US plays decisive role in Israel’s attack on Gaza

Israel/Palestine
on 65 Comments
July 23, 2014: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Israel. (AP Photo/Pool)

July 23, 2014: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Israel. (AP Photo/Pool)

Two reporters for major US TV channels were summarily “removed” last week from covering Israel’s attack on Gaza, moments before Israel launched a ground invasion.

NBC pulled out Ayman Mohyeldin, who has been widely praised for the even-handedness of his reporting from Gaza, just as he landed a harrowing scoop. He had kicked a football with four boys who were killed moments later by an Israeli missile.

Mohyeldin managed a few tweets before being removed, allegedly on “security” grounds. But why then did NBC immediately send in a replacement? After a public outcry, Mohyeldin was reinstated, but no proper explanation of the decision has been provided.

Shortly afterwards, CNN “reassigned” its reporter in Israel, Diana Magnay, after a tweet in which she labelled as “scum” an Israeli mob that threatened her with violence as she filmed them celebrating missile explosions in Gaza. The tweet was deleted within minutes, followed by her rapid departure.

The impression left by these incidents and the generally deferential tone towards Israel in US coverage is that, faced with huge pressure from the Israel lobby, media executives are frantically policing their correspondents’ output, including on social media.

That view was confirmed to Max Blumenthal by an NBC producer after the channel axed Rula Jebreal, a Palestinian contributor, following her on-air complaints about the massive over-representation of Israeli officials in US coverage. The producer said there was a “witch-hunt” being conducted by NBC executives, led by the media corporation’s president, Phil Griffin.

The obvious shortcomings in US coverage of a story in which Washington itself is a key player deprive us of a vital piece of the puzzle about what is going on in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the region on Monday to intensify ceasefire efforts, the day after a studio microphone captured his sarcastic comment that it was “a hell of a pin-point operation” by Israel. He had just been informed of a horrifying assault on the Shujaiiya neighbourhood, which left dozens of dead, taking Palestinian casualties so far to more than 650 killed and thousands wounded.

Washington’s good faith as honest broker goes largely unquestioned in the US, even though the country annually provides Israel with billions of dollars in aid and military support of the kind that enables these repeated attacks on Gaza.

The claim is only tenable because Washington’s actual behaviour is rarely scrutinised in detail.

Two recent investigations by the Israeli media illustrate the profoundly unhelpful role played by the US. They suggest that, whatever its public statements, the US is assisting Israel not only in what President Barack Obama called its right to “self-defence” but in actively damaging Palestinian interests.

And it seems not to matter whether the Palestinians in question are Hamas or the preferred negotiating partner, Mahmoud Abbas.

The first disclosure concerns the offer of an Egyptian ceasefire last week. This was presented as a crucial chance to end the bloodshed, one generously seized by Israel and shunned by Hamas. Only footnoted in some reports were Hamas “claims” that it had not been consulted.

Israel’s liberal daily Haaretz soon confirmed Hamas’ account with Israeli officials and western diplomats.

The reality, according to Haaretz, is that Kerry secretly dispatched to Cairo peace envoy Tony Blair, who in turn lobbied the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to coordinate the ceasefire’s terms with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sisi is currently waging an all-out war against Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ ideological ally. He has harshly punished Hamas too by tightening the siege on the shared border with Gaza. Like Israel, Sisi’s Egypt is a major beneficiary of US aid.

In short, Sisi and Netanyahu share a keen interest to weaken and humiliate Hamas. And yet, the US encouraged them to negotiate a ceasefire over Hamas’ head. Since then, Washington has rebuffed an alternative proposal from Qatar and Turkey, who are more sympathetic to Hamas.

It was a foregone conclusion that Hamas would reject the Egyptian offer. It failed to address key concerns, not least that the suffocating siege be ended and that Israel honour earlier agreements, particularly on prisoners.

The ceasefire proposal was nothing more than a trap – one whose purpose was to elicit a Hamas rejection and thereby provide Israel with a pretext to launch its ground invasion.

Netanyahu, backed by the US, is using the current attack to terrorise Gaza’s civilian population, deplete Hamas’ rocket stockpile, and then force it to accept terms of surrender.

The second investigation comes from journalist Raviv Drucker, this time concerning the peace talks that collapsed in April. Washington officials have told him that US negotiators spent the talks’ key phase coordinating positions exclusively with Netanyahu. Abbas was then presented with a fait accompli of hardline Israeli demands.

Despite its public pronouncements, Washington was also secretly conspiring with Israel on a huge expansion of settlement projects. These were announced – to loud condemnation by Kerry – each time a batch of Palestinian prisoners was released, a condition Abbas had set for his participation.

But US opposition was feigned, writes Drucker. In reality, Washington was “informed of the [settlement] tenders in advance”.

It is no surprise that Netanyahu has been acting in bad faith, and that his military campaigns in the West Bank and Gaza are designed to disrupt the recent reconciliation between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah.

As Israeli analyst Noam Sheizaf points out, Netanyahu is opposed to a peace deal of any kind. For him, “Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas are pretty much the same. Any gain by either one of them is a loss to Israel.”

But of far greater concern should be the Obama administration’s decision to back Israel to the hilt and the US media’s silence on the matter. There can be no hope of a peaceful solution ever gaining traction – or these bouts of blood-letting in Gaza coming to end – unless Washington is finally unmasked as Israel’s abettor-in-chief.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

About Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is jonathan-cook.net.

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65 Responses

  1. seafoid
    July 23, 2014, 9:45 am

    “There can be no hope of a peaceful solution ever gaining traction – or these bouts of blood-letting in Gaza coming to end – unless Washington is finally unmasked as Israel’s abettor-in-chief”

    Only way to do that is to open AIPAC and its funding of politicians to fresh air and investigative reporting.
    And the only way to do that is to leverage popular disgust at Israeli war crimes.

    Citizens United and subsequent decisions about campaign finance are at the heart of this. Zionism is as destructive as medical insurance in mangling the US political system. Neither are even remotely sustainable long term on current trends.

    I think Israel will collapse before relevant change happens in the US.

    • American
      July 23, 2014, 10:04 am

      ‘Only way to do that is to open AIPAC and its funding of politicians to fresh air and investigative reporting.’…seafood

      To do that you would first have to take out the Isr controlled US media so the entire public can see AIPAC.
      There have been at least a hundred books on the Isr Lobby-USA scheme since 1948 and probably more than a hundred thousand internet articles on it since the world wide web was created.

      I want to know why protestors arent at the CNN-NBC-MSNBC headquarters, at the NYT and WP and at the AIPAC office in DC and on Capitol Hill with their protest and die-ins.

      Dont they want the publics attention focused on the real cause of the Gaza slaughters and the fifth column threat to America as well as Palestine?

      They should be the targets of the P/I protest….big, rowdy, loud, flag burning, all out, let it rip, tear gassing, baton beating of US citizens by our Israeli infected police, protest.

      Thats the kind of protest I ‘d find worth joining.

      • Mooser
        July 23, 2014, 12:44 pm

        One thing that must be faced is that large, loud, or even riotous demonstrations against Israel’s actions are easy prey for provocateurs.

      • American
        July 23, 2014, 12:54 pm

        According to the declassified FBI documents there were plenty of ‘provocateurs in the Vietnam protest too….but they worked anyway.

      • can of worms
        July 23, 2014, 1:50 pm

        “I want to know why protestors arent at the CNN-NBC-MSNBC headquarters, at the NYT and WP”

        Because the last thing they will let go of is their basic undying faith in the US media that governs them? Because it is easier to bash Israel (rightly so) than it is to expose pernicious anti-democratic US power structures? Because it seems strategically better to protest against the Israeli apartheid state than to talk about class conflict?

      • Citizen
        July 24, 2014, 7:04 pm

        American public is not going to get any network or cable TV news coverage of the fact that 90% of US news is given to the US public by only 5 mega corporations, and 4 are significantly owned and/or controlled by Zionists, with the 5th controlled by Murdoch who is, like the Koch Bros, always in sync with Israel for reasons of profit.

      • chet
        July 23, 2014, 3:00 pm

        “The producer said there was a “witch-hunt” being conducted by NBC executives, led by the media corporation’s president, Phil Griffin.”

        At last, a published account of the actual means used by an AIPAC stooge to suppress any pro-Palestinian or insufficiently pro-Israeli coverage and to establish a diktat – “Toe the line or you’re gone”. Similar efforts are undoubtedly underway at the other major media outlets.

        Underscoring, of course, the frantic efforts to control the narrative.

      • lysias
        July 23, 2014, 3:24 pm

        That NBC witch hunt was discussed on this morning’s Democracy Now!.

    • lysias
      July 23, 2014, 10:07 am

      Whether by design or by chance, Hamas has exposed Israel’s Achilles heel: the Tel Aviv airport. If Hezbollah were ever to start targeting it with its more accurate missiles, Israel would be brought to its knees. Alternatively, somebody might supply Hamas in Gaza with the means of targeting the airport more accurately.

      • Sycamores
        July 23, 2014, 10:14 am

        I think Israel will collapse before relevant change happens in the US.

        with a little bit of retooling AIPAC could survived Israel as long as there is funding to be got.

      • just
        July 23, 2014, 10:26 am

        All the coverage wrt P/I this morning has led with the ban on travel to BGA.

        This hits them in their pride/hubris. They are really p.o.. Economic sanctions as a result of their own terrible actions– there’s a kind of symmetry to that.

      • seafoid
        July 23, 2014, 10:28 am

        They deserve it. Gaza does it own economic lawnmowing.
        With their special hedge tools they trim 1% off Israeli GDP growth. Yossi gets a lower payrise. Investments are put off. Israelis lose their jobs. The occupation comes right to the centre of the national balance sheet. Israeli bonds investors start asking questions about risk that was never previously priced in. Beautiful. Kteer hilw.

      • chinese box
        July 23, 2014, 10:47 am

        @seafoid and just:

        Just watch though, the US congress will vote to give Israel an extra billion this year to ease the pain of the flight ban and the attendant loss of tourist shekels. (I’m only half-joking, I can easily see them doing this).

      • seafoid
        July 23, 2014, 11:40 am

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-gaza-conflict-2014/1.606817
        “The whole industry is on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” said the manager of a big travel agency in Tel Aviv, who asked that he not be quoted by name.”

        “According to Yossi Fattal, head of the Israel Travel Agents’ Association, “tens of thousands” of Israelis are now stranded

        abroad because of flight cancellations. “What we are advising travelers to do is simply buy a ticket on another airline that is flying to or from Israel in order to get to their destination quickly because the cost of sticking around and waiting for international flights to resume could end up being higher.”

        Since 40 percent of the Israeli travel agency business is concentrated in two months of the year, July and August, the flight cancellations could deliver a severe blow to the industry, he estimated. “We are already seeing cutbacks and dismissals,” he said. “Nothing this dramatic ever happened before because the last time international airlines stopped flying to Israel was during the first Gulf War, and that was in the winter, which isn’t a peak travel season.” “

      • HarryLaw
        July 23, 2014, 2:23 pm

        Agree lysias, The accurate targeting of many of the economic targets in Israel is easily done with operatives using the cell structure in the belly of the beast. With the number and quality of arms available to many groups in the middle east at this time it is surprising the resistance have to use relatively crude homemade firecrackers, only to blow up the desert. The closure of Ben Gurion proves how vulnerable Israel is to a campaign of economic sabotage, it is only when Israelis have to pay a price, that the oppression will end.

    • Citizen
      July 23, 2014, 10:16 am

      And the US will, maybe not totally collapses, but will become even more weak both domestically in terms of democracy and economy, and US policy continues to paint a target on US citizens’ back, because Israeli conduct and policy breeds terrorism and the US is rightfully seen as its big enabler. Seafoid: a great supplemental comment to a great and incisive article by Jonathan Cook.

      Your reward: Hillary Clinton on the The Daily Show telling Jon S that Hamas is to blame, repeating, that HAMAS was given opportunity to cease fire and did not accept as Israel did–totally neglecting to point out that HAMAS was not consulted, but just given a directive that did not address the occupation–this segment was not aired on US TV: Hillary Clinton Blames HAMAS–Portion of The Dail Show Not Aired http://www.jta.org/2014/07/18/news-opinion/hillary-clinton-talks-gaza-with-charlie-rose-jon-stewart#.U8-7FTb32jA.twitter

      I bet Hillary had a lot to do with this herself–seems to me she realizes that if it does not go Israel’s way, it could harm her POTUS chance. This means that Hillary is a totally political animal, meaning grossly not a statesman, just a banal politician, and it means that she sees a few cracks in Main Media’s muzzling off any facts favoring Palestinians–the internet and BDS. Why wasn’t this segment aired? Why wasn’t the SNL segment on Hagel’s vetting aired?

      Keeping facts and context from the US public regarding Israel’s conduct can really twist into a pretzel but the pretzel has grown glaringly huge for anybody paying attention. People are becoming more aware, in Germany, there’s lots of protests against the US Federal Reserve Banking System and its impact on the world via international banking, IMF, etc. Naturally, the German regime’s press calls this anti-semitism even though the spokes folks for the protests has never even mentioned Jews or even implied they are in any way connected to the US banking system installed in 1913 while Americans were celebrating the Xmas holidays, and which has grown to envelope the world via the neoliberal ideology. This is a reflection in Germany of what the OWS protests were about in US before it was suppressed.

      • Antidote
        July 23, 2014, 6:47 pm

        Citizen, that’s a brick shy off a load. The “German regime” has been trying to put a leash on the banksters long before the German OWSs had a clue what’s going on – but not accomplishing more than a lick and a promise. It’s not like anybody is a sovereign country or economic and military superpower in the EU — which itself is a collection of US client states spearheaded by the “guilt-ridden”, eternally ransacked and thus over-performing Germans as the “paymasters” of Europe. Or did you think it’s just Israel that benefits from German payments and subs and diplomatic support?

        And no, the problem is not just the Federal reserve and US banks either.

        From last year’s news

        http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jun/28/angela-merkel-anglo-irish-bank-scandal

      • Antidote
        July 23, 2014, 6:49 pm

        of

      • Citizen
        July 24, 2014, 7:15 pm

        Yeah, well, we can agree that Israel is tied into the big international banking system that commenced way back in 1913, and was given hedge room (LOL) by Nixon (a jew hater who hated the USSR more), and that this banking system is a significant reason (beyond AIPAC clout) why the US joins Israel in hating Iran, for example? Please, give me another brick of enlightenment.

    • ahhiyawa
      July 23, 2014, 11:11 am

      >>>I think Israel will collapse before relevant change happens in the US<<<

      There is nothing more Byzantine and inscrutable than American politics.

      What you think may very likely be what sits at the center and purpose of American policy in the Middle East, because the 'collapse' of Israel would solve a considerable chunk of the headaches the US experiences domestically and in the region.

      • Citizen
        July 24, 2014, 7:27 pm

        Remember how the entire US state department and our diplomats at the UN were sandbagged by Truman? Truman, the guy who hated Zionists banging on his door, but had a Jewish buddy from his small business days, and he ultimately confessed, I have no Palestinians constituents–nor did he have any money for his whistle stop campaign until the Zionists gave a big bag of loot to him for that. They had pounded their shoe on his oval office desk, telling him if he didn’t recognize Israel, Dewey would. Put yourself in Truman’s shoes: Remember the naive news banner Dewey Wins? Current SCOTUS has upped the bribery device, equating corporations with humans engaging in free speech, and spending lots more money in campaign finance than Joe Dokes, making his vote superfluous. Oligarchy rules, Plutocracy rules in what once was America.
        Nobody knows this more than Sheldon Adelson. Dick and Jane sleep. They are trying to figure out how to pay the next month mortgage payment or rent. Watch PBS Frontline show Poor Kids. Or take a look at Detroit’s water utility problem–Detroit is holding new renters, mortgage holders responsible for back bills incurred by former renters and owners.
        Meanwhile, Congress is giving more money to Israel for its Iron Dome.

    • Blownaway
      July 23, 2014, 12:44 pm

      Its all about dirty politicians chasing dirty money. From times of Israel on blackmailing Clinton ““The Israelis present at Wye River had a new tactic for their negotiations–they’d overheard Clinton and Monica and had it on tape. Not wanting to directly threaten the powerful American president, a crucial Israeli ally, Clinton was told that the Israeli government had thrown the tapes away. But the very mention of them was enough to constitute a form of blackmail,” Halper wrote, adding that “according to information provided by a CIA source, a stricken Clinton appeared to buckle.”

      Read more: Netanyahu said to have offered Lewinsky tapes for Pollard | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-said-to-have-offered-lewinsky-tapes-for-pollard/#ixzz38JK6vw6c
      Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

      • lysias
        July 23, 2014, 12:50 pm

        Not wanting to directly threaten the powerful American president, a crucial Israeli ally, Clinton was told that the Israeli government had thrown the tapes away. But the very mention of them was enough to constitute a form of blackmail,” Halper wrote, adding that “according to information provided by a CIA source, a stricken Clinton appeared to buckle.”

        That was also J. Edgar Hoover’s M.O. He would tell a politician what damaging information he had on him, and then assure him that of course he would never make use of it.

      • Citizen
        July 24, 2014, 7:50 pm

        Both Clintons are mouthing hasbara now. God only knows what they say about Israel between themselves. And what they tell Chelsea, who’s married to the son of a Wall Street Jewish white collar criminal.

      • Shingo
        July 25, 2014, 1:31 am

        Both Clintons are mouthing hasbara now. God only knows what they say about Israel between themselves.

        Especially not that a book has come out that claims Israel tapped White House phones, and blackmailed Clinton with recordings of his dirty talk with Monica

        http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-said-to-have-offered-lewinsky-tapes-for-pollard/

      • RoHa
        July 25, 2014, 2:02 am

        “Both Clintons are mouthing hasbara now. God only knows what they say about Israel between themselves.”

        You think they talk to each other? They’re married, for Heaven’s sake!

  2. American
    July 23, 2014, 9:48 am

    Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) is flying to Israel tonight on the Israeli airline El Al to protest a Federal Aviation Administration ban on U.S. carriers flying to or from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv>>>>>>>>

    The Logan Act is still on the books—Enforce it.

    The Logan Act states, in part: “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

    We could get rid of the US zionist and their politicans with the Logan Act— but we would first have to have a ‘actual American President’ who would enforce it.

  3. just
    July 23, 2014, 9:53 am

    Thanks for this, James.

    We are responsible– we always have been.

    I posted some excerpts from Gideon Levy who was on Democracy Now! yesterday…the coverage and his interviews are well worth perusing. One of the segments is “How the West Chose War in Gaza: Crisis Tied to Israeli-U.S. Effort to Isolate Hamas & Keep the Siege”.

    http://www.democracynow.org/

    • Citizen
      July 23, 2014, 10:26 am

      Thanks for the link, just–I’ll go read it and spread it around I bet as I sure agree with the premise. By far, biggest chunk of total US foreign aid goes to Israel & Egypt.
      (Reminds are de facto foreign policy is also to give big bags of cash to Arab groups anywhere, until we decide they are no longer in our camp, then they are always labeled terrorists groups, e.g., Afghanistan. Hard to see how the S.O.P in reality differs from the Mafia.)

  4. michelle
    July 23, 2014, 10:06 am

    .
    why are the governments and Israel
    keeping the truth from the people
    what do they believe would happen
    if the public was told the truth
    .
    i feel that the public would demand
    justice and equality and a voice for Palestine
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  5. amigo
    July 23, 2014, 10:14 am

    Remeber!

    BDS.

    And 1S 1P 1V.

    Should be enough to kill the poisonous snake that is Zionist Israel.

    It,s going to take time but it,s going to happen.

  6. Kay24
    July 23, 2014, 10:36 am

    The US has been making the biggest mistake by consistently backing Israel’s brutality, violence against civilians, and land theft. When the entire world can see little babies being blow up, and children killed, the US continues it naive sounding refrain that Israel has the right to defend itself. This is not defense, this is some kind of evil onslaught on civilians, a massacre of innocents.

    “UN human rights chief: Israel may be committing war crimes in Gaza
    Despite Israeli lobbying, Palestinians have managed to call for a vote on Wednesday on severe condemnation of IDF operation in Gaza.
    The UN human rights chief said Wednesday during an emergency meeting that Israel may be committing war crimes in Gaza.” Haaretz

    It seems there is no one who will stand up for the Palestinians, apparently even the selfish Arab nations have not cooperated with Abbas, and he has returned back rejected, but now fully supporting the Hamas demands. The Arab nations seems to be terrified of Israel, or in bed with them. Both HUGE mistakes.

    “Palestinian leadership backs Hamas truce demands
    Senior official tells Haaretz that Abbas had no choice but to align himself ‘with the people’ after the Arab world and international community failed ‘to bring the goods.”
    Haaretz.

    • Citizen
      July 24, 2014, 7:54 pm

      Those Arab states genuflect to the USA. They may have oil, but they don’t have the way to distribute it and make a profit that won’t harm them–don’t you remember the oil embargo in 1973?

  7. pedro
    July 23, 2014, 10:51 am

    My eyes have been opened by these articles. It is truly sad that the Israeli lobby controls the American political scene and the media. Zionism does not represent the real political interests of the U.S. in the area. The siege of Gaza is one of the most appalling assaults of human rights of the modern era.

  8. jewishgoyim
    July 23, 2014, 10:57 am

    Good piece.

    I don’t understand why there are no comments by Mondoweiss contributors about Rula Jebreal and her courageous stance. It is for the first time (finally!) mentioned in this piece but the author is not a Mondo regular…

    I thought Phil would jump on this new, convincing, face of Palestinian activism on national tv. Even if she gets fired in the end. Also the fact that she’s intermarried in the US establishment is interesting. Why is Phil so slow on this? This story has “Mondoweiss” written all over it!

    • seafoid
      July 23, 2014, 11:57 am

      “The Irish Mirror also reports that the long-time supporters of Palestinian freedom also displayed the number of lives lost in Gaza during a performance of ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ – which was met with huge applause from the crowd.”

      Amazing song . Very popular in Ireland .

      • Citizen
        July 24, 2014, 8:09 pm

        Chris Hayes on MSNBC now show: largest WB protest in a decade. 60 Palestinians injured in street protest. Palestinian death count goes way beyond 700.

      • Citizen
        July 24, 2014, 8:11 pm

        UN vote against Israel, Israel says “Get lost”

  9. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    July 23, 2014, 11:07 am

    Kerry tweated this today:

    ”Deaths of IDF/US citizens Max Steinberg & Sean Carmeli in #Gaza heartbreaking reminder of close bonds w/ Israel/condolences to all”

    Absolutely disgraceful. So American citizens prefer to serve in a foreign army rather than their own, and this is a ‘heartbreaking reminder of close bonds’? If US citizens died fighting for Hamas – or any other Islamic/Arab army or militia – it would be considered evidence of a 5th column, and the entire US Muslim community would be held under suspicion. Kerry would certainly never, ever offer his condolences.

    And people wonder why Arabs deeply distrust America.

    • Kay24
      July 23, 2014, 11:36 am

      They hate us for the in your face close bonds that our officials keep assuring Israel about, you know, like a sugar daddy telling his mistress, she is close to his heart and will always be devoted to her, so that she will not throw another tantrum.

    • seafoid
      July 23, 2014, 11:59 am

      heartbreaking reminder of close bonds viz drones, NSA, propaganda, torture, DIME munitions, flechettes, white phosphorous, human rights abuses, wars against Muslims and ignoring veterans

    • Boomer
      July 23, 2014, 3:16 pm

      Prior to 1967, an American who served in a foreign military was considered to have forfeited his citizenship. A series of court rulings and State department interpretations subsequently changed that. As I recall, the desire of many American Jews to serve in Israel’s military after the ’67 war was a significant factor in precipitating this change. I think the change was problematic as a matter of policy, adding yet another way for the U.S. to become involved in conflicts overseas. Brain Williams recently reported that an estimated 2,000 Americans currently serve in Israel’s “IDF.”

      • Antidote
        July 23, 2014, 9:00 pm

        “Prior to 1967, an American who served in a foreign military was considered to have forfeited his citizenship. ”

        ??? : O

        “The U.S. government certainly doesn’t encourage citizens to go off and fight in foreign wars, but there’s a long history of it — from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade that fought against Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War to the many Jewish Americans who have served in the Israel Defense Forces.”

        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/09/02/is_it_legal_for_americans_to_fight_in_another_country_s_army

      • Antidote
        July 23, 2014, 9:33 pm

        sorry, can’t resist to add another one.

        Loyalty issues getting complicated when commies join fascists and the US (among others) changes sides during and after a war. A tragicomedy of errors

        From Wiki: Abraham Lincoln Brigade:

        “During and after the Spanish Civil War, members of the brigade were generally viewed as supporters of the Soviet Union. After returning to the United States, many joined the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB). However, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact caused a division among the Lincoln Brigade veterans. Some of them, adopting the official Communist line that regarded the war in Europe as “an imperialist war”, joined with the American Peace Mobilization in protesting U.S. support for Britain against Nazi Germany. Others, however, persisted with the anti-Fascist line which they had followed to Spain. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the VALB changed its stance and fully backed the war. Former Lincoln-Washington commander Milton Wolff volunteered in 1940 for the British Special Operations Executive, and arranged the provision of arms for the European resistance organizations.

        During World War II the U.S. government considered former members of the brigade to be security risks. In fact, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover requested that President Roosevelt ensure that former ALB members fighting in U.S. Forces in World War II not be considered for commissioning as officers, or to have any type of positive distinction conferred upon them.[citation needed] In 1947, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade were placed on the Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations.[10] The Veterans would be one of only five groups that would stay intact, to at least 1970, after receiving this designation.”

        Many commenters here keep insisting that the “special relationship” between Israel and the US marks a departure from the old principle not to get involved in foreign wars via allegiance to a foreign country.

        Are ya nuts? Have you forgotten the Great War? That would be WW I as the war that truly changed the world . WW II was really just the fall out and aftermath to the first war, or two wars, that destroyed Europe and shifted the center of global power to the US (and the Soviet Union).

        The foreign power to which the US pledged allegiance in both wars, against substantial opposition of US citizens was the old enemy and dissolving empire : Great Britain.

        By the end of WW I Britain was little more than a client state of the US. By then end of WW II, the empire was finished.

        With friends like this, who needs enemies?

      • Citizen
        July 24, 2014, 6:39 pm

        Britain currently has 100 of its Jewish citizens fighting in the IDF in Gaza. The US, of course has more. Fox News channel is now airing an appeal to tell POTUS to send more aid to Israel–from the organization of Christian and Jews. As of February of 2011, the Forward said 37 Jewish American boys had died in Afghanistan and Iraq sectors. At the time, nearly 6,000 US troops had died there.

      • Citizen
        July 24, 2014, 6:48 pm

        Yeah, the case that really allowed easy dual citizenship involved a Jewish American; similarly the first FTA was with Israel in 1985, a lop-sided bill made when 5th column in US gave Israeli negotiators the classified scoop on US negotiation strategy–that FTA has never been fixed although the traitorous way it came about is known and documented. Israel is always the key to the US government acting against US interests in that what the US government allows to Israel always harms best American interests. Now, just look at the incessant congressional activity to give Israelis visa waivers sans reciprocity, and the 100% Senate vote to back Israel in Gaza, not to mention the continued attempt to sandbag US diplomacy with Iran in Congress. And so on.

  10. Justpassingby
    July 23, 2014, 12:20 pm

    Decisive? No Israel IS the US. Without US support no Israeli aggression.

  11. American
    July 23, 2014, 12:48 pm

    Just to remind people how deep and TOTAL the corruption of the US Congress is– I offer this example. Although ordinary citizens are not aware of all the ‘specific back room ‘betrayals like this one—they are conscious enough of its general effects to give congress and US government a lower approval rating than cockroaches and traffic jams.
    You cannot ‘respectfully ask, you cannot ‘appeal to trash like this, you must threaten and make them fear for their careers and everything else they have.
    On Gaza you must outshout their jingos and make them fear the public more than they fear the lose of Zionist blood money.

    Congress Quietly Deletes a Key Disclosure of Free Trips Lawmakers Take

    ”June 30, 2014
    It’s going to be a little more difficult to ferret out which members of Congress are lavished with all-expenses-paid trips around the world after the House has quietly stripped away the requirement that such privately sponsored travel be included on lawmakers’ annual financial-disclosure forms.

    The move, made behind closed doors and without a public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent. Gifts of free travel to lawmakers have appeared on the yearly financial form dating back its creation in the late 1970s, after the Watergate scandal. National Journal uncovered the deleted disclosure requirement when analyzing the most recent batch of yearly filings.

    “This is such an obvious effort to avoid accountability,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “There’s no legitimate reason. There’s no good reason for it.”

    Free trips paid for by private groups must still be reported separately to the House’s Office of the Clerk and disclosed there. But they will now be absent from the chief document that reporters, watchdogs, and members of the public have used for decades to scrutinize lawmakers’ finances.

    “The more you can hide, the less accountable you can be,” Sloan said of lawmakers. “It’s clear these forms are useful for reporters and watchdogs, and obviously a little too useful.”

    House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, did not return a call for comment; ranking member Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., referred questions to committee staff. The committee declined to comment.

    The change occurs as free travel, which critics have criticized as thinly veiled junkets, has come back into vogue. Last year, members of Congress and their aides took more free trips than in any year since the influence-peddling scandal that sent lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prison. There were nearly 1,900 trips at a cost of more than $6 million last year, according to Legistorm, which compiles travel records.

    Now none of those trips must be included on the annual disclosures of lawmakers or their aides.

    The tabs for these international excursions can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. One trip to Australia earlier this year cost nearly $50,000. Lawmakers are often invited to bring along their husbands or wives, fly in business class, and stay in plush four-star hotels. In the wake of the Abramoff scandal, lobbyists were banned from organizing or paying for these travels. But some of the nonprofits underwriting them today have extremely close ties to lobbying groups, including sharing staff, money, and offices.

    The only indication that these trips no longer need to be disclosed on annual reports came in the instructions booklet issued to lawmakers in 2014. The guidelines for the new electronic filing system tell lawmakers and staff they “are no longer required to report privately sponsored travel” on the form.

    Perhaps because the ethics committee’s edict was issued so quietly, disclosure remained uneven.

    For instance, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who led a GOP delegation of lawmakers to Israel last summer paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, which is closely tied to the pro-Israel lobby, did not include the trip on his annual form. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who led a similar trip for Democrats, did include it on his form. But some of the rank-and-file members who went on the trip with Hoyer did not.

    Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the consumer group Public Citizen who closely tracks the international travels of lawmakers and the actions of the Ethics Committee, said he was “completely unaware” of the change until contacted by National Journal.

    “There’s seems to be no reason I could imagine why the Ethics Committee would minimize the amount of information that gets reported,” Holman said”

  12. Boomer
    July 23, 2014, 2:59 pm

    Yes, we play a decisive role. We provide weapons, money, training, and diplomatic support . . . and we bear a comparable share of the guilt for what is happening. There has been much outcry from the U.S. about the downing of the passenger plane in Ukraine, much assertion of Russia’s guilt because it provided the weapon used. The amount of suffering and death for which the U.S. is more directly responsible is far greater. I read recently that some in Israel say that civilians in Gaza brought this on themselves, by voting for Hamas. Therefore, they say, Israel can rightly attack them.
    http://www.richardsilverstein.com

    Does not similar logic apply to citizens in Israel, or the U.S.? The U.S. has actively enabled the dispossession and oppression of Palestinians since 1948, and indeed, as an American, I feel that we collectively bear responsibility for that, as for much elsewhere in the world. Yet what can I, as an individual, do? Writing to officials, making token contributions, participating in paltry demonstrations . . . these have had no discernible effect.

    I’ve read more than a few Jewish critiques of the “Good Germans,” and of course Osama bin Laden’s critique of American citizens for their support for Israel and oppressive Arab states as justification for 9/11 is well known. We like to think that we are right and the Other is wrong, that the distinctions are clear, and that we are blameless. That is what our leaders seem to believe, or would have us believe. But things are not clear to me, and as an American I don’t feel that we are without guilt.

    • lysias
      July 23, 2014, 4:36 pm

      It was also the excuse used for the carpet bombing of German cities and the harsh treatment of Germany for the first couple of years after World War Two, that Germans had voted for Hitler

      I remember feeling superior to Germans on that ground when I was stationed in Berlin from 1970 to 1972. How ashamed I feel now about that attitude

  13. Citizen
    July 23, 2014, 3:13 pm

    How Congress Works: Case in point: Auto Dealers Get Blank Check 2 Screw Public:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/23/car-sales-subprime_n_5614047.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000016
    #AIPAC rules US foreign policy! Barney Frank has it much easier when it comes to milking US public and immunizing Israel from accountability. There’s no opposition comparable to those senior congress folks who at least tried to protect US public from Auto dealer’s fraudulently produced car loans. It’s why Gaza is dying and Congress is 100% for Israel’s massacre with our money and diplomatic immunity for Israel from accountability

  14. lysias
    July 23, 2014, 5:09 pm

    Congressional Quarterly: July 23, 2014 – 11:48 a.m.

    Pentagon Wants to Exempt New Iron Dome Funding From U.S. Production Agreement:

    The Pentagon supports additional funding this year for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket shield but has asked lawmakers to exempt that spending from a new agreement between the United States and Israel mandating more of the work on the program be done stateside.

    The request for $225 million in fiscal 2014 funds for Iron Dome — and the special conditions — came in a recent letter to congressional leaders from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel .

    Iron Dome is a system that Israel is relying heavily on to defend itself from rockets launched by Hamas.

    Senate appropriators have inserted the $225 million for the system in their version of the $3.5 billion emergency supplemental spending bill. House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers , R-Ky., has said he has no plans to include Iron Dome money in the House’s version of the supplemental.

    The program, which was developed by Israel, has been funded mostly by the United States. Indeed, both the Senate Appropriations Defense spending bill and the House-passed companion measure ( HR 4870 ) would provide $351 million for it in fiscal 2015, nearly doubling the administration’s request.

    The $225 million in the supplemental, which has been requested by Israel, would be in addition to that fiscal 2015 funding. If the two pending additional tranches of funding were enacted, it would bring to $1.28 billion the total of U.S. appropriations for the system.

    Hagel’s letter recommends that the $225 million in fiscal 2014 “be exempt from the terms and conditions of the U.S-Israel Iron Dome Procurement Agreement. However,” he said, “all other funds appropriated by Congress for Iron Dome should remain subject to the terms and conditions of this signed international agreement.”

    • Keith
      July 23, 2014, 8:09 pm

      “The request for $225 million in fiscal 2014 funds for Iron Dome — and the special conditions — came in a recent letter to congressional leaders from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel .”

      Well, if the request came from Chuck Hagel, I guess that it must be okay. I’m sure glad that he’s SecDef to hold Israel’s feet to the fire! Of course, it was only after his confirmation that we discover his fondness for donkeys. Who knew?

  15. ivri
    July 23, 2014, 5:14 pm

    Here is a simple explanation for the continual support of Israel in the US without all the conspiratorial and corruption-based arguments. Why strain the imagination if plain facts are enough.
    What we call “West” is constantly shrinking (most recent loss: Turkey) and also other big players are on the rise – posing a serious threat to the US global dominance. In this situation every member of the group is important. In the Arab world there are still few US allies and they are all now brought together, formally or implicitly, with Israel – as for instance Sisi in Egypt. This is about global alliances in hard times and many uncertainties so what is safe and reliable, as the tie with Israel, is cherished.

    • Shingo
      July 24, 2014, 7:26 am

      This is about global alliances in hard times and many uncertainties so what is safe and reliable, as the tie with Israel, is cherished.

      On the contrary. If it were cherished, the corrupt tyrants in the region who have become allies with Israel wouldn’t be so ashamed to admit it. The fact is that Israel finds itself allied with the more criminal and vile regimes in the world.

      • Citizen
        July 25, 2014, 5:19 am

        @Shingo
        A friendly relationship with the USA requires any country to also be friendly to Israel.

  16. DICKERSON3870
    July 23, 2014, 10:45 pm

    RE: “There can be no hope of a peaceful solution ever gaining traction – or these bouts of blood-letting in Gaza coming to end – unless Washington is finally unmasked as Israel’s abettor-in-chief.” ~ Johnathan Cook

    MY COMMENT: When Obama first made Netanyahu agree to a partial settlement freeze (which Netanyahu then largely ignored) back in 2009, George Mitchell was trying to get the negotiations started. Netanyahu bypassed George Mitchell and President Obama in appealing directly to the Republicans and the Democrats in both the Senate and the House to complain about the idea of the partial freeze on construction in the settlements. The Democrats in particular (and Chuck Schumer most notably) then began whining ceaselessly to Obama (like a bunch of spoiled, pre-pubescent girls who had just learned that an upcoming, long-awaited concert by the Jonas Bros had been postponed for a week) about the effect the partial freeze on settlement construction was having on their all-important fundraising. This effectively put an end to any hope of extending the partial freeze, and the “peace process” was really nothing more than just a sham from that point on, with George Mitchell soon beginning to make noises about wanting to spend more time with his family.
    Imagine the Palestinians trying to negotiate with the Israelis under the aegis of an AIPAC-approved, but supposedly impartial, American team of facilitators under conditions where anytime something is not entirely to Netanyahu’s liking, he can do an end run around everyone and go directly to his “amen corner” on Capitol Hill so that they start their pouting routine with Obama until Obama caves and lets Netanyahu have his way.
    Although I’ve read a few books on negotiation theory, I ‘m not really much of a negotiator. That said, when the negotiation table is so off-kilter that it looks like it came from a set for 1920’s German expessionistic theatre, the situation is so obviously rigged that any lawyer agreeing to negotiate for a client under such circumstances is flirting with malpractice.

  17. Citizen
    July 24, 2014, 6:59 pm

    On Fox News now, “all star panel,”Krauthammer saying HAMAS hiding weapons in schools, mosques, hospitals, and Israel accepted cease fire, but not HAMAS. Goldberg (NR) saying Obama could press Quatar & Turkey confuses things. Other (mulatto) guy says huge propaganda war going on, but Turkey’s view is insane, but it’s clear who has the military power: Israel.

    Nobody mentions the long siege of Gaza context. Nor the fact many Gaza folks are refugees from what is now the state of Israel, booted out during the Nakba.

    • Annie Robbins
      July 24, 2014, 8:16 pm

      why are you listening to fox news? there are not enough hours in the day as it is.

      • Citizen
        July 25, 2014, 5:27 am

        @ Annie Robbins
        I multi-task. I flip the channels to see which are lying the most about the I-P conflict. It amazes me how they all do, so incessantly, with such straight faces. The two favorite “experts” FOX goes to: Krauthammer and John Bolton.

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