Archive for the ‘Control’ Category

Rick Sanchez on Jewish Media Power
By Edmund Connelly
October 3, 2010
Source: The Occidental Observer

How Jewish is Hollywood? That’s the question Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein asked two years ago just before Christmas. In answer, he wrote:

When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

Funny guy, Joel Stein. But his point is important. To sum up, he wrote sarcastically, “The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.”

Stein ended his column by saying, “As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you’d be flipping between ‘The 700 Club’ and ‘Davey and Goliath’ on TV all day.”

Needless to say, Stein was not fired for writing this, nor was he rebuked in the least. As we have seen time and again, there is a glaring double standard about alluding to Jewish power in the media. Jews are free to reference it, but woe unto the non-Jew who wades into those shark-infested waters.

We now have a very high visibility example of this double standard in action. As reported recently, “CNN anchor Rick Sanchez abruptly left the network Friday afternoon, just one day after making controversial comments on a satellite radio program. ‘Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company,’ according to a statement from CNN. ‘We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.’”

Our editor Kevin MacDonald immediately picked up on this and commented in a blog called Joe Sobran was Right on Jewish Media Power:

In my post on Joe Sobran, I included this quote from Joe:

“Jewish control of the major media in the media age makes the enforced silence both paradoxical and paralyzing. Survival in public life requires that you know all about it, but never refer to it. A hypocritical etiquette forces us to pretend that the Jews are powerless victims; and if you don’t respect their victimhood, they’ll destroy you. It’s a phenomenal display not of wickedness, really, but of fierce ethnocentrism, a sort of furtive racial superpatriotism.”

A current example that illustrates exactly this is the firing of Rick Sanchez from CNN for saying the following about Jews as victims:

“Very powerless people… [snickers] He’s such a minority, I mean, you know [sarcastically]… Please, what are you kidding? … I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they — the people in this country who are Jewish — are an oppressed minority? Yeah.” [sarcastically]

This kind of media development is right up my alley, for my academic specialty is the impact Jews have on American media, especially film. While the firing of Mr. Sanchez is perhaps more high profile than previous instances, it is still part of an all-too-typical pattern.

While I’ve long explored how Jews have translated their own concerns into Hollywood and television fare, I’ve had to devote a fair amount of time to proving first that Jews in fact have immense power in American media. Among other things I’ve written toward this goal are essays in the print journal The Occidental Quarterly. One such essay was “The Jews of Prime Time” where I collected these examples of testimony of Jewish power:

Michael Medved, Orthodox Jew and author of Hollywood vs. America: “It makes no sense at all to try to deny the reality of Jewish power and prominence in popular culture . . . Any Martian monitoring American television . . . would view Seinfeld, Friends, The Nanny, Northern Exposure, Mad about You, and other shows and be surprised to learn that fewer than 1 in 40 Americans is Jewish.”

Brandeis Professor Stephen J. Whitfield: “From its origins, Hollywood has been stamped with a Jewish identity, but nobody else was supposed to know about it. But somehow, no matter how thorough the attempt to suppress or disguise it, Jewishness is going to bob to the surface anyway.”

Author Stephen Schiff: “The way Steven Spielberg sees the world has become the way the world is communicated back to us every day.”

Neal Gabler, author of An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, wrote that “The American Dream—is a Jewish invention.” As he documented: “The storefront theaters of the late teens were transformed into the movie palaces of the twenties by Jewish exhibitors. And when sound movies commandeered the industry, Hollywood was invaded by a battalion of Jewish writers, mostly from the East. The most powerful talent agencies were run by Jews. Jewish lawyers transacted most of the industry’s business and Jewish doctors ministered to the industry’s sick. Above all, Jews produced the movies.”

Because the double standard about revealing Jewish media power was so critical, I devoted a section to it called “Denial and Deception Regarding Jewish Power.”

Any number of Jewish observers are willing to acknowledge the immense power of Jews in American media, particularly in Hollywood film and television, although this view cannot yet be described as conventional wisdom as far as the general public is concerned. But for informed observers, identity always matters. In Jews and the Left, Arthur Liebman observes that “one of the most important pieces of information a researcher can gather on a social movement is the socioeconomic composition of its membership.” The same can be said about the ethnic composition of those openly commenting on Jewish power in the media: they are overwhelmingly Jews themselves.

In contrast, Gentiles are routinely discouraged from noticing, yet alone analyzing, this phenomenon which is crucial in a democracy. As MacDonald notes, “Jewish groups have made any critical discussion of Jewish issues off limits, and that’s vitally important because, yes, Jews are a very powerful group.”

It appears that a regime of silence has been imposed, with ample rewards going to those Gentiles willing to toe the party line and a graduated range of punishments being administered to those unwilling to abide by the established rules of discourse. Prominent examples have been cited by MacDonald et al., including the case of young British journalist William Cash. He is the one who, with innocent candor, noted the Hollywood presence of Michael Ovitz, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Lew Wasserman, Sidney Sheinberg, Barry Diller, Gerald Levin, Herbert Allen and others and wrote of the Spielberg-Geffen-Katzenberg “Dream Team”: “But in one respect at least this particular combination of talents, or ‘talent combo’ in the local argot, will start out on the right foot. Like the old mogul founders of the early studios — and unlike most other failed build-your-own studio merchants — they are Jewish.”

I recall how one defender of this secret, Vincent Brook, author of Something Ain’t Kosher Here, attempted to enforce this silence among non-Jews, applauding the fact that a group critical of some TV portrayals “refrained from reviving the old canard of Jewish media control.” Never mind that Brook’s book is all about Jewish prominence in Hollywood.

Brook followed this censure of Cash with a condemnation of Marlon Brando for his unsettling statements on Larry King Live, claiming that Jews run Hollywood and exploit stereotypes of minorities. “Hollywood is run by Jews, it is owned by Jews, but we never saw the kike because they know perfectly well that’s where you draw the wagons around.”

Two comments about Brando’s observation are in order. First, Brando could easily have added White Christians to the list of exploited Hollywood stereotypes, but perhaps his greatest insight was about the “kike.” Though an unfortunate choice of words, it did point to the fact that we do not begin to see in Hollywood fare even a fraction of the real behavior of real Jews.

The absence of any narrative of Jewish power—political, financial, academic—forces us to reconsider David Zurawik’s concept of “surplus visibility” and its application to American media. Zurawik defined the sociological concept of “surplus visibility” as “the feeling among minority members and others that whatever members of that group say or do, it is too much and, moreover, they are being too conspicuous about it.” Zurawik accepts the conventional wisdom that membership in a “particular community of production” will result in less stereotypical images of that community and images “more representative of social reality.” The paradox he finds is that this “is not what happened with Jews and television.”

In my view, the Jewish “self-censorship” exhibited by important gatekeepers of TV programming such as William Paley, David Sarnoff, and Brandon Tartikoff can best be described as a form of deception in which Jewish producers of culture are highly conscious of the perceived interests of the Jewish community. The question “Is it good for the Jews?” is often uppermost in their thoughts. But almost without exception, these producers of culture refuse to depict Jews as they really are. Instead, the images are created in order to bolster the image of Jews among the “goyim.”

And yet Jews themselves often fail to see the implications of the fact that images of Jews presented in the media are sanitized for public consumption. Jewish film critic Lester Friedman makes this error even though he acknowledges that Jews intensely police images of themselves: “Unlike films about other American minorities, movies with Jews were often scrutinized by one segment of that minority group with the power to decide how the entire group would be presented to society as a whole. The resulting images of Jews in films constitute a rich and varied tapestry woven by several generations of moviemakers responding to the world around them.”

Of course, this rich and varied tapestry is nothing more than a creative public relations campaign. In the old days, there were formal agreements between the Hollywood studios to subject their films to scrutiny by Jewish organizations.

In An Empire of Their Own, Neal Gabler describes how major Jewish organizations, such as the American Jewish Committee, the ADL, and the American Jewish Congress, developed a formal liaison with the studios by which depictions of Jews would be subjected to censorship. One such group stated in 1947 that “Jewish organizations have a clear and rightful interest in making sure that Hollywood films do not present Jews in such a way as to arouse prejudice. . . . In some cases, such pictures should be taken out of production entirely. In other cases, scripts should be edited carefully to eliminate questionable passages. Everything should be done to eliminate unfortunate stereotypes of the Jews.” Gabler describes several instances where scripts were altered to provide more positive portrayals of Jews. The activities of this group were not publicized, out of fear that it could result in “the charge that [a] Jewish group is trying to censor the industry,” which, as Gabler notes, “was exactly what it was trying to do” (p. 304).

We haven’t seen realistic visual portrayals of Jewish power and behavior because Jews in control know that far too many non-Jews imbibe their sense of reality from the visual media. It would most certainly be bad for the Jews to show what is actually going on. That is the whole reason for the taboo against Gentiles noting Jewish media power. I suppose the reason some Jews get away with it in print is that the audience for most print media is relatively small, so the risks are smaller, too. Film and TV, on the other hand, broadcast information to millions, if not tens of millions, at a time.

Here are some more examples of Jews who have discussed Jewish power in the media, from my “Understanding Hollywood” series.

Film critic Lester D. Friedman: “Indeed, from the very beginnings of the industry until the present, it is impossible to ignore the influence of Jews on the movie business or to overlook the importance of a Jewish consciousness in American films.”

Steven Silbiger, author of The Jewish Phenomenon: “The Jewish involvement in motion pictures is more than a success story; it is the basis of the disproportionate influence that Jews have had in shaping American popular culture.”

Silbiger again: “In addition to the corporate chieftains, a huge number of Jewish people participate in the entertainment industry. It has not been part of a grand scheme, but when an ethnic group becomes as heavily involved, and as successful, in a particular industry as Jewish people have been in movies, the group’s influence, connections and power produce a vast ripple effect, and other Jewish actors, writers, editors, technicians, directors, and producers follow in their footsteps.”

David Desser and Lester D. Friedman: “Regardless of a Jewish author’s past or present involvement with organized religion, current religious or cultural practices, and personal sense of group attachment or isolation, the underlying critical assumption is that the work of a Jewish writer must either overtly or covertly reflect a Jewish sensibility.”

In their book Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People, Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson confirm Jewish dominance in Hollywood, noting that of the ten major studios under discussion, nine were created by Jews (Walt Disney was a Gentile), and as of 2006 all ten studios were run by Jews. As they concluded: “Yes, we do control the movie studios. All Jews please report to the World Conspiracy Headquarters immediately (don’t forget to bring your pass code).” Playwright David Mamet confirmed this by adding, “For those who have not been paying attention, this group [Ashkenazi Jews] constitutes, and has constituted since its earliest days, the bulk of America’s movie directors and studio heads.”

(Incidentally, Fogel and Wolfson also did the same for American TV networks, finding a leadership figure of seventy-five percent. Discussing print media, they found that seven of ten major publications are run by Jews. “Conclusion: Jews have lots of opinions that they love to write about and charge you money to read! Cool.”)

Clearly, Jews are given the freedom to write about Jewish power if they like. But what would happen if someone who was only half-Jewish were to do so?

Olivers Stone is a case in point. The Wall Street Journal reported this past summer that Stone said that “public opinion was focused on the Holocaust because of ‘Jewish domination of the media.’” Stone also said that the Jews “stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f—ed up United States foreign policy for years.”

Like so many others before him (however), Stone groveled: “In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret. Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry.” [Ironlight: so obvious that you had to apologize?]

I think that qualifies perfectly as an example of Sobran’s paradox on Jewish power and how (not) to refer to it. Perhaps because he’s got one foot in the Tribe’s tent, however, Stone’s apology was quickly accepted. Said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “I believe he now understands the issues and where he was wrong, and this puts an end to the matter.”

“Goyim” who violate this rule, though, fair worse. Writing about the recent Rick Sanchez affair, Steve Sailer reminds us how Gregg Easterbrook was punished for his informational transgression. Recall back in 2003 how Easterbrook had written:

Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney’s CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice. [Never mind “history.” What about current events in Palestine?]

Apologies or not, Disney, the parent of ESPN, fired Easterbrook.

In his blog, MacDonald summed up current unspoken rules nicely:

So the scenario is exactly as Joe Sobran described it. Deep down you must be fully aware of Jewish power, but public utterances must pledge allegiance to the idea that Jews are powerless victims. Don’t mention the fact that “a lot of people who run [CNN and] all the other networks are a lot like [Jon] Stewart” — that they are Jews with immense power, able to shape public discourse on everything of importance. Never mention the obvious fact that Jews are a very large component of the elite in the US and throughout the West. And if you don’t go along with the “Jews as powerless victims” idea, then Jews will destroy you.

Powerless victims with the power to destroy their enemies. And that’s exactly what happened.

As emphasized here, however, not everyone who calls attention to Jewish media power is fired or forced to grovel. Jews who proudly call attention to Jewish media power get a free pass. And that fact is yet another indication of the enormity of Jewish power in America.

Edmund Connelly (email him) is a freelance writer, academic, and expert on the cinema arts. He has previously written for The Occidental Quarterly.

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Communism was never destroyed. It was merely transferred from one state to another. Never mind titles. Never mind appearances. Essence speaks (even if repeating it aloud is forbidden).

From JP1: This interview exposes the KGB’s subversive tactics against Western society. In this interview, Yuri Bezmenov explains how Marxist ideology is deconstructing Western values, destabilizing the economy, and provoking crises in order to bring about a Socially-Marxist society.

Yuri Alexandrovic Bezmenov, was born in 1939 in the former Soviet Union and worked as a journalist for Pravda. In this capacity, he secretly answered to the KGB. His true job was to further the aims of Communist Russia. After being assigned to a station in India, Bezmenov eventually grew to love the people and culture of India, while, at the same time, coming to resent the KGB-sanctioned oppression of intellectuals who dissented from Moscow’s policies. He decided to defect to the West.

Ed Griffin (interviewer) asks – “Okay, so what do we do? What is your recommendation to the American people?”

Yuri Bezmenov responds – “Well, the immediate thing that comes to mind is, of course, there must be a very strong national effort to educate people in the spirit of real patriotism, number one. Number two, to explain to them the real danger of Socialist, Communist, whatever, welfare state — Big Brother government… The moment at least part of the United States population is convinced that the danger is real […] they have to FORCE their government… to stop aiding Communism.”

Merely consider what we’ve lost in 26 years, and you will see that the “conspiracy” was no theory, but rather prophetic insight. -W.

The complete interview may be viewed HERE.

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The Influencer: An Entertainment Mogul Sets His Sights on Foreign Policy
by Connie Bruck May 10, 2010
Source: www.newyorker.com

One afternoon in late October, Haim Saban, seated in his wood-paneled library, contemplated the results of a fourteen-month renovation of his estate. It consists of a main house and two smaller buildings—one for guests and entertaining, one for his wife’s parents. He lives in Beverly Park, a gated community above Beverly Hills that is popular among Hollywood celebrities and moguls for its security and its exclusivity. With the help of an architectural firm, Saban’s wife, Cheryl, had transformed the interior of the twenty-three-thousand-square-foot French-style country manor house. “Only the outer walls were left—it looked like an airplane hangar!” Saban told me. The large foyer opened into a vast space comprising a living and a dining area, with minimalist modern furniture. Near the white upholstered sofas was a floor-to-ceiling display case filled with antiquities from Israel, and large Chagall paintings hung on the walls. “We have only Chagalls,” he said.

Saban enjoys playing the part of a man exasperated by his wife’s extravagance. “She left only the Jerusalem tile in the guest bathroom, and she left this room, but she made the wood darker, and she put leather on the ceiling,” he told me. He pointed at the ceiling high above us. “I said, ‘Why do we have frigging leather on the ceiling? You can’t even see that it is leather!’ But then I stopped myself. Marriages break up over renovating a house. Really, they do. So I decided, I will not say a word.” Minutes later, he heard music blaring from the outdoor sound system. “What is this, a bar mitzvah?” he declared, and went to investigate. “New speakers?” he said to the technicians. “What was the matter with the old speakers?” He shrugged, and gestured toward the “back yard,” which had been his project—an expanse of emerald lawn adorned with nine hedges, many trimmed in the shapes of life-size animals (a horse, a hippo, an elephant). He murmured, “My Versailles.”

Saban is not given to modest ambitions. Sixty-five years old, with a broad, dynamic countenance and slicked-down wavy black hair, he is known in Los Angeles as the man who brought the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Japan to America; the chairman and part owner of Univision, the nation’s leading Spanish-language media company; a staunch supporter of Israel (he has dual citizenship); and one of the largest individual donors to the Democratic Party. “Haim is a force of nature,” his friend Barry Meyer, the chairman and C.E.O. of Warner Bros., said. As a youth in Israel, Saban attended an agricultural boarding school where, he says, immigrants like his parents sent children they could not afford to feed. When he was expelled for being a troublemaker, he began attending a night school, where the principal told him, “You’re not cut out for academic studies; you’re cut out for making money.” The prediction seemed to come true in 2001, when Rupert Murdoch and Saban sold their joint venture, Fox Family Worldwide, to Michael Eisner, the C.E.O. of Disney: Saban made one and a half billion dollars. It was—and still is, he points out—the biggest cash transaction by an individual in the history of Hollywood. In March, Forbes estimated his net worth at $3.3 billion.

Perhaps Saban’s greatest asset over the years has been his remarkable ability to cultivate, charm, and manipulate people. “Being charming and analytical is quite a combination,” said Shimon Peres, the President of Israel, who has been a close friend of Saban’s for more than twenty years. “Charmers from time to time get lost.” But Saban, he continued, “isn’t floating in the air.” As a way of disguising his shrewdness and his mental agility, Saban is often self-deprecating; he describes himself as a “former cartoon schlepper.” English is one of his six languages, and his adversaries are sometimes disarmed by his linguistic stumbles, but he uses words very skillfully.

Although Saban has lived in the United States for nearly thirty years, he remains deeply connected to Israel. He watches Israeli news shows, via satellite, throughout the day, and is a devout fan of the Ha’gashash Ha’chiver (Pale Pathfinder), a popular Israeli comedy troupe that performed for decades. “He knows every sketch of theirs by heart, and he uses their language very often when he speaks Hebrew,” his friend Dan Gillerman, the former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, said. His hundred-year-old mother and his brother live in Israel, and Saban travels there frequently. Through the years, one of his closest advisers has always been an Israeli and, in business meetings with others on his team, the two would occasionally slip into a side conversation in Hebrew.

He remains keenly interested in the world of business, but he is most proud of his role as political power broker. His greatest concern, he says, is to protect Israel, by strengthening the United States-Israel relationship. At a conference last fall in Israel, Saban described his formula. His “three ways to be influential in American politics,” he said, were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets. In 2002, he contributed seven million dollars toward the cost of a new building for the Democratic National Committee—one of the largest known donations ever made to an American political party. That year, he also founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, in Washington, D.C. He considered buying The New Republic, but decided it wasn’t for him. He also tried to buy Time and Newsweek, but neither was available. He and his private-equity partners acquired Univision in 2007, and he has made repeated bids for the Los Angeles Times.

By far his most important relationship is with Bill and Hillary Clinton. In 2002, Saban donated five million dollars to Bill Clinton’s Presidential library, and he has given more than five million dollars to the Clinton Foundation. In February, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a major policy address at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, co-sponsored by the Saban Center. And last November Bill Clinton was a featured speaker at the Saban Forum, an annual conference attended by many high-level Israeli and U.S. government officials, which was held in Jerusalem. Ynon Kreiz, an Israeli who was the chairman and chief executive of a Saban company and Saban’s closest associate for many years, attended the conference, and when I commented that his former boss appeared to be positively smitten with Bill Clinton, Kreiz replied, grinning broadly, “No! No! I remember once Haim was talking to me on the phone, and he said in Hebrew, without changing his tone so Clinton would have no idea he was speaking about him, ‘The President of the United States, wearing his boxers, is coming down the stairs, and I am going to have to stop talking and go have breakfast with him.’ ”

In the summer of 1996, not long after Shimon Peres lost the election for Prime Minister to Benjamin Netanyahu, Peres travelled to Los Angeles and visited Saban, a major supporter, at the tall Westwood office building where he leased ten floors. Giant letters that spelled out “S-A-B-A-N” ran along its roofline. Saban had gathered a small number of associates to meet with Peres, and he began by saying that when he was living in the slums of Tel Aviv he never could have imagined what had come to pass—and then he broke off, weeping. “He was crying like a little boy, and Shimon, seated next to him, just held his hand,” a member of the group recalled.

Saban’s father had been a sales clerk in a small toy shop in Alexandria. One day, Saban says, he was doing his homework by an open window of the family’s apartment. An Egyptian soldier across the way suddenly pointed his gun at him, and called out, “You, Jew! You, Jew! Bam bam!” In 1956, after the Suez Crisis, the Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, effectively ordered Jews to leave the country. The Sabans—his parents and his grandmother, and his younger brother—immigrated to Israel, where they shared a three-room apartment with two other families, next to the old Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv. Saban took on a variety of jobs; when he first arrived, he sold cactus fruit in the street, and, at the agricultural boarding school, he offered to clean manure from barns in a nearby village. Before long, he had so many customers that he became a contractor of manure cleaners, and no longer had to do the work himself.

At twenty, while he was serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, Saban made his entry into show business. He told the owner of a swimming pool where a band played that he was a member of a far better band. Saban didn’t really play an instrument, and he didn’t know a band. But he found one, and took the businessman to a club to hear it, claiming that he wasn’t playing because he had hurt his arm. He named a price that was double what he had learned the band was making, and then approached the band members with his offer and his condition: let him join. “They said, ‘For double the money, we’ll figure the whole thing out.’ ” He eventually learned to play the bass guitar a little, but occasionally during the first few months he performed with both his speaker and his microphone turned off.

During the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Saban did not fight, but he says that he was part of a unit that entertained the troops. Meanwhile, starting in the late sixties, Saban and a friend, Yehuda Talit, became concert promoters, sometimes making down payments to performers by borrowing against future ticket sales. The company, with seven hundred thousand dollars in debt, foundered during the economic downturn following the Yom Kippur War. Saban decided to move to Paris, and drew up a contract itemizing his and Talit’s respective obligations. According to Talit, Saban always insisted on meticulously detailed agreements.

Talit says that he and Saban remain close. These days, when they see each other, he said, “Haim is always asking me the question ‘Did you believe something like this could happen?’ I say no. But there was something about him. He was not just smart. He had an unusual character. He never had shame. What others were afraid to do, he would do.”

In Paris, Saban started out as an entertainment manager and a record producer. In Israel, he had spotted a nine-year-old boy, Noam Kaniel, who had an amazing voice; he brought Kaniel to Paris, taught him French, and got him recording contracts. Their biggest hit came in 1978, when Kaniel sang the theme song for “Goldorak,” a Japanese cartoon series broadcast in France. Saban had discovered the hidden gem of music publishing: music aired on televised cartoons.

It was such an arcane aspect of the business that even most producers of TV cartoons did not fully grasp it. Cartoons can be licensed to television stations around the world (dubbed in local languages), and relicensed countless times; they are known in the business as “perennials.” And, because most countries require separate copyrights for the music and the cartoon, TV stations must acquire music licenses through performing-rights organizations—in the U.S., mainly BMI and ASCAP—in exchange for annual fees from the broadcasters. BMI and ASCAP ultimately divide the money collected from the broadcasters among their members, according to a complex formula. Many artists and publishers failed to understand how much they could potentially collect in royalties.

In 1980, Saban visited the Paris offices of D.I.C. Audiovisual, a production company that specialized in children’s animated programming, founded by a friend named Jean Chalopin. “Haim walked in the door of my office,” recalled Andy Heyward, who was an executive there at the time, “and he said, ‘Bubbe, you have these cartoons you make. I’m going to do your music for free.’

“I said, ‘Oh, yeah? How?’

“ ‘I keep the publishing, you get all the music you need.’ ”

In addition to Kaniel, Saban represented Shuki Levy, an Israeli who was living in Paris and performing as a singer and as a musician. Levy loved to compose. “Haim said, ‘We’ll be co-composers,’ ” Levy told me. “ ‘You do the composing, I’ll do the deals.’ I figured, ‘Great. Brothers.’ That was the last business conversation we had for many years.” Levy added, “We were partners. We never had a written agreement. It was all verbal.”

In 1983, Saban moved to Los Angeles, and made the same offer to many production companies that he had to Heyward: free music in exchange for publishing rights. Levy and Kaniel joined up with him there and began composing, but there was so much work that Saban had to hire more composers and arrangers. They were paid salaries, and signed contracts in which they relinquished their rights to royalties. Kobi Oshrat, an Israeli musician who has been a friend of Saban’s since 1972, said the deals made sense for artists in their position. “These were young composers, desperate to make money, so they agreed.” Royalties for music are typically divided equally between publisher and writer. From the early eighties on, Saban was listed as a publisher, and he and Levy were listed mainly as co-writers of the music, even though, according to Levy, Saban composed very little. (Saban says that he did write or co-write some songs, including the theme to the cartoon “Heathcliff.”) Each year, Saban earns substantial payments from his royalties as a writer; in 1999, he received more than two and a half million dollars.

Kaniel, too, signed a contract relinquishing any claim to royalties, and he was paid a salary. “Haim didn’t put a gun to my head,” Kaniel, who thinks of Saban as family, said. “I was ecstatic to have the chance to learn a craft.” When Kaniel was nineteen, his eighteen-year-old girlfriend, Kira, discovered that she had cancer. For the next four years, Kaniel took care of her; often, he did not show up at the studio, and Saban never complained. He and Kira told Saban that they wanted to get married, Kaniel said. “Haim cried like a baby,” and then he told them that the wedding would be his present to them. “It was a dream wedding, and he paid for everything,” Kaniel said. Kira died two weeks later.

Kaniel worked for Saban until 1995, when he moved to Paris. For a number of years, Saban continued to pay Kaniel a salary, while Kaniel worked on his own projects. Still, Kaniel had composed music for cartoons for sixteen years. When he was asked if he had received royalties for any of the music, Kaniel said, reluctantly, “Basically, no.”

In 1986, Saban sold his first catalogue of cartoon music, to Warner Communications, for about six million dollars. In the transaction, he was represented by Matthew Krane, a thirty-two-year-old tax lawyer at Pollock, Bloom & Dekom, a boutique firm that specialized in entertainment law, in Los Angeles. Brainy and engaging, Krane—slight, dark-haired, with a sharp, blue-eyed gaze—had eclectic interests. After graduating from St. John’s College, in Santa Fe, he won a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and spent a year in Europe, studying electronic-music composition. Then he went on to Harvard Law School. Krane revelled in the rigors of tax law. “There is an element of puzzle-solving that exists in tax law that doesn’t exist in other areas,” he told me. “Also, there is the analysis of conflicting legislative objectives: why is there this exception to this exception to this exception? You’re solving mind-bending legal problems.”

Even in a law firm that catered to a Hollywood clientele, Saban stood out. When they were closing a major deal, Krane recalled, “he came into the firm singing, in this big voice—‘I’m here!’ ” Once, when Krane met Saban at his office on Ventura Boulevard, he found him at his desk, with a Rolls-Royce salesman seated across from him. “This guy looked like he’d been through the wringer, his hair this way and that, like he’d been pulling it out, and he was saying, ‘No, I can’t, I can’t sell it for that!’ And Haim was saying, ‘You can.’ And, of course, he did,” Krane said. Saban bought his first Corniche—a six-month-old white convertible, with the license plate “RSKTKR.”

Behind Saban’s theatrics, Krane concluded, was an intellect as powerful as any he had encountered. Moreover, Saban’s eagerness to minimize his taxes provided an abundance of the confounding problems Krane loved. In one major project, in 1988, Krane set up a company in the Netherlands Antilles as a tax haven, to handle all of Saban’s foreign distribution of programming. As a result, Saban paid nothing in taxes on his profits in any foreign country. Krane estimated that over the years this strategy had saved Saban at least a hundred million dollars.

Saban enlisted Krane’s help in many of his deals, which often required complicated maneuvering. In 1986, Andy Heyward and other investors had acquired D.I.C. from Jean Chalopin, and the company was burdened with heavy debt. Heyward wanted to sell assets to raise cash. Saban agreed to buy, among other things, the foreign rights to the D.I.C. library of children’s programming. Saban told Heyward that he was going to sell the library rights to an investor, whose identity he didn’t disclose. It was Jean Chalopin—by this time, Heyward considered Chalopin an enemy—who had lined up a corporate partner for the deal. According to Krane, after many machinations Chalopin and his partner paid about twice as much for the library as Heyward sold it for. “What Haim’s profit in that deal was I don’t know, but he was in business to make money,” Heyward said.

Not long afterward, D.I.C. sued Saban Productions. By this time, Heyward’s and Saban’s companies were deeply intertwined, and Heyward wanted a divorce, and damages. They had been close friends, he said, but now it was “jihad.” In 1991, Heyward and Saban reached a settlement, but they didn’t speak for the next decade. When Heyward’s mother died, however, Saban wrote him a note, and they met for tacos. Since then, Saban has donated to Heyward’s favorite charities, and invited him on yacht cruises in the Mediterranean and to spend the Christmas holidays at his estate in Acapulco.

Because of the early deals Saban struck with Heyward, Saban made his first real money—and he and his heirs will likely be collecting millions in music-publishing payments for decades to come. “I have known Haim from the most ruthless and anything-goes guy in business to the biggest heart imaginable, and all points in between,” Heyward told me. “He’s loyal and generous to his friends, but in business he is deadly. If you took all Haim’s money away and took him to a Casbah, gave him some rugs and said, ‘Stay here’—a year later he’d have a billion dollars.”

Saban eventually began trying to produce shows himself. In 1985, he returned from a trip to Japan with live-action footage in which five teen-agers become superheroes by donning spandex suits. Shuki Levy wrote a screenplay and directed a short, titled “Bio-Man,” which combined American and Japanese film. “For years, Haim walked around with this cassette, and the general reaction was ‘This is the worst thing we’ve ever seen,’ ” Levy said.

But in the early nineties Margaret Loesch, a veteran producer of children’s programming who was heading the Fox Kids Network, visited Saban’s office, looking for a new series. “I said, I want something adventurous, fun, silly,” she recalled. “It was like a light bulb went on in his eyes and he ran down the hallway. Two minutes later, he scooted back, holding out this cassette. ‘Darling, everybody thinks I’m crazy, but look at this!’ ”

Loesch loved “Bio-Man,” and eventually prevailed over network executives who worried about the series’ production quality and its violence. In 1993, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” became an overnight hit. In Saban’s hands, the series—reviled by critics but adored by young boys—became fodder for something bigger. “Haim was one of the original guys who understood how to create a franchise, built off one of these TV shows, into a merchandising tsunami,” Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was the chairman of the Walt Disney Studios at the time, said.

Following the success of “Power Rangers,” Saban and Cheryl bought the four-acre parcel in Beverly Park. Saban had long been a notorious playboy; Cheryl told me that when she came to work for him as his assistant, in 1986, he was dating thirty-nine women. (She later made him a photo album of many of them.) He and Cheryl married in 1987. She had two teen-age daughters, whom Saban eventually adopted, and they have two children of their own. Although Cheryl has not converted to Judaism, they are raising their children as Jews.

After two years of construction, Matthew Krane recalled, he met Saban for a tour of the house. Krane had left the Pollock firm in 1992, and was working from his house in the Hollywood Hills. Saban was his biggest client, and Krane had become Saban’s trusted financial and legal adviser, involved in structuring and implementing major transactions; later, he also became the co-executor of Saban’s estate. Krane had seen the house as it took shape, but he was dazzled as Saban led him from room to room. Saban seemed to have some trouble finding his way around, and after he discovered a back stairway for the first time he turned toward Krane, gave a shrug, and said, “Five retards in spandex.”

Margaret Loesch, Saban’s strongest advocate at Fox, had long argued that News Corp. should acquire Saban’s company because of his expertise in international distribution. But Saban wanted to merge with Fox Kids. “Haim saw that ‘Power Rangers’ wasn’t going to go on forever, and the key to our business was controlling broadcast outlets so we could get our programming on,” Mel Woods, who had left D.I.C. in 1991 to become the president of Saban Entertainment, told me. Moreover, News Corp., with its financial resources and its distribution capacity, could provide Saban with access to tremendously expanded opportunities. “Haim spent over a year working on that,” Woods went on. “He is the most persistent, patient man. They wanted to buy it, but he knew if he could get this joint venture done the sky was the limit.”

“I wouldn’t move an inch,” Saban recalled. “Rupert’s proposal was to give me time slots, to buy the company, and I said no, no, no, forget about this. Partners! Partners! ‘Partners’ means I am now co-owner with Rupert of the network. And that was unfathomable to him.”

Stanley Shuman, a merchant banker at Allen & Co., was a member of News Corp.’s board of directors and a longtime adviser to Murdoch; here, however, with Murdoch’s permission, he was representing Saban. Shuman, a major contributor to the Democratic Party, also arranged for Saban to meet Bill Clinton at one of the famous White House coffees organized by the Democratic National Committee. Saban later said that he felt a visceral connection with the President. “When Haim first got to know Clinton, his issue was censorship as it affects TV, because there was a lot of outrage about ‘Power Rangers,’ ” Shuman said. “It was obviously helpful to Haim to have someone he could talk to in the White House.” Saban became a fervent Clinton supporter. In 1998, he hosted a dinner at his home that raised a million and a half dollars for the D.N.C, not long before Clinton was impeached. Referring to the Clinton prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, Saban told his guests, “Starr should be tried for treason!”

The turning point with Murdoch came when he asked Loesch if she could imitate Saban’s international-distribution structure, and Loesch said it would take her three to five years. Murdoch didn’t want to wait that long. But, just before signing the deal making Saban his partner, he summoned Loesch to his office in Beverly Hills. “Rupert said, ‘I have one question. Can I trust Haim Saban?’ ” Loesch recalled. “And I said, ‘He will never stab you in the back.’ ”

Months after the creation of the joint venture, Fox Kids Worldwide, Saban spoke with Loesch and Chase Carey, the C.E.O. and chairman of Fox Television, about the importance of acquiring a cable outlet in order to compete with stations like Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network. He thought that Pat Robertson, who along with shareholders owned the Family Channel, might be open to a partnership. When Carey volunteered that Murdoch was meeting with Robertson shortly, on another matter, Saban asked if he could join them. He imitated Carey’s response. “ ‘Oh, no,’ ” Saban said, laughing. “Cartoon salesman, cacka! O.K., no problem.”

After Murdoch and Robertson had several meetings, Carey told Saban the idea was dead. “I said, ‘Do me a favor, come to a dinner with Tim Robertson’—the son, who was running the channel on a day-to-day basis—‘and let me do the talking,’ ” Saban told me. “I give Tim a whole speech about a joint venture. ‘We will program daytime kids, you program prime time. You have difficulty accessing content—but Fox is going to give you gold! A truckload of beautiful movies, sitcoms, and dramas! You’ll kill everybody else, you’ll be No. 1!’ Chase looks at me, like, ‘What are you talking about our programs, who are you, you fucking piece of shit, you’re giving away our programming?’ ” Robertson agreed to start negotiating.

What started as a joint-venture negotiation ended with a proposed acquisition—Fox Kids Worldwide would buy Pat Robertson’s International Family Entertainment for about $1.9 billion. After the deal closed, Saban stripped Loesch of her operating authority, and she left the company. She had been excitedly planning the programming for the new network. “It was heartbreaking,” she said. Even today, more than a decade later, she still seems baffled by it. “I felt my role was to fight for what was right for Fox Kids,” she said. “I kept arguing with him, as I had before, and when he wanted to put some of his shows on I said no. Because the quality wasn’t there. It didn’t occur to me not to do that.”

Woods stated plainly why Saban pushed Loesch out: “If you have a choice between putting a program on the air that will get the best rating, and one that you own ninety per cent of, Haim—businessman that he is—is going to go with the one where he owns ninety per cent. Margaret always put the programming first, which is a wonderful thing and to her credit. But, in a power struggle, business is going to prevail.”

After Loesch’s departure, however, the Family Channel’s ratings plummeted. “We had expected that Haim would construct a schedule where it would have a bigger impact, bigger ratings,” Rupert Murdoch told me. In the fall of 1999, Fox had to lend Fox Family a hundred and twenty-five million dollars. And a year later, at Fox Entertainment’s annual shareholders’ meeting, Murdoch expressed his “frustration and disappointment” with Fox Family and its ratings.

For Saban, it was time to get out. His 1995 Fox Kids contract had a provision that gave him the right to sell his 49.5per-cent share in the company to Fox, for cash, in five years. The potential value of Saban’s share had increased dramatically with the acquisition of the Family Channel, and in December, 2000, he exercised his right. “We were shocked,” Murdoch said. “We never had any arguments on the business side at all. Actually, it was a very happy relationship.” He and his Fox colleagues thought the contractual provision Saban had inserted “was just a safety thing he put in if he didn’t get on with us.” He continued, “We were disappointed, because we thought he was sort of committed to it for life.” Moreover, he said, when Saban told them what he thought the company was worth, “we said, you’ve gotta be joking!”

The next several months were acrimonious, and negotiations dragged on. Finally, to resolve the stalemate, Murdoch and Saban agreed to find a third-party buyer.

Saban was pursuing the deal of his life, but, congenitally fond of misdirection, he portrays himself as the one being pursued. “We had an emotional buyer that was chasing me, in Disney,” he said. Michael Eisner had a different recollection. “Want to know the truth?” he asked. Saban had enlisted a Disney director and major shareholder, Stanley Gold, to pressure Eisner to acquire the network, and while he found it enticing, he hesitated, wary of the price he would have to pay. (Saban says that Gold approached him on Disney’s behalf.) But at a meeting with Murdoch and Saban, at Allen & Co.’s annual Sun Valley investment retreat, Eisner was convinced that he might lose the company if he failed to act. “We did a really good job of positioning this as a deal with a multitude of suitors,” said Peter Chernin, the president of News Corp. at the time. In fact, the only other prospective bidder was Viacom, whose C.O.O., Mel Karmazin, was also at the Sun Valley conference, and he mentioned a price so low that it was immaterial. “There was no one else, not even close,” Carey said flatly.

The next day, Eisner agreed to pay $5.3 billion (including more than two billion dollars of debt) for the company—about a billion dollars more than News Corp. executives had believed it would bring. “Haim was in command—it was Haim’s price,” Stan Shuman said.

The financial press concluded that Eisner had overpaid. (Eisner felt that he had, too, by eight or nine hundred million dollars.) And the transaction proceeded under strain; after September 11, 2001, Disney threatened to back out of the deal, and at one point News Corp.’s general counsel, Arthur Siskind, tried to remove Saban from the negotiations, believing that he was too unpredictable. Saban later told Andy Heyward that he said to Siskind’s message-bearer, “You tell that fucking guy to stay out of my face! I was driving a fucking tank in the Israeli Army on the Golan Heights when he was watching ‘Scooby-Doo’!”

Saban continued to lead the negotiations, and his high-level relationships proved invaluable. Because Disney and Fox Family operated internationally, the deal required regulatory approvals from many countries. “Brazil could have been a deal-breaker,” Chernin recalled. In a confidential memorandum written on October 1st, Fox Family’s attorneys in Brazil explained that the deal would have to be reviewed successively by three government bodies; from past experience, the attorneys estimated that the process would take between six and eight months, which would push the deal past the deadline, at the end of October. Disney refused to close without Brazilian approval. Both sides retained counsel for the anticipated litigation.

“Haim said, ‘Let me make a phone call—maybe I can get something done here,’ ” Chernin told me. “He was extremely helpful in getting Clinton to help. Clinton called the President of Brazil.” Matt Krane recalled how Saban described to him what had happened: “Saban had called the Fox Family attorney in Brazil and asked, ‘How long will it take?’ It was months. He said he asked the lawyer, ‘Who is your finance minister?’ The attorney understood, and he said, ‘There is no political pull available in this process.’ Saban called Bill Clinton and asked, ‘Can you help me?’ ” Soon afterward, the approval came through.

On October 24, 2001, the Disney-Fox Family deal closed. About a month later, Krane says, Saban gave him the task of devising a tax strategy for a donation of ten million dollars to the D.N.C., toward the construction of its new headquarters. “Of course, you can’t get a deduction for a political contribution,” Krane said. “Our mission was to structure it so he could get a tax benefit. So I got heavily involved, and worked a lot with D.N.C. lawyers to do it.” Via e-mail, Krane and the lawyers discussed possible real-estate strategies. “It started to become clear that any plan was too difficult to implement,” Krane told me. In January, 2002, the resolution was that Saban reduced his donation from ten million to seven million.

Terry McAuliffe, who was then the chairman of the D.N.C., says that Saban had first voiced his commitment at a party held at the Clintons’ Washington home in June of 2001, after McAuliffe made a presentation about the deplorable financial state of the Democratic Party. “Haim said, ‘I’ll commit up to ten million.’ ” It was not until January, 2002, that they met in a hotel room and negotiated the final amount. “He said four, I said I want the whole ten, then he got to six, then I said, ‘O.K., cut me a check for seven million in five days, and we got a deal.’ ” McAuliffe says that D.N.C. lawyers were not involved in any tax-benefit planning. “All I can tell you is there is no lawyer at the D.N.C. who would have that conversation,” he said. “That would be a felony.”

In March, 2002, Democratic Party officials disclosed that Saban, who had been named chairman of the Party’s capital-expenditure campaign, had written a check for seven million dollars to the “DNC Building Fund.” He had become the Party’s largest single donor. In an interview in the New York Times on March 21st, Saban explained how he had arrived at the figure: “We have two numbers in the Jewish belief that are lucky numbers—one is 18, and the other is 7. I thought 18 was kind of too high, so I went with 7.” He added, “I just felt compelled to do what I can.”

When the Fox Family deal closed, Saban instantly became one and a half billion dollars richer. His life had changed radically, but some things remained the same. When he became a partner in Fox Kids, a deal in which the Allen & Co. banker Stan Shuman had represented him, Saban insisted that Murdoch should pay part of Shuman’s fee, much to Murdoch’s displeasure. Allen & Co. eventually accepted one per cent of the merged entity’s stock, in lieu of a cash fee. (Saban denies that there was any disagreement with Fox.) Now, with the Disney deal, he didn’t want to pay twelve million dollars in fees and other costs that his investment bankers at Morgan Stanley said he owed. They sued; Saban settled on the eve of trial, and says he paid them eleven million dollars.

Even a closer associate was left feeling shortchanged. Shuki Levy, Saban’s decades-long partner, had received a payout on the Fox Family deal, as had other insiders who owned shares in Saban’s privately held company. But Levy, who had never had a written contract, felt that he was owed more, and demanded what he thought was his rightful share. Saban paid Levy an additional eleven million dollars. “I owed him, contractually and morally, nothing,” Saban said, adding that he paid him “out of compassion.” The two no longer speak.

But the biggest bill by far that Saban didn’t want to pay was the government’s. In late December, 2000, after Saban had exercised his right to sell his share of Fox Family, Matt Krane said that he received a call from him. “He said, ‘Let me ask a question. What are we doing on taxes on the sale?’

“I said, ‘We’re going to pay the capital-gains tax, like we always discussed.’

“ ‘What is it?’

“ ‘Like, twenty-seven per cent state and federal, combined.’

“ ‘Are you fucking kidding me? Are you fucking crazy?’ He was shouting, ‘I’m not paying that!’ ”

Saban denies Krane’s account of their conversation. “This is a man where we went through seven audits, and all came in ‘No change.’ So I looked at him as a genius of the century. And he always took the lead in setting up structures that were absolutely legal and tax-efficient. And all I asked him to do was this time, too, please do the same.”

Krane said that he had previously solved every problem Saban had presented, carrying out “very aggressive” tax planning, but he had always tried to design transactions ahead of time to avoid taxes. Here the only recourse was a tax shelter.

As Krane began to explore the tax-shelter world, he learned that major accounting and investment-banking firms—including K.P.M.G., Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and many others—were involved in creating tax-shelter products. He selected one that was developed by the Quellos Group, a financial boutique based in Seattle; he integrated this shelter with a tax plan of his own, and, with the combination, made it possible for Saban to pay no taxes on his $1.5-billion gain.

Krane’s life, meanwhile, had started to unravel. In 2000, he had reorganized Saban’s business structure, a mammoth task that required intense focus, and he began taking drugs to prolong his concentration. Over the years, Saban had retained many lawyers from major firms, paying them the customary high fees. But Krane—who had been entrusted with Saban’s most sensitive information—charged him a low hourly rate (at most, he says, two hundred and seventy-five dollars), and occasionally received a bonus. Krane says he was convinced that Saban would not pay him a market rate for the tax plan, so he decided to negotiate his fee with Quellos, without Saban’s knowledge. Saban agreed to pay Quellos fifty-four million dollars, and Quellos secretly paid Krane thirty-six million dollars. Krane arranged for the money to be wired to an Austrian bank account. He did not pay taxes on it—something he describes today as “crazy and stupid.”

By mid-2002, Krane had developed an addiction, and in early 2003 he stopped advising Saban. In January, 2005, Krane said, Charles Wilk, the Quellos executive with whom he had worked, called to tell him that during questioning by Saban’s lawyers, who were responding to a tax investigation, he had divulged the fact that Krane had received money. Several months later, Krane said, Saban left a message on his answering machine, saying, “ ‘Please call me. I don’t have a problem, you have a problem.’ ”

“I thought there was a remote chance he would go to extremes,” Krane said. He never returned the call. “I shut my gate.”

After years of relying on Krane’s knowledge of byzantine tax law, Saban began to cast himself as the victim of an unscrupulous adviser. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which had published a report on tax evasion by the super-rich, through offshore tax havens, found that Quellos’s plan was based on fake securities transactions, to generate fake losses, which would offset real taxable capital gains. In August, 2006, Saban, who said that he would be paying back taxes, interest, and penalties, testified before the subcommittee. He invoked Krane repeatedly. In his prepared statement, he said that he had “consulted my trusted tax and legal adviser, whose advice I have followed for fifteen years.” He also said, “I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant. In fact, my formal education ended when I finished high school.”

Senator Carl Levin pointed out that Saban had been informed that he could pay “in the ballpark of fifty million” to obtain a capital loss to offset his gain of one and a half billion dollars. “Now, you are a businessman,” Levin continued. “Did that not raise alarm bells in your head?”

“It did,” Saban replied, “which is why I asked my adviser, who has been by my side for fifteen years, is this completely kosher—i.e., legal? And would a reputable law firm say so? And the man who was with me for fifteen years assured me that this is the case.” In his interview with subcommittee investigators a couple of weeks earlier, Saban had said, “You have before you a very disappointed person, who feels misled, lied to, cheated.”

In 2006, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle opened an investigation of Quellos. Krane’s house was searched; investigators found a false passport and a copy of a false-passport application, and, in July, 2008, Krane was arrested and charged with aggravated identity theft, and with making false statements in a passport application. Last June, the Quellos executives Jeffrey Greenstein and Charles Wilk were indicted in Seattle for tax fraud. (They pleaded not guilty.) Krane was indicted for money laundering and, later, for tax evasion. He spent nearly a year and a half in jail in Los Angeles. Krane finally obtained release on bail last December, when he agreed to plead guilty to one count of tax evasion and false-passport application, and to cooperate with the government. The money-laundering charge and the identity-theft charge will be dropped upon sentencing.

In November, 2008, Saban sued Krane in Austria to recover the thirty-six million dollars, which both Saban and the government have characterized as a “kickback.” Mel Woods, who is now retired, but occasionally does consulting for Saban, castigated Krane for arranging to receive the thirty-six million dollars secretly. But, he went on, “Matt and Haim and I were a team. Matt would never have put Haim in a plan he thought was bad. You never know with a tax plan.” Woods had been an accountant at Arthur Young early in his career. At the time Krane selected the Quellos shelter, Woods said, “there were a lot of plans around—like K.P.M.G., others—that turned out to be bad.

“I love Matt Krane,” Woods went on. “He’s wicked smart, funny, and the best tax guy I’ve ever known.” As for the way his life had disintegrated, even before he went to jail, “Matt was never too tethered to the ground.”

Last July, in a response to Saban’s suit over the thirty-six million dollars, Krane sued Saban in Los Angeles Superior Court, with a complaint that read, in part, “Despite being one of the richest men in the world, Haim Saban, believing he is above the law, has spent decades trying to avoid paying taxes on the many billions of dollars in income he has received, evidencing little restraint in his conduct other than seeking a convenient scapegoat.” (William Schwartz, one of Saban’s lawyers, says, “Matt Krane was a lawyer and adviser whom Mr. Saban trusted completely and on whom he relied in matters of great importance. Mr. Krane exploited their relationship to defraud Mr. Saban of tens of millions of dollars. Mr. Saban feels deeply saddened and betrayed by that breach of trust.”)

Last fall, when I met with Krane at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles, he told me, “I have this fantasy that, if I could only see Haim and talk to him directly, I would say, ‘Haim! Whatever I did, I learned from you.’ And he would look at me, and then he’d say, ‘Oh. I understand.’ ”

In the fall of 2001, fortune in hand, Saban established a private investment fund, Saban Capital Group, and set out to become a serious player in the media business—Part 3 of his formula for political power-brokering. Jonathan Nelson, the C.E.O. of Providence Equity Partners, a major private-equity firm, met Saban in 2003, when they invested together in ProSiebenSat.1, a group of four German television networks. Nelson told me that one of his partners said, “You’ll either love Haim or you won’t.” Along with several other investors, Nelson and Saban acquired ProSiebenSat.1, and sold the company profitably four years later. “ProSieben was nine time zones away from Haim’s office, and he was into the details there on endless conference calls with management,” Nelson said. “He works harder than any thirty-year-old I know.” Not everyone was so impressed. A financial adviser who took part in discussions on how to neutralize a potentially destructive party in the deal recalled, “Haim’s strategy was ‘I’m gonna make their lives miserable until they beg me to take them out of this deal.’ But that’s not a strategy.”

Nelson and Saban teamed up again in their acquisition of Univision, in 2007. As Saban and his partners were assessing a bid, Saban enlisted Lindsay Gardner, who was an executive at News Corp. at the time, and whom Saban had worked with at Fox Family, to assist in the evaluation of Univision. At one point, Gardner recalled, Saban asked him to participate in a conference call with Univision executives; Gardner protested that he couldn’t, because the executives knew him and would view him as having a conflict. Saban suggested that they not give Gardner’s name. “ ‘But they’ll recognize my voice,’ I told Haim,” Gardner said. “And he said, ‘Then put a napkin over the phone, talk through a napkin.’ ” Gardner declined. (Saban says that he doesn’t recall it happening this way.)

Ultimately, the Saban group purchased Univision for a high price, assuming ten billion dollars of debt, near the height of the market. Since then, Univision, like most media companies, has seen its advertising revenues plunge. It also became engaged in a high-stakes legal battle with the Mexican media giant Televisa over the rights to telenovelas, the serialized programs popular with Hispanic audiences in the U.S. In January, 2009, after a forty-hour negotiation led by Saban on the Univision side, a settlement was reached in which Televisa would continue to supply Univision through 2017. And last summer Univision achieved another coup, getting cable- and satellite-TV operators to pay monthly retransmission fees to carry its programming; Saban says that he led those negotiations, too.

Saban has made a point of cultivating celebrity. At Univision’s Upfront event in 2008, the singer Shakira, onstage, declared, “I want to give a big thank-you to Haim Saban!” His business associates were impressed. Shakira told me that she was introduced to Saban several years ago, and they became friends. He joined the board of the Barefoot Foundation, which she started, to focus on universal access to high-quality education for children. “He’s a great guy!” Shakira said. “Many people know him through his accomplishments, but not everybody knows this other part in him—his social awareness, his commitment to the underprivileged, how compassionate he is, and, really, how passionate he is.” She continued, “He calls me Hermanita. It is ‘Little Sister.’ ”

In targeting media properties, Saban frankly acknowledges his political agenda. He has tried repeatedly to buy the Los Angeles Times, because, he said, “I thought it was time that it turn from a pro-Palestinian paper into a balanced paper.” He went on, “During the period of the second intifada, Jews were being killed every day over there, and this paper was publishing images of a Palestinian woman sitting with her dead child, and, on the Israeli side, a destroyed house. I got sick of it.” Saban said he tried to buy the paper in 2007 but lost to Sam Zell, who purchased the Tribune Company, including the L.A. Times. In early 2008, he says that he tried to buy the paper from Zell but that Zell wanted more than he was willing to pay. After the Tribune Company went into bankruptcy, in 2009, Saban said he informed the creditors of his interest. “They’re not going to do anything until they get out of bankruptcy. So am I still interested in the L.A. Times? I am, yeah, I am,” he said. Saban also said that he asked the New York investor Steven Rattner to let the Sulzbergers know that he would like to buy the New York Times, but Rattner told him they weren’t interested. “What’s it worth now, the whole thing—a billion dollars?” Saban said dismissively. “But it’s a family legacy or something, I don’t know.” If the Sulzbergers were to change their minds, he said, “I would be jumping all over it.”

As Saban has said, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.” When Bill Clinton was President and Ehud Barak was Israel’s Prime Minister, Saban, who was close to both men, says that occasionally he provided a back channel for communications. In July of 2000, shortly before the start of the Camp David negotiations, Israel’s planned two-hundred-and-fifty-million-dollar sale of an airborne radar system to China—furiously opposed by many at the Pentagon and in Congress—threatened to derail congressional support for a peace deal. Saban said, “I just called Ehud and told him, ‘In the middle of this peace thing, it’s impossible for Israel to do things that are perceived in the U.S. as against the interests of the U.S. I understand the financial aspect, I understand that it may not be really a security concern for the U.S.—it doesn’t matter. There’s a much bigger picture here, and you really should seriously consider.’ ” Barak suspended the sale. “How much impact my call had, I have no idea,” Saban added. During Camp David, he continued, “I was involved, but only on the periphery. If Barak could not say some things to Clinton to his face, he would ask me to convey a message, and vice versa.” At one point during the negotiations, Clinton, accompanied by his national-security adviser, Sandy Berger, had to go to Japan. “When they came back, I spoke to Sandy Berger, and gave him my two cents about dealing with issues. ‘Is that really super-important?’ ‘Well, why can’t Arafat give up on that?’ ” He laughed. “The usual!”

Immediately after the Fox Family-Disney deal closed, in 2001, Saban called Martin Indyk, who had been a U.S. Ambassador to Israel during the Clinton Administration. When they met in New York about a week later, Indyk recalled, “Haim said, ‘I’ve made all this money; I’m giving ten million to the D.N.C., and I want to set up a think tank. I think we really have to resolve the Arab-Israel conflict. These terrorists give me a potch in the panim, but I still think it’s important for Israel’s future to achieve peace.’ ” Indyk advised him to make a donation to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, but Saban said, “ ‘You don’t understand. I want my own.’ ”

Indyk was at the Brookings Institution at the time, and he suggested that Saban set up a center there. “What’s Brookings?” Saban wanted to know. “We invited him here for lunch,” Indyk went on. “I showed him the wood-panelled rooms, the portrait of Robert Brookings. He turned and said to me, ‘We’ll do it here.’ ” Not all of the Brookings board members supported the idea. One told me that Brookings donors care about Brookings, and Saban seemed to care only about finding a location for his center. Moreover, Brookings is a non-ideological public-policy institute, dedicated to nurturing American democracy. Saban is unabashedly pro-Israel and, according to people who work with him, harbors a wariness of Arabs that may stem from growing up as a Jew in Egypt; he first returned to an Arab country in 2004, when he went to Qatar with Bill Clinton and the Secret Service. But Saban’s gift was then the largest in Brookings’s history: thirteen million dollars, distributed over seven years. And so, in 2002, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy was established.

Such a sizable gift was not out of character. Saban and his wife, who heads the Saban Family Foundation, have made many substantial charitable contributions to institutions and causes here and in Israel. Cheryl has said, “I can’t give it away fast enough.” Their initiatives include, in Israel, the Saban Children’s Hospital at the Soroka University Medical Center, in Be’er Sheva, where, Saban says, sixty per cent of the patients are Bedouin Arabs, and, in Los Angeles, the Saban Research Institute at Childrens Hospital; the Saban Center for Health and Wellness, on the Wasserman campus of the Motion Picture & Television Fund; the newly opened Saban Theatre, on Wilshire Boulevard; and the Saban Free Clinic, formerly known as the L.A. Free Clinic. “Many people in the community were offended about the name change,” a member of the clinic’s board of directors told me, adding that the clinic desperately needed the Sabans’ gift—two million dollars a year, for five years. “It would have been much better if we could have put the Saban name on part of the building,” the member said, but the board was told, “No.” (Saban says that the disagreement was never brought to his attention.)

A couple of years after the Saban Center was founded, Indyk, knowing that Saban was eager for more visibility, proposed creating a U.S.-Israel dialogue—to be known as the Saban Forum—which would attract high-level government officials and be held in Jerusalem one year, Washington the next. This dovetailed with the decision Saban had just made, in the spring of 2004, to start investing in Israel. “The Saban Forum provided him a very high profile in the business community, and an avenue for intercourse with high-level Israeli politicians,” an Israeli who has worked on the event for several years told me. “It gives Haim such an aura of power.”

At the conference in Jerusalem last November, at the King David Hotel, blue flags with “Saban Forum,” in English and in Hebrew, were ubiquitous. A huge display of Saban Forum logos was placed behind the podium, where Bibi Netanyahu, Bill Clinton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (a surprise guest, to add the “pizzazz” that Saban loves) were to speak on opening night; in the days before the event, Saban had examined all angles for the TV cameras, to be sure the logos would be prominent from any direction. He had plotted the logistics of the opening ceremony, he said, “like a military operation.” But Clinton arrived late, and then got into an extended conversation with Netanyahu, who was seated beside him. When Saban interrupted them to say that the program had to start, a Clinton aide told him that it was improper to disrupt a conversation between two heads of state. Saban laughed as he recounted this. “I said, ‘Oh! But this is the Saban Forum. I have to make it happen. It is my name on the door.’ ”

In recent years, Saban has approached the acquisition of social and political power as strategically as he had his business career. The Clintons have been essential to this pursuit. “For nearly two decades, Haim has been a good friend, a loyal supporter, and a trusted adviser to Hillary and me,” Bill Clinton said recently. “He made his riches the old-fashioned way—he earned them—and he’s devoted his life to sharing it with others and advancing good causes in America and around the world.” He added, “He is a fascinating, generous, and profoundly good man, and I’m glad to count him among my closest friends.” Saban said that he begged Hillary to run for President in 2004, and that he began making lists of prospective donors even before she declared her candidacy, in 2007. “I was so committed to Hillary becoming President, with my whole neshamah,” Saban said. “I put my heart and soul into this campaign.”

Bill Clinton stayed at Saban’s home during the primaries, and they sometimes travelled together to Hillary’s campaign events. On occasion, Saban offered advice. At the behest of his friend Roger Ailes, Saban tried to persuade Hillary to announce that she would debate any of the Democratic-primary contenders on Fox News. “Why? Because Fox News delivers more eyeballs than CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC combined,” Saban, who watches Fox regularly, said. “What is this about banning them?” But, he continued, “Hillary said, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’ My own opinion is that she didn’t want to break the party line, because there was a consensus amongst everybody not to go on Fox News. I thought it was a mistake.”

According to Saban, in June, 2008, after the primary battles finally ended, Barack Obama called and asked for his help. “I said to him, Let me coordinate a meeting between you and some of the people who supported Hillary through me. We have a few things we need to clarify.”

For example, Saban continued, “Obama was asked the same question Hillary was asked—‘If Iran nukes Israel, what would be your reaction?’ Hillary said, ‘We will obliterate them.’ We . . . will . . . obliterate . . . them. Four words, it’s simple to understand. Obama said only three words. He would ‘take appropriate action.’ I don’t know what that means. A rogue state that is supporting killing our men and women in Iraq; that is a supporter of Hezbollah, which killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization; that is a supporter of Hamas, which shot twelve thousand rockets at Israel—that rogue state nukes a member of the United Nations, and we’re going to ‘take appropriate action’?! ” His voice grew louder. “I need to understand what that means. So I had a list of questions like that. And Chicago”—Obama campaign headquarters—“could not organize that meeting. ‘Schedule, heavy schedule.’ I was ready and willing to be helpful, but ‘helpful’ is not to write a check for two thousand three hundred dollars. It’s to raise millions, which I am fully capable of doing. But Chicago wasn’t able to deliver the meeting, so I couldn’t get on board.”

Saban offered to fly his group of Hillary supporters to meet with Obama anywhere in the country, but he was told that it couldn’t be arranged. “Haim understands the message—Obama didn’t have time for him,” a close adviser said. “After that, he met with McCain. It went that far. But, ultimately, he felt he could not abandon the Democratic Party, even though he did not like its candidate.”

He has not spoken with Obama since he became President, Saban said, “because he has no need to speak to me—or, at least, he thinks he has no need to.” He has refused on two occasions to co-chair fund-raising dinners for the President.

Saban called Hillary’s defeat “my biggest loss—and not only mine. I’ll leave it at that.”

In early March, shortly before Vice-President Joe Biden visited Israel, he invited a group of prominent Jews to the Vice-President’s residence. Most were leaders of Jewish organizations or close Biden supporters—and then there was Saban. It was his first invitation from the Obama White House.

In the meeting, Saban said that the Administration “may want to consider the fact that their relationship with their Israeli wife is more valuable than their newfound relationship with their Arab mistresses.” (Later, he said, “Everybody laughed! No one says things like that in such meetings.”) He exhorted Biden to reassure the Israeli people that the Administration considers the bond between the two countries unbreakable—and he advised that Biden do so at about eight in the evening, on Channel 2, in order to reach the maximum number of Israelis. And, airing a grievance he had been nursing ever since the President’s Cairo speech, last June, Saban insisted that Biden correct what he considered to be Obama’s cardinal error—the implication that Israel’s creation was justified by the Holocaust, rather than by millennia of Jewish history. Dan Shapiro, a member of the White House Middle East team who had worked on the Cairo speech, interjected that the speech did not say that, but Saban disagreed. After the meeting broke up, one participant recalled, Saban animatedly told Shapiro that Obama had made his career—becoming President and a Nobel Prize winner—by the power of his speeches, so he ought to be aware of the importance of language.

In public, Saban has been diplomatic about Obama. In one of the sessions at the Saban Forum last November, when Dan Gillerman, the former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, commented that President Obama, in effect, appeared weak and incompetent, Saban retorted that it was too early to make such judgments. Gillerman was initially surprised by the rebuke, since he knew that Saban agreed with him. Saban later said, laughing, “Danny stumbled! I had to straighten him! My name is on the door!” Still, he remains concerned that Obama is not fully committed to Israel. At the Forum, he repeated something that he had been saying, heatedly, for months—that Obama’s first call, after his Inauguration, was to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told Saban that was not the case. Later, when asked where he had got the misinformation, Saban said, “I thought I had read this somewhere. One thing is for sure—he called Abu Mazen before he called the Israelis.” (In fact, the White House says the order of calls was Hosni Mubarak, the President of Egypt; Ehud Olmert, who was then the Prime Minister of Israel; and Abbas.)

The crisis in U.S.-Israel relations that followed Biden’s trip, when Israel announced its construction plans in East Jerusalem, seems only to have hardened Saban’s view of Obama. “I don’t think Haim feels particularly positive about Bibi’s performance,” Saban’s close adviser said. “But he certainly isn’t happy about Obama’s.” “I’m hoping that the White House’s brilliance will surprise us all,” Saban told me. “But I believe in my heart of hearts that the chances of success are much bigger if they work with Israel rather than against it.” Saban pointed out that, in the late nineties, President Clinton had pushed Netanyahu very hard, but behind closed doors. “Bill Clinton somehow managed to be revered and adored by both the Palestinians and the Israelis,” he said. “Obama has managed to be looked at suspiciously by both. It’s not too late to fix that.”

He pointed to news reports that the Obama Administration is considering presenting a peace plan. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that both Netanyahu and Abbas were to sign it, he continued, Netanyahu might still have to bring it to a referendum for approval. “Any deal that is pushed by the U.S. with Obama at a nine-per-cent approval rating in Israel, at the moment, will not go through,” he said. Last August, when Saban was in Washington, he met with both Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, and he argued that Obama should travel to Israel to speak to the Israeli people. That has been his continuing message. “I told friends of mine in the White House, ‘He goes to Saudi Arabia, he goes to Cairo, he doesn’t even make a stop in Jerusalem?’ If he thinks that having a Seder at the White House is going to mitigate that—no, it’s not.”

Hillary Clinton, in her role as Secretary of State, has taken a stern line “condemning” the construction plans, and upbraiding Netanyahu. But Saban—who likes to describe Hillary as a “team player”—remains protective of her. Before Hillary addressed the AIPAC conference on March 22nd, he urged the organization’s leaders to be sure that the convention crowd treated Hillary well. Dan Gillerman, who came from Israel to attend the AIPAC meeting, said that, at a Washington dinner for Netanyahu, following Hillary Clinton’s speech, “there were many people, including some prominent Jewish leaders, who were very surprised and even disappointed at the warm reception Hillary received, because they felt that after the way she treated the Prime Minister, and the way she admonished him for forty-three minutes on the phone, she should have felt the coldness in the room.”

Gillerman added, “No sooner had she said her last syllable than I got an e-mail from Haim, saying, ‘How was Hillary’s speech?’ ” Saban had listened to it in Los Angeles, and “it was very important to him what we felt about her.”

Many Israelis seem amazed at Saban’s many successes, most recently with Bezeq, the Israeli telecommunications company, which Saban and his partners won in a bidding process when the company was privatized, four and a half years ago, and reached an agreement to sell last fall. The sale, which closed in mid-April, was one of the most profitable transactions in recent Israeli history. “Bezeq was unbelievable,” Yehuda Talit said. “I don’t want to mention a specific situation. But let me just say that from time to time Haim wants to do something—and, say, seven on the board want to say no, and one wants to say yes. On the day they will sign the contract, eight will say yes. Haim knows how to reach each one and influence them his way.”

But, mostly, Israelis marvel at his perceived political power in the U.S. When Israeli government officials visit Los Angeles, they nearly always call on Saban. In February, Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., was in town, and Saban invited him over for dinner; Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, and Schwarzenegger came, too. Kobi Oshrat, who was Israel’s cultural attaché in Los Angeles from 2000 to 2004, was a frequent guest at Saban’s Shabbat dinners. “I met so many senators and congresspeople at Haim’s home,” Oshrat said. When Gray Davis, who was the governor of California at the time, said that he might be late for a planned appearance at Israel’s annual Independence Day celebration in Los Angeles, to sign an agreement creating a cultural exchange between Israel and the state of California, Oshrat called Saban. The next day, Saban told Oshrat, “The Governor is going to be there, and he will be there before the guests.” (Davis arrived on time, as promised.) According to an Israeli official, Saban also helped persuade Governor Schwarzenegger to produce a letter in support of Israel during its Gaza war last year.

During the Forum, Noam Shalit, the father of the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Hamas since June, 2006, requested an audience with Saban. He said he had heard that the Obama Administration might view a deal with Hamas to release Gilad as something that would weaken Mahmoud Abbas; he wanted Saban to speak to Hillary Clinton, and persuade her otherwise.

Several days before the opening of the Forum, Saban appeared on the Israeli “Meet the Press,” on Channel 2, which is owned by Keshet. Until a year earlier, Saban had been one of the owners of Keshet. The interviewer, Dana Weiss, warmly told Saban, “You really are our rich uncle in America, and we can rely on you.” Still, she noted that he had wanted to become the largest donor to the Democratic Party, and pointed out that, in Israel, “businesspeople’s desire for access to the political system immediately raises our suspicions.” Surely, she said, there must be potential for abuse when capital and government are linked. “Didn’t you ever see a politician that you had to stop?” Weiss asked. “Who was in your pocket?”

“Let me give you an example of this access, and why it’s completely O.K.,” Saban responded. “I hosted the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, in my home. I was informed that he refused to sign a letter to Obama, which was signed by most of the senators, supporting Israel, before the speech in Cairo. . . . I got the message on Saturday and he was at my house on Sunday. I asked him, ‘Why didn’t you sign?’

“So he said, ‘Because I don’t sign other people’s initiatives,’ as the leader, as head of the Democratic Party.

“I said, ‘So send a letter of your own.’ ” And, Saban added, smiling, and with hesitation, as though he did not like to boast, “He did.”

He continued, “I won’t say that nobody abuses it. But I’ve been active in American politics for over fifteen years, and I’ve never abused it. No one ever wrote that I abused it. Everything is fine. We can look for something,” he added, laughing. “But we won’t find a thing.”

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With the recent controversy surrounding Oliver Stone’s candor concerning Jewish media domination, Russians as suffering far greater losses in WWII than European Jewry, Adolf Hitler as an easy historical scapegoat lacking proper context, and the deleterious Zionist grip on America’s foreign policy, I was able to witness, point by point, the intricate workings of a Hollywood character-assassination ala the wrecking crew.

Following Stone’s recantation, I couldn’t help but notice that the wrecking crew was apparently not yet finished with him. What I did not expect, however, was Hugo Chavez to get dragged (quite literally) into the picture — another easy historical scapegoat lacking proper context. Photos of Stone and Chavez were now rather conveniently surfacing everywhere.


According to hawkish imperialists in D.C. and Tel Aviv, Hugo Chavez is “a brutal dictator,” which, according to the logic of the wrecking crew, only proves that Stone supports brutal dictatorships. But wait…


If Stone supports Chavez, and Chavez supports Ahmadinejad, and Ahmadinejad supports “wiping Israel off the map,” then my God, Haim Saban was right and good to demand the crucifixion of Mel Gibson — I mean, Oliver Stone — right?

This is how the wrecking crew works, and on account of widespread ignorance and indifference on both historical issues and current events of crucial importance, they typically surpass their objectives. I mean, why squander valuable time and energy in the character assassination of one opponent when you can line them up and take out two or three? And why stop there if you can accomplish more?
. . .

Admitting how little I knew of Hugo Chavez and politics in Venezuela, I sought, sifted, and extracted information which clarified precisely why he is an ongoing target of hawkish imperialists in D.C. and Tel Aviv. In short — and whether I agree with many of his positions or not is beside the point — Chavez fights for the right to self-determination. I support that right, and it isn’t necessary, in any case, that we agree on much else in this context. As he said himself, “We were trying to do the impossible. To have a revolution without crashing against the empire — it’s impossible.” I can appreciate that statement.

And while the documentary below has its faults and tends to run rather distastefully hard-left throughout, John Pilger’s “The War on Democracy” brings up some interesting points which accomplish more than he probably intended. Informed readers/viewers, for example, will have a more firm grasp of whom Mr. Pilger speaks when he refers to the well-funded organized coups, the puppet regimes, the destabilization of infrastructure, the theft of natural resources, the orchestrated paranoia, the art of “spin,” and the terror campaigns which masquerade behind “freedom and democracy” around the world this very instant. Informed readers/viewers will know that it is certainly not “the Fascists” who’ve profited from all of this madness, but rather their enduring enemies. The true patriots and nationalists of all lands naturally sympathize with more honest and honorable men than those traitorous cliques who claim to represent our national interests.

Once again, I trust my subscribers and regular readers have become, or have perhaps always been, adept in the art of separating gold from dross. Beyond appearances and titles, there is always something here to enrich and empower you. Discerning minds will reap what is essential and discard the rest. -W.

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I trust my subscribers and regular readers have become, or have perhaps always been, adept in the art of separating gold from dross. Beyond appearances and titles, there is always something here to enrich and empower you. Discerning minds will reap what is essential and discard the rest. -W.

P.S. I’ve never shied away from asking controversial questions, I’ve never rejected unpopular answers, and I do not believe it even possible to “lose one’s humanity” in pursuit and defense of the light of the truth.

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“As with the other Jewish intellectual and political movements, non-Jews have been welcomed into the movement and often given highly visible roles as the public face of the movement. This of course lessens the perception that the movement is indeed a Jewish movement, and it makes excellent psychological sense to have the spokespersons for any movement resemble the people they are trying to convince.” -Professor Kevin MacDonald

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They call[ed] it “Project for the New American Century” for a reason… -W.

Thinking About Neoconservatism
September 18, 2003
By Kevin MacDonald
Source: Vdare.com

Over the last year, there’s been a torrent of articles on neoconservatism raising (usually implicitly) some vexing issues: Are neoconservatives different from other conservatives? Is neoconservatism a Jewish movement? Is it “anti-Semitic” to say so?

The dispute between the neocons and more traditional conservatives — “paleoconservatives” — is especially important because the latter now find themselves on the outside, looking in on the conservative power structure.

Hopefully, some of the venom has been taken out of this argument by the remarkable recent article by neoconservative “godfather” Irving Kristol (“The Neoconservative Persuasion,” Weekly Standard, August 25, 2003). With commendable frankness, Kristol admitted that

“the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.”

And, equally frankly, Kristol eschewed any attempt to justify U.S. support for Israel in terms of American national interest:

“[L]arge nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns… That is why we feel it necessary to defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary.”

If the US is an “ideological” nation, this can only mean that the motivations of neoconservative ideology are a legitimate subject of intellectual inquiry.

For example, it is certainly true that the neocons’ foreign policy fits well with a plausible version of Jewish interests, but is arguably only tenuously related to the interests of the U.S. Also, neocons oppose the isolationism of important sections of traditional American conservatism. And neocon attitudes on issues like race and immigration differ profoundly from those of traditional mainstream conservatives — but resemble closely the common attitudes of the wider American Jewish community.

Count me among those who accept that the Jewish commitment of leading neoconservatives has become a critical influence on U.S. policies, and that the effectiveness of the neoconservatives is greatly enhanced by their alliance with the organized Jewish community. In my opinion, this conclusion is based on solid data and reasonable inferences. But like any other theory, of course, it is subject to reasoned discussion and disproof.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the importance of ethnicity in human affairs. Nor should we be intimidated by charges of anti-Semitism. We should be able to discuss these issues openly and honestly. This is a practical matter, not a moral one.

Ethnic politics in the U.S. are certainly not limited to Jewish activism. They are an absolutely normal phenomenon throughout history and around the world.

But for well over half a century, with rare exceptions, Jewish influence has been off-limits for rational discussion. Now, however, as the U.S. acquires an empire in the Middle East, this ban must inevitably fall away.

My views on these issues are shaped by my research on several other influential Jewish-dominated intellectual and political movements, including the Boasian school of anthropology, Freudian psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School of Social Research, Marxism and several other movements of the radical left, as well as the movement to change the ethnic balance of the United States by allowing mass, non-traditional immigration.

My conclusion: Contemporary neoconservatism fits into the general pattern of Jewish intellectual and political activism I have identified in my work.

I am not, of course, saying that all Jews, or even most Jews, supported these movements. Nor did these movements work in concert: some were intensely hostile to one another. I am saying, however, that the key figures in these movements identified in some sense as Jews and viewed their participation as in some sense advancing Jewish interests.

In all of the Jewish intellectual and political movements I studied, there is a strong Jewish identity among the core figures. All center on charismatic Jewish leaders—people such as Boas, Trotsky and Freud— who are revered as messianic, god-like figures.

Neoconservatism’s key founders trace their intellectual ancestry to the “New York Intellectuals,” a group that originated as followers of Trotskyite theoretician Max Schactman in the 1930s and centered around influential journals like Partisan Review and Commentary (which is in fact published by the American Jewish Committee). In the case of neoconservatives, their early identity as radical leftist disciples shifted as there began to be evidence of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. Key figures in leading them out of the political left were philosopher Sidney Hook and Elliot Cohen, editor of Commentary. Such men as Hook, Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Nathan Glazer and Seymour Martin Lipset, were deeply concerned about anti-Semitism and other Jewish issues. Many of them worked closely with Jewish activist organizations. After the 1950s, they became increasingly disenchanted with leftism. Their overriding concern was the welfare of Israel.

By the 1970s, the neocons were taking an aggressive stance against the Soviet Union, which they saw as a bastion of anti-Semitism and opposition to Israel. Richard Perle was the prime organizer of Congressional support for the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment which angered the Soviet Union by linking bilateral trade issues to freedom of emigration, primarily of Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel and the United States.

Current key leaders include an astonishing number of individuals well placed to influence the Bush Administration: (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, I. Lewis Libby, Elliott Abrams, David Wurmser, Abram Shulsky), interlocking media and thinktankdom (Bill Kristol, Michael Ledeen, Stephen Bryen, John Podhoretz, Daniel Pipes), and the academic world (Richard Pipes, Donald Kagan).

As the neoconservatives lost faith in radical leftism, several key neocons became attracted to the writings of Leo Strauss, a classicist and political philosopher at the University of Chicago. Strauss had a very strong Jewish identity and viewed his philosophy as a means of ensuring Jewish survival in the Diaspora. As he put it in a 1962 Hillel House lecture, later republished in Leo Strauss: Political Philosopher and Jewish Thinker:

“I believe I can say, without any exaggeration, that since a very, very early time the main theme of my reflections has been what is called the ‘Jewish ‘Question’.”

Strauss has become a cult figure—the quintessential rabbinical guru with devoted disciples.

While Strauss and his followers have come to be known as neoconservatives — and have even claimed to be simply “conservatives”— there is nothing conservative about their goals. This is most obviously the case in foreign policy, where they are attempting to rearrange the entire Middle East in the interests of Israel. But it is also the case with domestic policy, where acceptance of rule by an aristocratic elite would require a complete political transformation. Strauss believed that this aristocracy would be compatible with Jewish interests.

Strauss notoriously described the need for an external exoteric language directed at outsiders, and an internal esoteric language directed at ingroup members. In other words, the masses had to be deceived.

But actually this is a general feature of the movements I have studied. They invariably frame issues in language that appeals to non-Jews, rather than explicitly in terms of Jewish interests. The most common rhetoric used by Jewish intellectual and political movements has been the language of moral universalism and the language of science—languages that appeal to the educated elites of the modern Western world. But beneath the rhetoric it is easy to find statements expressing the Jewish agendas of the principal actors.

For example, anthropologists under the leadership of Boas viewed their crusade against the concept of “race” as, in turn, combating anti-Semitism. They also saw their theories as promoting the ideology of cultural pluralism, which served perceived Jewish interests because the U.S. would be seen as consisting of many co-equal cultures rather than as a European Christian society.

Similarly, psychoanalysts commonly used their theories to portray anti-Jewish attitudes as symptoms of psychiatric disorder.

Conversely, the earlier generation of American Jewish Trotskyites ignored the horrors of the Soviet Union until the emergence there of state-sponsored anti-Semitism.

Neoconservatives have certainly appealed to American patriotic platitudes in advocating war throughout the Middle East—gushing about spreading American democracy and freedom to the area, while leaving unmentioned their own strong ethnic ties and family links to Israel.

Michael Lind has called attention to the neoconservatives’ “odd bursts of ideological enthusiasm for ‘democracy’”— odd because these calls for democracy and freedom throughout the Middle East are also coupled with support for the Likud Party and other like-minded groups in Israel that are driven by a vision of an ethnocentric, expansionist Israel that, to outside observers at least, bears an unmistakable (albeit unmentionable) resemblance to apartheid South Africa.

These inconsistencies of the neoconservatives are not odd or surprising. The Straussian idea is to achieve the aims of the elite ingroup by using language designed for mass appeal. War for “democracy and freedom” sells much better than a war explicitly aimed at achieving the foreign policy goals of Israel.

Neoconservatives have responded to charges that their foreign policy has a Jewish agenda by labeling any such analysis as “anti-Semitic.” Similar charges have been echoed by powerful activist Jewish organizations like the ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

But at the very least, Jewish neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz, who were deeply involved in pushing for the war in Iraq, should frankly discuss how their close family and personal ties to Israel have affected their attitudes on US foreign policy in the Middle East.

Wolfowitz, however, has refused to discuss this issue beyond terming such suggestions “disgraceful.”

A common argument is that neoconservatism is not Jewish because of the presence of various non-Jews amongst their ranks.

But in fact, the ability to recruit prominent non-Jews, while nevertheless maintaining a Jewish core and a commitment to Jewish interests, has been a hallmark—perhaps the key hallmark—of influential Jewish intellectual and political movements throughout the 20th century. Freud commented famously on the need for a non-Jew to represent psychoanalysis, a role played by Ernest Jones and C. G. Jung. Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict were the public face of Boasian anthropology. And, although Jews represented over half the membership of both the Socialist Party and the Communist Party USA at various times, neither party ever had Jews as presidential candidates and no Jew held the top position in the Communist Party USA after 1929.

In all the Jewish intellectual and political movements I reviewed, non-Jews have been accepted and given highly-visible roles. Today, those roles are played most prominently by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld whose ties with neoconservatives go back many years. It makes excellent psychological sense to have the spokespeople for any movement resemble the people they are trying to convince.

In fact, neoconservatism is rather unusual in the degree to which policy formulation — as opposed to implementation — is so predominantly Jewish. Perhaps this reflects U.S. conditions in the late 20th century.

All the Jewish intellectual and political movements I studied were typified by a deep sense of orthodoxy—a sense of “us versus them.” Dissenters are expelled, usually amid character assassination and other recriminations.

This has certainly been a feature of the neocon movement. The classic recent example of this “We vs. They” world is David Frum’s attack on “unpatriotic conservatives” as anti-Semites. Any conservative who opposes the Iraq war as contrary to U.S. interests and who notes the pro-Israeli motivation of many of the important players, is not to be argued with, but eradicated. “We turn our backs on them.” This is not the spirit out of which the Anglo-American parliamentary tradition was developed, and in fact was not endorsed by other non-Jewish pro-war conservatives.

Jewish intellectual and political movements have typically had ready access to prestigious mainstream media channels, and this is certainly true for the neocons. The anchoring by the Washington Post of the columns of Charles Krauthammer and Robert Kagan and by the New York Times of William Safire’s illustrates this. But probably more important recently has been the invariable summoning of neoconservatives to represent the “conservative” line on the TV Networks. Is it unreasonable to suppose that this may be somewhat influenced by the famously heavy Jewish role in these operations?

Immigration policy provides a valuable acid test for the proposition that neoconservatism is actually a vehicle for perceived Jewish ethnic interests. I believe I have been able to demonstrate that pro-immigration elements in American public life have, for over a century, been largely led, funded, energized and organized by the Jewish community. American Jews have taken this line, with a few isolated exceptions, because they have believed, as Leonard S. Glickman, president and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, has bluntly stated, “The more diverse American society is the safer [Jews] are.” Having run out of Russian Jews, the HIAS is now deeply involved in recruiting refugees from Africa.

When, in the middle 1990s an immigration reform movement arose amongst American conservatives, the reaction of the neoconservatives ranged from cold to hostile. No positive voice was permitted on the Op-Ed page of the Wall Street Journal, by then a neoconservative domain. (Perhaps significantly, a more recent exception has been a relatively favorable review of the anti-illegal immigration book Mexifornia— whose author, the military historian Victor Davis Hanson, has distinguished himself by the extreme hawkishness of his views on the Middle East.) The main vehicle of immigration reform sentiment, National Review, once a bastion of traditional conservative thought, was quite quickly captured by neoconservatives and its opposition to immigration reduced to nominal.

Prior to the post-9/11 U.S. invasion of the Middle East, this suppression of the immigration reform impulse among conservatives was probably the single most important contribution of the neoconservatives to the course of U.S. history.

It may yet prove to be the most disastrous.

Kevin MacDonald [email him] is Professor of Psychology at California State University-Long Beach.
The Neocons as a Hostile Conservative (!) Elite
January 24, 2008
Source: KevinMacDonald.net

I haven’t read Jacob Heilbrunn’s book on the neocons yet, but I’m not sure I need to after seeing Philip Weiss’s review. Weiss’s review makes it clear that Heilbrunn’s book corroborates several of the themes in my writing on the neocons and on Jewish intellectual and political movements generally.

First, neoconservatism is a Jewish movement. That should have been clear to everyone by now, but references to the Jewish basis of the movement have been noticeably missing from much of the mainstream media, to the point that Bill Kristol was introduced as a columnist at the New York Times as simply a “conservative.” This is critical because the neocons have now become the conservative establishment. When Kristol (or Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity) hold forth at Fox News, most people have no idea that they are tuning into the public face of a fundamentally Jewish movement that elbowed out more traditional conservatives.

Secondly, Jewish neocons not only have a strong Jewish identity, they also have strong Jewish interests. This is obvious from their involvement in pro-Israel activism, their personal relationships with Israeli leaders, and close ties with other Jews and with the wider Jewish community. In fact, I have argued that the neocons are more strongly identified as Jews than the mainstream liberal/left Jews — that the neocons form the vanguard of the Jewish community. After all, neocons were the first segment of the Jewish community to strongly condemn the USSR, both for its [postwar] domestic anti-Semitism and for its alliances with Arab governments. Prominent neocons like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz began their political careers by making alliances with Cold War hawks like Henry Jackson. This was at a time when the Jewish left was prominently involved in defending the USSR, apparently blind to the fact that the status of Jews as an elite in the USSR had changed greatly following World War II.

And the neocons are notorious for their strong ties to the most extreme racialist and nationalist segments of Israeli society — elements that the mainstream liberal/left Jewish community probably wishes would disappear or at least be less visible. (Hence the uproar over Christiane Amanpour’s God’s Jewish Warriors.) Indeed, the Jewish liberal/left has a huge blind spot, continuing to pursue its leftist multicultural agenda in the U.S. while ignoring the fact that the organized Jewish community is deeply complicit in dispossessing the Palestinians and erecting a racialist, apartheid state in Israel. As Weiss has noted elsewhere, “Steve Rabinowitz, Clinton friend, told me this year that if anyone did a study of how much [Democrat] money comes from Jews, it would fuel conspiracy theories.” The Jewish liberal/left lavishly supports Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but makes no attempt to wrest control of the pro-Israel lobby from the hands of what James Petras terms the “reactionary minority of American Jews” who head the major American Jewish organizations.

But more interestingly, Heilbrunn points to the “lifelong antipathy toward the patrician class among the neocons … [that] prompted them to create their own parallel establishment.” In this regard, the neocons are entirely within the American Jewish mainstream. As I noted in a previous blog (also commenting on Philip Weiss), “Jews have become an elite, but an elite that does not identify with its subjects — a hostile, estranged but very wealthy elite that still sees themselves as outsiders.” And along with the American Jewish mainstream, the neocons have been vital players in the establishment of a variety of policies opposed to the interests and attitudes of the American majority, most egregiously unrestricted immigration which has successfully altered the ethnic composition of the country. Indeed, neoconservative Ben Wattenberg famously wrote that “The non-Europeanization of America is heartening news of an almost transcendental quality.”

This hostility toward the traditional peoples and culture of America among people calling themselves conservatives is striking — the antithesis of normal and natural conservative tendencies. As Sam Francis noted, what the neocons dislike about traditional conservatives is simply that they “are conservative at all”:

There are countless stories of how neoconservatives have succeeded in entering conservative institutions, forcing out or demoting traditional conservatives, and changing the positions and philosophy of such institutions in neoconservative directions. Writers like M. E. Bradford, Joseph Sobran, Pat Buchanan, and Russell Kirk, and institutions like Chronicles, the Rockford Institute, the Philadelphia Society, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute have been among the most respected and distinguished names in American conservatism. The dedication of their neoconservative enemies to driving them out of the movement they have taken over and demonizing them as marginal and dangerous figures has no legitimate basis in reality. It is clear evidence of the ulterior aspirations of those behind neoconservatism to dominate and subvert American conservatism from its original purposes and agenda and turn it to other purposes…. What neoconservatives really dislike about their “allies” among traditional conservatives is simply the fact that the conservatives are conservatives at all—that they support “this notion of a Christian civilization,” as Midge Decter put it, that they oppose mass immigration, … that they entertain doubts or strong disagreement over American foreign policy in the Middle East, that they oppose reckless involvement in foreign wars and foreign entanglements, and that, in company with the Founding Fathers of the United States, they reject the concept of a pure democracy and the belief that the United States is or should evolve toward it.

Francis, S. (2004). The neoconservative subversion. In B. Nelson (ed.), “Neoconservatism.” Occasional Papers of the Conservative Citizens’ Foundation, Issue Number Six, 6–12. St. Louis: Conservative Citizens’ Foundation, p. 9.

That the New York Times can call Kristol a conservative without shame or irony is a striking commentary on the death of American conservatism.

There are several other themes highlighted in Weiss’s review that are worth mentioning because they are typical of other Jewish intellectual and political movements. Heilbrunn describes neocon “cabals” in the State Department and in academic departments at elite universities. This is a reference to Jewish ethnic networking. In general, all of the important Jewish intellectual and political movements — from psychoanalysis and Boasian anthropology to neoconservatism — have a mutually reinforcing core of Jews centered around charismatic leaders. In the case of the neocons, individuals such as Leo Strauss, Richard Perle, and Norman Podhoretz have played this role. Neoconservative cabals have been largely successful in controlling or at least heavily influencing elite institutions in academia, the government, think tanks, and the media.

And finally, the neocons are prime examples of another important theme of Jewish intellectual life — self-deception. Weiss writes:

The reader is left with the shadowy sense that the neocons have a pro-Israel agenda that they are not upfront about. But it isn’t a conspiracy, Heilbrunn warns. The neocons have convinced themselves that the U.S. and Israel have congruent interests. “They just believe this stuff. They’re not agents,” an anonymous source tells him, speaking of Cheney aide David Wurmser, who is married to an Israeli.

The neocons may believe it, but the rest of us need not be so foolish. For example, Douglas Feith is depicted by Heilbrunn as having published a letter defending the capture of the West Bank while still a teenager. Feith has also been credibly charged with spying for Israel, and was deeply involved in the disinformation used by the U.S. government to justify the invasion of Iraq. He has close ties to the settler movement, and was a participant in the notorious “A Clean Break” paper that advised the Israeli government that removing Saddam Hussein should be an Israeli strategic goal. The authors of this report speak as Jews and Israelis, not as U.S. citizens: “Our claim to the land—to which we have clung with hope for 2000 years—is legitimate and noble.”

European Americans may have a difficult time processing all of this. Their individualism and their own fragile and beleaguered sense of ethnicity make them less likely to attribute ethnic motives to others. And there is an imposing edifice of taboos surrounding even the mention of Jewish influence, much less anything that hints that Israel is the first loyalty of Jewish neocons — an edifice aggressively maintained by the organized Jewish community. But the rather unpleasant facts are staring European Americans in the face, even if the New York Times insists on calling them conservatives.
Neoconservative Resurgence in the Age of Obama
August 27th, 2009
Source: HichemKaroui.com

The election of Barack Obama appeared to signal the decline of the neoconservative foreign policy brand. But six months into the Age of Obama, it’s apparent that neoconservatives and their allies are proving remarkably adept at exerting their influence in an administration that was supposed to be their worst nightmare.

The disastrous aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, neoconservatism’s signature initiative, was widely seen as the key factor contributing to the collapse of the Bush presidency and the political descent of the Republican Party. Obama not only soundly defeated neoconservative favorite John McCain, he swept into office with a set of foreign policy prescriptions more antithetical to neoconservative ideology than any presidential candidate in decades. Elected on a platform of ending the Iraq war and initiating engagement with Iran, Obama soon demonstrated his willingness to take a tougher line with Israel than any president since George H.W. Bush.

But those tempted to consign neoconservatives to irrelevance would do well to remember the last time Republicans found themselves shut out of the White House. It was in 1997—soon after Bill Clinton pummeled Bob Dole to win a second term in office—that William Kristol and Robert Kagan founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the now-infamous group that laid much of the intellectual groundwork for the Bush administration’s foreign policy.

Even from the depths of political exile, right-wing hawks—and the think tanks that foster their work—have proven themselves capable of resurrection and reinvention. Within a few months of Obama’s inauguration, the neoconservatives have shown clear signs of resurgence. From forming new organizations, to flirting with liberal and centrist think tanks, to using their continued foothold in newspaper op-ed pages and cable talk shows to influence —and narrow —the foreign policy debate, right-wing hawks have demonstrated an undeniable resilience in shaping the political agenda.

The leading right-wing think tanks have choreographed a not-so-subtle dance—throwing support behind the president when he takes positions compatible with neoconservative dogma, and excoriating him when he doesn’t. For a supposedly discredited movement, this “carrots-and-sticks” approach has proven surprisingly effective.

The hawks’ influence has been especially evident in solidifying support for military escalation in Afghanistan, in fighting plans for diplomatic engagement with Iran, and in heading off any urge to revisit Bush-era abuses during the “global war on terror.”

One key aspect of the neoconservatives’ continued political influence is the power of their ideological cousins, the liberal hawks, who have given neoconservative-flavored ideas a seat at the table in every Democratic administration. The Obama administration is no exception, featuring several key figures with strongly hawkish reputations. Dennis Ross, the special advisor on Iran policy who was first based at the State Department before moving to the National Security Council (NSC), attracted the most media attention in this regard. But he is far from alone. Richard Holbrooke, the administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was a cofounder with Ross of the hawkish group United Against Nuclear Iran. And both Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earned reputations as archetypal liberal hawks during their time in the Senate.

In addition, an army of former staffers from hawkish liberal think tanks —most prominently the recently-formed Center for a New American Security —have joined Obama’s State Department and Pentagon. On the whole, Obama’s foreign policy appointments earned more praise from the right than from the left, with neoconservative Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) calling them “virtually perfect.”

But building right-wing institutions has been just as important to the hawks as cultivating liberal allies. When they are shut out of power, neoconservatives migrate to the network of like-minded think tanks that sustain the movement in lean years. The most important of these—at least as a propagator of neoconservative foreign policy doctrine—has been the American Enterprise Institute, but there are plenty of others: the Heritage Foundation, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Hudson Institute, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and more.

Change at AEI

Of the think tanks that have incubated right-wing foreign policy doctrine in the last 20 years, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is preeminent. A few months before Obama was elected, AEI welcomed a new president of its own who was anything but a hawkish firebrand: Arthur Brooks, by most accounts a mild-mannered social scientist best known for his work on charitable giving and for writing a book called “Gross National Happiness: Why Happiness Matters for America—And How We Can Get More of It.”

In short order, AEI’s foreign policy division, under the oversight of Danielle Pletka, carried out a purge of several neoconservative stalwarts—notably Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, and Reuel Marc Gerecht. [1] Ledeen was notorious not only for his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, but also for allegedly propagating disinformation about Saddam Hussein having bought yellowcake uranium in Niger. (Ledeen is also known for delivering a steady stream of dire warnings about the purported Iranian menace in books like The Iranian Time Bomb.) Muravchik, a strident defender of the Bush’s neocon-inspired “democracy promotion” agenda, had called for bombing Iran in 2006, [2] while Gerecht was a former PNAC staffer known as a prominent advocate of regime change in Tehran. Ledeen and Gerecht soon landed at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a newer think tank with less funding and mainstream visibility than AEI.

On the surface, the purge appeared to distance AEI from hardline neoconservative doctrine, and particularly from those pushing for confrontation with Tehran. But in this case, appearances are deceiving. Pletka herself is anything but a foreign policy moderate, and even with the loss of Ledeen, Muravchik, and Gerecht, AEI remains a bastion of neoconservatism. In fact, on Iran —particularly as seen during the tumultuous aftermath of Iran’s disputed June 12 election—AEI has proven to be a stronghold for hawkish hardliners, notably Pletka herself, plus Michael Rubin, Frederick Kagan, and Ali Alfoheh. Far from being a broad renunciation of neoconservatism, Pletka’s purge now looks like an attempt to restore credibility to neoconservatism by distancing AEI from some of its most extreme elements. On a fundamental level, little at AEI appears to have changed.

PNAC Reinvents Itself

Less than a month after Obama took office, the usual neoconservative suspects unveiled a new organization that some commentators instantly dubbed “PNAC 2.0” (and that one liberal blogger cleverly named “The Project for the Rehabilitation of Neoconservatism.”) This was the more blandly named Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), founded by PNAC principals Kristol and Kagan along with Dan Senor, best known for his stint as the spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in the early days of the Iraq war. [3]

While FPI’s mission statement offered rhetoric reminiscent of PNAC—arguing that “the United States remains the world’s indispensable nation” and warning against “policies that would lead us down the path to isolationism”—in its early months FPI seemed content to maintain a lower profile and more anodyne stance than its predecessor. Aside from sending out a daily news roundup, since its birth the organization’s public activities have been limited to hosting a March 31 conference at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel entitled “Afghanistan: Planning for Success,” and publishing a July open-letter to President Obama promoting human rights in Russia which, a la PNAC, includes signatures from several key neocons as well as several reputable human rights activists. [4] (In late September, FPI will host a two-day event on “Advancing and Defending Democracy.” )

FPI’s March conference on Afghanistan offered unabashed support for Obama, to a degree that surprised many observers. The new president had just announced what many expected to be the first of several escalations of the Afghanistan effort, revealing plans to send 21,000 new troops to the theater.

A bipartisan cast of commentators—including headliner John McCain, Robert Kagan and his brother Frederick, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), and Center for a New American Security (CNAS) president John Nagl—offered support for Obama’s escalation. However, many also used the moment to try to lock the president into further troop increases, arguing, as Nagl did, that the 21,000 represented “merely a down payment on the vastly expanded force needed to protect all 30 million Afghani people.” [5]

This praise for the Democratic president was consistent with Kristol and Kagan’s past modus operandi. Christian Brose, a former speechwriter in the Bush administration State Department, explained what he saw as the logic behind Kristol and Kagan’s ventures: “PNAC was set up not to tar and feather Democrats for being weak-kneed appeasers of evil, but to encourage Clinton’s more internationalist tendencies, and to give him political cover from the right to do so against his more nationalist, conservative critics. Judging by the conference today, my sense is that FPI has been founded with much the same purpose vis-à-vis Obama.” [6] FPI founder Senor admitted as much, saying that “our objective right now is to give President Obama cover in the eyes of those who would otherwise be skeptical on the right.”

While more strident groups like FDD were quick to denounce Obama’s every move as feckless and cowardly, FPI took a savvier tack. When Obama took interventionist (what Brose called “internationalist”) positions, FPI would sing his praises, thereby building goodwill while further marginalizing anti-interventionists in both parties. As Obama would soon discover, it was only when he resisted the logic of intervention and escalation that the knives came out.

“There used to be a bipartisan consensus in this country on foreign policy, in particular when we have our sons and daughters at war,” CNAS’s Nagl said at the conference. “And I am hopeful that events like this will contribute to that.” [7] The importance of bipartisan support for escalation in Afghanistan could not be overstated in shaping the course of the debate in Washington. (The FPI conference came only two months after Sen. Joseph Lieberman gave a widely-publicized speech at the Brookings Institution, Washington’s premier liberal establishment organ, calling for six distinct “surges” in Afghanistan.) [8] It was for this reason that Nagl’s appearance at the FPI conference was so notable—for if Kristol and Kagan’s PNAC was the leading intellectual force behind the Bush administration’s foreign policy, so far it is CNAS that has played that role for the Obama administration.

Center for a New American Security

CNAS was founded in 2007 by Kurt Campbell (soon to become Obama’s top State Department hand in Asia) and Michele Flournoy (soon to become Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the Pentagon’s third-ranking position, and widely rumored to be a potential successor to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates). When its founders headed an influx of roughly a dozen CNAS fellows into the Obama administration, [9] the organization turned to Nagl, a mediagenic retired Army colonel, Rhodes scholar, and author of an acclaimed book on counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare.

Choosing Nagl made sense, since CNAS made its name largely because of its expertise in COIN and other forms of irregular operations.

Unlike traditional military think tanks, which tended to focus primarily on conventional warfare against other militaries, CNAS was formed in the midst of the messy wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its debut came in 2007, just as General David Petraeus was preparing to implement the “surge” plan in Iraq (which AEI’s Kagan had vigorously pushed); the perceived success of the surge soon made Petraeus a revered figure among hawks and brought COIN to the forefront of American military strategy.

CNAS’s fellows include a number of prominent figures from the COIN world, such as David Kilcullen, an Australian-born COIN strategist and former Petraeus advisor; Andrew Exum, who runs the influential blog Abu Muqawama; and Thomas Ricks, author of the admiring surge account The Gamble.

It would be inaccurate to portray CNAS as indiscriminately hawkish; its fellows include some notable Iraq war skeptics such as Ricks. But the organization’s general self-presentation, like COIN itself, comes across as more technocratic than political and concerned with tactics rather than strategy. Counterinsurgency doctrine’s emphasis on political solutions and so-called civilian protection over brute firepower has made it attractive to CNAS and other center-liberal groups eager to balance humanitarian concerns with a desire to avoid seeming “soft” on foreign policy. CNAS did not come to prominence with sweeping statements about the justice or wisdom of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; rather, its output tended to be pragmatic advice on how to more effectively manage these wars.

Exum described his own approach as “focused on counterinsurgency operations and tactics without getting involved too much in either policy or strategy,” a characterization that could describe CNAS itself. Exum conceded that this sort of narrow tactical focus has been criticized as “at best irresponsible and at worst immoral,” and in response recently launched a discussion on his blog of whether the Afghan war is worth fighting at all. [10]

But CNAS’s impressive roster of alums in the Obama administration is a testament to the influence of the organization’s technocratic approach in Democratic foreign policy circles. At the Pentagon alone, Flournoy brought no fewer than seven CNAS colleagues with her:

  • James Miller, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy
  • Colin Kahl, deputy assistant secretary for the Middle East
  • Price Floyd, principal deputy assistant secretary for public affairs
  • Shawn Brimley, special advisor on strategy
  • Vikram Singh, special advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Eric Pierce, deputy chief for legislative affairs
  • Alice Hunt, special assistant

Other CNAS alums include Campbell and Derek Chollet in the State Department and Nate Tibbits in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. [11]

Within the new bipartisan consensus favoring the escalating application of COIN doctrine to Afghanistan—a consensus stretching from CNAS to FPI, Nagl to Kristol—only a few isolated voices of dissent have emerged.

Perhaps the most prominent is Andrew J. Bacevich, a former Army colonel, Boston University historian, and leading COIN critic. Along with a veritable Who’s Who of Washington’s foreign policy media establishment, in June Bacevich attended CNAS’s conference at D.C.’s Willard Hotel. General Petraeus was the keynote speaker.

Appearing at a panel on Afghanistan, Bacevich reiterated his belief that the current enthusiasm for COIN serves as a smokescreen for maintaining a continued U.S. imperial presence built around the occupation and pacification of far-flung countries.

“At the outset of these proceedings, John Nagl referred to what he called ‘our ongoing global counterinsurgency campaign,’” Bacevich noted. “And Nate [Fick, CNAS’s CEO], in his remarks, told us that the goal of counterinsurgency is to make the population feel secure. It would follow that the aim or the objective of the global counterinsurgency campaign should be to make the global population feel secure.

“And I would simply suggest that we really don’t need to undertake such a grandiose effort and we cannot afford to undertake such a grandiose effort. As long as we maintain adequate defenses, Al Qaeda operatives hunkered down in their caves pose no more than a modest threat to U.S. national security.”

Bacevich’s gloomy message was strikingly out of synch with the generally upbeat tone of the CNAS conference. The audience responded with nervous laughter and applause. Panelist Andrew Exum, the COIN specialist who had just co-authored a new CNAS report on the war in Afghanistan, called Bacevich’s remarks “a gloriously heretical response—and one that’s completely divorced from the political realities facing this administration.”

Bacevich seemed to agree. “The heretic has no expectations that in this city any of these notions will be taken seriously,” he said with a rueful chuckle. [12]

The Limits of Bipartisanship

Although CNAS in the liberal center and FPI on the right may have been important in building support for Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan, the new president quickly discovered, if he did not know already, that this bipartisan support was likely to be a rare occurrence. On other issues—particularly the defense budget, detainee treatment, and Iran—right-wing think tanks forcefully opposed the president, managing to inflict considerable political damage.

Pushback against the administration’s new defense budget— which scaled back several of the hawks’ favorite programs, including the F-22 jet fighter and missile defense funding, even as it increased overall defense spending— began shortly after Secretary Gates unveiled it on April 6. That same day, AEI fellows Thomas Donnelly and Gary Schmitt published a provocative Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled “Obama and Gates Gut the Military.” [13] Over the coming weeks, AEI hosted two events warning about the dangers of the new budget— one featuring Sen. John Cornyn, the other featuring Donnelly, Frederick Kagan, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss. [14] Obama and Gates did ultimately manage to win the battle over the F-22, although it took a notably caustic speech from Gates at the Economic Club of Chicago in July to seal the plane’s fate.

For its part, AEI’s friendly rival, the Heritage Foundation—whose politics tend to be more generically hawkish than narrowly neoconservative—focused primarily on missile defense, a longtime hawkish hobbyhorse. Heritage went so far as to produce “33 Minutes,” described as “a thrilling, one-hour documentary that tells the story of the very real threat foreign enemies, like Iran and North Korea, pose to every one of us.” [15] (The title refers to the amount of time a hypothetical enemy missile would take to hit the United States.) In actuality, the film—along with the two Heritage events that accompanied it—served primarily as advertisements for missile defense and warnings against the Obama administration’s cuts in this area.

On torture and other “war on terror” issues, AEI also played a prominent part, most notably by hosting former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s much-publicized May 21 speech defending the Bush administration’s policies. Cheney’s AEI speech, which came on the same day that Obama himself spoke out on detainee issues, marked the apex of the former vice-president’s torrent of criticism against his successors. Cheney claimed that “enhanced interrogation” prevented the deaths of “thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people,” warned that closing Guantanamo Bay prison “would be cause for great danger and regret in the years to come,” and alleged that “releasing the interrogation memos was flatly contrary to the national security interest of the United States.” [16]

In the face of this political onslaught by Cheney and congressional Republicans, Democrats in Congress wilted. Fearing a backlash from constituents, they stripped away the funding meant to close Guantanamo, and many announced they would oppose the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners to their districts—moves that put the president’s decision to close Guantanamo in serious jeopardy. While recent reports indicate that Attorney General Eric Holder is still considering appointing a criminal prosecutor to investigate CIA torture of detainees, the Obama administration apparently has ruled out any probe of the top-ranking Bush administration officials who actually formulated detainee policies.

Although AEI and its brethren could not in fairness claim much responsibility for these events, AEI had played a small but crucial role in giving Cheney his most high-profile forum.

Hawking Iran

But it was on the Iran issue that the Washington hawks worked hardest to undercut Obama. To be sure, their viewpoint had allies within the administration, most notably Dennis Ross. Although they had founded United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), after joining the Obama administration, Ross and Holbrooke left the group—at which point longtime Republican political operative Mark Wallace took over. UANI’s advisory board includes prominent neoconservative-aligned hawks such as Fouad Ajami and R. James Woolsey; as of August 2009, Ross and Holbrook were still listed on the “leadership” page of UANI’s website. [17]

Political fallout due to Ross and Holbrooke’s past involvement with UANI surfaced in the blogosphere in June, after UANI aired an advertisement promoting a hardline view of Iran and suggesting economic sanctions. [18] The ad, which implicitly undercut the Obama administration’s engagement strategy, caused renewed questioning of Ross’s role in the administration. “I’m shocked that Ross wouldn’t have completely dissociated himself from this group considering his government role, and the fact that UANI is advocating a position that not only is dangerous and contrary to current U.S. policy, but mirrors Israel’s interests and the goals of its military and intelligence apparatus,” wrote blogger Richard Silverstein. [19]

Ross’s involvement with the Iran hawks far predated the formation of UANI. He had previously been one of the key figures behind the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), unofficially known for its close links with the Israeli right. After helping to found WINEP in the 1980s, Ross returned in 2001 and served there until joining the Obama administration in 2009. He recently published a book co-written with WINEP’s David Makovsky that attracted notoriety for disputing some of the pillars of the administration’s Middle East policy (such as the idea of “linkage” between the Israeli-Palestinian and Iranian issues). [20]

In 2008, Ross participated in a WINEP task force—also featuring Obama’s future U.N. ambassador Susan Rice and key campaign advisor Anthony Lake—that produced a notably hawkish report about the Iranian nuclear issue. In the words of journalist Robert Dreyfuss, the report “opted for an alarmist view of Iran’s nuclear program” and “raised the spurious fear that Iran plans to arm terrorist groups with nuclear weapons.” [21] Ross also took part in yet another task force—this one under the auspices of the Bipartisan Policy Center, and spearheaded by Michael Rubin and Makovsky’s brother Michael— which produced a report on Iran that journalist Jim Lobe characterized as a “road map to war.” [22]

Clearly, administration figures such as Ross, Holbrooke, and Rice have a history of hawkishness on the Iran issue, but all have insisted they would be team players and work faithfully to execute Obama’s engagement strategy. Neoconservatives outside the administration, however, had no compunctions about undercutting engagement, and it was here that the right-wing think tanks—notably AEI—came in. Even after it purged Ledeen, Muravchik, and Gerecht, AEI employed several of Washington’s most prominent Iran hawks, including Michael Rubin, Frederick Kagan, and Ali Alfoneh.

Rubin, in particular, had been a leading critic of Obama’s plans for engagement with Tehran, arguing that the Islamic Republic’s leadership has no interest in a deal and that previous U.S. administrations had tried engagement—and failed.

In April 2009, under Frederick Kagan’s supervision, AEI launched the website IranTracker. The project is devoted to disseminating news and information about Iran, typically with an alarmist and hawkish slant. To mark the launch of IranTracker, AEI organized a conference on Iran policy that was headlined by Senator Joseph Lieberman and also featured Rubin, Kagan, and Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution. It was one of five Iran-themed events that AEI hosted between the U.S. presidential elections in November 2008 and the Iranian elections in June 2009.

At IranTracker’s April 27 conference, Lieberman argued that Iran’s elections are ultimately unimportant, since “the overwhelming concentration of power in the Iranian political system lies not with the country’s presidents, who change, but with the supreme leader, who rarely does”. [23] This is a widely held view among neoconservatives, some of whom even declared it would be better for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to win reelection, since he would present a more alarming face to the world. (Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum attracted some notoriety for spelling out this view at a Heritage Foundation panel in early June.) [24]

But after Iran’s June 12 election ended in an Ahmadinejad victory widely alleged to have been the result of fraud, and images of the Iranian government’s repression of protesters were broadcast worldwide, neoconservatives at these think tanks led the charge in attacking Obama for his cautious response.

In the two weeks following Iran’s election, Michael Rubin wrote no fewer than six articles arguing that Obama’s engagement strategy had been discredited and accusing the president of “shirk[ing] his duty.” [25] Others, including AEI’s Danielle Pletka and Ali Alfoneh and FDD’s Ledeen and Gerecht, also got in on the act, writing op-eds and blog posts that contributed to the echo chamber of attacks on Obama’s Iran policy.

The leaders of FPI, which had earned favor for “moderation” by lavishly praising Obama’s Afghanistan escalation, turned on the president with notable quickness. William Kristol co-wrote a Weekly Standard editorial alleging that Obama’s “weakness” had made him “a de facto ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.” [26]

Robert Kagan leveled the same accusation, writing a Washington Post column entitled “Obama, Siding With the Regime” which claimed that Obama’s “strategy toward Iran places him objectively on the side of the [Iranian] government’s efforts.” [27] FPI cofounder Dan Senor appeared on CNN and, with FPI staffer Christian Whiton, wrote a Wall Street Journal piece on “Five Ways Obama Could Promote Freedom in Iran,” including coordination with anti-regime expatriate leaders and increased funding for Radio Farda. [28] The latter measure was quickly incorporated into a bill sponsored by Senators Lieberman, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham.

AEI, FPI, and the other hawkish think tanks served as bases for what appears to have been a concerted media campaign aimed at discrediting Obama’s engagement strategy and forcing him to take a more hawkish line against Tehran. There are indications their strategy may have been successful, as Obama eventually stepped up his criticism of the Islamic Republic to say that he was “outraged” and “appalled” by its actions. However, it is also plausible that the intensification of Obama’s criticism during this time may have had more to do with the intensification of the regime’s repression of demonstrators. Regardless, the fierce media attacks did succeed in putting the administration on the defensive.

As the summer wore on, the administration showed signs of taking a harder line, suggesting that Iran only had until the September 30 meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to respond favorably to the engagement offer. Washington hawks focused in on sanctions targeting Iran’s refined petroleum imports as the next step, despite warnings from Iran analysts that sanctions would merely harm the Iranian people while solidifying support around the regime.

On July 22, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held hearings revolving around the sanctions issue—hearings that were a tangible demonstration of neoconservatives’ continuing ability to influence the Iran debate. Of six speakers, two were centrists (Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution and Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); the remaining four were rightists who called for swiftly increasing sanctions: AEI’s Rubin, WINEP’s Patrick Clawson, FDD’s Orde Kittrie, and the Hoover Institution’s Abbas Milani. Soon after, a flood of anonymously-sourced media reports suggested that the administration itself was considering new sanctions, [29] while other reports suggested a September push for sanctions legislation in Congress backed by a media blitz from “Likud lobby” groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. [30]

By all appearances, the backlash against Obama’s Iran policy spearheaded by the hawkish think tanks had been quite effective.

Staying Power

On Iran—as on Afghanistan, torture, and defense spending—groups like AEI and FPI have revealed a talent for continuing to influence political debates, even at a time when they are seen as representing a discredited ideology and party. Without real political power of their own, these groups have nonetheless been able to impact the decisions of those in power—most often by drumming up so much media attention for a hawkish line that Democrats in the executive and legislative branches have been forced to tack to the right to counter it.

The early visibility and viability of neoconservative think tanks over the first months of the Obama administration suggests that weakened or not, marginalized or not, these groups are likely to maintain their influence on Washington foreign policy debates for many years to come.

Daniel Luban writes for Inter Press Service and is a regular contributor to PRA’s Right Web (http://rightweb.irc-online.org/).

Additional Resources

1. Jacob Heilbrunn, “Flight of the Neocons,” The National Interest, Dec. 19, 2008.
2. Joshua Muravchik, “Bomb Iran,” The Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2006.

3. Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe, “Neo-Con Ideologues Launch New Foreign Policy Group,” Inter Press Service, March 25, 2009.
4. For details, see Right Web Profile: Foreign Policy Initiative
5. “Afghanistan: Internationalism vs. Isolationism,” panel transcript, Foreign Policy Initiative website.
6. Christian Brose, “Neo-Cons Gone Wild!,” Shadow Government blog, Foreign Policy website, March 31, 2009.

7. “Afghanistan: Internationalism vs. Isolationism” transcript.
8. “Turning the Tide in Afghanistan: A Discussion with Senator Joseph Lieberman,” The Brookings Institution, Jan. 29, 2009.
9. See Laura Rozen, “CNAS’s Floyd to Defense Department,” The Cable blog, Foreign Policy website, June 6, 2009.

10. Abu Muqawama, “Maybe Bacevich Has A Point: Introducing the Afghan Strategy Dialogue.” August 7, 2009.
11. See Laura Rozen, “CNAS’s Floyd to Defense Department,” The Cable blog, Foreign Policy website, June 6, 2009.
12. Center for a New American Security, “Triage: The Next 12 Months in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” panel transcript, June 11, 2009.

13. Thomas Donnelly and Gary Schmitt, “Obama and Gates Gut the Military,” The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2009.
14. “No Time To Cash in a Peace Dividend: America’s Defenses in a Time of Uncertainty,” American Enterprise Institute, May 7, 2009; “The Defense Budget and U.S. Strategy: Preferences, Priorities, and Risks,” American Enterprise Institute, May 20, 2009.
15. “33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age,” Heritage Foundation, June 24, 2009.

16. Dick Cheney, “Remarks by Richard B. Cheney,” American Enterprise Institute, May 21, 2009.
17. Robert Dreyfuss, “Dennis Ross’s Iran Plan,” The Nation, April 27, 2009.
18. Mike Allen, “Anti-Iran nuke Group launches TV ad,” Politico, June 8, 2009.
19. Richard Silverstein, “Iran’s Game of Chicken,” Tikun Olam, June 15, 2009.

20. Dennis Ross and David Makovsky, “Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East” (Viking, 2009).
21. Robert Dreyfuss, “Still Preparing to Attack: The Neoconservatives in the Obama Era.” Tom Dispatch, Dec. 2, 2008.
22. Jim Lobe, “Top Obama Advisor Signs on to Roadmap to War with Iran,” LobeLog, October 23, 2008.
23. “After the Ballot Box: U.S.-Iranian Relations in an Era of Change,” American Enterprise Institute, April 27, 2009.

24. Daniel Luban, “Neocons for Ahmadinejad,” LobeLog, June 4, 2009.
25. See especially Michael Rubin, “The Obama Effect? Iran’s Election Result Proves the U.S. Formula in the Middle East Is Not Working,” New York Daily News, June 14, 2009; “Silence Is Not Neutrality,” National Review Online, June 23, 2009.

26. William Kristol and Stephen F. Hayes, “Resolutely Irresolute,” The Weekly Standard, June 29, 2009.
27. Robert Kagan, “Obama, Siding With the Regime,” The Washington Post, June 17, 2009.
28. Dan Senor and Christian Whiton, “Five Ways Obama Could Promote Freedom in Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2009.

29. Barak Ravid, “U.S. Briefs Israel on New Iran Nukes Sanctions,” Ha’aretz, July 31, 2009; David E. Sanger, “U.S. Weighs Iran Sanctions if Talks Are Rejected,” The New York Times, Aug. 3, 2009; Simon Tisdall, “Time’s Running Out for Obama in Iran,” The Guardian, Aug. 3, 2009.
30. Nathan Guttman, “Congress Gives Obama Deadline for Dealing with Iran,” Forward, July 29, 2009.

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