Setback for America’s pro-Israel hawks

By Bernd Debusmann
March 5, 2009

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate– Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. –

“The brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending … Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians, it strives to pacify them … American identification with Israel has become total.”

These are excerpts from a 2007 speech by Charles (Chas) Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, whose appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council was announced on February 26 and is turning into a test case for the strength of Washington’s right-wing pro-Israel lobby.

Signs are that its influence might be waning under the administration of President Barack Obama. Does that mean the days of unquestioning American support for Israel are coming to en end? Probably not.

But the furious reaction to Freeman’s appointment from some of the most fervent neo-conservative champions of Israel points to considerable concern over the possible loss of clout.

In his new job, Freeman will be responsible for compiling intelligence from the the United States’ 16 intelligence agencies into National Intelligence Estimates, detailed and lengthy analyses that play a key role in shaping U.S. foreign policy.

The initial drumbeat of criticism came from conservative pro-Israel bloggers, including Steve Rosen, former policy director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Rosen has been indicted for giving “national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it,” legalese for spying.

“Freeman is a strident critic of Israel and a textbook case of the old-line Arabism that afflicted American diplomacy at the time Israel was born,” Rosen wrote.

While remarks critical of Israel are common coin among human rights groups and independent scholars, they are virtually taboo in official Washington, whose elected leaders – or those running for office – tend to stress unflagging support for the Jewish state.

Even small departures from the standard line can prompt the ire of the Israel-right-or-wrong camp. During his election campaign, Obama learned how tricky seemingly innocent remarks can be when he said “nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.” There was so much criticism, he later “clarified” the remark.

The initial blogger assault on Freeman, whose lengthy and impressive resume of public service includes Assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan, then moved to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the conservative Washington Times. The attacks widened to suggest that he is beholden to the Saudi government.

That allegation stems from the time he ran a Washington-based think tank, the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), whose donors include Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family and billionaire entrepreneur, who gave the council $1 million.

CRITICISM THREATENS PEACE?

The appointment has been made but the quest to dislodge or discredit him is not over. Nine Republican members of Congress wrote to the inspector general in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair, demanding “a comprehensive review of Ambassador Freeman’s past and current commercial, financial and contractual ties to the Kingdom to ensure no conflict of interest exists in his new position.”

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor has urged Obama to reconsider the appointment, saying that Freeman’s comments about the U.S.-Israel relationship “raise serious concerns about his ability to support the administration’s attempts to bring security, stability and peace to the Middle East.”

Criticism of Israel threatens peace? Israeli settlements on the West Bank, in violation of international law, have nothing to do with the flagging peace process? Making peace is made easier by the U.S. refusal to talk to Hamas, the group that won elections in Gaza and runs the war-shattered territory?

One of the critics of the appointment, Gabriel Schoenfeld, noted, with a tone of disapproval, that Freeman’s MEPC had published “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” a controversial assessment of U.S.-Israeli relations by two prominent American academics, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard.

They argued that the United States, through its unquestioning support of Israel, was neglecting its own security interests to advance the interests of another state. The influence of hawkish pro-Israel lobbies, chief among them AIPAC, had established a stranglehold on Congress to ram through decisions favoring Israel.

In the 60 years since its establishment on May 14, 1948, Israel has been by far the largest recipient of U.S. assistance, military and economic, in the world, according to the Congressional Research Service. Aid has been running at around $3 billion a year since 1985, a sizable sum for a country with a population smaller than that of New York City.

Walt, who blogs at Foreign Policy magazine, weighed into the Freeman debate as it gathered steam even before the actual appointment. Apart from trying to get it revoked by Dennis Blair or get Freeman to withdraw, Walt said, the anti-Freeman campaign had a third aim.

“Attacking Freeman is intended to deter other people in the foreign policy community from speaking out on these matters. Freeman might be too smart, too senior and too well-qualified to stop, but there are plenty of younger people eager to rise in the foreign policy establishment and they need to be reminded that their careers could be jeopardized … if they said what they thought.”

But the Obama administration appears to have no problem with people who say what they think about U.S.-Israel ties. Take Samantha Power, the former Harvard professor whose outspoken views echo those of Walt and Mearsheimer. Obama gave her an important job on the National Security Council.

– You can contact the author at Debusmann@Reuters.com. —

128 comments

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David says,

“As an anglo saxon protestant who actually lives in the middle east and has friends in the aid agencies I can hopefully offer some objectivity,”

and immediately forfeits his “objectivity” by saying,

“The genoicide [sic] that took place in Gaza…”

Genocide? David, when you’re pretending to be “objective” you should avoid hyperbole.

I’m not claiming Israel is perfect but it is far from committing genocide. But exaggeration at Israel’s expense doesn’t seem to bother some “objective” people.

Never mind that Israel does not *target* civilians the way Hamas does.

Never mind that Hamas *intentionally* keeps forces and arms close to civilians so there will be plenty of them killed every time Israel targets militants.

Never mind that Hamas knows “objective” anglo-saxon’s will consider these deaths as being Israel’s fault, not theirs – thus winning a public relations game, and encouraging more of the same behavior on Hamas’ part.

Never mind that Hamas has vowed to destroy Israel no matter what Israel gives up (except for “everything”).

Never mind that Hamas shot over 6000 rockets into Israel before it finally responded.

Never mind all that, and more.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

“The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.”

Chas Freeman deserves the Medal of Freedom for telling the truth.

Posted by Saul | Report as abusive

“The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth”

Freeman is committed to breaking the chokehold the lobbyists have on US policymakers, and recognizes the gross imbalance of power between the Israelis and Palestinians. He’s right in saying that Israel couldn’t care less about the Palestinians or their imagined state. One only needs to look at the marauding settlers and their IDF allies to witness Israel’s notion of peace.

Moshe Ya’alon, a former IDF General and now a member of the Likud Party, once said the Palestinians “must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.” He also compared them to cancer and his tactics amounted to chemotherapy. He is all but assured of the defense post under Netanyahu. Add Lieberman into the equation and you’ll get a sense where ‘Palestine’ is heading. Yet these three politicians will be seen as ‘men of peace’ by AIPAC and their racist ilk. US policymakers will stumble over each other trying to prove who loves Israel more when they next visit the Beltway.

This is what Freeman couldn’t stand. And that’s why he lost

Neo-conservative lynch mob 1 : Truth 0

Posted by Nu'man | Report as abusive

Post-script to a lively and contentious debate:

The office of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has released a statement announcing that Chas Freeman will not be National Intelligence Council Chairman:

“Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced today that Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.”

Posted by bernd debusmann | Report as abusive

Hamas makes it very difficult for well wishing by-standers to judge what is fair in the Mideast. It seems to be blind hate driving Hamas to commit absolute stupidities which work against their cause and to disgust possible sympathizers.
Israel pulled out of Gaza in good faith and was rewarded with rockets. The rockets were more provocative than dangerous. They were certainly stupid. This incompetence makes it easy for Israeli expansionists to defend their position.
The motives of Hamas are unclear. But they are an utter failure. America could control the Israeli expansionist if Hamas would not make it so awfully difficult.

Posted by Bruce Leighty | Report as abusive

Paul maybe you’re right genocide isn’t the right word, maybe it is.

Israel has left 61,000 families homeless and literally living in rubble

Their illegal blockade is starving out 1.4 million people in a 150 mile radius directly dependent on food rations.

1,300 people dead, tens of thousands injured.

Dead starved babies found suckling on their dead mothers toes because the IDF won’t allow families and aid workers to go in and recover the dead and dying. Children found half eaten by dogs.

People like to pretend this just started a few months ago, Israel has been killing at minimum dozens of civilians every year of the 2000′s and decades before that.

So if genocide isn’t the right word, and maybe you’re right, you tell me the correct terminology for these barbaric acts as if that matters to anything.

Everyone should look up George Galloway if you’re unaware of him, a hero to the modern world and a champion of peace.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Another candidate shot down in the confirmation process because of background flaws. Another “I screwed up” moment for Obama.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

I do not know if what Israel is doing is genocide. I am not there on the lines and the media is tainted. I will say this though; the Palestinians can make this stop. It is called surrender. Japan did it. Germany did it. Italy did it. And, now those countries are flourishing. It is obvious to outsiders that Hamas does not care about the Palestinian people. They only care about their ideology and what imaginary power they think they have. Was Israel over the top with this assault? Yes they were. And all it proved was that Hamas was willing to sacrifice every man, woman and child to get their name on CNN. Well, Michael, they succeeded. It was at a high price. And, the news covers the death and destruction Hamas caused. I am sure most of those killed and injured would have wanted no more than to live in peace along side the Jews but Hamas won’t allow that. We all feel for the people who tried to get out and go to Egypt to escape the insanity but Egypt closed their boarders too. I wonder why you didn’t mention that.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

Forget the Israel/Palestine 100 year war for a minute. How many Israeli spies has the US caught over the years? What about the USS Liberty and how Israel blew it out of International Waters, 25.5 nautical miles (47.2 km) northwest from the Egyptian city of Arish? Why does a foreign nation have such a large lobbying group in another? Why did Britten occupy Palestine from WW1 to WW2 with the help of France and the USA, only to turn it over to Israelis, who immediately started a war with its neighbors? Why waste the time, money, manpower, and resources to occupy a country- Strategic idiocy-, only to turn it over to other people without any benefit to Britten, France, or US? Why are so many countries helping Israel at the cost of their own Citizens?

I don’t know, wish i did. Logic points to some sort of agenda by the leaders of the countries involved, why else ignore the wants and needs of their home countries for a foreign nation?

America has enough problems at home, why are we promising money to fix what Israel broke in Gaza? Why are we not making them stand up like men of God and take responsibility for their actions? They bombed it, they pay for it. Don’t Republicans spout on about personal responsibility?

America has A war in Iraq and Afghanistan that is spreading into India and Pakistan; Mexican drug cartels are taking over parts of Mexico, close to home; Growing Russian military might is a problem as they are gaining countries like Venezuala and Bolivia by selling them arms; China is flexing its military as well, and at the same time China is letting go of the leash on its country North Korea.

I am afraid American leaders are so disconnected from the problems at home, they fail to see them as major problems; just bumps in the road, as they continue their Global objectives. Why else keep the global objectives and put bandaids on the localized problems?

Posted by cdwalker | Report as abusive

Over 300 UK academics signed a letter to The Guardian newspaper saying ‘Israel must lose’. It’s worth reprinting:

** “The massacres in Gaza are the latest phase of a war that Israel has been waging against the people of Palestine for more than 60 years. The goal of this war has never changed: to use overwhelming military power to eradicate the Palestinians as a political force, one capable of resisting Israel’s ongoing appropriation of their land and resources. Israel’s war against the Palestinians has turned Gaza and the West Bank into a pair of gigantic political prisons. There is nothing symmetrical about this war in terms of principles, tactics or consequences. Israel is responsible for launching and intensifying it, and for ending the most recent lull in hostilities.

Israel must lose. It is not enough to call for another ceasefire, or more humanitarian assistance. It is not enough to urge the renewal of dialogue and to acknowledge the concerns and suffering of both sides. If we believe in the principle of democratic self-determination, if we affirm the right to resist military aggression and colonial occupation, then we are obliged to take sides… against Israel, and with the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

We must do what we can to stop Israel from winning its war. Israel must accept that its security depends on justice and peaceful coexistence with its neighbours, and not upon the criminal use of force.

We believe Israel should immediately and unconditionally end its assault on Gaza, end the occupation of the West Bank, and abandon all claims to possess or control territory beyond its 1967 borders. We call on the British government and the British people to take all feasible steps to oblige Israel to comply with these demands, starting with a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.” **

They’re right. The humiliating rituals taking place daily under Israeli occupation shows whose existence is really at stake. Blaming Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Arafat, Carter, ‘self-hating Jews’, Saddam, Islam, and… whatever else they can add onto the pile has served Israeli politicians well. Until now.

I think it’s beginning to dawn on many American and European policymakers that Israel’s behavior is a liability. They’re finding it increasingly difficult to justify the near total collapse of Palestinian civil society as ’self defense’.

It’s also heartening to see the rise of a similar movement amongst U.S. and Israeli academics calling for an end to the settler enterprise. What started as an experiment in military colonialism is now a foreign policy disaster. And one threatening the moral character of the Jewish state.

Posted by Nu'man | Report as abusive

The deliberate and systematic murder of over 400,000 civilians in Darfur by Arab militias certainly qualifies as genocide.

One may also consider the 200,000 people killed in Algeria during the (ongoing) civil war.

Or the 500,000+ killed in Somalia since 1975.

And let us not forget the 1 – 2 million Bangladeshis liquidated by Pakistan in 1971.

And the 200,000 people of East Timor killed by the Indonesian army during occupation.

On the other hand, a few hundred Hamas killed in reply to over 6,000 rockets and mortars targeting Israeli children on their way to school does not qualify as “genocide” no matter how noisily their supporters insist otherwise.

One may however, wish to consider the intent behind the following statements:

The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.

– Hamas Charter

If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.

– Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah

This is the raison d’etre of the Arabs and what their idiotic sycophants like nu’man are defending.

Posted by HIS | Report as abusive

I am interested in these comments about how Israel must lose when it is militant Islam that call for the total destruction if the State if Israel. I do not here the State of Israel calling for the total destruction of anyone including the Palestinians. They just happen to be the ones who attacked last. When Hezbollah sent rockets into Israel it took awhile and quite a few rockets before Israel finally responded. Then Hamas started and again it took awhile and quite a few rockets before Israel attacked. Then Hamas didn’t stop sending rockets over and Israel escalated the attack until it got to the point that what was left was rubble and death. And, Hamas still sent rockets. So some how this is Israel’s problem? Surrounding nations are sending arms and explosives into Hamas controlled areas guised as relief and you blame Israel for shutting down the boarders. Hamas imbeds itself with the non-combatants, they fire rockets from non-combatant areas, and they store arms in Mosques. And, when Israel tries to stop Hamas innocents die because of the tactics of Hamas. I believe the majority of Palestinians just want to live in peace and prosperity with their neighbors. I believe they are the true victims. But, they are the victims of Hamas ideology and action and it is Hamas that must lose.

Take any to nations, like England and France, and one starts firing rockets into the other. How long before the one being attacked attacks back and tries to take out the group attacking. How long will it take before the Arab/Islamic world will accept the fact that Israel has a right to exist?

As for the lobbying for Israel here in the US, I am not in favor of any country lobbying our Congress. The State Department should be where foreign countries or their advocates go to ask for anything. I believe the Lobbying laws should be reevaluated. The idea that a country can lobby congress is just not right. It leads to discussions like this where we are trying to discern if a country has the moral right to have influence in our Congress.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

HIS, the Bible also says to kill everyone who doesn’t worship the Christian God through stoning.

Power is in the hands of those who have the money, so essentially the most evil of regimes are those with the most of it. If we cut off all our aid and checks to Israel watch how more peaceful and friendly of a state they become when they no longer hold fiscal leverage.

The anti-arabs here in the US and here on this comment board base their opinion on one thing, scary one liners that they repeat as often as possible.

Why does no one listen when the Israeli prime minister says they need to wipe Palestine off the map? Why does no one listen when the Iranian president says he loves all nations? This is simple, we must find quotes that speak to our fears and give us reason to hold on to them because our fears help to push our arrogance that our way of life is more moral and humane than anothers.

The common goal needs to be peace, not to wipe out those we deem less human than us.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

HIS, the Bible also says to kill everyone who doesn\’t worship the Christian God through stoning.

Power is in the hands of those who have the money, so essentially the most evil of regimes are those with the most of it. If we cut off all our aid and checks to Israel watch how more peaceful and friendly of a state they become when they no longer hold fiscal leverage.

The anti-arabs here in the US and here on this comment board base their opinion on one thing, scary one liners that they repeat as often as possible.

Why does no one listen when the Israeli prime minister says they need to wipe Palestine off the map? Why does no one listen when the Iranian president says he loves all nations? This is simple, we must find quotes that speak to our fears and give us reason to hold on to them because our fears help to push our arrogance that our way of life is more moral and humane than anothers.

The common goal needs to be peace, not to wipe out those we deem less human than us.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Michael writes: Power is in the hands of those who have the money, so essentially the most evil of regimes are those with the most of it.

Sorry, non-sequiturs carry no weight in a debate. But you have successfully demonstrated your Marxist credentials.

Michael writes: If we cut off all our aid and checks to Israel watch how more peaceful and friendly of a state they become when they no longer hold fiscal leverage.</em?

“Fiscal leverage”? What the hell is that? Israel gets $2.7 billion from the US; Egypt gets $2 billion, Jordan nearly $1 billion; the Palestinians will be getting over $4 billion thanks to Obama and the Europeans. If you want to cut off all financial assistance to Israel, let’s agree to do the same to the Arab states and see who is best able to adapt and survive.

As money is fungible and every dollar or euro provided to the Palestinians by Western nations is a dollar or euro Hamas can spend on materiel to build or buy rockets to target Israeli civilians, I would be more than happy to end ALL financial assistance to countries in the Middle East.

Michael writes: The anti-arabs here in the US and here on this comment board base their opinion on one thing, scary one liners that they repeat as often as possible.

Er, no. Actually, those who oppose Arab-Muslim hegemony in the Middle East (at the expense of Israel) do so based on their grim history of invading, conquering, colonizing, subjugating, and killing those of other sects and faiths. The abbreviated list below of those murdered in the last four decades should give pause to anyone who believes that Arab-Muslim imperialism is simply about “scary one-liners”.

Michael writes: Why does no one listen when the Israeli prime minister says they need to wipe Palestine off the map?

Perhaps because he never said it.

“The meeting at Annapolis is a landmark … on the path to negotiations and of the genuine effort to achieve the realization of the vision of two nations: the State of Israel – the nation of the Jewish people; and the Palestinian state – the nation of the Palestinian people”.

– Ehud Olmert

Reuters readers and Bernd Debusmann may buy and sell your rubbish but it is still rubbish.

Posted by HIS | Report as abusive

HIS, there was enough swinging and missing there to complete a major league baseball game, let me try and fix that mess.

1.) I voted for Ron Paul, the exact opposite of a Marxist.

2.) Where did I say we didn’t favor Egypt? The Egyptian gov’t is on the side of the Israeli gov’t giving their puppet regime money isn’t any better. I’m not talking about European support in this, a lot more European gov’ts exude some integrity in the middle east than the US does. Oddly enough I agree we should cut off funding completely for EVERY foreign nation, just because I’m against the lack of humanity in the Israeli gov’t doesn’t mean I want US money to go to their enemies.

3.) How many times did right wingers repeat a misinterpreted one liner from Prez Ahmadinejad in order to further fearmonger US citizens in this past election? This isn’t even debateable.

4.)Ahmadinejad said of Iranians, “We are opposed to war,” adding, “the Iranian nation loves the American people.” As for Americans, he said, “I’m certain that the American people are opposed to war.” You’ll never hear that here in the US because of how desperate we are to perpetrate the lie that all these Arab gov’ts hate america and hate christians bla bla bla. The more Hamas supportering civilians Israel kills the more Arabs there will be that support Hamas because they’ll feel they have no other defense from this murderous gov’t.

Here’s some scary Ariel Sharon quotes for you, I know he’s not the current PM but he’s a hero in the area.

“I don’t care if he is Christian, Muslim, Jewish or pagan. History teaches us that he who won’t kill will be killed by others. That is an iron law”.

“We shall start another war, kill and destroy more and more, until they will have had enough.”

“Let them tremble, let them call us a mad state. Let them understand that we are a wild country, dangerous to our surroundings, not normal, that we might go crazy if one of our children is murdered – just one! That we might go wild and burn all the oil fields in the Middle East! If anything would happen to your child, God forbid, you would talk like I do. Let them be aware in Washington, Moscow, Damascus and China that if one of our ambassadors is shot, or even a consul or the most junior embassy official, we might start World War Three just like that!”

“Let me tell me [sic] what is the most important thing, the sweetest fruit of the war in Lebanon: It is that now they don’t just hate Israel. Thanks to us, they now also hate all those Feinschmecker Jews in Paris, London, New York, Frankfurt and Montreal, in all their holes.”

“Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us, to pull the rug from underneath the feet of the Diaspora Jews, so that they will be forced to run to us crying.”

How come you never hear or read these quotes in the American World?

I’m getting the feeling I’m talking to a Republican voting Neoconservative, someone who feels opinions are so black and white. Just because I hate the Israeli gov’t doesn’t mean I support Hamas or any other gov’ts in the area but facts are that Israel has all the power in the area, to start wars or create peace. History has proven the approach they prefer.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Thank you for publishing the truth about the middle east.
It has been in short supply for too long.

Posted by Jim Bic | Report as abusive

Hello Michael,

Your post reminded me of statements made by Sharon’s senior advisor and architect of the Gaza disengagement plan, Dov Weisglass:

“The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,”

“It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians”

“And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”

Who says American identification with Israel isn’t total? You have Israeli officials boasting that the Knesset and the Congress are essentially one and the same.

You ask how come those quotes you posted hardly ever appear in the U.S. media. Because any journalist, analyst, or policymaker who dares to cite them, or the plethora of racist comments made by other Israeli officials, would probably be labeled an ‘anti-Semite’. As a result, his/her job will be placed in formaldehyde faster than you can say ‘chutzpah’.

Sharon may have convinced himself that he heard the death knell of ‘Palestine’ in the distance as he watched the theatrical performance by Gaza’s illegal settlers and their IDF counterparts. The Israeli public, he must of thought, would not have the stomach for another withdrawal. With Arafat and the Oslo process six feet under, the Palestinians would have no choice but to accept their miserable fate.

With the assistance of his fellow ideologues in the occupied West Bank, the demolition of homes, the checkpoints, assassinations, and other draconian tactics at the IDF’s disposal, the unbearable living conditions would be too much to bear. The thought of creating another mass exodus of Palestinian refugees must have titillated his senses.

But I’d like to imagine he’s experiencing a more unsettling sound- laughter in the dark

Posted by Nu'man | Report as abusive

To all the spin-doctors, read this and stop your stupid argument about how Israel is a Flourishing Democracy. It is a brutal regime that knows no mercy, even on little children. Who ever supplied them with the killing machines and paid for, are in fact guilty of accessory to murders.

Read this again

Over 300 UK academics signed a letter to The Guardian newspaper saying ‘Israel must lose’. It’s worth reprinting:

** “The massacres in Gaza are the latest phase of a war that Israel has been waging against the people of Palestine for more than 60 years. The goal of this war has never changed: to use overwhelming military power to eradicate the Palestinians as a political force, one capable of resisting Israel’s ongoing appropriation of their land and resources. Israel’s war against the Palestinians has turned Gaza and the West Bank into a pair of gigantic political prisons. There is nothing symmetrical about this war in terms of principles, tactics or consequences. Israel is responsible for launching and intensifying it, and for ending the most recent lull in hostilities.

Israel must lose. It is not enough to call for another ceasefire, or more humanitarian assistance. It is not enough to urge the renewal of dialogue and to acknowledge the concerns and suffering of both sides. If we believe in the principle of democratic self-determination, if we affirm the right to resist military aggression and colonial occupation, then we are obliged to take sides… against Israel, and with the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

We must do what we can to stop Israel from winning its war. Israel must accept that its security depends on justice and peaceful coexistence with its neighbours, and not upon the criminal use of force.

We believe Israel should immediately and unconditionally end its assault on Gaza, end the occupation of the West Bank, and abandon all claims to possess or control territory beyond its 1967 borders. We call on the British government and the British people to take all feasible steps to oblige Israel to comply with these demands, starting with a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.” **

They’re right. The humiliating rituals taking place daily under Israeli occupation shows whose existence is really at stake. Blaming Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Arafat, Carter, ‘self-hating Jews’, Saddam, Islam, and… whatever else they can add onto the pile has served Israeli politicians well. Until now.

I think it’s beginning to dawn on many American and European policymakers that Israel’s behavior is a liability. They’re finding it increasingly difficult to justify the near total collapse of Palestinian civil society as ’self defense’.

It’s also heartening to see the rise of a similar movement amongst U.S. and Israeli academics calling for an end to the settler enterprise. What started as an experiment in military colonialism is now a foreign policy disaster. And one threatening the moral character of the Jewish state.”

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

The unsavoury and homocidal “Arab Militias” in Darfur are not Arab at all. Notwithstanding this unfortunate nomenclature, it is quite clear that they are ethnically, culturally,and racially distinct from the semitic (and occasionally caucasian) Arabs (themselves a diverse group of races). The fact that they are “Islamicists” or “arab speaking” makes them no more “Arab” than say, the Nigerians or Eritraeans. I only point out what the media assume is taken for granted in the use of the term (originally a nickname of sorts)”arab militias”.

Posted by Ramsey Lawrence | Report as abusive

An ignorant few keep on repeating the fallacy (perhaps hoping that it will become yet another established myth that serves the Israeli interests)that Israel responded to Hizbollah’s rockets, thereby acting in legitimate, if disproportionate, self defence. In fact I recall two soldiers were captured (Hizbollah firing on some Israeli tanks on the border during the precipitative raid). Israel responded by refusing to discuss any prisoner swap and threatening to turn Lebanon to the stone age. They then proceeded to bombard civilian infrastructure, schools, hospitals, bridges, power plants etc for eight days (killing civilians and children almost exclusively) – yes, I repeat for eight whole horrific days, before Hizbollah fired the first retaliatory missile into Northern Israel. Indeed since the war ended nearly 3 years ago, over 230 civilians (usually children or farmers)have continued to die because of the 4 million Israeli cluster bombs dropped indiscriminately on civilian areas during the last two days of the conflict (in fact these were dropped after the ceasefire had been agreed, thereby serving no purpose). I suppose these children are dying and being maimed because Israel is “defending” itself. Incidentally the IDF have repeatedly refused to provide maps of the cluster bomb sites to the UN in order to facilitate their removal.

Posted by Ramsey Lawrence | Report as abusive

Michael

You’re in as much of a coma as Ariel. Sharon hasn’t been Prime Minister for over 3 years and despite what he may have said as a General in the IDF (and you’ve not provided any citations or context), as PM he formally committed to a Palestinian state, stated so a multitude of times and in many places including the UN, and ethnically cleansed Gaza of every last living Jew to accommodate the neo-nazi Palestinians who insist that their territory be judenrein.

More to the point, you’re holding a particularly weak hand on a day when,

1) reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah have collapsed because of Hamas’ refusal to abide previous agreements or recognize Israel’s right to exist, and

2) Hassan Nasrallah stated that the Lebanese people are “capable of defeating this entity [Israel] and can make it disappear,” and therefore, Hizbullah will not recognize Israel, “not today, not tomorrow, not even in 1,000 years.”

Reuters of course, has not even seen fit to report the above comments because it would inform their readers and upset their anti-Israel agenda.

You’re being duped, Michael. Wake up.

Posted by HIS | Report as abusive

It is time for American taxpayers and voters to identify those traitors who are in the congress or in the senate of the United States of America and working for another foreign country, agents of AIPAC and throw them out and charge them with treason. It is enough swindling the whole America in the name of the security of other country and instead we should be concerned about the security and well being of America

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

HIS, I think myself and 95% of the rest of the board know who’s being duped here. I don’t take a word of what Fox News, Sky News, CNN or BBC say seriously because they absolutely REFUSE to cover and show the rubble that Palestinians have been left to rot in.

It’s a shame we ever give or have given a penny to these crooks. The average american homeowner pays 40% of their income on taxes and all we get are failed attempts at American Imperialism.

Hamas and the IDF both are in the wrong but I completely understand why the people of Palestine would elect Hamas, they feel completely defenseless and they’ve been driven to believe that these people are their only hope, even though this belief is wrong. Both are wrong but Israel has all the power, making them even more in the wrong.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

2 interesting articles posted this morning by Haaretz correspondent Amos Harel:

“IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism, and lax rules of engagement”:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072 040.html

“ANALYSIS / Can Israel dismiss its own troops’ stories from Gaza?”:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072 228.html

More testimony is expected Friday

Posted by Nu'man | Report as abusive

Well done HIS, you provide me one opinion from a coward’s who’s father himself was killed by an IDF soldier. I did learn something, there is someone even more neocon than our own crazed Fox and Sky news.

Not even the most right wing republican apologist has stated that Hamas attacked and invaded Israel for 2 years before the counter.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

How many times we’ve heard Palestinin leaders said they would not negotiate peace until Israel stops building settlements on Palestinian land? Yet, Netanyuhu has the gall to say he never heard any preconditions to that effect. And our beloved Secretary of State standing next to Neyanyuhu said Israel is giving up more in order to have Palestinian leader come to the peace table. She’s no different than Netanyahu! Both stand their making statements that are “bold lies.” What our govt needs to do is stop aid and grants to Israel. We’ve given Israel in excess of 104 trillion dollars since 1948. Annual Grant to Israel is $1400 per person living in Israel.
Not enough? Israel has nuclear weapons, not a member of NPT, and according to US Law, Israel is not entitled to any aid because of its violations.

It’s pathetic that facts of how the Palestinians are treated by occupiers aren’t borne out. They are treated like caged animals!! How would Americans act if we were under occupation for any period of time!! Course AIPAC and its followers run our great nation! The politicians will do anything to support Israel to enhance their own campaign funding!

Posted by Adamwestiii | Report as abusive