Rep. Keith Ellison Should Drop in on the Christian-Jewish Party in the House of Representatives

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fax shrunk.bmp
ellison.jpgKeith Ellison (D-MN-5) is the first Muslim Member of the U.S. House of Representatives — and last night, I was impressed with some commentary he offered on the Al Jazeera English Satellite Channel. Ellison spoke level-headedly about American national interests and what needed to be done to get this country’s foreign policy portfolio back in shape. (I imagine he gave interviews for CNN, MSNBC, Fox, CBS, ABC as well — I just happened to be in Al Jazeera’s studio.)
I am pretty easy-going on religious matters as long as they don’t undermine tolerance and don’t muck up the kind of secularism that has made this country work and which has offered religiously neutral space for many different political, ethnic, cultural, and religious complexions to fit together — though it has been and continues to be a rocky process.
But I just got a copy of this interesting invitation from “Covenant Alliances” for a reception in the Rayburn House Office Building on February 14, 2007 to celebrate the newly established “Congressional Israel Allies Caucus of the United States Congress” and to “discuss the future direction of this body in cooperation with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus of the Israeli Parliament.”
OK. . .I know this is perhaps unfair, but aren’t we pretty well stacked on Israel caucuses and short with the broader Arab region? What about a caucus that includes the Arab states and Israel — tough I know, but it would be a good goal for the Congressmen chairing these groups.
I think that Congressional exchanges are important — and even exchanges that cluster conservatives and liberals or libertarians, even across lines of religion and ethnicity. But I’m not a Black-American and I’ve been invited to Black Caucus meetings. I’m not Jewish but I have been invited to numerous Jewish-American meetings and am invited each year to AIPAC’s annual conference.
But I wonder if Keith Ellison was invited to this gathering? I have tried to call “Covenant Alliances” and have not been able to connect by phone with their operation.
I wonder if they would invite our Muslim nominee to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad?
I hope they would — and I hope Ellison and Khalilzad would consider attending because these sorts of clusters with pretty loaded political agendas (see below) should be permeable to all Americans and certainly all Members of Congress.
Congressmen Dave Weldon, MD (R-FL) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) co-chair this new caucus and banded together in August 2006 for a statement of strong support for Israel in light of Hezbollah’s incursion into Israel.
I have briefly met both of these Congressmen and like both generally from the very limited encounters I have had and was largely unaware of their deep involvement in this sort of cross-religions bridge-building. I don’t want to criticize them for what they are doing, but I do want to provide some unsolicited counsel.
These are tough times for the U.S. in the world, and it’s important that bridgebuilding on religious grounds — which can be a good thing — ought to be inclusive of others as well — not exclusive. This kind of activity comes awfully close to questions about inappropriately mixing affairs of church and state, at least in my book.
But when it comes to the tough deal-making ahead on establishing a viable Palestinian state, there is going to be a need for tough-minded negotiations where parties involved give and take to create something stable, workable, and acceptable to the majority in Israel and Palestine.
These three pillars of the Covenant Alliances organization don’t seem to provide the kind of political flexibility that comes near to what will be needed in the coming negotiations:

1. In accordance with the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 enacted by the U.S. Congress, build a new embassy in Jerusalem within two years, in acknowledgment of the eternal truth that an undivided Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people.
2. Vigorously work for the resettlement of the Palestinian refugees to the lands of their Arab kinsmen in order to rescue them from the purgatory of refugee status and restore to them the hope of a better future.
3. Demand the Palestinian Authority disarm the terrorists in their midst, and halt all violence, propaganda, and incitement against the people of Israel, failing which the Oslo Agreements shall be null and void.

Point two and three I get — though I don’t believe that this crowd can declare any international agreement ‘null and void’, but the first is really loaded and simply won’t work. There must be some kind of joint administration. There has been before, and there needs to be again.
Congrssman Keith Ellison really ought to drop by — just to make sure that there is a “big tent” approach to our problems.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

58 comments on “Rep. Keith Ellison Should Drop in on the Christian-Jewish Party in the House of Representatives

  1. FreedomLovingAmerican says:

    I have to agree with:
    anon at January 25, 2007 09:50 AM
    While I am not much of a supporter of Israel, this kind of anti-semitic bigotry distracts from the threat of the people who are really pulling the strings of the neo-cons. It’s not Jewish Zionists in Jerusalem, it’s Christian Zionists in Colorado Springs who want to self-fulfill their prophecies of Revelations by creating the conditions for the Apocalypse, which leads to the Rapture and the Second Coming of the Messiah. The Jews in Israel want nothing of this, they just want to consolidate their return to their ancestral lands, just like they did at least twice before. But what should be more important to all Americans than the Israel Question is the threat of theocracy in America posed by these Christian Zionists, Christian Dominionists and Christian Nationalists. I think these Christian Theocrats are now trying to distance themselves from Bush because Bush has failed them, which is why they are invoking the old Protocols of Zion anti-Jewish propaganda in the hopes of boosting their power in a surge of anti-semitism.
    My thought process on this starts with Robert A. Heinlein’s book, Revolt in 2100 from 1953, especially the novella, “If This goes On-“. Then Margaret Atwood’s 1986 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Yes, these are Science Fiction, but look at the chronicles of recent events in Michael Weinstein’s 2006 book, With God On Our Side, and in Michelle Goldberg’s 2006 book, Kingdom Coming. The recent movie, Jesus Camp, is also illuminating on this issue. There is good reason to be concerned about the potential for theocracy in America, and anti-semitism is how it will start.

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  2. Winnipeger says:

    thanks for the condescension, Matthew.
    and once again, someone who criticizes me and MP of hostility and sophism is hostile and sophistic themselves. oh, the hypocrisy!
    needless to say, and unfortunatley for you, matthew, you’re STILL wrong.

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  3. MP says:

    Matthew writes: “MP and Winnipeger: You are wrong, as usual. A refugee who moves permanently becomes an immigrant. You can play your sophistic word games, but most people posting on this blog obviously know the difference.”
    No, it is you who are playing sophistic games, Matt. Slimey sleight-of-hand, i’d call it.
    People who are forced out, made to leave, or persecuted to the point where they “want” to leave are refugees. They are refugees because, absent these pressures, they wouldn’t not have left and would not have wanted to leave. The question of “wanting to go back” never arises in any real way–though I’m sure they miss many things about their original homeland– because they would be going back to a place that doesn’t want them and has made them feel unwanted–and much worse.
    The fact that they are welcomed elsewhere, made to feel at home elsewhere, and make their home elsewhere doesn’t change this fact.
    By contrast, an “emigrant” or “immigrant” is someone who chooses to leave his homeland and make his home elsewhere.

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  4. Matthew says:

    MP and Winnipeger: You are wrong, as usual. A refugee who moves permanently becomes an immigrant. You can play your sophistic word games, but most people posting on this blog obviously know the difference.
    As Mark Twain used to say, the difference between the right word [and its proper usage] and the almost right word, is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
    On the bright side, at least you didn’t claim there were no Palestinians living in Palestine before 1948. I thank you for that.

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  5. MP says:

    And this from Wikipedia:
    “A refugee is a person seeking asylum in a foreign country in order to escape persecution, war, terrorism, extreme poverty, famines, and natural disaster.”
    So it looks as though a lot of refugees don’t want to return.

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  6. Winnipeger says:

    That’s interesting, Matthew, I’ve never heard that before. I guess that means that Eastern European Jews who didn’t want to go “home” to, say, Poland, post-WWII were…emigres. Hmmm.
    Posted by: MP at January 25, 2007 06:46 PM
    actaully matthew, you’re wrong. the definition of refugee is as follows:
    ref·u·gee /ˌrɛfyʊˈdʒi, ˈrɛfyʊˌdʒi/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[ref-yoo-jee, ref-yoo-jee] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
    –noun
    1. a person who flees for refuge or safety, esp. to a foreign country, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc.

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  7. MP says:

    “MP: A point of clarification. You are not a refugee unless you want to go home. Unless Jews living in Israel want to return to Arab countries like Iraq or Egypt, then they are “emmigrants,” not refugees. If they do desire to return to live permanently in those countries, then it is proper to call them refugees.”
    That’s interesting, Matthew, I’ve never heard that before. I guess that means that Eastern European Jews who didn’t want to go “home” to, say, Poland, post-WWII were…emigres. Hmmm.

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  8. JustTellthetruth says:

    Steve,
    Point 2 is calling for the total ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and suggests sending its inhabitants to either Jordan or Egypt by direct force or intimidation. This is a common viewpoint of the Israeli settlers, who are as fanatical, racist, and ultra nationalist as it gets.
    You say you “get” point 2. Tell me, if point 2 refered to African Americans being rounded up by this group and sent back to the “lands of their African Kinsman”, would you still “get” it? If point 2 suggested that someone round up the “Jewish refugees” in the US and send them back to the “lands of their Jewish Kinsman” would you still “get” it?
    Before the final solution was reached, Hitler tried to move all of the Jews to some other “lands of their Kinsman”. Did you “get” that?
    Perhaps you still don’t “get” why Milosevic is a war criminal that we waged an aggressive bombing campaign agaisnt in order to prevent him from engaging in his version of point 2, which you do “get”.
    Point 2 renders points 1 and three null and void, dont you think?
    Point 1 appears to suggest that we build an American settlement in the form of a US Israeli embassy on Palestinian soil. The ultimate “fact on the ground” huh?
    Point 3 suggests that if the palestinians don’t stop fighting agaisnt actions like points 1 and 2, the gloves are really going to come off, which falls squarely into the realm of the absurd.
    I urge you to print a retraction or clarification of your views of “Point 2”. I sincerely hope you are kidding, or simply mistaken, as it would appear that to some extent, you were trying to speak out agaisnt this group and their initiatives.
    P.S.,
    Any US politician who would willingly and knowingly align themselves with an organization that condones ethnic cleansing and then invite other US officials to back this on “religious” grounds should result in their immediate removal from office. These people are despicable.
    J

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  9. DonS says:

    ” . . .and we get dried dates in return.” Are you commodity biased?
    More seriously, economic whoredom notwithstanding, there is a big difference between it and its political handmaiden, in which Israel exercises disproportinate influence within the US government and political system.
    Your argument is somewhat understated, but I think I detect a rather hardcore zionist “bias” underneath. Tell us more.

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  10. bill hill says:

    Mr. Smythe: We in US purchases weapons technology from Israel that we’re not able to develop ourselves. (They also generate a lot of software for Microsoft.) Egypt gets roughly dollar for dollar the same U.S. funding as Israel, and we get dried dates in return. And that excludes the other Arab states’ moola. Take and take?
    Are you, er, ethnically biased?

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  11. bill hill says:

    Mr. Smythe: We in US purchases weapons technology from Israel that we’re not able to develop ourselves. Egypt gets roughly dollar for dollar the same funding as Israel.same ts Take and take? Are you, er, biased?

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  12. Carroll says:

    I just spoke to Pelosi’s office..her staffer said he was familiar with the Washington Note but had not seen this report on the formation of the Israel/Christian Caucus and their ‘celebration” meeting in the Rayburn building.
    I read him the text from the invitation and asked him what Peliso and the Democractic party’s position was on a religious caucus and a caucus representing a FOREIGN country within THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS.
    He said he did not know what her position was yet as she had not issued a comment and he didn’t know if she was aware of ti but he would bring it to her attention …I asked when this owuld be brought to her attention and when she would issue a comment on this..he could not say.
    I made my views CRYSTAL CLEAR on religion and Israel, a foreign country, being formally represented within congress by elected representatives of the people of the UNITED STATES…
    I will call every day until Pelosi does issue a statement and it better be one condeminng this subversion of US governing bodies by foreign interest from a fifth column of militant jews and this erosion of seperation of church and state by fringe religious cultist.

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  13. Neal says:

    I am prouder of being a 5th CD-MN voter than being a US citizen these days. Go get em, Keith!

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  14. Neal says:

    I am prouder of being a 5th CD-MN voter than being a UC citizen these days. Go get em, Keith!

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  15. Carroll says:

    I just want to emphasize something that is evident in a few of the comments: This is not a Jewish-Christian Group. It is a Christian group, and its positions go well to the right of mainstream Jewish positions on Israel. They are seeking to ensure that Israel remain a Jewish place (with the Arabs expelled or suppressed) so that Christ can return.
    Stay away from this crap.
    Posted by anon at January 25, 2007 09:50 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Nuts buddy boy…let’s be honest about what this is:
    1) a zionst institued political pressure group under cover of judeo-christian religion alliance
    2) in conjunction with the nutcase religious freaks who subscribe to the zionist Israel vision for religious reasons to subvert US policy to their liking.
    3) and to enrich the cof$f$ers of the zionist and evangelical god merchants.

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  16. Carroll says:

    Meanwhile here is more on the Covenant Alliances.
    Not hard to see that they are a mixture of religious cultist and tools and dupes for the hard line zionist here and in Israel who oppose any attempt to settle the Isr/Pal conflict by creating two states. They firmly support the bibical myths and work toward “Greater” Israel.
    I don’t think I have to say that Engle is a hard line zionist working for Israel not the United States and we should pay close attention to everyone invovled in this “Israel Caucus”.
    http://www.covenantalliances.org/blog/_WebPages/AboutUs.html
    Statement of Faith
    Covenant Alliances is comprised of Christians united in fervent love of the Jewish people, a people described in the Bible as God’s own possession, called from the nations to dwell together within the land of Israel in order to fulfill God’s divine purpose – that they would be a holy nation and reflect His glory throughout the earth.
    We believe that Christians and Jews are joint partakers in a common religious heritage born of covenant, and that we remain, albeit by different pathways, joint heirs to a common spiritual destiny which finds ultimate completion under the kingship and authority of the Jewish Messiah when He, in that day, fulfills God’s promises to His people as found in the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants.
    We represent the Christian church in its obedience to God’s Word, which requires us to bless and affirm the Jewish people, assisting them in all manner of ways, in order that they may live securely in the land of Israel in preparation for the fullness of blessing and restoration which is to come, in accordance with the Word of God.
    In agreement with its purpose of advancing and enhancing Christian-Israeli understanding, communication, and solidarity, we have embraced the opportunity to become a part of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. It is our intent to faithfully assist and support Knesset Caucus members as they go about their agenda of outreach to the Christian community worldwide.

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  17. Matthew says:

    MP: A point of clarification. You are not a refugee unless you want to go home. Unless Jews living in Israel want to return to Arab countries like Iraq or Egypt, then they are “emmigrants,” not refugees. If they do desire to return to live permanently in those countries, then it is proper to call them refugees.

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  18. Carroll says:

    Posted by Bea at January 25, 2007 12:15 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    I just called my own congressman’s office, Jones, and Pelosi’s…neither of the phone answering staffers were familiar with this and suggested I speak to the foreign affairs aides..who naturally were “out to lunch”…I am going to call again later this afternoon..and I am going to record their comments….

    Reply

  19. Bea says:

    OK, I really want to do something more than just vent in a comment about this. Can someone suggest who we should call to protest this? And does anyone know if there is any historical precedent — has any foreign country ever done something along these lines before?

    Reply

  20. DonS says:

    Let me fantasize here about some wee little voice — or a big one for that matter — having the courage to stand up on the House floor and call attention to this in plain words that the American public can understand since our representatives are obviously incapable or worse. Maybe Nick Rahall?
    You can’t even find analogies for turning the tables because the Israel lobby occupies a sui generis position. Words escape me.

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  21. Carroll says:

    Insane.
    A religious caucus inside the governing body of the United States of America?
    A foreign country caucus inside the governing body of the United States of America?
    United States of America elected representatives to the United States congress creating a caucus within the US Congress to represent religion and a foreign country?
    They are totally and completely insane and have to go.
    And for those who don’t get point two, the plan to return the Palestines to their “Arab kinsmen” land, here it is:
    http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/hs_short_eng.htm
    Engle, Nadler and Brownback and a host of other jews in congress and evangelicals are members and speakers for the Jerusalem Summit, an organization in Israel that among other things, like replacing the UN with a new UN in Jerusalem, wants to “transfer” the Palestines back to their “Arab kinsman’s land” meaning Jordon and Egypt. Puruse their site and you wil see that the zionist sect has set up these Jewish-Christian caucus inside dozens of countries with the exact same talking points and plans.

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  22. anon says:

    I just want to emphasize something that is evident in a few of the comments: This is not a Jewish-Christian Group. It is a Christian group, and its positions go well to the right of mainstream Jewish positions on Israel. They are seeking to ensure that Israel remain a Jewish place (with the Arabs expelled or suppressed) so that Christ can return.
    Stay away from this crap.

    Reply

  23. Pissed Off American says:

    http://washtimes.com/world/20070124-120657-5676r.htm
    Candidates court Israel, cite Iran risks
    By Joshua Mitnick
    THE WASHINGTON TIMES
    January 24, 2007
    HERZLIYA, Israel — Presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, John Edwards and John McCain all detoured through Israel on the way to New Hampshire this week, seemingly competing to see who could be strongest in defense of the Jewish state.
    Speaking in person or by video link Monday and yesterday, the politicians spelled out tough measures they said were necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also addressed the conference.
    Stressing the strong U.S.-Israeli relationship at the Herzliya security conference outside Tel Aviv, the Americans called for the United States to step up sanctions on Iran and leave the possibility of a military attack “on the table.”
    In less than a decade, the annual conference has become a mecca for Middle East specialists, partly because Ariel Sharon used it to outline his plan to pull out of the Gaza Strip when he was prime minister.
    For American politicians, the gathering provides an opportunity to float policy positions and reach out to Jewish voters in the United States.
    “This forum has become the Davos for Middle East wonks,” said David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who also was scheduled to speak. The Swiss town of Davos plays host to World Economic Forum meetings.
    “During the Cold War, the Middle East was a backwater of American policy. But with the end of the Cold War, the Middle East has become the center of American policy. [The conference is] a legitimate forum for them to express their views on a region that’s important.”
    Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts and potential contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, called for economic sanctions on Iran that are “at least as severe” as those imposed on South Africa during its apartheid era.
    He compared the challenge posed by Iran and militant Islam to the great threats of the 20th century — fascism and totalitarian communism. He also recommended that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be brought before an international court and be tried for threatening genocide.
    “It is time for the world to plainly speak these three truths,” said Mr. Romney, the only one of the four to attend in person. “One, Iran must be stopped. Two, Iran can be stopped. And three, Iran will be stopped.”
    Mr. Gingrich, speaking by satellite video link, said Israel faced the most serious threat to its existence since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. But many in Israel and the United States do not fully appreciate the nature, size and scope of the Iranian threat, he said.
    “I have two grandchildren,” said Mr. Gingrich, who has declared that he would run for president next year only as a last resort, “and I think there is a greater danger of them dying in an action than I faced during the Cold War.”
    Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican and a presidential front-runner, said he supported exploring a strengthening of ties between Israel and NATO as a means of easing Israel’s insecurity.
    “A friendly democracy under siege should be closer partners to the world’s most successful security alliance,” he said via satellite link. “American support for Israel should intensify. The enemies are too numerous, the margin of error too small, and shared values too great.”
    Mr. Edwards, of North Carolina, the only Democratic presidential candidate to address the conference, similarly called to toughen sanctions on Iran and hold out the threat of military force, but he broke with the others by suggesting that Washington open a dialogue with Iran.
    “I support being tough, but I think it’s a mistake strategically and ideologically not to engage them on this issue,” he said. “America should engage directly on this issue.”

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  24. karenk says:

    Agree MB, it can’t be legal-and Keith should most definitely drop in….

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  25. MB says:

    Since this reception is held in a government building, I dont see how basing attendance on religous belief would not be illegal

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  26. Talent H says:

    This is all about zionist supression of Islam. It is a sick form of censorship. After all, censorship is becoming America’s favorite past-time. The US gov’t (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like “America Deceived” from Amazon and Wikipedia, and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Give Ellison a break.
    Final link (until Google Books bends to gov’t pressure and drops the title):
    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-38523-0

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  27. DonS says:

    It is a fallacy to say the US does not or could not have an influence on settling I/P. However, as long as even the hardest of the hard line Israel crazies gets a respectful hearing in the U S Congress, there is no positive role being played. The Congress doesn’t take their responsibility seriously, particularly it does not recognize the consequences they are enabling). We all know why.
    Hand in glove.
    AIPAC should have been made to register as the agent of a foreign government decades ago.

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  28. liz says:

    We cannot solve the eternal problem between peoples in Israel/Palestine/Judeah/West Bank. It is really NONE of our business. The history of that part of the world has everything to do with why those people cannot solve it and in case everyone has failed to notice, the middle east arabs hate the jews and really do want to at the very least wipe out the entire government of the state of Israel. It appears from American tv that the middle eastern arabs want to kill all jews but I will take Iran at their word that they solely want that zionist government destroyed. Americans cannot and will not solve this problem. As far as Mr. Ellis goes, I feel sure the Christians would welcome him and his opinions. They are generally open people. ( I AM NOT TALKING EVANGELICALS> I am talking Christians and people…. Muslims want you to think there is a difference between the ones fighting and the ones like Mr. Ellis… and there are differences between Christians too.) So Mr. Ellis should indeed drop by, he should have been invited and I encourage these people to attempt to have dialogue and not trade insults.

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  29. Smythe says:

    CheckingIn,
    I first heard about Saudi USA bank deposits in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 film and I COMPLETELY disbelieved him, as I dismissed most of the film for other than its entertainment value. Thought it was poppycock, so I started looking into it. I dont like hearing facts and figures spouted without something hard on paper that backs it up. It’s my past journalism experience.
    I discovered that the annual rate of Saudi investment in the USA ranges from 18.2% to something like 22.4% in extraordinary years, meaning in years when oil prices are significantly higher. Since Saudi oil sales heretofore have been in US dollars, the Saudis park their profits in our country for safety, which is the reason why they are courted by our presidents. I do remember that Jane’s Defense Weekly reported on these amounts, but it was ancillary to the topic of the article. And it is not the entire source, or sources.
    I do not know what I named the files that prove this on my archive hard drive. believe me when I say I saved these fiels. Sometimes I have to damn my arcane sense of nomenclature . But I will keep searching for the source docs because they were PDF’d and the PDFs’ contain the originating URLs.

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  30. CheckingIn says:

    Smythe: “The Saudis comprise over 20% of the entire foreign investment dollars in the USA, 1/5 of all banking deposits. In effect: a 20% shareholder.
    Israel does nothing of the kind.”
    A v. interesting dynamic & policy analysis. Please provide figures, analysis, context WEBLINKS so we can see where you are coming from?
    no info is wasted

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  31. Ottawan says:

    In response to Robert Morrow comments:
    If Islam was not tolerant, why will Jews live in peace and prosper in Muslim lands for more than a millenium including the Muslim period in Spain, while they were tormented in Europ over ages. If you want to read about Muslim tolerance, read the following witten by an Israeli Jew and don’t call him a self-hating Jew because he is not: http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/35741

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  32. ahem says:

    “Vigorously work for the resettlement of the Palestinian refugees to the lands of their Arab kinsmen”
    i.e. ship them off to Jordan.
    And ‘Arab kinsmen’, indeed. Funny how you get two diametrically-opposed definitions: Israel is ‘the homeland of the Jewish people’, and thus open to Jews regardless of their origins… but Palestinian Arabs who’d lived there for dozens of uninterrupted generations belong elsewhere.
    What a toxic bunch. Perhaps there could be a Native American Covenant meeting, adopting the premise that the descendants of arriviste colonists ought to be removed to the lands of their kinsfolk.

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  33. Jerome Gaskins says:

    How do they get to determine that Palestinians should not get their land back? There should be no resettlement anywhere else but in the land these people originally come from: Palestine. Israelis should be taught and learn that they cannot steal the land of the Palestinians and pretend that their cause is so holy and righteous. As of right now, they are thieves and murderers, and they will not escape that reputation until justice is served. Justice, not politics.

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  34. Smythe says:

    Bill Hill,
    The Saudis comprise over 20% of the entire foreign investment dollars in the USA, 1/5 of all banking deposits. In effect: a 20% shareholder.
    Israel does nothing of the kind. It simply takes from the USA. Takes and takes and takes money and military might from US taxpayers. There is no comparison.

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  35. Smythe says:

    I am just stunned by this. Where does it end? Are these groups registered as Foreign Agents? Can you find out, Steve? Who funds them? Israel (with US tax dollars?) . . . taxpayers? . . . private funding? . . . who are the principals in this? . . . what are they seeking to get from US Congressmen? . . . Why is a Knesset group interacting with US Congress?
    All of this stuff is un-proportional to the Jewish population in the USA, which is 2.4%.

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  36. Peter H says:

    I don’t know if anybody’s mentioned this, but the Israeli MP, Benyamin Elon, who’s attending the Engel-Weldon reception, is an advocate of “transfer” of Palestinians, a euphemism for their expulsion. As the Christian Science Monitor reported in 2002:
    Elon says that under conditions of war, Israel has the right to bring upon the Palestinians “another nakba,” or catastrophe, similar to 1948, when an estimated 700,000 of them were expelled or fled during the Arab-Israeli war.
    “There is great disappointment and confusion. People are saying we have had enough, we have seen wars and we have seen the Oslo agreement with all of its bloodshed,” says Elon. “I want to remind them of this platform and to remove the taboo from public discussion. It is intolerable that the Arabs should think that, every time, they can drain our blood and then we will negotiate with them.”
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0206/p05s01-wome.html
    And for those who want to see the platform of Elon’s party, Molodet:
    http://www.moledet.org.il/english/

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  37. bill hill says:

    No interest groups from Arab world? Huh? Saudis have unfettered access to congress and white house. Ditto Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, etc. They hire spokesmen like Jim Baker, by the way. Forget the Carteresque stereotyping, put aside your copy of “kumbaya,” and consider that Ellison may regard himself as (gasp!) an African-American.
    Sure, let him attend any meeting he wants. Preferably without your sanctimonious fanfare!

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  38. Dan Tompkins says:

    The Koran has both a covenant for Muslims and an account of the “broken covenant” familiar in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Here is one quote:
    [5.7] And remember the favor of Allah on you and His covenant with which He bound you firmly, when you said: We have heard and we obey, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, surely Allah knows what is in the breasts.
    So, Congressman Ellison could show up at the door and say, I’ve got a covenant too, can I come in? On the other hand, who would want to join this group?
    Dan Tompkins

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  39. Pissed Off American says:

    http://tinyurl.com/3c2yyt
    An excerpt……
    With this last bit, we not only see the accuracy of Clark’s remark, but, once again, the stunning hypocrisy of the anti-anti-Semitism brigades. It’s clear that McCain, just like Clark, sees American Jewish organizations as key players in the Iran-hawk movement in the United States, and also that he sees concern for Israeli security as motivating those groups. Nobody, however, is going to label McCain a Jew-hating conspiracy theorist — because, of course, McCain wants to help these groups push the United States into a military confrontation with Iran. Thus, McCain gets an award, and Clark gets called an anti-Semite.
    Since Clark would like to have a future in the politics game, he ended up backing down from his remarks, explaining he didn’t mean what he said. Mission accomplished for those who smeared him. But would I ever suggest that Democrats have been unduly timid on the Iran issue because they fear crossing powerful “pro-Israel” institutions? Never. Only anti-Semites think stuff like that.
    Matthew Yglesias is a Prospect staff writer.

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  40. Pissed Off American says:

    The problem with Islam is that it is not tolerant and it is not democratic oriented. We have too many Muslims in the USA and we need to quit letting them in. Any orthodox Muslim definitely does not need to be in the USA, unless you want to live you life under sharia.
    Posted by Robert Morrow
    It amazes me that the United States has managed to spawn such a large bunch of ignorant assholes. Tell ya what Morrow, in my opinion we should trade you for one of the Iraqis whose life Bush destroyed. Straight across. He gets to come here, and we ship your ignorant ass over there. Adios.

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  41. ucfjoustudent says:

    Steve,
    Like the other commenters, I don’t “get” point No. 2 either. To me it’s just as incendiary as point No. 1, these people want their land as much as they want some part of Jersusalem. It’s not just the refugee camps, but the divided neighborhoods, roadblocks, etc. that are fueling this.
    I do agree that the caucus comes too close to mixing church and state, as well as limiting far too greatly the country’s ability to manuever in global affairs.

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  42. MP says:

    Then again, as regards refugees, there were some 700,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries after the formation of the state. These were people who had lived in these lands for hundreds of years, so I guess they qualified as “native” by the time 1948 rolled around. They are one very good reason for the state being there to receive them and give them a home. It’s a complicated history.

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  43. Robert Morrow says:

    The problem with Islam is that it is not tolerant and it is not democratic oriented. We have too many Muslims in the USA and we need to quit letting them in. Any orthodox Muslim definitely does not need to be in the USA, unless you want to live you life under sharia.

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  44. Matthew says:

    Steve: Unlike you, I don’t “get” Point Two of the Covenant Alliances. If you want to improve America’s standing in the ME, how about we jettison the hateful, racist canard that Palestinians are not legitimate refugess, who were, in fact, made into refugees by Zionists. No, not Morocco or France…but by Israelis. We cannot play a legitimate role in the ME when historical revisionism is the starting point of all of our policies. This “caucus” is just another shameful gathering in an increasingly clownish institution. Everything we do in the ME is in bad faith. Post this caucus as Exhibit 1,235,678.

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  45. texas dem says:

    With as much respect as I can muster and then some, did you read point two, Steve? I hope that is not mainstream thinking. The resettlement of Palestinian refugees to Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, presumably with Israel taking uncontested control of the West Bank (as with the undivided Jerusalem in point one)? I’d be surprised if that is even permissable mainstream rhetoric anymore. If Bush can repeatedly endorse a two-state solution, who gets to run around talking about the evacuation of the West Bank and still be counted serious? Apparently at least one Democratic congressman.
    I’m disappointed to learn that. But then, I haven’t figured out where the bounds are in political rhetoric anyway, nor how they move nor how they’re policed.

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  46. Bea says:

    To put this in perspective, imagine that you were invited to a “Congressional Iran Allies Caucus of the United States” to discuss cooperation with the “Christian Allies Caucus of the Majlis of Iran.” The stated positions of the new alliance are:
    (1) Jerusalem is a holy city that should be reserved for Muslims alone. The US should declare it the capital of the Islamic State of Palestine.
    (2) Vigorously work towards the resettlement of any Jew who has settled in Israel/Palestine since 1947, since they have no legitimate political status in the country henceforth.
    (3) Demand that the Israeli government disarm cease immediately all violence, propaganda, and incitement against the Palestinian People, failing which the Oslo Agreements shall be null and void.
    Now imagine this meeting is taking place in the US Capitol with American taxpayers’ dollars. And then reflect on that for a bit.

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  47. Bea says:

    There are so many serious problems with this it’s hard to count them.
    (1) The 3 positions taken in the invitation are all contrary to the official position of the United States. Are members of Congress allowed to openly espouse positions on matters of foreign policy that directly contravene our country’s stated positions?
    (2) The religion of invitees is specified on the invitation. This is really contrary to our country’s core philosophy of separation of church and state. Moreover, as Steve points out, the invitation appears to extend only to members of certain religions, which is completely anathema to American culture.
    (3) The agenda for the caucus would be extremely provocative to any of our Muslim or Arab allies at a time when we desperately need their support to help with the chaos in Iraq.
    (4) The caucus apparently places the interests of a foreign country, Israel, above those of the United States. This is clear from point (1) above, but also from the fact that the caucus will be allying itself with a group from the Israeli Knesset. And in fact, it’s entirely possible that such a “Christian Allies Caucus” could be extremely distasteful to a majority of the Jewish Knesset as well.
    (5) This whole enterprise, with all its problems, is presumably being paid for by taxpayer dollars. Are our taxpayer dollars supposed to support efforts to privilege members of one religion over another?

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  48. ... says:

    i agree with Dan as well. thanks for your comments Dan.

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  49. MP says:

    I should add also about point one. As I recall, Rabin OPPOSED moving the US embassy–and OPPOSED the Lobby on this point–BECAUSE it would upset the chances for I/P peace. It’s obviously an idea intended to incite and inflame.

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  50. MP says:

    Dan Kervick writes: “Not only is this group opposed to the eventual return of Palestinian refugees to their lost homes inside Israel, but they are also apparently opposed to the resettlement of those refugees inside a future Palestinian state on the West Bank. Instead they favor the transfer of the refugees to “the lands of their Arab kinsmen.”
    This point bears repeating. Yes, this is a hardline group that supports a position that is far beyond–to the right of–what the majority of Israelis support. And most American Jews, including those who support Israel, as well.
    Steve, your idea of adding Muslims to the mix is a good and necessary one.

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  51. Ajaz says:

    Excellent point suggesting that Keith Ellison should drop in on this party. I wonder what would the politicians say if some Arabs and a couple Congressmen got together for a party on Capito Hill?

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  52. Aunt Deb says:

    I agree, Dan.

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  53. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve, I appreciate your instincts for tact and delicacy in discussing US-Israel affairs. But this is clearly a very hardline group, and it goes beyond tact and into disingenuousness to describe them as concerned with “religious bridgebuilding”. This is a political group that seeks to forge an alliance between Israelis and Christian Zionists, mediated through sister caucuses in the Knesset and US Congress, with the ultimate purpose of establishing complete Israeli sovereignty over the entire biblical “Land of Israel”.
    The Jerusalem embassy pillar with its expression of support for an “undivided Jerusalem”, and Congressional endorsement of the religious doctrine that Jerusalem is the “eternal” capital of Israel, is bad enough. But it is the second pillar that is the real whopper here. Not only is this group opposed to the eventual return of Palestinian refugees to their lost homes inside Israel, but they are also apparently opposed to the resettlement of those refugees inside a future Palestinian state on the West Bank. Instead they favor the transfer of the refugees to “the lands of their Arab kinsmen.”

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  54. linker says:

    The comment quoted below, made during Israel’s cluster bombing of Lebanon last summer, should make it explicitly clear what Eliot Engel’s priorities are.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/25/AR2006072501324_pf.html
    Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) said that language urging restraint to protect civilian life would have been interpreted as a slap at Israel — and that at a time when world opinion is predictably against the Jewish state, the United States must stand firmly on Israel’s side.
    “I am very sensitive to Lebanon’s budding democracy. I’m very sensitive to the delicate balancing act we’re in, and I grieve for civilian casualties,” Engel said. But he added: “I don’t want to be an honest broker. I want to be a friend and ally of the only democratic government in the Middle East that is besieged by its enemies.”

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  55. MP says:

    Steve writes: “These three pillars of the Covenant Alliances organization don’t seem to provide the kind of political flexibility that comes near to what will be needed in the coming negotiations:”
    Steve, this has to win the 2007 Pundits’ Award for understatement.

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  56. Rueben Boumtje says:

    Some great points Steve. Though I suppose that if Keith Ellison or Zalmay Khalilzad can’t stop by, Undersecretary Karen Hughes should try to attend. I hear she’s doing an excellent job at “cross-religions bridge-building” — the kind thats really helped stem the tide of Muslim antipathy towards the United States.

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