‘Hardball’ Guest: Trump Has Followed the ‘Zionist Movement’ in Taking Jerusalem from Arabs

Ahead of President Trump’s official announcement on Wednesday that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, Arab American Institute president James Zogby appeared on Tuesday’s Hardball to uncork a series of anti-Israeli tirades against “the Zionist movement” and Trump continually breaking the hearts of Palestinians over Jerusalem. 

Zogby was so unhinged by the end of the segment that host Chris Matthews had to inform him that he didn’t “agree with everything you said,” but the two were on the same page at the start as Matthews wondered if the President’s decision was “just cheap politics” or paying off “the evangelical community down in the south.”

 

 

Zogby agreed with both, adding that “people across the Arab World and the Muslim world who will be angered and also fearing it” because “Jerusalem is a symbol” that belongs to Muslims (and, presumably, not the Israelis). 

“[B]ut it represents to Arabs and Muslims, I think, the wound in the heart that never healed after a century of being manipulated by international players, by the imperial powers and then by the Zionist movement, taking control of this city, locking people out and then finally, the U.S. recognizing it. That is devastating and I think a very irresponsible and dangerous move by the President,” Zogby bemoaned.

Matthews came at the story from the opinion of “everything” in Jerusalem” being “interwinded” with Arabs, Christians, and Jews, but “it works.” Being so firmly pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic over the years (despite his assertions otherwise), that didn’t sit well with Zogby.

“It actually doesn't, though because here's the problem. Since Israel built the wall and closed off Jerusalem, you have literally served the heart of Palestine from its people. It’s the metropol. It was the place where people went to shop, where people to school, where people went to hospital, where they went for their social and political events and then it got cut off,” Zogby exclaimed. 

Of course, Zogby left out the fact that Israel was invaded in 1967 and the result was Israel securing eastern Jerusalem plus one of their holiest sites (the Western Wall). Not surprisingly, he touted a poll that claimed “39 percent of people in Jerusalem” say they or their families “have been brutalized by violence” from either “settlers” (read: Israelis) “or the Israeli military.” 

Matthews briefly interjected to ask what the President’s decision would translate to in the Arab World before allowing Zogby to continue:

ZOGBY: It basically means that the U.S. is doing what no other nation on Earth has done, which is recognizing Israel's hold on Jerusalem — 

MATTHEWS: All of it.

ZOGBY: — which the international community hasn't done and hasn’t done it —

MATTHEWS: All of it.

ZOGBY: — because in 1948, Jerusalem was supposed to be an international city and Israel broke that. In addition to that, Israel claims East Jerusalem, which is not East Jerusalem, it’s 28 Palestinian villages and a huge swatch of land where they built settlements and say this is now Jerusalem. It is committed as a violation of international law, which is actually recognized as a violation of international law by the world community. So I don't know what Trump is recognizing right now. What I know is he's playing with fire. It's a dangerous and irresponsible game and there will be consequences, very serious consequences and I don't know if he cares. 

Matthews stated that he didn’t fully agree with Zogby, but he did agree about there being dangerous consequences to the point that “[p]eople are going to die now because of what was said today” by the President.

Zogby’s radicalism is well documented. The Weekly Standard’s Jenna Lefhits perhaps best encapsulated his views in a May 2016 piece about his appointment to the 2016 Democratic National Convention’s platform committee as a Bernie Sanders supporter: 

Zogby is a long-time Israel critic. In 1996, his organization AAI supported a D.C. rally at which protesters sported signage with phrases like “Peres and Hitler Are the Same. The Only Difference Is the Name” and “Israel the hate state.” Years later, in May of 2011, he compared the “plight of the Palestinians” to the Holocaust.

“To ignore this reality is to invite disaster,” he wrote. Zogby is also an advocate of the far left group Boycott Divest Sanctions (BDS), and has called the movement “a legitimate and moral response to Israeli policy” and Israel's “bullying tactics.”

(....)

Zogby, too, has called Netanyahu “weak,” “fearful,” and a bully with “shameful” behavior. He also said that Bibi's 1996 election win was “tragic” and compared it to the Communist Party winning in the Soviet Union.

Zogby's left-wing stance on Israel falls in line with Sanders', who said in April that the country's self-defense during the 2014 Gaza war was “disproportionate.” Sanders also mistakenly recalled that Israel “indiscriminately” killed “10,000 innocent people,” in the Gaza war, nearly five times the United Nations estimate.

Specificially, he lobbied for the platform to dub Israel “an occupation that humiliates people, that breeds contempt, that breeds anger, despair, and hopelessness that leads to violence.” 

In November 2002, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowry ripped Zogby’s pathetic attacks on the Jewish people and claim that the Saudi government is a bastion of classic liberalism.

In 2015, Zogby appeared on Andrea Mitchell Reports where he lost his marbles, declaring that there will “be hell to pay” if the “panicking” “racist” in Benjamin Netanyahu won reelection. Funny thing is that Netanyahu not only won, but we’re all still here and that part of the world hasn’t completely collapsed.

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Here’s the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on December 5:

MSNBC’s Hardball
December 5, 2017
7:34 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I don't understand. Is this just cheap politics? Is he paying off a debt? Is this for the evangelical community down in the south or who's going to cheer this? 

JAMES ZOGBY: Well, certainly the evangelicals will and some hardliners on the pro-Israel side will, but there'll be people dreading it and fearing it. In Israel, there’ll be people across the Arab World and the Muslim world who will be angered and also fearing it. Jerusalem is a symbol, a critically important symbol not only of religious importance but it represents to Arabs and Muslims, I think, the wound in the heart that never healed after a century of being manipulated by international players, by the imperial powers and then by the Zionist movement, taking control of this city, locking people out and then finally, the U.S. recognizing it. That is devastating and I think a very irresponsible and dangerous move by the President. 

MATTHEWS: Well, Jim, as a kid, I got to live over there for about a month near the Old City, right above Nablus Road, above the Damascus gate. You know that area and I was always impressed being back there a couple of years how everything seems to work. I mean, you’ve got the call to prayer, which is very beautiful. You have the very orthodox Jewish people walking around in the dark hats and very serious and somber going to religion all the time. You've got the Armenians, you’ve got the Christians and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Everything is intertwined. It’s just as it is Bethlehem. Very interwinded, very exact, and it works. What is this going to do?     

ZOGBY: It actually isn’t.

MATTHEWS: What is it going to do to this?

ZOGBY: It actually doesn't, though because here's the problem. Since Israel built the wall and closed off Jerusalem, you have literally served the heart of Palestine from its people. It’s the metropol. It was the place where people went to shop, where people to school, where people went to hospital, where they went for their social and political events and then it got cut off. It's as if you said to Northern Virginia, you can't come to Washington anymore. It not only affected Virginia, but it would affect Washington itself and so, the people in Palestine, in Jerusalem, in Palestinian Jerusalem are largely unemployed. It's a huge unemployment problem. Plus you have thousands of homes that have been demolished by the Israelis and you have a family unification bill where somebody from Jerusalem marries somebody out of Jerusalem, they have to leave if they want to live with their spouse. Their spouse can't come live with them. We just did a poll and we found 39 percent of people in Jerusalem said either that they or family members have been brutalized by violence from settlers or the Israeli military. It is not a pretty picture in the city and it’s something that — 

MATTHEWS: Okay. I just saw Damascus Gate. Jim, I’ve got to break up. Is the implication here in the Arab world, the Islamic world that we have now recognized Jerusalem as the exclusive capitol of Israel, that there'll be no room for a Palestinian capitol as part of Jerusalem? Is that the way it’s going to be read or not?

ZOGBY: It basically means that the U.S. is doing what no other nation on Earth has done, which is recognizing Israel's hold on Jerusalem — 

MATTHEWS: All of it.

ZOGBY: — which the international community hasn't done and hasn’t done it —

MATTHEWS: All of it.

ZOGBY: — because in 1948, Jerusalem was supposed to be an international city and Israel broke that. In addition to that, Israel claims East Jerusalem, which is not East Jerusalem, it’s 28 Palestinian villages and a huge swatch of land where they built settlements and say this is now Jerusalem. It is committed as a violation of international law, which is actually recognized as a violation of international law by the world community. So I don't know what Trump is recognizing right now. What I know is he's playing with fire. It's a dangerous and irresponsible game and there will be consequences, very serious consequences and I don't know if he cares. I'm hoping he wakes up tomorrow, sees something on Fox and Friends, and changes his mind. Who knows how — hoe absolutely unchanged — how unchangeable his mind can be, but this is not a good scene.

MATTHEWS: Well, I don’t agree with everything you said, Jim, but I certainly agree with playing with fire and serious consequences. People are going to die now because of what was said today.


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