Reporters again turn State Dep’t briefing into moshpit, scorning US ‘impotence’ in the conflict

Israel/Palestine
on 107 Comments

The discourse is changing. Here is yesterday’s daily press briefing at the State Department— and once again you see a group of reporters emboldened to ridicule the Obama administration’s position on Palestinian rights. Notice the scorn for the Obama administration for doing nothing in response to Israeli settlement expansion. Notice the frank references to the Israel lobby in an election season. Notice the description of American “impotence” in its failure to play any role in the conflict. Emphases mine. (Michael Wolff made a name for himself by taking on the gov’t spokesperson during an Iraq war press conference; will these renegade questions resonate?). 

QUESTION: Okay. So presumably, you all have seen Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reaction to the Palestinian move at UNESCO in terms of accelerating settlements and at least temporarily cutting off the transfer of the tax money that they provide to the – collect for and then are supposed to send on to the Palestinians. What is your – well, what are your thoughts about that?

MS. NULAND: Well, our view on these kinds of things has not changed. We don’t consider it helpful. We don’t consider that it contributes to the environment that we need to move forward. But more generally, I think it’s probably a good moment to… remind ourselves what the logic of the proposal that the Quartet put forward on September 23rd was.

It was that rather than engaging in provocative action vis-à-vis each other, these parties would, under the auspices of the Quartet and with the Quartet’s help, start working on narrowing the differences that divide them on the essential issues, particularly issues of security, issues of land, territory, et cetera. So that’s what we want to do. We want to get the focus back to the Quartet process, back to narrowing the differences rather than either side conducting actions that hurt the environment for negotiations.

QUESTION: Okay. So what is the consequence for Israel of this? Is it the same consequence that the Palestinians face for going ahead with their plans at UNESCO and the UN, which is nothing?

MS. NULAND: Look, we have said, as I just reiterated here, this is not helpful. I think that the fundamental consequence for both sides is that we’re not getting closer to two states living side by side in peace and security.

QUESTION: Yeah. Well, at this point, neither side seems to be really all that enthusiastic about getting to that point. So – and you seem to have zero influence. Now it seems to me that one of the ways that you could have some influence, or could get some influence back over one or the other side, is to actually do something in response to actions that you consider to be counterproductive and provocative. Why won’t you do that? Or is that just too much to ask during this political – the election season coming up?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, we have taken action. In response to the UNESCO move, as mandated by legislation, we have stopped funding UNESCO. That is the cost of that move on the U.S. side. …

QUESTION: (Inaudible), you said that we’re trying every minute, every hour of every day to try to get the sides back into talks. When was the last time that Secretary Clinton made a phone call either to a senior Israeli or a senior Palestinian official on the peace process?

MS. NULAND: Well, we had extensive contacts, as you know, in the New York timeframe, face-to-face contacts both at the presidential level, at the secretarial level. We’ve had the envoy meeting since then. …

QUESTION: I mean, that was – the New York timeframe was six weeks ago, right? And there is a very widely held perception among certainly the community of analysts that look at this that the Administration isn’t just doing all that much. And one barometer of an administration’s interest in a given issue is the engagement of the Secretary of State in actually talking to foreign leaders about it, or the engagement of the President. We can ask at the White House for when the President last actually talked to somebody, but has the Secretary not actually spoken to an Israeli or a Palestinian for six weeks now?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to whether she’s not spoken to a single member because, for example, there may have been international meetings. But the Secretary takes action when our negotiators judge that a conversation between her and an Israeli leader or a Palestinian leader can help push the balance and affect the outcome. I don’t think anybody doubts, nor should anybody doubt, her commitment, the President’s commitment to the process that the President set in motion with his speech on May 19th, setting out the clearest framework for how we could move forward, her support for the Quartet process, her personal engagement in New York.

We are still at the stage of working at the envoy level to try to get concrete proposals together. So we need to see each side, Israelis and Palestinians, put their ideas down on paper. And she will interject and intervene and support that process as necessary as we go forward.

QUESTION: Is the absence of calls on her part, then, a tacit admission of American impotence here?

MS. NULAND: Arshad, we are leading a Quartet process that is engaged in trying to find a path forward, despite the obstacles, despite the obstacles in the UN system, despite the obstacles on the ground. And we are not the ones who are giving up here on trying to get these parties back to the table.

QUESTION: With all due respect, there was a time when the – including this Administration had a very senior political figure running the process. In this Administration, it was former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. In the latter part of the George W. Bush Administration, it was the Secretary of State who was making almost monthly trips to the region. In earlier periods, it has been Dennis Ross. In periods even earlier, it was Henry Kissinger. There is this perception that the Administration, at the highest levels, isn’t pushing this very hard. How do you address that when you can’t even point to a conversation that she’s had since mid or late September?

MS. NULAND: I just reject the premise, Arshad. We had hours of presidential time, hours of secretarial time, less than two months ago, directly engaged personally. The Secretary watches this issue on a daily basis, is prepared to engage as necessary. So I don’t think it’s a matter of the level of the person on an airplane day to day. It’s a matter of the commitment of the Administration as a whole, led by the President, supported by the Secretary of State, in a process to get these parties back to the table. And that’s what we’re engaged in.

And frankly, if the entire international community and the parties focus more on the roadmap that the Quartet has put down, focus more on encouraging these parties to close the gap between them, to put down real, concrete proposals on territory, on security, and were pushing from all sides as much as we are pushing at every level, rather than indulging in moves that distract attention and damage the environment, we might be further along.

QUESTION: Just one more follow-up from me. Do you regard the Israeli response, which is to – I mean, as this is publicly known – to accelerate settlement building, which, of course, the Palestinians reject, and to, at least temporarily, cut off funding for the Palestinians, do you regard this as not merely not helpful but indeed actually counterproductive? Because, particularly in the case of the funding – I mean, in the case of the settlement building, it’s hard to see how that makes the Palestinians any more inclined to do what you want them to do, which is to come back to the negotiating table and put their ideas down on paper. And in the case of the funding freeze, however long it lasts, that essentially starves the Palestinian Authority, which does work, which the Israeli Government and an Israeli general, who you cited recently, view as actually useful in terms of preserving security. So is this not merely not helpful, but – or – but actually counterproductive to what you perceive to be your interests and Israel’s interests?

MS. NULAND: Look, we are deeply disappointed by yesterday’s announcement about the accelerated housing construction in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. We continue to make our opposition to this clear to the Government of Israel. And as we’ve said again and again and again, unilateral actions by either party work against efforts to resume direct negotiations and do not advance the goal of a reasonable and necessary agreement between these parties.

So we’ve also said that we believe that the regular transfer of money, whether it’s U.S. money, whether it’s Israeli money, is important and should continue to be made. These are key to strengthening Palestinian institutions and are necessary for funding future of the state. So again, we want to see both sides get back to focusing on the negotiations and away from unilateral actions that make all of that harder.

QUESTION: At what level have you made clear your continued opposition to these steps? Was it the ambassador in Tel Aviv? Was it —

MS. NULAND: Certainly the ambassador in Tel Aviv. I believe that David Hale’s also been on the phone today.

QUESTION: Anybody higher than that? The assistant secretary or the —

MS. NULAND: Well, David Hale is the Secretary’s representative on these issues.

QUESTION: I know.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: One quick – you said the Israeli money, but that’s actually Palestinian money, as I understand it. These are taxes.

MS. NULAND: Correct. Correct.

QUESTION: Okay. And do you see an equivalent, then, of what the Palestinians did, having this very symbolic vote at UNESCO versus these tangible response that the Israelis are doing, withholding Palestinian money and building more settlements?

MS. NULAND: I think our concern is that neither of these sets of actions is helpful to the environment of getting back to the negotiating table. And obviously, there’s an action/reaction here that is not helpful. So we’re trying to get these parties into a positive cycle of engagement and trying to encourage them to come back to the table, and that’s going to continue to be our focus. And our concern is that the move in UNESCO, whereas it may have looked symbolic to some, actually has real consequences – has consequences on the U.S. side, which you’ve already seen, but it also has consequences in terms of the environment, that this is what we’ve been warning about.

QUESTION: But, Toria, you’ve been saying all along that it doesn’t change anything; the UNESCO movement doesn’t change anything on the ground at all. And in fact, it doesn’t, does it? But what Israel did yesterday does change things on the ground.

MS. NULAND: It changes the —

QUESTION: And yet you’re still – you’re unprepared or unwilling, politically or for other – to take any action against either side for continuing to do things that you say are destructive to the peace process.

MS. NULAND: What are you proposing, Matt?

QUESTION: It’s not my job —

MS. NULAND: You’ve obviously got a policy recommendation here.

QUESTION: No. It’s not my job to propose things. That would be the best and the brightest that you allegedly have working in this Administration trying to figure things out. I am asking how U.S. policy – how is it U.S. policy to encourage peace talks if you’re unwilling to do anything against either side when they continue to ignore you and, in fact, not just to ignore you but to make matters worse, is what you said. You’re a parent. You have two spoiled children who are doing things that you don’t like. What do you do to get them to stop that behavior? You don’t do nothing. You punish them. You take some kind of action. You have, or you did have, leverage with the Israelis because you gave them $3 billion a year. You do have, or did have, leverage with the Palestinians because you give them millions of dollars a year. And yet, you’re not going to do anything with that?

MS. NULAND: Again, I think we’re engaged in a policy polemic here rather than questions for the podium.

QUESTION: Okay. It’s —

MS. NULAND: I think you know exactly where we are, which is to try to get these parties back to the table.

QUESTION: Can I try to —

QUESTION: Answer this: Is the Administration upset or embarrassed at all by the fact that two relatively tiny groups of people are running roughshod over American foreign policy?

MS. NULAND: We are concerned about whether we can get back to a good environment for talks. That is what we are concerned about.

QUESTION: You do believe that your involvement in UN organizations such as UNESCO, such as the IAEA, such as the World Health Organization, are in – that your involvement is – that that’s an American national security interest or in an American interest. And you’re prepared to allow these two small groups of people to make you forfeit your national interests in international organizations. That’s what you’re saying to me.

MS. NULAND: Look, with regard to UNESCO, we were absolutely clear, not only with the Palestinians but with the international community before this happened, that if this went forward, there would be a cost. There is legislation on the books. It is U.S. law that we have to cut off funding in this case. That is what we have done. The choice was clear. The choice was made. But now what’s important is that everybody – the parties, the international community – all need to take a step back and find a way forward back the negotiating table that doesn’t force bad choices on the international community, that enables the parties to get back to productive work together. That is what we are focused on.

Please, Said.

QUESTION: Across the street this morning, Secretary – former Secretary of State James Baker complained that the U.S. is actually showing no leadership. And he referenced his position back 20 years ago on the loan guarantees, when he said that we will give the loan guarantees if you stop the settlements. And he apparently used that as basis of an example of leadership. Do you concur with Secretary Baker?

MS. NULAND: Well, Secretary Baker is a private citizen. He was engaged in this process 20 years ago. He also spent a lot of his time as Secretary working on these issues. I would note that at the time when Secretary Baker was serving, the U.S. was not speaking out publicly about the importance of the Palestinians having a state.

QUESTION: Okay, just a quick follow up. He also mentioned a number of things. He said that for the next 12 months, there is not likely to be any kind of serious negotiations – going back to negotiations – and therefore, the United States should focus on three things: one, to maintain peace in Gaza; and second, to make sure that Israeli-Palestinian security arrangements remain and, in fact, aid to the security apparatus, the Palestinian security, continues; and thirdly, and most importantly, to really focus on the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, that if that goes down, then everything else in the region will go down.

MS. NULAND: Well I think we’re certainly focused on all of those things, but we are also focused on trying to make progress with these parties and trying to use the President’s framework from May 19th and the Quartet framework to get these parties really working on the issues that divide them and narrowing the differences. We are not prepared to give up on narrowing the differences between these parties.

Elise.

QUESTION: I just want to follow up on this. And lastly, do you feel that at one point if Israel continues to issue these permits for a new settlement and so on, that at one point this window will close completely?

MS. NULAND: Said, I’m not going to set up false premises out there in the future. You know where we’re focused.

Elise.

QUESTION: Secretary of – former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also gave a very strong interview to Associated Press yesterday in which she also had serious issues with the way that this Administration was handling the peace process. Now in the last two days, you have two Secretary of States questioning – two former Secretary of States questioning the way this Administration is handling the peace process. You haven’t been able to get the parties to the table. It does, to Matt’s point and Arshad’s point, speak to an ineffectiveness, if not – no one’s challenging your commitment to wanting a two-state solution, but it does speak to the ineffectiveness of U.S. policy.

Is there any thought to maybe including a wider group in some kind of these peace efforts? I’m not talking about the Quartet per se, but other parties that have influence on the parties. I mean, you don’t – just to blunt, I mean, you just don’t seem to be getting anywhere with these parties. You don’t seem to have enough influence if you’re not willing to take these measures of consequence to get the parties to do what you need them to do. So do you either go back to the drawing board and start again or do you walk away and say if you’re not going to help yourselves, we can’t help you?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, I don’t think that anybody here believes you can bludgeon parties to the peace table. That is not the exercise that we’re engaged in. Second, I would reject the premise that we haven’t moved forward in recent weeks. We did have, less than two weeks ago, the envoy meetings with each party in which both parties agreed to try to work now with us on the next stage of the roadmap that the Quartet put forward, namely to come up with concrete proposals on territory, on security.

So we’re going to continue to keep our sleeves rolled up and work with these parties on that with the goal of having another meeting in the next couple of weeks where we can see what the progress of their internal thinking is, and to try to meet the deadline of having them exchange those first drafts with each other within 90 days. So we’ve got a path going forward and we are focused on trying to stick to that so that we can actually narrow the gap, because that’s what’s most important.

QUESTION: But that path, respectfully, can’t be done, don’t you think, in a vacuum to what’s going on on the ground right now and the unilateral moves that both sides are taking.

MS. NULAND: That’s exactly why we were warning against the move in UNESCO, exactly why we have been critical of the settlement activity, and why we want to focus international pressure on these parties to come back, why we’ve set out a concrete step-by-step approach that breaks things down into smaller bites and endeavors to narrow the gap.

Michele.

QUESTION: Just a quick – can I follow up on that? You said another meeting in the next couple of weeks. Did you mean another set of meetings —

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: — meaning separate meetings with each side?

MS. NULAND: Correct. Another set of meetings.

Michele.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) last two questions —

MS. NULAND: Can I let Michele, who’s had her hand up for –

QUESTION: I had a question about the UN bid, because the Palestinians are now expecting a vote either on November 11th, 13th, somewhere coming up. What’s your diplomacy been on that? What do you – I know Bosnia seems to be unable to decide where to go. Have you been reaching out to countries like Bosnia to encourage them not to support the Palestinians?

MS. NULAND: Well, we’re certainly working, as we did in New York. We’re continuing to work with all our Security Council partners on this issue. The focus of that activity is largely in New York, but I don’t think anybody doubts where we stand on this, and we’re continuing to make that point clear.

Please.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) last two questions, Said’s point that next 12 months might not be negotiations, which you did not object to that – one of the premise of the question. And second is your appearing as ineffective in the Middle East peace process. Some argue that these two reasons because of the next 12 months is the reelection season and they have the Administration’s in U.S. in need with the strong Israel lobbies. Do you see this reelection term in any way making you less effective in any way it affects your ability?

MS. NULAND: The American election, you’re talking about or elections in the —

QUESTION: Next 12 month – reelection of this Administration.

MS. NULAND: No. We are focused on trying to make as much progress as we can. As I said, we are working on having another round, another session, with these parties in coming weeks. We are focused very much on the 90-day clock that the Quartet set forward for these parties to be ready to exchange their ideas with each other so that we can start negotiations.

QUESTION: According to news reports from Israeli press, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been trying to commit his cabinet to bomb Iran in near term. First of all, do you – how do you assess this kind of a statement? And secondly, how do you see this threat of the Iranian nuclear weapons in near term? Is there anything changing radical – in radical terms?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, I’m not going to comment on stray press reports out of Israel. I’m going to send you to the Israeli Government for its views on these things. We remain committed to Israel’s security. We and Israel share a deep concern about the direction that Iran is taking. We continue to work with Israel, with the international community, to speak clearly with regard to Iran’s nuclear obligations. And you know where we are on this, that Iran has got to make – take the necessary steps established by the international community to come back into compliance with its obligations.

QUESTION: Well, without speaking to it, the – there has been previous concern by the – about the possibility for Israel to take unilateral action against Iran. So this report aside – this news report aside, what is level of concern here in this administration that Israel might take unilateral action?

MS. NULAND: Well, we are focused with Israel, we are focused with our other international partners, on getting Iran to comply with the IAEA, to increase the international pressure for Iran to comply, and that’s the focus of our activity.

QUESTION: Did you just, in response to the second-to-last question, say that there was no – that the U.S. election season has no influence over how you approach the peace process?

MS. NULAND: I don’t think that’s exactly the way the question came, Matt.

QUESTION: Well, let me —

MS. NULAND: I’m not going to go back over it.

QUESTION: Well, let me —

MS. NULAND: I’m not —

QUESTION: Let me ask the question straightly – straight, then. I believe that the question was there is concern that political pressure in the United States during the election season may make it difficult for the U.S. to be a completely honest broker in the peace talks. Do you reject that accusation? Do you reject the suggestion that the American political process, i.e. the upcoming presidential election, will have any role in what America does, what the Administration does, as it relates to the peace process?

MS. NULAND: I reject the notion that we are working any less hard now than we have been working over the last few months and years on trying to get these parties back to the table.

QUESTION: Okay. Good. Because I thought what you said was no, flat out no, the American election season doesn’t have any influence on —

MS. NULAND: I’m not here to comment on electoral issues or political issues.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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107 Responses

  1. MRW
    November 3, 2011, 10:56 am

    Refreshing, isn’t it. I’d love to watch the videos of this.

    Oh. I can.
    http://video.state.gov/en/video/1255152970001

  2. POA
    November 3, 2011, 10:58 am

    Nuland….. “We continue to make our opposition to this clear to the Government of Israel”

    “After all, we have continued loans and subsidies, exercised vetoes of any anti-zionist resolutions at the UN, given constant military assistance, continued punishing and demonizing the Palestinians in public statements, decided to defund UNESCO, quoted the Israeli script in regards to Iran, and punished Netanyahu with a standing ovation from Congress. I just don’t see how we can make our opposition any clearer than that.”

    Nuland…… “I’m not here to comment on electoral issues or political issues”

    “Particularly in regards to what positions we need to take to rake in the Jewish vote and fully prostitute ourselves to a foreign power that consistently works against our best interests and estranges us from the global community.”

    “Can we move on, please…..”

    • Kathleen
      November 3, 2011, 1:24 pm

      good points

    • seafoid
      November 3, 2011, 3:54 pm

      Henderson, US ambassador in Baghdad, 23. Feb 1944

      I am convinced that the passage of the resolutions would greatly assist the efforts of the Axis to convince the Arabs of this area of the lack of sincerity and the duplicity of the United States and would more than offset the good will which has been created for the United States in this area by various American governmental organisations during recent years.

      Nuland comes from a long line of liars.

  3. seafoid
    November 3, 2011, 11:12 am

    Maybe the US is playing a smart game and just giving Israel as much rope as it needs to hang itself. Because that is what it looks like.

    • MRW
      November 3, 2011, 12:12 pm

      Doubt it. Victoria Nuland is insufferable, talking in that feigned concerned diplobabble. She hates Matt Lee.

      • Chu
        November 3, 2011, 12:41 pm

        “Matt, your engaging in a polemic again”.

      • dumvitaestspesest
        November 3, 2011, 3:52 pm

        “Maaaaatt, you are annoying me.
        Leave me the hell alone”.

    • James
      November 3, 2011, 12:55 pm

      i don’t think so seafoid, but it would be good if it happened anyway..

      there are only costs when palestine tries to break the logjam.. read the quote below.. if israel expands settlements, continues to be given 3 bil a year, wants a war with iran and etc. etc., there are never any consequences of it’s ignoring anything the usa thinks about it!!! the state dept are a group of liars not able to piece together what there actions are saying to the world…

      “Look, with regard to UNESCO, we were absolutely clear, not only with the Palestinians but with the international community before this happened, that if this went forward, there would be a cost.”

    • Ellen
      November 3, 2011, 7:36 pm

      seafoid, indeed. It could be the only explanation. Give ’em a long line. Hopefully Israel will figure it out soon enough.

      Nothing else makes sense. Unless, the US really is run by idiots or there really is a Samson option hanging over everyone’s head.

      Shudder the thought.

    • Remax
      November 3, 2011, 10:06 pm

      seafoid, I have long suspected that what you suggest about giving Israel rope has been Obama’s underlying strategy from the beginning. If one overlooks who has done what, and considers instead the relative situation today with that of 2008, it is clear that Israel’s position has deteriorated both globally and domestically, and while Obama cannot be accused of having done one single thing to encourage that process he hasn’t done anything to arrest it either, not even drop in on them.

      A lot of fuss is made about the infamous ‘wiping Israel off the map’ misquotation with little attention paid to what Ayatollah Khomeini actually did say, which was that the regime would vanish from the page of time (or something like that), with the implication that nothing need be done, the process being inevitable.

      • seafoid
        November 4, 2011, 5:06 am

        Maybe the US reckons it is easier to let Israel run its course and restructure things when it crashes.

      • Remax
        November 4, 2011, 5:15 am

        Although it is a bit late now, I might have added that Khomeini made that comment when he had only recently returned from Paris where for years he had been patiently waiting for the Shah’s regime to pass from the page of time.

  4. annie
    November 3, 2011, 11:43 am

    it only took the US about 60 seconds to cut off funding to unesco when they crossed a line. it’s not as if they don’t know how to punish w/the purse.

    • Chu
      November 3, 2011, 12:30 pm

      It was a law that forced us to cut funding:
      “Since a law passed by Congress in the 1990s forbids the US from funding UN bodies that recognize Palestine, the Obama administration has no choice but to withdraw the $80 million a year it gives UNESCO, which is a fifth of the agency’s budget. But what this step really means is that the US loses influence over UNESCO, and indeed, it might well lose its membership in the organization. UNESCO may have to close some offices and lose employees. Or someone else, such as Saudi Arabia or China, might pick up the $80 million, gaining influence over UNESCO at US expense.”
      http://www.juancole.com/2011/11/unesco-palestine-vote-isolates-us-further.html

      • annie
        November 3, 2011, 12:41 pm

        congress was not forced to pass this stupid law and action could easily have been taken to reverse some old law on the books. i understand the details of how it came down but my point is the same. it took a nano second. we could have (and we still can) paint a bright red line and tell israel if it crosses it we cut their funding. but we don’t.

        as i recall didn’t some congressperson recently propose a bill to cut off the pa funding if it went to the UN? until netanyahu disagreed or something? but congress would have done the same to the pa if that’s what israel wanted.

      • James
        November 3, 2011, 12:58 pm

        congress is israel controlled… stupid laws only look stupid if you forget this basic fact…

        hey, lets introduce some bill that says palestine can never exist.. if someone tries to say otherwise, we will charge them with a crime…

        that is what the usa has come down to… god help us these freaks up here in canada don’t do something as stupid.. i am sure they are working on it as we speak…

      • Chu
        November 3, 2011, 1:05 pm

        I forget the congressman’s name, but they’re a dime a dozen.
        He got his cookie for his re-election.

        US gov’t is stupid to not change this law, as it damages the dwindling US prestige(!), defending it’s Israeli monster counterpart in bogus negotiations for decades.

      • American
        November 3, 2011, 3:44 pm

        Here is the bill,. HR 3792 passed by the senate. Oct,31 1990 that put it into law. It was was bill for foreign appropiations that had the Palestine clause inserted into it.

        http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d101:HR3792:

        As for recent Israel bills? 131 introduced this year alone so far and 79 for Palestine (denying funding to Palestine of course), that a total of 210 for Israel or 21 bills a month or 5 bills a week introduced for Israel . A sampling:

        http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billsearch.xpd?PostFormID=billsearch&session=112&q=Israel&sponsor=&cosponsor=&status=&sort=

        131 bill(s) matched your search for Israel. Showing bills 1 through 30.

        Bill Status Last Action
        S. 1595: Solidarity with Israel Act Introduced Sep 21, 2011
        H.Res. 270: Reaffirming United States principles regarding the security of Israel and peace in the Middle East. Introduced May 23, 2011
        H.Res. 291: Urging the expedient relocation of the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Introduced Jun 1, 2011
        H.R. 1006: Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2011 Introduced Mar 10, 2011
        S.Con.Res. 23: A concurrent resolution declaring that it is the policy of the United States to support and facilitate Israel in maintaining defensible borders and that it is contrary to United States policy and national security to have the borders of Israel return to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967. Introduced Jun 9, 2011
        H.Con.Res. 59: Declaring that it is the policy of the United States to support and facilitate Israel in maintaining defensible borders and that it is contrary to United States policy and national security to have the borders of Israel return to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967. Introduced Jun 3, 2011
        H.Res. 314: Declaring that it is the policy of the United States to support its ally Israel in seeking peace with its neighbors, particularly toward a two-state solution that results in a free, nonmilitarized Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with the Jewish State of Israel, the home of the Jewish people. Introduced Jun 16, 2011
        H.R. 2589: Antiboycott Act Introduced Jul 19, 2011
        S.Res. 185: A resolution reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, reaffirming opposition to the inclusion of Hamas in a unity government unless it is willing to accept peace with Israel and renounce violence, and declaring that Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued United States aid. Passed Senate Jun 28, 2011
        H.Res. 394: Supporting Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria in the event that the Palestinian Authority continues to press for unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. Introduced Sep 8, 2011
        H.R. 1514: To limit United States assistance to Egypt unless Egypt is honoring its commitments under the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Introduced Apr 13, 2011
        S. 921: A bill to allow otherwise eligible Israeli nationals to receive E-2 nonimmigrant visas if similarly situated United States nationals are eligible for similar nonimmigrant status in Israel. Introduced May 9, 2011
        H.Res. 271: Expressing support for the State of Israel’s right to defend Israeli sovereignty, to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, and to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time to protect against such an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel. Introduced May 23, 2011
        H.R. 2893: To prohibit Foreign Military Financing program assistance to countries that vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state in the absence of a negotiated border agreement between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Introduced Sep 12, 2011
        S. 1622: Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2011 Introduced Sep 23, 2011
        H.Res. 297: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Secretary of State should withhold United States contributions to the regularly assessed biennial budget of the United Nations for purposes of the General Assembly of the United Nations if the General Assembly adopts a resolution in favor of recognizing a state of Palestine outside of or prior to a final status agreement negotiated between, and acceptable to, the State of Israel and the Palestinians. Introduced Jun 3, 2011
        H.Res. 268: Reaffirming the United States’ commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and for other purposes. Passed House Jul 7, 2011 7:09 PM
        S.Res. 138: A resolution calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, and for other purposes. Passed Senate Apr 14, 2011
        S.Res. 44: A resolution supporting democracy, universal rights, and the peaceful transition to a representative government in Egypt. Passed Senate Feb 3, 2011
        H.R. 440: To provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia. Passed House Jul 29, 2011 3:45 PM
        H.R. 3131: To direct the Secretary of State to submit a report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the recent Gaza flotilla attempt should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization and any actions taken by the Department of State to express gratitude to the government of Greece for preventing the Gaza flotilla from setting sail in contravention of Israel’s legal blockade of Gaza, and for other purposes. Introduced Oct 6, 2011
        H.Con.Res. 5: Supporting the reunification of Jerusalem. Introduced Jan 5, 2011
        H.R. 2829: United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011 Reported by Committee Oct 13, 2011
        H.R. 1741: Secure Visas Act Reported by Committee Jun 23, 2011
        H.Res. 244: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a Palestinian government which includes Hamas should be prohibited from receiving United States aid until that government publicly commits to the Quartet principles. Introduced May 3, 2011
        H.R. 1609: War Powers Reform Act of 2011 Introduced Apr 15, 2011
        H.Res. 317: Demanding that Hamas immediately and unconditionally release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Introduced Jun 21, 2011
        H.R. 2261: To withhold United States contributions to the United Nations or a United Nations agency if the United Nations or such agency supports the recognition of an independent Palestinian state, and for other purposes. Introduced Jun 21, 2011
        H.R. 2457: Palestinian Accountability Act Introduced Jul 7, 2011
        H.Res. 232: Recognizing the recent admission by Richard Goldstone of the deeply-flawed conclusions in his report to the United Nations Human Rights Council and urging the Administration to take steps to reverse the damage done by the Goldstone Report. Introduced Apr 15, 2011
        Next

      • James
        November 3, 2011, 9:57 pm

        american – that is a pretty fascinating read that shows just how much the usa is interested in the peace process! it is all so very one sided in nature and catches what the usa congress is really all about…

      • Taxi
        November 4, 2011, 12:20 am

        James,
        Don’t you just wish for a leaked fone video of someone high up in the UN ranting uncensored: Well they can shove ’em funds and bills for israel right up there where the sun don’t shine!

        (yeah with a drawl too)

      • James
        November 4, 2011, 1:34 am

        taxi,
        a surprise moment of honesty would be refreshing whatever way it came!

      • lysias
        November 3, 2011, 1:10 pm

        A U.S. law also says the U.S. can’t give aid to any country with nukes that is not a signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty.

        We don’t seem to be enforcing that law.

      • James
        November 3, 2011, 1:30 pm

        more hypocrisy stamped “”made in the usa””…

      • ritzl
        November 3, 2011, 2:16 pm

        lysias, do you have a USC citation for that? I had this discussion a few days ago and got stuck on the specifics.

        I believe there is also a law banning the US from selling cluster munitions to countries that don’t certify they won’t use them in civilian areas (I found that cite), and the third relevant (to Israel) un-heeded law is on military technology transfer (still looking for that one).

        Point being that there are laws and there are laws, and our swift move enforce this one against the Palestinians while not enforcing the ones that relate to Israel, belies the “It’s a Law!” argument. We/US could have found some legal work-around to slow or avoid the implementation of the law regarding UNESCO, just like we do with the other laws regarding arms for Israel.

      • Diane Mason
        November 3, 2011, 2:57 pm

        I think the law that bans military assistance by the U.S. to any government that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to allow inspection of its nuclear facilities is called The Proxmire Amendment .

        FWIW, additionally the US Foreign Assistance Act prohibits military and economic aid to any country that engages in a “consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” Also the US Arms Export Control Act forbids the government from giving military assistance to any country that violates internationally recognized human rights.

        There are probably other examples.

      • lysias
        November 3, 2011, 3:41 pm

        It’s the Symington Amendment of 1976, Pub. L. 94-329, 90 Stat. 729 (June 30, 1976). This provision, as amended, is now contained in Section 101 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

      • Charon
        November 3, 2011, 3:51 pm

        If the US drops support for the IAEA, they could make Israel officially admit they have them. Still would keep providing aid though

      • lysias
        November 3, 2011, 3:54 pm

        This seems to have been codified in the U.S. Code at 22 U.S.C. 2799AA-1.

        The amendment gives the President an out: he can still send military assistance to the country in question if he determines and certifies in writing to Congress “that the termination of such assistance would be seriously prejudicial to the achievement of United States nonproliferation objectives or otherwise jeopardize the common defense and security.” However, no President has ever done so.

      • POA
        November 3, 2011, 8:05 pm

        “A U.S. law also says the U.S. can’t give aid to any country with nukes that is not a signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty”

        Called the Symington Amendment.

      • dahoit
        November 5, 2011, 1:03 pm

        How come you always hit the nail on the head?A good education in the public school system?Kudos.
        Hypocrisy,the counterfeit currency of our times.

      • BillM
        November 3, 2011, 1:12 pm

        We really need to push back on this meme. Annie is right of course that Congress was not forced to pass to keep up these silly laws. However, the Obama Administration was not FORCED to interpret them this way. Specifically:

        http://aclj.org/united-nations/us-law-requires-defunding-unesco-palestinian-recognition

        “Public Law 101-246, enacted in 1990, provides, “No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any other Act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.” Moreover, Public Law 103-236, enacted in 1994, prohibits “voluntary or assessed contribution to any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.””

        Someone can check me, but I don’t believe the PLO was granted the same standing as member states. Rather, Palestine and its government, the PA, was granted acceptance. The PLO is the central body for Palestinians for NEGOTIATING, but that is not UNESCO recognition. So Public Law 101-246, does not apply.

        On the other hand, Public Law 103-236 applies only “to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.” However, Palestine has all of those attributes (a defineable population, some defineable territory, a functioning government, and the ability to negotiate with other states). By “internationally recognized” standards, Palestine has all the attributes of a state. Hence Public Law 103-236 does not apply, either.

        Obama’s hand was NOT forced by Congress. The Obama Administration chose to aid Israel by interpreting these two laws as it did, and chose to do so minutes after the UNESCO vote without the slightest delay for review. It should not try to pass the buck onto Congress for its own actions.

      • annie
        November 3, 2011, 1:21 pm

        The Obama Administration chose to aid Israel by interpreting these two laws as it did, and chose to do so minutes after the UNESCO vote without the slightest delay for review.

        actually it probably chose to do so prior to the vote and used the threat of defunding to influence the vote and then carried thru on that threat immediately.

      • BillM
        November 3, 2011, 1:35 pm

        Of course. I’m perfectly aware of that, but the point is that there was no delay and no discussion. The pre-ordained decision by the Obama Administration, NOT by Congress, was to hew to the Israeli line absolutely and punish somebody for every Palestinian action.

      • annie
        November 3, 2011, 1:47 pm

        and thank you billm for linking to the public laws. very helpful and i learned something. i had a hunch it could have been sidestepped but not sure how.

      • Chu
        November 3, 2011, 2:16 pm

        thanks Bill.

      • Ael
        November 3, 2011, 3:50 pm

        The USA could easily have delayed de-funding by noticing that the Palestinians haven’t quite joined yet. They need to submit an instrument of ratification. Obtaining this instrument will be difficult given the broken nature of the Palestinian Legislative Council (or whatever it is called).

      • ritzl
        November 3, 2011, 4:13 pm

        Yes. Thanks Bill.

      • ritzl
        November 3, 2011, 5:07 pm

        In researching the cluster munitions ban (a law) a lot of verbage came up saying “might not be.” As in Israel’s use of cluster munitions in Lebanon “might not be” a violation.

        Surely the same artful vagueness could be applied to the UNESCO funding cutoff. As in the PA (or PLO, or whatever) “might not be” the representative at the UN. “Further investigations are required…”

        This admin simply didn’t want to string this out for what are increasingly clear political considerations.

        Agreeing…

      • lysias
        November 4, 2011, 2:48 pm

        Can’t the affiliated organizations — and the UN as a whole for that matter — avoid triggering the legal prohibition just by admitting Palestine as a member state but just denying it one of the privileges accruing to member states? Then it will not have the same standing as other member states.

      • Hostage
        November 4, 2011, 7:00 pm

        I don’t believe the PLO was granted the same standing as member states.

        Article II paragraph 2 of the UNESCO Constitution only allows processing of applications “by states not Members of the United Nations for full membership of UNESCO”. That is the provision cited by Palestine in its application; employed by the Executive Board; and voted upon by the General Conference. It would require an amendment to the UNESCO Constitution to grant Palestine a different status.

        the Obama Administration was not FORCED to interpret them this way.

        Of course not. UN ECOSOC is one of the primary UN organs established by the Charter itself. It admitted the PLO as a full member in 1977. Its Economic and Social Committee for Western Asia forms part of the United Nations Secretariat. The ESCWA has published rules since 1988 which unambiguously explain that Palestine is one of its member states, e.g. :

        ESCWA comprises 13 States, viz., Bahrain, Egypt, lraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

        http://www.escwa.un.org/about/rules-e.pdf

        US administration have simply ignored that situation since Congres passed these statutes.

        They need to submit an instrument of ratification. Obtaining this instrument will be difficult given the broken nature of the Palestinian Legislative Council (or whatever it is called).

        No the PLC is completely irrelevant under customary law. The only requirement is that an instrument must be signed by the head of state, head of government, or foreign minister- or by a representative issued credentials by one of those three individuals to sign a treaty or treaties.

        For example, the historical note regarding the existing signatures and ratifications of the ESCWA treaties in the UN Treaty database says:

        Full powers for the signature of the Agreements were issued by the Chairman of the Executive Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the President of the Palestinian National Authority.

        http://treaties.un.org/Pages/HistoricalInfo.aspx?#%22Palestine%22

        The Chairman of the Executive Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the President of the Palestinian National Authority is one and the same person Mr. Abbas. For its membership to take effect, Palestine simply has to sign and ratify UNESCO’s Constitution which is open for signature in the archives of the Government of the United Kingdom in London. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/general_conference_admits_palestine_as_unesco_member_state/

        Here is an extract from the Summary of Practice of the Secretary-General as Depositary of Multilateral Treaties:
        FULL POWERS AND SIGNATURES
        A. Authorities representing the State without full powers
        101. In accordance with recognized customary international treaty law, as codified by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, only heads of State, heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs (referred to hereinafter as “qualified authorities”) are, by virtue of their functions, and without having to produce full powers, considered as representing their State for the purpose of performing all acts relating to the conclusion of a treaty, including their signature with or without reservations (see article 7 (2) (a) of the Convention). All individuals other than these authorities must produce full powers, inter alia, to sign treaties or make certain notifications, etc. (see paras. 104-107 and 110 below).

        B. Authorities issuing the full powers; specific and general fullpowers
        102. Full powers must be issued and signed by one of the three qualified authorities listed above and must unambiguously empower the representative of the Government concerned to sign the treaty or treaties covered by his full powers. But there is no systematic verification of the authenticity of the signature of the authority, since the full powers are most generally produced by the permanent representative duly accredited to the United Nations. Usually the full powers are limited, in that they specify the treaty or treaties in respect
        of which the full powers are granted (see annex XI). However, full powers may also be “general”, i.e. full powers that do not specify the treaty to be signed, but rather authorize the representative to sign all treaties of a certain kind, most often all the treaties adopted by an organization. Thus, some permanent representatives to the United Nations are in possession.
        Page 46 – http://treaties.un.org/doc/source/publications/practice/summary_english.pdf

    • James
      November 3, 2011, 12:56 pm

      funny how they can’t figure out a way to cut off funding for israel isn’t it?? the usa is full of shite……………

  5. justicewillprevail
    November 3, 2011, 11:55 am

    George Orwell meets the Marx Brothers. Does she have the slightest idea of how ridiculous she, and thus the US, is being made to appear by the Israeli lunatic lobby?

    • MRW
      November 3, 2011, 12:15 pm

      Or the continual ‘the US has to obey our law’ shit. No wonder the Israelis clog our congress with getting laws passed on their behalf, and our reps spend weeks in the 120 days in each congressional session passing them for them, instead of taking care of the US economy.

    • Chu
      November 3, 2011, 12:26 pm

      Matt’s question at minute 14:50 is the entire crux of the problem.Vicki cannot answer how two small groups (Isr/Pal) will allow the US to forfeit their national interest in international organizations.

      • ritzl
        November 3, 2011, 2:42 pm

        One would think that above all US “interests,” defined or implied, the US would have the “interest” of not being seen to be led around by the nose ring on this issue.

        That often-reinforced (by now) perception has to color ALL international dealings with the US by anyone in a highly negative way (negative from the US’s POV).

    • Kathleen
      November 3, 2011, 1:17 pm

      of course she knows and does not care

  6. Chu
    November 3, 2011, 12:10 pm

    This is Robert Kagan’s wife speaking for the Department of State.
    A bit too much neoc-onservatism on the pulpit? Kagan & Kristol
    were the champions of the PNAC think tank.
    This woman is a fraud. She is a biased spokesperson for an ethnic minority group, and her interest’s are Israel’s interest’s. This is ingrained in her brain at every Seder Passover. They talk about neocon philosophy and how to further their ethnically driven agenda.

    • slowereastside
      November 3, 2011, 1:15 pm

      Would pay to see Lee ask Nuland about her neocon bloodline during the Q&A show. Pretty sure her head would explode.

      • Chu
        November 3, 2011, 1:44 pm

        that would be the fuse to light the powder keg.

        Of course Nuland talks with her husband all the time about politics. The political scientist with his mouthpiece for a wife. She’s like a home-grown informant for Israel, as is Chuck Schumer, etc.

      • slowereastside
        November 4, 2011, 2:46 am

        That’s right. So, next question: How many senior US State Department employees have some kind of connection to Israel?

        BTW: We should start sending questions and encouragement to Super Lee.

  7. Chu
    November 3, 2011, 12:37 pm

    Nuland blows smoke for a half hour. This reminds me of Scott McConnell covering for the GW White House, the only difference is her fake smile.

    • Scott
      November 3, 2011, 6:04 pm

      You mean Scott McClennan or somebody else.

      • richb
        November 3, 2011, 9:55 pm

        Here’s a quote from McClellan’s book that Toria should look up when Matt asks yet again about being in campaign mode:

        “Operating in the campaign mode means never explaining, never apologizing, never retreating. Unfortunately, that strategy also means never reflecting, never reconsidering, never compromising.”

      • Avi_G.
        November 4, 2011, 7:24 pm

        richb,

        It’s nice to see you posting again.

  8. Kathleen
    November 3, 2011, 12:57 pm

    “impotent” for sure
    Nuland “dissapointing, not helpful” can you choose any more “impotent” words. Along with “impotent” actions. Put some teeth into this just once just once. Oh it is an election year. But what about the last three years. Oh yeah Obama supports the Arab spring which definitely has put Israel in a more difficult position… I think. Yet they continue to build and expand illegal settlements and illegal housing in E Jerusalem.

  9. Kathleen
    November 3, 2011, 1:05 pm

    Nuland “start working on narrowing the differences that divide them on the essential issues,”

    As Israel continues to EXPAND illegal settlements and illegal housing in E Jerusalem with no consequences.

    These reporters are finally doing their jobs on this issue. That sure is more than used to happen

  10. Kathleen
    November 3, 2011, 1:16 pm

    “QUESTION: But, Toria, you’ve been saying all along that it doesn’t change anything; the UNESCO movement doesn’t change anything on the ground at all. And in fact, it doesn’t, does it? But what Israel did yesterday does change things on the ground.

    MS. NULAND: It changes the —

    QUESTION: And yet you’re still – you’re unprepared or unwilling, politically or for other – to take any action against either side for continuing to do things that you say are destructive to the peace process.

    MS. NULAND: What are you proposing, Matt?

    QUESTION: It’s not my job —

    MS. NULAND: You’ve obviously got a policy recommendation here.

    QUESTION: No. It’s not my job to propose things. That would be the best and the brightest that you allegedly have working in this Administration trying to figure things out. I am asking how U.S. policy – how is it U.S. policy to encourage peace talks if you’re unwilling to do anything against either side when they continue to ignore you and, in fact, not just to ignore you but to make matters worse, is what you said. You’re a parent. You have two spoiled children who are doing things that you don’t like. What do you do to get them to stop that behavior? You don’t do nothing. You punish them. You take some kind of action. You have, or you did have, leverage with the Israelis because you gave them $3 billion a year. You do have, or did have, leverage with the Palestinians because you give them millions of dollars a year. And yet, you’re not going to do anything with that?

    MS. NULAND: Again, I think we’re engaged in a policy polemic here rather than questions for the podium.

    QUESTION: Okay. It’s —

    MS. NULAND: I think you know exactly where we are, which is to try to get these parties back to the table.

    QUESTION: Can I try to —

    QUESTION: Answer this: Is the Administration upset or embarrassed at all by the fact that two relatively tiny groups of people are running roughshod over American foreign policy?

    MS. NULAND: We are concerned about whether we can get back to a good environment for talks. That is what we are concerned about.

    QUESTION: You do believe that your involvement in UN organizations such as UNESCO, such as the IAEA, such as the World Health Organization, are in – that your involvement is – that that’s an American national security interest or in an American interest. And you’re prepared to allow these two small groups of people to make you forfeit your national interests in international organizations. That’s what you’re saying to me.

    MS. NULAND: Look, with regard to UNESCO, we were absolutely clear, not only with the Palestinians but with the international community before this happened, that if this went forward, there would be a cost. There is legislation on the books. It is U.S. law that we have to cut off funding in this case. That is what we have done. The choice was clear. The choice was made. But now what’s important is that everybody – the parties, the international community – all need to take a step back and find a way forward back the negotiating table that doesn’t force bad choices on the international community, that enables the parties to get back to productive work together. That is what we are focused on.

    Please, Said.

    QUESTION: Across the street this morning, Secretary – former Secretary of State James Baker complained that the U.S. is actually showing no leadership. And he referenced his position back 20 years ago on the loan guarantees, when he said that we will give the loan guarantees if you stop the settlements. And he apparently used that as basis of an example of leadership. Do you concur with Secretary Baker?

    MS. NULAND: Well, Secretary Baker is a private citizen. He was engaged in this process 20 years ago. He also spent a lot of his time as Secretary working on these issues. I would note that at the time when Secretary Baker was serving, the U.S. was not speaking out publicly about the importance of the Palestinians having a state.

    QUESTION: Okay, just a quick follow up. He also mentioned a number of things. He said that for the next 12 months, there is not likely to be any kind of serious negotiations – going back to negotiations – and therefore, the United States should focus on three things: one, to maintain peace in Gaza; and second, to make sure that Israeli-Palestinian security arrangements remain and, in fact, aid to the security apparatus, the Palestinian security, continues; and thirdly, and most importantly, to really focus on the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, that if that goes down, then everything else in the region will go down.”
    ———————————————————-

    They are nailing it down. Lee did blow it a bit saying that neither “spoiled child” has been punished. Clearly the Palestinians and Unesco are being punished. Israel is not being punished…just keep expanding the settlements and suffer no consequences what so ever

    • ritzl
      November 3, 2011, 2:55 pm

      Good point, Kathleen. They ARE nailing it down. More UN agencies and more Q&A’s and more genuflection to impotency to come.

      It’s interesting to speculate quietly what the tipping point will be and what it will look like. Will the tipping point come before the election or after? It’s coming, I think.

      I had no expectation that these small insistences by the Palestinians would highlight such gaping holes in US FP implementation.

      If Obama does get re-elected, it will be interesting to see the blowback on this issue (and probably several other issues) for making him toe this absurd line so completely, or look the fool to get reelected. In weaker moments, I hope he does get reelected for ONLY that reason.

  11. Kathleen
    November 3, 2011, 1:22 pm

    “MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, I don’t think that anybody here believes you can bludgeon parties to the peace table. That is not the exercise that we’re engaged in. ”

    What a way to blow off legitimate questions about legitimate consequences for Israel. Who in the hell said “bludgeon”?

    The journalist were asking about cutting funding etc.

    At the end she pledged allegiance to Israel again

  12. Kathleen
    November 3, 2011, 1:30 pm

    Arshads (sp?) question at 27:59 about whether the Obama administration is making any effort on the hill with members pushing for cutting off aid to Palestinians. And about resolutions put forward to cut off Palestinian funding.

    “are you making any headway on that”

  13. Kathleen
    November 3, 2011, 1:33 pm

    “closing the gap”…”narrowing the differences” all the while Israel expands and widens the gap by building illegal settlements and illegal housing in E Jerusalem

    Nuland to Lee “still on this”

    As if this is not one of the if not the biggest issue to resolve in the middle east

  14. yourstruly
    November 3, 2011, 1:38 pm

    a school bully beats up a classmate, the two students are called to the principal’s office

    “why’d you attack a classmate”, says the principal

    “he threatened my space”, from the bully

    “nonsense, says the classmate, “i’m standing in my space as i’ve been doing, going way, way back, when along comes bully-boy from who knows where, telling me ‘hey, get out of this space, damn native, it’s mine now.”

    the principal sizes up the situation and tells both students that they have to share the space, calling for no violence nor provacations from the one to the other and vice versa, and says that face to face negotiations is the only way to resolve the conflict.

    “but why should I share what was my space before mr bully barged in uninvited and stole it from me?”

    bully-boy responds with “no matter how i got it, it’s mine now, being that might makes right, that’s it, nothing to negotiate about, facts on the ground, etc. etc. besides, what can a mere principal do about my bullying, make me be good? ha, i dare the principal to try.”

    the principal, intimidated and cowed by bully-boy, whose father happens to be extremely influential in local education, understandably decides to take care of numero uno

    “bully-boy be a sharer & no violence of any sort. be assured, however, that if you do smack a classmate or two, in no way will i punish you. at most you’ll be told ‘please avoid any more provacations, so as not to jeopardize future negotiations

    “as for bully-boy’s victims, they, in turn, must not provoke bully-boy”

    “but i was only trying nonviolently to hold onto my space, how could that provoke anyone? yet bully-boy keeps pounding me.”

    “well i won’t do anything about that, but if you try to fight back, i’ll allow bully-boy to take away even more of your space and take whatever actions are needed to protect his own security.”

    ” since i’m obviously not getting anywhere with the school principal, what if i go to the school board with my complaint?”

    “you’d really hurt yourself, because “there’ll
    go your school lunch and free textbooks.”

    “lose-lose?”

    “until there’s no space left for you”

    • Chaos4700
      November 3, 2011, 8:48 pm

      Incisive parable. I would only add that ultimately, in the end, the school board fired the principal and the bully’s victims who could afford lawyers, started suing her for discrimination, because she should favoritism to the bully’s race over those of his victims, as well as criminal negligence, for allowing their children to be injured because she wouldn’t take the weapons out of the bully’s hands.

  15. seafoid
    November 3, 2011, 1:39 pm

    It would be nice if Lee could ask her where she thinks this is all going to end .

    There is a fortress on a hill in the desert outside Jerusalem

    • Kathleen
      November 3, 2011, 1:51 pm

      Later she indicates if Palestinians continue on this path there will be more funding cuts.

  16. Les
    November 3, 2011, 1:40 pm

    Thanks for this great follow up to the audacity of Matthew Lee’s questions the other day. This transcript makes me wonder if there really is a kind of breakthrough. The next breakthrough will come when this colloquy is reported on or aired in the mainstream media.

  17. Chu
    November 3, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Israel intends to halt their 2 million dollars to the UNESCO as well
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/11/03/idINIndia-60301120111103
    what a joke.

    • Woody Tanaka
      November 3, 2011, 2:09 pm

      UNESCO should take all of the Israeli UNESCO heritage sites and declare them Palestinian heritage sites in response.

      • Chu
        November 3, 2011, 2:14 pm

        ouch. that’d hurt. They’d have to declare war on UNESCO.
        But why not, it’s what the warmonger would like.

      • Charon
        November 3, 2011, 3:47 pm

        They’re Palestinian heritage sites anyways. There is no historical proof that many of the sites they claim to be are what they are. They were re-purposed in the last 130 years by Zionists. It would be like the Zionists choosing Egypt instead of Palestine and saying the Great Pyramid is Solomon’s Temple

      • Am_America
        November 3, 2011, 4:20 pm

        Charon, what Israeli UNESCO sites are you referring to? Tell me is the Bahai Holy sites in Haifa or Western Galilee claiming they are something they aren’t? how about about the Biblical Tels of Megiddo Hazar or Beersheba? the White City of Tel Aviv?

        you haven’t quite made it to the big leagues of Palestinian propaganda, cute, but keep trying.

      • Chaos4700
        November 3, 2011, 4:50 pm

        Bulldozing the Mamilla Cemetary, maybe. And Israel demolished a lot of existing architecture in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and throughout the Occupied Territories to make room for European architecture (not surprising, you know, given where the Zionist upper classes come from).

      • Am_America
        November 3, 2011, 5:12 pm

        And Israel demolished a lot of existing architecture in Tel Aviv Genius comment. Yemenite Jews started building Tel Aviv in the late 1800s, what exactly did they demolish? Where does your racist claim that the Zionist upper classes are European fit in with those facts?

      • Avi_G.
        November 3, 2011, 6:14 pm

        Am_America November 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm

        Where does your racist claim that the Zionist upper classes are European fit in with those facts?

        It’s not a “racist” claim as you allege. It’s actually a known fact — among the older generation of Israelis and among those who bother to read history books — that European Zionists used non-Ashkenazi Jews as a labor force. I don’t think I need to share my own personal life experience to convince you, do I?

      • ToivoS
        November 3, 2011, 7:07 pm

        Am_American, it is well understood by secular observers that many of the religious sites claimed by the Jews in Palestine really do not have historical support. Even the most famous of all, the Wailing Wall, was most likely built by a Christian Roman emperor in the 3rd century — Soloman’s wall was all ready dust by that time.

      • Am_America
        November 3, 2011, 8:18 pm

        ToivoS ‘secular observers’ have been trying to discredit the connection between Judaism and Jerusalem for a long time. It sounds like Holocaust denial tactics to me. As a Jew I am very connected to the Wailing Wall, as a supporter of Israel, what really matters is there is a state of Israel right now.

      • Chaos4700
        November 3, 2011, 8:50 pm

        No, Holocaust denial tactics is saying that a four-year-old paraplegic girl is lying and that children were never burned to death by white phosphorous mortars.

        It’s a shame that your commitment to a pile of stones exceeds your commitment to your fellow human beings. I’m sure God will take that into account.

      • Taxi
        November 4, 2011, 12:51 am

        It’s hard to tell which wall the ashkanazim israelis worship more: the wailing wall or the Apartheid wall.

      • DBG
        November 4, 2011, 1:31 am

        lets see, so if I make a similar comment about whether Shia Muslims worship their mosques or the bombs in them more, will it get censored?

        or is racism against Ashkenazi Jews only tolerated here?

      • annie
        November 4, 2011, 1:52 am

        not sure if that analogy really works dbg. there are no seculars in your shia muslims scenario. or didn’t you notice that? and israel’s wall land theft facilitates a land grab, an expansion. do you deny there is a greedy thirst for expansion that the wall facilitates? there is simply not a comparable greed factor in your analogy.

        it’s a question worth asking imho, about the worship vs the expansion. or don’t you think one might jeopardize the other. it’s a risky business..ethnic cleansing because god said it is yours. isn’t it? anyway..do secular israelis really care about the wailing wall? why would they except to control more of jerusalem and prevent an end to this madness? doesn’t it ever occur to you they are using this religious narrative to steal the land? cuz it sure as hell occurs to us. or do you think it’s just a coincidence?

        i don’t think this is racist. i think it’s exposing a scam.

      • Sumud
        November 4, 2011, 1:56 am

        Genius comment. Yemenite Jews started building Tel Aviv in the late 1800s, what exactly did they demolish?

        Ever heard of Jaffa? Illegally annexed to Tel Aviv in 1950 (scroll down for pictures of zionists pushing Palestinians into the sea).

        According to the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the village’s remaining structures in 1992 consisted of several houses occupied by Jewish families and the wall of a house.[9]Tel Aviv University lies on the land of Al-Shaykh Muwannis and the former home of the village sheikh serves as the University’s faculty club.
        Sheik Munis?

        Menashiya or Manshiyya, was a residential neighborhood of Jaffa, Israel. It was located on the border between Jaffa and Tel Aviv. The neighborhood was demolished in order to build a central business district, but only some of the planned office buildings were constructed.
        Menashiya?

      • Taxi
        November 4, 2011, 2:13 am

        Is that what you tell your inter-faith group DBG? That shia moslems hide bombs in their mosques? LOL you really are pure colonial ashkanazim.

        I single out the ashkanazim because they are the original sinners in the holy land – the ruling 1% who feed fear and loathing to the primed for hate and paranoia israeli masses: racist squeaking cogs just like you. Them ashkanazim who’ll be going down in history as no less than nazi-like.

        Plenty of proof to support the above and YOU KNOW IT! So buzz off with your ‘race-card’! It don’t work no more – this ain’t 1939!

        (oh yeah only a week ago you promised to disengage from addressing me – you musta really missed me, or as per usual, your word aint’ worth a can of common mud).

      • Avi_G.
        November 4, 2011, 5:58 am

        I wonder where Israel’s propaganda machine got the idea:

        Hagana weapons cache found in Hod Hasharon synagogue.

        […]

        The synagogue was used as a headquarters by the Haganah during the months preceding the declaration of statehood.

        http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3667392,00.html
        http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=131890

      • annie
        November 4, 2011, 11:40 pm

        this is OT but i thought responding to dbg’s comment here was as good a place as any.

        it pisses me off israel wants all of jerusalem. it’s vital to three major religions which is why it was supposed to be an international city. i know how important it is to judaism but the vast majority of religious people it is vitally important to are not jews. i think unesco or some world body should be a determining factor in preserving the religious sites. israel jews suck at this. i know they were not allowed there for a brief period after they decimated palestine but i don’t think those years deserve a retribution that threatens other religions access or importance for infinity. judaism should not be dominating jerusalem. period.

        here’s something i read today. and what’s up w/this spitting? i’m totally not getting this cultural thing:


        Ultra-Orthodox spitting attacks on Old City clergymen becoming daily

        what’s wrong with these people? this is disgusting.

        A few weeks ago four ultra-Orthodox men spat at clergymen in the funeral procession of Father Alberto of the Armenian Church. “They came in a pack, out of nowhere,” said Father Goosan. “I know there are fanatical Haredi groups that don’t represent the general public but it’s still enraging. It all begins with education. It’s the responsibility of these men’s yeshiva heads to teach them not to behave this way,” he says.

        and this is by no means an isolated incidence as anyone reading this article can tell. why should priests have to succumb to this in jerusalem? this has been going on for years. i read an article similar to this a few years ago. at first i thought it was an anomaly but not any more. in the whole world there is not other place where the three major religions are so central. and it is treated like this? for the benefit of one religion with a mere millions as opposed to the other religions? unthinkable. why do they get away with this? why? i’m not even religious and i would not dream of treating a priest, rabbi or iman this way. ever.

        edit, or anyone else either.

      • Potsherd2
        November 4, 2011, 11:48 pm

        Annie, you’re some kind of admin here, why don’t you start open threads where people can post timely thoughts unrelated to the ongoing threads.

      • DBG
        November 5, 2011, 12:11 am

        I agree Israel should be an international city.

      • eljay
        November 5, 2011, 12:11 am

        >> “When I see an ultra-Orthodox man coming toward me in the street, I always ask myself if he will spit at me,” says Narek, a Canadian Armenian, this week. About a month ago, on his way to buy groceries in the Old City, two ultra-Orthodox men spat at him. The spittle did not fall at his feet but on his person. Narek, a former football player, decided this time not to turn the other cheek.
        >> “I was very angry. I pushed them both to the wall and asked, ‘why are you doing this?’ They were frightened and said ‘we’re sorry, we’re sorry,’ so I let them go.

        Yes, they’re sorry he didn’t let them get away with their gutter-worthy behaviour, the cowardly pukes. Their self-righteousness makes them “brave” enough to spit on people, but not brave enough to accept the consequences of their actions. Pathetic.

      • Chaos4700
        November 5, 2011, 12:49 am

        I agree Israel should be an international city.

        All of it? Wow, you’ve actually said something sensible for once. ;) Nice change of pace from the nasty canard you posted earlier.

      • annie
        November 5, 2011, 12:56 am

        potsherd, i will pass your comment on to adam and phil or you can write them yourself.. i am not an admin here and as far as i know everything published on the front page here is up to the discretion of phil and/or adam. i was particularly moved to add this comment here for two reasons. one, what is happening in jerusalem really bothers me and i think it is a global issue. jerusalem was never supposed to ‘belong’ to just one people/religion. it wasn’t even in israel once the mandate was divided. and this from my post above:

        why would they except to control more of jerusalem and prevent an end to this madness? doesn’t it ever occur to you they are using this religious narrative to steal the land?

        why? why would secular jews who are not religious not respect the religion of others? i’m not religious but i can understand what the importance of jerusalem is. it’s so greedy. and it will never be accepted jerusalem is only for jews. never. it will be a constant sore we all pass on to the next generation and the generation after that. so why do they do this if they say they want peace? it will never hold and never be fair.

        also, i could have made a draft and seen if phil or adam would have front paged it but it was so disgusting, so disgusting i couldn’t do it. what a disgrace. so disgusting i didn’t think…t thought it might disgrace the site. so personal. but what is this spitting thing and the ulta orthodox? nothing explains this level of degradation. why don’t they do something about these people?

      • seanmcbride
        November 5, 2011, 9:54 am

        Check the Mondoweiss archives for November 29, 2009:

        “Israeli annexation of Old City has led to bigoted spitting (and the AJC knows about it)”

        http://mondoweiss.net/2009/11/jewish-annexation-of-old-city-has-led-to-bigoted-spitting-and-the-ajc-knows-about-it.html

        Philip Weiss wrote:

        “Larry Derfner has a great column in the Jerusalem Post about the routine practice of young Orthodox Jews spitting on Christians in the Old City of Jerusalem. These Jews regard Christians as idolators and don’t think they should be there. It’s getting worse in recent years because of Jewish control of the Old City. My questions: Why isn’t this a story in the American papers? Why aren’t more Christians more upset about single governance of a city that Herzl promised would be extraterritorialized so that no one religion would guard the holy sites?”

        Here’s a question: is this hate-filled and disgusting behavior reactive or proactive? Were these zealots deformed and twisted by 2,000 years of Christian persecution or have they always been deformed and twisted in their essential nature? Did their nasty racism help provoke the hostility they have consistently encountered? What is the root of the bizarre social dynamic here?

        This subject of spitting by religious Jews in Jerusalem is huge: try Googling [israel spitting]:

        http://www.google.com/#q=jerusalem+spitting

        Really: what’s up with this, big picturewise? Talk about a clash of civilizations.

  18. Kathleen
    November 3, 2011, 1:50 pm

    I think it gets even more interesting between Lee and Nuland at 33;oo and for the next several minutes.

    Lobbying, legislation, Israeli officials calling congress members, US interest, changing legislation so that it is not
    I am talking about changing the legislation so that

    33;53 Lee: “I am talking about changing the legislation so that you (US) are not locked into doing something that you believe is antithetical to the US interest because of the actions of third parties”

    Nuland: “Israel is well aware of the legislation on US books”

    This is the most honest comment by Nuland

    Nuland is clearly focused on punishing the Palestinians and Unesco

    Whoa that may have been the most honest statement by Nuland

    Nuland: “

    • Chu
      November 3, 2011, 2:12 pm

      Zionists like her believe the US is one fat hog that they can eat pork from because of it’s size and military. Now that they’ve grasped the reins in the last half century, they only want more, but it will be their downfall.

    • Charon
      November 3, 2011, 3:43 pm

      Palestine has nothing to lose. They don’t get punished at all. UNESCO does. The US does. Any agency who admits Palestine will only result in the US being punished and Palestine winning.

      There has got to be a way to interpret such actions and the existing legislation as treason because all the evidence points that way. I don’t think Obama agrees with these decisions either but he is far too shackled to do anything about it. Going against these people put your career, life, your family and friend’s lives, etc. all at risk. I’ve gone back and forth about Obama and ultimately I think he tried. He didn’t know what he was up against. He failed. There is nothing he can do.

      Somebody else, neither the executive or legislative branches, has got to intervene in court if they can and make the public aware of this treason.

  19. Opti
    November 3, 2011, 2:35 pm

    where is eee, hophmi and other nay-sayers, defending US policy as virtuous?

    • Chaos4700
      November 3, 2011, 4:29 pm

      What is there to say? They have no one to verbally attack on this, they love this sort of racism.

  20. Charon
    November 3, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Obama can sidestep Congress in an instance like this if he really wanted to. He went over their heads for Libya and abused the war powers thing. The constitution is being violated left and right in both branches. They could come up with an Israel-style interpreted technicality. These laws violate American interests putting those of a foreign power over our own. This is treason.

    Abiding by these treasonous laws and using them as an excuse is a joke. This gesture doesn’t punish Palestine. They won. The US response is blackmail, playing a global mediator to a globe which disagrees. It will only punish the US.

    These journalists asked the rational questions and the responses were empty and repetitive. They were meaningless. Why take these actions? Why cut of funding (of the PA’s own money) to punish them and not Israel? Israel’s settlement activity goes unpunished by the US. They just say “Bad Israel, bad”

    Sanction them. Threaten to cut off the $3 billion. Otherwise it will never change. (which is likely the whole idea, the US is bad cop playing good cop)

    If I was Israel I would just laugh knowing I could get away with anything I wanted unpunished. Make new ‘facts on the ground’ and prolong the occupation.

    • Kathleen
      November 3, 2011, 8:38 pm

      “These journalists asked the rational questions and the responses were empty and repetitive”

      The breakthroughs are that the journalist are asking the questions which has not happenned for decades. Far more in depth questions than everbefore. Exposing more clearly how absurd, twisted and unfair US policies are in this conflict. How the US sides with Israel no matter what and has in the process endangered US National security. More exposure! Demonstrating just who is in the drivers seat. 5 years ago these questions would not be being asked.

      • Hostage
        November 4, 2011, 12:14 am

        “These journalists asked the rational questions and the responses were empty and repetitive”

        They haven’t asked the right question yet. The Palestinians are now full members of a UN specialized agency. They brought the issue of statehood to the UN so that they could leverage international law and deal with Israel on a more equal footing in the international courts. The don’t need to obtain observer state status to do that, since they now fulfill the stricter “Vienna formula” for state parties to multilateral agreements prescribed by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, e.g. http://humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.com/2011/11/relevant-depositary-practice-of.html

        If they deposit an instrument of accession to the Rome Statute, which is open under the less strict “All States” formula, the Secretary General has a treaty obligation accept it; to formally notify the other contracting parties that there is a new state party; and to deposit the instrument with the UN Treaty Organization. I believe the law would require the US to withhold funding for the UN Organization as a whole in order to defund its Secretariat and the Treaty Organization. I’m pretty confident Ban Ki Moon has finally figured that out.

      • Hostage
        November 4, 2011, 1:01 am

        P.S. The International Criminal Court is unlike the International Court of Justice. It is not a UN organ and isn’t funded by Israel or the United States. So, when the Foreign Minister says Palestine won’t file new applications for membership in other UN organs or agencies, that doesn’t include the ICC.

  21. Chaos4700
    November 3, 2011, 4:38 pm

    I’m still waiting for a reporter to ask, point blank, “Why does US foreign policy consider Palestinians to have inferior rights to Israelis? There was and continues to be no law cutting off US funding for UNESCO recognizing the State of Israel.”

  22. PeaceThroughJustice
    November 3, 2011, 11:41 pm

    If the moderators don’t clamp down on crude loud mouths like POA, this site is going to lose all readers of its comments section. I’m sure it’s very satisfying for him to work himself up into these states of self-righteous indignation, but for the rest us it’s very tiring. Between the interminable shouting matches with RW and eee, and the fake intensity of the simpletons like POA, the quality is sinking pretty low around here. There’s more to analysis than just name-calling.

    (I hate to pick on POA when there are so many others just as bad, but it would be too depressing to go look them up right now.)

    • Chaos4700
      November 4, 2011, 12:22 am

      I take it you’re just fine with DBG’s justifications for bombing schools full of Arab children? With Witty’s endorsement of Arab Americans getting sentenced in court while anti-Zionist Jewish protesters barely get a slap on the wrists? With eee insisting that he has the right to kill American citizens in international waters? Because you aren’t complaining about any of that, are you?

      • Taxi
        November 4, 2011, 1:13 am

        Peacethroughjustice,

        Aren’t ya being a little swoony here?

        Frankly I don’t find anything remotely offensive about POA (POA = pissed-off american, uhuh geddit?)

        In fact nobody’s ‘style’ of expression/writing offends me here on mondo – IT’S THE FRIGGING CONTENT that offends!

        As things get worse and worse for Palestinians on the ground and we read about it on a daily, nay, hourly basis – you expect rightfully outraged people to put ice in their veins and sugar-candy in their mouths? You announce your preference for more censorship, for opposition voices to be smothered into polite whispers?

        Personally, I find THAT content offensive and despicable!

        Perhaps peacewithoutemotions should be your name.

    • POA
      November 4, 2011, 9:24 am

      “…blahblahblah…..self-righteous indignation……blahblahblah……”

      May I suggest you read your own comment?

  23. RobertB
    November 4, 2011, 10:52 am

    The Zionist lobby’s First Lady in US Congress

    By Alan Hart

    November 02, 2011 –” After UNESCO voted to give the Palestinians full membership, the words of State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland contained a hint that the Obama administration at the highest levels is quite seriously concerned about the possible consequences for America of cutting off funds to the UN agency as required by Zionist lobby driven law enacted by Congress. (The U.S. funds about 22 percent of UNESCO’s budget or roughly $80 million annually; and $60 million was scheduled to be sent this month).

    Most of Nuland’s shortish statement would have been sweet music to the Zionist lobby’s ears.”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29590.htm

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