Ind. Mayor Peter Buttigieg, who is the very model of an unrepentant liberal. He is a homosexual, legally married to his boyfriend, and he has worked assiduously to court the black vote. He appeared in early April at a Rev. Al Sharpton National Action Network convention meeting in New York where he spoke and then answered questions. He revealed to the gathering that he used to say “all lives matter” but had stopped using the expression when he realized that it might be used to “diminish the experience of African-Americans.”
Sharpton, a prominent black entitlement huckster with a shady history, has been one of the leading advocates for reparations for black Americans. At the convention, Buttigieg and the other Democratic candidates present indicated that they would support a bill, which has been proposed in Congress that would authorize further “study” of the issue.
It would be difficult to top Buttigieg’s cringingly pathetic performance before someone as morally challenged as Sharpton, but he manages to do so in his analysis of what is going on in the Middle East, where he places his own personal ambition clearly ahead of any compassion for the victims of violence and suppression. Or rather, all of his compassion is for the Israelis rather than their victims.
Israel works hard to influence the United States at all levels, including at local and state government levels where candidates for office can expect to be grilled by Jewish constituents regarding their views on the Middle East. Buttigieg has undoubtedly gone through this process, understanding perfectly well that his answers would determine what kind of press coverage and level of donations he would receive in return. Also, the “right answers” on Israel would be essential for anyone seeking to make some impact in national politics.
The Israel lobby’s most successful propaganda program for indoctrinating politicians like Buttigieg is its sponsorship of free “educational” trips that are carefully coordinated with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and are both organized and paid for by one of the many pro-Zionist organizations active in the United States. Buttigieg’s trip, which included a number of American mayors, took place last May under the sponsorship of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). It was a time when Gazans were demonstrating against Israeli oppression and the Israelis were responding with gunfire, killing 60 unarmed demonstrators on one day alone.
Curiously, Buttigieg seems to have somehow missed what was going on just miles away from his guided tour. He subsequently described how he believes that Israel can serve as a model, something that he had learned from his visit. “Seeing the way that a country can be on the one hand very intentional, very serious, and very effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allowing concerns about security to dominate your consciousness … I think that’s a very important lesson that hopefully Americans can look to when we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us.”
Buttigieg also blamed Hamas for the misery in Gaza, not the Israeli blockade, its shooting of protesters and its bombing of schools, hospitals, power plants and water treatment facilities. If it seems as if Buttigieg was pandering to a Jewish audience because he was thinking of running for president, that is almost certainly because that was indeed the case. He did an interview with his sponsors at AJC after he returned home, in which he enthused about Tel Aviv:
I was in a very modern city surrounded by people going about their lives. Seeing how people fit those things together was illuminating and, in many ways, moving. There’s a sense there that no matter what challenges there are in the community or in the society, they can’t wait for security issues to be resolved. People live their lives, they’re pretty clear-eyed about what is going on around them. And at the same time, you don’t let that take over. … The sense that we were in a very safe and very peaceful place … .
Some of Buttigieg’s commentary, including his condemnation of Hamas, was nearly incoherent:
I think there’s a risk that Israel could come to be regarded as a partisan issue, and I think that would be really unfortunate. One of the first things you realize when you get on the ground is this is not a left versus right issue. At least it shouldn’t be. We met a lot of people from the Israeli left who have complicated and nuanced views of what is going on [including the] … relationship with Iran. Unfortunately, these things are reduced into a black and white picture sometimes in the American media. [We got] a more nuanced idea of what is happening on the Palestinian side. So one of the first things that was very clear to us was the extent to which there really 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 …
Buttigieg favors strengthening America’s already indecent one-way relationship with Israel and putting more pressure on the Arabs “to live up to their responsibilities,” saying to AJC that:
I think the security and intelligence cooperation [between the U.S. and Israel] is obviously vital, certainly something that is as important for American interests as much as Israeli interests. There may be some opportunities perhaps not under the present administration but over time to be a constructive voice in inducing some of the other players in the region to accept greater responsibility. … There’s certainly a chance for the U.S. to exert influence and be a constructive player when it comes to a lot of states in the region that frankly just haven’t lived up to their responsibilities.
Buttigieg is the type of American that Israelis love. Ignorant of what is going on in the Middle East, he enthusiastically swallowed all of the misinformation that he was being fed by his hosts. Ambitious to a fault, he knows that having Jewish money and media power behind a presidential nomination bid would be a major asset, while questioning what Israel does is the road to failure.
It is particularly odd that he was in the middle of a highly militarized national security state that was shooting dead protesters and didn’t seem to notice what was going on around him. And, of course, the Palestinians are always at fault.
As the Democratic Party base is drifting away from knee-jerk support of Israel, Buttigieg’s cynically calibrated gambit might well turn out to be in vain. It will be interesting to see how love of Israel will play out in the lead-up to 2020.
Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.