J Street’s keynote speaker was ambassador for Gaza slaughter of ’08-’09

Israel/Palestine
on 22 Comments

This weekend J Street, the liberal Zionist organization, holds its annual conference in Washington. It is very proud of the fact that Tzipi Livni will be the keynote speaker.

We have another big announcement about our upcoming National Conference which starts next Saturday evening in Washington DC: Israeli Justice Minister and Chief Negotiator Tzipi Livni will be joining us.  Livni joins a great roster of speakers featuring Vice President Joe Biden, Special Middle East Peace Envoy Martin Indyk and nine other members of the Israeli parliament.

J Street embraces Tzipi Livni because it believes she can rescue the two-state solution. But in any other political context, it is impossible to imagine American liberals embracing such a figure.

Just look back at Livni’s record as Israeli Foreign Minister when she pushed the Israeli onslaught of Cast Lead– in which 1400 Palestinians were killed in 22 days in 2008-2009, a record worthy of the Egyptian army. And Livni sought to humiliate a Republican secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, when Rice sought to end the slaughter in the U.N. Security Council.

First, here’s Larry Derfner on Livni’s role:

Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, killing at least 230 people from the air on the first day then leaving more and more corpses and ruin that horrified nearly the whole world. Foreign Minister Livni was the war’s ambassador, arguing its righteousness to her good friend Condi Rice and other Western leaders. A couple of days after the war started, when the French proposed a “humanitarian cease-fire,” Livni got on a plane to Paris where she stated, ”There is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce.”

That was it for her career as an alternative to the Likud. If you can support such an onslaught, such an exercise in overkill when Israel was still blockading Gaza and subjugating the West Bank, when for years it had been raining incomparably worse hell on Gaza than Gaza had on Sderot, and when Hamas had publicly offered to stop firing rockets in return for an end to the blockade and a cease-fire in the West Bank – if you can support such an immoral war, you can no longer stand for peace or morality.

Now here is an account of Livni’s actions from Condoleezza Rice, in her book, No Higher Honor.

As Cast Lead began, Rice assured the Israelis that she would try and hold off a Security Council resolution to stop the conflict. But then she met with the French foreign minister and Arab leaders– and Palestinian P.M. Mahmoud Abbas called her and “begged” for a resolution lest the West Bank explode. So Rice changed her mind.

“I will stay here tonight to see if we can find a solution,” she promised the Arab leaders. And she negotiated a resolution calling for both sides to cease fire.

The resolution angered Israel and its friends. “I agreed with [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert; I thought the terms shameful,” neoconservative Elliott Abrams writes in his record of the events.

“[Condi] and I had an unhappy conversation as I drove home from work at 8 p.m. What’s wrong with this language, she asked; she did not see what Olmert was screaming about.”

Olmert screamed at Rice. And so did Tzipi Livni, Rice recalls:

Olmert, when he called me in New York, was enraged. He thought I’d double-crossed him by agreeing to a resolution.

Tzipi Livni, who would stand for election as prime minister in a few weeks, called too. “This is a disaster,” she said.

“You haven’t even read it,” I countered. “Would it help if the U.S. abstains?”

“Yes, it would,” she answered.

In the end Rice abstained in the Security Council on the resolution, and the Arab leaders thanked her for doing that much. Then Olmert trashed Rice in the press. “You snake! I fumed,” Rice recalls in her book.

Tzipi Livni was not done making demands on a rightwing administration.

A day before Rice was due to leave the State Department in January 2009, at the end of the Bush administration, Livni called her, demanding that Rice invite her to the State Department and then sign a memorandum of understanding with the Israelis stating that the U.S. would not tolerate arms entering Gaza from Egypt.

“I need to come there and sign the document,” Livni said. “We need a visible demonstration that the U.S. will guarantee these arrangements.”

“Tzipi, there isn’t time. I’m leaving office tomorrow…”

But she persisted… “I’ll be there tomorrow morning.”

I realized that the Israelis needed this one last show of support and that Tzipi, because of her bid to become prime minister, needed it most of all. I guess I can do this one more time, I decided.

So Rice spent her last morning at State with the minister of Foreign Affairs for a small Asian country, signing a memorandum of understanding she didn’t want to sign.

I ask again: Why is a liberal American organization hosting someone who played such a prominent role in a war targeting civilians? Because lobbying for Israel means that Jewish American groups must pressure the United States– under Republicans and Democrats alike– to support a militant garrison state.

About Philip Weiss

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

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22 Responses

  1. Walid
    September 25, 2013, 12:18 pm

    From its very start I knew what J Street was really about. It’s getting more and more obvious with time. It should have also invited Saeb Erekat while it was at it; a gathering of piranhas masquerading as goldfish.

    • Walid
      September 25, 2013, 12:50 pm

      Livni, the great negotiator at one point proposed to transfer out Palestinian Israelis as part of a swap that would keep the settlements on the wrong side of the green line in exchange for Palestinian villages in Isreal that would be transferred to the West Bank and other goodies that the Palestinian negotiators appeared willing to accept. From YNet:

      Secret docs: Livni proposed Arab ‘transfer’ to PA

      Secret Palestinian records of more than a decade of failed peace talks reveal former FM pressed for transfer of some Arab-Israeli villages to Palestinian sovereignty as part of land swap. Docs show Palestinian negotiators also agreed to Israel’s definition as Jewish state

      Ynet Published: 01.25.11, 00:28 / Israel News

      Leaked confidential documents published by Al-Jazeera and the Guardian reveal that during her tenure as Israeli foreign minister in Ehud Olmert’s government, Tzipi Livni pressed for the “transfer” of some of Israel’s own Arab citizens into a future Palestinian state as part of a land-swap deal that would exchange Palestinian villages now in Israel for Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

      … In January 2008, according to the secret Palestinian records of more than a decade of failed peace talks, former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei told Livni that the Palestinians would never accept the transfer of Israeli Arabs. But Livni, who currently heads the opposition, presented the offer again in June of that year.

      The current leader of the Kadima party explained privately that there are “some Palestinian villages located on both sides of the 1967 line about which we need to have an answer, such as Beit Safafa, Barta’a, Baqa al-Sharqiya and Baqa al-Gharbiya,” the Guardian reported.

      Earlier, she had made clear that such swaps also meant “the swap of the inhabitants,” but Palestinian negotiators rejected the proposal, according to documents revealed by the British newspaper.

      During the talks, Livni said, “Israel is a Jewish state, and I want to stress that our nation is the Jewish nation.”

      On Sunday it was revealed that the Palestinian negotiators were willing to concede sections of east Jerusalem to Israeli control as part of a final peace deal, and the memos released on Monday revealed they also agreed that only 10, 000 refugees and their families – out of a total refugee population exceeding 5 million – could return to Israel as part of a peace settlement.

      … While chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for an extension of the construction moratorium in the West Bank racist, the secret documents show that his position was quite different behind closed doors.

      “If you want to call your state a Jewish state, you can call it that,” he (Erekat) told Livni at the time, “Just as Iran and Saudi Arabia define themselves as Islamic or Arab.”

      link to ynetnews.com

      • HarryLaw
        September 26, 2013, 7:57 am

        Walid, if the Israelis want others to call it the “Jewish state” then they simply need to go to the UN and change the name of the state of Israel to the Jewish state, or the Jewish state of Israel, I suspect the reason they will not do it is because with a 20 odd percentage of non Jews, its racist character would be plain for all to see.

        • Walid
          September 26, 2013, 8:56 am

          Harry, it was not about what Israel would call itself but about the discussions about the transfer of Palestinians by Livni with the collaborationist Palestinian negotiator present and agreeing to all kinds of devious plans being hatched like accepting that Israel would allow back only 10,000 out of 5 million Palestinians.

  2. OlegR
    September 25, 2013, 12:24 pm

    Philip , i don’t think you like us.

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 25, 2013, 1:04 pm

      “Philip , i don’t think you like us.”

      Well, Phil does have morals, good sense and good taste.

    • seafoid
      September 25, 2013, 1:11 pm

      Oleg
      Very few do. Israel is like the socially inept boy whose dad buys him playboy dates so he can think he’s a stud.

    • Krauss
      September 25, 2013, 2:37 pm

      Philip , i don’t think you like us.

      This is hilarious. Why would he be obligated to like a racist Apartheid state?
      Why would anyone want to like that unless you’re a racist and/or a Jewish supremacist, maybe like you Oleg?

      You think ‘hasbara’ will help you whitewash(pun unintended) Apartheid?
      Good luck. It seems to be working so far :D

    • Talkback
      September 25, 2013, 3:27 pm

      OlegR says: “Philip , i don’t think you like us.”

      It’s worse, he also hates himself. Wasn’t that the point you were trying to make? LOL.

      • Krauss
        September 28, 2013, 1:23 pm

        People who don’t support apartheid hate themselves?

        The intellectualism is flowing here.

  3. Woody Tanaka
    September 25, 2013, 1:06 pm

    J Street is a living example of the expression that “the lesser of two evils is still evil.”

  4. seafoid
    September 25, 2013, 1:09 pm

    Zippy is what passes for liberal in Zionism. She only goes up to 10 dead kids an hour whereas rightwingers can go up to 90.

  5. Krauss
    September 25, 2013, 2:34 pm

    Notice the sheer masochism of Condi Rice in her behaviour towards the Israelis. Livni just walked all over her but she kept giving in, even at a point when she had nothing to lose.

    Maybe Condi toyed with the idea of running for prez and thus wanted to remain being seen as nimble in the face of the bullying from Israelis against a nation that ought to be much stronger, but keeps falling down on its face.

    Most of us learned that you can never give in to bullies when we were growing up; appeasing them just makes them emboldened.
    There’s still time for America to learn that lesson in regards to Israel, and it seems to slowly be learning that.
    Which could explain the panicked desperation that Israel is now showing, as well as the Israel Firsters inside America.

  6. eGuard
    September 25, 2013, 5:46 pm

    liberal Zionist.

    She’s welcome.

  7. HarryLaw
    September 26, 2013, 8:38 am

    Livni was accused of war crimes in London and a judge issued a warrant for her arrest on the basis of a private summons backed up with plenty of evidence, in the event the warrant was withdrawn when she failed to arrive in London. Because of this the UK changed its universal jurisdiction laws so that now only the Director of Public Prosecutions can initiate a prosecution and needs to consult with the Attorney General before he can agree to issue a warrant, and the AG can do this after consulting with other ministers he can use the ‘not in the public interest’ excuse to dissuade the DPP from acting, the UK government have had to re write it’s diplomatic protocols so that Livni and other war criminals can come on “special missions” link to uruknet.info, she’s still a war criminal.

  8. Nevada Ned
    September 26, 2013, 9:03 am

    J street was established as a less-extreme version of AIPAC. J Street bills itself as pro-Israel.
    They hoped to attract support from American Jews who couldn’t stomach AIPAC. But if you’re a Palestinian, AIPAC and J Street are both pretty bad.

    In this case, Livni played a disgraceful role in Israel’s 2008 massacre of Gaza refugees, yet she gets invited to speak at the J Street convention. It’s encouraging that HRW is criticizing Israel’s ethnic cleansing of bedouins, because HRW has had a mixed record in the past. Joe Stork, HRW spokesman, knows the score.

  9. Hostage
    September 26, 2013, 9:56 am

    As Cast Lead began, Rice assured the Israelis that she would try and hold off a Security Council resolution to stop the conflict. But then she met with the French foreign minister and Arab leaders– and Palestinian P.M. Mahmoud Abbas called her and “begged” for a resolution lest the West Bank explode. So Rice changed her mind.

    Rice did delay the adoption of Security Council resolutions during the 2006 war in Lebanon and during Operation Cast Lead. On both occasions she said it was necessary to give the IDF “more time” to accomplish its goals.

    The notion that she had to overcome objections from other members of the Security Council to resolution 1860 is utter nonsense. The General Assembly reconvened the 10th Emergency Special Session during Cast Lead under the “Uniting for Peace” resolution. It only applies to cases where a lone member of the Security Council is blocking the other members from taking action.

  10. jd65
    September 26, 2013, 3:18 pm

    “I ask again: Why is a liberal American organization hosting someone who played such a prominent role in a war targeting civilians?”

    Because J Street is not a “liberal” organization. They spend a lot of energy creating the illusion that they are liberal when they are actually quite conservative/status quo. If my piece on J Street had been published here I’d be able to refer folks to my thoughts on that here at Mondo. Anyone who is interested can see it here:

    link to thepalestineconflict.blogspot.com

    Scroll down for the piece on J Street…

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