Chris Hedges: The Israel Lobby’s Useful Idiot

To stand up to Israel has a political cost few, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., are willing to pay. But if you do stand up, it singles you out as someone who puts principles before expediency.

The Kennedy Promise by Mr. Fish. 

By Chris Hedges
Original to ScheerPost

The long nightmare of oppression of Palestinians is not a tangential issue. It is a black and white issue of a settler-colonial state imposing a military occupation, horrific violence and apartheid, backed by billions of U.S. dollars, on the indigenous population of Palestine. It is the all powerful against the all powerless.

Israel uses its modern weaponry against a captive population that has no army, no navy, no air force, no mechanized military units, no command and control and no heavy artillery, while pretending intermittent acts of wholesale slaughter are wars.

The crude rockets fired at Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance organizations — a war crime because they target civilians — are not remotely comparable to the 2,000 pound “bunker-buster” Mark-84 bombs with a “kill radius” of over 32 yards and which “create a supersonic wave of pressure when they explode” that have been dropped by Israel on crowded Palestinian neighborhoods, the thousands of Palestinian killed and wounded and the targeted destruction of basic infrastructure, including electrical grids and water purification plants.

Palestinians in Gaza live in an open air prison that is one of the most densely populated spots on the planet. They are denied passports and travel documents.

Malnutrition is endemic in the Occupied Territories. “High proportions” of the Palestinian population are “deficient in vitamins A, D, and E, which play key roles in vision, bone health, and immune function,”according to a 2022 World Bank report. The report also notes that over 50 percent of those aged six to 23 in Gaza and over half of its pregnant women are anemic and “more than a quarter of pregnant women and more than a quarter of children aged 6–23 months [in the West Bank are] anemic.”

Eighty-eight percent of Gaza’s children suffer from depression, following 15 years of the Israeli blockade, according to a 2022 report from Save the Children and over 51 percent of children were diagnosed with PTSD following the third major war on Gaza in 2014. Only 4.3 percent of the water in Gaza is considered fit for human consumption. Palestinians in Gaza are crammed into unsanitary and overcrowded hovels. They often lack basic medical care. Unemployment rates are among the highest in the world at 46.6 percent.

Zionism’s goal, since before Israel’s inception, has been to displace Palestinians from their land and reduce those who remain to a struggle for basic subsistence, as Israeli historian Professor Ilan Pappe, notes:

“10 March 1948, a group of eleven men, veteran Zionist leaders together with young military Jewish officers, put the final touches on a plan for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. That same evening, military orders were dispatched to units on the ground to prepare for the systematic expulsion of Palestinians from vast areas of the country.

The orders came with a detailed description of the methods to be used to forcibly evict the people: large-scale intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centers; setting fire to homes, properties, and goods; expelling residents; demolishing homes; and, finally, planting mines in the rubble to prevent the expelled inhabitants from returning. Each unit was issued its own list of villages and neighborhoods to target in keeping with the master plan. Code-named Plan D (Dalet in Hebrew)…

Once the plan was finalized, it took six months to complete the mission. When it was over, more than half of Palestine’s native population, over 750,000 people, had been uprooted, 531 villages had been destroyed, and 11 urban neighborhoods had been emptied of their inhabitants.”

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, 1948. (UN Photo)

These political and historical facts, which I reported on as an Arabic speaker for seven years, four of them as The Middle East Bureau Chief for The New York Times, are hard to ignore. Even from a distance.

I watched Israeli soldiers taunt boys in Arabic over the loudspeakers of their armored jeep in the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza. The boys, about 10 years old, then threw stones at an Israeli vehicle. The soldiers opened fire, killing some, wounding others. In the Israeli lexicon this becomes children caught in crossfire.

I was in Gaza when F-16 attack jets dropped 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on densely packed neighborhoods. I saw the corpses of the victims, including children, lined up in neat rows. This became a surgical strike on a bomb-making factory.

I watched Israel demolish homes and apartment blocks to create buffer zones between the Palestinians and Israeli troops. I interviewed destitute families camped in the rubble of their homes. The destruction becomes the demolition of the homes of terrorists.

I stood in the bombed remains of schools as well as medical clinics and mosques. I heard Israel claim that errant rockets or mortar fire from the Palestinians caused these and other deaths, or that the attacked spots were being used as arms depots or launching sites.

I, along with every other reporter I know who has worked in Gaza, have never seen any evidence that Hamas uses civilians as “human shields.” Ironically, there is evidence of the Israeli military using Palestinians as human shields, which Israel’s High Court deemed illegal in 2005.

There is a perverted logic to Israel’s use of the Big Lie —Große Lüge. The Big Lie feeds the two reactions Israel seeks to elicit — racism among its supporters and terror among its victims.

There is a heavy political price to pay for defying Israel, whose overt interference in the U.S. political process makes the most tepid protests about Israeli policy a political death wish. The Palestinians are poor, forgotten and alone. And this is why the defiance of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is the central issue facing any politician who claims to speak on behalf of the vulnerable and the marginalized.

To stand up to Israel has a political cost few, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., are willing to pay. But if you do stand up, it singles you out as someone who puts principles before expediency, who is willing to fight for the wretched of the earth and, if necessary, sacrifice your political future to retain your integrity. Kennedy fails this crucial test of political and moral courage.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at an event in Phoenix in 2017. (Gage Skidmore, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Kennedy, instead, regurgitates every lie, every racist trope, every distortion of history and every demeaning comment about the backwardness of the Palestinian people peddled by the most retrograde and far-right elements of Israeli society. He peddles the myth of what Pappe calls “Fantasy Israel.” This alone discredits him as a progressive candidate. It calls into question his judgment and sincerity. It makes him another Democratic Party hack who dances to the macabre tune the Israeli government plays.

Kennedy has vowed to make “the moral case for Israel,” which is the equivalent of making the moral case for apartheid South Africa. He repeats, almost verbatim, talking points from the Israeli propaganda playbook put together by the Republican pollster and political strategist, Frank Luntz. The 112-page study, marked “not for distribution or publication,” which was leaked to Newsweek, was commissioned by The Israel Project. It was written in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 and January 2009 — when 1,387 Palestinians and nine Israelis were killed.

The strategy document is the blueprint for how Israeli politicians and lobbyists sell Israel. It exposes the wide gap between what Israeli politicians say and what they know to be the truth. It is tailored to tell the outside world, especially Americans, what they want to hear. The report is required reading for anyone attempting to deal with the Israeli propaganda machine.

The document, for example, suggests telling the outside world that Israel “has a right to defensible borders,” but advises Israelis to refuse to define what the borders should be. It advises Israeli politicians to justify the refusal by Israel to allow 750,000 Palestinians and their descendants, who were expelled from their country during the 1948 war, to return home, although the right of return is guaranteed under international law, by referring to this right as a “demand.”

Frank Luntz at an event in Des Moines, Iowa, November 2015. (Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

It also recommends arguing that Palestinians are seeking mass migrations to seize land inside Israel. It suggests mentioning the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Iraq, Syria and Egypt, who fled anti-Semitism and violence in the Arab world after the creation of the Jewish state. The document recommends saying these refugees also “left property behind,” in essence justifying the Israeli pogrom by the pogrom Arab states carried out after 1948. It recommends blaming the poverty among Palestinians on “Arab nations” that have not provided “a better life for Palestinians.”

What is most cynical about the report is the tactic of expressing a faux sympathy for the Palestinians, who are blamed for their own oppression.

“Show Empathy for BOTH sides!” the document reads. “The goal of pro-Israel communications is not simply to make people who already love Israel feel good about that decision. The goal is to win new hearts and minds for Israel without losing the support Israel already has.” It says that this tactic will “disarm” audiences.

I doubt Kennedy has read or heard of Luntz’s report. But he has been spoon-fed its talking points and naively spits them back. Israel only wants peace. Israel does not engage in torture. Israel is not an apartheid state. Israel gives Israeli Arabs political and civic rights they do not have in other parts of the Middle East. Palestinians are not deliberately targeted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Israel respects civil liberties and gender and marriage rights. Israel has “the best judiciary in the world.”

Kennedy makes other claims, such as his bizarre statement that the Palestinian Authority pays Palestinians to kill Jews anywhere in the world along with falsifications of elemental Middle Eastern history, which are so absurd I will ignore them. But I list below examples from the volumes of evidence that implode the Luntz-inspired talking points Kennedy repeats on behalf of the Israel lobby, not that any evidence can probably puncture his self-serving attachment to “Fantasy Israel.”


A Palestinian boy and Israeli soldier in front of the Israeli West Bank Barrier, August 2004. (Justin McIntosh, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

The 2017 U.N. report: “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” Since 1967, Palestinians as a people have lived in what the report refers to as four “domains,” in which the fragments of the Palestinian population are ostensibly treated differently but share in common the racial oppression that results from the apartheid regime.

Those domains are:

1. Civil law, with special restrictions, governing Palestinians who live as citizens of Israel;

2. Permanent residency law governing Palestinians living in the city of Jerusalem;

3. Military law governing Palestinians, including those in refugee camps, living since 1967 under conditions of belligerent occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip;

4. Policy to preclude the return of Palestinians, whether refugees or exiles, living outside territory under Israel’s control.

On July 19, 2018, the Israeli Knesset voted “to approve the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law, constitutionally enshrining Jewish supremacy and the identity of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people,” the Haifa-based civil liberties group Adalah explained. It is the supreme law in Israel “capable of overriding any ordinary legislation.”

In 2021 Israeli human rights group B’Tselem published its report “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.”

The report reads:

“In the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Israeli regime implements laws, practices and state violence designed to cement the supremacy of one group — Jews — over another — Palestinians. A key method in pursuing this goal is engineering space differently for each group.

Jewish citizens live as though the entire area were a single space (excluding the Gaza Strip). The Green Line means next to nothing for them: whether they live west of it, within Israel’s sovereign territory, or east of it, in settlements not formally annexed to Israel, is irrelevant to their rights or status.

Where Palestinians live, on the other hand, is crucial. The Israeli regime has divided the area into several units that it defines and governs differently, according Palestinians different rights in each. This division is relevant to Palestinians only…Israel accords Palestinians a different package of rights in every one of these units — all of which are inferior compared to the rights afforded to Jewish citizens. “

“Since 1948,” the reports continues, “Israel has taken over 90% of land within its sovereign territory and built hundreds of Jewish communities, yet not one for Palestinians (with the exception of several communities built to concentrate the Bedouin population, after dispossessing them of most of their property rights),” the report reads.

Israeli military forces arriving to demolish the Palestinian community of Khirbet Ein Karzaliyah on Jan. 8, 2014. (B’Tselem, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0)

“Since 1967, Israel has also enacted this policy in the Occupied Territories, dispossessing Palestinians of more than 2,000 km2 on various pretexts. In violation of international law, it has built over 280 settlements in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) for more than 600,000 Jewish citizens. It has devised a separate planning system for Palestinians, designated primarily to prevent construction and development, and has not established a single new Palestinian community.”

[“As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state,” said ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2010.

Three years earlier, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.”

A former Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, Alon Liel, put it even more bluntly. “In the situation that exists today, until a Palestinian state is created, we are actually one state. This joint state, in the hope that the status quo is temporary, is an apartheid state.”]

Targeting Civilians

Tanzanians in Dar es Salaam protesting the 2008-2009 Gaza bombardment by Israel. (Muhammad Mahdi Karim, Wikimedia Commons, GFDL)

Contrary to Kennedy’s claims that “the policy of the Israeli military is to always only attack military targets,” the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure by the Israeli military, and other branches of the Israeli security apparatus, has been extensively documented by Israeli and international organizations.

The 2010 Goldstone report, which is over 500 pages, investigated Israel’s 22-day air and ground assault on Gaza that took place from Dec. 27, 2008, to Jan. 18, 2009. The United Nations Human Rights Council and the European Parliament endorsed the report.

The Israeli attack killed 1,434 people, including 960 civilians, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. More than 6,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, leaving behind some $3 billion in destruction in one of the poorest areas on Earth. Three Israeli civilians were killed by rockets fired into Israel during the assault.

The report’s key findings include that:

“• Numerous instances of Israeli lethal attacks on civilians and civilian objects were intentional, including with the aim of spreading terror, that Israeli forces used Palestinian civilians as human shields and that such tactics had no justifiable military objective.

• Israeli forces engaged in the deliberate killing, torture and other inhuman treatment of civilians and deliberately caused extensive destruction of property, outside any military necessity, carried out wantonly and unlawfully.

• Israel violated its duty to respect the right of Gaza’s population to an adequate standard of living, including access to adequate food, water and housing. “

On June 14 of this year, B’Tselem reported that “Top Israeli officials” are “criminally liable for knowingly” ordering airstrikes which were “expected to harm civilians, including children, in the Gaza Strip.”

Contrary to the myth propagated by Kennedy, reports and investigations, both by the U.N. as well as by rights groups, domestic and international, routinely cover suspected or known violations by Palestinian militants when they investigate alleged war crimes. As B’Tselem noted in the same 2019 report, in total, four Israelis were killed and 123 wounded.

Last month, the U.N.’s expert on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Italian international lawyer and academic Francesca Albanese, presented her report to the U.N. Human Rights Council. It makes for very grim reading.

“Deprivation of liberty has been a central element of Israel’s occupation since its inception. Between 1967-2006 Israel has incarcerated over 800,000 Palestinians in the occupied territory. Although spiking during Palestinian uprisings, incarceration has become a quotidian reality. Over 100,000 Palestinians were detained during the First Intifada (1987-1993), 70,000 during the Second Intifada (2000-2006), and over 6,000 during the ‘Unity Intifada’ (2021). Approximately 7,000 Palestinians, including 882 children, were arrested in 2022. Currently, almost 5,000 Palestinians, including 155 children, are detained by Israel, 1,014 of them without charge or trial.”


Around 1,200 complaints “alleging violence in Shin Bet [The Israeli Security Agency] interrogations” were filed between 2001 and 2019, according to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.

“Zero indictments have been brought,” the committee reports. “This is yet another illustration of the complete systemic impunity enjoyed by the Shin Bet’s interrogators.”

Coercive methods include sexual harassment and humiliation, beatings, stress positions imposed for hours and interrogations that lasted as long as 19 hours as well as threats of violence against family members.

“They said they would kill my wife and children. They said they would cancel my mother’s and sister’s permits for medical treatments,” one survivor said in 2016. “I couldn’t sleep because even when I was in my cell, they would wake me up every 15 minutes… I couldn’t tell the difference between day and night… I still scream in my sleep,” another said in 2017.

Former U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer expressed “his utmost concern” after a December 2017 ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court exempting security agents from criminal investigation despite their undisputed use of coercive “pressure techniques” against a Palestinian detainee, Assad Abu Gosh. He called the ruling a “license to torture.”

Abu Gosh “was reportedly subjected to ill-treatment including beatings, being slammed against walls, having his body and fingers bent and tied into painful stress positions and sleep deprivation, as well as threats, verbal abuse, and humiliation. Medical examinations confirm that Mr. Abu Gosh suffers from various neurologic injuries resulting from the torture he suffered.”

Civil Liberties

“Gas the Arabs!” graffiti in Hebron, 2008. (Magne Hagesæter, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0)

In the November 2022 elections in Israel, a far-right theocratic, nationalist and openly racist coalition took power. Itamar Ben-Gvir, from the ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit, “Jewish Power,” party, is the Minister of National Security. Otzma Yehudit is populated with former members of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party, which was banned from running for the Knesset in 1988 for espousing a “Nazi-like ideology” that included advocating the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as all Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.

His appointment, along with that of other far-right ideologues, including Bezalel Smotrich, the Minister of Finance, effectively jettisons the old tropes liberal Zionists used to defend Israel — that it is the only democracy in the Middle East, that it seeks a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians in a two-state solution, that extremism and racism have no place in Israeli society and that Israel must impose draconian forms of control on the Palestinians to prevent terrorism.

The new coalition government is reportedly preparing legislation that would be used to disqualify almost all Palestinian/Arab Knesset members from serving in the Israeli parliament, as well as ban their parties from standing in elections. The recent judicial “reforms” gut the independence and oversight of the Israeli courts. The government has also proposed shutting down Kan, the public broadcasting network, although that has been amended to fixing its “flaws”. Smotrich, who opposes LGBTQ rights and refers to himself as a “fascist homophobe,” said on Tuesday he wouldfreeze all funds to Israel’s Palestinian communities and East Jerusalem.

Israel has promulgated a series of laws to curtail public freedoms, brand all forms of Palestinian resistance as terrorism, and label supporters of Palestinian rights, even if they are Jewish, as anti-Semites. The amendment of one of Israel’s principle apartheid laws, the 2010 “Village Committees Law,” grants neighborhoods with up to 700 households the right to reject people from moving in to “preserve the fabric” of the community. Israel has over 65 laws that are used to discriminatedirectly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens of Israel and those in the Occupied Territories.

Israel’s Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law prevents Palestinian citizens of Israel from marrying Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Interreligious marriage in Israel is also prohibited.

As explained by Jacob N. Simon, who served as the President of the Jewish Legal Society at the Michigan State University College of Law:

“The combination of the blood line related requirements to be considered Jewish by the Orthodox Rabbinical Court and the restriction of marriage requiring religious ceremonies shows an intent to maintain race purity. At its core, this is no different than the desire for pure blooded Aryans in Nazi Germany or pure blooded whites in the Jim Crow Southern United States.”

Those who support these discriminatory laws and embrace Israeli apartheid are blinded by willful ignorance, racism or cynicism. Their goal is to dehumanize Palestinians, champion an intolerant Jewish chauvinism and entice the naïve and the gullible into justifying the unjustifiable. Kennedy, bereft of a moral compass and a belief system rooted in verifiable fact, has not only failed the Palestinians, he has failed us.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”

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The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

56 comments for “Chris Hedges: The Israel Lobby’s Useful Idiot

  1. Mark J Oetting
    August 17, 2023 at 11:41

    I find Chris Hedges criticism of RFK Jr. somewhat disingenuous as he fails to mention that many Israeli citizens as well as a majority of the Jewish community at large are opposed to the policies of the Netanyahu government and that Netanyahu himself is under indictment for corruption. He fails to bring up the peaceful policies that were attempted to be implemented by the slain Yezak Rabin and subsequently by Shimmon Peres. The problem in Israel is the same as in the United States as far as policy is concerned. Netanyahu does not represent the best interests of Israel or the Jewish community in general as Ehud Barak and Arial Sharon before him however in the United States and Europe any criticism of the current Israeli government will brand you an antisemite which is ridiculous. If you have ever criticized the Bush, Obama, Trump or Biden administrations policies does that make you anti-American. By the way The Biden Administration has been critical of the Israeli government for not supplying weapons to Ukraine and hosting talks with Putin so does that mean Biden is preferable to RFK Jr. as the Demorratic Nominee?

  2. August 17, 2023 at 08:38

    I would be most interested to know if Chris Hedges, the editor of Consortium News or anyone else who has posted a comment here, could watch the1:21 hour interview of Robert F. Kennedy by Tucker Carlson on hxxps:// and then explain here why US citizens should not vote for RFK Junior at the Presidential elections of November 2024.

    • Valerie
      August 17, 2023 at 14:15

      I’ve just watched it James, and i cannot explain why anyone would not vote for RFK Jr. I was totally shocked by the revelations of the “wall” immigrants.

      • August 17, 2023 at 23:50

        Thank you, Valerie and Mark.

        You may also find of interest the short article into which I embedded that interview. It is “How a President Kennedy will again prevent global war – Tucker Carlson Carlson interviews Robert F. Kennedy Junior” (18/8/23) at hxxs://

        Please also feel welcome to post comments there (even if critical of my article).

    • Mark J Oetting
      August 17, 2023 at 16:54

      Agree totally. If you have doubts please watch

    • IJ Scambling
      August 18, 2023 at 12:59

      There is a huge disconnect between what Hedges is saying here about RFK Jr and what Kennedy says at the end of the interview with Tucker Carlson. There he mentions his devotion to what his father told him (he would still have been a boy at the time) regarding concern for the poor and downtrodden, and this lifelong quest makes no sense in terms of a stupid blindness to what the Palestinians have been suffering via the Zionists. Further, as rhetoric this Hedges essay seems unbalanced with its evidence largely coming from critique of the Zionist side, with generalizations about Kennedy’s views. Where are specific negative views from Kennedy to be found? Where is the documentation? It also uses smear-language starting with “useful idiot.”

      In the interview with Carlson I did have some reservations on Kennedy’s views pertaining to Ukraine. He speaks of the Russian intervention in Feb 2022 as “brutal, illegal, and unnecessary.” This view we have seen repeatedly expressed at CN by those we would normally regard as compadres in a critical view of US behavior in Ukraine. The questions what alternative then? is never addressed. Kennedy seems contradictory on criticizing US lies about Ukraine and exposing propaganda while pursuing some of his own in the generalization “brutal, illegal, unnecessary.”

      This lack of clarity is discouraging. However, it is minor in the issue under consideration here. The Carlson interview as a measure of character and intention powerfully suggests this man is good and capable. As with his mention of the brilliant book JFK and the Unspeakable, which tracks JFK’s alliance with Khruschev, there is reason to believe he would remain open to learning and adjusting, as was happening with his uncle JFK, and a reason for his assassination.

  3. Deniz
    August 16, 2023 at 18:03

    RFK JR is a very harsh and vocal critic of the Ukrainian War and unambiguously points to the NeoCons as the cause. On the question of whether he is naive or compromised on Israel, his position on NeoCons indicates the latter. It is not RFJ’s responsibility to world die on the cross during an election campaign.

  4. Larry Gates
    August 16, 2023 at 14:17

    RFK is excellent on virtually every other issue besides Israel/Palestine. That makes him a thousand times better than Biden. Sadly, this one issue is a deal breaker for me in the general election, where I will vote for Cornel West. But I will vote for Kennedy in the all-important and open Democratic Party primary in South Carolina.

    • J Anthony
      August 17, 2023 at 12:20

      He’s also not so great on healthcare; that is, the need to create a proper public healthcare system. He seems to believe there is a “market-solution”, when anyone with a lick of sense on the subject knows there isn’t.

  5. August 16, 2023 at 11:59

    Whilst Chris Hedges is right to raise his serious concerns about Robert F. Kennedy Junior’s apparent strong support for Israel, he hasn’t said who, amongst those with any chance of winning the November 2024 US Presidential elections, he thinks US citizens should vote for, instead – Donald Trump, Joe Biden or, conceivably, the current Vice President Kamala Harris.

    If you look at the totality of RFK Junior’s policies (hxxps://, much of which his uncle, President JFK, tried to implement before the CIA murdered him on 22 November 1963, you can see that he stands far more than head and shoulders above the other candidates in spite of his mistaken policy towards Israel.

    Another very good reason why RFK Junior should become US President is that he has quite courageously spoken up for Julian Assange, pledging to free Julian once he is inaugurated on 20 January 2025, if he is still behind bars.

    • DD
      August 16, 2023 at 15:38

      A prerequisite for the Palestinian people at freeing themselves from apartheid Israeli society and its government is a fundamental change in political alignment in the U.S. If Jeremy Corbyn can be taken out (as part of the preparation for the US/NATO war against Russia) after he comes to leadership in the Labor Party on the empty smear that he’s an anti semite, then candidate Kennedy in the US would have no chance at defending from a similar attack.

    • August 16, 2023 at 17:23

      So, accepting the premise that RFK Jr. is head & shoulders above Biden, Harris (or anyone else the DNC elites will anoint), just what are we allowed to say or do about his kow-towing to the AIPAC and broader Israel lobby, and especially about the injustices of their Apartheid state? Are we somehow to pretend it doesn’t matter and/or that it is somehow unrelated to the neocon-dominated US Empire’s foreign policy objectives? How can we believe that he is genuine in opposing anti-democratic imperialism if he supports this manifestation of it in US policy vis a vis Israel and Palestine?

      Lastly, you rule out automatically Cornell West by the qualifier ” amongst those with any chance of winning the 2024 election”. We know damn well that the Dem establishment won’t let RFK Jr. get within sniffing distance of the White House. They’ll sandbag him even more aggressively than they did Sanders, if that’s possible; and I suspect if they thought he had even a snowball’s chance of winning a nomination, they’d make of him yet another Kennedy martyr. So does he have ‘any chance of winning the 2024 election”? Not one in a million.

  6. Rex Williams
    August 16, 2023 at 10:40

    An extremely detailed exposure of this subject by this very professional writer.

    It is what any supporter of Palestine would have wanted to be able to say during the last 60 years. It is truth. It is reality. Yes, it does kill off the last Kennedy from becoming a respected advocate for the America the world knew before the rot set in, a condition that has now ruined that country forever and from which it will never recover.

    So thanks, Chris Hedges. 9 million Israelis controlling 330 million Americans. ‘We own America’ says Netanyahu.

    Yes, you do.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    August 16, 2023 at 10:15

    As yet to be born the Westerner with the gonads (Canadian for ‘balls’) to stand up to israel. SHAME ON YOU, israel!!!

  8. Woody S. Thompson
    August 16, 2023 at 08:32

    RFK has no principles. He says whatever he thinks will make him popular. This is why he is a ‘former’ environmental lawyer who jumped big time on the right-wing oligarchs ‘Anti-Public Health’ train. Its why he suddenly discovered that he is ‘anti-war’ some 20 years into America’s Endless Wars and 9 years into the resulting World War III.

    This time, he said something that the crowd did want to hear, but then got bashed on the head by the big club that is American power. The Democrat primaries are a rigged and fake game, and the Bosses just beat RFK over the head and let him know that to play in the game he has to support the death and murder and torture of human beings whom the Machine wants to kill and dispossess. And in return he has fully pledged to the Big Money and the Bosses that he really doesn’t have any principles that he will stand up for and stick to.

    If you think he will stick to any of the other things that he is saying that you do like, well, notice that (D) after the name and remember that (D) is for Deceit. He’s after power and money, and just says what he feels he needs to say to get them.

    But, it looks like he’ll get the ‘SheepDog vote’, from the people who like to pretend that they are the ‘Good Americans’ who pretend they didn’t know about all of the wars and deaths and torture from the government they support. They’ll vote RFK in the primaries, then of course, loyally support the Dems in the election, and then act surprised when they find themselves in a long line of billions of people waiting to see a skeptical St. Peter who won’t be buying none of their BS.

  9. Frank Rizzo
    August 16, 2023 at 07:18

    I am giving RFK, Jr. a pass on this one. As Hedges himself notes it would be campaign suicide for him to come out against Israeli apartheid. Bobby is the last hope before a 2nd amendment solution becomes unavoidable.

  10. alley cat
    August 16, 2023 at 04:54

    Blind support for racial apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is not a “flaw.”

    Will RFK Jr respect human rights in general, just not Palestinian human rights?

    If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

    I sent the following message to the RFK Jr campaign:

    “Good people don’t support racial apartheid. Not in South Africa and not in Israel. I won’t support or vote for any politician who supports apartheid. Let me put it this way: for me, your support for Israeli apartheid is a deal-breaker, no matter how much I agree with you on other issues, no matter how much I like you, because it tells me that I just can’t trust you.”

  11. Arch Stanton
    August 16, 2023 at 03:57

    And this is how this sinister cabal of deviants operate in the UK:


    • Valerie
      August 17, 2023 at 04:42

      Great link Arch. Here’s another alarming situation i believe not many people know about:


  12. mary-lou
    August 16, 2023 at 03:17

    the plight of the Palestinian children should expressively be put before JFK Jr.’s (brilliant) organisation Children’s Health Defense. it loses all its credibility when ‘Children’ means all children except the Palestinians.

  13. Frank Lambert
    August 15, 2023 at 21:49

    Another hard-hitting expose by Chris Hedges, one of the few journalists to stand up to the most powerful lobby in the U.S.

    I like RFK Jr’s. longstanding fight for the common people and the courage of his convictions, with presentable facts, during the Covid-19 scamdemic by the Great Reset (WEF) group of power-mad misanthropes, but his zealous defense of Jewish Nazis, aka Zionists, is appalling, plus he’s running in the DemoRAT Party. On that alone, I cannot vote for him.

    But getting back to Israel and Zionism in particular, I ‘ll recommend for you history buffs,

    “The Hidden History of Zionism
    The Road Map: A Dead End for the Palestinian People”
    with Ralph Schoenman and Maya Shone

  14. Robyn
    August 15, 2023 at 21:48

    Bravo Chris Hedges, superb journalism as always. If only more people knew this history.

    RFK Jnr dramatically changed his stance on Ukraine, almost as though he’d had a discussion with Colonel McGregor or Scott Ritter or others of their ilk. At that point I thought Kennedy was the only hope for the US and for world peace, but then came his demonstrably incorrect pronouncements on Israel. An honest approach to the plight of the Palestinians and public U-turn would be a much more difficult road to tread but there’s still time for someone like Chris Hedges to give him a history lesson.

  15. Willow
    August 15, 2023 at 21:30

    President RFK Jr. has campaigned on a platform detente and de-escalation . Kennedy’s current position on Israel-Palestine increases his chances of winning. Kennedy is the only candidate who has the intellectual capacity and honesty to change his position when presented with evidence. Dennis Kucinich believes this and is why he supporting RFK Jr. He is biding his time until Kennedy is POTUS. Patience Grasshopper. “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” Ecclesiastes

    • August 16, 2023 at 17:29

      This message seems to suggest that we “trust him” because he can change. I heard that many times re. Biden. “Elect him, then push him left” was the mantra. We’ve seen the result.
      Now RFK Jr. isn’t Biden, of course. But we DO know how the D’s operate. We’ve seen the entirety of a Squad effectively neutered by their Party. And if he starts out as an avid zionist, I don’t see how he can be trusted either to stand against it NOR even against imperialism broadly.

  16. George Philby
    August 15, 2023 at 21:07

    Fighting Occupation is not a war crime.

  17. RWilson
    August 15, 2023 at 20:14

    Israel not only terrorizes the Palestinians, but also terrorizes American politicians.

    I understand Israel justifies terrorizing Palestinians with a legend from 30 centuries ago. But on what basis does it justify terrorizing American politicians?

  18. Judge Barbier
    August 15, 2023 at 17:58

    Another devestating critique of Israel, I have no doubt it’s all accurate.

    RFKjnr., if he wishes to be President, must not antagonize the pro Israel forces in the US. In this case telling the truth would be the end of his campaign.

    Sorry but I can not see an honest way to victory here.

    • Tristan Patterson
      August 15, 2023 at 18:31

      I’m hoping it’s a long con on his part. Once he’s in, he’s in.

    • Hjalmar Swan
      August 15, 2023 at 20:32

      I agree and am confident, if elected, RFKjr, will then stand up to Israel.

      • August 16, 2023 at 17:32

        Based on what? RFK Jr.’s history has been as a truth teller, willing to stand up to power and take unpopular positions. If he is so willing to deviate from that just to get elected, then what would he do to remain in power?

      • Blessthebeasts
        August 17, 2023 at 11:27

        If he would actually do that, he would be eliminated like his father and uncle were. He should know better than to make deals with the devil.

    • Alex Goslar
      August 15, 2023 at 23:27

      Chris Hedges’s report needs to be published in more media outlets in various languages.

    • DD
      August 16, 2023 at 16:06

      Spot on. Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t protect himself from the anti semite smear while head of the British Labor Party. Candidate Kennedy would have no chance to defend himself from a similar attack in this country.

  19. August 15, 2023 at 17:14

    Radical Zionism was not born in 1948. Its objectives and modus operandi are detailed in commandments (not suggestions) from the god of Zionism in Deuteronomy 20:10-17:

    When you approach a city to wage war against it, offer it terms of peace. If it accepts your terms and submits to you, all the people found in it will become your slaves. If it does not accept terms of peace but makes war with you, then you are to lay siege to it. The Lord your God will deliver it over to you and you must kill every single male by the sword. However, the women, little children, cattle, and anything else in the city — all its plunder — you may take for yourselves as spoil. You may take from your enemies the plunder that the Lord your God has given you. This is how you are to deal with all those cities located far from you, those that do not belong to these nearby nations.

    As for the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is going to give you as an inheritance, you must not allow a single living thing to survive. Instead you must utterly annihilate them — the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites [the people of Jerusalem.]

  20. Willow
    August 15, 2023 at 17:11

    A debate on the merits of this important topic between Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Hedges would serve the public interest.

    • Blessthebeasts
      August 17, 2023 at 11:29

      Yes, but Kennedy has said he won’t debate anyone about it. He’s showing his true colors.

  21. .TS
    August 15, 2023 at 16:39

    Hedges’ criticism of RFK Jr. seem to me to be self-contradictory:

    — “There is a heavy political price to pay for defying Israel, whose overt interference in the U.S. political process makes the most tepid protests about Israeli policy a political death wish.” Indeed, as Cynthia McKiney and others can confirm. (If the rule of law prevailed in Washington, the Democratic Party, as well as AIPAC & co., would have to register as a ‘foreign agent’).

    — Kennedy is campaigning to become the Democratic candidate for President. against the wishes of the DNC and MICIMAC. According to Hedges, he would have no chance at all if he did not toady up to the Zionist lobby (like almost all of Congress). My anti-Zionist Israeli Jewish and Palestinian friends and acquaintances may not like it, but the US government’s positions on global war and peace are more important than the extent to which Washington supports the Israeli racist regime.

    • zt
      August 15, 2023 at 21:10

      no because his position on all other issues at this time makes him a viable challenge to establishment. but his views on Israel are extreme Likudnik hasbara and a terrible sell to all of the hundreds of thousands who support him but who know little about the Palistinian plight. he is selling pro-Israel prop to a whole new generation. DANGEROUS.

    • firstpersoninfinite
      August 16, 2023 at 00:31

      The U.S. position on global war is obvious: bring it on. The U.S. position on global peace is completely non-existent. Hegemony is not a means to peace, but a means to endless war. We cannot sustain such a war in any way, shape or form. Taking over the world won’t replace the empty factories of the mid-west, or sustain an economy based on cheap goods from overseas. If you weren’t facilitating the neoliberal narrative as an ipso facto reality, you might realize that human rights leave no debatable space to the service of empty diplomacy. You either believe in human rights across the globe or you believe in hegemony in small, but continuously increasing spaces. You can’t live history backwards – you have to choose. Empty delineations are the same as not choosing at all in the hope of sustaining your own viewpoint beyond its basic reality. Israel can join the best hopes of the world community or else suffer the consequences of its choices by its own admission to that same community. You don’t get to change the rules when you feel like it while demanding that those same rules don’t apply to you.

  22. Lois Gagnon
    August 15, 2023 at 16:33

    One thing Chris doesn’t mention is Dennis Kuccinich is RFK’s campaign manager. This is extremely disappointing. I believe Dennis knows better. If he doesn’t, he needs to feel serious pushback.

    • Woody S. Thompson
      August 16, 2023 at 08:40

      Why are you disappointed? There is nothing unusual to see about a former Dem Primary SheepDog supporting the most recent Dem Primary SheepDog?

      After Nader scared the pants off the Dems with a legit lefty revolt, the Dems have stuck to this SheepDog Strategy to keep the left both in the party and firmly in line with the Dems as the party of Wall Street and the Pentagon. Kucinich was just an early version, before “Millionaire Bernie” and now “Right-Wing Robert the Trump Clone.”

      And the key is to note that none of these SheepDogs have moved the party one bit, with instead the Dem party moving hard and fast to the right. This is because it has all been a giant fake and con-job to keep the lefties from revolting again and repeating the one act that got them a bit of power for a brief time.

      • Lois Gagnon
        August 16, 2023 at 15:42

        I don’t agree with your assessment of Dennis Kucinich. He has showed more political courage while in the US congress than Bernie Sanders ever pretended to. That’s why the Democrats gerrymandered his seat out from under him. They saw him as a thorn in their side. I do think he is smarter and more politically savvy than this decision makes him appear. Perhaps he knows something about the long term strategy we don’t. I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out.

      • vinnieoh
        August 17, 2023 at 13:50

        The Ohio State legislature has been controlled by a Republican majority for decades. It is the state legislature which redraws Congressional voting districts and it was the Ohio GOP that gerrymandered Kucinich out of office, not Democrats. Not that Kucinich ever got much support from either party for occasionally espousing peace on behalf of the US. The Ohio Supreme Court has declared the State’s voting districts unlawful and ordered them to be redrawn, which order continues to be ignored by the Ohio’s GOP controlled legislature.

        I am beyond tired of “true leftists” going after Sanders for his “failure” to singlehandedly rescue this nation from never-ending war, corporate capitalist control of…everything, and the political corruption that infests both parties from DC to the smallest US State. What I have become convinced of is the loudest voices attacking Sanders from the so-called “true left” are actually psy-ops operatives of the DNC who fear the power of someone like Sanders who was the only one brave enough to speak the truth in 2016. That is where the true energy was in that early campaign and the DNC made damned sure that they eliminated that populist threat from their plans to install neocon Hillary.

        I am not an RFK Jr. supporter. I think he’s cracked and seriously wrong about a great many things. His would-be candidacy speaks to the existential terror of the rank and file that JR Biden will have to attend the next inauguration from his casket. He is just like GW Bush in 2000 to the GOP – his “name brand” was a political commodity the GOP just could not fail to exploit.

        What a shit show. It’s hard to tell which party is more insane.

        Vince in Ohio

  23. SteveK9
    August 15, 2023 at 16:25

    Some Jews have never forgotten Joseph Kennedy’s attempts to make peace with Hitler. Nor, have they forgiven JFK’s plan to carry out inspections at Dimona. RFK, Jr. doesn’t want to end up like his uncle and his father, or like his cousin.

  24. Mary Lou Longworth
    August 15, 2023 at 16:18

    Mr Hedges, I admire your moral ethics, intelligence, and independent journalism–a rare jewel to be treasured.
    My concern is for the presidential campaign of RFK Jr.
    Please contact Campaign Manager Dennis Kucinich or members of RFK Jr.’s campaign team for a meeting.
    RFK Jr. is right on so many things plaguing our country. He is not an ideologue like so many
    of the empty suits running for office. He is a reasonable man, open to debate and information that can inform and
    change his present position on Palestine/Israel issues.
    I stand by Kennedy for wanting to go after our health system and exposing the causation of chronic disease in
    our country which is alarming. He wants to put his energy into the things that he can effect change to.
    Please don’t throw him under the bus.

    • J Anthony
      August 16, 2023 at 09:07

      If he’s willfully blind to the travesty modern Israel has become, not even able to offer the mildest criticism, what other duplicity is he capable of? Certainly on other issues he seems reasonable and forthcoming. Unfortunately his reluctance to be open and honest on this particular issue is a big red-flag.

    • Blessthebeasts
      August 17, 2023 at 11:34

      Kennedy has already declined an invitation to discuss his Israeli policy with Ben Norton of GrayZone. He’s turning into the very thing he despises.

  25. Kate Madison
    August 15, 2023 at 15:58

    I know of only two senators who are critical of Israel: Bernie Sanders (who is Jewish) and Jeff Merkley. What does this say about our
    “wonderful” government?

    • Alex Goslar
      August 15, 2023 at 23:29

      What convincing reports are needed to bring about change in the Israeli politic?

      • CaseyG
        August 16, 2023 at 14:58

        Hi Alex Goslar;

        RE; your question——–Start with cutting off the millions that Israel gets yearly from the US..

        Maybe those elected ones here haven’t noticed how poorly so many Americans are doing now. Americans need something in return for their tax dollars.

  26. Drew Hunkins
    August 15, 2023 at 15:32

    The first step is to identify the ZPC (Zionist Power Configuration) here at home in the U.S. How it almost (almost) totally dominates Washington and also wields considerable influence at the state and local level and has enormous power in the mass media: both news and entertainment. Also an understanding of the ZPC expertise in heaping disparagement on any official or public figure who points out its power in the U.S. and its penchant for violence, sadism, land-grabbing, and paranoia in the Mideast is crucial to grasp.

    Once a majority of Americans come to understand all this, it’ll be much easier to dismantle the Zionist operation that’s been ethnically cleansing Palestinians for a few generations now.

    • robert e williamson jr
      August 16, 2023 at 17:39

      Bravo Mr. Hunkins! I would like to bestow much thanks to you for what you have written here. In five and one half short lines you have defined and identified the one group responsible for disrupting and other wise damaged our Democratic Republic and what is left of it!

      In my humble opinion once the individual finds comfort in being forgiven for even the most horrid of behaviors by the all empowered deity, that miss guided individual can become a danger to himself and others.

      I’m not sure how well you know the story but I can help you get a slight grip on the history here.

      If you simply wiki Christian Zionism and wiki the Reformation you will be off to the races.

      First things first. Christian Zionists believe that before there can be a “second coming event” the Jews must return to the Holy Land. A belief that became popular during the Reformation. The Reformation being a major movement in Western Christianity.

      The Reformation evidently posed a catalyst for this change. Interesting to note that the Reformation was an event in 16th Century Europe during which Western Christianity challenged the Catholic Church both politically and religiously into . After experiencing a “trickle down” thought the 17 century, the Zionist Christian support did not surface widely until the 1840’s in England. English Jews at the time were not impressed evidently.

      The bottom line is these events were religious in nature and something that I believe the U.S. Constitution states should be kept separate.

      Now the Disclaimer. On using the wiki, I’m too damned old and tired to do research on subjects others do much better. Having said that, should someone decide to do some research on the subject one of the first things to do is ferret out who is Zionist in our government and who is not.

      Then investigate who gets political donations from Zionist organizations and others of that ilk. A change in the Citizens United ruling might make that possible. Any way the wiki provides sources and methods that work for me.

      At any rate the last I saw was fewer and fewer Americans are sympathetic to the Israelis.

      One last shot, any organized religious group should be forbidden from donating to Any political election fund!!!!
      Why? I my humble opinion, because religious gatherings for any group can be inclined to be political in nature.

      Once all the devoutly religious baby boomers die off maybe the tables will be turned. The level of self deception in this group is mind blowing.

      Thanks CN

        August 17, 2023 at 00:12

        Except that Zionism is a political and not a religious movement. Christian Zionism may be said to be both.

  27. ray Peterson
    August 15, 2023 at 15:02

    Thanks Chris, this needed to be said just in case the name
    Kennedy offers hope to a younger generation not having
    seen his uncle’s (JFK) brains blown out, and his father
    shot to death while campaigning.
    One might think these personal experiences would
    lead Robert Jr. to suspect those murderous American
    power elites that so heartily support Israel’s murderous rulers.
    But you exposed established media’s “political language” which
    makes “murder respectable” (George Orwell, “Why I Write”).

  28. August 15, 2023 at 14:58

    JFK’s nephew, RFK Jr., is obviously no profile in courage.

    • ray Peterson
      August 16, 2023 at 09:06

      Well said MikeH

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