‘You lost’ — reporters at State say UNESCO vote isolates U.S. from world opinion (and possibly from intellectual property enforcement)

Israel/Palestine
on 109 Comments

Below is the transcript of the amazing interchange yesterday between State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland and AP’s Matt Lee, among other reporters at the daily briefing. The reporters have had it with the emperor’s new clothes.

Matt Lee points out repeatedly how the United States has isolated itself from world opinion on the UNESCO vote, damaging our standing. The claim that the vote upsets the peace process is bull, Lee says; all the UNESCO vote does is “it upsets Israel.” And a nettled Nuland accuses him of engaging in “a polemic.”

Also note the back-and-forth about intellectual property conventions. The Palestinians are now certain to gain membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, another UN body.

When the U.S. deals itself out of UNESCO, the interests of American multinational corps are hurt. As Lee comments, “I used to think that this government, my government, had some intellect itself, but this just seems ridiculous.”

Finally, note the exchange over the Madrid process, which began 20 years ago and has only resulted, a questioner says, in Palestinian land being gobbled up. What does the U.S. have to show for the peace process? At the end Nuland says fretfully, “Moving on, please!”

Excerpts:

Matt Lee: All right. So, this was not particularly a banner day for U.S. diplomacy. If you count the abstentions, you had — 159 countries did not vote the way you did. Only 13 did. That would seem to suggest that these countries don’t agree with you that this is such a big problem. Those countries included the French – France. They included numerous members of the Security Council. What happens to them now that you’re punishing UNESCO? What happens to these countries that voted to, in this regrettable way that is going to undermine the peace process?

MS. NULAND: Well, those countries obviously made their own national decisions on this vote. We disagree with them. We made clear that we disagreed with them before the vote. We make clear that we disagree with them after the vote. We also make clear here today that we want to continue our relationship with UNESCO. But as we said before this vote, and as we have had to say today, legislative restrictions compel us to withhold our funding now. And that will have an impact on UNESCO.

QUESTION: But going back to – you said in your opening you said that this was regrettable, premature, and undermines our shared goal. Who’s shared goal? Who shares this goal, other than the 13 other countries that voted with you, now?

MS. NULAND: Countries all over the international system share the goal of a Palestinian state and secure borders –

QUESTION: Why would the possibly do something – how could they possibly do something that you say is so horrible and detrimental to that process? How can they – how can you still count them – count on them as sharing this goal?

MS. NULAND: You’ll have to speak to them about why they made the decision that they made. We considered that this was, as I said, regrettable, premature, and undermines the prospect of getting where we want to go. And that’s what we’re concerned about.

QUESTION: Okay and then how does it undermine, exactly? How does it undermine the prospect of where you want to go?

MS. NULAND: The concern is that it creates tensions when all of us should be concerting our efforts to get the parties back to the table.

QUESTION: The only tensions that it creates – the only thing it does is it upsets Israel and it triggers this law that will require you to stop funding UNESCO. Is there anything else? There’s nothing that changes on the ground is there?

MS. NULAND: Our concern is that this could exacerbate the environment which we’re trying to work through so that the parties will get back to the table.

QUESTION: How exactly does it exacerbate the environment if it changes nothing on the ground, unlike say, construction of settlements? It changes nothing on the ground. It gives Palestine membership in UNESCO, which is a body that the U.S. didn’t — was so unconcerned about for many years that it just wasn’t even a member.

MS. NULAND: Well, I think you know that this Administration is committed to UNESCO, rejoined UNESCO, wants to see UNESCO’s work go forward –

QUESTION: Well, actually, it was the last Administration that rejoined UNESCO, not this one. But the – I need to have some kind of clarity on how this undermines the peace process other than the fact that it upsets Israel.

MS. NULAND: Again, we are trying to get both of these parties back to the table. That’s what we’ve been doing all along. That was the basis for the President’s speech in May, basis of the diplomacy that the Quartet did through the summer, the basis of the statement that the Quartet came out with in September. So, in that context, we have been trying to improve the relationship between these parties, improve the environment between them, and we are concerned that we exacerbate tensions with this, and it makes it harder to get the parties back to the table.

QUESTION: Since the talks broke off last September until today, how many times have they met together with all your effort?

MS. NULAND: How many times have the parties met?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. NULAND: I think you know the answer to that question.

QUESTION: Correct.

MS. NULAND: It doesn’t change the fact that we all are committed to trying –

QUESTION: So how can things get worse than they already are?

MS. NULAND: Matt, I think you’re engaged in a polemic here rather than questions.

Said. Please.

QUESTION: You think you’re going to get better from the next person?

MS. NULAND: Go ahead, Said.

QUESTION: Yes, Victoria. On the shared values, does that mean that hundred and seven countries, you do not share values with?

MS. NULAND: A hundred and seven countries made their own decision on this vote.

QUESTION: Right….

QUESTION: And then in terms of the impact on related organizations, several high-tech and pharmaceutical firms are said to be meeting here at State this afternoon to discuss how the lack of financial support from the U.S. might have an impact on their ability to work in the countries where UNESCO and the WIPO have their work being conducted. What more can you tell us about this meeting? How does this affect the Apples, the Googles, the pharmas of the world, when they’re looking at potentially being shut out of potentially lucrative markets?

MS. NULAND: Well, Ros, I think you’re referring to the meeting that Assistant Secretary for International Organizations Esther Brimmer is having today with representatives from some of the U.S. majors around the world to explain what the implications of this vote might be for U.S. business abroad. But my understanding is Assistant Secretary Brimmer is particularly going to call their attention to the potential that the Palestinians may now gain admission to the World Intellectual Property Organization. So – and that might have some implications for our ability to work in that organization. And of course, that’s a very important organization for companies, like the high-tech list that you cited.

QUESTION: And then –

QUESTION: — quick follow-up?

QUESTION: Well, then, what do you do – then what is the U.S. Government then telling these companies, which have been extremely concerned about intellectual piracy, dummy drugs, dummy consumer products? Does – is U.S. business being unfairly impacted because of this legislative restriction, and how can the U.S. Government try to resolve it? Or rather, the Executive Branch, how can it resolve it so that the business community isn’t unduly upset by all this?

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously, she wants to make sure that these companies understand the implications of what has already happened, but also with regard to the intellectual property organization, WIPO, she wants to make sure that companies understand that Palestinian membership in WIPO could trigger – would trigger similar funding restrictions and could diminish U.S. influence in an organization that’s very important to these companies. So we need to make sure that our companies understand the implications of what’s happened and begin that conversation with them.

QUESTION: Would it be fair to suggest that perhaps, with this meeting, the State Department is hoping to induce these companies to lobby for a change, an easing of these restrictions on UNESCO funding?

MS. NULAND: I think the stage that we are at is to make sure that our companies understand what may or may not be happening in this circumstance so that we can open a conversation about how we protect their interests going forward.

..QUESTION: Back on the WIPO, actually, I was just wondering if you’d go a little bit further and explain to us what she’s telling the companies would be the effect of the reduced U.S. funding or an eliminated U.S. funding in WIPO. Does that – what would that – what effect would that practically have on U.S. companies operating overseas? Would it make the whole mechanism less efficient or would it reduce the protection for U.S. companies? What is the threat there to U.S. companies?.

MS. NULAND: Andy, let me see if I can get a little bit more for you on the specifics of the message being given, but certainly to make clear that if there’s an application to WIPO then – and the Palestinians become WIPO members, that it will trigger the same kind of funding cutoff, so already the organization will have less money to work with, but also that it could diminish our influence within WIPO, which has been very important to these companies.

QUESTION: Quite apart from the congressional lot, you’re opposed to the Palestinians having membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization?

MS. NULAND: We are.

QUESTION: You are?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Because the Palestinians don’t have any intellectual property, or because their intellectual property, because they’re not a state, is somehow less protectable or less worthy of protection?

MS. NULAND: Because this is a cascade effect of the decision in the UNESCO which we consider –

QUESTION: What does protecting intellectual property have to do – anything to do with statehood?

MS. NULAND: It has to do with the declaration of state status in UNESCO, which cascades into WIPO, that we are opposed to.

QUESTION: I used to think that this government, my government, had some intellect itself, but this just seems ridiculous. You are going to oppose them in some kind of international weather organization as well? The Civil Aviation Organization?

MS. NULAND: Our position on this with regard to all the UN agencies is the same.

QUESTION: You can – you think that there is somewhere – somewhere in this building that someone can draw a intellectually responsible and acceptable argument that membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization should not be granted to the Palestinians because they are not a state, because their intellectual property, because they’re not a state, is somehow less deserving of protection than anyone else’s, including the Syrians, including whoever else?

MS. NULAND: Matt, the move here is not with regard to the aspiration that we all have for the Palestinians to have access to and full rights of all of these UN organizations. The concern here is trying to shortcut the process of statehood, trying to establish statehood through the back door –

QUESTION: But see, that’s the –

MS. NULAND: Can I finish my point, please?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. NULAND: Thank you. Rather than establishing true statehood the way it has to be done, which is in direct negotiations with their neighbor. And from that can flow all of the benefits of these organizations.

QUESTION: But not even the Palestinians themselves say that this is a way to statehood. They –

MS. NULAND: Well, but what has been granted here –

QUESTION: They know that this is not – this does not mean statehood.

MS. NULAND: What has been granted here in UNESCO is Palestinian membership and statehood status. That’s what’s of concern.

QUESTION: I’m sorry, and the Palestinian vote on that?

MS. NULAND: Excuse me?

QUESTION: The Palestinians didn’t vote for this. A hundred and seven other countries, including some of your best friends, voted for this. The Palestinians didn’t vote for it; they just simply put it up for – they put it up for a vote. They didn’t have a vote on this.

MS. NULAND: This began –

QUESTION: You lost.

MS. NULAND: Matt –

QUESTION: Why –

MS. NULAND: Are you asking me a question that you’d like me to answer, or are you just going to have an argument with me today?

QUESTION: No, no. I’m – I want to know why you think, and everyone else – which is a position that everyone else disagrees with, that this is somehow – that this hurts the peace process or hurts the ability of the Palestinians to get a state, short of just upsetting the Israelis?

MS. NULAND: Start with the premise this process in UNESCO began with a Palestinian petition for membership, which we thought was ill-advised and ill-considered, and which we so said to the Palestinians at the time. So the Palestinians made a move here that we didn’t think was conducive to the environment for the talks or conducive to getting us back to the table. That is our concern. We want to get the Palestinians their state. It’s only going to happen if we can get these parties back to the table. We have to create an environment that gets them back to the table, and this is not helpful.

QUESTION: Okay. But you accept that 107 countries disagreed with you.

MS. NULAND: A hundred and seven countries made their own decision. We disagree with them.

QUESTION: Right. Exactly. So, I mean, isn’t it maybe – doesn’t that tell you anything, that if you add in the abstentions, which included the Brits, your special ally, who abstained, then 159 countries disagreed with you?

MS. NULAND: It tells us that we are not any closer to a Palestinian state by virtue of this vote today. We are trying to get to that end state that we want, that the Palestinians want, and we don’t think this is helpful.

QUESTION: I’m just curious. Did the Secretary have any personal diplomacy on this subject? Did she make any calls to Brits, French, whoever, in recent days specifically regarding this UNESCO vote?

MS. NULAND: The Secretary has been making the case personally against this move in the UN agencies for weeks and weeks and weeks, and she had many, many conversations about this, particularly when we were in New York.

QUESTION: Do you have any update on your efforts to bring both parties to the table? And what about the meetings that – or the meeting that Under Secretary – Deputy Secretary Nides had today with Tony Blair?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything for you on the Tony Blair meeting. If we have anything to report, we’ll get it to you tomorrow.

I think you know where we are, that we had – Quartet had separate meetings with the parties last week. We have encouraged both parties now to go back and start working on concrete proposals for each other on land and on security. We will be working in Quartet format with each of the parties, and our aspiration still is to have them present real, meaty proposals to each other within the 90-day time clock from when this meeting happened last week.

QUESTION: Has the UNESCO vote changed or quickened the pace of lobbying at the UN mission in New York to prevent a vote for statehood in the GA?

MS. NULAND: I think the UNSC process is moving apace. They are still at the stage of analyzing the request, gathering information, et cetera.

Said.

QUESTION: Toria, today marks a milestone: It’s the 20th anniversary of the Madrid process, the Madrid peace conference, begun exactly 20 years ago. And during that time, there was a great deal of intense negotiations and some stoppages and so on and other processes and many agreements, yet the settlements have gone on throughout all this time, although the United States position was expressed very clearly at the time that settlements must stop, yet they go on. Do you have a position today reflecting on all the settlement processes over the past 20 years?

MS. NULAND: Well, let me first say that we’ve also been working for peace for 20 years, and it remains a challenge. But our position on settlements hasn’t changed, and we continue to make it.

Anything else on this subject, or can we move on?

QUESTION: So what – if we just take it just a bit further, what incentive should the Palestinians have today when they see that a great deal of the land initially allocated for their state has been gobbled up by settlement? What incentive should they have to go back to negotiations?

MS. NULAND: I think the Secretary has said this best when she said that only when borders are settled is it going to be absolutely clear where they are. So if you want all of this to be settled, you have to go back to the negotiating table and you have to, before that, present your own proposals on land and security. So that’s what we’re asking the Palestinians to do. If they are concerned, as we are, by what is going on, then come back to the table and let’s get firm borders.

QUESTION: Okay. So why wouldn’t the United States then take the initiative and call for a peace conference to actually discuss the borders of the Palestinian state, period?

MS. NULAND: Because we don’t think, and our Quartet partners don’t think, and frankly, the parties don’t think, that having a big conference is going to get us any closer. We think that the next step ought to be concrete proposals by each side on borders and on security. This will give the Palestinians an opportunity to present to the Israelis and for the Israelis to present to the Palestinians what they think the right answer are that will allow us to see how close we are, allow us to see how we can move the process forward. That’s the right way to get closer to a state and secure borders.

QUESTION: Sticking to this 90-day process that was worked out last week for both sides to come up with proposals?

MS. NULAND: Correct, correct.

QUESTION: Just on the cascade effect, if it does happen, presumably the votes will be similar to the one in UNESCO, because you are in a distinct minority in pretty much every UN group in which you don’t have a veto – although you’re in a minority there as well – you seem to be admitting that the Palestinians have you over a barrel here. They can, if they continue to go to these various agencies, force the United States to withdraw into almost a shell by – maybe not immediately, but if you get kicked out of UNESCO for having not paid your dues in two years. I expect that the other organizations have similar rules, and so you will have shrunk your international outreach, correct?

MS. NULAND: I’m not going to get too far down the tracks here. We are trying to make clear what the implications for us, what the implications for these organizations, are of the move that the Palestinians started here. And we are hoping that this will end here and we can get back to the peace talks, because that is the place where we’re going to be able to achieve the aspirations of the Palestinian people. I mean, one of the things that’s most distressing about all of this is that not a single thing changes on the ground for a single Palestinian; life does not get better, as a result of what’s happened in UNESCO. And that’s been our concern from the beginning. If you care about quality of life for Palestinians and their having their own state, this is not the way to go.

QUESTION: Well, I didn’t want to get back into this, but the whole fact that nothing changes on the ground is exactly the argument that people make for saying this is not such a big deal and bad deal. But I want to get back to this. The Palestinians seem to have acted shrewdly here, no?

MS. NULAND: We disagree. We disagree.

QUESTION: Why? You’re going to –

MS. NULAND: For the reasons that I –

QUESTION: You’re going to lose your influence in UNESCO because of this, which you –

MS. NULAND: Because it doesn’t get them any closer to the state that they want, that they need, that they deserve. And it does exacerbate tensions in the region, which makes it harder to get back to the table. And it certainly doesn’t help our ability to help them through UNESCO, which does support cultural heritage sites in the Palestinian territories and throughout the Middle East. So we think it’s a mistake.

Other – can we move on? Moving on, please.

About Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .


Posted In:

109 Responses

  1. Avi_G.
    November 1, 2011, 6:31 pm

    So after all those millions spent by firms on researching human psychology, on manipulating public opinion, on public relations tactics, all DoS has to show for it is Ummmm can we please change the subject?

    I’m not inspired.

    If they put the White House’s Scott Mcclellan, Ari Fleischer, the late Tony Snow, Dana Perino, and Robert Gibbs in a room together could they come up with something better? Probably not, eh?

    • seafoid
      November 2, 2011, 6:58 am

      I remember when I started working, learning about the importance of keeping the line credible. Don’t say anything stupid. Don’t get into a situation where you have to say something stupid. Never make a commitment to a client that is stupid that you can’t follow through on.

      And Nuland broke all the rules.

      • Inanna
        November 3, 2011, 12:15 am

        Agreed but it’s not entirely her fault though, she’s just the talking face of the deep layers of stupidity on this in the USG. She had an incredibly stupid policy to defend: the US is working like mad to drum up support against its own stated policy on Palestine, spat the dummy at the rest of the world when it lost and whined that it was going to take all its toys home. I think we all know what a psychologist would say about that type of behavior.

  2. dbroncos
    November 1, 2011, 6:39 pm

    Outstanding! Good work Lee and Said. It’s refreshing to see an American apologist for Israel so thoroughly exposed. Thanks, Phil – this is juicy-sweet.

  3. eGuard
    November 1, 2011, 6:40 pm

    Q: You are going to oppose them in [the] international weather organization as well?

    A: Yes.

    You see, through the weather-backdoor they create a state! Good we saw that. We should take away the weather from them Palestinians.

  4. ToivoS
    November 1, 2011, 6:41 pm

    This Matt Lee is one hell of a reporter. How does he manage to hold on to his job? Someone very powerful must be protecting him. Is this a crack in the Lobby?

    • James
      November 1, 2011, 7:28 pm

      good question… i enjoyed seeing this video yesterday here at mondo.. mikeo posted it on another thread…

    • Kathleen
      November 1, 2011, 7:30 pm

      “one hell of a reporter” Imagine a reporter asking tough, challenging questions. What a concept

  5. dumvitaestspesest
    November 1, 2011, 6:42 pm

    the you tube video of daily press briefing: 10/31/2011

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      November 1, 2011, 11:37 pm

      There have been few more striking and unimpeachable examples of Israel’s control over the US Congress than this fiasco and the degree to which the members of both the House and Senate are less in fear of the corporate donors who may be negatively affected by this US action than they are of AIPAC and the American Jewish establishment.

      In these past few days, two former White House officials, one from each of the Clinton and Bush administrations have penned, apparently at the behest of the AIPAC-spawned Washington Inst., an article portraying Israel as a strategic asset for the US. That all of its use value stems from wars in which Israel and its American Jewish friends have been directly or indirectly involved in promoting is something that will no doubt escape the members of Congress and the media for which it was intended. See the op-ed on the Council of Foreign Relations website and 22 page pdf

      Why it has been published now suggests that it may have something to do with the UNESCO vote which is likely to cause some important figures not totally encapsulated by the Zionist narrative to raise serious questions about how much the willingness of the US to subordinate itself to Israel’s demands has hurt US national interests however one defines them.

      • seafoid
        November 2, 2011, 4:32 am

        This is potentially massive

        The US Government is going to drop its interest in the World Intellectual Property Organisation for the sake of the Jewish lobby

        Here is what happens in the world of intellectual property

        link to bloomberg.com

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        If Apple can’t defend its patents outside the US its share price is going to tank. Apple has a profit margin of 30% on its smartphone business (samsung has 16%) and it’s not going to give that up for Abraham Foxman . Business is business.

      • American
        November 2, 2011, 9:30 am

        “There have been few more striking and unimpeachable examples of Israel’s control over the US Congress than this fiasco and the degree to which the members of both the House and Senate are less in fear of the corporate donors who may be negatively affected by this US action than they are of AIPAC and the American Jewish establishment.”

        That is striking. But W&M in the Israel Lobby gave several past examples of the Jewish Lobby trumping US business interest. Corporate donors of course don’t care about anything except profit, they’re in no way “patriotic”. So how much they push back on the Lobby’s interference in the US I guess depends on how much they get hurt by it.

        This really is though so astounding—the US being willing to get out of every International agency because of the Israel Lobby? Wow.
        This says as much or even more than our capitulation to Israel on I/P.
        This says the Lobby dictates e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g, trumps ALL US interest.

      • libra
        November 2, 2011, 6:31 pm

        I’m not sure this particular issue this will set off a conflict between the Zionist lobby and the wider Intellectual Property constituency in the US. Clearly for many Zionist oligarchs, IP means Intellectual Property as much as Israel/Palestine. And we can be sure they are not going to shoot themselves in their financial foot for the sake of their emotional support of Israel.

        Surely it has long been obvious that US global hegemony has been used to aggressively pursue the (often overlapping) interests of both groups. In other words, they are long-term partners. I’m sure there are other commenters here at MW who know more about this than me, but I get the impression the US prefers to use its muscle in the WTO rather than rely on WIPO to enforce Intellectual Property Rights. So demoting US involvement in UNESCO this could be part of that power play as well.

        In saying this, I’m not arguing against Jeffrey Blankfort’s position on who is in the driving seat with respect to US foreign policy in the Middle East. I believe his analysis is fundamentally correct. I’m just thinking it’s very unlikely that Israel would push through an action which would harm many of its key supporters in the US, and hence ultimately it’s influence over the US.

  6. lysias
    November 1, 2011, 6:44 pm

    A lot of this interchange was broadcast on Democracy Now! this morning.

    If corporations can lobby Congress to change the law so that the U.S. doesn’t have to leave WIPO (or the World Bank or the WTO) because Palestine is admitted, what reason can there be for keeping that law in place for UNESCO? Because culture doesn’t matter?

  7. Citizen
    November 1, 2011, 6:52 pm

    Ha, nothing changes on the ground–except increased illegal Jewish settlements she said was still against past-declared US policy. Nothing’s moving towards peace but Jewish land grabbing, changing facts on the ground so that Israel has more chips at any sit-down in future. So we cut off funds to Abbas, we cut off funds to UNESCO, although the Pals have done nothing but try to get attention at UN & affiliated agencies, while Israel is actively violating both international law & US policy–yet not a sign US will even threaten to cut off funds to Israel, which are by far the biggest chunk of our total foreign aid. And stupid Dick & Jane don’t even give this absurdity a thought, even when foreclosed and/or homeless on the street.

    • Citizen
      November 1, 2011, 7:00 pm

      PS: Another UN-affiliated agency I guess US will defund is the one monitoring nuclear WMD.

      • Charon
        November 1, 2011, 10:05 pm

        They could use that to their advantage. Create their own version with Canada and staff it with neocons and Zionists who can then lie about Iran

    • mig
      November 2, 2011, 2:26 am

      Citizen :

      Ha, nothing changes on the ground–except increased illegal Jewish settlements

      Yup —> Israel to speed up settler homes after Unesco vote

      Israel says it will speed up Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – and temporarily freeze the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority.

      link to bbc.co.uk
      link to guardian.co.uk

      And aftermath from Unesco vote was also —>

      Palestinians hit by cyber-attack following success at Unesco

      Computer experts are trying to identify who was responsible, as authority considers applications to other global bodies

      Internet services in the West Bank and Gaza have come under “sustained attack” by unknown hackers in multiple locations, according to officials.

      “There has been a sustained attack since the morning from many sources in many countries,” said Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib. “It is deliberate and continuous.”

      link to guardian.co.uk

      • Shmuel
        November 2, 2011, 2:49 am

        Israel says it will speed up Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – and temporarily freeze the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority.

        Because the UNESCO vote (“a tragedy”) severely compromised negotiations and hopes for peace, the Israelis decided to take these non-unilateral measures (unilateral feh) to get the process back on track. Netanyahu is truly a man of peace.

      • Shmuel
        November 2, 2011, 3:26 am

        Seriously, this demonstrates (once again) that Israel has absolutely no interest in this process, except as a cover for continued occupation, expropriation and colonisation.

        Lee put it very well. US policy seems to consist of trying to make sure Israel doesn’t get upset. This only matters because Israel has no interest in real negotiations. If it did, it wouldn’t be looking for pretexts to take steps that are far more counter-productive than Palestinian membership in one or more UN agencies. Negotiations (the productive kind – or the elusive promise thereof) are seen as a purely Palestinian interest. Piss us off and we won’t play any more. Do as we say, and we’ll continue to string you along (20 years since Madrid and settlement-construction still going strong!)

        How can anyone possibly have any faith in such a process? As long as the Israelis continue to view the very fact of negotiation (20 years after Madrid) as some sort of concession or favour, the efforts of the “honest broker” will be aimed at getting an unwilling partner back to the table – i.e. making sure Israel doesn’t get “upset”.

      • eljay
        November 2, 2011, 7:36 am

        >> Israel says it will speed up Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – and temporarily freeze the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority.

        RW had better get on the phone with Bibi pronto! and tell him that now’s the time to “make ‘better wheels’” and to “live #AND# let live!”

        Then again, it’s probably all Hamas’ fault and the ONLY THING Israel can do is “hunker down” and play (aggressor-)victim.

  8. Bumblebye
    November 1, 2011, 6:58 pm

    Gaaah!
    I want to smash the sodding “table”!
    There’s a feast going on at one end, and a few crumbs rolled down to the other end.

  9. pabelmont
    November 1, 2011, 7:02 pm

    “Who’s shared goal? Who shares this goal, other than the 13 other countries”. DoS dummy-pants really put her foot in it there! Meant shared by USA and Israel, because people are always (reflexivey) assuring themselves (and us) (and especially Israel and AIPAC) that there is no sunlight between Israel’s interests and the USA’s. And then she couldn’t say so!

    What glorious fun! Helen Thomas missed her moment. Lee is great, but how I wish she’d had the chance at this dummy-pants.

  10. pabelmont
    November 1, 2011, 7:10 pm

    And then, “she wants to make sure that companies understand that Palestinian membership in WIPO could trigger – would trigger similar funding restrictions and could diminish U.S. influence in an organization that’s very important to these companies. So we need to make sure that our companies understand the implications of what’s happened and begin that conversation with them.”

    DoS is courting the BIGs (the VERY BIGs) to belly up to the bar and use their campaign-finance money to COUNTER AIPAC! So far, for 44 years, AIPAC (and M-I-C) have been the only BIGs making pressure on USA policy for Middle East, and they’ve been on Israel’s side. MAYBE NOW we can get some players to start weighing in on the other side.

    AIPAC doesn’t have to win every battle in a slam dunk, but someone BIG will have to educate a lot of congresspeople and get them to change their reflexive pro-Israelism.

    • Charon
      November 1, 2011, 8:14 pm

      Also, “I think the stage that we are at is to make sure that our companies understand what may or may not be happening in this circumstance so that we can open a conversation about how we protect their interests going forward”

      Reading the press exchange and processing all the irrationality behind this UNESCO thing is irritating. Maybe this really is a blessing in disguise. Apple fiercely protects their IP and China has been opening counterfeit Apple Stores (and IKEAs, but they’re in Sweden). AIPAC can lobby for a lot of money, but Apple also has a lot of money. Apple is just one example. I wonder how Hollywood and the MPAA feels about this? Probably conflicted given its Jewish character. I just doubt their loyalty to Israel will cloud their judgement when countries can have budget theater chains with DLP projectors screening blu-rays on a 30×60 ft screen and there is nothing they can do about it. (that isn’t a bad idea… I saw a projected blu-ray for Wizard of Oz at an official event and nobody could tell the difference between normal digital cinema projection even sitting close to the screen and it certainly blew away 35mm release print.. sorry that’s off topic)

      • seafoid
        November 2, 2011, 6:56 am

        The US IT companies are not going to accept this. Apple is not going to tolerate a cut in profits because of Israel’s YESHA fantasy.

    • pabelmont
      November 2, 2011, 12:17 pm

      BTW, I know how to phone and email my congresspeople. BUT THEY ARE NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

      How do I phone and email the OLIGARCHS? BIG ZION? BIG BANKS? BIG ARMAMENTS? BIG Intellectual-Property? These guys *ARE* my government and I’d like to be able to contact them,

  11. RoHa
    November 1, 2011, 7:11 pm

    Woo Hoo! I can pirate US films, software, textbooks, and drugs and get away with it!

  12. justicewillprevail
    November 1, 2011, 7:27 pm

    That is just hilarious. Matt Lee is ace at asking simple, straightforward questions, for which the almighty US and its thoroughly brainwashed spokesman has NO answer. Emperor and clothes alright. He asks the questions you’re not supposed to ask, because the US and its paymaster do not have any answers. All they have is hostility, bad faith and point blank refusal to act like rational human beings. In addition they are acting against American interests. Have they the slightest idea of what fools they sound like? Ha ha ha. Why don’t they get Witty to be the spokesman? That would be about as coherent and clear.

    • midnightschild
      November 1, 2011, 8:18 pm

      How small the US looks in the eyes of the world as well as many of its own citizens in regard to the Palestinians. I sincerely hope that the Palestinians continue to become members of the various other agencies associated with the UN, which would include the World Court. Evidently, Obama wasn’t satisfied with his “Badge of Honor” from Netanyahu after his UN speech where he forgot to mention how many Palestinians had been killed by Israelis, how many years the Palestinians have been under the occupation of Israel, etc. With the defunding of UNESCO, maybe he’ll get an illegal settlement named after him.

  13. Kathleen
    November 1, 2011, 7:29 pm

    Victoria Nuland knows a great deal about the hanky panky in the Bush/Cheney Whitehouse
    link to justice.gov

    OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT

    WAS H N GTO N

    December 16, 2003

    MEMORANDUM FOR: Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to the Vice President
    Catherine J. Martin, Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs
    Neil Patel, Assistant to the Vice President and Staff Secretary
    Victoria Nuland, Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President
    for National Security Affairs
    Debra A. Heiden, Executive Assistant to the Vice President

    FROM: David S. Addington, Counsel to the Vice President

    SUBJECT: Collection of Certain Documents for Department of Justice Investigation

    Please read this entire memorandum carefully. It deals with legal obligations that apply to you.

    The Criminal Division of the Department of Justice has issued a request dated December 16, 2003 (“DOJ
    Request,”Attachment 1) for production of six categories of documents of the Office of the Vice President
    (OVP). The OVP will respond fully, cooperatively, and in accordance with the law. The purpose of this
    memorandum is to obtain your assistance in ensuring that the OVP so responds.

    ——————————————————–
    Think Progess has a bit up about the Nuland exchange and AP’s Matt Lee
    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/11/01/358053/nuland-palestine-unesco/——
    ————————————————————————-

    Will never forget Colonel Wilkersons description of those working in Cheney’s offices. And Victoria Nuland was one of those individuals

    the Plame outing trial
    link to historycommons.org
    “‘Cabal’ of Zealots – Wilkerson calls Cheney’s inner group a “cabal” of arrogant, intensely zealous, highly focused loyalists. Recalling Cheney’s staff interacting in a variety of interagency meetings and committees, “The staff that the vice president sent out made sure that those [committees] didn’t key anything up that wasn’t what the vice president wanted,” says Wilkerson. “Their style was simply to sit and listen, and take notes. And if things looked like they were going to go speedily to a decision that they knew that the vice president wasn’t going to like, generally they would, at the end of the meeting, in great bureaucratic style, they’d say: ‘We totally disagree. Meeting’s over.’” The committee agendas were generally scuttled. And if something did get written up as a “decision memo” bound for the Oval Office, Cheney himself would ensure that it died before ever reaching fruition.”
    Sidestepping the NSC – The National Security Council (NSC) is designated as the ultimate arbiter for foreign policy options and recommendations for the president. But, according to Wilkerson, Cheney’s office and the NSC were often at loggerheads, and Cheney’s “shadow NSC” had the upper bureaucratic hand. Cheney “set up a staff that knew what the statutory NSC was doing, but the NSC statutory staff didn’t know what his staff was doing,” says Wilkerson.”

  14. Sin Nombre
    November 1, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Hard to think of a better, purer rebuttal example of the eternal argument (of the sort always put forward by, say, the Chomsky’s of the world) that no, the U.S. never really does anything just for Israel but is instead always just trying to serve its own interests.

    This was shooting ourselves in the foot just to prove to Israel that on its behalf we will indeed shoot ourselves in the foot just to make it happy.

    Next step, shooting ourselves in the head for it. (Which will *still* not get the Israelis to stop feeling contempt for Obama. One never appreciates what another if *forced* to do for you; after all that’s the nature of the master and subordinate relationship. All you can really do is pity the subordinate for being so slavish, although of course more regularly it’s not pity they get, but contempt.)

    A new low, not to be over-impressed with however given that Mr. Obama seems to bestow new lows of this sort on us in a regular fashion.

    At least Bush seemed to believe in Israel’s rightness; what’s to be said about our community organizer-in-chief?

    Hot theoretical topic in Tel Aviv and AIPAC offices: “Is there *anything* we we can’t get Washington to kow-tow to? *Anything*?”

    Prediction: No matter what Obama does for Israel there’s no U.S. President so far who is going to garner the contempt from Israel that he will. Including Jimmy Carter. They may hate Carter, but they aren’t contemptuous of him.

    • Antidote
      November 2, 2011, 7:36 am

      I’m still with Chomsky. The UNESCO debacle may be seen as the lesser evil, the greater evil being war involving Israel against the Palestinians and/or Iran, or involving Turkey. UNESCO membership is a step towards Palestinian statehood, and Israel is as opposed to it as giving up an inch of the West Bank. The US position, shared by the other naysayers such as apparent Israel slave Germany, is that UN recognition, a change in legal status, won’t give the Palestinians a state. This is correct as long as Israel has the big guns and is willing to use them to defend her interest and fend off being summoned to The Hague, remote as that possibility may be. The contempt for Obama makes sense to me. Instinctively, Obama haters have always been right about him being ‘anti-Israel’. It’s clear, I think, even from his body language, how he detests Netanyahu and the speeches he has to deliver in order to prevent total disaster for the US and the ME, including Israel.

      • American
        November 2, 2011, 10:55 am

        “This is correct as long as Israel has the big guns and is willing to use them to defend her interest ”

        The only actual big gun Israel has is it’s lobby’s hold on the US.
        That’s it, that’s all they’ve really got. If the US stepped away all Israel would have is the means to suicide itself.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        November 2, 2011, 3:40 pm

        That anyone who has not totally surrendered his or her thinking faculties can still accept Chomsky’s analysis of the US-Israeli relationship, i.e., that US actions with regard to Israel are determined by US national interests, is beyond me. I am not sure what antidote remains for Antidote if the events of the past few months have not been sufficient.

        I am sure that Obama detests Netanyahu. There are few more detestable people on the planet (though there are a number that come close). What he objects to is that Netanyahu has called him out and Obama has rolled over on his back. There may have been more cowardly presidents in the White House but none have displayed it so openly time and again.

        Would Chomsky and his defenders seriously want us to believe that this is only a stage act for us rubes and that Obama’s caving in to Israel at every critical juncture is in ANY way beneficial to anybody’s definition of the US national interest? No, they would just ignore it and change the subject.

        The fact of the matter is that Obama who is certainly as deserving of impeachment as his predecessor, has done more for Israel, militarily, than Bush or any other US president, his delivery of the bunker busters which Dubya had denied, giving him that distinction.

        Did he give those to Israel out of fear of what they would do with them? No, he gave them to Israel because from the very beginning, despite the fancy speeches and calls for freezing of the settlements, he has been doing the bidding of the American Jewish establishment AKA the Israel Lobby while appearing in public to be doing the contrary.

        Now the charade is over and he and his despicable administration stands exposed to the world.

      • Antidote
        November 10, 2011, 10:01 am

        “That anyone who has not totally surrendered his or her thinking faculties can still accept Chomsky’s analysis of the US-Israeli relationship, i.e., that US actions with regard to Israel are determined by US national interests, is beyond me. I am not sure what antidote remains for Antidote if the events of the past few months have not been sufficient.”

        It seems to me that Chomsky subscribes to Rosa Luxemburg’s definition of freedom, i.e. the freedom to think differently. Does Blankfort?

        I’m not sure what Blankfort means by “US national interests”. How anyone can suggest that Americans not under the evil influence of the Lobby have a clear understanding of what their national interest is, and what is not, is beyond me.

  15. dumvitaestspesest
    November 1, 2011, 7:44 pm

    I have a question.
    Is this lady ,Victoria Nuland, spokesperson of Israeli State Department ??
    She does sound like one.
    Or is there some kind of the secret Union between Israel & the USA,
    that the general public was not informed of ??
    This women pre-recorded, repetitive, , obscure, evasive, phony answers are just an insult for anybody, who has at least half of the brain.

    • MRW
      November 2, 2011, 8:37 pm

      She’s married to Robert Kagan, a co-founder of PNAC and foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney.

  16. Kathleen
    November 1, 2011, 7:54 pm

    IRAN RESPONDS TO U.S. CHARGES
    Posted on November 1st, 2011 under general with 37 replies.

    link to raceforiran.com

    Furthermore, if one actually speaks with Iranian officials (something that the United States government, as a matter of policy, bars itself from doing)—or even Iranian analysts supportive of the Islamic Republic (which the mainstream media are reluctant to do)—what comes across is a strong sense that the Obama Administration’s recent accusations against the Islamic Republic are a manifestation of American desperation. In this regard, Tehran has now responded formally to a letter it received two weeks ago from the U.S. government regarding the purported Saudi assassination scheme. The response hardly suggests that Iran is feeling intimidated or eager for diplomatic relief from its current predicament. As an Iranian diplomatic source described it, the Iranian government calls on the United States to officially apologize for making baseless accusations against Iran—accusations which, the message states, are based on “dishonest” information. The source said that, in Tehran’s view, the United States has a responsibility to apologize both to the Iranian government and to the Iranian citizens it has accused; in its letter to the U.S. government, Iran reportedly calls on the United States to pay compensation for physical and psychological damages caused to these people.

    The Iranian letter reportedly links the Obama Administration’s allegations of official Iranian complicity in the Saudi assassination plot to the George W. Bush Administration’s case for invading Iraq, which was also based on “dishonest” information. It stresses that the results of American “scenario-making” in Iraq are that, after killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and imposing thousands of billions of dollars of expenditures on the American people, the United States is now being forced to withdraw completely from Iraq, in helpless defeat.

    • Charon
      November 1, 2011, 10:03 pm

      If the US never apologized for accidentally shooting down Iran Air 655, a civilian jetliner, they definitely aren’t going to apologize for this.

      It’s humorous to me that if I mention (here are on other blogs) believing Israel was involved in 9/11 given the circumstantial evidence as a whole, the suspicious coincidences, and the Zionists/Neocons all over the investigation and aftermath who also went on to use these as a basis for constitution-violating Israeli-style security policies and justification for war with unrelated countries, the hasbarists laugh it off. Because even though Israel has a history of doing such things (on a smaller scale), it was obviously evil Muslim terrorists. Fox news reported the Israeli thing and AIPAC had them pull it. CNN also reported it but called it antisemitic directed at Jews (implying all Jews). The ADL brings it up every 9/11 anniversary.

      Those same Zionists/Neocons and hasbara trolls don’t flinch at implicating Saudi Arabia despite such an implication also falling into conspiracy which under normal circumstances are laughed off. Another example of using double standards if it supports their POV.

      The exact same Zionists/Neocons are now crying for war with Iran despite the evidence being substantially weaker then Israel has regarding a 9/11 involvement. Would the government of Iran endorse this assassination plot? No, that is not their style and a suicide move. Would Israel setup their enemies to make them into other’s enemies? Absolutely. Except now they might be taking matters into their own hands:

      link to haaretz.com

      Which puts American troops at risk because Iran already said they would attack our ME bases. It puts all of Israel/Palestine at risk because Russia has hinted they wouldn’t just sit and do nothing. Which puts all of the world at risk for the worst.

      • Keith
        November 2, 2011, 5:35 pm

        CHARON- “If the US never apologized for accidentally shooting down Iran Air 655, a civilian jetliner, they definitely aren’t going to apologize for this.”

        Perhaps one reason that they didn’t apologize was to ensure that Iran understood that it was no accident. There are strong indications that the USS Vincennes intentionally shot down the airliner as a message to Iran that should the Iran-Iraq war continue, the US would become directly involved on the side of Iraq. The crew of the USS Vincennes were decorated with the combat action ribbon as a consequence of this “accident,” personally given by Vice President George H. W. Bush.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        November 2, 2011, 9:44 pm

        It was probably not a coincidence that five months later Pan Am Flt 103 blew up over Lockerbie, killing its 259 passengers. Originally, the FBI and other Western intelligence organizations speculated that Syria had carried out the operation on behalf of Iran with the actual placing of the bomb having been done by a cell of the PFLP-GC, a group that had broken away from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and was known to be backed by both Iran and Syria. link to lrb.co.uk

        Since at the time, the senior Bush administration was making friendly overtures to Syria, it was more politically convenient to point the finger at Libya. Since Gaddafi had made himself a popular Western whipping boy, there were few objections.

        If Libya was not involved, the immediate question was why did Gaddafi agree to pay reparations to the families of Flt 103′s victims?
        The answer was quite simple. The $2.3 million it cost him, without admitting responsibility, was a relatively cheap price to pay for being given the opportunity to open the Libyan market to the Western companies that were lusting after Libya’s oil.

  17. crone
    November 1, 2011, 8:05 pm

    Victoria Nuland is an American Jew, married to Robert Kagan, also an American Jew…

    Question: Are there ANY non-Jews in the State Department?

    Question: Nuland was one of Cheney’s right hands… do Democratic Presidents usually retain so many of the previous opposition party folks? (I guess only when they are Israel Firsters)

    Question: How in the world can an Israel-Firster keep a straight face answering questions about Palestinians? About statehood status for Palestine?

    I’m sick to death of this one-sided diplomacy…

    • Chaos4700
      November 1, 2011, 8:29 pm

      Question: Are there ANY non-Jews in the State Department?

      Hillary Clinton. Are you reassured yet?

      • maggielorraine
        November 1, 2011, 9:43 pm

        Thank you, Chaos. What kind of a ridiculous question is that….honestly.

      • annie
        November 1, 2011, 9:51 pm

        maggielorraine. i am still planning on going to occupy oakland tomorrow. are you going? did you receive the email from JVP about where we are meeting?

      • Chaos4700
        November 1, 2011, 10:57 pm

        To be fair, I was being equal parts of sarcastic in two directions. The sensible question would have been, “Are there ANY non-Zionists in the State Department?”

      • Taxi
        November 2, 2011, 12:48 am

        Hilary’s in-laws are jewish.

  18. Chaos4700
    November 1, 2011, 8:12 pm

    Yeah. If Israel thought they were “surrounded by enemies” now, just wait until Big Pharma, Big Media and the Military-Industrial Complex declare war on them. Hell hath no fury like a big lobby scorned.

    This is huge. Of course what I’d really like to grill the State Department and the rest of the government on is why they enforced this law, whereas the Arms Export Control Act goes totally unenforced.

    • Charon
      November 1, 2011, 9:27 pm

      Agreed. Big Media isn’t going to choose Israel over protecting their IPs (among other things). MPAA and RIAA will have a harder time stopping international piracy or going after torrent sites like pirate bay. Disney has a tough time as it is protecting their IPs internationally. News Corp. would probably even be concerned since they have Fox and are an American company. Big Media also owns significant portions of MSM. Big Pharma has a reputation for throwing their wait around De Beers-style.

      Unrelated side note, that ‘surrounded by enemies’ ad for those flag pins seems to forget that Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties with Israel. Fundies like to repeat it because it’s a prerequisite for their end-time beliefs

  19. dumvitaestspesest
    November 1, 2011, 8:16 pm

    Peace talk. Just a talk . Plenty of words, empty promises.
    And the days just go by. Month after month, year after year.

    “I’ve heard a lot of spoken words, but nothing has been done.
    Good words do not mean anything, unless they accomplish something.
    Words can not repay me for my people ,who died.
    Words can not give back my land, now occupied by white people.
    Words can not protect my father’s grave.
    Good words do not bring back my dead children.
    Good words will not ensure the health of my people, and do not prevent them from dying.
    Good words do not give us the house, where we could live in peace and take care of ourselves”.
    – Joseph, the Nez Perce Indian chief

    • seafoid
      November 2, 2011, 4:42 am

      John Trudell .

      Calling us red Indians
      We have been the colors
      On a chameleons back
      Changing with time
      Altering the larger pattern
      Surviving genocide
      Because we have to
      Living in reality
      We are targets of your unfairness
      With warriors for targets
      You create your own destruction
      This is how we bring you down
      Target by target you wound yourself
      Using your greed we watch
      Your spirit fade
      Living in reality
      We can endure your cages
      Your bullets your lies
      Your confusion
      We know you have
      Destroyed your peace
      Living in reality

      your lies, your confusion , Ms Nuland

  20. kursato
    November 1, 2011, 8:19 pm

    Canada has cut funding to UNESCO too

    • dumvitaestspesest
      November 1, 2011, 8:36 pm

      Wow. That’s a surprise. What about Germany?
      What our ‘Golden Lady” Angela is planning to do?

    • Chaos4700
      November 1, 2011, 10:58 pm

      Are you sure? Holy crap. I guess my joking that Canada heels when the US pulls on the leash… isn’t… a joke anymore…

      • James
        November 2, 2011, 2:13 am

        us canucks living under the fuhrer harper are in a bad way.. it is pathetic how the conservatives have replicated all the core right wing values of the usa and managed to get back in power after having been decimated when mulroney was head of the same friggin party… read this article from yesterday to see the disturbing trend going on here in canada.. it is an eye opener for any canucks on this board or americans for that matter…

        link to mondoweiss.net

  21. kursato
    November 1, 2011, 8:20 pm

    Ever thought of what comes next?

    Try these UN Agencies that will allow Palestinia­n entry next:
    - World Intellectu­al Property Organizati­on
    - Internatio­nal Civil Aviation Organizati­on
    - Internatio­nal Postal Union
    - Internatio­nal Telecommun­ications Union
    - Internatio­nal Atomic Energy Agency
    - World Health Organizati­on

    The US is going to hate painting itself into that corner. .

    • Charon
      November 1, 2011, 8:56 pm

      Yeah. And when the Palestinians are admitted entry into the International Postal Union and all our international mail has to be routed through Canada because of it (taking twice as long and costing three times as much) I don’t think the masses will accept ‘Palestine’s entry to the IPU is counterproductive bla bla bla’ as an answer. If US leaders and lawmakers are going to isolate and punish Americans because of this, heads will roll.

      • lysias
        November 2, 2011, 10:26 am

        What’s the role of the International Telecommunications Union? What will the result for the U.S. be if we are expelled from it?

      • lysias
        November 2, 2011, 3:00 pm

        Juan Cole answers my question:

        As for the fall-out for the United States, an informed reader wrote to remind me that if the Palestinians are welcomed into other UN bodies, the US could well lose substantial influence and have its interests adversely affected. He notes that the International Telecommunication Union allocates radio spectrum usage globally, “including the spectrum reserved for military and commercial use.” The World Health Organization is clearly important to the US for combating epidemics. The World Meteorological Organization is a matrix of information about weather that has agricultural and military implications. The World Intellectual Property Organization recognizes patents and copyrights worldwide.

      • lysias
        November 2, 2011, 10:27 am

        If Canada has also cut funding to UNESCO, aren’t they too likely to be expelled from the International Postal Union?

        Maybe that mail will have to go through Mexico.

    • Charon
      November 1, 2011, 8:59 pm

      Wait, I forgot that Canada was run by rapturous fundies. I guess that mail would have to be routed to Mexico then……

      • James
        November 1, 2011, 9:36 pm

        the zombie in power here is a nutjob..

      • Walid
        November 2, 2011, 2:09 am

        “Wait, I forgot that Canada was run by rapturous fundies.

        Charon, last year B’Nai Brith and the Canada-Israel Committee convinced the Canadian Government to stop the annual $30 million funding of UNRWA that’s caring for close to 5 million Palestinian refugees. That’s about 5% of UNRWA’s total budget. The Zionists’ twisted logic that convinced the Canadians is that by shutting down UNRWA, the Arab states would be forced to take over the responsability of the 5 million Palestinians and in the process take the RoR pressure off Israel.The US covers the biggest share of UNRWA’s budget with a contribution of $220 million (a third of the total budget ; EU also pays about a third) and when Canada got off UNRWA’s bus, the US picked up part of the slack by contributing an additional $40million. Surprising how the Zionists haven’t yet succeeded moving the US away from UNRWA; maybe it’s the next step after UNESCO.

        In contrast to the $400million that the US and the EU are paying into UNRWA, the total Arab States contribution is $12 million although Saudi Arabia pledged a special amount of $25 million to rebuild Nahr el Bared.

      • American
        November 2, 2011, 4:37 pm

        “Surprising how the Zionists haven’t yet succeeded moving the US away from UNRWA; ”

        They’ve already tried it. The ususal suspects in congress have floated half a dozen bills to have the Palestine refugees declared not refugees and cut off the funding. None of the bills had passed when I last looked but I will check and see what going on there now.

    • Walid
      November 2, 2011, 4:14 am

      Kursato, your list of UN agencies contains the International Telecommunications Union. Last year, Lebanon registered a complaint at the ITU meeting in Mexico against Israel’s mucking around with its phone systems and succeeded in getting the agency to condemn Israel. But after about 65 separate UN resolutions, opinions, condemnations and so on against Israel, what’s one more or less condemnation that simply run off Israel’s back? From the Daily Star:

      ITU decries Israeli breaches of Lebanese telecom sector October 25, 2010 12:00 AM By The Daily Star
      BEIRUT: The press office of Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas issued a statement over the weekend about the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference condemning Israel’s violation of Lebanon’s telecoms sector, saying that the sector has been and is still being subjected to Israeli interference, reported As-Safir newspaper over the weekend.

      It said Lebanon’s “mobile phone and land lines are being subjected to Israeli piracy, interference, and obstruction.” Moreover, the conference, which took place in Mexico, said Lebanon had the right to ask for compensation for the harm that had been inflicted on the telecoms network.

      The condemnation came after extensive efforts by the Lebanese telecoms minister to persuade the 124 participants to condemn Israel. Forty-three members voted in favor, 23 against, while 57 abstained.

      … The report issued by the ITU gave a brief overview about article 75 which is related to Lebanon. It assured that the presence of a trustful telecoms network was a necessity for the support of social and economic growth in all countries and mainly those which were exposed to Israeli assaults.

      It added that the damage incurred to communications facilities in Lebanon should be the subject of interest of the international community. The report also said that Lebanon had the right to be compensated for the damages that it had incurred

      Read more: link to dailystar.com.lb
      (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

      • lysias
        November 2, 2011, 5:20 pm

        Does an organization like the ITU have the power to expel a member state for flagrant violations?

  22. dumvitaestspesest
    November 1, 2011, 8:26 pm

    “When they turn a country into a desert/wasteland, they call it Peace”.
    Tacitus

    • Antidote
      November 2, 2011, 8:04 am

      Excellent quote. Sums up WW II. Also Iraq. Mussolini caved when the Allies threatened to bomb Rome. Hitler didn’t when same group bombed Berlin and every other major German city, including Dresden. Who will be most/least willing to see Jerusalem be reduced to rubble and ashes? My guess is the Israelis will hang on to the final victory, no matter the cost, including the Samson option Hitler didn’t have.

    • lysias
      November 2, 2011, 10:24 am

      That’s Tacitus quoting — or pretending to quote — the British chieftain Calgacus.

  23. Kathleen
    November 1, 2011, 8:35 pm

    Ambassador Ginsberg pushing for military intervention in Syria over at Huffington Post. As someone said earlier why not just let Israel’s officials step up to the microphone and eliminate Nulands job. Does Ginsberg still get paid? Just have Israeli officials do this directly. Knock out the middle folks

    SOS From Syria

    Amb. Marc Ginsberg

    link to huffingtonpost.com
    “Disptach from Cyprus: The beleaguered opponents of the Assad regime have dispatched an urgent “SOS” to the international community pleading for help to stop the slaughter in Syria’s cities at the hands of Bashar al Assad’s security forces. Elements of the opposition, including the Syrian National Council, have appealed for unspecified international intervention (and some have actually pleaded for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Syria), but their pleas are being met by a painful silence. The voices that demanded urgent action to stop Col. Gadaffi from committing a humanitarian catastrophe in Benghazi can’t seem to muster the same level of concern for the Syrian people. ”

    Then why not Palestine, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Sudan?
    Marc still trying to complete the agenda laid out in the Feith/Perl­e blueprint “The Clean Break. Securing the Realm”
    link to www­.iasps.org­

    Securing the Northern Border

    Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize­, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by:

    striking Syria’s drug-money and counterfei­ting infrastruc­ture in Lebanon, all of which focuses on Razi Qanan.

    parallelin­g Syria’s behavior by establishi­ng the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.

    striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficie­nt, striking at select targets in Syria proper.

    Israel also can take this opportunit­y to remind the world of the nature of the Syrian regime. Syria repeatedly breaks its word. It violated numerous agreements with the Turks, and has betrayed the United States by continuing to occupy Lebanon in violation of the Taef agreement in 1989. Instead, Syria staged a sham election, installed a quisling regime, and forced Lebanon to sign a “Brotherho­od Agreement” in 1991, that terminated Lebanese sovereignt­y. And Syria has begun colonizing Lebanon with hundreds of thousands of Syrians, while killing tens of thousands of its own citizens at a time, as it did in only three days in 1983 in Hama.

    • Walid
      November 2, 2011, 3:20 am

      Kathleen, Syria was thrown out of Lebanon in 2005 but nonetheless, a call for military intervention in Syria is in actuality a call for one into Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Iran as well as an upheaval in Syria would touch on all its neighbours. A no-fly zone over Syria would be as punitive to Lebanon as to Syria since Lebanon has to fly over Syria to reach any and all points east since it has Syria to its north and east, Israel to its south and the Med to its west and it would effectively shut down Lebanon too.

      Those “opposition” parties on Cyprus, in Turkey and in France are really US and Israel proxies that are calling for a NATO-type bombing of their country. No matter how oppressive the regime, what honest citizen of a country calls on foreigners to bomb the hell out of his own country and kill innocent compatriots in the process?

      Assad’s regime is in need of a major overhaul as it’s absurd how a very small minority group like the Baathist Alawite have a stranglehold power over the majority Sunni in the country and even more absurd how the current constitution guarantees the ruling Baathists a minium of 2/3 of the legislative seats. But this is no reason to destroy Syria as was done to Libya and Iraq. The Syrian army continues standing 100% behind the regime because it knows all too well what the Western powers do with with the countries’ armies when they take over a country. Those calling for action on Syria or are trying to stir up a civil war there don’t realize what’s at risk.

      That opposition you are talking about refuses categorically to have anything to do with negotiating any settlement of any nature with the current regime and has already rejected several offers to participate in the drafting of necessary changes. This should tell you the true motive driving the opposition that’s working from outside the country.

      By the way, there was a meeting of those “opposition” people this past July in Paris. It was hosted by the Libya NATO-bombing Zionist instigator, Bernard-Henri Lévy and the hall’s attendance contained more Zionists like Bernard Kouchner, Likud organizers and Muslim Brotherhood leaders than ordinary and concerned Syrians, so it should give you an idea of who is behind the Syrian opposition calling on outside intervention.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        November 2, 2011, 2:54 pm

        “A no-fly zone over Syria would be as punitive to Lebanon as to Syria since Lebanon has to fly over Syria to reach any and all points east since it has Syria to its north and east, Israel to its south and the Med to its west and it would effectively shut down Lebanon too.”

        This is no doubt one of the reasons that there is no eagerness on the part of the US and NATO, at least at the moment, to replicate what they did over and to Libya.

        Moreover, given the fact that both Russia and China would vote against a resolution similar to what it had gone along with over Libya, any action taken against Syria by the US and NATO would not be under UN auspices and despite worldwide revulsion against Assad’s crackdown on the country’s dissidents, I think there would be equal revulsion if the US and NATO started bombing the country’s “military infrastructure” which would end up, as we know, in countless civilian deaths.

        At some point, the peoples of all the NATO countries need to come together to rid the world of this attack dog as well as its handlers. ‘Nuff said.

    • Walid
      November 2, 2011, 7:36 am

      Again, Kathleen, some clarifications are needed here. The military commander responsible for what happened at Hama in 1983 is today the leader of the opposition that you are talking about and the one that met with Bernard-Henri Lévy and his Zionists in Paris this July. He is the former chief prosecutor and former Vice-President of Syria, Abdul-Halim Khadam, now living inexile in Paris.

      This May he gave an interview to Henrik Tzimerman of Israel’s Channel 2 TV, his second in 6 years. In the first interview, he accused Syria of having assissinated Lebanon’s PM Hariri in 2005 that the International Tribunal cleared of all suspicion last year. The interview picked up by Manar TV is partly in Arabic and partly in Hebrew and in a nutshell, he said in it that the US and the Europeans were funding the opposition to overthrow the regime in Syria, that Turkey was on standby to enter with its army into Syria and that NATO was a couple of months away from attacking Syria. He said that in exchange for the help it was getting from the US and Europe, the opposition would conclude a peace deal with Israel. News panelist Ehud Yari was skeptical of the report based on Khadam’s past history of oppression in Syria and Lebanon.

      It give you an idea what the Syrian opposition is made of and of the direct implication of the uprising by the US and Europe. Here’s the Channel 2 interview:

      • Kathleen
        November 2, 2011, 8:59 am

        Thank you Walid

      • Keith
        November 2, 2011, 6:02 pm

        WALID- Bernard-Henri Lévy. When this guy shows up, can a “humanitarian intervention” be far behind? I am becoming more and more convinced that he is more than just a rich Zionist “philosopher.” A Mossad sayan perhaps?

  24. Tzombo
    November 1, 2011, 8:42 pm

    Just when I stopped believing in capitalism, it works…

    • Opti
      November 1, 2011, 11:23 pm

      I assume you are referring to the hypothesis that multi-national corporations will “think with their wallets” and push the US to accept Palestinians to the organizations without a fuss or lobby against AIPAC. That is pure fantasy and completely unrealistic.

      1) Multi-nationals corporations are beyond profits. We’re talking world-conquest agendas via neo-colonialism (corporate nation states) and a lot of these BIG Corps are owned by famous Zionists.
      2) More likely, Palestinian membership to UN organizations will more likely lead to wars in the Middle East as a way of avoiding Palestinian membership.

      Let me be blunt and pessimistic. Palestine will be mired in war before they join another UN organization. Mark my words.

      [Though I seriously hope I am wrong!]

      • RoHa
        November 2, 2011, 12:23 am

        “Palestine will be mired in war before they join another UN organization.”

        Wow. There’s an impressive predicition.

        link to abc.net.au

        [Though I seriously hope I am wrong!]

        Not much chance of it, unless they get somethingthrough in the next twenty minutes or so.

      • annie
        November 2, 2011, 1:00 am

        jpost reports they are ‘holding off’ 5 hrs ago.

        Israel is prepared to go ahead with a more forceful response should the rockets resume, the sources said. That response could involve ground forces, some reports said.

      • Charon
        November 2, 2011, 1:44 am

        When the Shalit deal was announced, Zionists (including the Zionists who comment here) seem to have had this shady faux-’admiration’ for Hamas and used it against Abbas. Then the rocket thing happened. Now potential ground forces to retaliate and haaretz saying Bibi and Lieberman are trying to get an attack approved for Iran. Diversion?

        Odds of war are extremely high IMO. Also wonder how ‘connected’ some of these comments are. The hasbarists here didn’t like when Turkey announced that list of IDF names. I also read once that a comment left on Al Jazeera foreshadowed the 2006 Lebanon war to a point where they were investigated (can’t find the source)

      • American
        November 2, 2011, 11:29 am

        From the JP article”

        “A small jihadi-terror cell in Gaza – and not Islamic Jihad – behind a wave rockets on southern Israel on Monday night, the defense community believes.”

        I am sorry but this has always smelled to me. This ‘small cell’ always seems to operate ‘just when’ Palestine is making any dipolmatic progress. It also smells that this small cell sends it’s ‘wave of rockets ” into the desert 95% of the time. And also that Hamas keeps declaring a cease fire and has nothing to gain by rockets that seldom hit anything and Hamas can’t find this small cell inside it’s own territory and shut it down even when Hamas knows they will be blamed?
        So are we to believe that Hamas lets and wants this small cell to provoke Israel into attacks that are going to be targeted against them on their home ground in Gaza?
        For what? For just more European press clippings about Israeli assaults against Gaza? To lose more Hamas members in a Israeli attack? All for some rockets that hit an Israeli community once in blue moon or less?
        Nope this doesn’t make any sense. Hamas is not that stupid.

      • annie
        November 2, 2011, 11:40 am

        that line popped out at me too american.

      • RoHa
        November 2, 2011, 7:34 pm

        American, you are surely not suggesting that the “small cell” is actually a bunch of Israeli agent, are you?

        Israel would never do anything so dastardly.

      • American
        November 2, 2011, 10:13 pm

        “American, you are surely not suggesting that the “small cell” is actually a bunch of Israeli agent, are you?”

        LOL, I am just ‘wondering”….I do that when something makes no sense, doesn’t benefit the people or side that is doing it.
        First, everything I have seen Hamas do and read about Hamas over the years tells me they are anything but stupid, they are very clever politically and have shown the ability to turn their strategy on a dime with changing events and circumstances. Since these rocket attacks are almost worthless in terms of damage to Israel I can’t believe Hamas authorizes them. Hamas isn’t a bunch of willy nilly punks throwing firecrackers just because they hate Israel, they are a disciplined and focused group and select their fights carefully. When the think they can or have to go against Israel, as in some of the Israelis assaults on Gaza, they do, when they know the price will be too high they don’t.
        So the biggest mystery to me is no one, not even Hamas, can find this cell in Gaza and shut them down?
        I don’t think a strictly Israeli cell could operate in Gaza without being outed sooner or later by Hamas. I do think it is possible some street gang like Gazans do this on their own just to ‘show” Israel. But then where do they get the materials for their rockets? I do think it is possible for Israel to have some agents pretend to be sympathetic to the rocket gang and covertly supply and encourage or even pay some dirt poor Gazans to do it. It just benefits no one but Israel in giving them an excuse to beat the hell out of Gaza time after time.
        I don’t know, it just doesn’t make sense. I can’t remember, has Israel ever actually caught any of the rocket gang(s)..ever..any…in all these years?

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        November 3, 2011, 1:53 am

        It would not be surprising to find that Israel was behind a militia cell operating in Gaza of which most of the members of the cell would be unaware. There is a long history of governments creating groups among their enemies that they can use to cause discord in their ranks, quite often by trying to prove they are more “revolutionary” than the existing legitimate resistance organizations and there is no reason to believe the Palestinian movement would be immune to this especially considering the nature of their opponent.

        It is is more than likely that the late Abu Nidal, a renegade from the PLO who at times enjoyed the hospitality of Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein was, among other things, an Israeli agent. At least, that was the opinion of the late general, Matti Peled, who became a major critic of Israel and supporter of Palestinian rights following his retirement from the military.

        There was a lot of evidence to back him up, not the least being his unsuccessful assassination attempt of Israel’s ambassador to Britain and a member of Labor which the Likudnik Begin seized upon to launch the invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

        That was one of Nidal’s rare attacks on an Israeli. For the most part he targeted other Palestinians and countries whose leaders and public supported the Palestinian struggle which both Austria and Italy did at the time. Nidal was responsible for major massacres of civilians in the capitals of both countries which were clearly designed to turn those countries against the Palestinians.

        From our perspective and the perspective of most Palestiniansoutside of Gaza, , I suspect, the firing of rockets into Israel is a stupid provocation which gives Israel justification for disproportionate retaliation for which it is not held accountable.

        As anyone can see, planning a military operation that ends in the capture of an Israeli soldier is a far more effective way of striking at the heart of the enemy. As long as Israel is maintaining its siege of Gaza, tunneling across the border and killing a few of them is no less legitimate nor effective. After all, it was the deaths of Israeli soldiers at the hands of Hezbollah that finally brought demands from the Israeli public that they withdraw.

      • annie
        November 3, 2011, 2:50 am

        i completely agree

        stay human as vic would say. another ‘unsolved’ crime that did palestine no favor. may justice prevail.

  25. dumvitaestspesest
    November 1, 2011, 9:10 pm

    BTW a situation in Europe , specifically Greece, looks very , very bad.
    Some info.
    link to dailymail.co.uk

    • annie
      November 1, 2011, 9:23 pm

      wow, thanks. very serious sounding

      • RoHa
        November 2, 2011, 12:43 am

        Yep. We have been royally screwed over by the banksters, and a lot of us – and especially Greeks – are thoroughly pissed off about it.

        Time for another World War to take our minds off it.

      • James
        November 2, 2011, 12:52 pm

        war for the banksters is like winning the lottery.. nothing better then war to solve all their temporary problems while creating the same and more for the rest of the planet…

      • RoHa
        November 2, 2011, 7:30 pm

        Indeed. They can make a profit from war supplies, and a profit from cleaning up afterwards, and keep us proles busy so that we don’t have time or energy to complain about them.

  26. Dan Crowther
    November 1, 2011, 10:13 pm

    A couple of thoughts:

    What is equally shocking in this exchange is the extent to which the government believes its role is to protect and coddle “majors” many of whom, at this point, use the US as a P.O. Box. And you better believe that the “majors” expect to be kept safe from the market. Gotta love state capitalism.

    I have to say, the US and Israel are acting in a very traditional colonial manner; the colony is to adhere to market principles – truly capitalist. Membership in these agencies allows the Palestinians a state lever for development, that is a right afforded to real people, like in Israel and the US.

  27. POA
    November 1, 2011, 10:51 pm

    Egads.

    Here I was thinkin’ Witty was just a dimwit, only to find out that he is prime State Department material!

  28. stevelaudig
    November 1, 2011, 11:07 pm

    Victoria Nuland ….. wow… what a stellar performance. But then selling shit is difficult business. The dopey lyingness of it all comes across like a comedy routine. It’s pure Abbott and Costello, “Who’s on State?” I don’t know … Palestine.. Double double talk. It’s like the Vatican spokespersons saying they are doing something about pedophilia. Bunch of hemming and hawing and lying.

    • Kathleen
      November 2, 2011, 9:10 am

      Someone on Adam Horowitz’s thread about this press conference suggested cutting out the middle people like Victoria Nuland (stop paying her and others who speak for Israel) and just have Israeli officials speak at these press conference

      Adams post about this
      link to mondoweiss.net

  29. stevelaudig
    November 1, 2011, 11:23 pm

    Refresh my recollection… what other state negotiated with an occupying neighbor to obtain recognition?

  30. CTuttle
    November 1, 2011, 11:27 pm

    Folks, you really need to check out this awesome diary Jello Biafra just posted at myFDL…! Truly a bookmark worthy post…! *g*

    • Kathleen
      November 2, 2011, 9:21 am

      whoa just read about a third of the post. Remarkable. Taking such interest. Going deep

      • pabelmont
        November 2, 2011, 11:28 am

        I know nothing of “punk” or of popular music whatever, but his story is fascinating and his decision to lose so much money in support of BDS is fantastic, a model. I hope others in popular music learn of this and maybe read it. VERY WELL WRITTEN, IF A BIT TOO LONG. (Maybe you could overthrow a government with followers of popular music; you never could with followers of String Quartets, my music. I am not pooh-pooh-ing popular music, just saying it’s not my thing.)

    • American
      November 2, 2011, 10:49 am

      Most important quote in Jello’s piece:

      “I have heard many times on both sides of the pond that, “The problem is not the Israeli Jews. It’s the right-wing American Jews.” As Peace Now put it, “People like Adelson and (bingo magnate) Irving Moskowitz don’t believe in letting Israelis decide what is best for Israel.”

      I say this over and over, the Israel problem begins and ends in the US.
      It has to change HERE for Israel to ever change.

      • Keith
        November 2, 2011, 6:21 pm

        AMERICAN- “I say this over and over, the Israel problem begins and ends in the US. It has to change HERE for Israel to ever change.”

        Essentially correct. Israel is the spiritual center of Zionism, however, the center of Zionist power is the US.

  31. VR
    November 2, 2011, 2:01 am

    In regard to WIPO, I am sure many are aware of how Israel tries to “preserve” Palestinian intellectual property (sarcasm; was posted here before), they might have to give the stolen property back and it might become available to the world at large –

    THE GREAT BOOK ROBBERY

    The Israelis are afraid that WIPO will undo their hatchet job which they feel has put the perceptions regarding the Palestinians as being from the caveman era, and may reveal there is a body of literature which shows an advanced civilization. This might also undo the “war on terror” which paints all from the region as savages.

    • Walid
      November 2, 2011, 3:32 am

      VR, last year Phil said he was researching the book robbery to do a piece on it and it’s either still in the works or I missed it when it appeared. Was looking forward to Phil’s findings.

  32. stevelaudig
    November 2, 2011, 6:02 am

    The vileness of U.S. policy makes it impossible for its representatives to have an honest discussion of it. To talk about it honestly is to reveal how despicable it truly it. It is the same game that the State Department played for apartheid [which Israel supported].

    • Kathleen
      November 2, 2011, 9:24 am

      You can put your money on Victoria Nuland supporting this radical policy

  33. seafoid
    November 2, 2011, 7:16 am

    link to electronicintifada.net

    Wikileaks: Israel wanted to overcome diplomatic isolation at UNESCO
    Submitted by maureen on Mon, 10/31/2011 – 21:01
    A Wikileaks gem that I came across after the final dump of all the cables this summer is all the more shiny in light of today’s vote to make Palestine a member state at UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

    A cable dated 24 February 2010, marked unclassified but “sensitive,” summarizes a 21 February 2010 discussion between US Deputy Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. During the meeting, according to the cable, Ayalon asked for US “assistance in placing an Israeli candidate as Assistant Director General for International Cooperation at UNESCO.”

    The cable reads (scroll down to item 16):

    Ayalon said that Israel was working hard to overcome its diplomatic isolation. He flagged Israel’s having recently joined JUSCANZ [a consultative body to the UN Human Rights Council] in Geneva and its hope to join JUSCANZ and WEAG in New York so that it could present candidates for UN positions. Israel wanted to submit a candidate to be Assistant Delegate General for International Cooperation and Communication at UNESCO, and asked for U.S. intervention with new UNESCO Director General Bokova, who “owes you guys her life.”
    Whatever efforts the US may have made on Israel’s behalf, they were ultimately unsuccessful, as no Israeli diplomats were appointed in July 2010 by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to any of the several assistant director-general positions at UNESCO.

  34. American
    November 2, 2011, 10:10 am

    The US aids and abets Israel in war crimes.
    The US renounces the Geneva Accords for Israel.
    The US gives Israel our money while telling us to sacrifice.
    All our politicians have to pledge allegiance to the foreign country of Israel to get elected.
    Every enemy of Israel, which is everyone, is an enemy of the US.

    And these are just the big ones, I could go on listing and listing everything large and small, domestically and internationally, that the Israel lobby controls in the US.

    How DID this happen? Is it all just Jewish political money and religious fundies?
    I often wonder if part of the problem is that Israel is so far deep into the US pockets, so much US pension money invested in Israel, so many US guarentees on Israelis bonds sold, so much underwriting of Israeli government debt on their international purchases…that that is part of fear of pulling the plug on Israel…like a banker who is stuck with a bad loan on a losing deal and pumps more into it praying the loser deal can be saved and the bank won’t lose everything it has put out.
    The way I see it we are up against this potential US public investment lose, plus the political bribing of US politicians, plus the plain Jewish zionist in congress, plus Israeli blackmail of starting a war in the ME.
    It’s too damn much to work on changing slowly, if it were me I’d just crush the little f______ and be done with them.

  35. Les
    November 2, 2011, 5:56 pm

    Thanks to Amy Goodman for including some of the questioning by Matt Lee on yesterday’s Democracy Now and thanks to Philip for the above. Lee is an AP reporter. Having heard him and now reading the above, I don’t remember when mainstream reporters have had the audacity to raise such pointed questions about US/Israel relations and to be so remarkably persistent. This marks another breakthrough.

Leave a Reply