Obama to visit Bethlehem (any chance of Pope Benedict’s photo opp?)

Israel/Palestine
on 82 Comments
399px Church of the Nativity Bethlehem Palestine
 Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Palestine  Photo:Lewis Larsson

Haaretz reports The Church of the Nativity has been added to Obama’s itinerary on the Palestine portion of his trip to the region.

Haaretz:

Obama is expected during his trip to pay a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Friday, March 22, members of his delegation told Israeli government ministry representatives on Monday.

According to a high-ranking Israeli official, that stop was added to his itinerary only in the past few days. UNESCO recognized the Church of the Nativity as a Palestinian World Heritage Site in June 2012, several months after Palestine became a full-fledged member of the organization.

What they don’t say and what is significant; U.S. congress pulled funding for UNESCO the day after Palestine became its 195th full member on October 31. 2011:

Cheers filled the hall at Unesco’s headquarters here after the vote, with one delegate shouting, “Long live Palestine!” in French.

Defying a mandated cutoff of American funds cost UNESCO 22% of it’s budget, around 70 million dollars. This is a very telling decision by President Obama, who sought a waiver that would allow the U.S. to continue supporting UNESCO. And the US, along with Israel, is on record as opposing UNESCO’s decision to grant the Church of the Nativity world heritage status.

Regarding the rest of Obama’s schedule, the Washington Post echos the familiar saber rattlings of Netanyahu’s first visit to Washington after Obama was elected president.

Analysis: Iran, Palestinian talks, Netanyahu ties to dominate Obama trip to Israel:

Israel views a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to its existence, and Netanyahu has hinted at launching a pre-emptive military strike on the Islamic Republic to set back its nuclear program. Tehran has already enriched enough uranium to 20 percent purity for the country, should it decided to do so, to quickly move toward levels needed for a bomb……Netanyahu, thus, will want more public reassurances from Washington.

….

There have been hints, but only hints, that Netanyahu might be ready to again call a halt to expanding settlements — part of a potential deal that would leave those around Jerusalem in place in return for a land swap elsewhere. That’s a bitter pill for the Palestinians, but one they might swallow if the deal were sufficiently sweet. And the Israeli government quickly knocked down such reports on settlements.

….

The hope is that Obama reassurances on Iran will give a politically weakened Netanyahu the needed cover for a move back toward talks with the Palestinians, who are worried that Obama will do too little during his visit to pressure the Israeli leader on the need to resume negotiations.

Analysis? This is exactly what we’ve been hearing for years. When is someone going to be honest with us? The ‘threat’ of a nuclear holocaust coming from Iran, a country that doesn’t even have a nuclear weapons program, according to our intelligence, is being used by Israel to buy time and expand the settlements. And American-led ‘peace talks’ without any enforcement means inevitably lead to Israel’s expansion (which is why Palestinian youth groups are demonstrating against returning to negotiations.)

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Benedict at the Wall (photo: Mahmoud Illean)

Will Obama visit reprise the amazing optics of Pope Benedict’s visit four years ago? From the Times:

Just yards from the barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians, Pope Benedict XVI expressed solidarity on Wednesday with “all the homeless Palestinians who long to be able to return to their birthplace, or live permanently in a homeland of their own.”

It was not the first time the pope had endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, but the location, with the concrete-and-barbed-wire barrier and a checkpoint towering in the background, was deliberately chosen to strengthen his case. Benedict called the structure, which is loathed by Palestinians but which Israel says is key to its security, “a stark reminder of the stalemate that relations between Israelis and Palestinians seem to have reached.”

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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82 Responses

  1. ritzl
    March 11, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Any chance that “Jesus is a monkey” graffiti in Hebrew is still up and along O’s route?

    link to worldnews.nbcnews.com

    Nah, but if it were, it would make interesting TV.

    Relatively speaking though, surprise itinerary changes are good. They’re like looking into your neighbor’s plank-fenced back yard. No telling what you might see.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 11, 2013, 12:27 pm

      ritzl, i like that he’s going to the church of the nativity. massive plus. i just hope he doesn’t get assassinated on this trip. i’m probably not the only one worried about that. needless to say it wouldn’t improve the situation it would just make everything worse. some fanatical settler dressed up in arab garb, or whatever. i’ll be glad when the trip is in the past tense.

      • ritzl
        March 11, 2013, 1:15 pm

        Yep, past tense for so many reasons. Political risk, reward, why, hindsight/clarity (why now, with no one to talk to in Israel, and nothing new to say), ongoing settlements/home demolitions, etc., of which the assassination risk is one. Though one has to hope that Israeli society is not that insane. As Colbert pointed out, O has increase aid to Israel. BFF and all that… But it might be.

      • Citizen
        March 11, 2013, 4:05 pm

        @ ritzl
        Obama is going on the trip to Israel/PA to keep Israel Firster donations pouring into Democratic Party coffers towards winning the House, not just the Senate next cycle.

        So 98% non-Jewish America’s representative government voted to deny Church of the Nativity world heritage site status. But Obama decides he will visit it and tried to get a waiver for UNESCO, but Congress cut of US aid to UNESCO. All makes common sense, eh?

      • ritzl
        March 13, 2013, 12:36 pm

        @Citizen Yeah. The mind boggles on the UNESCO/World Heritage Site “irony” (re: total lack of self-awareness).

        Zionism distorts and corrupts everything it touches.

      • hophmi
        March 11, 2013, 1:31 pm

        ” i’m probably not the only one worried about that. needless to say it wouldn’t improve the situation it would just make everything worse. some fanatical settler dressed up in arab garb, or whatever”

        So if he’s assassinated by a Palestinian, you’ll claim it’s a conspiracy and that a settler did it, right?

      • Annie Robbins
        March 11, 2013, 1:37 pm

        i may not claim it, but i’ll sure as hell think it..me and a few billion other people. follow the money, who has the most to gain by getting rid of a prez on his second term who probably won’t be bombing iran?

      • K Renner
        March 11, 2013, 1:57 pm

        It’s funny because the only people in Palestine who have spoken so derisively about B.O are ultra Zionist settlers.

      • American
        March 11, 2013, 2:08 pm

        Well damn, what a great movie that would make…maybe we could get Speilberg to do one on an assassination or attempt to assssinate Obama….and the thriller is a hunt for the assassin who turns out to be a Mossad agent posing as a Palestine or Iranian.
        Would Speilberg or Hollywood go for that?…naw, I dont think so…couldnt let even a fictional suggestion of that seep into the pubic subconscious.
        Maybe Oliver Stone would do it like he did the one on Kennedy…:)

      • hophmi
        March 11, 2013, 2:16 pm

        “but i’ll sure as hell think it..me and a few billion other people. follow the money, who has the most to gain by getting rid of a prez on his second term who probably won’t be bombing iran?”

        And that’s why your movement gets labeled as antisemitic. Or whacko. Take your pick. Because at the end of the day, you choose to throw your lot in with the types who claimed the Jews were responsible for 9/11 because “they had something to gain.”

        It’s not enough to say Israel has the lion’s share of the blame for the conflict. No. You have to be crazy. You have to demonize the whole country. You have to claim that when Jews die, they’re probably killing themselves. You have to throw your lot in with those who say Jews should share in the blame for the Holocaust, as you did on another thread by approvingly citing Arendt’s ridiculous quote.

        It’s a shame. You want to do human rights activism, but you are a pretty hateful person, unfortunately.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 11, 2013, 2:25 pm

        oh jeez , go hyperventilate a little hops. nobody said ‘the entirety of israeli society’ all it takes is one lone freak job like who killed rabin, and a few willing security people. and are they there? yeah, of course they are. why do you have to turn everything into a condemnation of all the jews? get a grip. believe me, i am not alone. if there was confidence he’d be safe they wouldn’t be concerned about security, now would they? but they are! so who’s in charge of security? and if he got assassinated who would be to blame? obviously, people will look at the people who hold the key to the security. and who might that be? my concern is normal.

        oh, and nice try..dragging 9/11 into this. not biting.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 11, 2013, 2:26 pm

        “And that’s why your movement gets labeled as antisemitic”

        Nope. It gets labeled “antisemitic” because the zionists prey on the natural desire of people to not be or associate with bigots. So people like you call opposition to the depravity and criminality of the israeli state “antisemitism” so that you don’t have to face the reality of that depravity and criminality.

        “You have to claim that when Jews die, they’re probably killing themselves. ”

        When the claim is made about the Palestinians, in all its myriad forms, and you protest your fellow zios, then you can call out someone else on this point. Until then, please stfu.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 11, 2013, 2:35 pm

        “who has the most to gain by getting rid of a prez on his second term who probably won’t be bombing iran?”

        LOL. Especially after Biden just went on stage at AiPAC and fellated the donkey…

      • Light
        March 11, 2013, 2:36 pm

        you choose to throw your lot in with the types who claimed the Jews were responsible for 9/11 because “they had something to gain.

        Hophmi, no one on Mondoweiss ever said that. Perhaps you are referring to Netanyahu who did say 9/11 was good for Israel.

        link to haaretz.com

        Given how some people mistakenly believe Netanyahu is the leader of the Jewish people, his quote may have been misinterpreted by less informed or bigoted people.

        link to huffingtonpost.com

      • justicewillprevail
        March 11, 2013, 2:55 pm

        ‘you are a pretty hateful person, unfortunately’

        Dude, have you ever looked in the mirror, lately? You’re projecting, again. Bitter and full of bile, you are now reduced to hurling personal insults (pretty hateful behaviour, wouldn’t you say?), unable to make any of your arguments count. All that deliberate ignoring of the evidence put to you, or the patient explanations, and the continuing ranting and raving must be making you exceptionally overheated and cantankerous.

        You owe AR (who has never insulted you, despite the continual provocation and sneering from you) an apology, although I don’t expect someone as base as you to provide it.

        Take a break, before you explode with the rage and hatred fostered by your own rigid ideology.

      • Citizen
        March 11, 2013, 4:17 pm

        @ American, well Spielberg did do Munich–and he got slammed as an-antisemite for his film effort, and also as naive by those who say secret revenge killings are a part of all states’ tools–Golda Meir sure thought so, as otherwise the state seems weak to its enemies. That movie reveals (in the last five minutes) that Israel had no evidence the Palestinian targets participated in the murder of the Israeli athletes. And, oh yeah, it suggested the Palestinian terrorists were at least as moral or ethical as Jewish terrorists enmeshed in the founding of Israel and thereafter.

      • john h
        March 11, 2013, 4:40 pm

        Thanks.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 11, 2013, 4:56 pm

        thank you jwp

      • lysias
        March 11, 2013, 5:55 pm

        There is a lot of evidence that Sirhan Sirhan did not assassinate Robert Kennedy, that he was a patsy set up to take the fall.

      • Egbert
        March 11, 2013, 6:53 pm

        Do you mean someone that looks like this ‘Palestinian’?

        link to blogs.reuters.com

      • thankgodimatheist
        March 11, 2013, 9:04 pm

        “You have to be crazy. You have to demonize the whole country. You have to claim that when Jews die, they’re probably killing themselves. You have to throw your lot in with those who say Jews should share in the blame for the Holocaust”
        You’re clearly off your rails. Someone calls an ambulance. Quick!

      • Annie Robbins
        March 11, 2013, 9:26 pm

        i know, that allegation about the holocaust, trying to drag the Arendt’s quote conversation, which wasn’t even in the context of ‘the holocaust’, it was about the recording of jewish history circa 19th century, before the holocaust even happened! jeez. when he goes off on these tangents you have to just blow it off. hopefully he’ll wake up in the morning like a drunk regretting what he said the night before…but nooo..he’s right back at it. that’s our hops!

      • Blank State
        March 11, 2013, 11:12 pm

        Gee, Hophmi…..Israel do a false flag???? Naaaahhhh, the Liberty was just a figment of our imagination. Lets see, your compatriots flood Palestinian villages with raw sewage, shoot American citizens in the head with high velocity tear gas canisters, raze orchards and crops of Palestinian farmers, execute American citizens on the high seas, target practice on Palestinuan fisherman, force contraceptives on Etheopian women, imprison children, spit on jewish women who happen to dare ride a bus loaded with batshit crazy orthodox wackjobs……

        So gee golly, why would we think that some jewish fanatic might pose as an arab and take a potshot at our Prez?? I mean hey, with the high moral standard telegraphed by your country’s (and your countrymen’s) actions, what how could we possibly think such a thing?

      • Cliff
        March 12, 2013, 4:26 am

        hoppy,

        No moral person calls this ‘movement’ antisemitic.

        It’s just you and people like you because you straw-man anti-Zionist arguments as being about ‘the Jews’ rather than about people like you.

        You are a Zionist. We’re talking about Zionists.

        And even though it’s made clear time and time again, you intentionally muddy the waters just to use the antisemitism label.

        You use the label because you’re a racist Jewish supremacist who knows people hate Arabs and Muslims as you do and won’t do the same parsing of Zionist arguments.

        ‘Your’ movement is colonialist and racist and pro-apartheid and discriminatory and war-mongering and fear-mongering.

      • kalithea
        March 12, 2013, 5:45 am

        In this day and age of high-level security, whoever can get access in proximity of the President to commit such an act would surely be trained and well-connected to an agency or organization very familiar with the surroundings.

      • Joe Ed
        March 12, 2013, 7:59 am

        You really think it was a lone freak job who killed Rabin?

      • piotr
        March 12, 2013, 8:24 am

        Lucky Jews! They have the leader. Is Obama the leader of American people? El Lider? Il Duce? Vozhd?

      • Annie Robbins
        March 13, 2013, 12:27 pm

        actually egbert, i thought of exactly that photo. it would probably be a little subtler than that tho.

      • Joe Ed
        March 12, 2013, 7:56 am

        I have had the same fear myself as to Obama’s safety while in the region. Assassinated by right wing zionists made to look like arabs with our mainstream media being shocked by any anti-semitic canards suggesting the possibility he was done by Zionists.

  2. American
    March 11, 2013, 1:16 pm

    “The hope is that Obama reassurances on Iran will give a politically weakened Netanyahu the needed cover for a move back toward talks with the Palestinians, who are worried that Obama will do too little during his visit to pressure the Israeli leader on the need to resume negotiations.”

    Analysis? This is exactly what we’ve been hearing for years”….annie

    Right….give Netanyahu cover to move toward talks?….rotflmao!
    Netanyahu was never and is never going to move toward REAL peace talks or ANY settlement except making Palestine totally Israel’s.

    I don’t know why I even read the continuing claptrap analysis on I/P.
    There is only one valid analysis for anyone not caught up in the Israel-Zio Cult—There will be no peace, Palestine will not get their land back, Israel will keep doing what it’s doing until it is forced to stop.
    No Force Against Israel = No Palestine.
    That’s the bottom line reality.

    Yada,yada,yada, natter, natter, blah,blah blah, simpering lip service……right on to the end.

    • Citizen
      March 11, 2013, 4:23 pm

      @ American
      So what has to happen before America will apply economic sanctions on Israel, for starters, and then, if still needed, force against Israel?

      • American
        March 11, 2013, 9:01 pm

        Citizen says:
        March 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm
        @ American
        So what has to happen before America will apply economic sanctions on Israel, for starters, and then, if still needed, force against Israel>>>>>

        Something really big , like Isr getting caught in a horrendous false flag against some US installation or individual with many deaths…..and even that might not do it, if we go by the past, like the Liberty.
        Nope, the I Firsters are going to keep on and keep on until they embroil the US in something that causes it’s ruin.
        Unless some Superman American Firster political figure appears on the scene and starts a huge election blowback to congress acting like it’s the Israeli fucking master of the universe……it’s all over for the US but the whimpering and blaming.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 11, 2013, 9:43 pm

        imho, the fastest route to that is the worst..like america embroiled in a war w/iran. but i don’t wish that on the US or iran. imho, the most likely scenario is (and i know it’s going to take a little longer) today’s and tomorrows youth growing up.i think there’s going to be a serious changing of the guards within the jewish community too, it not going to be a situation where we’re (americans) not marching in lockstep. people my age were born within a decade after WW2. that’s something shared by all my generation, the devastation. it’s not just a jewish thing. we all lost people in that war, and we all were raised with the idea of it as ‘the great war’, or whatever. it shaped my mother completely, my dad fought in it. and then we’ve got an entire american sub culture just massively impacted by it (jewish americans) in ways it’s hard to comprehend. and when that generation, our parents, dies off (very shortly) there will be a conceptional loosening/release. because you will have all these people who will have more free will to release sans the parental pressure.

        in the next ten years, the next ten years will be crucial. the generations who grew up in the shadow of martin’s words. i truly believe they will find a way.

        unless there is an assassination or something, then it will come much faster.

      • American
        March 11, 2013, 11:02 pm

        annie….

        In ten years the Palestines will be gone….in 5 years they will be gone.
        Yea, we can wait for the US to implode itself and come back….we’re big enough to come back
        But the sad thing is Palestine can’t wait for that…and there is no come back for them if they lose now.
        That’s why I keep repeating ICC,ICC…that really is their only chance.

      • gamal
        March 13, 2013, 12:30 pm

        “In ten years the Palestines will be gone….in 5 years they will be gone.” I very much doubt it, by gone you mean?

    • john h
      March 11, 2013, 4:42 pm

      Exactly.

  3. Blownaway
    March 11, 2013, 1:19 pm

    From haaretz today…Now the game has ended and real life will begin. The third Netanyahu government has one clear goal: enlarging the settlements and achieving the vision of “a million Jews living in Judea and Samaria.” This magic number will thwart the division of the land and prevent once and for all the establishment of a Palestinian state. The defense, and housing and construction ministries that are relevant to this issue will be given to Likud MK Moshe Ya’alon and Habayit Hayehudi MK Uri Ariel. They won’t be assuming these positions in order to freeze settlement construction, but rather to implement the Levy report which determined that Israel was not legally-speaking an occupying power in the West Bank and the Habayit Hayehudi platform; or in other words, to gradually absorb the West Bank into Israel….Netanyahu’s key task will be buying some quiet on the Palestinian issue to permit the expansion of the settlements at the small price of international condemnation. He will continue with the successful ploy from his previous term: threatening an attack on Iran and Syria, which are drawing American attention. Barack Obama is busy with calming the Iranian front and preventing an eruption in and around Syria, and is ignoring Israel’s actions in the territories. This is the deal that Netanyahu will strive to achieve with Obama during their meetings next week in Jerusalem.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 11, 2013, 1:23 pm

      i know! i read this earlier today, maybe phil will review it later. i wasn’t sure if it was opinion or what. it’s fairly clear there’s a goal to pack the WB with jews. that’s kind of a no brainer at this point.

  4. RJL
    March 11, 2013, 1:57 pm

    Annie, you’d be more likely to try pull the gun than a settler, and then pass the blame onto them. Your “insight” is rabid; Israel would have everything to lose if there’s any attempt on anyone in the entourage, by an arab or a Jew. Annie, have you ever spent serious time in Israel, talking to Israeli Jews (and arabs) across the opinion spectrum? Have you studied Jewish history, or the history of Jews in the Holy Land, with any seriousness or depth? One wonders, who finances the looney anti-Israel and anti-Jewish articles that “grace” this website? Your “bite” can get quite nasty when you don’t have facts to support your fantasies. Will you let this in?

    • Annie Robbins
      March 11, 2013, 2:37 pm

      Israel would have everything to lose if there’s any attempt on anyone in the entourage

      personally, i couldn’t agree more. and don’t construe this is a ‘fantasy’ ala ‘wish’, it absolutely isn’t. it’s a fear. one i am allowed (i assume) to express. whereas netanyahu can moan about iran nukes taking out israel til the sky turns purple and you don’t characterize that as a ‘fantasy’, you call it a fear, right? a verbalized fear? so i can fear a settler would take out the president.

      • JennieS
        March 12, 2013, 6:23 am

        Annie, this article in Ha’aretz about Obama’s visit to the Church of the Nativity has some very interesting comments attached which make your fears seem quite reasonable. link to haaretz.com

    • Taxi
      March 11, 2013, 3:33 pm

      “Annie, you’d be more likely to try pull the gun than a settler, and then pass the blame onto them. ”

      And you RJL would be more likely to have a vial of anthrax and a stack of envelopes in your sock drawer.

      See what happens, grandmaster knowitall: when you sling mud around here, or in life generally, you get buckets more mud slung right back at you. Piss-poor argument to label the ‘probability’ of annie’s (and a billion plus others) grim scenario as antisemitic. It would be antisemitic if Obama was visiting a remote Eskimo village and annie expressed concern that some israeli psycho ‘may’ harm Obama while he met with the tribe’s chief in his igloo. We are talking about Obama’s visit to a country that holds Obama with fanatical disdain, we’re talking about the country of israel here and it’s common knowledge that Obama is unofficially persona non grata there. So the probability that some israeli “wackos” out there might be “fantasizing” about doing the dirtydoo when Obama visits isn’t exactly that far-fetched – think Rabin.

      Plenty crazy people live in israel. And Obama is going there. Geddit?!

      So why don’t you take your ‘israelis are well-behaved peacemakers and you’re all antisemites’ and smoke it! Playing the antisemitic card has already reached it’s point of diminishing returns.

      • ritzl
        March 11, 2013, 4:06 pm

        @Taxi +1+

    • sardelapasti
      March 12, 2013, 3:04 am

      RJL – “have you ever spent serious time in Israel, talking to Israeli Jews (and arabs) across the opinion spectrum? Have you studied Jewish history, or the history of Jews in the Holy Land, with any seriousness or depth?”

      Totally irrelevant. The entire Zionist bunch is there illegally, committing a crime against humanity, and you are an accomplice. No amount of opinion-spectruming can change that. So no matter the talking the only thing to do is to vamoose the whole bunch –and try all those who can be. Details of history can be taught later to the ignoramuses.

    • Cliff
      March 12, 2013, 4:27 am

      What is Jewish history? Do Jews live on another planet than the rest of humanity?

      Why do we have to live in Israel to see how racist lunatics Zionists are?

    • Blank State
      March 12, 2013, 11:25 pm

      “Have you studied Jewish history, or the history of Jews in the Holy Land, with any seriousness or depth?

      Who gives a shit? Actions and policies tell the tale. Israeli actions and policies towards the Palestinians are DESPICABLE, TODAY, to say nothing about the grasp that Israel holds on Washington’s ball sack.

      “One wonders, who finances the looney anti-Israel and anti-Jewish articles that “grace” this website? Your “bite” can get quite nasty when you don’t have facts to support your fantasies. Will you let this in?”

      Forget the “financing”. You’d be far better off if you’d consider, and admit to, your nation ‘s ACTIONS AND POLICIES that contribute to the ANTI-ISRAEL, (not “anti-jewish”) articles that do IN FACT, “GRACE” this website.

      Whatsamatter, you can’t address the REAL AND DOCUMENTED false flag actions that Israel has committed, such as the Liberty incident, so you gotta label our mistrust as “looney” or “anti-semitic”??? It doesn’t work anymore, your nation has EARNED our distrust, and deserves it in spades. Point your finger at YOURSELF.

  5. RJL
    March 11, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Ms. Robbins-the IAEA has significant evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran, and one that’s tied into the North Korean one as well. Oh, they didn’t fill you in on the latest? Not an expert on centrifuges? Why should you be, but why deny the obvious? No mention of the repeated-multiple times, by the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad-threat to annihilate Israel, to wipe it and its people (no wonder the PA doesn’t like them; they’d get hit just as well) off the face of the world? What motive do you have by ignoring these obvious threats? Don’t take them seriously? Why should many estranged wives feel threatened by bullying husbands-maybe they are overreacting, too? Get real!

    • Annie Robbins
      March 11, 2013, 2:37 pm

      the IAEA has significant evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran

      no they do not. not enough to make a finding. the IAEA has nothing:

      link to mondoweiss.net

      Anybody else notice the big sucking sound in reaction to the endlessly uber hyped IAEA report? I knew it, I just knew it. Humping their fear mongering and cramming it down our collective throats the week before the report was due was because they had nothing. Because the only time they’d get away with it was before the report came out, so they ran with it hook line and sinker. Russia and China immediately said ‘No’ to more sanctions, and virtually nothing ‘diplomats’ and western ‘officials’ (Elliott and Ross?) said panned out in the report, which was basically old nothing news. The IAEA report was a Dud With Little Consequences For Iran and everybody knows it too. Here’s CSM being somewhat polite about it:

      we’re on to neocon lies

    • justicewillprevail
      March 11, 2013, 2:45 pm

      What significant evidence? What threat, or do you mean the oft-repeated deliberate mistranslation? Do you just repeat any stale propaganda you can find on the internet? So you are an expert on centrifuges are you? Get real, and quit the patronising bs.

    • Blownaway
      March 11, 2013, 2:58 pm

      Nobody absolutly no one not the US not Israel not the IAEA says that Iran has a significant nuclear weapons program. Except certain people within the political class who have a an agenda. But the intelligence agenices have stated over and over categorically that IRan does not have a nuclear weapons rpogram. They have a heavily moniored civilian nuclear power program…

      • Annie Robbins
        March 11, 2013, 3:23 pm

        Nobody absolutly no one not the US not Israel not the IAEA says that Iran has a significant nuclear weapons program.

        blownaway, officially iran has NO nuclear weapons program,not even a little itty bitty one. they have a nuclear program, big diff! and thus far that’s all that has been established. check this out: “On Iran NYT Introduces New False Propaganda Line ”

        link to moonofalabama.org

        Isabel Kershner, an Israeli reporter working for the New York Times, is introducing a new propaganda term about Iran’s nuclear program. She writes:

        Though Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program is only for civilian purposes, Israel, the United States and much of the West are convinced that Iran is working to develop a weapons program.

        “Working to develop a weapons program”? What is that supposed to mean?

        Since the NYT ombudsman has admonished the paper for being to casual with references to the non existing Iranian nuclear weapon program, Kersher can no longer refer to it directly.

        more supporting links available at the link. i recommend

      • Blownaway
        March 11, 2013, 4:02 pm

        i think thats what i said? we agree…

      • Annie Robbins
        March 11, 2013, 4:59 pm

        oh! sorry i read it wrong then blownaway.

      • RoHa
        March 12, 2013, 12:26 am

        “Working to develop a weapons program”? What is that supposed to mean?

        It means they might be starting to think about contemplating planning of feasibility studies on the prospect of intiation of the first stages of procedures which could lead to weapons of mass destruction related program activities.

      • Shingo
        March 12, 2013, 8:24 am

        “Working to develop a weapons program”? What is that supposed to mean?

        Notice how they say they are convinced, but never state they have evidence? Saying you believe something is clever way of stating something you know not to be true without being labelled a liar.

    • Citizen
      March 11, 2013, 4:39 pm

      @RJL
      Iran is subject monitoring of its nuclear programs, Israel is not. Iran has no nuke bomb. Israel has lots of them. Iran has never threatened to “wipe Israel off the map,” while Israel has threatened to bomb Iran often, and has its “Samson Option.” Israel threatened to use nukes to get Nixon to save it when it was losing the ’73 war. Worked like a charm. Iran has never done preemptive war, Israel has done it many times. There is a pattern to all this. PNAC and America’s infestation with neocons is part of it too. And of course, the fundy Christians would like nothing better than Armageddon.

    • Light
      March 11, 2013, 5:09 pm

      Why should many estranged wives feel threatened by bullying husbands-maybe they are overreacting, too?

      RJL, really? Your analogy is flawed. Israel has 200+ nuclear weapons and the missiles and aircraft to deliver them. Israel seems more like the bullying husband to me.

    • thankgodimatheist
      March 11, 2013, 9:27 pm

      “No mention of the repeated-multiple times, by the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad-threat to annihilate Israel, to wipe it and its people”
      “Wiping out the Zionist REGIME” was the correct quote but that doesn’t sound as scary as “annihilate Israel” does it? Schmuck!

      • sardelapasti
        March 12, 2013, 3:18 am

        thankgodimanatheist – ““Wiping out the Zionist REGIME” was the correct quote” Wrong. Not so strong. It was “Zionism will also go away from the pages of history”, in a set expression that is used as is for the Mede, Roman and Macedonian and the Sassanid and the Ottoman empires etc.
        “Schmuck!” This, of course, is 100% correct.

    • kalithea
      March 12, 2013, 5:11 am

      “Get real!”

      That’s rich coming from someone who wants to blame Zionism’s predictable self-destruct mechanism, injustice, on imaginary nuclear warheads.

    • MRW
      March 12, 2013, 7:51 am

      RJL,

      “Oh, they didn’t fill you in on the latest? Not an expert on centrifuges? Why should you be, but why deny the obvious?”

      I’m not an expert on centrifuges and neither are you. But I know enough about the output of centrifuges to know that it’s a gas, for fuel. (It why they call them ‘gas centrifuges’.)

      You can’t make a nuclear weapon out of gas, especially out of a gas enriched to 5%. You need metal, and it needs to be enriched to over 90%.

    • Shingo
      March 12, 2013, 8:22 am

      Ms. Robbins-the IAEA has significant evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran

      Seriousness RJL? Did you draw the short straw at hasbara central and volunteer to be Mr Stupid for the week?

    • Blank State
      March 12, 2013, 11:27 pm

      “Blahblahblah…the IAEA has significant evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran….blahblahblah……”

      Thats a bald faced lie.

      Pffffft. There went your credibility. Why bother to comment here again?

  6. Woody Tanaka
    March 11, 2013, 2:17 pm

    “When is someone going to be honest with us?”

    Never. The zios are content to spread like a cancer across Palestine until it is dead and the ziombie state is all that is left.

    “(any chance of Pope Benedict’s photo opp?)”

    None. Are you kidding?? That would take moral courage, something that the puppets in Washington don’t have. Oh, he’ll release a book after he’s out of power with the crocodile tears and making excuses for his deal with the devil, Netanyahoo, and the rest, but in the end nothing but more death and destruction of the Palestinian people will result.

  7. Ira Glunts
    March 11, 2013, 6:15 pm

    If Obama is visiting the Western Wall and the Church of the Nativity, shouldn’t he also visit a Muslim religious site? After all the region that he is visiting is predominately Muslim and there is a very good Muslim site that is very, very close to the Western Wall.

    Thanks, Annie, for the link to the article about the US opposing the heritage site status. I missed this story which I think is important and telling.

    • kalithea
      March 12, 2013, 5:00 am

      In a perfect world he would visit the Dome of the Rock as well. But the Holy Land (if it ever was that for very long) has morphed into Zioland so he’ll go through the usual motions: bow at Herzl’s tomb, kiss a few Zionist rings, visit the poor colonialists in their beach-front stolen property in Sderot and spout a few lies at their monument of scrap metal in honor of Zionist eternal victimhood. Then later he’ll stop off at the Church of the Nativity to cleanse his sin of hypocrisy while he gets a dig at Zionists for keeping him on a short leash. Meh…

      • eljay
        March 12, 2013, 3:52 pm

        >> … he’ll go through the usual motions …

        You forgot Yad Vashem. He can’t be permitted to forget to “Remember the Holocaust!”™ (even as he is encouraged to ignore the on-going Nakba).

      • MHughes976
        March 13, 2013, 2:10 pm

        You predict so vividly, Kali, that I feel the pain already. This event will show us how little the game has changed, Hagel notwithstanding.

    • Rusty Pipes
      March 12, 2013, 3:43 pm

      Not to mention that the Dome of the Rock is in close proximity to the Western Wall, which he will likely visit as well.

  8. biorabbi
    March 11, 2013, 7:57 pm

    Annie, is this the same pope who was a nazi whose youthful picture in seig heil salute is floating around the net? or the same Pope who could be indicted for his ‘handling’ of pedophilia within the Church? That Pope?

    • Annie Robbins
      March 11, 2013, 9:12 pm

      biorabbi, i am really not up on my popes. i heard a bunch of stuff about the current one after he decided to step down. about turning the church backwards, more conservative interpretation, and complicity in pedophilia cover ups. there was one in my life time, not sure if it was the one before last or the one before that..that everyone loved. i was in nyc while he was there and the whole city went crazy, roads were packed. i wish i could be of more assistance. but the pedophilia was going on for so long, it must have involved lots of popes covering up. whoever the next pope is, i hope he’s a nice guy. i don’t know much about the inner workings of the vatican, mostly from anne rice, spy novels, and murder mysteries. ;)

      and thanks for the nice words below.

    • Bumblebye
      March 11, 2013, 10:53 pm

      Bearing in mind that Ratzinger was a teenager at the time, and would have no political memories of anything other than the Nazi regime – he’d have been only 4 or so when they came to power.

    • kalithea
      March 12, 2013, 4:13 am

      Okay, let’s imagine a spotless, sinless rabbi praying in front of that wall…or more likely…hiding behind it! Are ya actually telling us HYPOCRISY wouldn’t be written all over that image AS WELL??? Are you telling us that because a man is human and has failings he can’t be a vehicle or instrument of the TRUTH? Lemme tell you something: the truth doesn’t discriminate like you do, that’s the beauty of it! If we photo-shop Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Ovadia, YOU or Lucifer himself in front of THAT WALL, the TRUTH will STILL tower in the background and jump out at us and exact its power! So don’t insult our intelligence by using the prejudiced bull about the Pope as a cover for the OBVIOUS crime!

      Sigh…BR doesn’t play fair. So I’m here to shed some light on the dark side of his moon.

      Starting with this wake-up call:

      link to nytimes.com

      Uhh…and I really hope I get the same latitude br got, because if he can indict Catholic clergy surely I can demonstrate and prove that SIN IS NOT EXCLUSIVE TO ONE RELIGION.

      So do me a favor, will ya’ll, google “rabbi pedophiles”. OY! The truth hurts…secrecy and too many to mention, huh? Oh vey, guess that means only one thing unites us in this purgatory? SIN! because you surely make what should unite us: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

    • NickJOCW
      March 12, 2013, 6:10 am

      biorabbi, It’s not a question of covering anything up. I do wish non-Catholics would stop spouting this nonsense. The Roman Catholic church sets certain behavioural targets for its followers while accepting that few, if any, will reach them. The driving purpose is the effort not the destination. Were this not so there would be no need for Confession. Followers will stumble along the way but the Church is not there to punish them but to help them back on their feet and encourage them to set off again. It is a realistic doctrine based on the principles of Repentance and Forgiveness, certainly not retribution which belongs ultimately to God however much the State or prurient non-Catholics may seek to usurp it.

  9. biorabbi
    March 11, 2013, 8:10 pm

    One last aside, I have debated vigorously Annie on Mondoweiss on many issues in a heated manner. I find her(as much as you can tell based on the internet)as a very nice person with a good sense of humor who happens to have a different point of view from my own. She is not a hater, an anti-semite, or crazy. I feel a previous poster attacked her in a manner that was not deserved. I am also very fearful of Obama’s safety on his visit. There are too many religious, nut cases on all sides.

    • Shingo
      March 12, 2013, 8:27 am

      You’re a good egg biorabbi. A delusional and misguided one no less, but a good one.

  10. kalithea
    March 12, 2013, 2:55 am

    I went to the Haaretz link, although I can’t stand going there, with all the pop-ups and propaganda and Zionist what-not, and this part of the article caught my eye:

    “Every day I walk through one of these accumulations of colossal ugliness, to which UNESCO awarded the tin medal of a World Heritage site, failing to understand. I’m talking about my hometown, Tel Aviv. About 100 kilometers north of that, UNESCO awarded a tin medal to Acre, another hopeless historic garbage pile.”

    To think that a Zio would actually trash a site in Israel chosen as a Heritage Site by UNESCO, just to justify trashing the Church of the Nativity as it too is a Heritage site shows the level of mean-spiritedness with which Zionists operate. Hey, who am I to disagree with him on the pile of garbage he’s referring to in this excerpt?! But as for the Church of the Nativity what guides him definitely isn’t an acute sense for what constitutes the aesthetic! After all UNESCO isn’t guided strictly by the aesthetic as archaeological ruins from Greece to kalamazoo are on that list! And ruins often have rich historical value rather than strictly aesthetic value, although they may also possess both at times. What guides the author of that piece is an acute hatred of all reminders of Christianity anywhere adjacent to Zioland and the thought that Palestine should attract any global recognition from these or for any other reason. This award really got on the last raw nerve of Zionists, and everything that irritates them and gets under their skin to this extent makes me giddy.

    La Sagrada Familia is also a Heritage Site; good thing it’s not located in Zionist crazy land!

    Some of the most beautiful architecture on the planet happens to be Christian and was awarded what the author in that article calls the “tin medal” including the Sistine Chapel and the entire Vatican City which is priceless in its aesthetic, architectural and historical value.

    Zionists can’t stand the fact that Jerusalem is separated from Israel on UNESCO’s list and that two of the most venerated monuments in Islam and Christianity respectively sit in proximity of the ruins of the Temple. God works in mysterious ways…to humble no doubt.

    Okay, so it’s normal to conclude that Zionist hatred for the Church of the Nativity goes way, way beyond the “Palestinian problem”.

    Obama’s a funny guy. On the one hand he’s the ultimate hypocrite and 9 out of 10 of his decisions are based purely on political interest, this trip accordingly, but you gotta admit; he’s got a sense of humor and he also likes to stick it to Netanyahu and this is DEFINITELY a clever way for him to get his dig under Netanyahu’s skin. I hear the gnashing and gritting of Zionist teeth already from a distance.

    Oh and regarding the comment on whether a looney settler would do to Obama what was done to Rabin: It makes me laugh out loud to see Hoppy & his not-so-friendly kin get their knickers in a bunch over this remark. Let’s be honest, those rabid Zionist crazies on the West Bank won’t be filled with sugar plum fairies dancin’ in their heads the eve of O’s visit; they’ll be fantasizing about pulling the trigger first. Cause as much as these whiny characters here protest too much, we all know the thought has crossed the minds of many of their not-so-innocent settler kin!

  11. Kathleen
    March 12, 2013, 8:30 am

    Iran and the United States—What Really Matters to Middle Eastern Publics?
    link to goingtotehran.com
    “Similarly, while Zogby highlights data from his 2012 survey showing that a majority of respondents now think that Iran’s nuclear program “makes the region less secure” and that there should be a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, he fails to put regional attitudes about Iran’s nuclear activities in a comparative context. If he had, he might well have gotten results like those obtained by the University of Maryland’s annual Arab Public Opinion Surveys, showing that, by orders of magnitude, Arabs identify Israel and the United States as much bigger threats to them than Iran. He might also have gotten results like those obtained by Arab researchers, showing that support for a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East is driven by concern over Israel’s nuclear arsenal and that, until Israel foreswears nuclear weapons, regional publics think other countries have the right to pursue them, too. But such results would have undercut Zogby’s main thesis.”

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