February 26, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Twenty years ago, Bill Clinton was shaky: the then-president had to go through in impeachment process based solely on his extra-marital relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a 27-year-old scholarship recipient. Clinton survived the trial, led by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. Lewinsky almost didn’t make it. In 1998, she was used as a weapon by the prosecutor and the media. At the age of 24, an unpaid scholarship holder saw every facet of her life dissected or reinvented. How, Lewinsky recalls in Vanity Fair,”in the Washington Post alone 125 articles appeared on the subject, only in the first 10 days.”
Two decades later, after a fortuitous encounter with Starr, Lewinsky has decided to contribute her vision. She has done so, in the first person, for Vanity Fair, by recalling those days in 1998, when the Internet first became the seed of fake news, a viral propagator and source of harassment. In a steamroller that crushed the line “between facts and opinions, news and gossip, private lives and public moral judgments. The Internet was already such a driving force behind the information flow that, when the House Judiciary Committee decided to publish Ken Starr’s findings online -two days after I had received them- it meant to me that every adult with a modem could read my private conversations, my personal thoughts (taken from my computer) and, worse, my sex life.”
Lewinsky talks about the infamous Starr Report, achieved among other things when “a group of FBI agents – Starr was not present – cornered a 24-year-old girl in a Pentagon room and told her she faced 27 years in prison if she didn’t cooperate. That “they threatened to impute my mother (if I didn’t tell them about the private confidences I had given her), that they let it slip that they would investigate my father’s medical career, and even interrogated my aunt, with whom I was having dinner [the night the FBI went after Lewinsky],”.
The media, fed by “anonymous sources and online rumors that arose daily, all false or irrelevant”, dragged through public opinion the figure of a young woman who, at the age of 22, entered into a “consensual” relationship with a 49-year-old married man. Or all the spoilage that can be the relationship with someone who “was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years older than me, with enough life experience to know that it wasn’t right. That he was at the top of his career while I was in my first position after college. Lewinsky says that even if the relationship was consensual, it is now that she begins to realize the “incredible abuse of authority and power” that Clinton exercised.
But there was something worse, something that has changed for the better. During the whole Lewinsky case, those rumors appeared in the media, either Starr’s point of view, or Clinton’s, or that of hundreds of talk shows, but not Lewinsky’s, who “was not allowed to speak legally. She had no support, no way to tell her story or defend herself “as any woman today can do by sharing her story by tagging it with #MeToo and immediately welcoming her into the tribe. (…) Support networks on the Internet were something that did not exist at the time. Power, in that case, was still in the hands of the president, Congress, prosecutors and the press.
Lewinsky was alone. “Publicly alone. Abandoned. Without support, much less the main figure [Clinton]”. She has even been recognized as “one of the founders of the #MeToo movement”. And that marks the change of an era: Lewinsky was by no means a victim of sexual abuse (something that Lewinsky herself has defended from the beginning). But she did suffer multiple abuses of power, both before and during and after her relationship with Clinton. Responsibility. Of a game between two men, Starr and Clinton, with their media choirs. Subjected to an infinite “gas lighting” by all those who had placed a 24-year-old girl at the center of a public narrative. Lewinsky had no public voice. Lewinsky was what others said she was,”until I couldn’t question my narrative internally or internally.
And that’s what has changed today: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the heroines of #MeToo and Time’s Up. Because their movements speak volumes about the pernicious conspiracies of silence that for so long have protected powerful men when it comes to abuse of power, harassment and sexual abuse. Lewinsky concludes by recalling a Mexican proverb she’s been told quite a few times during these months:”They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds. And for Lewinsky, Time’s Up and #MeToo is proof that spring has arrived.
(Taken from Vanity Fair)
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Everyone knows about Israel’s close relationship with the United States. It is enough to observe that in all the votes in the UN General Assembly, no matter how committed it is to Washington, Israel seconds the superpower no matter how far removed they both are from the general consensus.
That’s why the phenomenon is so interesting that it was reflected in a report by Ramzy Baroud, a writer and journalist specializing in Middle Eastern issues, in a work published in the Palestine Chronicle entitled “The Boomerang Effect”.
Baroud points out that, despite the massive sums invested by Israel to maintain public opinion in its favor in the U. S., there are currently unmistakable trends in the polls that show a change. The dynamics of support for Israel by the average American citizen is changing, even among those who are Jewish, which is of great concern to the Israeli government.
Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, Israel’s affinity with the EEAU grew to unprecedented levels. The attacks, media discourse and subsequent wars evoked the support of many evangelical Protestant Christians. They see the widening of the conflict in the Middle East as part of the long-awaited biblical prophecy that, according to them, was fulfilled with the establishment of the State of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government exploited every opportunity it had to maximize support for the goals deemed important by the right. Meanwhile, to the ultra-right and religious parties in Israel, Netanyahu’s vain and confrontational style has alienated the support of many Democrats. Netanyahu’s policies of strengthening the occupation, blocking any peace efforts and expanding illegal Jewish settlements also began to undermine the support that Israel has always taken for granted from American Jews.
But in January 2018, statistics among American Jews have plummeted even further.
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a recent study by the Brand Israel Group “support for Israel among Jewish students in the US fell by 32% between 2010 and 2016.
The perception that Jewish Americans constitute an isolated group that supports Israel regardless of their political tendencies is no longer sustained. Jewish communities in the United States are changing, as is the entire nation.
The number of those who identified themselves as “liberal” in the US has risen from 27% to 41% between 2000 and 2015.
This change has been accompanied by growing sympathy for the Palestinians, as indicated by a May 2016 Pew survey. More liberal Democrats said they were more sympathetic to the Palestinians (40%) than to Israel (33%). Analysts then concluded that disenchantment with Israel stemmed from differences between Netanyahu and Barack Obama over issues such as Israel’s illegal settlement expansion and the nuclear agreement with Iran.
The trend continued, because, when an issue becomes part of partisan politics, it becomes polarized, explains Baraud. For decades, Israel had been considered the only issue on which all Americans agreed, but this is no longer the case and Netanyahu has played an important role in this change.
The tendency among liberal Democrats was counterbalanced by another tendency among Republicans who adopted the cause of Israel as their own. While Christian evangelicals were able to make unconditional support for Israel an indispensable requirement for any candidate seeking their support, the Israeli cause has ceased to be an issue demanded by Democrats.
A Pew survey indicates that “the Democratic liberals who support Palestinians more than Israel have almost doubled since 2014 (from 21% to 40%) and are higher than at any other time since 2001. Of all Democrats, only 33% sympathized with Israel, according to the 2017 Pew poll.
This was the “first time in history” that has divided “almost half the number of those who support Israel and those who support the Palestinians.”
And, just as support for the Palestinians grew among Democrats, so did the gap between the two major parties. According to the most recent Pew 2018 poll, while Republican support for Israel remains high, a troubled 79% of Democrats’ support for Israel sank to just 27%.
Certainly, Netanyahu has embedded Israel in the heart of polarized US policy. Although he has achieved short-term successes (such as US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city) it has damaged the American consensus on Israel “and this raises hopes,” Baraud concludes.
March 1 st, 2018.