Category Archives: Middle East

Jon Stewart plays ‘Let’s break a deal’ with AIPAC

Jon Stewart knocks it totally out of the ballpark in this recent episode of the Daily Show. He skewers AIPAC, congress and Israel over AIPAC’s proposed Iran sanctions legislation, and then some.

Posted in Iran, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Media, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 39 Comments

Are the Palestinians the losers of the Arab Spring?

Abdalhadi Alijla argues the Arab Spring has been counterproductive towards the Palestinian cause.

Posted in Arab Spring, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Middle East, syria | 8 Comments

Simon Wiesenthal Center calls Falk, Walker, Waters, Blumenthal and ASA anti-Semites

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s has made a year-end list of the “Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs,” citing ASA, Richard Falk, Alice Walker and Max Blumenthal as anti-Semites.

Posted in American Jewish Community, BDS, Iran, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Museum of Tolerance, Turkey, US Politics | 124 Comments

Dronesplain

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Katie Miranda introduces us to a new word – dronesplain. It’s a verb for condescendingly excusing or justifying drone strikes, most commonly seen with politicians and media commentators. Above, Time magazine’s Joe Klein dronesplains to New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics, War on Terror | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Obama and Kerry drop talk of Palestinian state for ‘state institutions’ and ‘transition’

“Palestinians have to also recognize that there is going to be a transition period where the Israeli people cannot expect a replica of Gaza in the West Bank,” President Obama said at the Saban Forum in Washington this weekend (with Haim Saban, above). While Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that he envisions Palestinian “state institutions,” but not statehood. So once again, Israeli security concerns trump Palestinian sovereignty

Posted in American Jewish Community, Iran, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Media, Middle East, One state/Two states, Reports/Video, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 88 Comments

American Task Force on Palestine finds funding from anti-Palestinian billionaire and a repressive monarchy

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Despite its claims to be “committed to strengthening Palestinian-American relations” as “an independent voice for Palestine,” the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) has begun accepting funding from one of the most aggressive funders of anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic initiatives in the United States. A recently released 2011 Internal Revenue Service Form 990 information return revealed that ATFP has accepted at least $10,000 from the Klarman Family Foundation. The donation highlights the trajectory of an organization originally founded to advance the position of Palestinian statehood advocates in Washington, DC, but which has increasingly diverged from the Palestinian consensus. It also exposes an emerging strategy of pro-Israel donors like Klarman who are propping up an array of Muslim and Arab-American groups to drive a wedge into grassroots Palestine solidarity organizing. In addition, ATFP claims to have never accepted donations from foreign governments, but the group accepted $148,800 from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in 2011. Above, a controversial photo of ATFP President Ziad Asali with then Israeli Ambassador the U.S. Michael Oren.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 15 Comments

The Cult in the Shadow War: An Interview with a former member of Mojahedin-e-Khalq

Richard Potter interviews Masoud Banisadr a former member of the controversial Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK, PMOI) and author of the book “Memoirs of an Iranian Rebel.”

Posted in Iran | Comments Off

Even when US drones hit the mark in Pakistan, they’re still counterproductive

“We will put pressure on America, and our protest will continue if drone attacks are not stopped,” said an angry Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan’s third largest political party, the PTI (the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf). He was speaking on Saturday, November 23, to a crowd of over 10,000 protesters who blocked the highway used by NATO supply trucks taking goods in and out of Afghanistan. The latest protests in Pakistan show that even when the US hits its mark, as in the case of the last two strikes in Pakistan that killed key leaders of two extremist cells, they’re still counterproductive.

Posted in US Politics, War on Terror | Comments Off

The false analogy of Syria and Palestine

Jonathan Cook responds to critics about his opposition to launching yet another “humanitarian intervention” in Syria.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, syria | 67 Comments

(Updated) Senator Chuck Schumer promises more Iran sanctions, vows to ‘defeat’ Arab world and Palestinians

New York Senator Chuck Schumer railed against the deal the Obama administration struck with Iran in a Sunday evening speech to an Orthodox Jewish organization. Schumer said, “Democrats and Republicans are going to work together to see that we don’t let up on these sanctions…until Iran gives up not only its nuclear weapons, but all nuclear weapon capability, all enriched uranium.” The remarks were an indication of the potential difficulties the Obama administration will have in convincing hawks to hold off on new sanctions.

Posted in Iran, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 129 Comments

The story behind the deal: Israel kept out of the loop as secret US/Iran meetings took place in Oman

Details have emerged the U.S. had been holding secret meetings with Iranian officials in the Omani capital of Muscat since last March, facilitated by Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

Posted in Iran, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 54 Comments

Iran & the Nuclear Question: Framing the debate, one picture (and one think tank) at a time

A twitter debate about Iran with Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, reveals Doran’s bias.

Posted in Iran, Israel Lobby, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 36 Comments

Iran deal could result in ‘nuclear suitcase’ in US city in 10 years — Naftali Bennett scares NY

Naftali Bennett’s talk at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan veered from Israel’s status as a “lighthouse nation” to why the peace process was doomed to fail. But the main event of his discussion with neoconservative Dan Senor was the right-wing star’s warnings about why the U.S. should not strike a deal with Iran. “If a decade from now, God forbid, a nuclear suitcase blows up in an American city, we will be able to trace it back to these days,” Bennett told the crowd. The HaBayit HaYehudi leader urged for Western sanctions to be ramped up on Iran three days before talks over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program will kick off again in Geneva, with many signs pointing to a deal.

Posted in Activism, Arab Spring, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Middle East, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 71 Comments

Neocon attack group uses health care debacle to say Obama can’t be trusted on Iran

The Emergency Committee for Israel is warning that President Barack Obama can’t keep promises–whether it’s on health care or Iran. The neoconservative group’s latest video warns that the American people can’t trust the president, and that he’s the one marching towards a war with Iran. It’s the latest salvo from right-wingers seeking to scuttle a diplomatic deal with Iran over its nuclear energy program.

Posted in Iran, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Middle East, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 29 Comments

Showtime’s ‘Homeland’ and the imagination of national security

Showtime’s hit TV series “Homeland” is about Obama’s war on terror. Similar to 24, a popular show during the Bush era, it provides a means for the national-security state to publicize fantasies of terrorist threat, while setting new norms of acceptability on issues like surveillance and political violence. It not only sells the public on the notion that the War on Terror has become a permanent state of emergency, but that educated, sober, ethical, and smart people are in charge and that we should trust them to guard us.

Posted in Media, Middle East, US Politics, War on Terror | 9 Comments

‘The goal is to isolate Iran’–Jamal Abdi breaks down Israel’s opposition to the Geneva talks

The conventional narrative about sanctions on Iran is that they are meant for leverage for an eventual deal over the country’s nuclear energy program. But some analysts, like the National Iranian American Council’s Jamal Abdi, fear that the economic pressure could end up scuttling a deal. “The danger now is…the sanctions are never going to be lifted. That just like with Iraq, these are sanctions not put in place as leverage, but to prevent rapprochement and prevent diplomacy and build a well between the two countries to eventually get to a war,” Abdi said in an interview on Sunday.

Posted in Iran, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 23 Comments

Iran’s nuclear rights vs. the West’s ‘bombastic diplomacy’

Iran’s inalienable right to a peaceful, domestic nuclear energy program is affirmed by international law via the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), yet the United States believes it can dictate which rights countries are entitled to on a case by case basis. In fact, Undersecretary Wendy Sherman said as much at her recent Senate appearance.

Posted in Iran, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 52 Comments

The Heart is Not a Weapon: My correspondence with Shukri Abu Baker

n 2009, after a previous trial resulted in a hung jury, Shukri Abu Baker was sentenced to 65 years in a United States prison after being convicted of having a role in distributing over 12 million dollars through the charity The Holy Land Foundation in material support to the designated terrorist group Hamas. Richard Potter shares his powerful correspondence with Abu Baker from prison.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Politics, War on Terror | 6 Comments

Echoing Netanyahu, Ted Cruz slams Kerry and calls on Iran to recognize Israel as ‘Jewish state’

Is this the end of the special relationship? A deal for Iran to limit its nuclear enrichment is said to have been reached in Geneva, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu slammed John Kerry for agreeing to any such terms, calling it “the deal of the century” for Iran. Netanyahu hinted at military action. “This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it…. Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself.”

Posted in Iran, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Middle East, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 130 Comments

George Mitchell praises SodaStream settlement factory as beacon of cooperation

Former Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell praises a settlement factory as an example of “cooperation” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Middle East, Occupation, Settlers/Colonists, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 11 Comments

Hagel tells Goldberg: Netanyahu threats brought Iran to the table

Chuck Hagel tells Jeffrey Goldberg “I think that Iran is responding to the constant pressure from Israel, knowing that Israel believes them to be an existential threat,” which may be considered a surprising compliment for Netanyahu, who seems intent on subverting any détente between Washington and Teheran.

Posted in Iran, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 32 Comments

Infographic: How the Syrian crisis created a disaster for Palestinian refugee children

The large scale displacement of the longstanding Palestinian refugee population in Syria has been little mentioned in media coverage. This infographic highlights the challenges faced by Palestinian refugee children from Syria, from displacement to school closures, emergency education provision and the simple uncertainty over whether they will have access to education.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Middle East | 26 Comments

The victims of drones have come out of the shadows

The media has failed to do its job of humanizing the civilian casualties that accompany President Obama’s deadly drone program. But that’s beginning to change. New films, reports and media coverage are finally giving the American public a taste of the personal tragedies involved. And on October 29, the Rehman family—a father with his two children—came all the way from the Pakistani tribal territory of North Waziristan to the US Capitol to tell the heart-wrenching story of the death of the children’s beloved 67-year-old grandmother.

Posted in US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics, War on Terror | 2 Comments

CUNY Law SJP condemns student suspensions over anti-Petraeus activism

Members of Students for Justice in Palestine at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law slam the suspension of students Khalil Vasquez and Tafadar Sourov for their anti-militarization activism.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Middle East, US Policy in the Middle East, War on Terror | 1 Comment

The lobby grants Obama a grace period on Iran

Leaders of four rightwing Jewish organizations met with the president last Tuesday and reportedly agreed to suspend lobbying for more sanctions on Iran in exchange for Obama agreeing not to lift any existing sanctions on Iran in forthcoming talks

Posted in American Jewish Community, Iran, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East | Tagged , | 47 Comments