Official: Obama May Defy Grim Predictions on Israel/Palestine

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obama hope israel.jpgA senior administration official told me yesterday that those who think that President Obama is simply going to give up on Palestine-Israel piece don’t understand him. This official said that President Obama opened his administration with an important investment in the peace process, making the appointment of former Senator George Mitchell one of his administration’s defining first moves.
The official said that the President receives regular updates on progress and has used two UN General Assembly speeches in a row to keep the Israel-Palestine standoff front and center. The official said Obama realizes — and has been advised — that without continuing involvement, without continuing innovation in approaches that this situation will blow up and not allow itself to be ignored.
My question then was, what next?
And the response was incomplete but probably sound. “We are studying options.”
In Time, Tony Karon shares a great state of play piece and suggests in a key clip:

The great hope of the Palestinians and their Arab backers will be that the stalemate prompts the Obama Administration to put its own ideas on the table on the parameters of a two-state solution, committing Washington to a map far closer to the international consensus than Israel is willing to go voluntarily. But a President who’ll face the battle of his life to win reelection two years from now will be reluctant to take the domestic political consequences of squeezing Israel.

This is the 900 kilo question. Will the administration finally do what it has long flirted with — putting its own parameters and ideas on the table as so many wise-person’s groups have suggested? Or will it forfeit this territory of diplomatic effort to Netanyahu?
That’s the burning question now — and my sources say that the door is open for new frames that could capture the day and change the current paralyzed standoff.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

91 comments on “Official: Obama May Defy Grim Predictions on Israel/Palestine

  1. nadine says:

    Kathleen, you don’t understand what “Islamofascist” means. It is a political label for parties that are both Islamist and fascist, like the Muslim Brotherhood or Hizbullah. The “Islamo” part is not there to call all Muslims terrorists, but because those who do support terrorism are also Islamists; they want a Muslim theocratic sharia state.
    “apparently Jews from all over the world are invited to migrate to Isreal, including the “settlements”, but Palestinians are denied the right to return…go figure…”
    Palestinians will have the right to return to Palestine just as Jews have the right to return to Israel. Nobody disputes that.
    What Palestinians demand but Israel won’t give, is the right for Palestinians refugees and their descendants to return to Israel and turn it into an Arab state, while forbidding a single Jew to either live in or return to Palestine.

    Reply

  2. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Disappointed…And then there’s the issue of anti-Arab/Muslim…the too oft repeated term “Islamofascist” is a perfect Pavlavian example of conditioning the public to lump all Muslins into “terrorists”…that’s a bit of a bandwagon too, wouldn’t you say? This too is anti-semetic. I do think we should all be careful not to swipe all memebers of a race/religion with the same brush.
    rc..I know what you mean about the linear flow….but tis the season to not feed the trolls.
    I posted the link to the Rabbis/Rent story on another thread…apparently Jews from all over the world are invited to migrate to Isreal, including the “settlements”, but Palestinians are denied the right to return…go figure…
    Boy, talk about giving an inch and taking a mile,

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  3. rc says:

    … and to add to the above (1:59AM), after some further thought, I think the issues can be framed as a socio-economic phenomena — and one that may engage with free trade policy.
    What if the demands for a non-free market in Israel-Palestine housing (protectionism) are largely based on the demand by special interest groups (unemployed orthodox Jews in this case) who may want their subsidized housing through market control (e.g. confining Jewish sellers to limited purchase opportunity — i.e them as unemployed)?
    Is this ‘domestic’ issue then not equivalent to socialism for unemployed Americans? (Health for example?)
    Is it not against free-trade policy? If it is targeted at Palestinians and Arab Israelis then it does engage with a number of policy issues — domestic and foreign.
    Considering the huge foreign donations (not even loans) to the Israeli adventure by the US, then is it not time for the US to clarify what its policy alignment policy is in regard to US-Israeli relationship? And how this may align (or otherwise) with other US foreign policy relationships — e.g. Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, …
    If the US tax payer (I assume, and not just the printing press) is paying the unemployed in Israel to sit down and study books (especially ones that clearly support apartheid etc) and keep house, then why not also support unemployed Americans who want to study books? (i.e. students) and keep their houses?

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  4. rc says:

    And while you are thinking about when they are going to foreclose, shut the school, flush the fire dept, etc … and complain about 10% (read 20% real) unemployment then just think of this:
    QUOTE
    70% of ultra-Orthodox men don’t work
    Study shows slight rise in rate of full-time employment amongst ultra-Orthodox, with women composing more than half of the workforce
    A new study conducted by the Van Leer Institute ahead of a conference on the advancement of the ultra-Orthodox sector in Israel shows that less than 50% of adults in the community are employed. This compared to an average of 20% in the secular sector.
    Only 30% of ultra-Orthodox men are regularly employed, compared to 40% of ultra-Orthodox women. 60% of men said religious studies were their sole focus and over 40% of women said the same with regards to domestic care.
    The poll, conducted regularly since 2002, indicated both male and female ultra-Orthodox employees were putting in more hours than previous years.
    The study also found that ultra-Orthodox employees were more likely to say they were satisfied with jobs compared to their secular and religious counterparts.
    A higher percent of ultra-Orthodox employees also said their line of work was directly related to their field of education compared to other sectors.
    Almost half of ultra-Orthodox employees said they were content with their income level and 80% said they felt fulfilled by their work. Men were more likely to be content with their income compared to women, in both ultra-Orthodox and secular sectors.
    The Van Leer Institute polled 7,000 adult members of the ultra-Orthodox community and reported a possible 3% margin of error for the study.
    END QUOTE
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3470303,00.html
    The question is: what percentage of these drones are in the ranks of the “more than 300 rabbis across Israel have signed a letter backing the ruling”?
    Value for money? I know what I’d think about reading this after coming home from a 12 hour day on $10/hour.
    Looks a bit like the beggars are running the house!

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  5. rc says:

    “sink Israel” (POA, 12:12AM) — perhaps nadine is a “Joseph Cohen” plant in the other direction. (see Carroll, Dec 12 2010, 1:33AM)
    POA (Dec 12 2010, 11:20PM) — if this is modus operandi then perhaps it explains why the Germans in the 1930 were so pissed off with their Jewish population.

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Tom Friedman to Israeli Government: Suck On This!
    By M.J. Rosenberg – December 12, 2010, 1:54PM
    Excellent Friedman column today.
    It’s ostensibly even-handed, telling Israelis and Palestinians that we have better things to do with our depleted financial resources than giving it to them. But, inasmuch we give hardly anything to the Palestinians and Israel is our largest aid recipient, he’s only talking about Israel.
    The best part:
    “At a time of nearly 10 percent unemployment in America, we have the Israelis and the Palestinians sitting over there with their arms folded, waiting for more U.S. assurances or money to persuade them to do what is manifestly in their own interest: negotiate a two-state deal. Shame on them, and shame us. You can’t want peace more than the parties themselves, and that is exactly where America is today. The people running Israel and Palestine have other priorities. It is time we left them alone to pursue them — and to live with the consequences.”
    “They just don’t get it: we’re not their grandfather’s America anymore. We have bigger problems. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators should take a minute and put the following five words into Google: “budget cuts and fire departments.” Here’s what they’ll find: American city after city — Phoenix, Cincinnati, Austin, Washington, Jacksonville, Sacramento, Philadelphia — all having to cut their fire departments. Then put in these four words: “schools and budget cuts.” One of the top stories listed is from The Christian Science Monitor: “As state and local governments slash spending and federal stimulus dries up, school budget cuts for the next academic year could be the worst in a generation.”
    “I guarantee you, if someone came to these cities and said, “We have $3 billion we’d like to give to your schools and fire departments if you’ll just do what is manifestly in your own interest,” their only answer would be: “Where do we sign?” And so it should have been with Israel.”
    “Israel, when America, a country that has lavished billions on you over the last 50 years and taken up your defense in countless international forums, asks you to halt settlements for three months to get peace talks going, there is only one right answer, and it is not “How much?” It is: “Yes, whatever you want, because you’re our only true friend in the world.”"
    So Netanyahu and company lost Friedman too. Now that took some work.
    Now, if only Congress noticed that the $3.5 billion aid package is money that can be spent on Americans, unless Israel ends the occupation and we renegotiate the whole package.
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/12/tom_friedman_to_israel_suck_on_this/
    Keep talkin’, Nadine, you and your despicable racist ilk will sink Israel yet.

    Reply

  7. Carroll says:

    Posted by Kathleen Grasso Andersen, Dec 12 2010, 6:13PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I’am with you on that K….I hope the EU sticks to their guns..and the Free Gaza ship massacre was the last straw for them.
    The actual EU heads and officers have long been trying to bring pressure to bear on Israel and only been held back I imagine by their respective countries political intrigues. I know Lady Ashton has been speaking forcefully on P/I for several years now.
    Posted by nadine, Dec 12 2010, 7:42PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Sorry dear…not going to take your bait.
    I am signed up for the ‘scroll over’ function.

    Reply

  8. samuelburke says:

    Nadine, i give you credit for defending the indefensible, it takes a
    unique talent but, how much can you overlook? how much will you
    be willing to justify just because?
    will you ever be displeased with israel?
    is turning your back on it a sin?

    Reply

  9. rc says:

    “rc..precisely why we should relegate nadine to scroll over country…”
    Well I agree, and it is not very hard technically for Clemons to issue a ‘yellow’ card (soccer fashion) [as he has done really on occasions] and then to provide his other readers a simple ‘yellow-card hidden’ filter. Then at least he can claim to (a) be open and transparent by providing blog space to all and sundry (not a bad thing in itself) while; (b) also allowing his mature readers some respite to actually try and read the comments in sequence and form deeper thinking without the cognitive sabotage that some seem to inflict (intentionally or unintentionally).
    Until then, I’m with you and trying to develop the ‘scroll over’ technique. After all we do not have to read everything in the newspaper — but the linear sequencing of blog comments makes it harder to filter and focus imo.

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    dissapointed, you may not be aware that Carroll has posted Nazi forgeries on TWN which purport to show George Washington describing the Jews as a loathsome race of people (Washington’s actual sentiments were not at all anti-Semitic). This, I hope you will agree, is not criticism of Israeli policy.
    It’s not that criticism or even Israel-bashing is exactly the same thing as anti-Semitism; it’s just that it provides such a great cover story that all the real anti-Semites all hop aboard the bandwagon.
    Those the on the Left who really are just criticizing Israeli policy have generally done a piss-poor job of recognizing or restraining these forays into Jew-hatred. Once a story is cast as anti-Zionist instead of anti-Jewish, it becomes too good to check and anything goes, true or false. This has provided a huge opportunity for the enemies of Israel to make propaganda, which they have availed themselves of.

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  11. diassapointed says:

    Steve, I have followed Washington Notes periodically and have been increasingly concerned to see in the “Comments” how your website has attracted progressively more and stronger reactions of the vilest racist kind in response to your repeated,usually reasonable but sometimes strident
    attacks on Israeli policy and critiques of US failure to toughen up its policy on the “peace process.” Of course, opposition to Israeli policy and anti-Semitism are hardly the same thing, but the Comments on your site are often obscuring the difference. I hope you realize that you are providing “acceptable” space for some truly hateful rantings. With “friends” like these that you are attracting, you don’t need enemies.
    Disappointed, a one-time mentor.

    Reply

  12. nadine says:

    “As you well know in the last year we here at TWN have had to scroll thru hundred of posts in which you and wig wag have called Muslims and Arabs..’ignorant, vile, violent, primitive, inferior” and etc.,etc..” (Carroll)
    No, Carroll. I’ve never said any such thing. I just point out real examples of Arab racism, such as the PA law making it a capital crime to sell land to Jews, and offer it as a useful contrast when the soi-disant human rights types are getting all worked up about some far more minor offense on the Israeli side, like some stupid rabbi shooting his mouth off.
    But Left-wing PC says that approved oppressed groups like Arabs cannot by definition be racist, so it’s not allowed to notice when they are. So in reaction, you twist my words into the claim that I called all Arabs primitive and inferior, which I never did. You won’t acknowledge the fact of the law or debate the fact of the the law; PC says you must ignore the existence of the law, so you do.
    I’m not playing the multi-cultural game of different rules for “oppressor” and “oppressed”. That alone is enough to get called a racist by the Left.

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    nadine dear…
    As you well know in the last year we here at TWN have had to scroll thru hundred of posts in which you and wig wag have called Muslims and Arabs..’ignorant, vile, violent, primitive, inferior” and etc.,etc..
    Hundreds of post in which you have called everyone here anti semites and etc. Dozens of post with disgusting sexual references to Arabs and gentiles by your Israeli activist directed a posters here. And posts insulting and slandering Steve for any objective information he offers on P/I.
    In case you haven’t noticed most here are no longer interested in trying to have a ‘reasonable debate’ with you or wig wag.
    You cannot have a reasonable debate with fanatics who deal in myth, twisted logic, revised false history, tortured and misapplied analogies to ancient events in order to try and justify Jewish supremacy and Israel and your hatred of gentiles, Europeans, Arabs and all non Jews.
    The reason people insult you is because it’s the best way to simpily show our disgust with what you represent and the fact that you are uneducatable and immune to the concept of justice and fairness.
    You don’t seem to realize that you and wig wag are pissing into the wind..and losing.. by trying to promote the repugent zionist attitude and claiming Americans support it. You and particulary wig wag repeat the same propaganda over and over in spite of numerous posters who time after time offered indisputable facts and evidence to show your statements and claims are false.
    Maybe this will make it clearer to you that your tactics aren’t working and people are tired of it:
    ’671

    Reply

  14. rc says:

    Thank you Carroll (Dec 12 2010, 1:33AM) — and we can see from the Malcolm-X days that the Nation of Islam was a borderline deviant sect as well focused on the Messianic leader.
    Be interesting to see whether this Joseph Cohen and his Robin have done Hajj — I doubt they’d get back alive. But who knows, the Saudi regime itself has a bit of mysterious past. Some think the Jews who were tossed out of Medina for betrayal of the agreements 1,400 years ago ended up somewhere up Riyadh way.

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    Here is an excellent example of the ‘posers’ who imitate Muslims to provoke outrage.
    There is a group called ‘Revolution Muslim’ that constantly spews a hate-filled ideology.
    Many Muslim Americans question whether Revolution Muslim are real Muslims, and instead hold them to be agent provocateurs who wish to smear Islam. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said Revolution Muslim is

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    Nice try, Warren, but it won’t help much. Carroll is in the business of hurling insults at Jews, not reasoned debate, so she welcomes Jameela’s assistance.
    As for POA, he’s probably just agitated to have such strong competition for the position of chief TWN conspiracy nutter.

    Reply

  17. Carroll says:

    Posted by Warren Metzler, Dec 11 2010, 6:09PM – Link
    Com’on guys. Jameela is not a creation of Nadine or Wig Wag. Both are too smart to be willing to write such drivel. I guess you haven’t had sufficient cultural exposure.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I don’t think you are in a position to say who here has had sufficient cultural exposure.
    I know your background but I don’t believe you know the background of most posters here.
    We who have been here for a long time have had experience with Israeli activist posing as Muslims and posting this type of hysterica/ drivel after they have been admonished or otherwise put down or out for their extreme insults to others like the insults to Steve lately.
    This may be a whacko Muslim posting and no one denies there are whacko Muslims, but the vileness (and the inaccuracies) of the comments fit the ‘pattern’ we have seen here before in zionist poseurs trying to tar or disrupt TWN.
    Whoever did this however, I imagine Steve will remove it when he notices it.

    Reply

  18. rc says:

    Interesting what Clemons removes and leave on this blog.
    A few points for me:
    1. the claims of the Koran being a corrupted Qu’ran are nonsense — some claim loss of nuance in translation but one does not have to learn Arabic to read the basic text and meaning (as one does not need Latin or Greek to read Christian works).
    2. Jameela is a female name. If at all real probably a Saudi Arabian ‘princess’.
    3. Claiming (as the sign off does) that one is a “Messenger of Allah” is a claim of equality with the Prophet Muhammad (and others) — and thus clearly not said by a Muslim.
    4. The hatred of Jews in this is not reflected in the life of Muhammad who even offered to marry a Jewess (who had earlier tried to poison him for causing the death of her husband I think) — she declined and preferred to remain with him at slave status. (and remember slaves in those days were given a social political economic status — not to be read in general the way Europeans enslaved the African tribes for labour camps in the new world.)
    Four Soma every two hours for this one. Clearly bi-polar.

    Reply

  19. Warren Metzler says:

    Com’on guys. Jameela is not a creation of Nadine or Wig Wag. Both are too smart to be willing to write such drivel. I guess you haven’t had sufficient cultural exposure. I am really clear about this type, because I have met many. He / she is obviously someone with a little education, who is much brighter than he actually performs (eg. works as a street cleaner, and spends much of his time reading and having philosophical conversations; typically dropped out of university after a few years). Some time ago he become introduced to and then involved in an American African Islamic group, who has a totally unsubstantiated view of life: typically that human life began on the African continent, and through some wizardry white people were created and learned how to rule over the peace loving, gentle and kind, civilized Black African population. With an added view that Jews were the primary force among White people.
    Always writing what is incoherent and rambling. You have to have a uniquely distorted way of thinking to write in this manner.
    Best to just ignore him.

    Reply

  20. rc says:

    “… unable to address reasoned arguments you disagree with, except with ad feminam abuse?” — Definition and evidence?
    I suggest 2 Soma pills every 4 hours, nadine.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    ‘The Jameela’ character sounds more like something wig wag would post than nadine.

    Reply

  22. JohnH says:

    These ravings come just a week after Steve read a few commenters the rules against ad hominem attacks on him. A mere coincidence?
    It would seem that someone is trying to set Steve up as someone who tolerates anti-Semitic speech and won’t protect the Israel First crowd’s “right” to spew as much hate speech as they want.
    Hate speech is hate speech, no matter who does it. And it needs to be condemned, not tolerated for some, condemned for others.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican (RB) says:

    Amazing, eh???? Could a more obvious “false flag attack” be launched on the blog? Discussing radical and racist rabbis, and voila! up pops this asshole “Jameela”.
    I’m not buying it. Sadly, Nadine and wiggie’s narrative has so completely belied their honesty and integrity that it is perfectly reasonable to hold this “Jameela’s” posting in grave suspicion of being posted by Nadine. And it is not the first time that this has occurred. The last time “Jameela’s” spew appeared on here, it also coincided with a debate about radical Israeli racism.
    Thats the real bummer here, in trying to wade through Nadine’s crap. She has so completely betrayed our trust with propaganda, revisionist history, lies and bigotry, that the whole shebang, the entire course of the discussion, is worthless, because there is no clear line to the truth. Nadine will say ANYTHING to defend Israeli policy. If there is no defense, she will fabricate one with lies, misinformation, scripted hasbara propaganda, or revisionist history. So, we are to doubt that she would seed the debate with this kinda shit we see above from “Jameela”?

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  24. nadine says:

    “However, I do think because Israelis know that human rights are valid, and know they are denying those human rights to a large degree to Israeli Arabs and significantly to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, that their time will come sooner than most human rights denying country; most of whom have no internal acceptance that human rights are important. ” (Warren)
    That may or may not happen. But you seem to be saying not just that Israel will suffer from infringing its own internally held standards, but that it ought to suffer; that it ought to be judged by the very highest of standards, right up to its own standards and even higher, while the Palestinians are basically held to no standard at all.
    At least you mention the Palestinians haven’t got their act together. Have you noticed that almost nobody else on the Left mentions Palestinian behavior? or even talks about them as actors on the scene? they have been infantilized in the language somehow.
    “As an aside, it would significantly help people’s impression of you, it you were unaccepting of obvious Israeli racist, such as the many rabbis claiming it is prohibited for a Jew to rent or sell to a non-Jew. The fact that Palestinians conduct an injustice doesn’t make Israeli unjust actions morally acceptable. Do you consider those rabbi’s expressions to be acceptable human behavior? ”
    No, it doesn’t make it acceptable, but it should be mentioned in the interest of context and fairness. No, I don’t consider the rabbis’ racism acceptable, unless there is some real overriding security requirement, in which case you could argue it was the lesser of two evils. That does not seem to be the case here.
    But more important than my opinion, the PM of Israel has just condemned it, whereas the PA, like most Arab countries, is explicitly and openly racist by law. For that matter, the Israeli Arabs, whose condition you bemoan, have more human rights than their brethren in Arab countries. The PA just threw a blogger in jail (for his own protection, they say) for blogging that he was an atheist.
    What I am really protesting is the massive double standard at play here. To me, if you only care about “human rights” where a certain race is accused of doing the violation, and not when other races do the same or even a thousand times worse, then you are not really for human rights at all, but just using it as a cover story.
    This is fundamental. I think that if something is a universal human right, then it belongs equally to all humans. I don’t give passes to non-white, non-Western cultures. Most people on the Left do. They are multi-culturalists who have been taught never to judge other cultures because there is no universal standard of good and evil, which contradicts the very notion of human rights. They ‘resolve’ this contradiction by applying the standard very selectively.

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    UPDATE: European diplomats converge on tiny West Bank military courtroom
    Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:58:56 AM PST
    The Washington Post reports today about a trial taking place at a tiny military courtroom at Ofer Military Base in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
    “Diplomats from Britain, Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Malta and an EU representative watched as Abu Rahmeh was led into the courtroom, wearing a brown prison uniform. A guard removed his handcuffs, but not his leg shackles. Abu Rahmeh smiled shyly at his wife, Majda.”
    Why so much interest in Abdullah Abu Rahmeh?
    ‘Legitimate right’
    Jailed since December, Abdullah Abu Rahmeh was convicted by a military court on Tuesday of inciting protests in the West Bank village of Bilin and of participating in the protests without a legal permit.
    Lady Ashton expressed deep concern “that the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahmeh is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation barriers in a non-violent manner,” her office said. “The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal,” it quoted her as saying in a statement.
    …….
    In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an advisory ruling that the barrier was illegal and should be removed where it did not follow the Green Line, the internationally recognised boundary between the West Bank and Israel.
    Residents of the town of Bil’in including many Israelis and Internationals have been protesting every Friday against the Wall for 5 years now. This isn’t just about Bil’in and it isn’t just about Abdullah Abu Rahmeh and that’s why European Diplomats today have converged in this tiny courtroom.
    It is about occupation and denial of human rights and dignity by the Israeli regime against the Palestinians both on their land and in exile.
    wapo reports:
    Israel views the West Bank school teacher as an instigator of violence and wants to keep him in prison, even though he has completed his year long sentence. Israel says the demonstrations are violent riots since some of the marchers routinely throw stones at Israeli troops.
    However, prominent figures in the international community have embraced the demonstrations as peaceful resistance to Israel’s 43-year military occupation, and say Israel’s crackdown is an attempt to stifle dissent.
    The conflicting views on the anti-barrier protests are part of a growing list of issues, foremost among them continued settlement construction, on which Israel’s hard-line government seems to find itself at odds with members of the international community.

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    Israel and zionism, going, going, gone…the European gentiles are back.
    Israel faces tougher line from EU after former heads call for Palestinian state Former EU leaders sign letter urging creation of state with East Jerusalem as capital and settlement freeze
    Chris McGreal in Washington and Harriet Sherwood guardian.co.uk, Friday 10 December 2010 19.06 GMT
    Twenty-six European grandees have urged the EU to adopt a tougher stance towards Israel including taking “concrete measures” and exacting “consequences” over continued settlement building on occupied land, which they say is illegal under international law.
    The former EU leaders said that in the face of “the ongoing deterioration of the situation on the ground”, the EU, in co-operation with other international bodies, should put forward a “concrete and comprehensive proposal for the resolution of this conflict”. A deadline of April 2011 for progress in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians should be set, after which the international community should intervene.
    “Time to secure a sustainable peace is fast running out,” said the group, which includes former EU commissioner Chris Patten, former EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, former Irish president Mary Robinson and another nine former heads of state. It sent a letter to EU president Herman van Rompuy, foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and all EU heads of government before a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday, saying: “It is clear that without a rapid and dramatic move

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    Hi Steve, you got a mention from the Power Line bloggers:
    The Washington Post — too lazy to call Steve Clemons?
    December 9, 2010 Posted by Paul at 8:42 PM
    “U.S. tactics in Mideast talks criticized; Analysts say Obama should have stuck with call for settlement freeze.” So declares a headline in the print edition of today’s Washington Post.
    But there’s a problem. The underlying story cites no analyst who argues that Obama should have stuck with his settlement freeze demand. The only person cited as taking that position is Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.
    The story, by Janine Zacharia, does quote two analysts — Akiva Eldar, a commentator for Haaretz, and Aaron David Miller, described as a former U.S. peace negotiator. Eldar says that sticking with the demand for a three month freeze was pointless because no agreement would have resulted and the Obama administration would have had to offer more concessions to Israel to extend the freeze. He also argues that by not negotiating an extension of the West Bank freeze, Obama avoids having to give Netanyahu a seal of approval to build in East Jerusalem.
    As for Miller, he is clear that “trying to get a freeze was always the wrong focus.” In his view, it forced Obama to either “pummel” or “bribe” the Israelis, and neither approach was going to succeed.
    Thus, contrary to the Post’s headline, both analysts believe Obama was wise not to stick to his call for a settlement freeze. The Post may have mistaken the consensus among its reporters with some sort of a consensus among “analysts.”
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/12/027871.php

    Reply

  28. Warren Metzler says:

    Nadine. I want you to know I have no problem allowing Israel to fall in time. However, I do think because Israelis know that human rights are valid, and know they are denying those human rights to a large degree to Israeli Arabs and significantly to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, that their time will come sooner than most human rights denying country; most of whom have no internal acceptance that human rights are important. And then I know that until the Palestinians get their act together it won’t happen, and who knows how long that will take.
    I also expect a major change to occur in Israel in the near future, because friends of mine who visit Israel regularly tell me that it is terrible there now, with most people being quite obnoxious to deal with. Such attitudes typically manifest when people are quite conflicted internally with their inappropriate actions.
    If Pappe made those quotes, that is unacceptable. I know from personal experience that historians can be objective, and to claim that no historian is objective is to talk nonsense. But when you read his book, let me know what is your sense of his honesty with the many facts he presents.
    As an aside, it would significantly help people’s impression of you, it you were unaccepting of obvious Israeli racist, such as the many rabbis claiming it is prohibited for a Jew to rent or sell to a non-Jew. The fact that Palestinians conduct an injustice doesn’t make Israeli unjust actions morally acceptable. Do you consider those rabbi’s expressions to be acceptable human behavior?
    And now a few notes to my fellow commentators. Every human in the world has a unique view. It is unreasonable to assume that anyone holds your exact views. Steve runs a blog that assesses foreign policy. If you want to express your view of any one foreign policy, then morally you need to accept any other view of foreign policy. Being civil is part of being a mature person. Character assassination never produces dialogue that informs, instead stimulates strong emotions, which always produce an unpleasant experience. Aren’t your horizons expanded by the diverse views on this site? Mine certainly are.

    Reply

  29. nadine says:

    “Nadine — a personal question: do you suffer from a mental condition? ”
    No, rc, do you? Aside from being unable to address reasoned arguments you disagree with, except with ad feminam abuse?

    Reply

  30. Carroll says:

    And this was back in 2002, imagine what it is now.
    And this doesn’t include the half a billion in aid we had to give to Lebanon for Israel’s bombing of it in ’06 or the 68 million we had to give to Palestine thru the UN for humanitarian aid after Israel’s assault on Gaza.
    And doesn’t include the US jet fuel shipments to Israel since 2005 or the restocking of the US weapons in Israel that Israel uses in it’s assaults such as in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and so forth.
    And also doesn’t include the 45 billion in assorted emergency loans to Israel that repayment of was waived by congress.
    And all this of course also does not include the billions in lawsuits brought by Jews against banks and 1940 companies and corporations, or the billions in payments from Germany.
    Israel is the biggest welfare country the world has ever seen.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1209/p16s01-wmgn.html
    Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US
    ————————————————-
    By David R. Francis, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / December 9, 2002
    Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today’s population, that is more than $5,700 per person.
    This is an estimate by Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist in Washington. For decades, his analyses of the Middle East scene have made him a frequent thorn in the side of the Israel lobby.
    For the first time in many years, Mr. Stauffer has tallied the total cost to the US of its backing of Israel in its drawn-out, violent dispute with the Palestinians. So far, he figures, the bill adds up to more than twice the cost of the Vietnam War.
    And now Israel wants more. In a meeting at the White House late last month, Israeli officials made a pitch for $4 billion in additional military aid to defray the rising costs of dealing with the intifada and suicide bombings. They also asked for more than $8 billion in loan guarantees to help the country’s recession-bound economy.
    Considering Israel’s deep economic troubles, Stauffer doubts the Israel bonds covered by the loan guarantees will ever be repaid. The bonds are likely to be structured so they don’t pay interest until they reach maturity. If Stauffer is right, the US would end up paying both principal and interest, perhaps 10 years out.
    Israel’s request could be part of a supplemental spending bill that’s likely to be passed early next year, perhaps wrapped in with the cost of a war with Iraq.
    Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. It is already due to get $2.04 billion in military assistance and $720 million in economic aid in fiscal 2003. It has been getting $3 billion a year for years.
    Adjusting the official aid to 2001 dollars in purchasing power, Israel has been given $240 billion since 1973, Stauffer reckons. In addition, the US has given Egypt $117 billion and Jordan $22 billion in foreign aid in return for signing peace treaties with Israel.
    “Consequently, politically, if not administratively, those outlays are part of the total package of support for Israel,” argues Stauffer in a lecture on the total costs of US Middle East policy, commissioned by the US Army War College, for a recent conference at the University of Maine.
    Stauffer wonders if Americans are aware of the full bill for supporting Israel since some costs, if not hidden, are little known.
    One huge cost is not secret. It is the higher cost of oil and other economic damage to the US after Israel-Arab wars.
    In 1973, for instance, Arab nations attacked Israel in an attempt to win back territories Israel had conquered in the 1967 war. President Nixon resupplied Israel with US arms, triggering the Arab oil embargo against the US.
    That shortfall in oil deliveries kicked off a deep recession. The US lost $420 billion (in 2001 dollars) of output as a result, Stauffer calculates. And a boost in oil prices cost another $450 billion.
    Afraid that Arab nations might use their oil clout again, the US set up a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That has since cost, conservatively, $134 billion, Stauffer reckons.
    Other US help includes:

    Reply

  31. nadine says:

    Thank you, RB, for so cogently demonstrating the even-handed logic of your arguments.

    Reply

  32. nadine says:

    “Not bad Nadine, you are clever. But ignoring what was presented. I have never held Israel to a double standard. I consider all countries who don’t move in the direction of universal human rights, which I described above, to be invalid: China, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, etc., etc., etc. I claim they all will fall in time. ”
    You’re clever too, Warren. The difference is you are not willing to leave Israel to the judgment of history to “fall in time”; you demand that Israel commit suicide immediately. Slightly different standard, yes?
    I don’t have to answer jdledell. Bill Clinton already has. Bill Clinton already described how Arafat reacted to written offers and the methods that Arafat’s demands forced him to use. To say “it wasn’t codified, therefore it didn’t exist” is to say that Bill Clinton devoted enormous energy to a costly and high-profile attempt to find a Mideast peace settlement, but didn’t actually want to do a deal. It’s obvious nonsense on its face. Clinton wanted a deal; it was to be his legacy. Barak wanted a deal; it was his only hope of political survival. But Arafat never wanted a deal because HIS core value was to be Saladin and drive the Jews from Jerusalem. That was a surprise discovery to Barak and Ben Ami (Ben Ami described his personal journey of discovery in a later interview he gave to Haaretz)
    jdledell just does not live in the real world on this point. If his point of view was valid, we would never have seen the Palestinians react the way they have for the last 20 years. Instead of coming to terms with unpleasant reality (the way the vast majority of Israelis have), jd clings to his faith that because the Palestinians reacted to compromise offers with increased intransigence, the compromise offers could not have existed.
    There is always a simple response to this: So where’s the Palestinian offer? What sort of deal would they sign? Ans: they have never made one.
    Benny Morris explains why quite cogently. Once you accept his explanation, you don’t need to keep saying (as you do) “the Palestinians really need to do this or that if they want a state”. The Palestinians aren’t doing this or that on purpose because they don’t want a state; not the kind of state they could get, next to Israel. They want a state instead of Israel. They have convinced themselves that time is on their side and all they have to do is say “no” and wait for it to drop into their lap. The less responsible they appear in the meantime, the better. If they looked responsible somebody might expect them to act like statesmen. Since they are Palestinians, there is no risk that their supporters will ever get disgusted and drop them no matter how they behave. So it’s all upside for them.
    “Pappe has admitted he writes history with the intention of changing people’s minds about Israel. But he never once admitted that he lies to accomplish that goal. He researches and states facts, and then orients his assessment toward showing the Palestinians have a righteous cause. ”
    That is simply not true. When you look for facts based on their ideological utility, you are a propagandist, not a historian. Pappe has admitted that he is motivated by ideology, not by truth-seeking. If you aren’t looking for the truth, or (conveniently) you claim to disbelieve in truth, then you are not going to find the truth.
    Ilan Pappe:
    “There is no historian in the world who is objective. I am not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened.” (“An Interview of Ilan Papp

    Reply

  33. samuelburke says:

    Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News,
    discusses the dominant (and false) narrative of MSM coverage of
    WikiLeaks

    Reply

  34. JohnH says:

    Congress chokes at unemployment insurance, stimulus, jobs packages. But Congress NEVER saw a gift to Israel it didn’t like.
    Politicians’ priorities are clear. The American people don’t figure high on their list. But 5 million Zionists do.

    Reply

  35. RB says:

    “Nadine – I have repeatedly informed you”
    Do you really think she gives a shit? To debate with Nadine is to debate with someone that has abandoned the truth to pursue an agenda. Her narrative is predisposed, scripted, disingenuous, and morally bankrupt. If she was in a settlement, she would be one of those gleefully dumping raw sewage on her neighbors, or burning an olive grove. If in the IDF, she’d be one of those shitting in the appliances of someone’s house she had commandeered, defaced, destroyed, and vandalized.
    “I sugest you proceed with some humility when you cite previous “offers”.”
    Humility takes a rare kind of courage. Of course, if Nadine possessed that kind of courage, she’d be over in Israel killing Palestinians, instead of just justifying and celebrating it safely from her desk chair in the United States.
    Besides, isn’t she one of God’s “chosen ones”?? One of those that Wiggie claims has the RIGHT to fry Palestinians in white phosphorous, or carpet bomb them, because “might makes right”??? How do you make such a claim through humility? Besides, haven’t you heard, those sand niggers are “uneducated, ignorant, docile and irrelevent” (a direct quote from the keyboard of Wig-wag).
    (Written by Retch Burpman, the evil anti-semite)
    (Of course, Retch will soon be banned, because only Jews get to advocate mass murder and nationally sanctioned bigotry while claiming genetic and spiritual superiority over the rest of the human race.)

    Reply

  36. Warren Metzler says:

    Not bad Nadine, you are clever. But ignoring what was presented. I have never held Israel to a double standard. I consider all countries who don’t move in the direction of universal human rights, which I described above, to be invalid: China, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, etc., etc., etc. I claim they all will fall in time.
    There are many anti-Jewish people in the world, I am not one of them: “many of my friends are Jewish” :-).
    I agree that the real context of many Palestinians is to eliminate Israel. That, among many other aspects of their real context, must be eliminated before they deserve to live in a state with full rights.
    I have evidence that Karsh is a dissembler. One is that he claims Haganah was only responsible for causing a few hundred Arabs to leave; which all the New Israeli historians, including Bennie Morris, have proven is total nonsense. Another is that he claims in 1949 Israel offered to take back 100,000 refugees and annex Gaza with its 250,000 residents. Sheer nonsense.
    Benny Morris, in teh National Interst (July 1, 2010) “Revisionism on the West Bank” gives a good review of Karsh’s propaganda piece “Palestine Betrayed”.
    Pappe has admitted he writes history with the intention of changing people’s minds about Israel. But he never once admitted that he lies to accomplish that goal. He researches and states facts, and then orients his assessment toward showing the Palestinians have a righteous cause. And you know that is not propaganda, as that word really means. Please accurately report on what people state.
    I refer you to jdledell’s point above, to respond to your statements about Israel’s so called peace offerings. And add, that it is obvious, even to a non-Israel resident like me, not at all privy to Israel and US documents (except through the wonderful Wikileaks, of course; and other brave leakers), that not once has Israel been willing to offer a genuine peace settlement that would get them out of the West Bank, and out of Gaza’s hair. Either you solely read official Israel government press releases, or are willing to lie for Israel intelligence to mislead the American people.
    Regarding Pappe’s book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”; you told me specifically that if I read Karsh you would read Pappe. If you have integrity, you must keep your word. Or is it that you are unwilling to practice what your preach?

    Reply

  37. jdledell says:

    Nadine – I have repeatedly informed you that none of the previous deals (Camp David, Taba, Olmert) has ever been codified. Until everything is codified in WRITING there is no offer – it’s just talk. For example it has NEVER been clear at Camp David what the real status of the Jordan Valley was. Furthermore, important considerations like water, airspace, who controls the Allenby Bridge crossing and thus the egress and ingress of everything in the West Bank are missing.
    There are millions of details that together add up to far greater import than some sort of percentage. I sugest you proceed with some humility when you cite previous “offers”.

    Reply

  38. nadine says:

    “Your comments on the Sinai and Gaza prove my point. Neither was part of the Biblical greater Israel. Gaza was the home of the Old Testament Philistines, who continued to exist throughout the entire history of Biblical Israel. ” (Warren)
    What about Camp David? Taba? Olmert’s offer? Barak and Olmert offered to give up 95% of the West Bank, the heart of Biblical Israel, and were turned down. In 2006, Olmert even ran on a withdrawal from the West Bank, until the results of the withdrawal from Gaza made that impossible. Israel has to care what’s inside Palestine, it’s right next door.
    Come on, this is recent history. Is it to much to ask you to notice that it happened?

    Reply

  39. nadine says:

    “Zionism arose out of the Europe wide nationalism movement of the late 1800′s. From that movement, it was considered acceptable to have nationalities based on ethnic grounds; hence a Jewish state. But many people now recognize that nationalism, based on ethnicity or religion or any cultural / religious / philosophical identity is unworkable, and all such approaches eventually lead to fascism.” (Warren)
    That does seem to be the fashionable notion in Europe. But they really have a lot of nerve when they insist that it apply to Israel. After all, Jewish nationalism arose due to persistent European mistreatment (to put it mildly) of the Jews. Are we to gather that the notion of popular self-determination is now passe, or does that go only for the Jews, and not for other people? There are certainly lots and lots of religious/ethnic states in the world. There are 57 Muslim states, for example. How come only Israel’s right to exist is questioned? I might add that Europe’s proposed solution, a kind of generic union without cultural, religious or philosophic identity, does not seem to be working out as well as planned.
    Now, let’s return to the question I asked, which you are not answering: why do you go on and on about foundational Zionism but are unable to see the evidence of the actual behavior of the Israeli government? If you are going to go on about foundational Zionism, what about noticing foundational Palestinianism, a nationality invented for the sole purpose of destroying Israel and removing the Jews? For a change, let’s notice the core values and track record of both sides.
    As for Benny Morris, it is precisely because of his previous works that his current assessment of the political situation is noteworthy: the whole thing constitutes “an admission against interest”, as the lawyers like to say. What I think of Morris is that he was always writing propaganda, not history; that is, his purpose was to shape the policies of the current Israeli government, not tell what happened to the best of his ability. Well, he and the other ‘New Historians’ succeeded to a large extent; the Israelis moderated, but instead of moderating in return as Morris had predicted, the Palestinians only became more intransigent. Morris is now answering to his audience, who feel badly misled.
    I must confess that I haven’t gotten around to reading either the Karsh or the Pappe book. I assume you have some hard evidence for Karsh lying, besides disagreeing with Pappe? Pappe has openly admitted that his purpose in writing history is propaganda, which ought to throw doubt on his version of events.

    Reply

  40. Warren Metzler says:

    Bravo Nadine. Well done, quoting an historian you not long ago claimed was unreliable, when you recommended Efraim Karsh. You should really decide whom you trust and whom you don’t.
    By the way, I read Karsh’s book, and it is obvious that he is biased, willing to lie, and has no interest in truth. I’m surprised that you consider him reliable. You didn’t tell me he is a Sabra, educated through his PhD in Israeli universities. Did you ever read Ilan Pappe, as your agreed quid pro quo with me? I assume as a woman of integrity you would keep your promise.
    I say again, that Ilan Pappe is far more reliable. Even Bennie Morris is reliable, although lacking in any moral principles, and clearly stating that although Israel acting in an ethnic cleansing manner, it is okay because Jews deserve a homeland.
    When I use the term genetically programed I’m referring to what is part of their core motivation. Every human has a real context for every activity that person does: a specific goal, certain major actions, and set aspects on which are focused; and only has behaviors that fit that context. Sadly, because of the free will God gave each human, most people have a preferred context for each activity they do: the goal they believe they pursued, the major actions they believe they took, and the major aspects on which they believe they focused; all of which is a total delusion.
    Whenever a person says “that is not what I meant”, that person, through revisionist history making, is erecting a preferred context, so as to hide from himself how he actually operated.
    When I refer to almost all the politicians in Israel, 1948 to the present, being intrinsically in favor of eventually achieving greater Israel, I am referring to what is their real context, not their preferred context. Zionism was started in the late 1800′s with a belief of eventually achieving greater Israel, and everyone who attempts to become a leader of a Zionist state, starts with a real context of greater Israel, regardless of what that person believes is his preferred context.
    So your claim that there are people in Israel who are Zionist, but have given up the greater Israel part, is sheer delusion; as history will prove in the months and years ahead. I mentioned the leadership, but I was symbolically referring to every Zionist in the world.
    I did not claim the ANC was solely a part of the leaders. I wondered where the Palestinian Mandela is, because they sorely need one, and probably won’t make headway with world government support until they have one. And I have repeatedly said that all the Palestinians must change, not just their leaders.
    As a matter of fact, I believe that all governments act in accord with the real context of their citizens; which is why I don’t believe brainwashing can actually occur. No human can get another human to change her real context for anything, only get a human to change her preferred context.
    Your comments on the Sinai and Gaza prove my point. Neither was part of the Biblical greater Israel. Gaza was the home of the Old Testament Philistines, who continued to exist throughout the entire history of Biblical Israel.
    Zionism arose out of the Europe wide nationalism movement of the late 1800′s. From that movement, it was considered acceptable to have nationalities based on ethnic grounds; hence a Jewish state. But many people now recognize that nationalism, based on ethnicity or religion or any cultural / religious / philosophical identity is unworkable, and all such approaches eventually lead to fascism. The only viable way to have a government is one based on universal rights for all: freedom of religion, lifestyle, sexual preference, culture, representative democracy, where the government pays a limited role in society; which unfortunately are few and far between these days; even the US is rapidly giving up this approach in the past two decades. So any Israeli, or Jew, who gave up the Zionist mind-set would see a one state, Jew and Arab, as the only viable one for Palestine. All Jews who maintain identification with Zionism have a real context of back there in 19th century nationalism. And in that context, will exert much effort reach greater Israel; willing to tell any lie, provide any pain / death / destruction to get there.
    Finally, you may claim I provided a snippet of a Ben Gurion letter, implying it is unreliable. But if you read Pappe, you’ll be informed that Ben Gurion’s private writings were filled with such sentiment.
    My two cents.

    Reply

  41. samuelburke says:

    all we have is israels political proponents arrogantly imposing itself on our governance.
    by hook or by crook.

    Reply

  42. nadine says:

    Warren Metzler,
    How is it that you describe the Palestinians and the South Africans based on what their leaders are doing, but describe the Israelis based on a fixed theory of what they are “genetically programmed” to do (what the heck is that supposed to mean, anyway) or wanted at their founding?
    Can’t you observe the actions of the actual Israeli government in recent years? If the “Greater Israel” camp held the majority in Israel, the government could never give away land it already held; it would be grabbing more land instead. But this isn’t what happened. Israel gave away the whole Sinai, got out of Gaza, and twice proposed giving away 95% of the West Bank. This proposal was stopped by Palestinian rejection, not “Greater Israel” Israeli factions.
    How could this be, if Israel has a “Greater Israel” government? Ans: it doesn’t. Both the Greater Israel Right and the Peace Now Left lost the argument. There is a new Israel consensus now, agreed by many observers, on the need to make a peace — but also the need to care deeply on what goes on inside of Palestine, which the Israelis cannot afford to ignore.
    The least you should do for the Israelis is what you do for the Palestinians, which is to notice the actions of the leadership.
    If you are going to quote Benny Morris, instead of quoting snippets plucked from a Ben Gurion private letter in 1937, how about listening to what Benny Morris says about the causes of the current impasse, and they have nothing to do with greater Israel:
    “What will be the geographical contours of the envisioned Palestinian state and what will be its nature? Put simply, will the envisioned state encompass all of Palestine, including the territory of the existing Jewish state, Israel, or will it include only the West Bank and Gaza Strip and, perhaps, Arab-populated East Jerusalem? And will the envisioned state be a secular, perhaps even

    Reply

  43. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Carroll..thanks for the info on countries begining to call for honoring the 1967 borders in the P/I coflict.
    I don’t think commenters should abandon Steve because of nadine..rather just ignore her. Easier said than done, I know.

    Reply

  44. questions says:

    Once again, Jonathan Bernstein nails it:
    “With unified government, the best course for a president is usually to pass legislation by mobilizing his party. That’s pretty much what Barack Obama did during the 111th Congress. The trick is going to be, always, to keep the handful at the extreme left (for a Democrat) happy while also appealing to the 218th most liberal Member of the House and the 60th most liberal Senator. Barack Obama may have, in some sense, wanted to be bipartisan or postpartisan or whatever, but the easiest coalition for almost everything he wanted to get done was going to be highly partisan.
    When there’s divided government, the calculus changes. While it’s still possible that there will be issues in which the easiest winning coalition is constructed beginning with the left and moving to the center, there are other potential available coalitions that involve finding things that both sides really want that the other side doesn’t mind that much. That’s obviously the case with the tax cut deal: liberals don’t care nearly as much about tax rates for the rich as do conservatives (yes, they care a lot — but not nearly as much). Conservatives do not, it seems likely, oppose UI extension nearly as much as liberals favor it. What this all boils down to is that in the next Congress, there are going to be things that pass with the support of both John Boehner and Barack Obama, and perhaps without the support of some Democrats. Or else, nothing is going to pass at all.”
    http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/12/catch-of-day_10.html

    Reply

  45. Warren Metzler says:

    This is for Nadine and her other Israeli apologists to respond to.
    In 1937, before he became Israel

    Reply

  46. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I used to post at a site under the monicker “Retch Burpman”, the monicker chosen because of the offensive nature of the site. The site was ran by that insipid little RW pissant Nathan Tabor, a pseudo-Christian homophobic and islamophic Republican ass-licker that would literally gag a maggot.
    Well, I might just go back to that monicker here, because the comment section has become a mere sounding board for a couple of zionist hasbarists that have no respect, loyalty, or concern for the United States and its best interests.
    Its one thing to provide free discourse on one’s blog, its quite another to harbor and facilitate propaganda, racist narratives, and disinformation designed to advance a carefully nurtured narrative that undermines the security interests of the United States. The comment section here might as well be on Newsmax, DEBKA, or the AIPAC website.

    Reply

  47. rc says:

    Actually I have an idea — this blog could easily experiment with the I/P issue by providing an “I”, “P” or “I/P” filter switch option.
    Then we can all live happily in a segregated apartheid blog world — enjoying the sweet fragrance of our own tribal ‘truths’ without having to sniff the unpleasant odor of the unwashed ‘Other’!
    How about a starting theme like: “The Blog debates whether to stop Israelis Americans from blogging on blogs where there are non-Jewish majorities.”
    Sounds fair and in line with modern Israeli domestic policy.

    Reply

  48. rc says:

    So nadine, pray tell: which of these statements seems more real?
    Israel’s unwanted citizens
    The Knesset debates whether to stop Arab Israelis from living in cities where there are Jewish majorities.
    OR
    Germany’s unwanted citizens
    The Reichstag debates whether to stop German Jews from living in cities where there are German majorities.
    Answer: see http://english.aljazeera.net/video/middleeast/2010/12/201012918520643284.html

    Reply

  49. Don Bacon says:

    Did somebody here claim that Israel doesn’t have US political proponents for its policies? I must have missed it.

    Reply

  50. rc says:

    Scrolling happily down until “… Dec 09 2010, 9:00PM” and immediately felt the low-pressure system settling in.
    What did you say to crawl back nadine?
    Hope it was genuine.
    I guess you and your minders just could not stand by outside the store window and read all the good submissions without your help.

    Reply

  51. Don Bacon says:

    The way this (sort of) democratic system of ours works best on large issues, when one party controls the executive and the congress, is when the president converts his campaign promises first into a message to congress, with his positions, and then the congress produces a bill which is acceptable to the president.
    On health care Obama never sent a message on his banner campaign issue to congress, but essentially allowed industry-tight Baucus to negotiate a deal with the medical insurance industry. While this was going on, Obama backed off on his campaign promises of: no mandate (Clinton wanted one), public option and bulk purchase of drugs. Also nothing on cost containment, a large issue. The result is a government mandate that everyone will have to buy a product they don’t need at a acost they won’t be able to afford. The penalties will be cheaper so that’s what a lot of healthy people will go for when the majority of the bill becomes effective in 2014.
    2014 — the same year the US won’t leave Afghanistan, a war that Obama expanded three-fold and is now costing, besides the human costs, over two billion dollars a week. How did Obama get there? Obama asked the generals how many troops they needed and the generals said they needed three times as many troops. That’s not leading, either. You might as well ask kids how much candy they want.
    On taxes the whole thing should not have been left until the special session, but handled earlier when the Repubs could have been put on the record and then the Dems would have had something to run on. So recently we’ve had Biden negotiating a bill with McConnell. That’s not leading — that’s making an end run around your own people. The congressional Dems don’t like it and justifiably so.
    So leadership involves tactics and methods which Obama lacks the skills to perform (and we knew it).
    We’ve seen Obama fail on I/P, and suggestions that Obama might “defy grim predictions” by actually doing anything are misplaced. The US has made it clear that it is not a mediator on I/P, only a facilitator. Of course the US CAN’T be a mediator because it is in bed with one of the parties, Israel. So there won’t be any leadership from Obama here, either. Again. Obama’s not a leader, he’s merely a facilitator with some community organizing skills.
    We need Obama to be primaried.

    Reply

  52. samuelburke says:

    Nadine, Steve Walt has a message for you and yours.
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/12/09/goldbergs_lat
    est_silly_sally
    Let’s look at the vast influence that the “Arab lobby” has wielded
    in recent years.
    1. It is undoubtedly the all-powerful Arab lobby that ensures
    that Israel gets $3-4 billion in economic and military aid each
    year, even when it does things that the United States opposes,
    like building settlements. And were it not for the Arab lobby, the
    United States would be putting a lot of pressure on Israel to sign
    the Non-Proliferation Treaty and come clean about its nuclear
    arsenal.
    2. It was the vaunted Arab lobby that convinced President Bush
    to delay a U.N. ceasefire resolution during the Lebanon War of
    2006, so that Israel could try to finish off Hezbollah and
    continue bombing civilian areas in Lebanon. Pressure from the
    Arab lobby also convinced Congress to pass a resolution backing
    Israel to the hilt, and to remove language from the original draft
    that called for both sides to “protect civilian life and
    infrastructure.”
    3. When Ambassador Charles Freeman was nominated to chair
    the National Intelligence Council in 2009, the vast Arab lobby
    promptly launched a successful smear campaign to deny him the
    post, running roughshod over his outnumbered and powerless
    defenders at the New Republic, Wall Street Journal, Atlantic
    Monthly, and Washington Post.
    4. When Obama asked Israel to implement a settlement freeze in
    2009, the Arab lobby promptly swung into action and drafted
    open letters warning the President not to put any pressure on
    Israel. These resolutions passed overwhelmingly in both Houses,
    another sign of the Arab lobby’s political clout.
    5. When Israel attacked Gaza in December 2008, the Arab lobby
    was there to prevent the U.S. from interfering. And when the
    Goldstone Report raised the issue of possible Israeli war crimes
    in that war, the Arab Lobby no doubt called the Obama
    administration and told it to condemn the report, which it
    promptly did.
    6. Needless to say, the insidious power of the Arab lobby no
    doubt explains why we have a former employee of the “pro-
    Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy (and former head
    of the Jewish People’s Policy Planning Institute) in a key role
    guiding U.S. Middle East policy. Aaron Miller was dead wrong
    when he said the United States acts as “Israel’s lawyer”; the Arab
    lobby ensures that U.S. government officials constantly take the
    Arab side whenever disputes arise.
    7. The long arm of the “Arab lobby” also shapes our public
    discourse, aided by the chorus of pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian, and
    pro-Muslim columnists and pundits at the Wall Street Journal,
    Washington Post, New Republic, and Atlantic Monthly. And you’d
    better not say anything critical of an Arab country or of Islam, or
    the Anti-Defamation League will denounce you and you might
    even lose your job.
    8. And don’t forget to sign up for the Arab Lobby’s annual “Policy
    Conference” in Washington, where you will see a bevy of
    politicians from both parties lining up to proclaim their
    commitment to the “unshakeable” alliance between the United
    States and the Arab and Muslim world.
    Obviously, none of these things happened because of the “Arab
    lobby,” but the Israel lobby played a key role in all of them. In
    short, Goldberg’s latest assertions don’t even pass the giggle
    test. And if he wants to talk about money, let’s consider
    campaign contributions. According to The Economist, between
    1990 and 2004 pro-Israel political action committees gave
    nearly $57 million dollars to candidates and parties, while Arab-
    American and Muslim PACs gave slightly less than $700,000.
    Wow: that’s some “Arab lobby!” And that’s just the PAC money,
    not contributions by individuals.

    Reply

  53. Carroll says:

    News Source on December 9, 2010
    Peter Beinart facetiously congratulates Benjamin Netanyahu now that he

    Reply

  54. MarkL says:

    Questions, you are full of shit.
    Obama didn’t lead. He gave in to the Republicans 120% and then told Dems to suck it up.

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    A funny thing happened on the way to the policy….
    Think back to the health care debate — the Big Angry was that Obama wasn’t a leader. He fucking let Congress decide the agenda and the result was rudderless, leaderless, headless healthcare debates. Bad, bad, bad.
    Fast forward to the tax deal. The man LEADS. He has BALLS. He tells Congress and the People that THIS is how it is. No changes. Done Deal.
    And the people freak out – You Led, you Lied, you made a deal without talking to us for a whole bunch of time. You let the congressional timetable dominate. Dude, you fail. Epic-like.
    Talk about damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
    And it looks like the sweetener of ethanol subsidies (dumbfuck policy) will be the cherry on the top of the sundae!
    Nothing like some pisspoor energy policy that turns food into fuel, that makes the midwestern states happy, that bribes some of those MCs who can’t be bought… to make tax cuts for the wealthy seem like a decent dinner.
    Welcome to agonistic democratic negotiations!
    (Oh, and I’m not outta here, by the way, in case it wasn’t obvious. Those who miss Dan can find him on TPM. They seem less in the culture of long posts, more quippish at this point now that the reader blogs are gone. There are many really thoughtful econ blogs worth checking out. And Bernstein’s blog doesn’t have a lot of commenters, but does have a decent readership I think. So if you want to try the destroy Congress/they’re bought and sold/everyone is corrupt line there, maybe you’d get an interesting response. You could even lace into AIPAC and see what people think. There are plenty of places to try out a range of arguments and get some decent input — if, that is, that’s the goal of posting online.)

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  56. nadine says:

    The editors of the New York Times say they received all 251,000 cables from the Guardian and have been digging through them for several weeks:
    “New York Times editors said Sunday that although the paper’s reporters had been digging through WikiLeaks trove of 250,000 State Department cables for “several weeks,” the online whistleblower wasn’t the source of the documents.
    But if WikiLeaks

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  57. Don Bacon says:

    There has been no “dump.” There has been a careful controlled release of hundreds of documents with redactions as required.
    PARIS (AP)

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  58. nadine says:

    So the Guardian and the New York Times are all lying about the Wikileaks dump (they say it’s not 250 cables but 250,000) to aid Israel? Just for kicks, what’s your theory about why they would want to do that? Not their normal style.
    I do hope you’re just trolling. Otherwise there is reason to fear you have lost all touch with reality.

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  59. Don Bacon says:

    “So a week after the Wikileaks dump showed that all the Sunni Arab states are fixated on the threat from Iran,”
    * there was no “dump” — it was 250 cables which suspiciously favored Israel.
    * it wasn’t “all the Sunni states” — it was two fat-ass potentates suggesting that some other country (not theirs, of course) attack Iran, a position unique to them in their respective countries and countered by their government’s official policies.
    * nobody was “fixated” on a threat from Iran, on the contrary the Araqb League the Arab stetes are fixated on a very real nuclear threat from Isreal, and have been foe many years.
    nadine, thanks for the opportunity to re-clarify the issue for TWN readers.

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  60. Carroll says:

    Piss upon them, I am not leaving.
    Believe it or not there was a time in the US when Israel was publically criticized and condemned by the press and by politicians.
    When politicians and the press pointed out that Jewish interest within the US advocating for Israel were damaging the US.
    You really should click on the mondoweiss link and read the comments on this article, there is a lot more information in them.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/inconceivable-the-msm-once-reflected-an-arab-perspective.html#more-31028
    Inconceivable

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  61. Carroll says:

    Piss upon them, I am not leaving.
    Believe it or not there was a time in the US when Israel was publically criticized and condemned by the press and by politicians.
    When politicians and the press pointed out that that Jewish interest within the US advocating for Israel were damaging the US.
    You really should click on the mondoweiss link and read the comments on this article, there is a lot more information in them.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/inconceivable-the-msm-once-reflected-an-arab-perspective.html#more-31028
    Inconceivable

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  62. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Sorry, I’m outta here. Joining Dan K in retirement. The tenor of this blog doesn’t need such offensive stimulation”
    Actually, its tempting, despite the fact that we would be doing EXACTLY what Nadine hopes we will do. Driving people off the blog is the next best thing to getting the blog shut down, if we are discussing Nadine’s agenda.
    Its ironic that wiggie and Nadine accused Steve Clemons of appeasement of Hamas, when in fact harboring the the 24/7 zionist propaganda line of Wiggie and Nadine can also be seen as appeasement. If a Palestinian posted here advocating carpet bombing the Jews, justifying suicide attacks by saying “might makes right” the Jews deserve it, they would have been banned a long time ago.
    I need to sleep on it. I’ve got mixed emotions about it. One one hand, I hate to hand Nadine a gift. On the other hand, I’m sick of her shit. Really, despite the rosy picture I try to paint about how “fun” it is to post here, Nadine’s crap is hardly “fun” anymore.
    If Steve wants to give free rent and a soapbox to a shameless bigot, liar, and hasbarist like Nadine, surely he has every right to do so, (of course).
    Maybe a hiatus IS in order. Its kinda reeks in here, figuratively speaking.

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  63. DonS says:

    Sorry, I’m outta here. Joining Dan K in retirement. The tenor of this blog doesn’t need such offensive stimulation.

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  64. nadine says:

    Steve Clemons,
    So a week after the Wikileaks dump showed that all the Sunni Arab states are fixated on the threat from Iran, don’t care much about I/P, and know the situation is insolvable until something is done to curb Iran’s trouble-making, you’re telling us that the attitude of the Obama administration is to pretend none of this is true, and keep pounding its collective head on the stone wall of farcical non-peace talks? And you’re cheering them on?
    Seriously, is there any conceivable outcome that would ever demonstrate to you that your model of the Middle East is dysfunctional?

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  65. JohnH says:

    Warren Metzler–what could Obama (BO) do, given the pressures that he faces?
    The man needs to start worrying about his f*cking legacy. At the current rate, he’ll rank just below Herbert Hoover but, if he’s lucky, still ahead of Bush 43.
    In terms of Israel, that means that BO needs to start using the powers of his office. If Bibi isn’t responsive, then BO should be unresponsive in return. Perpetually delay meetings. Constantly procrastinate on making and signing deals. Delay commitments, like arms shipments. Refuse to hear any requests about Pollard. Refuse to veto Security Council resolutions. Stop putting pressure on other countries to go easy on Israel. Make life hell for those who have poked him in the eye.
    Let’s face it. It won’t cost a thing. Israel DEPENDS on the United States for its survival, not vice versa. And BO is going to be a one term President, so he should act like there is nothing to lose, which there isn’t. Or, in the worst case scenario, he could make history again by becoming the first black President ever impeached, and the only one ever to be impeached by the militant Zionist lobby.

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  66. questions says:

    One other thing regarding the Republicans’ intransigence — what’s the worst thing that could happen to a Republican right about now? A primary from the right.
    The Tea Party’s force in congressional districts, with the help of Fox News and some serious treatment from the press, pushed Congress far to the right of where many MCs might prefer to be.
    The left doesn’t really do this effectively because it lacks the media attention, the message discipline, the sustaining hysteria, and it often feels it has far more to lose by not knuckling under to vote for the mainstream candidate.
    Republicans in Congress will be rewarded for intransigence. Democrats would be punished.
    Again, there are structures that make negative agendas easier than positive agendas, that keep Republicans (for now) more cohesive.
    If they keep their shit together, they have a wave to ride.
    Until, and unless, their constituents start suffering and blame that suffering on Republican immobility on policy issues, we’re going to be held captive by the Tea Party threat of primaries from the right.
    Anything Obama might want to do in terms of policy is the kind of stuff that unifies the right in opposition and divides the left between the puritans and the pragmatists.
    He’s stuck.

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  67. samuelburke says:

    all this is about something isn’t it?

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  68. questions says:

    DonS,
    The psychological game is the best thing there is! Fun, entertaining, occasionally perceptive, often not, but fun and irresistible nonetheless!
    My view of Congress is a little different from the standard blog view, but is pretty much in line with Jonathan Bernstein, actually, which is why I endlessly namedrop and link to his work.
    The Republicans in minority have a huge power base in the Senate. They are cohesive on the big issues, they work the procedure, they are comfortable with violating certain Senate traditions as they see fit. There is a fairly standard read of the Senate that it’s gotten much worse as House members have moved up. The House is more partisan, party-oriented, and its whole feel is different. When those traditions move to the Senate, the Senate has a hard time holding on to its actual purposes and it becomes highly partisan as well. A partisan Senate with the individual power and lack of central authority that the House has is a disaster for getting policy through.
    So, no, Obama couldn’t have “gone to the people” and magically made the Senate pass all the stuff that the House sent over.
    Statewide races are very different beasts from district races, so the required behavior is different in the Senate from what works in the House.
    Note that Harry Reid let Collins do all sorts of things to amendment opportunities and debate hours to make her happy. She supported DADT, but then LEESSA Mussorgsky of Alaska write-in fame didn’t get all she wanted…. And most of the rest of the Republicans were lock-steppish, and Manchin might as well be a Republican apparently.
    Obama can’t do better than this, because senators are trying to be re-elected from states, and states all have significant conservative rural pockets and suburban pockets that have to be made happy.
    I really don’t think Obama is on a downward trajectory or is doing less than he can or is more conservative than anyone thought. No Trojan Horse nonsense….
    The political structures in the US are to be dealt with and they have a rural/suburban/conservative bias that we’re stuck with.
    The wealth structure in the US also has a conservative bias that has to be dealt with.
    Same for finance, and all the other messes we’re slowly grappling with.
    The sad fact is that Bush II hastened capital accumulation in the firm belief that it was a just and proper thing to do, and those who have accumulated capital have had quite a party at this point.
    Currently, 57 billionaires have signed Bill Gates’s “now that you got it give it back” pledge. This is a 50% giveaway — far above the 35% estate tax we all know can be dodged by “pre-giving” and setting up trusts and the like. The billionaires know they’ve had their party and they’ve created an oligarchy. At least 57 of them currently realize that it’s fucked over the rest of us.
    But the structures are there, the dynamic between stability, instability, and policy that Krugman lamented is there, and it’s simply far more difficult to respond in a technocratically correct way than anyone would wish. That Krugman piece is to be saved, savored, reread, understood, taken into our souls, and coupled with a careful reading of Thomas Kuhn’s book. There’s a nice research project for someone who feels like doing it. “The Structures of Political ‘Revolutions’”.
    On the other hand, we do have a fairly responsive participatory system, and the Republicans did clean our clocks in this last election.
    Of course, it’s hard to discern exactly what any voter means, or how intense preferences are, but that’s what Congress does best. If they get re-elected, there’s some evidence of success. If they get tossed out, well…. They did get tossed out.

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  69. Carroll says:

    I think I have decided Obama was a Trojan Horse.
    Just look at who he kept, brought in and appointed…and those he ditched like Chas Freeman, at the first peep from the zios, and those he didn’t appointed who were supremely qualifed, would have served his bipartisian agenda, but were too hard core pro American for some interest.

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  70. DonS says:

    Some good points Questions. I’m sorry I fell into the psychological game, but habits die hard.
    Really, I’m concerned about issues not personalities as far as who gets nominated and who gets elected.
    My view is that Obama has been on a downward trajectory since day one in office, ceding the offense to the repubs where he hasn’t actively enabled them with a blindness that to me borders on willful. I don’t buy the argument that the repubs absolute intransigence could not be turned as a political asset. That’s what good politicians are able to accomplish.
    It defies the laws of physics, metaphorically, to imagine that Obama will be able to turn around the downward trajectory. Giving away more core issues, or watering them down to nothing is not a turning around. It is a downward continuation.
    And I don’t buy that Obama has really accomplished much in the way of signatures issues, or that he couldn’t have gotten more. But that’s just my opinion.
    Would I applaud if Obama suddenly started to look like the candidate most thought he was, not the stealth candidate who he now owns, and not the utter underachiever in office. Of course. But it seems quite unlikely. It’s pretty hard to recover from a characterization as weak, a pushover, a non-fighter, and a poor negotiator. Not to mention abandoning, not slighting, abandoning your party to make cause with the enemy.

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  71. Carroll says:

    “But a President who’ll face the battle of his life to win reelection two years from now will be reluctant to take the domestic political consequences of squeezing Israel.”
    Like the many comments above suggested.
    To ever settle the I/P injustice and to ever change the US -Isr problem you have to put the political fear of God into politicians serving the AIPAC Lobby and Israel.
    Does not matter if Dems get 60% of their funding from Jewish donors…if enough voters revolted over this abdication of US interest to a small minority of our population and a foreign country it would end.
    Jewish groups for Israel spend all their time, are absolutely fanatical about, directing US policy for Israel and use money and political pressure and activism to do it. AIPAC tries to imprint of every generation of Jews that their sole duty in the US is to do whatever is necessary for Israel.
    And although we have some Jewish groups that work for a peace between Israel and Palestine they are still bottom line, dictated to Israel and determined to keep that ‘special relationship’ and US money flowing to Israel regardless of US interest.
    Why is it that gentile and other Americans aren’t as active about getting this dangerous aberration out of our government? Are you afraid of opposing this because you will be called anti semitic if you dare question the Jewish desires? If so, that’s not a good enough reason to give up control of your own country and be forced by your own government to financially support the illegal and immoral actions of Israel.
    They never sleep and most Americans never pick up the phone or fax to tell the AIPAC politicans to Move to Israel..if they want work for Israel.
    AIPAC-Trained Activists Make the Case for the U.S.-Israel Relationship
    AIPAC’s Leadership Development Deparment works with thousands of students across the country.
    Newspapers and websites across the country have published more than a dozen opinion articles written by AIPAC-trained student activists. The articles focus on the strategic advantages of America’s partnership with Israel, highlighting Israeli contributions to American military preparedness, counter-terrorism strategies and key technological advancements. The opinion pieces have appeared in major student publications at the University of Michigan, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Florida, Washington University in St. Louis and several other American colleges and universities. Throughout the fall semester, AIPAC campus activists have engaged student leaders and political officials to emphasize the value of the U.S.-Israel alliance.
    Newspapers and websites across the country have published more than a dozen opinion articles written by AIPAC-trained student activists. The articles focus on the strategic advantages of America’s partnership with Israel, highlighting Israeli contributions to American military preparedness, counter-terrorism strategies and key technological advancements. The opinion pieces have appeared in major student publications at the University of Michigan, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Florida, Washington University in St. Louis and several other American colleges and universities. Throughout the fall semester, AIPAC campus activists have engaged student leaders and political officials to emphasize the value of the U.S.-Israel alliance.
    Ivy League AIPAC Campus Activists Lobby in D.C.
    AIPAC-trained students met with Rep. Connolly (D-VA).
    AIPAC-trained students from each of the nation’s eight elite Ivy League campuses traveled to Washington, D.C. throughout the spring semester to lobby their members of Congress. The AIPAC Campus Cadre at Princeton University organized the first of three large legislative impact missions to D.C. in April. The Princeton mission was comprised of 17 students and two Hillel processionals who held 36 meetings with House and Senate offices. Joining the Princeton students was a group of AIPAC-trained activists from Columbia University. The Princeton and Columbia students lobbied for tough Iran sanctions, reaffirmation of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and American security assistance to Israel. AIPAC-trained students at both Princeton and Columbia have organized legislative impact missions to Washington for each of the past four years. In a separate trip to D.C. last February, 4 AIPAC-trained students from Harvard University lobbied the Capitol Hill offices of all 37 members of Congress who are Harvard alumni. In addition to pushing for tougher Iran sanctions from Congress, the Harvard activists secured the support of key members of Congress for their initiative to persuade their University to divest from companies that do business with Iran’s energy sector. Adding to the parade of Ivy League activists supporting our agenda, the AIPAC Campus Cadre at Cornell University brought 40 pro-Israel students from their campus to Washington, D.C. for another major legislative push. While they were in town, the Cornellians lobbied 21 Congressional offices from 9 states. Last month, AIPAC-trained students from the University of Pennsylvania joined our Ivy League campus to capitol initiative with a 35-student lobbying mission that met with 18 separate Congressional offices. Rounding out the Ivy League, AIPAC-trained activists from Yale University, Dartmouth College, and Brown University organized delegations of pro-Israel students to lobby their members of Congress after AIPAC Policy Conference in March.

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  72. questions says:

    Here’s my psychological (ahem) interpretation of the damned lefties comment — Obama sees himself as preferring a generally lefty agenda, with justice, Christian humility, infinite pardon, umm, what’s that phrase, oh yeah, “turning the other cheek”.
    His self-image, which has been motivated by a lifetime of straddling groups, blending on multiple sides without belonging, not therefore having strong huge vast identificatory structures with class or race or geography or sports teams or universities (he transferred as an undergrad and even that throws off identifications and loyalties) — without a strong sense of WHO I AM, his self-image rests on a kind of cosmopolitan goodness that should actually appeal to the left.
    But, in fact, it doesn’t appeal to the tribal side of the left, the side that is as brutal and foolish and exclusionary and snobbish and sanctimonious and puritanical as any properly inward looking grouping is.
    So when Obama compromises his sense of leftiness by accepting the bullshit tax cuts, the future-problematic estate tax rates, when the best deal he can get for lower income oriented stimulus in a time of crisis is a 2 percent payroll tax cut, when the best he can get for the unemployed is the 13 month extension only for those under 99 weeks, in short, when the best he can do is meh and not fab, AND the left smushes him for this, well, you know, it can be irritating.
    Every now and then, people really do like to feel that the shit they put up with is vaguely appreciated by the people for whom they put up with it. Your parents ever yell at you for ingratitude? Your boss? You ever feel like your parents or your boss fails to appreciate you despite all you do?
    And in this case, I’m guessing Obama is right that this is the best deal he’s going to get, that the Republicans don’t care enough about the expiring cuts, that because their chief audience is insanely rich, they can bide their time.
    Though “people” “prefer” that the rich be taxed more, the surveys out show nothing about intensity of preference, or what happens come election time. Voters are fickle, confused, and pretty immediate in their concerns. No one is going to remember that Obama did or didn’t tax the rich (except for the rich themselves) and so it’s not going to be an election issue regardless of the polls.
    So letting the rich have their cakes, eat their cakes, fly on their helicopters to get more cakes, have slaves to serve the cakes, buy their own bakeries to bake their cakes… isn’t going to cost Obama the election.
    What will cost it is if people think he raised their taxes (they already think this, despite the truth), if the Republicans can find a couple of juicy wedge issues, a candidate with even half a quality (not O’Donnell, say), and if the economy is still in the tank late 2011 into 2012.
    If there’s some recovery, democratic party ID and the feeling of expansion, and maybe some more troops’ coming home will all help Obama cruise to re-election.
    Krugman is apparently starting to be a little less meh-ish, as has been obvious from recent columns. There’s some concern at Rortybomb regarding the use of general funds for the tax break and how the ‘pubs will try to extend the break and break SoSec. I’m guessing the legislation can be written to take care of this concern.
    There’s mild stimulus here, an easy delivery system for the money (hidden-away-in-people’s-pay-checks-style stimulus is good for the economy, not good for publicity — that is, good public policy, lousy politics — look what Obama chooses). The rich are going to get what the fuck they want no matter what. If rates go up on the 300,000th dollar or wherever the cut off is, they will just shelter a little more and pay a little more to their accountants. There’s simply no issue here to get all apoplectic about.
    As for Obama’s mental state, I would guess that as for all of us, when reality intrudes into fantasy, there’s a little shock. We’re never as loved by others or as good as we ourselves think.
    We overestimate all sorts of things about ourselves, and he’s probably as guilty of this as anyone around here!
    He should probably make a better show of “consulting” those he thinks he already represents and actually taking their positions into account.
    As much as I am pretty thoroughly irritated by the hysteria over policy compromises and over congressional functioning, I think it’s a good idea still to listen to people and treat them all, Tea or not Tea, sanctimonious or actually holy, listen to them all.
    Invite not just some lefty bloggers and MCs to dinner, but some citizens from the spectrum.
    Obama is good at talking to people, good at campaigning, good at listening, sharp with policy, non-hysterical.
    There’s not time enough in all the universe for him to sit for dinner with all 300 million of us screamers and demanders, but he could hit a few sweet spots and let the network effects work their magic.
    He should remember that representing isn’t the same as consulting, and he needs to do both even if the repubs have already forced the agenda in some not very lefty-justice-oriented ways.
    Finally, he should find Arne Duncan something else to do. Especially since a WaPo piece the other day noted that MCPS has just invented a new curriculum in which Little Red Riding Hood is used as a base for more than one kind of conceptual lesson. That’s right! You can now use LRRH to teach “stranger danger” PLUS a whole lot more!!!! Woohoo!
    Can we just do something else with education policy? Please?
    ***************
    And by the way, we should all remember Geo. Bush’s plaintive, sweet, sad, lonely line about how much pressure the president is under by how many groups and positions every damned day.
    The president isn’t a possible position, the country is ungovernable, and yet here we are and we must govern.
    Crazee.

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  73. DonS says:

    POA, the news piece doesn’t add much context to speculate about the manic notion. But, to be said, one can be/act manic and still fit the description of detached from particular situations. It seems doubtful that Obama would have gotten so far being seriously manic since those folks usually crash and burn regularly, or are so obnoxious they can’t fit in with a variety of people. Doesn’t mean he can’t have manic traits that allow for bursts of energy/concentration. Possibly so-called Manic II, involving moderated swings between ‘hypomania’ and moderate depression. A condition in which one can certainly function, even at a high level, maybe very high if enough people are around to shield and buffer. But, again, we don’t need to go there, and certainly not on the strength of that particular quote.
    The Insider is obviously now a Hillary bot, maybe always was since he was around during Bill’s reign, but claims to have been a uber-serious Obama fan up until he wasn’t anymore. Don’t know what to mkae of the source; I’m not familiar with it.
    [PS, Don Bacon: The Great Pretender diagnosis can be interpreted as denial portending incipient depression. More likely, with enough psychophants around to reinforce the bubble, one might expect to see more hyper grandiosity than reactive depression, even if played off in public (although I must say the "sanctimonious" comment about lefties comes lose to cracking his mild mannered, humble facade -- albeit directed at a group he obviously has contempt for)]

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  74. Warren Metzler says:

    John H., I would love that, and it would be a very moral action to take. Our current position is like that of a parent who disciplines a disobedient child by increasing its allowance.
    But I was referring to what the Administration could do, realistically given the current political climate. Not what would Congress and the Administration do if they all had integrity.
    I further suggest that giving the majority of push behind how Congress persons and each president acts to AIPAC and other Israeli lobbyists is a scam. Yes they have influence, but I propose the majority of the push; all silent as far as the public and the media is concerned; is multinational corporations, who make billions off business in the M/E in its current state. Those corporations, assuming that if peace occurred between Israel and Palestine it would move the other regions governments toward authentic democracy, and soon home grown businesses would take away the majority of their profits in that area, plus there would be far less military expenditures, give serious money to many a Congress person with instructions to keep the M/E as it currently is. Those corporations, all being oriented to profits regardless of how much pain and suffering occurs, are ecstatic with the status quo for the past 60 years. They provide far more reelection funds (and retirement funds) to the pockets of our Congress persons, than all the pro Israeli forces combined. They are our major problem.

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  75. samuelburke says:

    Be a good boy obama and sit in the corner like your overlords told you to do…
    it’s good for the american people to see how the puppets are who they get to vote for…the puppeteers run the show and are beyond the ballot.
    i hold no hope for the political process to change our country, but i do hold out some hope for the economy to bring all the things not seen out into the dissinfectant light.
    good luck to those who believe.

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  76. JohnH says:

    The influence of militant Zionist groups aside, what can the US do?
    It should be obvious by now–stop all aid to Israel. Why should the American taxpayer be in the business of subsidizing land theft, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and regular pogroms against neighboring peoples?
    If Israel realized that the US and Europe weren’t going to cover it’s back anymore, it would have much more incentive to strike a fair bargain with the other 50% of the people who live between the Jordan River and the sea.

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  77. Warren Metzler says:

    I am just curious. What exactly do the proponents of the US brokering a peace in Israel assume the US can do?
    We have a country Israel, who from prior to its founding was headed toward greater Israel. Whose past, current and future political leaders all favor that goal. Who see nothing wrong with that goal; even if there is significant collateral damage among the Palestinians.
    We have Palestinians, in the West Bank and Gaza, who are divided into many groups, most of whom hate each other; all of whom act in draconian ways when presented with an opposition person (read some accounts of people who ended up in PLO prisons). Who predominately are either religious fanatics who can’t appear to tolerate anyone being different from them, or are corrupt egotists, who can’t appear to separate themselves from the guerrilla mind-set they operated from for so many years. Do you realize that Abbas’ term as president was over almost a year ago, and no election has been held? Do you believe the Palestinians don’t know how to carry out an election?
    If you go back to a typical similar situation, ANC in the South Africa apartheid situation. The ANC was organized, gave the appearance they knew what they were doing, went about it in a reasonable manner, and had sound, intelligent leaders (where is the Palestinian Mandela?). Do you experience that looking at the Palestinians? I don’t. Until they get their act together, and through international work get the rest of the world on their side, Israel will not believe it has to give up its now over 100 year goal.
    And until Israel and Palestinians both agree that peace is good, I don’t understand how you believe the US could produce change. Yes, it could get out of the way, recognize Hamas as a legitimate political entity, lean on Egypt to allow free movement through its border crossing with Gaza, and other such things. But those actions are not going to produce what I described above.
    POA, I went to newflavor. And was pleased that Democratic operative was willing to recognize Obama for what he is. But that man believes Hillary would be a viable president. And that woman would be a disaster. She is mean, an elitist, greedy, and totally self-centered. Having learned from the master prevaricator, her husband, she would run a much tighter ship, public image wise, than Obama. But nothing of substance would get done. And, as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating: the proof of a policy action is in what actually occurs in the public.

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  78. Pahlavan says:

    “The neo-cons are coming back with a vengeance, and we can thank Obama for that.” Don’t forget to thank the American public for expecting change from their oval couch?

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  79. JohnH says:

    The word “domestic politics” should be banned from all public discussion. It’s just a euphemism for extreme pressure from wealthy interests.
    A proper framing would simply state that American foreign policy and American national interests are being held hostage to the desires of a very narrow group of militants who are extremely wealthy and extraordinarily well organized.
    Wigwag is simply wrong on the issue of ‘domestic politics’ ruling US policy. Really, it’s the hard money politics of Sheldon Adelman, Haim Saban and their ilk, who along with AIPAC have organized militant Zionists into an effective lobby that hijacked the Israel narrative decades ago.
    American public opinion is quite simply not an indicator of any deeply held, informed opinion on the subject. Most Americans know squat about Israel and Palestine, other than what is selectively fed them on the “news.” As such, Americans favorable “opinion” about Israel is just a superficial measure of the effectiveness of opinion shaping that has taken place for the past 60 years.
    IMHO, a good portion of militant Zionist funding originates from the $Billions of American aid given to Israel. A miniscule portion is skimmed off each year and reinvested in the cause. In practice, Zionist aid skimming is little different from ‘defense’ appropriations being skimmed off in Afghanistan to fund the Taliban or profits from Western oil purchases being skimmed off by wealthy Saudis to fund al Qaeda. The primary difference is that Zionist money flows back to the United States to corrupt the political system and prevent the US from acting in its own national interest.

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  80. Don Bacon says:

    It isn’t like we didn’t know that Obama was the Great Pretender three years ago, or at least two years ago.
    Oh yes, I’m the great pretender
    Just laughing and gay like a clown
    I seem to be what I’m not you see
    I’m wearing my heart like a crown
    Pretending that you’re…
    Pretending that you’re still around
    – The Platters
    But primarying Obama, which has to be done, won’t solve the inability of the US to act as a neutral I/P mediator.

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  81. PissedOffAmerican says:

    DonS…..
    Reading the Newsflavor piece, I wasn’t so sure I agreed with the opinion the President was acting “manic”. To me, his actions seem more like those one could expect from someone that had no control over the policy being discussed, in this case, Afghanistan. Kinda “This doesn’t interest me because someone else is handling it”. More and more I am convinced this man is a ringer, a figurehead poser, who was handed a role that only needed to be played until he was successfully placed in the Oval Office. That role was easily mastered by Obama, because his promises did not need to be buttressed by actions. But now he has a far harder role to play, trying to convince the American people he is something that his actions plainly dispute. And frankly, I doubt he cares whether he convinces us or not, because he was never intended to serve more than one term. The disaster of eight years of the Bush/Cheney policies can now be blamed squarely on the left. The huge majority and opportunity that Obama was handed was not easily squandered, he had to actually work at it. Are we to believe it was an accident? I am close to being convinced that it wasn’t, that Obama has done EXACTLY what he was placed in office to do, bury the progressive movement in a very deep hole, that may NEVER be climbed out of. There are some very scary people coming into power, and Obama greased the skids for them to get there. The neo-cons are coming back with a vengeance, and we can thank Obama for that.

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  82. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Sorry Don, I meant to post a link, and simply spaced it out. Here you go….
    http://newsflavor.com/politics/world-politics/white-house-insider-they-were-in-shock-at-the-presidents-behavior/

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  83. DonS says:

    POA, I wish you could provide a bit more citation for that statement which, as a former therapist, interests me.
    On the topic, Bacon nails it, or rather summarizes why ,ore theft of Palestinian land with US providing cover is what the sane person will expect. And the old, by now, cliche, that there is no way America can be an honest broker: two options 1) Obama the head knocker (ain’t gonna happen) or 2) an actual honest broker/mediator (zionistas ain’t gonna let that happen either) Also, John H, with regard to the possibility of some sort of sham deal cooked up that can be spun by all the current power holders as going there way. And to reiterate my claim, despite Wig wags glee at selling American interests down the river, Americans do not know what they are voting for, re default Israel policy. They’ve never been leveled with and, maybe, couldn’t care that much.
    Re the possibility of a ‘sham deal’. We have been given quite recent examples of how Obama the ‘compromiser’ loves to give away the store and call it a pragmatic deal. Like coon skins on the barn wall. Also pads his resume for the next few post-presidential gigs that will call for his talent as a weathervane.

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  84. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Excerpt……..
    —That is a very strong statement

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  85. Don Bacon says:

    The US politicians have to continue to provide US cover for the Isreali takeover of Palestine. That’s all it is, and all attempts to rationalize it as anything else are smoke and mirrors. Look at what’s happening on the ground! And has been happening for years!
    Domestic politics rule US policy, as WigWag has accurately and eloquently described on more than one occasion. Go Israel! is the policy. Biden and others have clearly stated that ‘there can be no light between the US and Israel policy.’ How much clearer could it be?
    A true mediator is needed, not the fake US one that totally sides with Israel. There are other countries and agencies in the world that could do the job better than the US pretends to do, after all. (The US ‘world policeman’ is failing everywhere, so I/P isn’t unique.)

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  86. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Once again we see the spineless Obama criticised for failing to take on Netanyahu’s arrogance and intransigence, with nary a mention of the subservience Obama’s own party displays towards the Israelis. Obama’s adversary isn’t so much in Israel as it is on Capital hill, where he faces formidable opposition to taking a hard line with Israel. Even if Obama had balls, which he doesn’t, he’d have to brawl with Congress before he’d ever get to lay a hand on Bibi.
    And to leave the scheming and duplicitous Clinton out of the debate renders it useless and mere prattle. How can you discuss foreign policy failures without discussing Hillary’s part in them? Go over to the Marshmellow’s site, and see the amount of slobber that is slavered on Clinton, their “shero”, even while criticizing the “deal” that Clinton cooked up trying to get Netanyahu to do one more token “freeze”. How do you discuss and criticize that “deal” without mentioning Clinton? Well, cruise on over to the Marshmellow’s love fest and gossip column, and they’ll give ya lessons. Marsh even went so far to REMOVE a diary I posted where I was extremely critical of Clinton for her despicable disregard for the rights and welfare of American citizens engaged in peaceful protest in the West Bank, namely Tristan Anderson and Emily Henochowitz.
    Clinton was on the front lines of Obama’s dealings with Netanyahu, and while supposedly leading the effort, she was standing at an AIPAC podium swearing her fealty, or standing before the global community praising Netanyahu for “concessions” that were in actuality mere fluff, or waxing eloquent about how “seriously flawed” the Goldstone Report is. Sending Clinton into Israel to “negotiate” with Netanyahu is like tasking Alberto Gonzales to indict George Bush.

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  87. JohnH says:

    “President Obama is [not] simply going to give up.” Instead he’ll agree to a half assed deal that gives Israel everything it wants–and more. And then he’ll tout the stinking mess as an “historic settlement.”
    To be credible, that senior state department official needs to tell us how this zebra could change its stripes.

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  88. Cato the Censor says:

    This is the 900 kilo question. Will the administration finally do what it has long flirted with — putting its own parameters and ideas on the table as so many wise-person’s groups have suggested? Or will it forfeit this territory of diplomatic effort to Netanyahu?
    You really should stop smoking crack, Steve.

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  89. Taylor Marsh says:

    The door has been open the last two years on a lot of things for Obama, when he had historic Dem margins, but he didn’t walk through and blew his advantage.
    Thinking about Israeli & Palestinian negotiations shifting, Steve, you have to look at it through the eye of 2012. There is every reason to believe Pres. Obama will make yet another rightward shift. There’s no mileage in anything else looking at his re-election.
    I’m always willing to be surprised by Pres. Obama, but so far he’s been completely predictable.

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  90. koreyel says:

    Steve, you are kidding right?
    Hope springs eternal and all that?
    MIghty Casey at the bat?
    He is going to hit this one out of the park just you watch….
    Please.
    This president doesn’t have those kinds of balls.
    He is a pliable, lukewarm, bowl of photographic mush.
    A flimsy “community organizer” in a political era of heavy hitters…
    Netanyahu told him to sit down, shut up, and keep the checks
    coming.
    And the community organizer abided…

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  91. jonst says:

    Apparently, these days, a lot of people don’t understand our President. Personally, I think it is just the opposite….a lot of people are in fact starting to really understand him for the first time. But we’ll that alone for now.
    Maybe because I’m from Maine, and familiarity can often breed contempt, George Mitchell is not a person that inspires, or ever inspired, a ton of confidence in me.
    So, big deal, he appointed George Mitchell. Likud basically told Mitchell that he too, could go shit in his hat, as they simultaneously, handed him the bill for some of their next military investments.

    Reply

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