Who Didn’t Get the Memo? Israel’s President or its D.C. Ambassador?

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Israel_Palestine_Flag.pngThis is a guest “note” by Daniel Levy.
Daniel Levy directs the New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force and formerly served as a senior Israeli negotiator. Levy is a principle drafter of the Geneva Israel-Palestine accords
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Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, reopened today after a long break for the summer and the Jewish holidays. In line with protocol, Israel’s president opened the winter session and Shimon Peres had this to say on the linkage between reaching peace with the Palestinians and addressing the Iran issue:

In my opinion, if we move forwards with peace and make peace with the Palestinians, and if we start negotiations with Syria and Lebanon, we will remove the main pretext for the Iranian madness – against us and against the other residents of this region. (President Peres, October 12th in the Israeli Knesset).

daniel levy cbs news twn.jpgNow Mr. Peres is in reality not exactly the dove he is portrayed to be (he authorized many of the settlements, he supported Israel’s recent wars with Lebanon and Gaza, and he never really earned his own Nobel peace prize), but this was nonetheless an interesting acknowledgment of the linkage from Israel’s head of state – and it seems to directly contradict the messaging coming from Israel’s ambassador to Washington D.C., Michael Oren.
Here’s Michael Oren in an interview on October 3rd for Newsweek:

Q: Do you believe that the Arab states would make their support of action against Iran contingent on progress in the peace process?
A: No, there is no linkage whatsoever. The Arab states understand that the peace process is going to take a while, and we don’t have a while with Iran. The peace clock and the Iranian nuclear clock are running at completely different speeds.

Oren was simply, and spiritedly, sticking to a lame PR line that has now been exposed as rubbish by none other than Israels’ own president. On entering office six months ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu tried a similar trick, arguing that Iran would have to be dealt with first and that the Palestinian issue could be placed on the backburner. But President Obama wasn’t buying any of that, insisting that both issues be addressed in parallel, and much to the chagrin of the Likud hawks, making Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority – something he repeated when responding to being awarded the Nobel peace prize last Friday.
The linkage, though aggressively denied by occupation apologists, is all too real (and credit to President Peres for acknowledging that). Here’s how it works.
Iran’s ability to spread influence and use leverage in the region is partly a product of the largesse it spreads around and of the allies it has through denominational allegiance or simple patronage. But crucially, it also depends on the narrative that Iran espouses–and the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central to that. Iran does not have an appealing story to tell the region when it comes to it system of governance based on an interpretation of Shia jurisprudence (Velayat-e Faqih) or when it comes to its internal freedoms and achievements.
Rather, the narrative which allows Iran to speak to the Muslim and notably Sunni street, above the heads of Arab leaders, can be paraphrased as follows:

Only we, Iran, are standing up to the Israelis and the Americans in defense of our downtrodden Palestinian brothers and sisters; you, the Arab leadership who are close to America, host American troops, visit Washington and do Washington’s bidding, and are even openly or sometimes secretly in contact with the Israelis–all these friendships have done nothing to help the Palestinians or address their grievance; our version of resistance is therefore honorable when compared to your shameful collusion.

It may be grating to the ear and make us feel uncomfortable, but that is a message that resonates. And that is what President Peres seemed to understand in suggesting that peace with the Palestinians would, in his words, “remove the main pretext for the Iranian madness.”
Ending the occupation and delivering peace would fundamentally undermine Iran’s narrative and its leverage.
Realizing a comprehensive peace can be done as part of a process of U.S. dialogue with Iran in which these issues are also raised, or it can be done in parallel to an engagement with Iran (it should not be done as part of a blunt, unsophisticated frontal assault on Iran, as was tried at Annapolis during the Bush presidency).
However, it appears that the neoconservatives in this country and their Likud friends in Israel, who expend so much time and energy in refuting this linkage, just forgot to cc Israel’s president on the talking points memo.
— Daniel Levy

Comments

76 comments on “Who Didn’t Get the Memo? Israel’s President or its D.C. Ambassador?

  1. ... says:

    thanks for the update wigwag… always interesting to know who is controlling the levers behind the news…

    Reply

  2. WigWag says:

    From the “That’s Very Interesting Department”
    Looks like talks between Haim Saban who has dual American and Israeli citizenship and Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani over the purchase of Al Jazeera are heating up. When the story was first reported last week, it looked like Saban was just interested in purchasing the Al Jazeera’s broadcast operations. News reports in the last couple of days make clear that Saban is interested in purchasing a stake in Al Jazeera’s total operation.
    Another thing that has become clear in the past couple of days is how severe the financial challenges facing Al Jazeera really are. According to numerous reports, the largest Arab news channel in the Middle East is grappling with a terrible financial crisis. Saban had previously made an offer to purchase Al-Jazeera in 2004, but it was turned down.
    Saban has a history of turning around several failing broadcast operations in France, Germany and Mexico.
    What’s not known is whether Saban will be including his close friend and business partner, Rupert Murdoch in the deal. Saban has partnered with Murdoch’s News Corp on several occasions.
    Reportedly, Saban has offered $5 billion for Al Jazeera which many analysts consider to be a stunningly rich offer.
    One of the sticking points in the negotiations appears to be Saban’s insistence that his appointees exercise total editorial control over Al Jazeera’s broadcast and print operations.
    The Emir has been pressing for maintaining provisions which exempt Qatar from any criticism by Al Jazeera.
    Those in the know suggest that Saban would have an easy time lining up financing for the deal with several investment banks including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase eager to participate.
    If the deal is to get done at all, it will probably be completed within 6 weeks. The Emir is said to be anxious to stem the financial bleeding which he has been financing from his own Treasury.
    If Saban does buy Al Jazerra, maybe Steve can come up with a way to get Saban to buy the Washington Note.
    If Al Jazeera is worth $5 billion; the Washington Note has to be worth at least $100 million!

    Reply

  3. JohnH says:

    People tend to forget that Bremer’s proposed Iraqi flag was modeled on the Israeli flag.
    Now Israel has some extravagant plans to take oil from the BTC via a pipeline off the coast of Lebanon (the reason for the war of 2006?) They would then refine it in Eilat and sell it to South Asia. Of course, it would be much more cost effective to simply pipe it across Iran. But then Israel couldn’t skim off lots of profits. And companies like Bechtel couldn’t get big construction contracts.
    Then there are the Gaza offshore fields (Gaza means gas). They have to be involved somehow in last winter’s attacks. Of course, Israel could have grabbed them any time they wanted, so why attack? Maybe Hamas rockets scared off investors?

    Reply

  4. Outraged American says:

    JohnH I agree: Israel and her fan club work in tandem with the
    military/terrorism/industrial complex.
    Bill and Kathy Christison, former CIA in the Middle East, now
    peace activists, have written extensively on this.
    Here’s an article on the Aqaba pipeline from the UK Guardian
    dated APRIL 2003 (!!!). UsRael was already counting the spoils
    of the second Iraq invasion in April of 2003. Fools, liars, thugs
    and thieves.
    The title pretty much says it all:
    Israel seeks pipeline for Iraqi oil
    Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq
    to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and
    potential future government figures in Baghdad.
    The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive
    since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when
    the flow from Iraq’s northern oilfields to Palestine was re-
    directed to Syria.
    Now, its resurrection would transform economic power in the
    region, bringing revenue to the new US-dominated Iraq, cutting
    out Syria and solving Israel’s energy crisis at a stroke.
    continues
    http://tinyurl.com/m6lplr

    Reply

  5. JohnH says:

    I have no doubt that Israel was behind the Iraq invasion. Ever hear of killing two birds with one stone? Well, the US thought the invasion of Iraq was a magic bullet. Oil was the giant bird. Pandering to Israel was a big bird, too. Boosting HAL’s stock price was important for Dick Cheney’s deferred compensation, too.

    Reply

  6. Outraged American says:

    JohnH that pipeline would have cut Israel’s oil imports, so yet
    again, what was the 2nd Iraq invasion about?
    Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) had a headline sometime
    around the beginning of the invasion crowing “This war is for
    us!” Damn straight.
    Anyone interested should look up the history of that pipeline
    (Aqaba) and then more recent articles about enlarging it, its
    route, and how much it would cost to secure it. UsRael’s bloody
    fingerprins all over the latter, because the proposed route was
    to Haifa in Israel.
    Don’t make me look it up — at one point I did know a lot about
    it but that was before I had to pretend to be interested in
    everything for the show and could not focus on my “Israel was
    behind the Iraq invasion” meme.

    Reply

  7. ... says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Oct 13 2009, 10:28PM – Link
    Did Nadine lie or not, WigWag?
    Sarcastic avoidance of the answer doesn’t acquit her. Or you.

    Reply

  8. ... says:

    a great example of democracy in israel
    Palestinian human rights activist being held without charges in indefinite solitary confinement
    “Here is an update on the case of Mohammad Othman, a Palestinian human rights activist who was detained over three weeks ago by Israel as he returned home from Norway where he had been discussing the boycott, divestment and sanction movement.
    On Thursday, October 8, at the second hearing in Salem military court, the prosecution had still not been able to provide any charges against Mohammad. The judge prolonged Mohammad’s detention for a further 12 days. Addameer attorneys appealed this decision and the judge rescheduled the date for the hearing for this wednesday, 14 October 2009. The hearing is due to take place at the Military Court of Appeals in Ofer.
    According to Addameer attorneys who represent Mohammad, he is still held in solitary confinement and is being interrogated daily about his trips to Europe and contacts with European organizations. Mohammad has been repeatedly cursed at during long interrogation sessions, which at times lasted from 8:00 am until midnight. However, in neither of these sessions were suspicions against Mohammad made clear to him and he still ignores the reason for his arrest. During one of these sessions, an Israeli interrogator threatened to hurt Mohammad’s sister. “Stop the Wall Campaign” contends that psychological pressure is an often used Israeli technique to coerce a detainee into confessions.
    During his solitary confinement Mohammad has been held in a two-square meter windowless cell. You can follow Mohammad’s case on this website and sign the Jewish Voice for Peace petition demanding his release here.”
    http://mondoweiss.net/2009/10/update-palestinian-human-rights-activist-being-held-without-charges-in-indefinite-solitary-confinement.html

    Reply

  9. JohnH says:

    So Nadine, when Rumsfeld was in Baghdad, negotiating with Saddam, trying to build an oil pipeline to Israel just after Saddam gassed the Kurds, were you horrified?
    “Behind the scenes [George] Schultz was pushing an oil pipeline from Iraq across Jordan to the port of Aqaba. Bechtel would construct it. According to IPS, documents show that Schultz prepped Rumsfeld for his meetings with Saddam. At the time, Saddam was gassing the Kurds, and if the U.S. were to come down against him on that score, then the pipeline most certainly would go down the drain. Beginning with Rumsfeld, Reagan top officials hoping to make the deal kissed Saddam’s ass, sidestepping the poison-gas issue, and snuggling up with the man they now say is a vile dictator. In the end, Saddam turned down the pipeline.
    From then on, the U.S. government primly rewrote the history of our earlier dealings with Saddam so much that Rumsfeld and the other Bush cronies can say this second Persian Gulf war has nothing to do with oil. They say it is meant solely to remove the dictator and save the Iraqi people from the horrors of weapons of mass destruction, gas being the main one, even though the U.S. never cared about poison gas when it stoop to make money off an oil pipeline. And guess what? Bechtel is one of the few companies asked to play a key role in the reconstruction of Iraq after the war.”
    http://www.villagevoice.com/2003-04-01/news/rumsfeld-s-dealings-with-saddam/1

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine,
    you should know by now that I don`t regard America as the root cause of evil in the
    universe, if you`ve read my comments here.

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    Say Paul, when Saddam Hussein was filling mass graves with dead Kurds, were you horrified then? Or is it only when America does something you don’t like?

    Reply

  12. John Waring says:

    There once was a time when no one gave a damn
    about the world-wide practice of slavery. They
    said the Bible sanctioned the institution.
    There once was a time when few cared about the
    depredations committed by a white minority against
    Blacks in South Africa. They said Blacks were
    incapable of governing themselves.
    In our own country one hundred years had to pass
    after the Civil War before before we Americans
    were ready to address the issue of basic human
    rights for Blacks. They said Blacks could never
    be equal, and had to be put in their place. One
    of “those people” is now President of the United
    Sates, and his place is at the head of our
    national table.
    Thirty years ago a now high administration
    official told me in our college dormitory that no
    one gave a damn about the Palestinians, and that
    that was the crux of the issue. That same
    individual is now doing his best to change that
    equation.
    The moral sensibilities of humankind do change.
    It is a process fraught with back-sliding but it
    has occurred and is occurring in the case of the
    Palestinians. In short, people the world over are
    starting to give a damn. Feckless and fratricidal
    though the Palestinians undoubtedly are, people
    still are beginning to give a damn.
    The Israeli policy of settlement in the occupied
    territories and in East Jerusalem is a profound
    moral and political failure, and will occasion an
    historic denouement inimical to the viability of
    the State of Israel. No country accepts these
    settlements. They are illegal under international
    law, and they are an iniquity.
    Revolutions do occur. They first occur in the
    minds of men and women. My contention is that
    such a revolution is underway now, and will
    jeopardize the future of Israel.
    I realize I may be mistaken. But my intuition
    tells me we are at an historic crossroad.
    Slavery as an idea is dead. Colonialism as an
    idea is dead. Racism as an idea is dead.
    Forcibly seizing land from Palestinians and
    evicting them from their homes and farms is an
    idea that is dead.
    If the continuance of the state of Israel is a
    vital interest of the United Sates, then peace
    must be also, no matter how painful, no matter how
    arduous, no matter the sacrifice. The cherished
    illusions of both sides will be the hardest to
    surrender. Tears will be shed, hearts will be
    rendered, but it must be so. Illusions must end.
    If you love Israel, then embrace peace.
    Peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis is
    a vital interest of the United States.

    Reply

  13. DonS says:

    Wigwag, you old son of a gun. I didn’t even know you were here. Though I didn’t mention you by name, for sure you are welcome on the ‘seekers’ team. In fact I’ve been waiting for you to throw up your hands and repent you ways any day now 🙂

    Reply

  14. JohnH says:

    O come on, POA. Nadine’s not lying. It’s just that her wildly overactive imagination frequently interferes with her sense of reality.
    Like Mark Twain, Nadine has known a great many troubles. Fortunately, most of them never happened or will happen.

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    “Well, Paul, I took away a different “read” on Duff’s commentary.
    So shoot me.”
    You know, POA, that I listen to and very often sympathize with your astute comments and
    judgements. I will continue to do so. I have no desire to “shoot you”. But I would
    sincerely hope that you distanced yourself from the world view of Mr. Duff, and the
    paranoia nourishing his world view.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Did Nadine lie or not, WigWag?
    Sarcastic avoidance of the answer doesn’t acquit her. Or you.

    Reply

  17. WigWag says:

    POA, you are truly an esteemed “seeker of truth.”
    Your sense of morality, decency, probity and modesty is truly a wonder to behold. Nadine and I wilt before your munificence.
    The only one who comments on this blog who can match your integrity and intelligence is DonS.
    No need for jealousy though. DonS is, after all, the arbiter of who seeks truth and who has fallen under the spell of the dark side.
    It’s awful tough to compete with that.

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And heres the post you are not rebutting. Do so, or STFU. I’m used to questions purposely going afield when he has no sensible or logical rebuttal, but I expect better of you…..
    “What do you guys hope to achieve politically by systematically questioning his motives?”
    A real analysis, as opposed to this surreal denial of reality that Obama supporters seem prone to engage in.
    Was Obama sincere when he initially advanced the demands about the settlements?? Perhaps he was. And that is almost a worse scenario, as it illustrates he was comnpletely and utterly ignorant of the majority opinion in Congress, and the willingness of some key members of his party to knife him in the back. And the ease with which he has backed down speaks to his strength of character and conviction.
    And do you really think Obama has no idea whats going on in Israel right now, as the accelerated pace of construction takes place? Where are his condemnations for this Israeli deception? He stands mute in the face of blatant Israeli lies, schemes, and propaganda, yet you would have us believe he is sincere in his concern for the “plight of the Palestinians”. If his “sincerity” is defended with such cowardice, God forbid what cowardice this man will exhibit in the face of an Israeli attack on Iran, or another bloodbath in Gazsa or Lebanon.
    All the way through his briefly aired condemnation of the Israeli settlement expansion, the Israelis were actually accelerating expansion, if Peace Now is to be believed. Yet the Israelis were saying publically that they were making concessions, and the Obama Administration was making the same claim. Do you really think Obama was ignorant of the fact that these claims were false? That he was unaware of the Peace Now findings? Where was his public protest? Why did he actually buttress the Israeli propaganda?
    If this is what “convgiction” looks like from Barack Obama, then this country is in deeper shit than even I care to consider.
    The end game in this is that eventually Obama will declare “progress” where none exists, and Israel will declare “concessions” it hasn’t really made.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, Paul, I took away a different “read” on Duff’s commentary.
    So shoot me.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I do have to ask for a favor though. Would you mind providing us with a complete list of the commentators here who are the “seekers of truth” and those who are perpetrators of lies? It’s important for everyone to able to tell the good guys (that you represent) from the bad guys represented by Nadine *the nafarious* (and I guess me).”
    WigWag, has Nadine lied on this blog?
    Yes or no?
    The answer, irrefutably, is yes.
    Unless of course you believe Israel diod not drop white phosphorous on urbam ciovilian areas.
    Or you believe that no Palestinians have been deprived of medical care.
    Or if you believe that no Palestinians are going hungry. Or if you believe there is evidence of “secret underground Iranian enrichment facilities”.
    And your ridiculous assertion that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people has nothing to do with their dismal economic situation ain’t exactly honest debate.
    So, uhm, yep, you and Nadine are liars. Anymore questions?

    Reply

  21. Outraged American says:

    I remember that “axis of evil” SOTU well and screaming at the TV
    screen, but I knew that the US public, who are literally bred to
    be dopes, would buy it.
    Although Paul, please be assured that at least ten Americans
    saw the writing on the wall well before.
    I was in Arizona visiting my family on Sept. 11, and when I
    heard that we were going to bomb Afghanistan in retaliation I
    called up a guy I knew in McCain’s office and told him that
    would be utterly destructive and extremely counterproductive.
    Plus kill a lot of completely innocent people.
    I’d known this guy in McCain’s office for about five years, we’d
    had many sane conversations, but he accused me of being a
    “terrorist sympathizer.” And I told him that I’d lost a friend in
    the south tower of the World Trade Center, who died saving
    people and wherever he was I knew he wouldn’t want other
    people to die.
    The world hates us because we’re ignorant, destructive,
    nationalistic, assholes. And we fund Israel, equally as
    destructive, but on a slightly smaller scale unless one counts the
    second invasion of Iraq, which can be laid at the forked tail of
    the Zionists.
    Paul, I knew you were a mac guy because our posts are much
    more vertical than those of these PC losers.
    And if it seems I’m typing in the dark because of all the typos,
    it’s because I am. My desktop is in one of the kids’ rooms and
    boy do they moan if I turn on the light in the middle of the night
    to natter on about Israel and US foreign policy. Whingers.
    Useless eaters. If they weren’t under eight they’d both be in
    uniform.

    Reply

  22. Paul Norheim says:

    POA,
    what Gordon Duff actually said is that there is a “secret group running our
    government”, which rigged the Bush elections, blew up the World Trade Center,
    murdered two Kennedys, filled our streets with drugs and robbed the entire planet’s
    financial system, putting a Muslim from Kenya in the White House.
    I`ve always regarded you as a common sense person, and can`t believe that you`re
    buying into this kind of conspiracy crap.

    Reply

  23. DonS says:

    Paul, not to worry : )

    Reply

  24. WigWag says:

    *The only thing we, the seekers of truth as far as American national interests are concerned, have going for us, is the willingness to speak candidly what politicians assiduously avoid.* (DonS)
    Thank goodness for those “seekers of truth” like you DonS. Without enlightened spirits such as yourself, all would truly be lost.
    I do have to ask for a favor though. Would you mind providing us with a complete list of the commentators here who are the “seekers of truth” and those who are perpetrators of lies? It’s important for everyone to able to tell the good guys (that you represent) from the bad guys represented by Nadine *the nafarious* (and I guess me).
    And to use a *Star Wars* analogy, are the *seekers of truth* like Jedi Warriors who have the *force* on their side, while the perpetrators of lies are acolytes of Darth Vader?
    Any information about this would be appreciated.
    And for everyone else reading these words, you heard, DonS, people.
    Keep your “eye on the ball!”
    And may the force be with you.

    Reply

  25. ... says:

    correction
    nadine quote “Perhaps instead of dragging two unwilling participants towards talks that are doomed to fail, it would be more profitable for the US to stop taking Iran’s excuses seriously.”
    substitute israel for iran and it’s “ALMOST” the same story…
    the very big difference being israel is never held accountable for it’s lies or deceptions especially by the usa..
    white phosphorous,already in possession of nuclear weapons but not signed on to the npt or even acknowledging anything about their having them, murdering large numbers at the gaza prison camp, and not a peep out of nadine or wigwag on any of this… but they are ever so compassionate towards the poor iranian women!
    well, at least we now who the regular propaganda posters for israel are here… they are invariably the same posters that are always complaining about iran!

    Reply

  26. Paul Norheim says:

    “The only thing we, the seekers of truth as far as American national interests are
    concerned, have going for us, is the willingness to speak candidly what politicians
    assiduously avoid.” (DonS)
    Don, I don`t want to disrupt that honest discussion, and I can assure you that even if
    POA doesn`t distance himself from the strange quotes I provided above, I will support
    his future comments when they are reasonable, as I`ve always done.

    Reply

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Admittedly, you`re not the only one listening to paranoid scenarios. Nadine does that all
    the time. And I`ll continue to listen to your unique voice, also when you criticize the
    Obama administration, because I often think that you have a point, and are capable of
    expressing it like no one else at TWN. Your contributions here are valuable, and a lot of
    your judgements still represent common sense in a way that deserves respect. But I
    sincerely hope that you will distance yourself from the kind of paranoia that Gordon Duff
    expresses, and calibrate your view of realities”
    Reread it, and rethink it. The author had a valid point about why extravagant and impossible “conspiracy theories” can take root. There is no trust in government anymore, and even the events and actions that scream out for investigation do not get examined.
    Note Questions implication that those of us that question certain aspects of the 9/11 event belong with those that think “the airplanes were holograms”. You aren’t “saddened” by those kinds of tactics?
    Fact is, there is a lot of reason to distrust the electoral process that put Bush in power. Fact is, government agents HAVE put drugs on American streets, just ask Ollie North and the Iran Contra players. Fact is, the government DID salt our media with “message force multipliers”. Fact is, our government DID cover up the attack on the Liberty. Fact is, Bush and Cheney DID refuse to testify under oath. Fact is, Gonzales IS a lying sack of shit, and did irrefutably lie to Congress. The list goes on and on. Yet you have disdain for Duff’s willingness to advance his opinion as to why conspiracy theories bloom and blossom in American society???
    Obama didn’t “accomplish” his way into the Oval Office. He was skillfully marketed, and put there. You might wanna ask yourself why.
    Now. You asked me why I don’t trust Obama’s conviction. I explicitly answered your question. And, in rebuttal, all you can come up with is an opinion peice I posted a coupla days ago, that raises some valid points about why Americans entertain “conspiracy theories”?
    Like I said, Obama is a posturing fraud. And just like I told Dan some weeks back, the day will come when I will be able to say, correctly, “I told you so”.

    Reply

  28. DonS says:

    Gentlemen, and ladies one presumes . . . aside from quibbling about conspiracy theorists, all this “he said, she said, who shot John”, etc., with regard to POA’s means of expressing his views, is really a distracting. In the meantime, the likes of the truly nefarious “nadine” gets her shot in.
    Now, please, let’s keep our eye on the ball. Personalities are one thing, but that’s what I used to do as a therapist, for a living. Let’s try to rise above that, and keep our focus on the bastards who, by all counts, have the upper hand, out of the gate, to compound the sad but true metaphor. The only thing we, the seekers of truth as far as American national interests are concerned, have going for us, is the willingness to speak candidly what politicians assiduously avoid.
    Thanks to all who make that effort.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    Arthur,
    I wrote it on a Mac from 1995, and I only have a print right now. My dear old Mac
    (which is still in my house)is almost dead (the CRT light tubes are very dark…),
    and I think I would have to scan the text from my print.
    I could probably do that and create a web site where you could see it (but how?).
    Would you think it was worth the effort?

    Reply

  30. arthurdecco says:

    Send it anyway. Someone will translate it if you’re not willing to.

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    “Paul, listen to George W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address. You weren’t living
    here to see how most Americans believed that complete bullshit.”
    Outraged, I especially remember his 2002 address – the “axis of evil speech”. I watched
    it with one of my brothers. Early in December 2001, I wrote a note (during the attack on
    Afghanistan) that I didn`t publish – and I had no expectations that any serious
    newspaper in Norway would publish it, although one editor is a friend of mine – that
    Bush intended to attack Iraq and other nations – due to his calculated formulation “and
    those who harbor them”. There was a reason why he phrased it in that manner: “those who
    harbor them” meant that he intended to attack states, and not only organizations. Since
    then, in December 2001, I and my brother were convinced that America intended to attack
    Iraq (possibly a handful of other nations as well), and watched the following back and
    forth in the UN with deep suspicion and distrust. We didn`t believe in the WP, NYT or
    BBC, nor the Norwegian newspapers at that time.
    Yeah, we were sitting here in Norway, we were horrified, and we were right. But what
    could we do? I could send you a copy of what I wrote on 5. December 2001, but
    unfortunately it`s in Norwegian.

    Reply

  32. ... says:

    poa – here is something to possibly cheer you up..
    Harry Reid’s Price Of Failed Leadership
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/10/13/harry-reids-price-of-failed-leadership/
    nadine quote “Perhaps instead of dragging two unwilling participants towards talks that are doomed to fail, it would be more profitable for the US to stop taking Iran’s excuses seriously.”
    substitute israel for iran and it is the same story…

    Reply

  33. Outraged American says:

    Paul, listen to George W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union
    address. You weren’t living here to see how most Americans
    believed that complete bullshit.
    I know that you are trying to puzzle through the US of A’s
    collective insanity/ amnesia, but you have very little clue of what
    our country has been up to in the past, and what it’s up to
    today.
    The depths of evil that the US government, enabled by the
    press, manages to achieve is unfathomable to outsiders, even
    one with good critical thinking skills.
    Combine that with Israel’s non-stop and self-avowed use of any
    tool to take control, and you have 9/11, the “Day That Changed
    Everything” but one we have never gotten an honest
    investigation of, nor will we ever.
    I would save your lectures to those who are less naive. Those of
    us who have studied the events surrounding Sept. 11, and I’m
    not talking about the deliberate obfuscators, who seek to make
    any one who questions the official 9/11 narrative, and nutcases,
    will alway want to know why our country went from being a
    constitutional republic, to a war-mongering, paranoid, police
    state,BROKE, imperialistic, wretch.

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    POA,
    three days ago, I was surprised (and, I have to admit, disappointed) seeing that you
    linked to a Marine combat veteran called Gordon Duff, saying, among other things:
    “Why is there a huge 9/11 conspiracy movement? Another no brainer. It is no big stretch of
    the imagination that Bush, Cheney and Rove could get a pack of rogue CIA/Mossad folks to
    do anything if the end result ended up as the war Bush was put in office to start. We’ve
    been between the sheets with these folks for a long time, think about the USS Liberty.
    Why are millions willing to believe Obama wasn’t born in the US? Simple. If a secret group
    running our government could rig the Bush elections, blow up the World Trade Center,
    murder two Kennedys, fill our streets with drugs and rob the entire planet’s financial
    system, putting a Muslim from Kenya in the White House would be a piece of cake.
    Where does this leave us? How does a generation of Americans live when confronted with one
    inexplicable thing after another, all having the look of being a bit too convenient and
    happening at just the right time.”
    ———————————————————-
    This is certainly not my world view. What made me surprised and sad, was that you, who
    very often show that your instincts are precise, and your moral and political judgements
    are very common sense, would buy into this kind of sick and paranoid crap. I enjoy reading
    your informed and straight forward judgements of US policies, and very often think that
    you nail it. But occasionally I get worried, seeing how your suspicions go beyond rational
    judgement. Sure, things are usually different than they appear to be. But approving the
    kind of paranoia expressed by people like Gordon Duff, makes me worried about your general
    judgements of US politics and your general perception of realities.
    “If a secret group running our government could rig the Bush elections, blow up the World
    Trade Center, murder two Kennedys, fill our streets with drugs and rob the entire planet’s
    financial system, putting a Muslim from Kenya in the White House would be a piece of
    cake.”
    This is madness. Right wing or Left wing? It doesn`t matter. This is paranoid conspiracy
    bullshit.
    Admittedly, you`re not the only one listening to paranoid scenarios. Nadine does that all
    the time. And I`ll continue to listen to your unique voice, also when you criticize the
    Obama administration, because I often think that you have a point, and are capable of
    expressing it like no one else at TWN. Your contributions here are valuable, and a lot of
    your judgements still represent common sense in a way that deserves respect. But I
    sincerely hope that you will distance yourself from the kind of paranoia that Gordon Duff
    expresses, and calibrate your view of realities.

    Reply

  35. nadine says:

    John Waring, why is it a vital interest of the United States? Because Iran, hundreds of miles away with no dog in the fight, uses it for an excuse? When one is looking for excuses, there are always plenty to be found. If not this one, there will be others. Perhaps instead of dragging two unwilling participants towards talks that are doomed to fail, it would be more profitable for the US to stop taking Iran’s excuses seriously.

    Reply

  36. John Waring says:

    Turkey has just canceled joint air force exercises with the Israelis.
    Mr. Norton has a few choice comments on this blog I invite you to read.
    http://bostonuniversity.blogspot.com/2009/10/turkey-has-provided-excellent-example.html#links
    Mr. Norton’s conclusion is if the President were serious, he would follow Turkey’s example.
    I think POA makes a valid point.
    Mr. President, kindly respond. You say peace, peace, but there is no peace. Sooner, rather than later, you will have to drag both parties, kicking and screaming, to final status negotiations.
    That this happens is a vital interest of the United States.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “What do you guys hope to achieve politically by systematically questioning his motives?”
    A real analysis, as opposed to this surreal denial of reality that Obama supporters seem prone to engage in.
    Was Obama sincere when he initially advanced the demands about the settlements?? Perhaps he was. And that is almost a worse scenario, as it illustrates he was comnpletely and utterly ignorant of the majority opinion in Congress, and the willingness of some key members of his party to knife him in the back. And the ease with which he has backed down speaks to his strength of character and conviction.
    And do you really think Obama has no idea whats going on in Israel right now, as the accelerated pace of construction takes place? Where are his condemnations for this Israeli deception? He stands mute in the face of blatant Israeli lies, schemes, and propaganda, yet you would have us believe he is sincere in his concern for the “plight of the Palestinians”. If his “sincerity” is defended with such cowardice, God forbid what cowardice this man will exhibit in the face of an Israeli attack on Iran, or another bloodbath in Gazsa or Lebanon.
    All the way through his briefly aired condemnation of the Israeli settlement expansion, the Israelis were actually accelerating expansion, if Peace Now is to be believed. Yet the Israelis were saying publically that they were making concessions, and the Obama Administration was making the same claim. Do you really think Obama was ignorant of the fact that these claims were false? That he was unaware of the Peace Now findings? Where was his public protest? Why did he actually buttress the Israeli propaganda?
    If this is what “convgiction” looks like from Barack Obama, then this country is in deeper shit than even I care to consider.
    The end game in this is that eventually Obama will declare “progress” where none exists, and Israel will declare “concessions” it hasn’t really made.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    I agree, Paul Norheim. But, like I said, IF Obama didn’t get something in return for dismissing the Goldstone Report–something really big–he is either not very bright or a total pushover. Opportunities like that don’t come along very often, and leaders have to take advantage of them when they do. Stay tuned.

    Reply

  39. ... says:

    paul, unlike poa – i don’t think obama is a posturing fraud… i think that is an unfair characterization..

    Reply

  40. Paul Norheim says:

    “…and didn’t relish the thought of becoming the fish being fried by AIPAC.” (JohnH)
    Probably. But I think it`s unfair when POA characterizes Obama as a “posturing fraud” in
    this specific context. Do you folks really think that Obama demanded a freeze in some kind
    of secret deal with AIPAC and Netanyahu, just to make it appear that America was fair –
    knowing the outcome?
    You may say that Obama was stupid (that`s what WigWag and Nadine accuse him of), or that
    he miscalculated) when he demanded a freeze on settlements. But not a “posturing fraud”. I
    disagree strongly with Obama`s dismissal of the Goldstone Report. But I wouldn`t dream of
    calling him a fraud for his, and Hillary Clintons, position on the settlement freeze. They
    were undermined by forces in Washington, as POA frequently points out, but that doesn`t
    make him a fraud.
    What do you guys hope to achieve politically by systematically questioning his motives?

    Reply

  41. ... says:

    i agree with poa 610pm… it is very difficult for obama to be perceived any other way… he may be working towards something else behind the scenes, but all outward appearances lead one to conclude what poa has… it isn’t helpful having clinton spout the same b.s. lines either…

    Reply

  42. JohnH says:

    Paul Norheim–“why did Obama dismiss the Goldstone Report?” My guess is that it was for the same reason that the US routinely vetoes Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. Or maybe he had other fish to fry at the moment and didn’t relish the thought of becoming the fish being fried by AIPAC.
    If he was smart, which I’m no so sure of, he got something, something really big in return for dismissing the Goldstone Report.

    Reply

  43. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Obama demanded a freeze, and failed. I believe his motives were sincere. How can
    you characterize him as a “posturing fraud” in that specific context, when the fact
    is that he was undermined by pro-Israel congress members and others?”
    Simple, Paul. He hasn’t fought back or stood his ground, against Netanyahu OR Reid and the rest of those that derailed his “efforts”, (if you can call his cowardice “efforts”).
    Further, while Netanyahu was openly criticizing Obama’s settlement demands on the media, Obama stood mute.
    Further, SINCE backing down on the settlement issue, he has worked to put the Goldstone Report in the closet, and has also adopted a status quo approach to the Israeli nuclear arsenal.
    Further, we see the same propaganda coming out of the Obama White House about Iran that we saw from the Bush White house about Iraq. The latest being this witch Hillary stating that somehow Iran isn’t living up to its “international obligations”, which is a bald faced lie. Are we to believe Obama doesn’t know his own Secretary of State is LYING to the American people about Iran’s nuclear program?
    It is obvious that Obama is talking crap, just like Bush did. Sadly, it appears the American public is too fuckin’ stupid to learn any lessons from the Bush Administration, because if this blog is any indication, they are buying the same line of shit all over again.

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    “In the end, the racist Netanyahu, in league with the posturing fraud Obama, can
    claim an agreement about “freezing” new construction.” (POA)
    Obama demanded a freeze, and failed. I believe his motives were sincere. How can
    you characterize him as a “posturing fraud” in that specific context, when the fact
    is that he was undermined by pro-Israel congress members and others?

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Prior to a Settlement Freeze: the Race for Construction “Starts” is On! – October 2009
    Settlement Watch Team
    Laying the Foundations for Around 800 Housing Units
    Peace Now research shows that in the last three months the race is on in many settlements to make a start in construction.
    Today in around 34 settlements work is taking place to lay the foundation and make construction starts – 16 of these settlements are found east of the Separation Barrier.
    Peace Now estimates that the infrastructure works currently taking place in the settlements are for a total of 800 housing units (about 300 east of the fence and 500 west).
    In addition, some 55 buildings are in the process of being completed and another 50 have their foundations laid.
    List of settlements where the infrastructure or construction works are taking place
    Tko’a, Shilo, Kiryat Arba, Nokdim, Maskiyot, Kochav Hashchar, Ma’ale Michmash, Avnei Hefetz, Ma’ale Shomron, Ma’on, Oranit, Alon, Alon Shvut, Alonei Shilo, El’azar, Beitar Illit, Barqan, Givat Ze’ev, Dolev, Har Gilo, Talmon, Yitzhar, Kochav Ya’akov, Kfar Adumim, Kfar Etzion, Carmel, Mevo Horon, Matityahu, Na’aleh, Etz Efraim (Elkanah), Pedu’el, Tzofim, Kedar, Kalia
    Prior to any freeze – the race begins!
    According to media reports, the agreement being formulated between Netanyahu and the Americans over freezing settlement construction refers to the construction new buildings.
    Those that have already begun their construction (2,400 units reportedly), will be considered facts on the ground and not part of the freeze.
    In light of such an agreement the settlers are working fast to produce many construction “starts” as possible, resulting in that these new housing units will be counted as “existing” settlements, and not be included in any future agreed upon freeze.
    Preparing the ground for construction does not require approval of the Minister of Defense
    Minister of Defense must approve any stage of the planning and execution of construction in the settlements. After all the planning stages, the explicit authorization of the Minister of Defense is required to open up the piece of land for marketing, with the Civil Administration, responsible for managing public land in the occupied territories, signing a development contract with an entrepreneur or a potential buyer.
    The next stage of preparing the ground for infrastructure work can be done without the approval of Defense Minister. In many projects, infrastructure and development works are carried out by local authorities and the Ministry of Housing.
    An approved project can start infrastructure work even before the marketing stage, ie without the approval of the Minister of Defense. Only at the stage when they want to sell the lots for construction, they will need the approval of the Defense Minister.
    Therefore, in order to freeze construction to be effective, it is not enough to avoid new authorization on the part of the Defense Minister. An active freeze will require a government ban on all construction work, including infrastructure works in the settlements.
    http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=61&docid=4418
    So, the longer Netanyahu and Obama stall any “freeze”, the more disingenuous the term “freeze” becomes. In the end, the racist Netanyahu, in league with the posturing fraud Obama, can claim an agreement about “freezing” new construction. When, really, its just another charade, in which the Palestinians get royally fucked by both Obama and Netanyahu. Yet the press will tout it as a “concession” from Netanyahu, and a “victory” for Obama and the Palestinians.

    Reply

  46. Paul Norheim says:

    So why did Obama dismiss the Goldstone Report? If he really thought that would make
    Israel more willing to freeze settlements, that was a serious mistake.

    Reply

  47. JohnH says:

    I didn’t complete my thought above–“all Israel can do is threaten not to negotiate.” But threat!!! Israel doesn’t negotiate anyway, so where’s the real threat.

    Reply

  48. JohnH says:

    Likud-ites (rhymes with Luddites) and their fellow travelers really have no answer to the Goldstone Report. All they can do is threaten to not negotiate if the reports gets discussed by the UN Human Rights Council for referral to the Security Council.
    Predictably, Bibi went on a rant before the Knesset, labeling the Goldstone Report an existential threat, “a series of attempts on an international level to negate Israel’s right to self-defense.”
    What’s really a threat to Israel is its behavior, which has seemed intent on begging the world to ostracize it for years. And the world largely has taken them up on it, all except the US and its junior partners running the governments of Europe.

    Reply

  49. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Soon you will see the Palestinians turn against Obama and say he is no better than Bush. Such is the nature of gratitude in the Middle East”
    Gratitiude for what? Shoving the Goldstone report in the closet? Standing mute during Operation Cast Lead? Backing off on the settlements?
    The Palestinians don’t have anything to thank Obama for.

    Reply

  50. nadine says:

    “It really doesn’t matter with the Israelis. They all read from the same book: obfuscate; say what is convenient/inconvenient at the moment; be rational/irrational. Bully or sweet talk. It really doesn’t matter. As Wig wag has stated, they are quite happy with the status quo, i.e., stall for time all the time.”
    The Palestinians are even more happy to stall for time. Look at what they have done. Twice they have gotten offers for 95% of the WB and all of Gaza, the last in 2007. Turned down flat with no counter-offer. Now in 2009 they got the most pro-Palestinian President ever, the one who sees the Mideast closest to their view (what Obama knows about the Mideast, he learned from Rashid Khalidi), who was determined to put some distance between the US and Israel to become an honest broker, and how did the Palestinians react? They gave him NOTHING. Not even a small good-will gesture. Their official position is to wait for Obama to give them things for free. Their have returned to maximalist demands that they are in no position to achieve diplomatically or militarily.
    Now, does that sound like a political leadership that is eager to do a deal, even to talk? No.
    Then Obama really put his foot in it by making a new demand that Israel stop natural growth in the settlements, including East Jerusalem. (Natural growth means that no more land is taken, just growth within existing borders.) Abu Mazen seized on this as an excuse not to talk, even though he had negotiated with the Israelis hundreds of times before without a freeze in place.
    Does that sound like he’s oppressed, pressured, and desperate for talks? No.
    Obama asked Abu Mazen for one favor, not to be the one pushing forward the Goldstone Report (essentially Hamas propaganda regurgitated – the methodology was to question witnesses Hamas provided, ask them nothing about Hamas activities, and write down what they said without skepticism. No Israeli evidence was admitted except in the cases where it told against Israel.). But Abu Mazen got some internal blowback for holding back. So he just went out and made a big speech pushing Goldstone. Obama couldn’t get even one favor from Abu Mazen.
    Soon you will see the Palestinians turn against Obama and say he is no better than Bush. Such is the nature of gratitude in the Middle East. Wait and see.
    Once again, we see that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    Reply

  51. ... says:

    wigwag quote “I don’t like the fact that form still triumphs over substance..” neither do i… a perfect example of this is israel where their ‘form’ truimphs over their ‘substance’ on a regular basis…

    Reply

  52. Outraged American says:

    Wig claims she wants to save the women of Afghanistan. They’re
    women and will have babies, MUSLIM babies.
    There seems to be complete confusion in the minds of some
    self-professed “feminists” who claim that they’re for women’s
    rights and justify a UsRael presence in the Gaza Strip,
    Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq because we must “save the
    women.”
    And yet many of the women in these countries are Muslim and I
    would guess quite a few are devout followers of Islam and will
    raise their children in their, to quote Wig, “pathology.”
    So in Wig and some others’ mind maze, no I meant mind haze,
    we are:
    * killing these Muslim women to save them
    * and should we accidentally allow them to survive they will raise
    their kids as ??? Jehovah’s Witnesses?
    BTW: I have squatted in the desert many a time to poop. In
    India, in Rajasthan. But I’ve also squatted over holes in the
    ground in Madras, Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, VARANASI and
    about a thousand places in between.
    That’s because India is a world power according to Wig and
    Varanasi, although too busy killing her Christians, Muslims and
    tribals to have the time to bother with flush toilets or feeding 7/
    8t hs of her population beyond one meal of chawal and dahl
    every other week.
    Hey Varanasi, I have a self-hating Jew friend coming for the
    weekend. She loves curry, so what do you think I should make?
    Pork vindaloo?
    Or Nadine — shrimp or crab curry? I make it Sri Lankan style,
    very hot with coconut milk. Nadine, she was raised Orthodox
    but doesn’t keep kosher. Maybe that campaign to keep the tribe
    pure will put her face on a poster in Jerusalem even though
    she’s in her fifties and has been happily married to a goy for 20
    years.
    What does this whole Zionist obsession with racial purity remind
    me of????…..Have to think about that one….Germany? 1930s?
    Nah — the Zionist would never act like the Nazis. Never.
    Wig can’t speak for Nadine because they’re sharing a
    Megaphone. Hasbara — got to love it.

    Reply

  53. WigWag says:

    “It’s hard to tell why people like WigWag and Nadine seem to be so happy these days.” (Paul Norheim)
    Well obviously I can’t speak for Nadine, but politically I’m not all that happy. I don’t like the fact that form still triumphs over substance as witnessed by Obama’s Nobel Prize; I’m not happy that a “public option” looks increasingly unlikely; I’m not happy that at this rate I won’t live to see “don’t ask don’t tell” overturned and I’m not happy that “card-check” is going nowhere fast.
    But hey; it’s only politics and I guess I’m just a congenitally happy person.
    As for the “most likely scenario” for the Middle East that you outlined above (apartheid, the ANC and the like), I believe it just about as much as I believe in creationism and Ptolemaic astronomy.
    With each passing day, Israel’s prospects become brighter and Palestine’s prospects become bleaker. The Palestinians have fewer allies of consequence than ever; European governments no longer toe their line, China and India are increasingly disinterested and Obama couldn’t even cajole the Israelis to take the “half-measures” he originally insisted on.
    It seems to me, the Palestinians have two choices; make a deal that is far less generous than the deal Bill Clinton offered them almost a decade ago or continue to remain stateless and miserable while Israel becomes more prosperous within indeterminate borders.
    The Palestinian leadership is largely to blame for the terrible predicament the Palestinians find themselves in. That predicament is unlikely to get better until Palestinians surrender their maximalist aspirations. Of course, Israelis also have maximalist aspirations that they may have to compromise as well.
    But the reality is that the Israelis hold most of the cards and they will continue to hold most of the cards. Like all nations that have defeated an adversary in war, the Israelis will come closer to achieving their maximal aspirations than the Palestinians will.
    I won’t deny that this reality gives me some satisfaction; I guess it does make me somewhat happy.
    For the sake of the Palestinians, I do hope they wise up while they still have the opportunity to salvage some of what they want.

    Reply

  54. Paul Norheim says:

    It`s hard to tell why people like WigWag and Nadine seem to be so happy these days.
    The Israelis don`t want peace, they say, and the Palestinians do not accept a Jewish
    state. In addition, many powerful friends of Israel in America are opposed to a peace
    process and a two state solution; and this is the main reason why Obama failed.
    Halleluyah!
    What is the most likely outcome of all this?
    Israel slowly transforming into an apartheid state. Hamas will become the ANC of the
    Middle East. And the Israeli leadership will become the not so enviable moral and
    political equivalent of the National Party which governed South Africa between 1948
    and 1994. When this stage is reached, I doubt that the majority of Americans will see
    the prosperous Israelis in such a favorable light, and the Palestinians living in
    bantustans in such a unfavorable light. And I am sure most of the outside world will
    condemn Israel.
    The WigWag`s and Nadine`s of the world will be among those who are morally responsible
    for this creation, due to their destructive approach to the issues; blindly defending
    Israel; blindly attacking the Palestinians; ridiculing any efforts to work
    constructively for a politically viable outcome.
    I wonder if they`ll be proud when they see the inevitable result?

    Reply

  55. WigWag says:

    Poor, OA, you seem out of sorts today.
    I have a little poem that I came across that might cheer you up; poetry always makes me smile, maybe it makes you smile too.
    This one is by Stephen Crane. Most know him as the author of the “Red Badge of Courage” but in addition to his prose work, Crane was quite good with verse as well.
    Anyway, OA, you remind me of the protagonist “squatting on the ground” in this poem so I wanted to share it with you.
    Enjoy and Shalom!
    “In the Desert” (1905)
    In the desert
    I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
    Who, squatting upon the ground,
    Held his heart in his hands,
    And ate of it.
    I said: “Is it good, friend?”
    “It is bitter – bitter,” he answered;
    “But I like it
    Because it is bitter,
    And because it is my heart.”

    Reply

  56. Outraged American says:

    If Israel’s so accomplished then why does she need US $$? The
    word “Bloodsucker” springs to mind.
    Iran hasn’t started an attack in 260 or so years. Israel has
    destroyed Gaza TWICE; bombed Syria; destroyed Lebanon for the
    ? time — JUST IN THE LAST THREE YEARS.
    I’m sure I’m forgetting a few instances of Israel’s naked
    aggression towards her neighbors — it’s so hard to keep-up
    with this *sane* little country and her endless, US-funded,
    terror. That entire country needs meds.
    And yet Peres claims Iran is mad?
    *SHAKES HEAD* and goes to find something to kill either the
    dog or the roofer she’s barking at next door.
    One state solution and cut-off all funding, military and
    otherwise to this shitty, apartheid, rogue, state.
    Guillotine every single member of “our” government who puts
    Israel’s interests before our own. So that would be 520 or so
    heads rolling. I’ll bring the pikes.
    Then put the Christian Zionists on a Pacific atoll and set-off
    Israel’s nukes there — the one that former Israeli Prime Minister
    Ehud Olmert admitted that Israel has. That’ll teach those loonies
    about what a real Apocalypse feels like.
    Then we’ll have peace. Until, like a zombie, Sharon rises from
    his “coma.”
    Although, if out of revenge for his “coma” he ate Netanyahu,
    Wolfowitz, Perle, Krauthammer, Malkin, Feith, both Liebermans,
    and had Livni and Blitzer for dessert, that could be a good
    thing. I hope he’s really hungry because there are many more of
    those peacenik types to gorge on.
    “Shalom”, what a joke.

    Reply

  57. ... says:

    wigwag quote “Even if a peace agreement can be negotiated, the Palestinians will almost certainly continue to be mired in poverty while their Israeli neighbors continue to become better educated and more prosperous.”
    too bad palestinians didn’t receive all the loot that israel does as it might change this a bit… also, if israelis are better educated why is it that they willing to add to the plight of others, in particular their own neighbours? does stealing make a nation like israel more prosperous? is that all their is too it??

    Reply

  58. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “While many opponents of Israel like to blame the economic plight of the Palestinians on the Israeli “occupation,” the reality is quite different”
    You are a racist liar.

    Reply

  59. WigWag says:

    Varanasi, you mention an interesting point that is rarely commented on. One of the greatest challenges to a genuine peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians will almost certainly be the difficulties posed by creating a durable agreement between Israel which possesses a sophisticated, 21st century economy and the Palestinians who suffer from what is in many ways, a preindustrial economy.
    Even if a peace agreement can be negotiated, the Palestinians will almost certainly continue to be mired in poverty while their Israeli neighbors continue to become better educated and more prosperous.
    While many opponents of Israel like to blame the economic plight of the Palestinians on the Israeli “occupation,” the reality is quite different. If nations with oil wealth are excluded, there is not a majority Muslim nation anywhere in the world with a high standard of living, an educated and healthy population or good economic prospects.
    Of the 181 nations tracked by the IMF, the highest non-oil rich majority Muslim nation in terms of per-capita GDP is Turkey which comes in at 61st place with a per-capita GDP of $13,139; less than half of Israel’s per-capita GDP. The first Arab nation on the list is Lebanon which comes in at 62nd place with a per-capita GDP of $13,006.
    In terms of infant mortality, there isn’t a majority Muslim nation that makes the top 50; in terms of life expectancy there isn’t a Muslim nation that makes the top 40 and in terms of literacy rates, there’s not a Muslim nation that makes the top 70 with the exception of Azerbaijan.
    Given the trend in the direction of increasing influence of Islamic fundamentalism that is as prevalent amongst the Palestinians as it is amongst their co-religionists around the globe, the poor economic prospects of the Palestinians is only likely to get worse.
    Even assuming a peace deal can be reached, it hardly makes any sense to assume that Palestinians will view their continuing poverty in the shadow of Israeli prosperity, as anything but galling.
    Can the Israelis be blamed for wondering whether the Palestinians will blame their continuing bleak economic prospects on Israel rather than associating it with the deep and abiding structural problems that beset all of their Muslim co-religionists?
    Even the U.S. and Mexico face enormous difficulties sharing a border; if a peace agreement is reached; because of the chasm in the economic prospects between the two parties, it will be far harder for Israelis and Palestinians to share a border.
    In fact, if you take oil out of the equation, the only place where Muslims seem to have bright economic prospects is in India, which of course is majority Hindu not majority Muslim and maybe Turkey; the only place where Arabs seem to have bright prospects is in Dubai.
    One has to wonder just how feasible peace is between Israelis and Palestinians while the pathology gripping the Muslim world continues unabated.

    Reply

  60. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its really quite ironic seeing a columnist for the Jerusalem Post making observations that our own media, (especially the two MSNBC lackeys for Israel, Olberman and Maddow), won’t dare give voice to. Nor will Obama, despite the bizarre assertions being made that he is somehow acting to improve the situation facing the Palestinians.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1254861893834&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
    Rattling the Cage: Our exclusive right to self-defense
    By LARRY DERFNER
    Virtually all of Israel is now speaking in one voice against the Goldstone report, against any attempt to blame us over the war in Gaza. We’ve honed our message to a sharp point and, inspired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s performance at the UN, we’re delivering it with just the right tone of outrage:
    How dare anyone deny us the right to self-defense! How dare anyone deny us the right to fight back against terrorism!
    Very nice. Puts everyone else on the defensive. The right to self-defense is up there with motherhood and apple pie – who’s going to come out against it, especially for us, for Israel, for the Jews, for the people of the Holocaust?
    The right to self-defense – perfect.
    But I’d like to ask: Do the Palestinians also have the right to self-defense?
    We probably wouldn’t admit it out loud, but in our heads we would say – again, in one voice – “No!”
    This is the Israeli notion of a fair deal: We’re entitled to do whatever the hell we want to the Palestinians because, by definition, whatever we do to them is self-defense. They, however, are not entitled to lift a finger against us because, by definition, whatever they do to us is terrorism.
    That’s the way it’s always been, that’s the way it was in Operation Cast Lead.
    AND THERE are no limits on our right to self-defense. There is no such thing as “disproportionate.” We can blockade Gaza, we can answer Kassams with F-16s and Apaches, we can take 100 eyes for an eye.
    We can deliberately destroy thousands of Gazan homes, the Gazan parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, courthouses, the only Gazan flour plant, the main poultry farm, a sewage treatment plant, water wells and God knows what else.
    Deliberately.
    After all, we’re acting in self-defense. By definition.
    And what right do the Palestinians have to defend themselves against this?
    None.
    Why? Because we’re better than them. Because we’re a democracy and they’re a bunch of Islamo-fascists. Because ours is a culture of life and theirs is a culture of death. Because they’re out to destroy us and all we are saying is give peace a chance.
    One look at the ruins of Gaza ought to make that plain enough.
    Here is our idea of the “laws of war”: When Israeli bulldozers rolled across the border into Gazan villages and flattened house after house so Hamas wouldn’t have them for cover after the IDF pulled out, that was self-defense. But if a Palestinian boy who’d lived in one of those houses threw a stone at one of the bulldozers, that was terrorism.
    The Goldstones of the world call this hypocrisy, a double standard. How dare they! Around here, we call it moral clarity.

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  61. DonS says:

    Gosh, “Varanasi”, you would think that with all those wonderful accomplishments, and apparent intellectual acumen, Israel would put that brain power to better use to secure regional security, if that was it’s aim. But since the aim is to expand territory, Israel looks more like a bunch of intelligent thievng rogues, at least those Israelis that get to be part of the scheme.
    As to it’s role in venture capital and NASDAQ companies I guess we could say that it’s displaced Deleware as the stock incorporation haven of choice. Says more about American greed than Israeli innovation I think.
    So, yeah, let’s revise my characterization: without the arms advantage and US muscle Israel would be a well educated, wealthy, innnovative tin panned bully

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  62. JohnH says:

    “Israeli authorities have demolished two Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem.”
    More grist for the Iranian propaganda mill. So obviously the solution is to bomb Iran, not to stop the atrocities that Iran exploits.
    Hasbara has been adept at exploiting Arab words and deeds. But the Israelis get profoundly paranoid when others’ return the favor, usually charging “antisemitism” and, in the case of another country, an “existential threat.”
    Those who live in glass houses…

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  63. varanasi says:

    DonS wrote:
    “Without it’s nukes, and the unending supply of US military
    hardware Israel would be just another tin panned regional bully.”
    They might still be a bully, but “tin panned”?! you mean aside
    from the fact that:
    -Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right
    behind the US.
    -After the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest
    number of NASDAQ listed companies.
    -Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle
    East. The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500,
    exceeding that of the UK.
    -On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech
    startups
    -The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at
    Intel. Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino
    processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in
    Israel.
    -The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was
    developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.
    -The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in
    the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development
    center in Israel.
    -Twenty-four percent of Israel’s workforce hold university
    degrees — ranking it third in the industrialized world, after the
    United States and Holland — and 12% hold advanced degrees.
    -Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship — and the
    highest rate among women and among people over 55 — in the
    world.
    -Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.
    -In the field of medicine, Israeli scientists developed the first
    fully computerized, no-radiation diagnostic instrumentation for
    breast cancer.
    -Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and
    technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed
    to 85 in the US, over 70 in Japan, and fewer than 60 in Germany.
    With over 25% of its work force employed in technical
    professions, Israel places first in this category as well.

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  64. ... says:

    out – outlet

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  65. ... says:

    ever wonder why this news never makes it to a news out from the usa? ever wonder why some folks get in a lather over bbc??

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  66. ... says:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8303355.stm
    “Israeli authorities have demolished two Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem, in defiance of international calls to stop such actions.”
    israel isn’t interested in peace… land grab – yes…

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  67. ... says:

    wigwag quote “It’s hard to see why Levy thinks any of this matters at all.”
    it has to do with israels constant desire for war on iran… pointing out alternative messages or inconsistency from israel is very helpful.. most don’t want to see the stupidity of the war in iraq repeated in iran… of course some posters here would like nothing better then a 2nd act..

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  68. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Prime Minister Netanyahu tried a similar trick, arguing that Iran would have to be dealt with first and that the Palestinian issue could be placed on the backburner. But President Obama wasn’t buying any of that, insisting that both issues be addressed in parallel, and much to the chagrin of the Likud hawks, making Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority – something he repeated when responding to being awarded the Nobel peace prize last Friday”
    It amazes me that people keep raising these issues without acknowledging the FACT that Reid and Hoyer, and scores of other Democrats in Washington, in letters to the President, and in speeches in Israel, have stated basically the same thing that Netanyahu has. Concentrate on Iran, apply more pressure to the Palestinians, back off on the settlement issue, and put the Goldstone report in the closet.
    So it really doesn’t matter what Obama is “buying”, or how strong his rhetoric is. He has no support from his own party. And on the settlement issue, haven’t we already been shown that Obama does not intend to stand his ground against Netanyahu, OR his own party? His rhetoric has been shown to be toothless. This is irrefutable, at least as it applies to the settlement issue.
    And on nukes, how does maintaining the status quo “don’t ask don’t tell” stance on the Israeli nuclear arsenal aid efforts at non-proliferation? Do we really expect Iran, and the rest of the Middle Eastern nations to consider us good faith negotiators when we punish and demonize Iran for its COMPLIANCE with the NPT, while turning a blind eye to the nulear arsenal of a nation that constantly threatens its neighbors and is not held accoubntable for the indiscriminate use of white phosphorous and cluster munitions against civilian populations? If any nation has shown a willingness to use weaponry and munitions that inflict massive civilian casualties, Israel has.
    And to seek to hide and marginalize the Goldstone Report, basically turns Obama’s words into empty mutterings. It is a complete and utter abandonment of any pretense of concern for the “plight of the Palestinians”. It has shown the world that not only are we willing to finance and arm the Israelis, but how the Israeli’s use the money and the weaponry does not jepordize our contiunued support and subsidation of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people.
    And in a more nuanced display of Israeli dominance of United States policy, Tristan Anderson is still a vegetable, still in a coma in Tel Aviv, abandoned by his country and his secretary of State. What other nation could gun down an American citizen engaged in peaceful protest, refuse to pay the medical costs, and escape criticism and outrage for such a fascist act?
    Posts such as Levy’s are leaving out huge portions of the dynamics behind Israeli dominance of United States’ foreign policy, as it applies to the Middle East. And they keep awarding Obama a sincerity of intention, and an ability to affect change, that has already been shown to be minimal, if not non-existent.

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  69. WigWag says:

    As usual, Levy misses the forest for the trees.
    He’s certainly right that it is hard to reconcile the statements made by Shimon Peres and Michael Oren about the connection between the Israel-Palestinian peace process and Iran’s role in the region. So what?
    As Levy surely knows, this is not the only disagreement between leaders at the highest echelons of the Israeli Government. Levy could have just as easily mentioned the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu has called Iran an existential threat to Israel while his Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, has explicitly stated that Iran is not an existential threat to Israel. Or Levy could have mentioned the fact that both Barak and Peres have offered far more rhetorical support for peace negotiations with the Palestinians than Netanyahu has. Peres and Barak are also almost certainly more inclined to compromise on the issue of a settlement freeze than Netanyahu is.
    In case Levy has missed it, these types of disagreements over major policy issues characterize the governments of most democratic nations. In the United States, Vice President Biden wants to reduce the U.S. footprint in Afghanistan while Secretary of State Clinton is inclined to support General McChrystal’s call for dramatically higher troop levels. On the domestic front, if news reports are to be believed, Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sibelius, wants President Obama to aggressively push a “public option” as part of the health care debate, while the President’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel wants to be more flexible.
    It’s hard to see why Levy thinks any of this matters at all.
    What is really surprising is not the policy differences between Netanyahu, Oren, Barak and Peres but the very surprising manner in which they have worked together so successfully.
    Certainly Netanyahu has a very different ideological perspective than Barak and Peres and Barak and Peres have been political competitors for a number of years. Despite this, they have worked in an extraordinarily cooperative manner; supporting each other when necessary and playing the role of “good cop-bad cop” to advance the interests of the Israeli Government.
    Levy was amongst the chorus insisting a few short months ago that Netanyahu’s Government would be short-lived, subject to internal instability and subject to constant bickering between its ideologically disparate components. He was also sure that Israelis, afraid of the consequences of confronting the enormously popular new American President, would quickly sour on a Prime Minister willing to pick a fight with the American Administration.
    None of that has come to pass.
    Instead of focusing on differences that are inevitable when Government leaders come from different political parties, Levy should be commenting on how much better they are working together than he ever thought possible.
    Of course that would require Levy to admit that he was wrong.
    Again.

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  70. ... says:

    article quote “Oren was simply, and spiritedly, sticking to a lame PR line that has now been exposed as rubbish by none other than Israels’ own president. On entering office six months ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu tried a similar trick, arguing that Iran would have to be dealt with first and that the Palestinian issue could be placed on the backburner.”
    a few posters here stick to this same lame PR line too…
    thanks for the article and viewpoints..

    Reply

  71. JohnH says:

    Nadine never tires of repeating the same old, same old–“yes we can’t.” It’s the same hasbara that’s been repeated for 60 years. The reasons for “yes we can’t” change from time to time, but the message is always the same.
    If Israel wants peace, which they don’t–they want the land, all the land and all the resources–then they’ll have to change their tune or be forced to change it, which is what increasing Arab deterrence is all about.
    Levy is spot on. Iran helps its denominational friends while undermining the legitimacy of those who seek to undermine the Iranian regime. Israel is the gift that keeps on giving. And best of all for the Iranians, they have to do almost nothing to reap the rewards, simply because eternal Israeli belligerency puts the issue on a silver platter for them, almost begging to be taken by any critic willing to espouse the values of human rights.

    Reply

  72. DonS says:

    Good cop/bad cop. Talking out of one side of the mouth or the other. It really doesn’t matter with the Israelis. They all read from the same book: obfuscate; say what is convenient/inconvenient at the moment; be rational/irrational. Bully or sweet talk. It really doesn’t matter. As Wig wag has stated, they are quite happy with the status quo, i.e., stall for time all the time. None of their talk means a damn thing, nor will it, until the US get’s serious about what it’s national security priorities are and relegates Israels opinion to just another opinion, thank you very much. And even if the US seemed to get serious, Israel would thumb it’s nose at the US because it has rarely seen a US administration capable of following through with demands.
    Without it’s nukes, and the unending supply of US military hardware Israel would be just another tin panned regional bully.

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  73. nadine says:

    Ali,
    Israel can’t get on with the peace process while Iran is pouring gasoline on the flames. The radicals have the whip hand among the Palestinians, and any serious talks would get blown up (literally). Right now Palestinian politics is a race in which everybody tries to sound even more radical than his opponent. Even men who used to be moderates now sound like they belong to Hamas.
    If you want to aid Mideast Peace, please get rid of your radical regime and cut off the Iranian funding to Hizbullah and Hamas. Then talks would become possible.
    I hear that the marchers in Tehran were chanting “No to Gaza, No to Lebanon, Yes to Iran” on Qods day.

    Reply

  74. nadine says:

    Israel is only the “Little Satan”. It is America that is the “Great Satan”. The Iranian government scapegoats America whether its problems have anything to do with America or not. If Israel fell into the sea tomorrow, Iran would not face any kind of a grievance shortage, that is for sure. And short of Israel falling into the sea, Israel’s existence would still be on the grievance list, even if there was a settlement.
    Arguing that Iran’s grievances stem from the lack of progress in Mideast peace talks is like arguing in 1999 that Hezbullah’s grievances only stemmed from Israel’s occupation of Lebanon and would dry up if Israel withdrew. Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. Were Hizbullah’s grievances undermined, or did its Iranian support lessen? Not a bit. It merely swapped the grievance from South Lebanon to Shebaa Farms and kept right on trucking. Hezbullah is stronger than ever now, and just as radical.
    In fact, the history of the Oslo Accords shows that negotiations do not undermine radicals, but embolden them as they rally support to blow up the talks. Consider 1994, the high-water mark for serious talks and an expected resolution to the conflict. That’s the year Hamas began to blow up buses in Jerusalem.
    The base problem is not that there are no talks. The base problem is that the Iranian radicals (which is to say the current illegitimate government) don’t want the talks. They want total victory – no more Israel and Persian hegemony over the Mideast. They say so quite openly. Pretending that talks or even a settlement would be a panacea is wishful thinking.
    Shimon Peres sold Israel a load of snake oil with the Oslo Accords. “If it doesn’t work we can take it back,” he said. Well it didn’t work. Can Israel take it back? There’s a reason that the Israeli left has been crushed at the polls. They had the chance to put their ideas into operation, and the Israelis have seen the result.

    Reply

  75. Fivish says:

    The ‘peace process’ is and always was a non-starter. Why? because the Arabs/Moslems dont want peace at any price!
    Despite the ‘two state solution’ of 1919, and the Mandate of 1922 the Arabs have continued with their rejection of any Jewish State.
    The only solution is to impose the Paris agreement and make Jordan the state of Palestine.
    There is no other solution.

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  76. Ali says:

    Daniel is stop on! As an Iranian activist who is working around the clock to help the opposition movement from outside of my country I’m getting sick and tired of Israel giving Iran excuses. For the sake of middle-east GET ON WITH THE PEACE PROCESS!

    Reply

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