Writing in Intercept, Glenn Greenwald delivered bad news to progressive Democrats under the glaring headline: Elizabeth Warren Finally Speaks on Israel/Gaza, Sounds Like Netanyahu.
As I reported in an earlier posting, the information on Warren’s views on the Israeli invasion of Gaza emerged during a political gathering in Hyannis. Massachusetts.
The report came from C. Ryan Barber, writing for the Cape Cod Times.
At Hyannis, on July 17, Senator Warren (at left above) was asked about her “yes” vote to give Israel supplemental funding. Her response was disheartening to progressives who had just lived through the dark summer days of Israel’s Gaza invasion. She put it this way:
“I think the vote was right, and I’ll tell you why I think the vote was right. America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”
This was how the Massachusetts senator defended an invasion that killed 506 children and every member of 81 extended Palestinian Gaza families, in a brutal one-sided military assault.
Senator Warren is the current darling of U.S. political progressives. In her interview in Hyannis, she made no mention of the atrocities committed by Israel.
Instead, she maintained that Israel’s attack on Gaza was the act of a nation that “lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law.”
These are not the words of a respected academic. They are the words of a liberal Zionist reading from an AIPAC script.
If Senator Warren has, in fact, embraced the liberal Zionist world view that Israel has the right to do what is needed to support its occupation of Palestine, she may rightly be classified as a PEP (Progressive except for Palestine).
“Say it ain’t so, Senator”.
When loyal fans discover that a favored one has taken up with the wrong companions, they respond with a common response of betrayal.
In 1919, there occurred a baseball betrayal so deeply felt that it remains with us today in the common memory of baseball aficionados.
That betrayal involved “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, most recently heard from as a player (portrayed by Ray Liotta) in the movie Field of Dreams.
“Shoeless Joe” was one of a group of Chicago White Sox players who shattered the dreams of loyal fans when they were charged with criminal behavior.
The facts of the story are these: “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was on trial as one of the players accused of throwing games at the behest of gamblers in the 1919 World Series.
During the 1920 trial, a young boy pulls on the sleeve of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson as he leaves the courthouse, and says,
“Say it ain’t so, Joe”.
Forty years later, in 1949, Furman Bisher interviewed an aging Jackson for SPORT magazine two years before Jackson died. In the interview, Jackson said he did not remember the incident of the pleading fan.
News stories at the time insisted the boy’s lament did take place.
Bisher’s interview revealed Jackson’s bewilderment that after a jury acquitted all of the players of any illegal behavior, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the newly appointed Commissioner of Baseball, banned all eight players from ever playing again.
A 1921 newspaper account described the rationale behind Landis’ blanket ban against the players:
“While the players had been acquitted, none of them could ever be allowed back into the game if it was to clean up its public image.”
The legend of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson lingers on in baseball lore to remind us that betrayal hurts the most when a favorite who had been trusted proves to be unworthy of that trust.
Warren’s progressive political base was stunned when she embraced Israel’s rationale for its invasion.
To a major segment of Warren’s political base, an endorsement of Israel’s continued immoral and brutal conduct in the invasions and the ongoing occupation is felt as betrayal of the highest order.
In sports, as in politics, two public arenas so much alike in so many ways, urchins of all ages are emotionally wounded when their heroes or would-be heroes are exposed by reality.
It is still too early for progressives to brand Warren as a PEP. She has, after all, developed skills that has made her a successful politician since her days as a Washington economics guru. The next few months will test her ability to balance conflicting political demands.
One set of those demands emerged during a recent visit Warren made to Tufts University. Jeff Klein wrote the story of Warren’s encounter with her base at Tufts:
When Elizabeth Warren came to Tufts University in Medford on Monday she was met by anti-war and Palestinian rights activists who asked why the popular senator and national Democratic Party celebrity seemed to echo Israeli talking points about the recent Israel attack on Gaza.
The Boston Globe reports that Warren, one of only four sitting senators yet to take a congressional overseas trip, will most likely join a delegation traveling to Israel after the November midterm election.
How she handles such a trip will be an indication of her ability to play in the Major League of presidential politics. The Israeli-controlled congressional trip will, no doubt, go no further into Gaza than a ceremonial visit to the mouth of a tunnel that reached into southern Israel.
Senator Warren should demand a personal visit into Gaza, with unfettered conversations allowed with victims of the invasion.
She should also demand a visit to the area of the West Bank where Israel claims its “right” to steal more Palestinian land for an expanded settlement between Hebron and Bethlehem.
Anything less on Senator Warren’s itinerary on her first senatorial trip to Israel/Palestine would be an ominous revelation that she has betrayed her progressive fan base.
The picture of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at the top is from Mondoweiss. The picture at top is of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, left, and state Sen. Dan Wolf talking with Andi Genser, executive director of We Can, during a visit to the We Can facility on Thursday, August 20. It is from the Cape Cod Times. The picture was taken by Steve Heaslip. The picture of Sen. Warren is from Mondoweiss.