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Trying to explain the Tea Party in Israel

Trying to explain the Tea Party in Israel

Another in my ongoing posts from Israel:

We previously covered the failed Palestinian attempt to get a French court to stop the Jerusalem light rail project which was being constructed in part by French contractors.  It’s a part of the continuing lawfare against Israel.

Commenter Vince suggested that I check out the light rail project, and bemoaned the fact that he had not yet been on it:

If you get a chance when you’re in Jerusalem take a ride on their light rail system.  It’s a relatively modern overhead line system with 23 stops that runs approximately 14 km long. I have all of the stops geocoded if you would like that? I’m a bit of a light rail buff.. my goal is to ride all of them!  Haven’t made it to Israel yet :(

I can’t make your wish come true, Vince, so here’s the best I can do:

Jerusalem Light Rail

(Jerusalem Light Rail)

I also had the pleasure of meeting the famous Carl in Jerusalem, of Israel Matzav, with whom my wife and I shared a (soft) drink around noon today:

William A. Jacobson and Carl in Jerusalem

(Me and Carl in Jerusalem, in Jerusalem)

In the evening we attended a visual history of Jerusalem projected onto the walls of the area below the Tower of David in the Old City.  I don’t have photos of the light show (but some are here), as photography was not permitted, but here is the Tower of David and the area below:

Tower of David - Jerusalem

(Tower of David – Jerusalem)

(Tower of David outer walls - Jerusalem)

(Tower of David outer walls – Jerusalem)

I also had an interesting conversation about how the Tea Party is perceived in Israel with someone in Israeli government many of you would recognize (but who has to remain anonymous by agreement).  I described LI’s readership as “conservative/Tea Party, mostly non-Jewish, very pro-Israel.”

The concern expressed by this person was that the Tea Party movement represented an isolationist movement bent on retrenching from engagement in the world. The person commented that American withdrawal leaves a vacuum that will be filled by Iran, Hezbollah, and other bad actors.

I explained my view that such a perception confuses and conflates the Ron Paul approach with the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement, I explained, was not isolationist, it simply was not a movement focused on foreign policy — which is a big difference from an active desire to withdraw from the world.

I further explained that there was no better friend of Israel than Tea Party supporters, and that the goal of limited government does not translate as easily into foreign affairs. It’s not so much that the Tea Party movement is against foreign assistance, it’s that we’re against foreign assistance to people who don’t like us and are not our friends.  By analogy, seeking to curtail wasteful spending, pork projects and the entitlement state does not mean we support no government.

The person acknowledged that the perception of the Tea Party movement in Israel may be a result of how some people want the Tea Party to be perceived, and pointed to Ted Cruz’s visit to Israel and strong support of Israel as an example of the point I was trying to make.

Sound accurate to you?

This didn’t really surprise me.  If a foreign official relies on American mainstream media for news about American politics, that foreign official will receive a biased and inaccurate portrayal of the Tea Party movement.

If I changed the perception of one person in a position of influence, it was worth the trip.

Prior posts from my ongoing trip to Israel:


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Juba Doobai! | July 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm

“Carl and I”, Wm.

Great pics!

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Juba Doobai!. | July 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Ah, the Philistines are out and about!

      LOL 🙂

      It appears that you got some down thumbs because you corrected bad grammar with equally bad grammar.

      The Professor is correct in saying ‘me’ but to be completely polite and proper he should have referred to Carl first.

        Juba Doobai! in reply to Joy. | July 24, 2013 at 12:07 am

        You are wrong on that, dear Joy. What you have in Wm’s caption is a compound subject: “Carl and I” which he wrote as “Me and Carl”, popular usage but wrong nevertheless. Here’s why.

        Let’s use that compound subject in a sentence: “Carl and I are sitting here taking a picture”. With the error it is this: “Me and Carl are sitting here taking a picture”.

        Now, let’s make that caption a single subject: “I”. Put it into a sentence: “I am sitting here with Carl taking a picture”. Replace that with “I” with “me” and you have: “me am sitting here with Carl taking a picture”.

        The basic rule of English grammar concerning this is: “I” is the first person singular subject pronoun. “Me” is the first person singular object pronoun and is not to be used as a subject pronoun. In the same way, the ubiquitous “myself”, a reflexive pronoun used for emphasis, is not and should not be used as a subject pronoun.

        I got the two thumbs down because some people hate to see grammar corrected. They call those of us who do it “grammar Nazis”. That is high praise, indeed.

          I beg to differ fellow “grammar Nazi”

          “Carl and I are sitting here taking a picture” is a descriptive sentence explaining the circumstance that caused the picture to be taken.

          The caption under the picture does not say that….it simply points out Who is in the picture so the only fault I see is that to be polite Carl’s name should have been written first.

          If you insist that there be a whole sentence as a caption using the word ‘I’ he could have written ‘Carl and I are in this picture’ but equally fine would be ‘This is a picture of Carl and me’.

          Isn’t Grammar fun?

          Juba Doobai! in reply to Juba Doobai!. | July 24, 2013 at 8:01 am

          Joy, you’re still wrong on the point of grammar. BTW, all I did was create an examplar to demonstrate the point. So, even if there is no sentence, “Carl and I” is still grammatically correct. Also, the classification of the sentence has no bearing on the the proper parsing of its elements; therefore, the grammar concerning what is subject and object remains unchanged.

          “This is a picture of Carl and me” is not in the same syntactical relationship as “This is Carl and I.” In your example, both “Carl” and “me” are correct as objects and can be restated ‘him and me'” while “This” and “picture” are the subject. However, in the second example, “This is Carl and I” the linking verb “is” connects words that are the subject. The basic rule still holds: the object pronoun “me” is not a substitute for the subject pronoun “I”.

          Grammar is indeed fun. Logical and challenging fun. It is the science of English.

          LondonTrader in reply to Juba Doobai!. | July 24, 2013 at 11:27 am

          I was always taught to leave the third party out of the sentence to see which is correct. In this case “Me in Jerusalem” is correct whereas “I in Jerusalem” is not.

          Therefore “Carl and me in Jerusalem”.

    JoAnne in reply to Juba Doobai!. | July 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Don’t commas go inside the quotation marks? And I agree with London Trader. Doesn’t make me right but it is how I was taught!

moonstone716 | July 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Carl, you’re correct on your website where you say “I don’t look it!” 🙂 Keep up the good work.

LukeHandCool | July 23, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Carl looks like he’d be good in arm-wrestling and chess.

I have to agree with all your points in this post, Professor.

No way in the world can America and the world afford for America ever to be isolationist. As a self-identified tea partier (and always a beer partier), I’d like to see us become much friendlier with our allies and much more intimidating to our enemies.

I was talking to a lovely black lady at work recently about the entrenched problems of inner city blacks in America.

I told her I thought one thing that could help teach self-discipline and self-respect to so many young black men from broken homes and help break the intergenerational transmission of a poverty of values would be to start a required two-year stint in the military for everyone like they have in Singapore, South Korea, and Israel.

When I mentioned Israel she said, “Oh, our church group went to Israel. We have some great pictures of our group with these Israeli women soldiers with their guns!”

I find that African Americans who are serious Christians like this lady tend to feel much more affinity towards Israel. Another black lady I work with is also lovely in every way … and served in our military. I rest my case.

Carl IS “famous” BUT you leave out a guy by the name of Jacobson, who is just as “famous”. ‘Cause I happen to remember a recent poll of conservative bloggers. Something ooo, law, I think.. 🙂

Carol Herman | July 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Israeli civilians now have bigger problems than what Tea Party people think and do. They’ve seen Bibi cave in to the thug in the white house!

You know how the thug operates. He tries to push you off balance by punching you in the nose. While, perhaps, Bibi has learned to “dance like a butterfly?” Can he “sting like a bee?”

Israel is a really small nation. It seems to know how to control the skies above. And, the sea, with a submarine built, no less, in Germany! An awareness of military prowess far beyond (let’s hope), what the obomination brings to the table. Since if it’s in the hands of people like General Dempsey, staying home ain’t such a bad idea.

Plus, I guess, if I were in Israel, I’d want to find out how the “locals” feel about what’s happening in Egypt? Especially since it seems the Muslim Brotherhood is on the ropes, no?

How about the Russians, and their mischief? Plenty of Jewish Russians around to ask.

Maybe, the other question is … seems politics is very IRRATIONAL. Which excludes Tea Party members, fer shur.

But if you were to grab a teet that was underneath the political beast … it would squirt out “irrationality” like nobody’s business.

What a wonderful trip you are on! And, I really, really, love the pictures! Am I missing anything? Yeah. What are the headlines in the English language newspapers. And, have you met anyone who is fluent in Russian and English, so you can ascertain their views to share with us?

That’s really a GREAT picture of you, Professor!

Juba Doobai! | July 23, 2013 at 7:20 pm

That person you talked to was not Tzippi Livni. I’d eat my maozi if it were. Accurate depiction of TP and your readership.

I’m not Jewish but am very interested in and supportive of Israel. I’ve been reading Israel Matsav for years and appreciate being able to see “Carl’s” visage. Thank you for introducing me to Anne. Have a great trip!

Hey thanks for the pic! She’s a real beauty. Nothing else quite like it in nature.. the rolling steel and feeling the vibrations in your toes.

Bill, I am so jealous I can’t even tell you. I visited Israel twice in the early 90’s and had an absolute blast. Your posts make me want to go back so bad, it is now on the list. Thanks for the great posts and keep up the good work!

Oh and I agree with your views on the Tea Party (which I share) and I also agree that is a great picture of you – Israel is good for you I think!

[…] In case you haven’t heard, Professor William Jacobson is on vacation in Israel. How is he spending his well earned break? By trying to explain the Tea Party in Israel. […]

You might suggest to your Israeli acquaintances that they spend far more time on the American blogs and conservative websites, rather than TV. That is, if they really want to know what tea party is all about.

I wouldn’t trust the LSM to feed the dog, assuming I wanted the dog to live.

Ron Paul’s isolationist policy would actually be better for Israel than any policy the US has had over the past 65 years. Paul wants the US to stop funding and arming Israel’s enemies, and stop interfering with Israel’s policy and defense options. That alone would be the best thing for Israel. American interference has been a curse for Israel since at least 1956. Paul wants to let Israel defend itself in whatever way it thinks right and necessary.

That he also wants to stop funding Israel is also for the good, because the money has been addicting. Israel would be better off without it.

    Vascaino in reply to Milhouse. | July 24, 2013 at 11:45 am

    It seems that with hindsight one can say that what Ron Paul wants Foggy Bottom doesn’t.

    Barry Rubin on PJM
    “Fact checking Newt Gingrich”

    Ends with:
    ” Yet ABC and everyone else missed the real bombshell in what Gingrich said: “For a variety of political reasons we [the United States] have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it’s tragic.”

    It would be fascinating to hear Gingrich expand on that point. “

    mzk in reply to Milhouse. | July 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Yes, but Paul also want the US to allow unrestricted trade. Hey, let’s sell Nukes to the Iranians! I have no doubt he would have sold weapons to the Nazis. Also, he seems to wants to force theocratic rules on the US defense policy. (And his people complain about theocracy!)

    ‘Course, he is pro-life. That’s something.

    But the main problem is that Paul, in his heart, hates Israel. Israel needs the US’s diplomatic muscle a thousand times more than it needs its money. And Obama is not forthcoming.

    You aren’t whom I think you are, are you?

      Milhouse in reply to mzk. | July 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Whats’ wrong with free trade? Israel can stand alone if it finds the courage, and if it doesn’t have to fear US hostility. A truly neutral USA would be great.

      Remember that the worst president Israel has experienced was not 0bama or Carter, but Eisenhower, a Republican. Eisenhower screwed Israel in ’56.

      Milhouse in reply to mzk. | July 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      You aren’t whom I think you are, are you?

      That depends on whom you think I am. You’re apparently not the mzk I wildly guessed you might be.

Bill, if you can swing it, you should meet Moshe Feiglin. He seems to be the only true libertarian in the Knesset.

We can but hope that the frugal jews have spent their scarce resources carefully when investing in new light rail services for Jeruselum. Light rail projects in such smart American cities as Nashville, Albuquerque, Phoenix, and Denver are costing taxpayers dearly after enormous capital outlays.

For example, the so-called high-speed New Mexico Rail Runner runs between stations in Albuquerque to Sante Fe and back, its track runs generally parallel to I-25 which carries 80,000 cars daily. On all trains running daily, on average less than 3,400 riders are on the trains or about 1,700 round-trip passengers. The trains take 90 minutes, the highway is a 60 minute drive.

The cost? $1.3 billion over 20 years to build. The revenue? $3.2 million in ticket sales annually against the taxpayer subsidized cost of total $65.3 million. That is a difference equivalent to giving 2000 daily riders a new Prius every year plus gasoline.

    It was way over budget. Part of that was because they used the wrong track for part of it and had to tear it up and start over.

    They also took possession of the cars long before the light rail was ready, which meant they sat around a rail yard gathering dust for a couple of years while the government made principal and interest payments on their purchase price.

It truly makes my heart happy to see you there and representing us so well. Safe travels/travails sir.

Actually,the Israeli’s perception of the Tea Party is kinder than many of my fellow American’s perceptions of us — an artifact of the elite media and the fact the IRS involvement prevented fundraising that might have allowed groups to advertise to counter the message.

Once again, Professor Jacobson correcting the media narrative — one country at a time. 🙂

” he person acknowledged that the perception of the Tea Party movement in Israel may be a result of how some people want the Tea Party to be perceived, and pointed to Ted Cruz’s visit to Israel and strong support of Israel as an example of the point I was trying to make.

Sound accurate to you? ”

Let’s put it this way, many in the Israeli Govt., are as naive about the MSM as many of the citizens are.
Having followed the Tea Party views expressed from its inception I was amazed at some of the opinions the “pundits”, most certainly gleaned from the NYT, CNN and co., expressed on TV.

It’s a real pity that influential Americans don’t come forward to correct this and point out the facts and stop confusing the man in the street.
If the man in the street in Israel has the facts it’s harder for those in govt., to avoid the work to get better intel.

By the way if were in TA half an hour ago you would have heard the sirens – just another drill, sigh!

BY the way Prof., may I presume you’ll be meeting with Barry Rubin?

Welcome to Israel!

Quite some time ago I was passing through the restaurant downstairs from where I work in Yoqneam Ilit (see the book of Joshua), and instead of having the food channel, they had a political discussion.

I saw, “this government (before the last elections) has a bit of Mishte The”. I thought a bit – Mishte -feast, The, tea – Tea Party! 🙂

Look, even the word “conservative” (shamrani) sounds ugly in Hebrew. The US is unique in that “conservative” is more popular than “liberal”.

On the other hand, even though the Knesset still debates capitalism vs. socialism, in practice we’ve dismantled much of the socialist structure, taking us from the third world (believe me, I remember) to the first.

    Milhouse in reply to mzk. | July 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    If you work in Yoqneam then I assume you live in the north, and I hardly know anyone there, so I’m probably not whoever you think I am. But I don’t know.