Thursday, 9 June 2011

Lewd photos, online sex, and support for Israel: what the media don't report on 'Weinergate'

By Richard Edmondson

Anthony Weiner, referred to somewhat laughingly as an “Internet rat” by one of some six women to whom he sent explicit photos of himself, is a longtime supporter of Israel. But somehow the media seem to keep glossing over this fact.

The “Weinergate” scandal engulfed the New York Democrat on May 28 when news leaked concerning a lewd photo sent from Weiner’s Twitter account and directed to a female 21-year-old college student in Seattle. The photo was a close-up shot of a man’s crotch.

Refusing to acknowledge whether the picture was of himself, the congressman initially denied posting the image and claimed his account had been “hacked.” But then in a dramatic press conference on June 6, Weiner confessed, “The photo was of me and I sent it.” He additionally admitted to having “exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.”

One of those women is Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old nursing student living in Texas, who initially spilled the beans on Weiner to conservative blogger Andrew Brietbart, and then later to ABC News. According to the network,

On May 18, Broussard received an image from the RockOh77 account that shows a man's erect penis. Two days later, she received a shot of a bare-chested man sitting at an office desk. The man in the photo shares facial features with Weiner, and personal photographs in the background resemble his known acquaintances.

The network has posted online an “exclusive slideshow” of images supplied by Broussard, which the young mother of a three-year-old toddler says began to be exchanged between herself and the Congressman starting on April 20. Material handed over to ABC, which Broussard reportedly “licensed” to the network for a fee of $10,000-$15,000, is said to include “dozens of photos, emails, Facebook messages and cell phone call logs.”

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It is perhaps the biggest news item in America right now, and the mainstream media have been playing it up for all it’s worth. Think back to Monica and Bill or the O.J. trial. The Weinergate story has gotten that level of saturation. While some of these stories have indeed mentioned the fact that Weiner is Jewish, what almost invariably never gets reported is the congressman’s longstanding support for Israel.

Other ‘Weinergate’ photos of interest:


Israel is our ‘closest ally’ and the West Bank is ‘not occupied’

Weiner was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, and over the years has voted to give away billions of dollars to Israel, this while drawing a congressional salary currently standing at $174,000 per year. In 2002, he voted to give the Bush administration authorization to go to war with Iraq, a war which has been, and continues to be, fought largely in Israel’s interest. While he later claimed he regretted the vote, he has not been shy or reticent about his support for the Zionist state. In June of last year, for instance, Weiner gave a speech in Times Square in which he defended Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla and its massacre of 9 people aboard the Mavi Marmara.

In April of last year, Weiner joined with New York Senator Charles Schumer in lambasting the Obama administration for being too hard on the Zionist state for its criticism of its illegal settlements.

“Israel is our closest ally in the region, yet they continue to receive more criticism than deserved and less support than is required.”

“Instead of continuing to lash out publicly at our closest ally, the Obama Administration should be listening to what Senator Schumer says. Schumer is right, and the White House is wrong on Israel.”

Weiner’s comments came roughly a month after Israel, during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, announced the future construction of 1,600 new Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem, an announcement whose timing was largely viewed as an insult to the vice president. Also about to get under way in Israel at roughly the same time of the Biden visit—the resumption of the civil trial brought by the parents of Rachel Corrie.

Approximately a year later, in March 2011, Weiner spent a portion of the day fielding questions from the public over several social media websites. The questions raised covered a variety of issues, one of them having to do with Weiner’s “unconditional support” for Israel. The Gothamist website quoted from his posted reply on the matter:

i (sic) dont (sic) think i let anyone slide - including my own beloved nation. but i proceed with a set of values that leads me to support Israel strongly: i support democracies. i support nations that have thriving debate and press freedoms. i support nations that respect women. and i support nations that support the rule of law.

Israel is not perfect. but they are surrounded by violent enemies.

the plight of the Palestinians is untenable. i pray for two states living side by side in peace. but that can happen only through negotiation.

Not only is the plight of the Palestinians “untenable,” but in 2006, Weiner actually proposed barring the Palestinian delegation to the U.N. on the grounds that the PLO is listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization. In pontificating on the matter, he asserted that the delegation “should start packing their little Palestinian terrorist bags.”

Weiner has even gone so far as to assert that the West Bank is not occupied. Watch the incredible clip below taken from a debate on the Goldstone Report in which he participated earlier this year.

All of the above would suggest an almost fanatical loyalty to the state of Israel, yet somehow none of this seems to get mentioned in the media’s coverage of the Weiner sex scandal. ( ABC, for instance, doesn’t mention it in their lengthy story on the matter.) We can well imagine the situation would be quite different were Weiner a supporter of, say, Iran. But staunch Zionist and Washington Post blogger Jenifer Rubin finds it objectionable that anyone would mention the fact that Weiner is even Jewish. Rubin, whose inane commentaries provide us with examples of hasbara at its perhaps most comical, proclaims herself “dumfounded and dismayed that Weiner’s religion should enter into the discussion.”

But of course, Israel’s characterization of itself as the “Jewish state,” along with its embezzlement of $3 billion per year from the U.S. Treasury, are what make such a discussion not only warranted and valid, but even highly desirable and necessitous. Plus, it would also appear that no less than Weiner himself has something of an infatuation with his own Jewishness. The following comes from The Atlantic, the text appearing on the same page with the photos of the scandal-plagued Democrat taken from his high school year book and bar mitzvah.

The top photo, from high school, serves as the avatar for Weiner’s now-infamous Twitter account, which the congressman hasn’t used since last Wednesday. Weiner tweeted the photo last August. As Politico’s Maggie Haberman noted at the time, Weiner boasted in a (non-lewd) tweet exchange with NY Daily News’s Celeste Katz, “honor the jewfro ‘70s style!”

This past February, Weiner tweeted the 1977 bar mitzvah photo to commemorate reaching his 10,000th Twitter follower. Weiner posted it to his yfrog account, on which all his photos now seem to have been deleted. Fortunately, The Hill’s Jordan Fabian re-posted it.

On domestic issues such as health care, Weiner has taken somewhat progressive stands, a fact which seems to have made him popular with writers leaning toward the liberal side of the political spectrum. In a column which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Benzingza’s Luci Morland said Weiner “has been a force for good in his district, representing their liberal viewpoint in Congress” and predicted he would recover from the scandal with his political career intact. The headline under the Morland piece seems to have been deliberately humorous: “Weiner will rise again.”

The 'Internet rat'

In addition to his exchanges with Broussard, Weiner also apparently has had a thing for an attractive blonde who goes by the name of Ginger Lee, identified in most reports as a “former porn star.” Indeed, a Google Images search under Lee’s name turns up quite a number of sexually provocative images of the young woman who, according to TMZ, was coached by Weiner on how to lie to the media about their relationship. From the TMZ report:

Weiner and former porn star Ginger Lee exchanged scores of sexual emails over a long period of time. When the underwear scandal broke on May 28, Lee began receiving calls from the media, and Weiner was more than happy to help her control the situation ... by lying.

On June 2, Weiner emailed Lee, "Do you need to talk to a professional PR type person to give u advice?  I can have someone on my team call. [Yeah, my team is doing great. Ugh]."

It's unclear if Weiner's PR team is from his Congressional staff. If so, Weiner could run afoul of House Ethics Rules as well as the law. Weiner put on a full court press, urging Lee to lie about their relationship. On June 1, he emailed her: "The key is to have a short, thought out statement that tackles the top line questions and then refer people back to it. Have a couple of iterations of: 'This is silly. Like so many others, I follow Rep. Weiner on Twitter. I don't know him and have never met him. He briefly followed me and sent me a dm saying thank you for the follow. That's it.'"

In the case of Broussard, a significant part of the relationship seems to have been social media chats, the sizzling exchanges getting started on April 20 when the nursing student “liked” a YouTube clip of a Weiner speech posted on the congressman’s Facebook page. According to ABC, Broussard, described as “disinterested in politics and previously unaware of Weiner,” commented that the video was “hotttt”—whereupon the congressman “almost immediately” added her as a Facebook friend:

The relationship between Broussard and Weiner only ventured out of the digital world once, she said, when a man identifying himself as Weiner called by phone from a number associated with Weiner’s New York congressional office on the afternoon of May 18.

“The day he called he just said, ‘Who in the world would be acting like me?’ laughing about it,” she said.

“You’re an internet rat, aren’t you?” Broussard said she asked him, to which Weiner just sort of giggled.

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