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13 January 2009

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Leila Abu-Saba

I was just telling my seven-year-old son that the 10 y.o. bully who has been tormenting him after school feels weak inside. My son thinks he's very strong. I said maybe he is bigger and stronger than you right now, but if he's pushing little girls into puddles, and knocking over kids half his size, he feels very weak.

As a good parent I will be speaking to the adults in charge to make sure they rein in the diminutive bully.

Problem in the Middle East is that there are no adults willing to rein in the insecure, over-armed, uninhibitedly violent bully of the neighborhood.

This one is not going to end well for Israel.

And by the way, I have a theory that if you want to know what's really going on in Israel, just reverse everything their spokesmen say. Try it and see if my hypothesis fits.

mo

I notice that it seems that the important thing is whether it is true or not.

Surely the important thing is not whether Olmert told Bush to abstain or not.

The important thing is is it verified that Olmert made the boast?

Because if he did and its true well, thats one issue.

But surely, if he boasted about it and its not true, that is sort of a slap in the face for the US aswell

ads

Did Olmert have to whack Bush with a rolled-up copy of Haaretz, or was just the threat enough?

FB Ali

To people outside the US this will come as no surprise. It is often said that the US earns much anger and dislike on the Arab and Muslim ‘street’ because of its habit of carrying out Israel’s bidding. Perhaps more detrimental to the US is the effect of this on the elites and intelligentsia of these countries (the people who run them – the politicians, civil servants, military officers, businessmen, professionals, journalists, the educated, etc). What this generates in them is contempt.

They see this small Middle Eastern country, with a ruling class as corrupt (not just financially) as any in that region or beyond, a government perpetually in crisis, displaying the morality of a street thug, riddled with religious fundamentalism, getting unlimited financial, military and diplomatic support from this superpower, without giving anything in return. They see how sometimes the US sacrifices its own interests to bolster Israel’s. The relationship is one between master and client, except that the roles are reversed. They are aware of the means by which this domination is acquired and exercised. It doesn’t make a pretty picture, and after the puzzlement wears off, what is left is contempt.

The US still bestrides the world. But, as some ancient must have said some time or other : it is far better to lead through respect than rule by fear.

Bobo

Whether Olmert's statement is true or not he believes it is, thus it has some truth.
Grandiose statements such as this continues to confirm that the US needs to lower its support for Israel and find a better solution for its long term existance.

JohnH

The whole Olmert-Bush fiasco is old news. Bush outsourced America's Israeli/Palestinian policy to Israel 8 years ago. The only thing that's newsworthy is that Olmert chose to publicly told the truth about it. Telling the truth will always get you in trouble.

J

"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will
do that... I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry
about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control
America, and the Americans know it."
Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol
Yisrael radio.

Fred

Both Olmert and Bush insult Condi's intelligence and integrity and she doesn’t have enough self-respect to resign? I hope she does fulfill her dream of becoming NFL commissioner. Then perhaps she can spread the victorious strategy of the Detroit Lions around the league - after a few years of that Americans might just put down the beer, get off their asses and start seeing what a mess has been made of this country.

Nancy K

Olmert is either arrogant or stupid or maybe both.
I just hope that when Obama gets a phone call during a speech he can say take a message.

curious

Both Olmert and Bush insult Condi's intelligence and integrity and she doesn’t have enough self-respect to resign?
Posted by: Fred | 13 January 2009 at 10:25 PM

please. Condi has no integrity and self respect. She is beyond clueless, too wrapped up in her own spin.

Anyway. By the end of next week we pretty much know how the middle east show going to run for next few months. This ought to be interesting. I for one expect "more of the same".

adam

To be fair to Olmert the quote was aimed at persuading Israeli voters that he and his party are in command of the US relationship and that other Israeli political parties would do worse at running the US.

Still, its clear that the Israelis know the order of priority for dealing with the US Government... They are the Top, the US is the Bottom, and the UK apparently is the gimp in the corner, mouth firmly zipped up.

Balint Somkuti

As the saying goes "if only the half of these is true" it is still more than headline.

johnf

Two points.

For anyone who wants an insight into the extraordinary mixture of arrogance and ineptness which is Israeli foreign policy I'd recommend Gregory Levey's extraordinary recent book "Shut Up, I'm Talking: And other diplomacy lessons I learned in the Israeli Government."

Levey chronicles as a US citizen and a complete ignoramus his casual adoption into the Israeli UN team, where the offices are filled with lunatics, people playing endless play station, or are simply never there. Then he is co-opted into Sharon's government in Israel as a foreign policy speech writer - even though he knows nothing about it. The dysfunctionality is even worse there, where the incompetence is only exceeded by the rudeness.

The second anecdote is personnal. My son's partner was employed by a newly-formed company to make top of the range products. It was the personnal project of an Israeli multi-billionaire electronics wunderkid. $40 million was put into the project.

She said no one at the top knew anything about this new industry which the company was formed to enter. Everyone in top management was there because they told the entrepreneur what he wanted to hear. The design and production processes were shambolic.
In the first 18 months to company lost $26 million dollars.

The boss eventually sacked the management and injected a further $10 million, but then, oblivious to the pleas of a knowledgeable workforce, imposed a new management equally incompetent. It finally went bust at the end of last year.

She ascribed its crash to a mixture of extreme arrogance and extreme incompetence.

Israel writ large?


David Habakkuk

Lysander,

'Do any of them resent having to jump at AIPAC's call? Is it just fear that keeps them in line?'

George Tenet was more than a little resentful about the neoconservatives when the blame game about the intelligence failures over Iraq began, if Patrick Tyler's new book is to be believed.

According to Tyler, Tenet gave vent to his feelings beside Prince Bandar's pool in Riyadh:

'A servant appeared with a bottle. Tenet knocked back some of the scotch. Then some more. They watched with concern. He drained half the bottle in a few minutes.

'"They're setting me up. The bastards are setting me up," Tenet said, but "I am not going to take the hit."

'"According to one witness, he mocked the neoconservatives in the Bush administration and their alignment with the right wing of Israel's political establishment, referring to them with exasperation as, "the Jews."'

(See http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/12/george_tenet_drunk_in_bandars.php.)

This kind of thing is the predictable result of the Israel lobby's attempts to stifle discussion. Silenced resentment will fester invisibly, becoming all the more poisonous because it cannot be expressed. Those who do the silencing will go blithely on, blind to the realisation that the conformity they enforce is becoming increasingly hollow.

roGER

What a shame that with nothing to lose, Bush didn't simply say "I make policy, Mr. Prime Minister, I make policy," and hang up.

Halfnhalf

re: Arbogast's comment on the American public being more concerned with Donovan McNabb staying with the Eagles...as a Philadelphian, I can assure you that we don't give a plugged nickel about McNabb or Andy Reid either. Gaza, now, is a different story.

charlottemom

The only surprise about this latest capitulation by Bush re Israel is its utter arrogant transparency in who's calling the shots. The US policy on ME and Israel is/has been rotten from the top down. Bush has surrounded himself with neocons, falls asleep reading Sharansky's books, etc. And now has chosen Olmert's counsel over Rice's. Which leads me to this question. Why so completely beholden to Israel? Because he feels his legacy=Israel's fate (i.e. neoconservatism and Zionism) or is there something else. What does Bush know that Rice doesn't, or is it what do Olmert and Bush know that Rice doesn't? There is some very powerful, and now obvious Israeli leverage.

I'd also be interested in learning how in-the-loop Bush had been kept on the UN negotiations. Had Rice not kept Bush appraised of her actions/overstepped authority, this Bush veto action may have been used to "teach her a lesson." A case of egotistical and juvenile petulance? I wouldn't put it past this guy. Who knows....meanwhile the suffering continues.

Marcello

"Obama? Don't hold your breath. He is a politician, and the American public is more concerned whether Donovan McNabb is going to stay with the Eagles than it is with genocide in Gaza."

I don't think it is just a matter of corrupt èlites and an indifferent population.
I see quite a bit of enthusiasm and support for what Israel is doing in Gaza in many political corners.

Michael Chevalier

With apologies for anyone's sensibilities who are offended: how much of this event is based on the Deciders' own religious inclination? I've always felt a faint nausea thinking that our last 8 years of treatment of the Palestinians has been, in large part, influenced by the apocalyptic streak the GOP/Karl Rove so gladly embraced in order to 'excite the base'. If you are pro-Zionist, how much political muscle do you need when your president is on a religious mission to protect this area for 'the end times?

MCC

awr2

Why was this approved

"criminal mass murderer Lincoln"

This is a bit ridiculous

I hope it isn't repeated.


"...a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils." President George Washington, Farewell Adress 1796.

President Washington gave the nation some good advice that is no longer followed. I wish the politicos would pay more attention to Washington, rather than the criminal mass murderer Lincoln, which seems so popular lately.


Posted by: Steve | 13 January 2009 at 01:14 PM

turcopolier

awr2

I would not have chosen to use those particular words in regard to A. Lincoln. I have treated him rather well in my scribblings. This, in spite of the fact that, I too, do not think that he was in infancy placed in a manger for the reverence of shepherds and Magi.

In fact, I think that Shelby Foote described him well as a "very skilled nationalist politician," pl

roGER

Bush didn't just anger and humilate Condi, this is from today's Guardian newspaper:

"UK-US relations have been particular sour in recent days after Washington reneged on a pledge to back a largely British-drafted UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The White House over-ruled US diplomats after a demand from the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert."

DE Teodoru

Pat Lang sure had it right. As I read it, bullies who attack because they are afraid that they might not be feared enough to deter will never feel secure. But there's more to the current "shooting fish [Palestinians] in a barrel [Gaza]" than that. Barak has a reputation as a bungler who plays long shots blindly; he hoped to, just for once, prove himself a magician. Livni was nixed for the premeirship by the rabbis soly because she's a girl; she hopes to prove herself as able to massacre without flinching as the best of them. Olmert's career is deeply stained by corruption; he hopes to drown the stain in Palestinan blood. Trying to re-establish Israel's fearsome reputation after Lebanon 2006 and opportunistically to used the Gaza massacre politically, these three have repeated in Gaza the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto-- in both cases a polpulation was strangled and starved and, when a few resisted and fired back, that served as an excuse to massacre as "collective punishment" in order to clear Gaza of Palestinians. But though Israeli leaders since 1947 sought to crush Arabs with what they called an "iron wall," thus bringing about their vison of "Greater Israel," the Israeli public has always been very sensitive to casualties--both Arab as Israeli-- on moral grounds. So every "Zionazi" era of ethnic cleansing based on a leibensraum thesis was followed by a "post-Zionist" era of land for peace and mutual support. The time is most propitious now, for Israel can serve as nuclear umbrella to all the Arabs against Iran's puny potential atomic bomb in exchange for full integration. The current Arab one crop (oil) banana republic governments are no longer tentable. Here, I know from many Arabs, Israel can be a "light onto the [Arab} nations," as many of Zionism's Founding Fathers hoped, leading them into modernity with its high-sci/tech teaching and industries. America is broke and can no longer engorge the $$ placenta from which as a 60 years old fetus Israel subsisted. It must be born as a self-sufficient real nation by integrating itself with its Arab kith-and-kin on a joint road to popular prosperity. Towards that end, it cannot continue to kill Arabs in order to expand Greater Israel for there is no Daispora Jewish Great Alyiah coming to populate it. It must develop a two-sates-one-economy solution with the Palestinians fast so they can become the brokers of the great Israeli-Arab modernization enterprise that the US so botched up in Iraq. There is still time, for the Palestinians have often before seen the light that follows the dark in their relation with Israel. An aggressive economic unity now can safely predict a regional unity within a decade as the West becomes independent of fossil fuel. The Diaspora Jews like their own countries just fine. That's why, per the US State Dept, 78% of the homes built at US tyaxpayers' expense for olims (settlers) that never came are empty. There is no need for MORE land, only for MORE peace in which to build a new Mideast. It is doable only if Israel quickly ends its murderous "iron wall" of expansion to supposedly create leibensraum for the "olim" that will never come. So Zionists must follow the moral precepts of their common culture with the Arabs, as dreamed by their Founding Fathers.

Steve

awr2,

You seem upset becuase the official myth you believe in was challenged. Why run to the Colonel pleading for censorship? Also, what is so "ridiculous" about what I wrote? Good luck!

fahrrad

Dies ist ein großer Ort. Ich möchte hier noch einmal.

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