Archive for March 17th, 2010
Finally, someone lists just a few of the things the US does for Israel and mentions that it might be appropriate for Israel to give something back.
Fortunately, Friedman is not only Jewish but has won 3 Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting from the Middle East which makes it a little difficult for the Israel Lobby to charge anti-Semitism.
I wish that someone would mention that we give billlions of dollars to Israel which gives free medical care to all citizens while the US does not have universal healthcare. In otherwords, US taxpayers without health care are sending their tax dollars to Israel which does have free health care.
So the poster I saw in the bakery for a fund raiser to raise money for a 41 year old carpenter who lost his job and health insurance who is a husband and father of 3 young boys cannot get treatment for his leukemia in the US, but an Israeli in the same situation would get treatment. So his tax dollars have been sent for the health care for Israelis that he cannot receive.
Report: Petraeus Warns Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mullen that Israel Is Jeopardizing US Security Interests
Israel First: More on Dr. Lani Kass (General Petraeus mentioned as well)
Strain in U.S.-Israel Ties Spurs Anxiety About ‘Dual Loyalty’
The Genie is out of the bottle…
Gulf journalist writes of battle by Israel Lobby in USA
to shut up the Military in their criticism of Israel
Obama Speech Signals a U.S. Shift on Middle East
Bubbles, Mere Bubbles
The Mullen-Petraeus Report on the Middle East
By BOUTHAINA SHAABAN
GORDON DUFF: U.S. TELLS ISRAEL: “YOU ARE UNDERMINING AMERICA, ENDANGERING TROOPS”
THE “SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP” IS DEAD
On The Middle East: It’s Palin vs. Petraeus & New Poll
Biden Affair Undercuts Two-State Peace Charade
US Explicitly Opposes Palestinian Right to Self-Determination
US Department of Justice Asked to Regulate AIPAC as a Foreign Agent of the Israeli Government
US Lawmakers Stand Up Against Obama for Israel
Must watch Dutch documentary on the Israeli Lobby (the interviews to include with John Mearsheimer are in English):
The Israel Lobby. Portrait of a Great Taboo :
AIPAC’s Push for War with Iran
Here is a Google video for the English version of that Dutch AIPAC documentary (must watch especially for what Lawrence Wilkerson mentions about WW 3 at the end!):
Additional via http://tinyurl.com/mearsheimer
Time for the U.S. to get tougher with Israel
US-Israeli Tensions Escalating Quickly
Posted By Jim Lobe On March 15, 2010 @ 11:00 pm In Uncategorized | 15 Comments
The crisis touched off by last week’s announcement of Israel’s plans to build 1,600 new homes for Jews in Arab East Jerusalem during a high-profile visit by U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden appears to be escalating rapidly.
Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington and a historian who has written widely on ties between the two nations, called the growing contretemps “the worst [bilateral] crisis in 35 years” in a teleconference with other U.S.-based Israeli diplomats Saturday night, according to a number of published accounts.
Twenty-four hours later, the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which advertises itself as “the most influential foreign policy lobbying organization on Capitol Hill,” issued a statement declaring the administration’s condemnations of Israel’s behavior “a matter of serious concern.”
“The administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel,” warned the group, which issued its statement shortly before 9:00 Sunday night. The timing served to underline the sense of alarm that has taken hold among supporters of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is expected to keynote AIPAC’s annual meeting next weekend.
Other voices of the so-called Israel Lobby issued their own broadsides.
The neoconservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal accused President Barack Obama of having deliberately “chosen this occasion to spark a full-blown diplomatic crisis with its most reliable Middle Eastern ally.” It also warned that Israel will be more likely to attack Iran unilaterally if it “senses that the administration is looking for any pretext to blow up relations.”
At the same time, the Israel Project mobilized its membership to write Congress and media demanding that the administration, in the words of one letter received by IPS, “BACK OFF!!!” Christian Zionists, including former presidential Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, also joined the fray.
But the Obama administration appeared determined to stand its ground Monday, as State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters that Washington is waiting for a “formal response by the Israeli government” to “specific” requests made by Clinton to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during what all parties described as a tense, 45-minute phone call reportedly made at Obama’s direction Friday afternoon.
While Washington has not yet commented on what those requests are, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz said they included reversing the East Jerusalem announcement; offering a major gesture to the Palestinians, such as a prisoner release; and agreement to peace talks that include final-status issues, including the fate of Palestinian refugees and East Jerusalem, as well as borders.
While Crowley insisted that Obama’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian peace, former Sen. George Mitchell, still intended to fly to the region this week to launch U.S.-mediated “proximity talks” on which both parties had agreed two weeks ago, he refused to set a specific date, describing the current situation as “fluid.”
For his part, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who apologized to Biden – and reportedly to Clinton, too, in their Friday conversation – for the timing of the East Jerusalem announcement but not for the actual building plans themselves, appeared unrepentant during a meeting of his right-wing Likud Party MPs Monday.
“Building in Jerusalem and in all other places will continue in the same way that has been accepted in the last 42 years,” he said, in a reference to Israel’s “annexation” – never recognized by the U.S. or any other major power – of East Jerusalem after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
While the ongoing public crisis was clearly sparked by the coincidence of Biden’s visit and the East Jerusalem housing announcement – almost universally described by the mainstream U.S. media as a “slap in the face” at the vice president and by extension at Obama himself – its seriousness appears to be rooted in what Biden told Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials in private.
According to an account in Israel’s mass-circulation Yediot Ahronoth newspaper, Biden “warned his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and U.S. policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.”
“This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden reportedly said. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.’”
In an important elaboration on these remarks posted on the ForeignPolicy.com Web site Saturday, Mark Perry, a writer with long-standing and close ties to the military brass, reported that Biden’s private comments reflected the collective view of top U.S. military commanders throughout the Middle East region.
They had been tasked in December by the chief of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) to submit reports to him about the impact of Washington’s failure to make progress on Israeli-Palestinian peace on the perceptions of Arab leaders on U.S. standing and influence.
The result was a briefing presented to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, in January and subsequently communicated to the White House that underlined the growing conviction in the region that “the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was … ‘too old, too slow … and too late.’”
A subsequent trip by Mullen to Israel – whose purpose was described in the media as designed to coordinate strategy on Iran – was aimed more at persuading the Israeli brass of the importance to the U.S. of achieving progress on peace talks, according to Perry.
But it became apparent with last week’s housing announcement that the message did not get through, according to Perry, so the administration responded first with Biden’s public condemnation, followed by Clinton’s phone call to Netanyahu, the summoning of Oren for what the ambassador described as an “extremely harsh” dressing down by Clinton’s deputy, James Steinberg, and now the demand for a “formal response” to her suggestions to Netanyahu.
“There are important and powerful lobbies in America: the NRA [National Rifle Association], the American Medical Association, the lawyers – and the Israeli lobby,” wrote Perry. “But no lobby is as important, or as powerful as the U.S. military.”
It is likely for this reason – rather than the more-superficial tiff over one settlement in East Jerusalem – that a plainly worried Oren told his colleagues that the current crisis is “very serious, and we are facing a very difficult period in relations,” according to reports in the Israeli media.
The fact that Oren referred all the way back to 1975, when then-President Gerald Ford ordered a “reassessment” of relations with Israel in light of the latter’s rejection of U.S. proposals to move toward peace with Egypt, reinforced the growing conviction that the crisis is unlikely to be easily papered over in the absence of major concessions by Netanyahu.
At the time, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger defended the reassessment as necessary “in order to prevent an increasing radicalization in the area and an increasing tension and, above all, in order to avoid a war in which inevitably the United States would be involved at least indirectly, given the international circumstances.”
(Inter Press Service)
Read more by Jim Lobe
- US-Israel Tensions Continue to Percolate – March 16th, 2010
- Biden in Israel: Tiff or Tipping Point? – March 14th, 2010
- Armenian Genocide Vote Threatens US-Turkish Ties at Key Moment – March 5th, 2010
- Debate Over Military Action Against Iran Gains Steam – March 3rd, 2010
- Clinton Hails Yemen Ceasefire, but Aid Concerns Remain – February 15th, 2010
Article printed from Antiwar.com Original: http://original.antiwar.com
URL to article: http://original.antiwar.com/lobe/2010/03/15/us-israeli-tensions-escalating-quickly/
Washington Post Bashes Obama’s “Quickness to Bludgeon” Israel
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 2:57 AM
From: “Stephen Sniegoski”
Let’s see, Israel is continually building illegal (by the standards of international law) settlements on the West Bank on property seized from Palestinians. Israel’s construction in East Jerusalem essentially prevents a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians, who expect to control that territory. The Obama administration essentially overlooked these actions until Israel publicly announced plans for new construction in East Jerusalem at the very time when Vice President Biden was visiting Israel. And, after all of this, who does the Washington Post criticize for belligerency—Obama! The “American chastising of Israel invariably prompts still harsher rhetoric, and elevated demands, from Palestinian and other Arab leaders,” the Post pontificates.
No, we certainly wouldn’t want the Palestinians to make such “elevated demands” as the right to land that Israel has taken from them!
The Post is very much disturbed about “Mr. Obama’s quickness to bludgeon the Israeli government.” Yes, certainly criticism, when Israel is the one criticized, must be equated with bullying and beating. And the Post goes on to claim that “He is not the first president to do so.” Presumably, in the convoluted imagination of the Washington Post’s editorialist, American presidents have been walloping poor little Israel for years. But the Post is not about to cry over allegedly victimized Israel but points out that “tough tactics don’t always work.” Yes, a few critical words—when directed at Israel–certainly represent inappropriate “tough tactics!” One would think, however, that in any real effort to get tough with Israel, the United States would go beyond strong words, and actually threaten to reduce its physical support for the Jewish state. But such a tough tactic presumably transcends the limits of the Post’s imagination—or is just not allowed to be considered. Of course, where Israel’s Middle East enemies are concerned, the Post has not been loath to support economic sanctions, bombing, and invasions.
As a result of his purportedly belligerent stance last year, “Mr. Obama’s poll ratings in Israel plunged to the single digits.” The Post continues: “The president is perceived by many Israelis as making unprecedented demands on their government while overlooking the intransigence of Palestinian and Arab leaders.” Obama certainly wouldn’t want to lose the support of the Israeli people. But exactly what country does Obama represent? And what country does the Washington Post think that he should represent? Interestingly, while the Post expresses concern about the Israelis unhappiness with Obama, it conversely is upset about the US actually seeming to appeal to the interests of the Palestinians and Arabs, which might cause them to make “elevated demands.”
Let me point out the overriding significance of what the Washington Post has written. These words did not come from the Christian Right, the neoconservatives, AIPAC, or some other entity known to be biased in favor of the Jewish state. Rather, they came from the most influential newspaper in the United States (along with the New York Times), which trumpets its objectivity. This is the authoritative voice of the media establishment. This is what people in the know are expected to believe.
Transparent Cabal Website:
Amazon listing of The Transparent Cabal:
Washington Post (Editorial)
The U.S. quarrel with Israel
Tuesday, March 16, 2010; A18
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S Middle East diplomacy failed in his first year in part because he chose to engage in an unnecessary and unwinnable public confrontation with Israel over Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Over the past six months Mr. Obama’s envoys gingerly retreated from that fight and worked to build better relations with the government of Binyamin Netanyahu. Last week the administration finally managed to strike a deal for the launching of indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks. So it has been startling — and a little puzzling — to see Mr. Obama deliberately plunge into another public brawl with the Jewish state.
True, this U.S.-Israel crisis began with a provocation from Jerusalem: the announcement by the Interior Ministry of plans for 1,600 more Jewish homes beyond Israel’s 1967 border. Vice President Biden, who was visiting when the news broke, was embarrassed; he quickly responded with a statement of condemnation. He then appeared to accept the public apology of Mr. Netanyahu, who said he, too, had been surprised by the announcement.
The dispute’s dramatic escalation since then seems to have come at the direct impetus of Mr. Obama. Officials said he outlined points for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to make in a searing, 45-minute phone call to Mr. Netanyahu on Friday. On Sunday senior Obama adviser David Axelrod heaped on more vitriol, saying in a television appearance that the settlement announcement had been an “affront” and an “insult” that had “undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region.”
Mr. Obama and his advisers appear determined to prove that they will not be pushed around by Israel. The public scoldings also send a message to Palestinian and Arab leaders who have been demanding assurances that the United States will use its leverage in the new peace negotiations. And the administration hopes to extract immediate concessions from Mr. Netanyahu: It has demanded that he reverse the Jerusalem settlement decision, release Palestinian prisoners, agree to cover sensitive “final status” issues in the indirect talks and investigate the errant settlement announcement.
Mr. Netanyahu already has conceded the last point and may give way on others; he is facing harsh domestic criticism. But Mr. Obama risks repeating his previous error. American chastising of Israel invariably prompts still harsher rhetoric, and elevated demands, from Palestinian and other Arab leaders. Rather than join peace talks, Palestinians will now wait to see what unilateral Israeli steps Washington forces. Mr. Netanyahu already has made a couple of concessions in the past year, including declaring a partial moratorium on settlements. But on the question of Jerusalem, he is likely to dig in his heels — as would any other Israeli government. If the White House insists on a reversal of the settlement decision, or allows Palestinians to do so, it might land in the same corner from which it just extricated itself.
A larger question concerns Mr. Obama’s quickness to bludgeon the Israeli government. He is not the first president to do so; in fact, he is not even the first to be hard on Mr. Netanyahu. But tough tactics don’t always work: Last year Israelis rallied behind Mr. Netanyahu, while Mr. Obama’s poll ratings in Israel plunged to the single digits. The president is perceived by many Israelis as making unprecedented demands on their government while overlooking the intransigence of Palestinian and Arab leaders. If this episode reinforces that image, Mr. Obama will accomplish the opposite of what he intends.
When The Lobby Calls: Time To Pressure Obama To Lighten Up
US Department of Justice Asked to Regulate AIPAC as a Foreign Agent of the Israeli Government
Obama Pushing U.S.-Israel Alliance to the Brink
Biden Affair Undercuts Two-State Peace Charade