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Posted by uscsjp on April 7, 2014

From Democracy Now!

Ambassador: U.S. Will Continue to “Deter Palestinian Action” on Statehood

Israel is threatening “unilateral” action if Palestinians press ahead with statehood moves at the United Nations. The Palestinian Authority applied for membership in 15 international conventions and treaties last week after Israel reneged on a pledge to free Palestinian prisoners. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinian efforts to obtain international recognition “will be answered by unilateral moves [on] our end.” The Obama administration is backing Israel’s opposition to Palestinian statehood efforts. Testifying before a House panel last week, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said trying to “deter Palestinian action … is what we do all the time, and that is what we will continue to do.”

 

–Democracy Now, April 7th, 2014

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/4/7/headlines#478

 

From NPR:

Stay Or Go: How Israeli-Palestinian Peace Would Redefine Home

 

More than 1 million Arabs are citizens of Israel. And over the years, some 350,000 Jewish Israelis have moved to settlements in the West Bank. If the Israelis and Palestinians were to make peace and set a formal border, what would happen to all these people?

The vast majority of Arab Israelis are Palestinian. Most belong to families that either stayed in their homes during the war following Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence or fled to areas that wound up on the western, or Israeli side, of the cease-fire line. They hold Israeli passports and enjoy the rights of citizenship. But many experience discrimination and a challenging sense of dual identity.

The Jewish Israeli settlers in the West Bank live on land east of the 1948 cease-fire line that Israel’s military has occupied since the 1967 war. They have chosen these homes for a variety of reasons: religious, Zionist and economic. Palestinians — and most of the world — consider the 1948 cease-fire line, known as the Green Line, as the basis for a future border dividing Israel and a Palestinian state, and the Jewish settlements, guarded by Israeli soldiers, illegally built in occupied territory.

Like many settlers, Nachum Pechenick wants to continue living in the West Bank. But unlike most others, he is not lobbying for a peace deal that puts his home on the Israeli side of a future border.

Pechenick says he wants to be a Palestinian citizen. Eventually, the 41-year-old wants to serve in the Palestinian parliament.

“It’s a favor for us,” he says. “It’s also a favor for the Palestinians, because minorities are important to democracy.”

He calls it a “simple” concept but admits it would be very difficult to implement, given high emotions on both sides. In Pechenick’s vision, Israeli soldiers would leave. He says real peace would mean that Jews living among Palestinians would not need special protection.

An old-time settler, from the same settlement where Pechenick was born and raised, calls the idea noble, but naive.

Elyakim Haetzni, 87, left Hitler’s Germany as a child and was wounded fighting in Israel in 1948. He moved to Kiryat Arba, a settlement next to the West Bank city of Hebron, to help rebuild a Jewish presence in the area after Israel captured the city in 1967. He is determined to stay where he is, as an Israeli citizen under Israeli protection.

If the Israeli government signs a peace deal, he says, “they must stipulate how they protect us. If the stipulation is the Arab party undertakes to protect the life of the Jews, then we can already write our wills.”

He laughs — a robust guffaw — when he says this.

Palestinian officials say they would welcome any individual to apply for Palestinian citizenship, but they insist the Jewish settlements won’t stay.

They’re not sure how they would view an individual like Pechenick — a second-generation settler who has built his home in an “outpost” settlement, considered illegal even by the Israeli government, yet who works with Palestinians on joint projects for peace.

Pechenick’s motivation to stay put isn’t, in his words, “to control the land.”

“I want to stay here because I love my motherland,” he says. “I want to be here where it’s a good neighborhood with my Palestinian neighbor.”

On the other side of the fence-and-wall barrier Israel built in and around the West Bank, Arab Israelis are having a similar debate. If they had a chance to live in an independent Palestinian state, would they?

Yassar Shpeta would move as soon as the state was created. An Israeli citizen, he is tired of feeling a stranger in his own country, he says.

“The way authorities treat me, they give me the feeling I am not welcome here,” he says. “When I’m leaving through the airport, I get special treatment. When my house was robbed I got different treatment from the police. I feel that I need to fight for everything.”

Shpeta, 56, lives in a mixed Arab-Jewish community in Israel specifically designed to promote peace. He is married to a Jewish Israeli woman — and he’s not sure she’d move to a Palestinian state with him. Still, that wouldn’t stop him, he says.

“I hope there would be a relationship between the two states and we could visit each other, but after 56 years in Israel, I think I would feel at home in a Palestinian state,” he says.

Other Palestinian-Israelis say they would stay in Israel.

Zuhair Tibi, a family physician, is also Palestinian-Israeli. He calls discrimination in Israel “structural” and sees it in education, public infrastructure and planning, and job opportunities. But he wouldn’t move to a Palestinian state.

“We can’t do that,” he says. “To move means to leave our home. We can’t leave our home. Because we are deeply connected to this place.”

By “this place,” Tibi doesn’t only mean Taibe, the Arab town in Israel where he was born and still lives today, across the barrier from the West Bank city of Tulkarem. He means places throughout Israel: the old port city of Jaffa where his mother grew up, the beach town of Netanya where he manages a clinic, anywhere he has friends, family or memories. He expects if he chose to live in a new Palestinian state, he’d be cut off from these places, as Palestinians in the West Bank are now.

That’s the case for the extended family of 70-year-old Hussein Jbara. Standing on a dry hillside in Israel, Jbara points to a similar hill on the far side of the Israeli barrier that separates him from family members who live in the West Bank. He says he’s unlikely to move to a Palestinian state because he thinks it would be governed in a way he wouldn’t support.

“Like the Syrian government, like the Jordan kingdom, like Saudi Arabia. My vision is something different … democratic, liberated, industrialized,” Jbara says. “It takes many years to make a Palestinian state like what I want.”

Jbara has lived in Israel his entire life — but it’s possible his property could wind up on the Palestinian side.

Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, proposes drawing a border that would put land that’s home to tens of thousands of Arab-Israelis into Palestinian territory. Israeli legal experts say it would have to be done with Palestinian consent.

Diya Yahaya, a 26-year-old from Taibe, didn’t pay much attention to Lieberman’s proposal. He says talk of reducing Israel’s Arab population is nothing new. He knows he’s glad not to live in the West Bank now. It’s hard to find work there, he says, and under the military occupation, it can be dangerous.

“Sometimes it’s chaos,” he says. “Here, even though we are Arabs in a Jewish state, there’s more security and more opportunity.”

But what if there was no occupation, and Palestinians ran their own country? Yahaya thinks he might feel out of place, as he does when he visits the West Bank now.

“As an Arab-Israeli, I feel discrimination in the West Bank, too,” he says. “They treat me differently. I don’t really feel at home in either place.”

 

–Emily Harris, NPR Parallels Blog, April 3, 2014

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/04/03/298716296/stay-or-go-how-israeli-palestinian-peace-would-redefine-home

 

Posted in Analysis | Leave a Comment »

FIFA threatens to expel Israel over treatment of Palestinian footballers  

Posted by uscsjp on April 6, 2014

 FIFA has threatened to expel Israel over its treatment of Palestinian football players and officials in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Inside World Football website said in a report on Monday that FIFA gave Israel until summer to improve playing conditions and travel for the Palestinian players and officials.

FIFA also warned that Israel would face a complete expulsion from the international federation if it fails to address the issue.

FIFA has launched a mediation task force over the matter.

Palestinian football official Jibril Rajoub has met with FIFA President Sepp Blatter in an effort to resolve the long-term difficulties Palestinian footballers face due to Israel’s policies.

FIFA wants Palestinian and Israeli football officials to sign a formal agreement over the issue at or around the June congress of FIFA. However, Palestinian officials say that the agreement could not be signed while Israelis continue to impose travel permit restrictions on everyone from footballers to consultants.

They also say that such restrictions often keep the Palestinian national team from competing with its complete squad. The bans also restrict hosting games in the occupied West Bank.

Israelis say FIFA has mixed politics and sport.

In January, Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinian football players in the West Bank. Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17, were shot while walking home from a training session in the Faisal al-Husseini Stadium in the town of al-Ram.

The two were told that they might not be able to play again.

 

–Press TV, April 1st, 2014

 

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/04/01/356762/fifa-threatens-to-expel-israel/

 

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, News | Leave a Comment »

Noam Chomsky on the Legacy of Ariel Sharon: Not Speaking Ill of the Dead “Imposes a Vow of Silence” (Democracy Now!)

Posted by uscsjp on January 13, 2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died Saturday at the age of 85 after eight years in a coma. Sharon was one of the most dominant political figures in Israel’s history, involved in each of Israel’s major wars dating back to its founding in 1948. Among Palestinians, Sharon was one of the most reviled political figures in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is seen as father of the settlement movement and an architect of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon that killed a reported 20,000 Palestinian and Lebanese. We discuss Sharon’s legacy with three guests: Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University; and Avi Shlaim, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading scholars on the Israeli-Arab conflict. “There is a convention that you’re not supposed to speak ill of the recently dead, which unfortunately imposes a kind of vow of silence, because there is nothing good to say,” Chomsky says. “He was a brutal killer; he had one fixed idea in mind which drove him all his life: a greater Israel, as powerful as possible, as few Palestinians as possible. … He doubtless showed courage and commitment to pursuing this ideal, which is an ugly and horrific one.”

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin in Israel, where a state funeral was held today in front of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He died Saturday after eight years in a coma. He was 85 years old. He’ll be buried in a state funeral today at his home in southern Israel.

The U.S. was among eight countries—18 countries to send delegations to attend Sharon’s funeral, along with Middle East international envoy Tony Blair and the Russian and German foreign ministers. At a state memorial in Jerusalem, Vice President Joe Biden remembered Sharon as a controversial, but bold military leader and statesman.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: When he told 10,000 Israelis to leave their homes in Gaza in order, from his perspective, to strengthen Israel, I can’t think of a much more controversial—as a student of the Jewish state, I can’t think of a much more difficult and controversial decision been made. But he believed it, and he did it. The security of his people was always Arik’s unwavering mission, a non-breakable commitment to the future of Jews, whether 30 years or 300 years from now.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Vice President Joe Biden speaking during Ariel Sharon’s memorial. Thousands of Israelis came to pay their respects as his coffin lay in state outside the parliament building in Jerusalem. Ministers held a minute’s silence at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting to remember their former leader. This is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: [translated] In all of his latest roles as minister of defense, as minister of housing, minister of infrastructures, minister of foreign affairs, Arik has contributed to the state of Israel and, as much as he could, to the security of Israel, and that’s what he did as Israel’s prime minister. I believe he represents a generation of Jewish leaders who rose from our people with the resumption of our independence. He was tied to the land. He knew the need to protect the land, and he understood that, above all that, our independence is our ability to protect ourselves by ourselves. I believe he will be remembered as one of the prominent leaders and one of the bravest commanders in the heart of Israel forever.

AMY GOODMAN: Ariel Sharon has been one of the most dominant political figures in Israel’s history, involved in each of Israel’s major wars dating back to its founding in 1948. As prime minister, he oversaw Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The Gaza withdrawal caused a serious rift in Sharon’s Likud Party, which led to his departure. He formed a new party, Kadima, which maintained the Gaza disengagement while expanding Israeli control over the major settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank.

Among Palestinians, Sharon was one of the most reviled political figures in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. He’s seen as father of the settlement movement, an architect of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which killed a reported 20,000 Palestinians and Lebanese. An Israeli commission of inquiry found Sharon had indirect responsibility for the massacre of over a thousand Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon in 1982.

To talk about Ariel Sharon’s life and legacy, we’re joined now by three guests. In New York, we’re joined by Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, author of a number of books, including Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East and, just reissued, Under Siege:PLO Decisionmaking During the 1982 War.

Joining us from his home in Massachusetts by phone, Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years. His 1983 book, The Fateful Triangle, is known as one of the definitive works on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

And we are also joined from Oxford by Avi Shlaim, an Emeritus Professor of International Studies at Oxford University, the author of Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations. He served in the Israeli army in the mid-’60s and is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading scholars on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Let’s go first to the Israeli historian, Avi Shlaim. Your response to the death of Ariel Sharon, what you feel he should be remembered for?

AVI SHLAIM: Ariel Sharon is one of the most iconic and controversial figures in Israel’s history. He had deep—he was a deeply flawed character, renowned for his brutality, mendacity and corruption. Despite these character flaws, he is a major figure in shaping Israel’s modern history.

He was one of the five most influential figures who left a deep mark on modern Israel. The first was David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the state, who in 1949 concluded the armistice agreements with the neighboring Arab states, the only internationally recognized borders that Israel has ever had. Second was Levi Eshkol, who, in the aftermath of the June 1967 War, presided over the transformation of Israel from a plucky little democracy into a brutal colonial power. The third was the Likud leader, Menachem Begin, who signed the first peace treaty with an Arab country. He signed the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. The fourth was Yitzhak Rabin, the only Israeli prime minister who went forward on the political front towards the Palestinians, and he did this by signing the Oslo Accord in 1939 and clinching the historic compromise between the two nations with the iconic handshake with Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn.

And finally, there is Ariel Sharon, who always rejected the Oslo peace process, who as prime minister tried to sweep away the remnants of Oslo and forge a new strategy of unilateralism, of giving up on the Palestinians and redrawing unilaterally the borders of greater Israel. So, his legacy can be summed up in one word—unilateralism—acting in defiance of U.N. resolutions, international law and international public opinion. The real question is: How was Ariel Sharon, and how is Israel today under his successors, able to defy the entire international community? And the answer to that is that Israel could not have done it on its own, but it has a little friend, and the friend is the United States of America. But that is a different story.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then get response from Professor Rashid Khalidi and Professor Noam Chomsky, as well as continue our discussion with Israeli historian Avi Shlaim. This is Democracy Now! We’re talking about the death of Ariel Sharon. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking about the death of the former prime minister, Ariel Sharon, who died Saturday after eight years in a coma. He was 85 years old. We are joined by Professor Noam Chomsky in Massachusetts, by Avi Shlaim, the Israeli historian at Oxford University in Britain, and we’re joined here in New York by Rashid Khalidi. Among his books are Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East. He’s the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. You’re also Palestinian. Your response to the death of Ariel Sharon?

RASHID KHALIDI: Well, for me, the most important emotion is a sense of, finally, the man who carried out a war in which 20,000 people were killed, the Lebanon War of 1982, who besieged Beirut, who destroyed building after building, killing scores of civilians in a search to destroy the PLO leadership, has finally left the world. I was in Beirut that summer of 1982. And I—to me, it’s horrific to watch the hagiographies that are being produced by people like Vice President Biden, byThe New York Times, by much of the media, about a man who really should have ended his days at The Hague before the International Criminal Court. He was a man who, from the very beginning of his career, started out killing people. As the commander of Unit 101, he was the man who ordered the Qibya massacre.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain. What is Unit 101?

RASHID KHALIDI: Unit 101 was a military unit of the Israeli army formed at the orders of the Israeli leadership of the time to carry out savage reprisal raids. But we’re talking about dozens of victims. In retaliation for, in this case, two or three people being killed, 69 people had their homes blown up over their heads.

AMY GOODMAN: When was this?

RASHID KHALIDI: This was 1953 in a small village in the—what is today the West Bank. This was the first condemnation of Israel by a Security Council resolution. This was something that the United States at the time was willing to say was a horrible, horrible crime. And this is a man who, since then, really, has only acted on the basis of a belief that force is the only thing the Arabs understand. The idea that he is now considered by some to be a peacemaker is grotesque, frankly.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam Chomsky, you wrote The Fateful Triangle in response to what happened in Lebanon. It changed the discourse for many in this country. First, explain your reaction to the death of Ariel Sharon and what we should understand about him.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, you know, there is a convention that you’re not supposed to speak ill of the recently dead, which unfortunately imposes a kind of vow of silence because there’s nothing else to say—there’s nothing good to say. What both Rashid and Avi Shlaim have said is exactly accurate. He was a brutal killer. He had one fixed idea in mind, which drove him all his life: a greater Israel, as powerful as possible, as few Palestinians as possible—they should somehow disappear—and an Israel which could be powerful enough to dominate the region. The Lebanon War then, which was his worst crime, also had a goal of imposing a client state in Lebanon, a Maronite client state. And these were the driving forces of his life.

The idea that the Gaza evacuation was a controversial step for peace is almost farcical. By 2005, Gaza had been devastated, and he played a large role in that. The Israeli hawks could understand easily that it made no sense to keep a few thousand Israeli settlers in Gaza using a very large percentage of its land and scarce water with a huge IDF, Israeli army, contingent to protect them. What made more sense was to take them out and place them in the West Bank or the Golan Heights—illegal. It could have been done very simply. They could have—the Israeli army could have announced that on August 1st they’re leaving Gaza, in which case the settlers would have piled into the trucks that were provided to them, which would take them from their subsidized homes in Gaza to illegal subsidized homes in other territories that Israel intended to keep, and that would have been the end of it. But instead, a—what Israeli sociologists call, Baruch Kimmerling called an “absurd theater” was constructed to try to demonstrate to the world that there cannot be any further evacuations.

The farce was a successful public relations effort. Joseph Biden’s comments illustrate that. It was particularly farcical when you recognize that it was a virtual replay of what happened in 1982 when Israel was compelled to withdraw from the Egyptian Sinai and carried out an operation that the Israeli press ridiculed as Operation National Trauma 1982: We have to show the world how much we’re suffering by carrying out an action that will benefit our power and our security. And that was the peacemaking effort.

But his career is one of unremitting brutality, dedication to the fixed idea of his life. He doubtless showed courage and commitment to pursuing this ideal, which is an ugly and horrific one.

–Democracy Now!, 13 January, 2014

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/13/noam_chomsky_on_the_legacy_of

 

 See Also from Democracy Now:

Noam Chomsky: Sabra & Shatila Massacre That Forced Sharon’s Ouster Recalls Worst of Jewish Pogromshttp://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/13/noam_chomsky_sabra_shatila_massacre_that

Posted in Analysis, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

Samuel Dowell: Take Israel to the ICC, Abbas, or GET OUT of the WAY

Posted by uscsjp on January 8, 2014

It is time for Palestine to Sign the Rome Statute and take Israel to the International Criminal Court.  If it is necessary to be a member state at the U.N. in order to sign the Rome Statute, the UNGA will approve that.  These bogus “Peace Talks” are only used by Israel for propaganda purposes and used to further the occupation. The people must demand that the “Peace Talks” end.  Abbas needs to stop standing in the way and allow Palestine to proceed:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/10539025/Palestinian-Authority-threatens-Israel-with-The-Hague-over-settlement-building.html

 

The Palestinian Authority MUST be informed that if they do not take Israel to the International Criminal Court that they will be removed.
Abbas does not speak for Palestine. He cannot sign or agree to any “agreement” for the Palestinians. If he agrees to a U.S. Framework Agreement that gives away Palestinian rights, he is a Traitor.

In May 2012, Abbas told a pro-Israel J-Street delegation that he was afraid that one of the prisoners on a hunger strike might die.

He said, “I am afraid, God forbid, that the security system here will collapse.”

He added: “I told the Israelis: ‘Please, please, please. They have some demands. If you do not respond to them and somebody today or tomorrow dies, it will be very, very disastrous for us.”

“If they help me to get weapons, I’m helping them because I’m promoting security,” Mr. Abbas said of the Israelis. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/world/middleeast/palestinians-and-israelis-in-talks-to-end-hunger-strike.html?_r=0

Mr. Abbas needs to know that if he signs any deal giving Palestinian rights away, his people will eventually put him in prison.
The world must put an end to the Criminal Zionist Occupation. Zionist-controlled Washington’s influence is over.

Posted in Analysis, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

Israel’s New Annexation Plans

Posted by uscsjp on November 4, 2013

Democracy Now!: Israel Prepares New Annexation Plans Ahead of Kerry Visit

“Israel is preparing a new round of annexation projects in the occupied West Bank. On Sunday, the Israeli government issued tenders to build more than 1,800 homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It is also reportedly planning to build a new separation wall along its border with Jordan. The moves come ahead of a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry to encourage U.S.-brokered peace talks.”

--Democracy Now!, November 4th, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/4/headlines#1148

See Also: Israel and the dangers of ethnic nationalism

An interview with Jonathan Cook, by Joseph Cotto

Cotto: What sort of general impact would you say Zionism has had on the Middle East?

Cook: Zionism was a reaction to the extreme ethnic nationalisms that dominated – and nearly destroyed – Europe last century. It is therefore hardly surprising that it mirrors their faults. In exporting to the Middle East this kind of nationalism, Zionism was always bound to play a negative role in the region.

Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, developing the concept of a Jewish state in response to the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe in the late nineteenth century. One notorious incident that appears to have shaped his views was France’s Dreyfus affair, when a very assimilated Jewish army officer was unjustly accused of treason and then his innocence covered up by French elites.

The lesson drawn by Herzl was that assimilation was futile. To survive, Jews needed to hold firmly on to their ethnic identity and create an exclusivist state based on ethnic principles.

There is a huge historical irony to this, because Europe’s ethnic nationalisms would soon end up tearing apart much of the world, culminating in the expansionary German war machine, the Second World War and the Nazi death camps. International institutions such as the United Nations and international humanitarian law were developed precisely to stop the repeat of such a cataclysmic event.

Once in the Middle East, Zionism shifted the locus of its struggle, from finding a solution to European anti-semitism to building an exclusive Jewish homeland on someone else’s land, that of the Palestinians. If one wants to understand the impact of Zionism in the Middle East, then one needs to see how destabilising such a European ideological implant was.

The idea of ethnic-religious supremacism, which history suggests is latent in many ethnic nationalisms, quickly came to the fore in Zionism. Today, the dominant features of Zionist ideology in Israel are:

  • a commitment to segregation at all levels – made concrete in the separation wall across the West Bank;
  • a belief in ethnic exclusivism – Palestinian citizens inside Israel are even denied an Israeli nationality;
  • a kind of national paranoia – walls are built to protect every border;
  • an aversion, paradoxically given the above, to defining its borders – and with it a craving for expansion and greater “living room”.

All of this was predictable if one looked at the trajectory of ethnic nationalisms in Europe. Instead, we in the West see all this as a reaction to Islamism. The reality is we have everything back to front: Zionism, an aggressive ethnic nationalism, fed reactionary forces in the region like political Islam.

Cotto: If Israel adopted its pre-1967 borders, would this, in your opinion, contribute to the peace process?

Cook: Of course, it would. If nothing else, it would show for the first time two things: one, that Israel is prepared to exhibit good faith towards the Palestinians and respect international law; and two, that it has finally decided to define and fix its borders. Those are also two good reasons why I don’t think we will see Israel adopt such a position.

There is a further, implicit question underlying this one. Can a Palestinian state on 22 per cent of historic Palestine, separated into two prison-cantons with limited access to the sea, be a viable state?

No, I don’t think it can – at least not without remaining economically dependent on Israel and militarily vulnerable to it too. That, we should remember, also appears to have been the view of the international community when it tried to solve this problem more than 60 years ago. The United Nations Partition Plan of 1947 gave the Jewish minority 55 per cent of historic Palestine to create a Jewish state, while the Palestinians, the majority of the population, received 45 per cent for an Arab state.

One doesn’t have to believe the partition plan was fair – as most Palestinians do not – to understand that even the Western-centric UN of that time did not imagine that a viable state could be created on 22 per cent of Palestine, or half of the “Arab state” it envisioned.

That is why I have long maintained that ultimately a solution to the conflict will only be found when the international community helps the two sides to find common ground and shared interests and to create joint institutions. That might be vaguely termed the one-state solution, but in practice it could take many forms.

Cotto: It is often noted that Palestinians live in far more impoverished socioeconomic conditions than Israelis do. From your standpoint, can this be attributed to Israeli aggression?

Cook: In essence, it is difficult to imagine it could be attributed to much else, unless one makes the racist assumption that Palestinians or Arabs are naturally lazy or incompetent.

In terms of Israel’s greater economic success, there are several factors to take into account. It receives massive subsidies from the US taxpayer – billions of dollars in military aid and other benefits. It has developed very lucrative hi-tech and homeland security industries, often using the occupied territories as laboratories for it to test and showcase its weapons and surveillance systems. It also benefits from the financial connections it enjoys with worldwide Jewry. Just think of the property market in Israel, which is artificially boosted by wealthy US and European Jews who inject money into the economy by buying an Israeli condo.

But equally importantly – as a just-published report from the World Bank concludes – it has prospered by plundering and exploiting Palestinian resources. The World Bank argues that Israel’s de facto annexation of 62 per cent of the West Bank, known as Area C in the Oslo Accords, has stripped any nascent Palestinian state of almost all its resources: land for development, water for agriculture, quarries for stone, the Dead Sea for minerals and tourism, etc. Instead these resources are being stolen by more than 200 settlements Israel has been sowing over the West Bank.

Israel also exploits a captive, and therefore cheap, Palestinian labour force. That both benefits the Israeli economy and crushes the Palestinian economy.

Cotto: Some say that Israel’s settlement policies directly encourage violence from Palestinian militants. Do you believe this to be the case?

Cook: Yes, of course. If you came armed with a gun to my house and took it from me, and then forced me and my family to live in the shed at the end of the garden, you could hardly be surprised if I started making trouble for you. If I called the police and they said they couldn’t help, you could hardly be surprised if I eventually decided to get a gun myself to threaten you back. If, when you saw I had a gun too, you then built a wall around the shed to imprison me, you could hardly be surprised if I used the tools I had to make primitive grenades and started lobbing them towards the house. None of this would prove how unreasonable I was, or how inherently violent.

Cotto: Many claim that, if Israel were to shed its Jewish ethnocentrism, Muslims and others nearby would adopt a more favorable opinion of it. Do you agree with this idea?

Cook: Ethnocentrism for Israel means that the protection of its Jewishness is synonymous with the protection of its national security. That entails all sorts of things that would be considered very problematic if they were better understood.

Israel needed to ethnically cleanse Palestinians in 1948 to create a Jewish state. It needs separate citizenship and nationality laws, which distinguish between Jews and non-Jews, to sustain a Jewish state. It needs its own version of the “endless war on terror” – an aggressive policy of oppression and divide and rule faced by Palestinians under its rule – to prevent any future internal challenge to the legitimacy of its Jewishness. It needs to keep Palestinian refugees festering in camps in neighbouring Arab states to stop a reversal of its Jewishness. And it has had to become an armed and fortified garrison state, largely paid for by the US, to intimidate and bully its neighbours in case they dare to threaten its Jewishness.

Ending that ethnocentrism would therefore alter relations with its neighbours dramatically.

It was possible to end similar historic enmities in Northern Ireland and in South Africa. There is no reason to believe the same cannot happen in the Middle East.

Cotto: If Israel were to cease being an ethnocentrically Jewish state, do you think it would be able to survive?

Cook: Yes. Israel’s actions have produced an ocean of anger towards it in the region – and a great deal of resentment towards the US too. And that would not evaporate overnight. At a minimum there would be lingering distrust, and for good reason. But for Israel to stop being an ethnocratic state, it would require a serious international solution to the conflict. The international community would have to put into place mechanisms and institutions to resolve historic grievances and build trust, as it did in South Africa. Over time, the wounds would heal.

Cotto: In the event that Israel were to end its ethnocentrically Jewish policies, do you believe that Islamist militants would hold less of a grudge against the Western world?

Cook: The question looks at the problem in the wrong way in at least two respects. First, Israel’s ethnocentrism – its exclusivity and its aggressiveness, for example – is one of the reasons it is useful to Western, meaning US, imperialism. Reforming Israel would indicate a change in Western priorities in the region, but that does not necessarily mean the West would stop interfering negatively in the region. Reforming Israel is a necessary but not a sufficient cause for a change in attitudes that dominate in the region.

Second, many Islamists, certainly of the fanatical variety, are not suddenly going to have a Damascene conversion about the West because Israel is reformed. But that should not be the goal. Good intentions towards the region will be repaid in a change in attitude among the wider society – and that is what is really important. When George Bush and his ilk talk about “draining the swamps”, they are speaking only in military terms. But actually what we should be doing is draining the ideological swamp in which Islamic extremism flourishes. If the Islamists have no real support, if they do not address real issues faced by Arab societies, then they will wither away.

Cotto: What do you think the future of Israel holds insofar as Middle Eastern geopolitics are concerned?

Cook: That is crystal ball stuff. There are too many variables. What can be said with some certainty is that we are in a time of transition: at the moment, chiefly economic for the West and chiefly political for the Middle East. That means the global power systems we have known for decades are starting to break down. Where that will ultimately lead is very difficult to decipher.

Joseph Cotto writes for the Washington Times.

CounterPunch, November 4th, 2013
http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2013-11-04/israel-and-the-dangers-of-ethnic-nationalism/

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Democracy Now!: Max Blumenthal on “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”

Posted by uscsjp on October 7, 2013

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing a public campaign to cast doubt on U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran, we speak to journalist Max Blumenthal, author of the new book, “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.” Blumenthal looks at life inside Netanyahu’s Israel and the Occupied Territories. “I was most surprised at the banality of the racism and violence that I witnessed and how it’s so widely tolerated because it’s so common,” says Blumenthal about his four years of reporting in Israel. “And I’m most surprised that it hasn’t made its way to the American public … that’s why I set out to do this endeavor, this journalistic endeavor, to paint this intimate portrait of Israeli society for Americans who don’t see what it really is.” Click here to watch Part 2 of his interview…

…JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We end today’s show with Israel. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing a public campaign to cast doubt on diplomatic engagement with Iran. Speaking before the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu accused new Iranian Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani of deceiving the world about Iran’s nuclear program.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing; Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the eyes—the wool over the eyes of the international community.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by journalist Max Blumenthal, best-selling author of Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. His new book is Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

Max, welcome back to Democracy Now!

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Great to be back.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you first respond to Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Israel, the government’s response to the openings between the United States and Iran?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, with my book, what I really aim to do is—this is a culmination of four years of my reporting from inside Israel-Palestine, from inside Netanyahu’s Israel. He came to power in 2009 at the helm of the most right-wing government in Israeli history. And he’s kind of occupying the center in Israel. He markets himself to Israelis as—you know, he appears in my book as the salesman, and he markets himself as a man who can go to the U.S. and market a lemon, who can sell a lemon to the American public, because he speaks English perfectly, he was educated at MIT, he worked at Boston Consulting with Mitt Romney.

And here he’s returned to the U.S. to sell the Israeli position to an American public that wants diplomacy, that welcomed Barack Obama’s historic phone call with Hassan Rouhani. And Obama has been forced to sit with Netanyahu for 2.5 hours in the White House, during a government shutdown, to hear Netanyahu’s complaints and lecturing. He’s effectively become the Bibi-sitter, meeting with Netanyahu more times than any foreign leader, the head of this country the size of New Jersey. And so, Netanyahu really looks kind of desperate and diminished at the U.N., and he’s—but, I mean, he loves these animal metaphors. And he has concocted this very belligerent and stentorian speech that really would maybe appeal to elderly evangelicals or an AIPAC crowd, but it’s not resonating with the American public…

–Democracy Now!, 4 October, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/4/max_blumenthal_on_goliath_life_and

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Robert Fisk: “Any other ‘statesman’ who negotiated peace like John Kerry would be treated as a thief”

Posted by uscsjp on August 27, 2013

Has John Kerry no shame? First he cuddles up to both Palestinians and Israelis and announces the renewal of a “peace process” which the Palestinians don’t trust and the Israelis don’t want. Then Israel announces that it will build 1,200 new homes for Jews – and Jews only – on occupied Palestinian land. And now Kerry tells the Palestinians – the weak and occupied Palestinians – that they are running out of time if they want a state of their own.

Any other “statesman” involved in any other dispute who told an occupied people that if they didn’t make peace their occupiers would steal even more of their land, would be regarded as an outcast, a fellow thief, a potential criminal. But no. John Kerry announces that illegal Jewish colonies – or “settlements” as he likes to call them, along with the world’s Israel-compliant press – are “illegitimate”. I think he meant internationally “illegal”. But it doesn’t matter. In the first 10 years of the Oslo “process”, the number of Israelis living on stolen Palestinian land doubled to 400,000. No wonder Kerry muttered that Israel’s latest theft announcement was “to some degree [sic] expected”.

You bet it was. Israel has been running rings around cowardly US administrations for decades, ignoring Washington’s squirming embarrassment every time it went for another land grab on someone else’s property. The Oslo accords, remember, envisioned a five-year period in which Israelis and Palestinians would refrain from taking “any unilateral steps that would prejudice the outcome of the negotiations”. Israel simply ignored this. As it still does. And what does Kerry advise the Palestinians? That they should not “react adversely”!

This is preposterous. Kerry must know – as the UN and the EU know – that there is not the slightest chance of “Palestine” existing as a state because the Israelis have already stolen too much land on the West Bank. Anyone who drives around the occupied territories realises at once (unless they are politically blind) that there is as much chance of building a state in the West Bank – whose map of colonies and non-colonised districts looks like the smashed windscreen of a car – as there is waiting for the return of the Ottoman Empire.

And Kerry? He’s a man whose every statement must be colonised by the word “sic”. Take this, for example. “We have known [sic] that there was going to be a continuation of some [sic] building [sic] in certain [sic] places, and I think the Palestinians understand that.” I suppose there should be a “sic” after “understand” as well. And then Kerry tells us that “what this” – he’s talking about the land theft – “underscores, actually [sic again], is the importance of getting to the table … quickly”. In other words, do what you’re told now – or we’ll let the Israelis snatch even more of your property. In the real world, this is called blackmail.

Then came the ultimate lie: that the “question of settlements” is “best resolved by solving the problem of security and borders”. Tosh. The colonies – or settlements, as Kerry goes on calling these acts of robbery – are not being taken by Israel because of “security” or “borders” but because the Israeli Right, which continues to dominate the Netanyahu administration, wants the land for itself. Many Israelis don’t. Many Israelis see the vileness of this land theft and condemn it. They deserve the peace and security which the world wishes them. But they won’t get it with colonisation, and they know it.

And Kerry isn’t on their side. He’s going all out for “peace” on Israeli government terms, and the Palestinians – “cabined, cribbed, confined” – have got to shut up and take what they can get. And they will be given a few small morsels. Twenty-six elderly prisoners will be handed over today. Crumbs for Mahmoud Abbas and his merry men. But more colonies for Israel, a country which hasn’t even told John Kerry – or us – where its eastern border is. On the old 1967 “green line”? Along the colony “line” east of Jerusalem? Or the Jordan river? But for Kerry, it’s “hurry, hurry, hurry”. Book your seats now, or it will be a full house. What price “Palestine”?

–Robert Fisk, The Independent, 13 August, 2013

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/robert-fisk-any-other-statesman-who-negotiated-peace-like-john-kerry-would-be-treated-as-a-thief-8760028.html

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Amira Hass: “On a Scale of 1 to Horror: Ranking Atrocities in the Middle East”

Posted by uscsjp on August 27, 2013

As the horror stories coming out of Syria and Egypt increase, why should anyone be concerned with the plight of a Palestinian widow and mother of six children (all minors and all Israeli residents) who faces the prospect of deportation, although she has lived in East Jerusalem for nearly 20 years? Someone who read my report last week on Nahil Rajbi, 38, who was born in Hebron and has been living in East Jerusalem since 1995, told me, “You spend too much time on trifles” (“Court grants East Jerusalem widow last-minute reprieve from deportation,” Haaretz, Aug. 22, 2013). The remark was not hostile or scornful; it was simply an expression of surprise.

Rajbi’s case went beyond the letter of the law, as they say. A Border Police officer did not deport her immediately even though a senior official at the Population Registry had given him a green light. Instead, he took into consideration that Rajbi has six children, ages 5 to 17, and gave her a grace period of three days to give her time to fight the deportation order. An Israeli human rights group, Hamoked: The Center for the Defense of the Individual — where people naturally turn in such instances — filed an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice on her behalf. It asked that the deportation order be rescinded. Justice Yoram Danziger did not issue a temporary injunction against the deportation, but the Justice Ministry’s High Court Petitions Department understood from the wording of his ruling that he was effectively instructing the authorities to suspend the deportation order; the spirit of his decision also influenced the guidelines given to the police and Population Registry.

There are those who say Rajbi’s fear of being deported from her home in the Old City of Jerusalem is dwarfed by the suffering of the million Syrian children who have become refugees. Some would even go so far as to say that the history of Israeli domination over the Palestinians is dwarfed by the incomprehensible slaughter taking place in the region. According to that logic, men can tell the women in Israel and Italy not to complain about gender discrimination because their sisters in Africa still suffer the practice of female genital mutilation, while in India, the selective abortion of female fetuses is still widespread. Westernized Jews can tell Arab-Jews and Sephardi Jews that they should stop complaining because they’re doing far better than residents of favelas in Brazil.

Ranking injustices, atrocities and discrimination on a scale of horrors is just one more technique employed by those in power to retain their power, to justify their excessive privileges and to belittle any public or civil struggle for equality.

The issue, therefore, is not whether Rajbi’s case is overshadowed by something more horrendous, but rather what laws and procedures established by Israeli jurists have made her a criminal. The question is not whether the situation in Syria is terrifying, but rather why thousands more Palestinian men and women are in Rajbi’s situation, facing the threat of deportation and of being cut off from their families in Jerusalem…

–Amira Hass, 27 August, 2013

Complete Article at: http://www.zcommunications.org/on-a-scale-of-1-to-horror-ranking-atrocities-in-the-middle-east-by-amira-hass.html

See Also:

Egypt, Syria and the Sordid Legacy of UK and US in the Middle East

The Battle for Iran. That’s the title given to the CIA operation that oversaw a coup that toppled Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq, 60 years ago.

The CIA has now admitted its involvement in the overthrow, and published documents which reveal not only US but also British secret services were involved (in the aptly named MI6 Operation Boot).

The news will come as little surprise to most Iranians, or to many others who have studied the CIA’s role over the years.

Those in Latin America, from Guatemala in 1954 to Chile in 1973, are familiar with US involvement in coups that have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and decades of dictatorship and denial of democracy.

Even today, the threat of hostile US intervention is a real fear across the continent.

Britain was the US’s junior partner, but instigation for the coup may have come from Britain. Mossadeq had had the temerity to nationalise the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later BP). British Tory prime minister Anthony Eden regarded Mossadeq as a serious threat to British interests and MI6 went ahead with planning the coup.

Eden tried the same trick three years later in 1956 when the British invaded Egypt following the nationalisation of the Suez Canal by its president Gamal Abdul Nasser.

That fiasco was resisted by the Egyptians and crucially not backed by the US. Eden left office in ignominy.

The sordid legacy of this Tory prime minister is a small but important reminder of the role of Britain and the US in the Middle East. It has been a damaging, dishonest and destructive one. Unfortunately that role continues.

We don’t have to go back to the First World War, the Sykes Picot Agreement or the many battles fought on Middle East soil that helped redraw boundaries and protect British and other western interests.

We don’t even have to go back to the post Second World War settlement that saw the displacement of the Palestinians and the creation of the state of Israel, although all of these events have real pertinence for politics today.

Let’s just consider the last 12 years of the ‘war on terror’, focussed on the Middle East and south Asia.

The grievances were already there in the Middle East, most noticeably the situation of the Palestinians and the existence of deadly sanctions on the people of Iraq.

Yet those grievances were exacerbated following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003.

More than a decade of war, occupation, injustice, killing, displacement and support for dictators has led to greater anti-US and anti-British feeling in the region than at any time.

Just as with Eden in the 1950s, western economic interests are paramount.

While the masses of the Middle East have struggled heroically against these western backed dictators, they have received little support from the western rulers. These rulers preach democracy, but increasingly suggest that the Middle East is not ready for it, seeking stability at any price.

Prospects in the region are once again looking grim, with the coup and repression of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the continued civil war in Syria, sectarian conflict in Iraq and western sanctions and threats against Iran.

It may be that we are seeing a remaking of the Middle East on a much greater scale than we have done since the two world wars.

In 60 years time, how will the conflict appear?

As a brutal and lengthy war for strategic power and raw materials? As a cynical move to exacerbate tensions within the region to advance western interests? As a war which fostered Islamophobia and attacks on civil liberties in the west? As a move to recolonise some of the old empires, especially of Britain and France?

In the battle for democracy and freedom, and economic justice, the people of the Middle East will find no friends among the western powers.

That is why military intervention, economic sanctions and arms sales must be opposed. They have fuelled the problems, not solved them.

–Lindsey German, Znet, 23 August, 2013

http://www.zcommunications.org/egypt-syria-and-the-sordid-legacy-of-uk-and-us-in-the-middle-east-by-lindsey-german.html

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USA Today: Smuggling from Egypt halted, Gazans turn to Israel

Posted by uscsjp on August 23, 2013

“Amid the ongoing turmoil whipping across Egypt, the plight of Gazans, 1.7 million residents of the 141-square-mile strip wedged between Israel and Egypt, has slipped from public consciousness.

But that turmoil has put Gazans in a new and uncertain predicament.

Since the July 3 ouster of Egypt’s president, Mohammed Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the governing Egyptian military has embarked on a crackdown against all Islamic political forces — and that has meant cutting off smuggled trade from Egypt into Gaza, where the Islamist Hamas rules.

The result: For the first time in years, almost every item imported into Gaza now arrives from Israel — and at a higher price….”

 

–USA Today, 21 August, 2013

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/08/21/gaza-imports-uncertain/2674135/

 

See Also:

ZNet: Egypt’s Revolution After the Smoke Clears

In times of crisis people strive for easy answers to complex situations. In Egypt this has resulted in absurdly digestible sound bites, where one side is labeled “good” (the Muslim Brotherhood), the other “bad” (the army), and the revolution as a whole is condemned as an atrocity. But the situation in Egypt is especially contradictory, and untying the social-political knots of the revolution requires avoiding pre-packaged catchphrases.  

Contrary to the claims of many, reports of the revolution’s death are greatly exaggerated. Those who predict that Egypt will inevitably enter a long period of military dictatorship forget that the Egyptian revolution destroyed such a dictatorship in 2011, and helped topple Morsi’s authoritarian government in July. The people in Egypt have not been cowed into submission, they are still in the streets, unafraid, consciously aware of their power. The Egyptian military is very aware of this fact, as their actions testify.    

Although it’s a tragedy that innocent people have been killed, it’s also true that the Muslim Brotherhood represents not the revolution, but its adversary. Especially confusing is that another opponent of the revolution — the military generals — are leading the attack against the Brotherhood, which raises the question: why would one enemy of the revolution be attacking another?   

The current, bizarre-seeming situation in Egypt is actually common in the history of revolutions, having started in the modern era with Napoleon Bonaparte, who, during the French Revolution, consolidated his power by aligning with certain social classes against rival sections, and switching allegiances when necessary to offset the power of his former allies, until all political rivals were weakened, allowing him and his army to act as arbitrator and ruler.    

This now common feature of revolutions is often referred to as “Bonapartism” in honor of its founder and is a reflection of society in revolutionary upheaval, where different social classes are powerfully asserting themselves, though unable to out-power their adversaries, allowing the military to act as the Bonapartist “arbitrator.”   

Bonapartism is also a sign of the political weakness of the military, which is not able to rule without aligning with certain segments of the population (this is why the Egyptian generals recently asked for mobilizations to signal “permission” to put down the Brotherhood’s civil disobedience actions, essentially using Egypt’s political left against the political right). 

Bonapartism has been practiced by military dictatorships since Napoleon.  In fact, Egypt’s popular military President Gamal Abdul Nasser — who instituted many progressive measures in Egypt — was himself a classic Bonapartist, though one who uncharacteristically leaned left.   

For example, after surviving an assassination attempt from the Muslim Brotherhood, Nasser used the military to destroy the Brotherhood, while enjoying support from the political left in Egypt due to his progressive policies. After dealing with the Brotherhood, Nasser consolidated his power against the growing revolutionary left, by attacking both the communist party and trade unions. This political balancing act between political left and right is the hallmark of Bonapartism…

 

–Shamus Cooke, ZNet, 20 August, 2013

 

   http://www.zcommunications.org/egypts-revolution-after-the-smoke-clears-by-shamus-cooke.html

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Alternet: Did You Hear About North Korean Video? Probably Not, It’s Not About Israel

Posted by uscsjp on August 4, 2013

What is an Israel Firster? He or she is someone who puts the interests of Greater Israel above those of the United States, often demonstrating that by a zealousness about all things Israel that he does not apply to his own country.

Take this North Korean video. [3]It was posted by the North Korean propaganda ministry and it depicts the nuclear bombing of New York by North Korea.

Is this story a big deal? Nope. And that is because it is only about a North Korean attack on America and not an Iranian attack on Israel. No matter that the North Korean regime is utterly insane and possesses nuclear weapons.

No matter that the Iranian regime is cautious, rather than off its rocker, and does not possess nuclear weapons.

No matter that the North Korean video threatens the United States and not a foreign country. No matter…because the reaction to the North Korean story is a big yawn.

Who cares?Imagine if the Iranian government did put out a video like this targeting Israel. The entire Israel First community would go nuts. AIPAC, the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Council On Public Affairs. Schumer, Nadler, Commentary, Gillibrand, Jeff Goldberg, etc, etc, would be screaming to the heavens about the dire threat to our ally. New sanctions bill would be drafted by AIPAC and introduced by its cutouts. Krauthammer would tell us that it is 1942 and a second Holocaust looms.

Not in this case.

Because in this case the target is only New York and the would-be perpetrator is not a Muslim state.

So the lobby and its friends in Congress and the media don’t care. After all, it is just a cartoon. Except it would not be just a cartoon if it could be used to stoke war fever against Iran and Islamophobia or if it was about Tel Aviv and not New York.

Who said that Israel Firstism does not exist?

–M. J. Rosenberg, Alternet, 6 February, 2013

http://www.alternet.org/speakeasy/tikkundaily/did-you-hear-about-north-korean-video-probably-not-its-not-about-israel

Also from Alternet

3 Myths About Israel Promoted by the Right-Wing Pro-Israel Lobby

Here are the Three Sacred Commandments for Americans who shape the public conversation on Israel:

1. For politicians, especially at the federal level: As soon as you say the word “Israel,” you must also say the word “security” and promise that the United States will always, always, always be committed to Israel’s security. If you occasionally label an action by the Israeli government “unhelpful,” you must immediately reaffirm the eternal U.S. commitment to Israel’s security.

2. For TV talking heads and op-ed pundits: If you criticize any policies or actions of the Israeli government, you must immediately add that Israel does, of course, have very real and serious security needs that have to be addressed.

3. For journalists covering the Israel-Palestine conflict for major American news outlets: You must live in Jewish Jerusalem or in Tel Aviv and take only occasional day trips into the Occupied Territories. So your reporting must inevitably be slanted toward the perspective of the Jews you live among. And you must indicate in every report that Jewish Israeli life is dominated by anxiety about security.

U.S. opinion-shapers have obeyed the Three Commandments scrupulously for decades. As a result, they’ve created an indelible image of Israel as a deeply insecure nation….

–Ira Chernus, Alternet, April 17th, 2011

http://www.alternet.org/story/150641/3_myths_about_israel_promoted_by_the_right-wing_pro-israel_lobby

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