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15 March 2010

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Matthew

Suggestion: "While members of Congress spend their time consorting with a foreign leader who intentionally embarrassed our Vice President, I will be spending my time focusing on issues that matter to the American people."

Who am I kidding?

Lb

I wonder how many of AIPAc members hold dual citizenships as Rahm Emanual does.

If they do, to which country do they owe their ultimate loyalty. If it's to Israel, then they should return to Israel and work for their "home" country.

If Bibi (who was raised in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania) has so little respect for the man who, in effect, signs his paycheck, then why should we issue him a visa?

I do wonder why Bibi will be allowed to stride triumphantly through the halls of Congress? Is it that he, too, has dual citizenship?

C L

Netanyahu & his right wing alliance are alway a no confidence vote away from losing power. They cannot wage another war because the population wont follow them unless the threat is active (i.e. live ammo fired into Israel). Their power is based on the disillusionment of the Gaza political disaster following their unilateral pullout and our religious prodding. - This too shall pass & Israels' peaceniks will get power again.

Our clashing issues are with the Israeli political sector, which at its core tenant has to be able to answer to world Jewry this one question: Can you protect us when all else fails? Are you our ace-in-the-hole?. As WW2 & all the turmoil that followed showed, being jewish trumps any national affiliation in the jew-haters eyes, or in those jews fellow countrymen. The forceful evictions of jews from all the Arab world after the insanity of the genocide in europe honed this question/issue. A jew can swear allegiance to their country of residence & birth - yet can never be completely sure that their country will not renege on its allegiance/obligation to its citizen of jewish faith - except in Israel.
We as americans cannot fathom such a betrayal by one's state that world Jewry experienced as a collective in the 20th century.
Should we send all Jews to Israel? I don't see the other 14 million full jews physically fitting on that strip of land. What about half-jews etc... that would be another 100 million people?

Israel's political & professional military personnel are not the brightest the country has to offer (Neither are ours to a lesser extent). Their private sector demand for brains & better pay checks siphons off all the talented. Pat's interactions with that segment of Israel Pol/Mill society are accurate & reflect their political counterparts in the ME region, with the exception that Israel's can be voted out of office & are held to a higher accountability in Israel than any other ME country dares to.
The IDFs current crop of military professionals tend to be descendants of Jews evicted from Arab lands & well versed in matching the Palestinians tragic stories with their own stories of eviction, oppression, death & hardship at the hands of the Arabs.

The political change will not come from them but from us. We literally own the problem by financially supporting 4 of the 5 countries involved in the Palestinian spat, thus subsidizing the status quo. What is needed is nation building of the Palestinian nation, a task we are inept at, plus this Palestinian nation building is opposed by all the surrounding countries , (not just Israel) as detrimental to their own national identity & social structure.

We know we can control the Israelis to some extent, bring them to the table, make the give painful concessions, what we don't know is how to control their negotiating partners, which is where we keep stumbling at every advancement. Perhaps this is due to our lack of investment in their local economy or involvement in lower level politics (as we do in Israel). Sending aid directly to the legal authorities (PLO. PA, EGYPT, HAMAS etc..) has succeeded in enriching the politicians only.
In essence people who have nothing to lose are less likely to negotiate - than those who do. Lets build up the Palestinian social/economic wealth and see if comfort leads to peace.

Perhaps there is enough goodwill left to enact an american peace-corps made up of Palestinian/Egyptian/Jordanian descendants born here in the states, who could be utilized to kickstart social & economic projects in the west bank. The thinking being that their 'Americanism' will negate the rampant corruption & cronyism have plagued all aid efforts so-far. Their being American citizens would be acceptable on the majority of Israelis, their Arab/ME heritage acceptable to the West bank citizens & Jordan. I have no answer to Gaza/Hamas yet, though they might be voted out if they ever allow elections in Gaza again.

We could decide to remove our financial backing of Israel, then we should also remove all our financial Aid to Egypt, Jordan & Lebanon, then watch the re-alignment of sects/tribes as regimes topple. The Israelis with their gucci soldiers will survive because of their high tech ground warfare that needs gucci soldiers to kill by remote control. Defense is easier than offense, they have no more need to invade South Lebanon, they can bomb it to bits and wait for Hezbollah to come over the mountains at their defenses.

N. M. Salamon

The fundamental strategic interest of Israel is to use US funds [governement and private donations] and armaments to establsih a PERMAMENT ZIONIST controlled entity between the Mediterrean Sea and Jordan including parts of Lebanon [source of water].

The Strategic interst of the USA PEOPLE is to have a decent life, with reasonable housing, income, healthcare etc. The Strategic interest of Congress' Members is to get funding so they can be re-elected.

The Question arises: If Zionist/ Likud cabal has the most persuasion for these members, or is it that they think the USA Citizens have first call.

It is possible that the latest nonsense from Israel regardinhg the Vice-President, might change some minds.
I remain hopeful, for such change is in the interst of the USA citizens.

Good Luck Uncle Sam and her citizens.

N. M. Salamon

As an aside, the Guardian [UK] reports a new website by UK Jews:
http://www.jnews.org.uk/

Does not seem to agree with AIPAC nonsense!

J

We have the ADL's Abe Foxman whining, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Oren whining, AIPAC whining and jumping up and down gnashing their teeth. They all could care less about our U.S., it's all about their hostile-to-the-U.S. postage stamp known as espionage Israel. With 'friends' like Israel, who needs enemies?

WILL

CL's comments are behind the times.
"they can bomb it [Lebanon (with impunity)] to bits and wait for Hezbollah to come over the mountains at their defenses."

(remember Ron Paul's comment "they are over here because we are over there" [and Israel's impudent actions are attributed to its bankroller, namely us.]

As 2006 showed HA rockets can cross the border too. Now, they are more of them, have greater range and power. Moreover the resistance has acquired some anti-aircraft capability.

curious

If I were Obama, I would prepare the counter intel team and entire electronic listening on all traffic between known Israel operators.

Because Netanyahu is about to create a massive political scandal inside US. (eg. Monica Lewinsky.)

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/3/15/846357/-New-Evidence-Netanyahu-is-Consciously-Sabotaging-Peace-Effort

As Tabachnick describes,

In January 1998 Netanyahu traveled to Washington to meet with President Bill Clinton, but first detoured to the Mayflower Hotel where hundreds of Christian Zionists had been assembled by Jerry Falwell. In reference to the "land for peace" negotiations, John Hagee led the crowd in yelling, "Not one inch! Not one inch!" When Falwell was later interviewed he stated, "It was all planned by Netanyahu as an affront to Clinton." After the rally, Netanyahu met with evangelical leaders who promised to organize their churches against the peace efforts.

Netanyahu succeeded in 1998, especially because even as Clinton called him on his behavior the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal broke. Severely damaged by the scandal, Clinton was unable to keep pushing the peace process along.

But this time things could go a different route. Barack Obama is not beset by an equivalent scandal, and a January CENTCOM briefing to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (see this Foreign Policy story), indicating that Israeli unwillingness to reengage in a meaningful peace process threatened the lives of American troops in the Mideast region, puts additional, powerful pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu.

As Rachel Tabachnick and I have written, in an ongoing series at Zeek magazine, Netanyahu's and Likud's alliance with Christian Zionists such as John Hagee does not truly serve Israel's interest.

(there reason Obama has a slight chance, because he has far less skeleton in the closet. Money too. Clinton dynasty would be different.)

I for one think this is going on end with a dead body after the scandal is done.

Clifford Kiracofe

We need an NIE on Israel.
As the Biden visit clearly demonstrates (to the entire world), our policymakers do not appear to be "fully informed" on political Zionism and the state of Israel.

Analytical approaches to the problem of Zionism/Israel must be comprehensive, systematic, and integrated.

Political Zionism is a transnational phenomenon which naturally must be analyzed in historical context. One might also harken back to some analytical methods used per the defunct Soviet Union and International Communism.

Israel-Jewish Agency as the center, then a global apparatus promoting the ideology and state of Israel with political agitation and propaganda. Organizational structures like the old Komintern in various countries around the world come to mind and we see this pattern in international Zionism.

US "domestic politics" need to be taken into consideration and also the Zionist penetration of European politics and Russian politics. While there is a Zionist influence operative in India, I would imagine it is less so in contemporary China.

Mary

As far as anyone trying to excuse Netanyahu for this incident as a bureaucratic snafu or mistake, there is his meeting with Hagee on the eve of the Biden visit, the fact that he just announced that he will continue building in Arab E. Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, and the fact that he left his last meeting with George Mitchell in January to go to a settlement tree planting where he said, "Our message is clear. We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here. This place will be an inseparable part of the State of Israel for eternity."

Any senators or congressmen who don't empathize with the humiliations heaped on Mitchell and Biden should be called out. I'm going to call mine, Cardin, Mikulski and Van Hollen, to let them know I'll be watching to see what they do. A ripe set of targets, indeed.

jamzo

the apartment building in question in the "biden-slight" is outside of the zone of no-building that netanyahu and the US have agreed to,

the interior ministry building announcement is an internal israeli political act - a obstacle to talks and pressure netanyahu who wants a retain his right-wing governing coalition partners

it does not appear to be a smart move since the act forces the US to increase the pressure on netanyahu in the opposite direction

an interesting related event happened in an npr report this morning

an israel based correspondent said as part of her report that the us military had taken the position that us strategic interests are being put at risk by israeli intransigence

this is the first time i have ever heard this kind of statement vis a vis us-israeli relations

i have no idea if this is a reliable statement or what the correspondent intended it to mean in her report, but she put new words nto the decades old us-israeli narrative

it will be interesting to see it the words are picked up by others

i never remember hearing anything like this before


b

C L is trying some hasbara on readers here by arguing for "economic peace" which is essentially Netanjahu's program of bribing the Palestinian elite while further colonizing the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Netanyahu Push for ‘Economic Peace’ Hits Roadblocks

R Whitman

During December 2009, Erkat, chief negotiator for the Abbas Palestinian government circulated a draft paper on the consideration of abandoning the "two state strategy/solution" and adopting a one state solution.

Sooner or later this idea is going to take hold with everyone except the Israelis including the Europeans, Russia and the UN. The two-state solution is obviously going nowhere. Its had 16 years of life. Enough. It will be interesting to see how the US handles this. One person-one vote.

judith weingarten

[Netanyahu] wants to demonstrate the subordination of the US to Israel.

This is a silly statement. He's not smart but he's not suicidal either.

Patrick Lang

judith

It's not suicidal if he thinks he's in control here. pl

Patrick Lang

Cliff

Why do you think that we could get an honest NIE on Israel? pl

BillWade, Nh

Curious mentioned this article, here's the link:

http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/14/the_petraeus_briefing_biden_s_embarrassment_is_not_the_whole_story

Walrus

East Jerusalem is the new Sudetenland? Will there be an aufsmarsch into more of the West Bank?

In addition, it seems to me that Netanyahu is playing with fire by associating with Hagee, and not of the biblical sort.

Col. Lang, what do you think Arab States are asking themselves right now?

Clifford Kiracofe

Pat,

Under present conditions, I am not sure we could from a political point of view, frankly. And even if we could, what would the politicians do with it as well over three quarters of Congress is owned by the pro-Israel lobby.

We have seen the politicization of the intelligence process in the recent past...and the results.

At the present time, this republic is fairly far gone to foreign influence, IMO. Those who go along with it are rewarded, those who oppose are marginalized.

Things may change. But without an honest NIE on Israel it seems to me policymakers are flying blind with attendant consequences, such as we saw in the Biden visit, in the offing.

If Biden, Hillary, and etal.in the White House/NSC were serious about Middle East policy they would order such an NIE in my view and endeavor to make it "honest." I think we have capabilities and analytical talent and skills up to the tasking.

What we really have at present is faux diplomacy and Bibi and the rest know that. Sending the elderly Senator Mitchell to shuttle back and forth in "proximity" talks is really a rather appalling approach when you think about it.

The Financial Times printed something the other day to the effect that our Middle East policy is emasculated and our regional/global credibility rapidly declining. About right...

elkern

My take on Biden's "this is starting to get dangerous for us" quote is that he was talking as a Democratic politician.

The danger is that the Democrats are losing the ability to keep two important constiuencies onboard at the same time: Hollywood donors (yes, that's code for rich culturally liberal Jews - at least I'll admit it) and informed voters. Who else can/will bankroll the Democrats in the battle that really matters to them - the next election.

And CL, I'm fine with continuing to support Israel by bribing Egypt & Jordan to stay neutral - at least they've stayed bought. It's the $500 per Israeli per year ($3B / 6M pop) to Israel for it's Lebensraum program which bugs me. (make that $600/person/yr since the 1M Arab Israeli's probably get little of the benefit). And don't give me that crap about how that all comes back to the US Mil-Ind complex. We give less than $2/person/year to all of sub-saharan Africa.

Biden's career has peaked, so maybe he's free to get pissed at Israel now. Bite the tail that wagged him, maybe?

Jackie

Prof. Kiracofe,
On the "countries have interestes" post you mentioned Paul Findley. I read his first book. I find him rather remarkable, but the lobby got him and Pete McCloskey and if I'm not mistaken Senator Charles Percy.

I tend to agree with Findley that the lobby couldn't take on 100 politicians in the US and defeat them all.

In 2001 or 02 on a snowy morning I went to meet my congressman (retiring this year). Since only his staff was there I got up the nerve to tell him I thought our policy towards Israel should change because they were a real hindrance to us. He said the policy probably wouldn't change. After he voted for the authorization to use military force, I lost all respect for the guy.

WILL

Keeping the Mid East safe for a Greater Israel has always been costly for the U.S.

At first the costs were small, and could be isolated. A U.S.S. Liberty there, a plundered Patriot Anti-Missle system here sold to Russia.

But after 9.11 the costs have become staggering in blood & treasure. Nobel Prize winner Stiglitz has put the economic costs in trillions of dollars. The military deaths are in the order of magnitude of ten thousand and the wounded about four times that or so.

Things may have begun to reach a tipping point. There is really nothing different about the latest settlement outburst. It has always been Israeli intention, Labour or Likud (Kadima ?), to swallow the West Bank, in contravention of Fourth Geneva Convention concerning civilians or U.N. resolutions. The U.S. has always backed down.

What is different this time? First, there is something innately repulsive in American mainstream eyes about Binyamin Netanyahu. A Philadelphia smooth glib too fast talker(should have been laywer) with an IQ of 170.

Two, Gen. David Petraeus of Centcom, who having pulled the Neocon chesnut out of fire in Irak, is pissed off that Israeli recalcitrance in the Palestinian track is endangering his troops in Irak and AfPak.

Third, the argument for which former President Carter was vilified. Of couse Olmert & Barak can make it with impunity because they are Israelis & beyond the reach of the Lobby. Time is running out for the two state solution. It's apartheid or a one state solution with one person- one vote bar some kind of ethnic cleansing. And there goes the JEWISH nature of the state.

The settlement brouha gives the administration the cover to pull back from its foolhardy & impossible commitment it had made to guarantee that Iran never become nuclear breakout capable- rights guaranteed to as a signatory to the NPT- rights accrued to Brazil, Argentina & a dozen other countries.

The equivalent leverage to the Baker "here's my number ####, call me when you're serious."

is

"When you roll back some settlements and lift the siege of Gaza, call me about Iran.!"

Agin Cajun

This is off topic but I have to ask. What do think about todays NYTs article concerning the exploits of Michael Furlong and compatriots? In particular, I was intrigued to see the name of Duane Clarridge prominently mentioned in the Times article. Myself and others would love to here your take.

ISL

Seems it also should be a bit of an embarrassment that Biden had no warning. Of course if it was only in Netanyahu's head it would not be possible to ferret out in advance, but then it also would be highly umm personal. Which could relate to why it is not dying down.

Given the personal insults hurled at the president from domestic constituents with no real backbone response (not even to Joe you lie Wilson), I suspect there are other (unstated) issues where making an issue of this is viewed as critical. Perhaps regarding Israeli plans/preparation for Iran, and not listening to US advice not to?

Clifford: Zionist penetration of Russian politics?

euclidcreek

Bend over Barack, here it comes again.

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