The Goings-On: Israel-Palestine, Brussels, Cuba


brussels forum.jpg
Today at 9:30 am, Former Israel Foreign Minister Schlomo Ben-Ami will be speaking about his work to encourage a Gaza ceasefire and then how to trigger moves in a positive direction for Israelis and Palestinians. He’ll be at the New America Foundation today in Washington, DC, and yours truly will be moderating the meeting. It will be available digitally on the web later today or tomorrow.
Then tonight, I’m off to Brussels for ‘The Brussels Forum‘. It looks like a great conference — and one of my favorites, David Ignatius, will be there among many other notables. I plan to be the sane counterpoint to what appears to be a Cold War-hugging panel on Cuba.

Here’s the set-up:

Cuba After Castro
The Hon. Mario Diaz-Balart, U.S. Congressman (R-FL)
The Hon. Albio Sires, U.S. Congressman (D-NJ)
The Hon. Alexandr Vondra, Deputy Prime Minister, Czech Republic
Andres Ortega, Columnist, El Pais
Chair: Mr. Craig Kennedy, President, German Marshall Fund

I know Diaz-Balart, and I believe that he should be recusing himself from discussions of US-Cuba policy because of a profound family and friends bias that keeps him from seeing the national interest. Sires is on the panel as a Dem — but not as a balance to Diaz-Balart. Republican Jeff Flake from Arizona would be a far more reasonable alternative to either of the Diaz-Balart brothers — and he’s in the same party.
The only point of difference on Cuba will be the impressive Andres Ortega. But I will be there — and I imagine that of all of them — I’ve been to Havana and met with the Cuban political elites more recently. We’ll have to see how the panel analyzes a many decades old failed policy of isolation.
Apologies to my many friends in Brussels who wanted me to speak for a group of overseas Dems and overseas TWN readers. I had cancelled my trip and then recommitted just a day or so ago.
— Steve Clemons


8 comments on “The Goings-On: Israel-Palestine, Brussels, Cuba

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  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It would be interesting to find out exactly how much control we have over how the billions are spent. My bet is that we have NO control. In fact, I would bet that there is not even an accounting. Besides, if they are willing to sink our ships and kill our sailors in order to influence events, (the Liberty), then can we really be trustful of any accounting they may provide as to how they use OUR MONEY??
    So that makes this pathetic clown Rice’s comments all the more despicable. Does she really think that Israel gives a rat’s ass about how we think they should spent the money we funnel into their coffers??? After the check is signed, its outta our hands. When I see this bullshit like Rice’s comment, I wanna scream. How stupid does that incompetent jackassette think we are?
    The truth? I NEVER thought I would see the day that this country would have such a bunch of incompetent cowardly self-serving lyin’ treasonous criminals running the show. And that goes for BOTH sides of the aisle. We’re in deep shit, people.


  3. DonS says:

    FYI . . .
    More atrocities: I guess it takes a couple hundred deaths to get attention of anyone, unless of course it happens to be eight yeshiva “children” . . . not that that’s ok either, of course, you know . . .


  4. arthurdecco says:

    “The FBI should have wire taps on all congress people and especially these Israelis in our congress.”
    I’m sure they do, Carroll, though I’m sure it’s those sympathetic to Israel who are reading the transcripts.


  5. Carroll says:

    Piffle….take away the 3 billion and other assorted freebies we give Isr every year and see how many settlements they build.
    Published: 03/12/2008
    No U.S. money is directed to West Bank settlement building, Condoleezza Rice said in congressional testimony.
    “There is a process that we’ve set up for dealing with ‘road map’ obligations of both sides,” the U.S. secretary of state said Wednesday, referring to the peace plan launched by President Bush in 2003 that requires in its first phase an end to settlement expansion and anti-Israel violence. “I can assure you that we are following very closely to assure that U.S. dollars are not being used to support the settlement activity.”
    During her testimony before the Foreign Operations subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee, Rice was pressed on the settlement issue by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.).
    “Can you give me assurances that no U.S. funds in this budget will be used to facilitate or enable or secure the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which violates the road map?” McCollum asked.
    U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) pressed Rice on relief for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which Israel is blockading in a bid to end rocket attacks on Israeli’s South. Lee called the situation in Gaza “deplorable.”
    Rice noted a recent influx of U.S. cash through the U.N. Relief and Works Agency and said she had directly intervened with Israel in allowing in supplies. Israel insists its blockade has not hindered emergency supplies.
    “It would be extremely helpful, of course, if Hamas were not firing rockets into Israel,” Rice added, referring to the terrorist group controlling Gaza.
    Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the subcommittee’s chairwoman, and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) asked Rice about getting Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Arab nations to make good on pledges to infuse cash into Palestinian areas. Lowey said such pledges should not be contingent on Israel easing travel conditions in the West Bank.
    “I’m sure you would agree that there is housing that can be built, there are jobs that can be created in the West Bank without moving a roadblock,” Lowey chided Rice after the secretary had suggested that security measures hindered economic projects.
    Hummm…if we took away the 3 billion and other assorted goodies we give them every year for their occupation of Palestine I wonder how many settlements they could afford.
    BTW…I happened to see the hearing on this on c-span the other day. And their interviewing Negroponte on the Palestine aid issue. Poor Negroponte looked so disgusted, like he had been thru the Jewish Inquistion by the jewish house members so many times before he knew it by heart and was only waiting for it to be over.
    Give it up folks, there will never be a settlement between Isr and Pal or an end to the Israeli fetish and bribery in DC until you get rid of every single Lukid/israeli congressperson like Nita Lowey, Engle, Steve Israel, Wexler and all the rest in the US congress. When any real American like Barbara Lee or Betty McCollum try to inject any fairness or American interest or principles into the Israel issue the zionist in our congress get even more venomous. Get them out of our government. They are ruining our country by running our foreign policy for the benefit of Israel. The FBI should have wire taps on all congress people and especailly these Israelis in our congress.


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Listening to Laura Ingram the other night, she mentioned Rice as a possible VP for McCain, citing Rice’s “foreign policy expertise”.
    When these blathering jackass mouthpieces for the RW makes such blatantly asinine statements, you have to wonder about the intelligence of these millions of people out in Fox News Land and Radio Land soaking up this bullshit. No wonder these criminals in the Bush Administration are getting a free ride.


  7. JohnH says:

    Coming from a total incompetent, Rice’s statements mean absolutely nothing. I fail to comprehend why the media even bother to report a word she says, knowing full well that exactly the opposite is what will happen. I guess they need to report such blather as proof they are faithful scribes of propaganda.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gee, Rice is really coming down hard on Israel, isn’t she? Heck, our tens of billions better not be used to expand these illegal settlements, or we might just label those settlements as “not helpful”.
    Hey, I have an an idea, if you can’t usew our money to steal Palestinian land, why don’t you use it to kill Palestinians instead??? Oops, how silly of me, you already do.
    “Rice said the State Department is taking steps to ensure that any aid to Israel will not be used in support of settlement activity. The roadmap peace plans was drawn up by the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia and unveiled in 2003.”


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