Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 44 (since 2015-12-17 14:50:24)

David Plimpton

49 year career as lawyer, mediator and arbitrator. Now retired. Published many professional essays and articles. Now writing creative fiction and non- fiction, including short stories and a novel.

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  • American Jewry and Israel, unbound
    • Folks, welcome to the real world of negotiation. Goodness, how many angels can dance . . .?

      Right of return is a legitimate issue, but that doesn't mean BDS and the Palestinians wouldn't negotiate a resolution that preserved the State of Israel, even it wasn't everything and every piece of territory they demanded. Every meaningful negotiation starts with demands and rhetoric by all sides beyond what is reasonable.

      Of course, no negotiation (other than this two state, recognize Israel's right to exist, Palestine totally capitulate charade) can occur now because of the uneven playing field created by no Palestinian political leadership that has the interests of the Palestinian people at heart and, most important, the Israel Lobby's control over U.S. leadership, so that Israel (and the settlers and military) get massive financial and political support from the U.S. and the Israel Lobby, so they can pursue their predatory aggression, occupation, and apartheid and don't have to come to the table in any meaningful way.

      If that support gets taken away, though unlikely, that's when Israel will come to the table, because then the whole world would be against Israel and that's the ONLY WAY they could then survive.

  • In order to receive hurricane relief, Texas town requires residents to reject Israel boycott
    • Agreed that the statute is being misused and misapplied by Dickinson and other Texas municipalities denying hurricane aid. From a statutory interpretation standpoint, the law says: "all city contracts for goods or services [must] contain a written verification from the company that it does not boycott Israel . . ." Clearly this is intended to cover acquisition of goods and services, not the dispensation of funds to hurricane victims.

      Even if the statute were being correctly applied, it's clearly unconstitutional as the Supreme Court has ruled that protected free speech includes words, money and political action such as anti-Israel boycotts, so governments can't legally interfere with participation in those boycotts or chill such participation with rules that discriminate against and muzzle people in the exercise of their rights.

      Even if the speech sought to be muzzled could be deemed commercial speech, a category in which courts have given municipal, state and federal governments broader deference to regulate, past and recent Supreme Court utterances have made clear such regulations must be enacted with caution because of their potential for abuse, stating that the line between commercial and non-commercial speech is not always clear. If affixing the commercial label permits the suppression of any speech that may lead to political or social volatility, then protected free speech could be endangered and the laws should be struck down in that respect.

      Such is the case here. And if the law is being misapplied or unconstitutional, why isn't the Texas Governor or Attorney General taking action against these municipalities, especially because of the important public policy of getting hurricane aid to victims who are members of the general public and supposedly the people Texas officials are working for.

      Let me suggest it's because government officials throughout the U.S. are often in the thrall of the Israel Lobby, which is behind much of the effort to thwart and wipe out the anti-Israel boycott movement (publicly stated to be the top priority in AIPAC's 2017 agenda) or indeed any criticism of, or action against, Israel. The Israel Lobby could not care less about democracy and constitutional law, finding totalitarianism much more to its liking.

  • Danish pension fund blacklists four Israeli companies linked to settlements
    • This is good news.

      Could the mainstream American press also be taking more of an interest in BDS, especially in light of the disingenuous, wrong-headed, and unconstitutional attacks on BDS by the Israel Lobby and its henchmen? A small Exhibit A may be the publication of my letter to the editor by the Portland (Maine) Press Herald on October 14, 2017 (in the print and online editions), as follows:

      "The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720 and H.R. 1697), introduced in Congress this year, is clearly an unconstitutional infringement of civil rights (per the Supreme Court, the First Amendment now covers words, money and political action).

      This proposal would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. It was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, part of the Israel lobby. AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top priorities.

      I am proud of my Jewish heritage. My forebears in the Wolfe, Opper, Levy and Barnett families came to this country long ago for the very freedoms that the Israel lobby now seeks to destroy (including Benjamin Wolfe, my fifth great-grandfather, one of the founders of the sixth-oldest Jewish congregation in America, Congregation Beth Ahabah, in Richmond, Virginia).

      Criticism of Israel and the Israel lobby is not anti-Semitism, and everyone knows it. Many people feel that our tax dollars and other support of Israel, and its dangerous agenda in the Middle East, is not in the best interests of this country. I ask our elected representatives, please, to oppose this form of totalitarianism and to preserve our rights to criticize and oppose Israel and the Israel lobby without fear of condemnation, accusation of hate crimes and criminal penalties.

      David Plimpton"

      I was also heartened by the fact that my letter was the lead letter in both the online and print editions and that the print edition had "Boycotting Israel is my civil right" as a headline above all the letters to the editor, an Associated Press representation of a hand holding a placard which read: BOYCOTT UNTIL ISRAEL COMPLIES WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW", beneath which was a caption: "A proposed law making it a felony to support an international boycott of Israel would violate the First Amendment, says reader."

  • 'This occupation must end,' Bernie Sanders says, in video to Israelis on 50th anniversary
    • Not Bernie's fault? He's got seniority, credibility, a public forum. He's got no excuse not to be well-informed. Could it be his background or a cultural or religious bias that makes him want to protect Israel and not hold it accountable? I don't know him well enough to say, but it sure ain't my fault or "our" fault. Talk about blame the victim! And why is the Palestinian solidarity movement so fragile? You guessed it -- Israel and the Israel Lobby.

    • Bernie's comments are at least refreshing for an American politician. But Bernie's been around long enough to know nothing's going to change in Israel for the foreseeable future because Israel has staked the deck against the Palestinians with decades of phony “negotiation”, and unquestioning support from the U.S. and the Israel Lobby (see Walt and Mearsheimer’s “Israel Lobby” and Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment”).

      Any significant progress toward a comprehensive agreement means changes in our leadership so that it works to take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, without asking anything in return. Anyone who is an experienced and serious negotiator knows you have to level the playing field to succeed in bringing parties (including the Palestinian people, not just their corrupt leadership) to the table to work on a deal.

      So, in that context, Bernie's comments are just lip service for what he at least knows is a just cause. But I'd like to see him put his money where his mouth is -- both call and vote for cutting off all our aid to Israel. Highly unlikely.

    • Bernie's comments are at least refreshing for an American politician, but disingenuous or worse, for some of the reasons mentioned in the comments. Bernie's been around long enough to know nothing's going to change in Israel for the foreseeable future because Israel has staked the deck against the Palestinians with decades of phony “negotiation”, and unquestioning support from the U.S. and the Israel Lobby (see Walt and Mearsheimer’s “Israel Lobby” and Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment”).

      Any significant progress toward a comprehensive agreement means changes in our leadership so that it works to take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, without asking anything in return Anyone who is an experienced and serious negotiator knows you have to level the playing field to succeed in bringing parties (including the Palestinian people, not just their corrupt leadership) to the table to work on a deal.

  • If Trump is serious we may be seeing the most significant step in 20 years of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
    • These Trump visits to the Mideast would have been a good time to unveil any meaningful peace proposals he had. He didn't. Not to be too dismissive or negative, the Area C to Area B idea isn't a serious one, if it even has been put forth behind closed doors. Israel would still have security control and can use the settlers to thwart any exercise of Palestinian rights created on paper, plus the details would likely be heavily favorable to Israel, where son-in-law and supposed peace envoy Jared Kushner (and his family) has massive conflicts of interest, including investments in Israeli settler housing.

      There’s little chance of Israel agreeing to anything meaningful. Israel has staked the deck against the Palestinians with decades of phony “negotiation”, and unquestioning support from the U.S. and the Israel Lobby (see Walt and Mearsheimer’s “Israel Lobby” and Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment”).

      Any significant progress toward a comprehensive agreement means changes in our leadership so that it works to take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, like $38 billion in aid without asking anything in return.

      Anyone who is an experienced and serious negotiator knows you have to level the playing field to succeed in bringing parties to the table and reaching mutual agreement. Plus the Palestinian people would have to be involved which they are not at this time. Without their involvement, Palestinians would not support the agreement.

      So I join with many others in demanding change in our approach to Israel and Palestine from our leaders, the corporate, oligarchic elite and Israel. But given the outcome of the Presidential election (and it wouldn’t have mattered if Clinton had won), and the continuing power and influence of the Israel Lobby, I don’t see much prospect of positive change coming from those quarters for the next four or eight years.

  • Dispatch from Gaza: Trump's trip will bring 'less than zero' to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
    • These Trump visits to the Mideast would have been a good time to unveil any meaningful peace proposals he has. I don't believe he has any to propose or if he does, it's been blocked by the Israel Lobby.

      Even if he did put forth one, the details would likely be heavily favorable to Israel, where son-in-law and supposed peace envoy Jared Kushner (and his family) has massive conflicts of interest, including investments in Israeli settler housing.

      Even if he had a two-state or one-state proposal which was fair to the Palestinians, there's little chance of Israel agreeing. Israel has staked the deck against the Palestinians with decades of phony “negotiation”, and unquestioning support from the U.S. and the Israel Lobby (see Walt and Mearsheimer’s “Israel Lobby” and Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment”).

      Any progress toward an agreement means changes in our leadership so that it works to take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, like $38 billion in aid without asking anything in return.

      Anyone who is an experienced and serious negotiator knows you have to level the playing field to succeed in bringing parties to the table and reaching mutual agreement. Plus the Palestinian people would have to be involved which they are not at this time. Without their involvement, Palestinians would not support the agreement.

      So I join with many others in demanding change in our approach to Israel and Palestine from our leaders, the corporate, oligarchic elite and Israel. But given the outcome of the Presidential election (and it wouldn’t have mattered if Clinton had won), and the continuing power and influence of the Israel Lobby, I don’t see much prospect of positive change coming from those quarters for the next four or eight years.

  • Feel-good co-existence story on NPR fails to point out that one side lives under occupation
    • Correct about the Israeli and Israel Lobby capture of America’s establishment media and it obviously continues, as witnessed, about a year and a half ago, by the suppression, censorship, hypocrisy and double standard inherent in the Public Broadcasting System (PBS)’s actions reported in the Mondoweiss post on “Valentino’s Ghost”:

      http://mondoweiss.net/2015/12/valentinos-comeback-suppression/

      In early 2016, I complained to PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), including their respective Ombudsmen, with a copy to my Congressperson, asking for an investigation by my Congressperson, PBS and CPB of PBS’s programming practices, and requesting corrective and remedial measures.

      In my letter to PBS and CPB, I said that the issue was whether PBS’s Frontline and it’s then Executive Producer:

      “improperly censored a documentary film and prejudicially favored special interests, including PBS funding sources, thus violating standards of journalistic integrity and ethics. These standards, which the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS claim to uphold, include “…express[ing] diversity of perspectives, strengthen[ing] the democratic and cultural health of the U.S. and the highest commitment to excellence, professionalism, intellectual honesty and transparency.”

      I never got even the courtesy of a response from anyone. Around that time the Executive Producer got kicked upstairs and perhaps that was their lame response.

  • DNC debate batters Trump-- but Israel support must be 'bipartisan,' says Ellison
    • Never mind Trump and Bannon, they're chump change. Ellison's obviously been groomed for many years with green and talking points, as was Obama, other so-called liberals and most of everyone in Congress for that matter -- by the Israel Lobby and AIPAC. That's why we have this fairy tale two-state solution, bipartisan support for Israel and wishful thinking about a hands off policy of letting the two sides sit down and work out their own problems.

      C'Mon, folks wake up and smell the coffee. Israel has staked the deck against the Palestinians with decades of disingenuous “negotiation”, unquestioning support from the U.S and the Israel Lobby (see Walt and Mearsheimer’s “Israel Lobby” and Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment”). Israel needs to be held responsible for its decades of actions and wrongs against (1) the Palestinians and (2) the true interests of most people in the U.S.

      This means changes in our leadership so they take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, like the $38 billion without asking anything in return, all to the detriment, impaired security and cost of the U.S.

      Current ineffective and damaging policy is what our leaders, the mainstream media, our cultural institutions and our educational institutions have corruptly supported for many decades, again because of the massive power and influence of the Israel Lobby, which has allied itself with the rest of the corporate oligarchic elite. They are all strong Israel firsters, which many people would label a serious conflict of interest, some might say bordering on treason.

  • Trump's dim view of Palestine-Israel
    • Agreed with most of what you say. I think the key point is that speaking of one-state or two-state or impractical notions of some ideal negotiated resolution, without context is misguided or worse.

      To be realistic we must look at what it would take for the U.S. to make a measurable positive difference in the quest for a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict

      First, for Israel to change course meaningfully and work out a solution which brings justice for Palestinians, with reasonable security for both sides, will take more than the UN Resolution, Kerry's speech, wishful thinking about some vague solution and even a more aware American public.

      Israel has staked the deck against the Palestinians with decades of disingenuous "negotiation", unquestioning support from the U.S and the Israel Lobby (see Walt and Mearsheimer's "Israel Lobby" and Alison Weir's "Against Our Better Judgment"). Israel needs to be held responsible for its decades of actions and wrongs against (1) the Palestinians and (2) the true interests of most people in the U.S.

      This means changes in our leadership so they take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, like the $38 billion without asking anything in return, all to the detriment, impaired security and cost of the U.S.

      Current ineffective and damaging policy is what our leaders, the mainstream media, our cultural institutions and our educational institutions have corruptly supported for many decades, because of the massive power and influence of the Israel Lobby, which has allied itself with the rest of the corporate oligarchic elite. They are all strong Israel firsters, which many people would label a serious conflict of interest, some might say bordering on treason.

      More people are becoming aware of Israel’s brutal occupation, oppression, apartheid and war crimes against the Palestinian people, all in violation of international law. But the powers that be or were or to be, including Clinton, Obama, Hillary, and Trump are still mostly taking and advocating strong action against any change by Israel or the Israel Lobby, like BDS, for example, including laws and policies which are clearly unconstitutional restraints of free speech. Experience has shown current policies are not well-calculated to promote change in Israel. Look at Netanyahu thumbing his nose at Obama and biting the hand that feeds him, as he laughs all the way to the bank with his $38B from Uncle Sam.

      So I join with many others in demanding change from our leaders, the corporate, oligarchic elite and Israel. But given the outcome of the Presidential election (and it wouldn’t have mattered if it was Trump or Clinton), and the continuing power and influence of the Israel Lobby in Congress and with the White House, I don’t see much prospect of positive change coming from those quarters for the next four or eight years.

      For anyone who hasn't gotten the message yet, the two state solution is dead and not workable because of Israeli annexation and forcibly taking the valuable land and Palestinian property which was supposed to be set aside for Palestinians, restrictive walls and settler violent actions backed by Israeli military and American weapons.

      As many say, it's true the conflict between Israel and Palestine has been years in the making, but the U.S has had a big part in fostering the conflict by helping Israel to the disadvantage of the Palestinians and in a way which encourages Israel not to negotiate or to compromise.

      The United States should be a leader in the peace process, not a reactive bystander. But we're not leading or being even a reactive bystander. Instead of encouraging an independent and viable Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel, with security and human and civil rights for all citizens, we're encouraging Israel in its denial of these rights. We should be leveling the playing field by encouraging BDS and other non-violent opposition to Israel's occupation and oppression and taking away our support of Israel, which is just pushing things toward another Middle East conflagration.

  • Why Obama waited 8 years to take on Netanyahu
    • As Phil and his team intimate, for Israel to change course meaningfully and work out a solution which brings justice for Palestinians will take more than BDS , the UN Resolution, Kerry's speech and even a more aware American public.

      Israel needs to be held responsible for its decades of actions and wrongs against (1) the Palestinians and (2) the true interests of most people in the U.S. This means changes in our leadership so that our leaders take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, like the $38 billion without asking anything in return, all to the detriment, impaired security and cost of the U.S. As Phil and his team make explicit, current policy is what our leaders, the mainstream media, our cultural institutions and our educational institutions have corruptly supported for many decades, because of the massive power and influence of the Israel Lobby, which has allied itself with the rest of the corporate oligarchic elite. They are all strong Israel firsters, which many people would label a serious conflict of interest, bordering on treason.

      It’s true more people are becoming aware of Israel’s brutal oppression, apartheid and war crimes against the Palestinians, all in violation of international law. But the powers that be or were, including Obama, Hillary and Trump are still mostly taking and advocating strong action against BDS, for example, including laws and policies which are clearly unconstitutional restraints of free speech. Experience has shown it’s not well-calculated to promote change in Israel.

      Bernie Sanders made an effort to support a more balanced approach to the Israel-Palestinian situation by appointing surrogates to advocate for policy changes with the DNC platform committee. But in the end, they were largely rebuffed and Bernie left them high and dry, deciding instead to support Hillary Clinton in spite of her atrocious record supporting Israel and war in the Middle East. The Democratic Party then grimly committed suicide in the lections, with Hillary pulling the switch.

      So we must continue to demand change from our leaders, the corporate, oligarchic elite and Israel. But given the outcome of the Presidential election (and it wouldn’t have mattered if it was Trump or Clinton), and the continuing power and influence of the Israel Lobby in Congress and the White House (Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump), I don’t see much prospect of change from those quarters for the next four or eight years.

  • Hear O Israel these parting truths -- John Kerry
    • It's true that for Israel to change course meaningfully and work out a solution which brings justice for Palestinians will take more than BDS , the UN Resolution, Kerry's speech and even a more aware American public.

      Although these are good starts and will do much to change American public opinion about Israel, Israel needs to be held responsible for its decades of actions and wrongs against (1) the Palestinians and (2) the true interests of most people in the U.S. This means changes in our leadership so that we have leaders who will take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, like the $38 billion without asking anything in return, all to the detriment, impaired security and cost of the U.S. Unfortunately, current policy is what our leaders, the mainstream media, our cultural institutions and our educational institutions have corruptly supported for many decades, because of the massive power and influence of the Israel Lobby. They are still strong Israel firsters

      It’s true more people are becoming aware of Israel’s brutal oppression, apartheid and war crimes against the Palestinians, all in violation of international law. But the powers that be or were, including Obama, Hillary and Trump are still mostly taking and advocating strong action against BDS, for example, including laws and policies which are clearly unconstitutional restraints of free speech. Experience has shown it’s not well-calculated to promote change in Israel.

      Bernie Sanders made an effort to support of a more balanced approach to the Israel-Palestinian situation by appointing surrogates to advocate for policy changes with the DNC platform committee. But in the end, they were rebuffed and Bernie left them high and dry, deciding instead to support Hillary Clinton in spite of her atrocious record supporting Israel and war in the Middle East.

      So, yes, we must continue to demand change from our leaders and Israel. But given the outcome of the Presidential election (and it wouldn’t have mattered if it was Trump or Clinton), and the continuing power and influence of the Israel Lobby in Congress and the White House (Obama and Trump), I don’t see much prospect of change from those quarters for the next four or eight years.

      - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/12/hysteria-solidifying-countrys/#sthash.4YpZ3Xs0.dpuf

  • Israeli hysteria over UN vote is solidifying country's new status, as a rogue state
    • For Israel to change course meaningfully and work out a solution which brings justice for Palestinians will take more than BDS and the UN Resolution.

      Although they are good starts and will do much to change American public opinion about Israel, Israel needs to be held responsible for its decades of actions and wrongs against (1) the Palestinians and (2) the true interests of most people in the U.S. This means changes in our leadership so that we have leaders who will take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, like the $38 billion without asking anything in return, all to the detriment, impaired security and cost of the U.S. Unfortunately, current policy is what our leaders, the mainstream media, our cultural institutions and our educational institutions have corruptly supported for many decades, because of the massive power and influence of the Israel Lobby. They are still strong Israel firsters

      It's true more people are becoming aware of Israel’s brutal oppression and war crimes against the Palestinians. But the powers that be or were, including Obama, Hillary and Trump are still mostly taking and advocating strong action against BDS, for example, including laws and policies which are clearly unconstitutional restraints of free speech. Experience has shown it's not well-calculated to promote change in Israel.

      Bernie Sanders made an effort to support of a more balanced approach to the Israel-Palestinian situation by appointing surrogates to advocate for policy changes with the DNC platform committee. But in the end, they were rebuffed and Bernie left them high and dry, deciding instead to support Hillary Clinton in spite of her atrocious record supporting Israel and war in the Middle East.

      So, yes, we must continue to demand change from our leaders. But given the outcome of the Presidential election (and it wouldn't have mattered if it was Trump or Clinton), and the continuing power and influence of the Israel Lobby in Congress and the White House, I don’t see much prospect of change from those quarters for the next four or eight years.

  • Israeli forces surround ancient Jerusalem cemetery, prevent Palestinian burial
    • Obama, Kerry, U.S. Congress, and other Israel-firsters, how's your bogus versions of tough love, accountability for Israel, and negotiation/diplomacy with U.S. aid recipients, like Israel, going?

  • Obama would have overwhelming support from US public to allow UN establishment of Palestinian state
    • Good question on Obama, but much too late for him to respond honestly with integrity and good policy in the interest of most Americans.

      The die was cast when Obama accepted the support of the Pritzgers and other wealthy, politically active Zionists and Israel Lobbyists, back in Chicago as a State Senate candidate and continued accepting their support throughout his career, letting them dictate policy and name appointees. As such, he became at best a Pontius Pilate and at worst a co-conspirator and active supporter of Israel's agenda, now becoming increasingly apparent to the American public. Witness his asking young people to create the change they want, when he squandered the power of the Presidency and the bully pulpit to start such change, because he was a sycophant for his political supporters

      Who with a shred of self-respect, genuine concern for human rights and international law, genuine opposition against Israel's slaughter of Palestinians, and an understanding of how negotiation and the use of political power works, would cave to $38 billion to Israel with no conditions, or quid pro quos, and then make weak lectures to Israel, with hat in hand, asking them not to expand settlements. No, such a person would say, before handing out $38 billion, something like: "Not a dime in aid or trade until you pull back the settlements and start giving justice to the Palestinian people." A shameful performance by Obama.

  • The two-stroke solution
    • Indeed, and same goes for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Trump and almost every member of Congress, all bought and paid for or shivering in their boots that the guns of the Israel Lobby will swivel their way if they utter any criticism.

      A golden opportunity slipped through our leaders' fingers when Israel came to us for the recently renewed 10-year military aid package. That was the chance to use some leverage to negotiate major changes in their policies (which would actually make Israel safer and perhaps be the start of bringing home some of resources from the Middle East to fix things here), including pulling back the settlements and the start of justice for the Palestinians. And any deal for aid made would not be implemented until good faith progress was made.

      If Israel refused, then we could just say "have a nice life "and start to unwind our other aid and relationships to show them we mean business. If they want to go it alone in the Middle East, so be it.

      Now we know we have at least four more years which won't bring change, except maybe gradual enlightenment of the populace. At least we can hope for the latter, but money does most of the talking in America, so overall it make for a pretty bleak horizon.

  • 'Everything that we have done since 9/11 is wrong' -- the worldview of Major Todd Pierce (Retired)
    • Indeed, a great article, Phil, and we do need more voices like Major Pierce. One of them is Chris Hedges, who case against Obama is discussed.

      For a more fulsome exposition of Chris Hedges's view that our democracy and civil rights have already been eroded possibly beyond recovery, check out Hedges book, “Wages of Rebellion, The Moral Imperative of Revolt” (2015).

      By chapter and verse, he describes a seamless and faceless oligarchic corporate elite who run this country for their own special interests, foisting neoliberalism and globalism on the increasing impoverished masses of Americans. This elite controls the economy, all three branches of our government and political system, and finally our media, universities and other informational systems.

      The Israel-Palestinian situation is only one of many similar examples he discusses. It's pretty clear that the Israel Lobby and Zionists are part of the oligarchic corporate elite he discusses, but Hedges doesn't single them out. There's plenty of blame to go around.

      I don't agree with everything he says in the book, but his conclusions echo those of Major Pierce and for the most part are well-supported with argument, facts, analogies and parallels.

  • Many Clinton Foundation donors oppose BDS-- and so does Clinton
    • Thank you for pointing out my error, Annie, and I stand corrected.

      However, although Phil elaborates "what" donors got in terms of access, we understandably don't know "what" was discussed and "what" favors were promised by Clinton, although it will probably be exposed, at least in general, if Clinton is elected -- appointments, spending, initiatives, policies, pardons, decisions not to prosecute and so forth -- whether by her administration or the Clinton Foundation.

    • I'm surprised Phil and Mondoweiss even bother to ask the question of whether there is a quid pro quo from the Clintons and most other U.S. politicians in return for pretty much monolithic Zionist, Israel Lobby-type support. It's been well documented for years, including during the Clinton presidency, the Bush II presidency, the Obama presidency, Hillary Clinton's reign as Secretary of State and the Hillary Clinton-dictated Democratic Party Platform, pushing for even more support for Israel and hinting at conflict, even war, with Iran and Russia.

      The factual evidence here includes Mearsheimer and Walt's "Israel Lobby" book, Alison Weir's "Against our Better Judgment" book, and the work of the Washington Report on Middle East Affair's for many years, including its March 2016 conference "Israel's Influence: Good or Bad for America" at which Phil was a speaker and many Mondoweiss posts.

      Hope that Obama will somehow take belated steps to blunt the growing tide of American and Israel Lobby support for Israel, right or wrong? Don't make me laugh. Obama is and always has been a hand-picked puppet, groomed and supported by the Pritzgers and other Zionists, starting with his stint as an Illinois State Senator, in return for pro-Israel support as a politician. Neocon Zionists were big in Bush's years and some carried over to Obama. Zionists were big during the Clinton years and have carried over to Obama. They now salivate at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton regime feeding their insatiable hunger. Obama jeopardize his golden parachute. I don't think so.

      We need a new language to replace outdated terms like so-called liberal Zionism and right-wing Zionism as distinct "isms". BDS support or non-support may separate them, but it's a fairly minor issue on the spectrum of Israel, Palestine, Middle East issues.

      Phil correctly hints at a blurring of the lines between liberal Zionism and right-wing Zionism, but at their core, they are both part of the pretty much seamless and faceless oligarchic corporate elite who run this country for their own special interests, foisting neoliberalism and globalism on the increasing impoverished masses of Americans. They argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but it's mostly show to deceive the populace, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

      See Chris Hedges book, "Wages of Rebellion, The Moral Imperative of Revolt" (2015).

  • In overwhelming vote, leading Lutheran branch calls on US to cut off aid to Israel
    • Truly wonderful, encouraging and hopeful news.

      I hope this will help unfavorable publicity grow about Israel and the Israel Lobby and will make people realize charity begins at home. Maybe the American populace will start to connect the dots between all the money we spend abroad and the resulting inability to address serious problems right here in the good old U. S. of A., and finally will awake to what things like BDS and the Lutheran resolutions demonstrate, including the power the Israel Lobby and most American politicians exercise to the detriment of the American people as a whole.

      The voters may then demand, as a vote for Jill Stein and the Green Party would start to do, that the U. S., with all its power, send a more unvarnished message, such as: No country, not even the U.S., has a right to exist. It exists because it has taken steps to protect itself. That's what the U. S. has done. That's what Israel should do, instead of hiding behind the U.S. and private supporters like AIPAC and the Israel Lobby.

      Now that would be an actual existential threat to Israel. It has shown for decades it is unreasonable by not solving one of the greatest problems in the Middle East and threats to security worldwide, the Palestinian situation, in a way which recognizes the rights of and protects the Palestinians, thereby working toward Israel's own long-term viability. And the U.S has enabled Israel, so it can continue its tantrums and worse, like a spoiled child.

      Israel needs the stick as well as the carrot. Israel is feasting on carrots from the U.S. to the tune of billions and almost unlimited affirmation and media support. They have no incentive to work out a framework for resolution of the conflict, even one which will benefit it in the long run.

      The Lutheran resolutions start to show what the carrot can look like. They point the way for the U.S. to cut off monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things until Israel gives the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements.

      I salute the Lutherans for their courageous, groundbreaking action.

      See link to jill2016.com

  • Lawsuit aims to block U.S. foreign aid to Israel as clandestine nuclear power
    • It is good to try to uphold the law and I salute those efforts. The main impact will be any publicity which makes the public and voters aware of what’s going on in U.S.-Israel relations and the power of the Israel Lobby, on that and other fronts, to subvert the law and common sense policy to benefit Israel.

      However, I would be very surprised if the lawsuit had more than a snowball’s chance in hell. This is because of what I believe is the longtime influence of the Israel Lobby in the appointment of Zionist-leaning judges to the Federal Judiciary, from the Supreme Court down.

      Just as the Israel Lobby makes sure politicians will support its agenda before support is given, and opposition withheld, you can bet it has a similar impact when individuals are pitched to the the President for appointment to the Federal courts. The composition of the Supreme Court is Exhibit A, discussed extensively in Mondoweiss and elsewhere.

      My anecdotal research demonstrates that the percentage of Zionist-leaning Judges and Magistrates in the Federal Circuit Courts and District Courts is significantly higher than the percentage of Zionist-leaning individuals in the legal profession. One may argue that even if I’m correct, this is not a reason to conclude that Zionist-leaning judges will favor litigants with Israel Lobby or other Zionist connections and that may right in many individual cases.

      But if you examine the success of the Israel Lobby in the control they exert over politicians they have supported, right up to the President (Obama being the latest example), is it really hard to imagine the success the Israel Lobby may have in the control of judges whose appointment they have promoted.

      The foregoing is the basis on which I draw my conclusion about the likely success of the featured Federal lawsuit.

  • US leaders must confront an uncomfortable truth -- one of our greatest allies enforces a brutal, violent oppression
    • Mr. Gunkel is correct in stating so eloquently what we should demand from our leaders on Israel and Palestine.

      But holding Israel responsible for its decades of wrongs against the Palestinians and the true interests of most people in the U.S. is going to involve taking away much support for the Jewish homeland that many Jews in American apparently treasure, and which our leaders, the mainstream media, our cultural institutions and our educational institutions have corruptly supported.

      Unfortunately, our leaders, major political parties and now the Presidential candidates, even Bernie Sanders, have not heard the demands and message Mr. Gunkel advocates. Or if they have, are not receptive because of the massive power and influence of the Israel Lobby. They are still strong Israel firsters

      I think more people are becoming aware of Israel's brutal oppression and war crimes against the Palestinians and speaking out. Witness the BDS movement. But the powers that be, including Hillary Clinton, are taking and advocating strong action against BDS, including laws which are clearly unconstitutional restraints of free speech.

      Bernie Sanders made an effort in support of a more balanced approach to I-P by appointing surrogates to advocate for policy changes with the DNC platform committee. But in the end, they were rebuffed and Bernie left them high and dry, deciding instead to support Hillary Clinton in spite of her atrocious record supporting Israel and war in the Middle East.

      So, yes, we must continue to demand change from our leaders. But given the likely outcome of the Presidential election, whether Trump or Clinton, and the continuing power and influence of the Israel Lobby in Congress, I don't see much prospect of change from that quarter for the next four or eight years.

      Perhaps the political revolution Bernie started, and demand for change, could continue in another way -- by voting for Jill Stein, who has a refreshing approach to Israel, Palestine, BDS and U.S. policy:

      http://www.jill2016.com/statement_on_us_foreign_policy_palestine_israel_and_bds

  • Support for Rep. Hank Johnson following mischaracterization of his remarks on settlements
    • Agreed and Representative Johnson should be thanked and honored for speaking out as he did. But what we're seeing goes well beyond "the well-known factor of money" you mention. It goes to the monolithic power and influence of the Israel and Zionist lobby over the politicians, candidates, Dems and Republicans and U.S. cultural and educational institutions.

      This may help explain Rep. Johnson's need to apologize for his comments and the tepid, apologist description the relevant events by JVP and U.S. Campaign.

      Of course, two-state and one-state solutions are meaningless to begin with, until adorned with policy proposals like right of return to and of land, pulling back the settlements, reparations for Palestinians, withdrawing US support for Israel until they take action to resolve the situation and so forth.

      The apology seems like it must have been forced on Rep. Johnson, because he takes back the essence of what he said. Termites at work is a pretty benign analogy to the the settlers and their enablers, the Israeli people, who are complicit in what Rep. Johnson describes. Supposedly Israel is a democracy and could elect officials who would take action against the settlers. But they haven't, sitting idle, even encouraging the criminal behavior. Marauders, pillagers, plunderers, thieves would be more accurate than termites.

      And what's this "corrosive process". That's meaningless. Of course, it's the Israelis who are building settlements and stealing land, attacking Palestinians and their land and trees and crops, with the support of the Israeli people government, police and military. And most of those Israelis not doing the settling are by act or inaction supporting the settlers, as discussed above.

      I feel sorry for Rep. Johnson that he felt the need to apologize. I feel sorry for JVP and U.S. Occupation that they don't have the intestinal fortitude to name the miscreants responsible for the "article with a misleading headline written by a journalist with a longstanding record of anti-Palestinian reporting" And they shouldn't have supported the apology when it wasn't necessary for anyone, except perhaps Rep. Johnson for some unexplained reason and the Israel Lobby.

      Holding Israel responsible for its decades of wrongs against the Palestinians and the true interests of most people in the U.S. is going to involve taking away much support for the Jewish homeland that many Jews in American apparently treasure. If you sow the wind.....

      I get the feeling that JVP and U.S. Occupation are very ambivalent about their feelings in that regard. They sure seem to be pulling punches in this article.

  • An Unlikely AMEXIT: Pivoting away from the Middle East
    • Mr. Falk's article is a helpful and perhaps realistic analysis as far as it goes, but there are some gaps and questions.

      "Real threats to American interests in the ME"? What they are is not explained. I guess we know some of them: endless war and all its benefits to the military, the national security establishment, black ops thugs, arms manufacturers, the gun lobby, Israel and its U.S. benefactors and associated parasites, maybe a relatively few American jobs. Yes, big dollars are involved for those interests, but American interests in the ME should be measured in terms what is best for the American people as a whole, including those in need of jobs, health care, a functioning American infrastructure, for example.

      "Share ME burdens with Israel"? As other commenters have noted, Israel is not sharing that burden, but they're getting a big portion of the carrots we hand out in the ME.

      "Failed to anticipate the counterrevolutionary aftermath to the Arab spring"? Mr. Falk is not giving Obama, Hillary Clinton, Congress and the Israel Lobby enough credit. They directly fostered and financed that counterrevolutionary aftermath with monetary bribes to military and fascist leaders, such as in Egypt, in part so Egypt would help keep Gaza an open prison camp.

      "Washington refuses to understand why intervention by Western military forces in the post-colonial Middle East generates dangerous extremist forms of resistance" No, no, no! Washington understands this very well, but intentionally foments this extremism in a "false flag" effort to generate fear of terrorism in America and justify our unending wars in the ME.

      "Negotiate an aid package to Israel"? There's no negotiation, only groveling in an effort to see which politician can get the most support from the Israel Lobby.

      I'll grant Mr. Falk may well be right about the unlikelihood of our exit from the ME, but here's one long-term scenario which might rear its not-so-ugly head:

      Unfavorable publicity will grow about Israel and the Israel Lobby through their opposition to any criticism of Israel and U.S. aid to Israel, the threat or reality of a global recession will make people realize charity begins at home, the American populace will start to connect the dots between all the money we spend abroad and the resulting inability to address serious problems right here in the good old U. S. of A., and finally will awake to what things like BDS represents and the power the Israel Lobby exercises to the detriment of the American people as a whole.

      Then, this populace and the voters may increasingly believe that the U.S. tried to be reasonable and give Israel a reality check in a nice way through BDS, for example, but it didn't get the message.

      So the voters may demand, as a vote for Jill Stein and the Green Party would start to do, that the U. S. send a more unvarnished message, such as: No country, not even the U.S., has a right to exist. It exists because it has taken steps to protect itself. That's what the U. S. has done. That's what Israel should do, instead of hiding behind the U.S. and private supporters like AIPAC and the Israel Lobby.

      Now that would be an actual existential threat to Israel. It has shown for decades it is unreasonable by not solving one of the greatest problems in the Middle East and threats to security worldwide, the Palestinian situation, in a way which recognizes the rights of and protects the Palestinians, thereby working toward Israel's own long-term viability.

      Israel needs the stick as well as the carrot. Israel is feasting on carrots from the U.S. to the tune of billions and almost unlimited affirmation and media support. They have no incentive to work out a framework for resolution of the conflict, even one which will benefit it in the long run.

      So the U.S. will have to cut off monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things until Israel give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements. Then security for all parties could be maintained by Israel's own defenses and international peacekeepers on the Palestinian side, all at a much more reasonable cost, because the threat of an apocalypse in the region will have been materially diminished.

      See http://www.jill2016.com/statement_on_us_foreign_policy_palestine_israel_and_bds

      True, Israel might try to go it alone, but so be it. The U.S. can use all that money at home. Let the Zionists and Israel Lobby fund its isolation and pipe-dream in the desert.

      This is what I believe it will eventually come to unless Israel and the Israel Lobby wake up and smell the coffee.

  • BDS is a war Israel can't win
    • Good point, silamcuz. As to the important question you pose in your last paragraph and in specific reference to BDS, here's one long-term scenario rearing its head via BDS and the unfavorable publicity being garnered by Israel and the Israel Lobby through their push for unconstitutional restraint of BDS voices:

      BDS as a tool to influence Israel's policies, although growing and a good start, is only part of an initial skirmish in the war Mr. Cohen discusses.

      As the benighted American populace learns more about BDS, what it represents and is fighting and the power the Israel Lobby exercises to the detriment of the American people, this populace and those who vote will increasingly believe that the U.S. tried to be reasonable and give Israel a reality check in a nice way through BDS, but it didn't get the message.

      So we will increasingly send a more unvarnished message, along these lines. No country, not even the U.S., has a right to exist. It exists because it has taken steps to protect itself. That's what the U. S. has done. That's what Israel should do, instead of hiding behind the U.S. and private supporters like AIPAC and the Israel Lobby.

      Now there is a real existential threat to Israel: It has shown for decades it is unreasonable by not solving one of the greatest problems in the Middle East and threats to security worldwide, the Palestinian situation, in a way which recognizes the rights of and protects the Palestinians, thereby working toward Israel's own long-term viability.

      Israel needs the stick as well as the carrot. Israel is feasting on carrots from the U.S. to the tune of billions and almost unlimited affirmation and media support. They have no incentive to work out a framework for resolution of the conflict, even one which will benefit it in the long run.

      So the U.S. will have to cut off monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things until Israel give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements. Then security for all parties could be maintained by Israel's own defenses and international peacekeepers on the Palestinian side, all at a much more reasonable cost, because the threat of an apocalypse in the region will have been materially diminished.

      True, Israel might try to go it alone, but so be it. The U.S. can use all that money at home. Let the Zionists and Israel Lobby fund its isolation and pipe-dream in the desert.

      This is what I believe it's going to come to unless Israel and the Israel Lobby wake up and smells the coffee.

  • Jewish entitlement, and Jewish populism
    • Peter in SF, exactly right about Alison Weir and other non-Jewish and non-Zionist voices. But as someone who is 13/16 non-Jewish, I'll go further and say that the thing JVP and most other Jewish and Zionist voices are concerned about deep down is not so much resentment or antisemitism.

      Rather, it is worry that many people will connect the dots and see that continued unquestioned support for Israel, without negotiation which takes into account the interests of the U.S. in general and the Palestinians, could end up threatening the Jewish homeland which is so precious to Jewish and Zionist interests, in some cases more precious than the the U.S.'s security.

      That threat would actually be an appropriate negotiating tool for the U.S. which must look to its interests first. No country in the world, not even the "exceptional" U.S. and the "exceptional" Israel, have the right to exist. Rather they can perhaps manage to survive if they act in their own best long run interest. We are enabling Israel to avoid having to do that, even helping it thrive, because it is not held accountable for its actions. We could tell Israel it can either go it alone or stop acting in a way which actually harms our interests, home and abroad. It could allow the right to return, bulldoze and reclaim the settler's criminal thefts of Palestinian lands, require reparations, and with an international effort, end up with reasonable security for Israel and a new Palestine.

      Israel might decide to go it alone, but then we should take some of the money we're sending to Israel and guarantee the security and rebuilding of Gaze and the West Bank. We might even have some money left over.

  • Clintonites oppose 'occupation' mention in platform-- as Cornel West says party is 'beholden to AIPAC'
    • Exactly right, and well-said, Theo.

      And the zionist stew is also being directly dished out to us by the 10 percent themselves -- monolithic enablers of the GOP and Hillary, such as AIPAC, the Israel Lobby, other major donors, the mainstream media, think tanks, academic institutions, and other "progressive" and "conservative" voices.

      But there is hope. More minds and voices are coming to their senses, connecting the dots, and speaking out against the 10 %'s demonstrably false, misleading, one-sided and harmful rhetoric.

      One reason is because there is an increasing awareness that we cannot begin to address the problems and concerns of the 90% without turning our attentions and resources inward to America.

      For example, Stephen Walt has argued, with a reference which includes what America is doing in and for Israel in the Middle East: ".... for a return to a more humble and pragmatic American policy. “Global leadership is not an end in itself; it is desirable only if it benefits the United States directly,” he stated. 'By focusing on vital interests and avoiding costly quagmires, offshore balancing would allow the United States to invest more in the long-term foundations of national power—education, infrastructure, research and development.''

      http://www.wrmea.org/2016-june/july/mearsheimer-walt-freeman-headline-koch-institute-event.html

    • I guess the addition of any call for balanced, fair treatment of the Palestinians and action against Israel's policies and actions in the Democratic Party platform would be symbolic of something. But if experience is any teacher, it would be because it represents what is unlikely to be pursued by a Clinton administration, an administration with administrators who have been bought and paid for many times over by AIPAC and the Israel Lobby.

      Mr. Wexler is probably right that outside forces will not resolve the I-P conflict, but not for the reason he states. The reason is no outside force, certainly not the U.S., is willing yet to do what would be necessary to get results, and that is to bring leverage to the table, the stick as well as the carrot. Israel is feasting on carrots to the tune of billions from the U.S. and unlimited government, lobbying and media support. They have no incentive to negotiate and never will unless we threaten (and I don't mean bluff) to cut off all monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things unless they end the occupation, give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements. If we did that we could also insist on respecting the will of the Palestinian people, who then wouldn't be a problem. We could then guarantee both sides reasonable security.

      Israel might elect to go it alone. But that would benefit us, because we could then start to bring home some of the billions being spent in the Middle East, including in and for Israel, to start to work on our myriad problems here in the good ole U.S of A.

  • In story faulting Saudi lobby, 'NPR' knocks U.S. Israel lobby 'pressure' a year after the fact
    • Phil poses an interesting and timely question: "The story raises the question of how often NPR has described the work of the Israel lobby or the U.S. acting as Israel’s proxy in international fora in a bullying manner, even though the US-Israel nexus is (in contrast to the Saudi outrage) home cooking."

      NPR and the Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBS), though separate organizations, are both part of the U. S. public broadcasting system.

      In a letter dated January 20, 2016 to Paula Kerger, President & CEO of PBS, I posed a similar question with respect to the policies of FRONTLINE, a PBS show; namely, "[w]hether FRONTLINE’s [documented] extensive coverage of the point of view of Israel and its leaders is objective and whether it encompasses a breach of [PBS's standards of journalistic fairness, balance, integrity, and independence], including specifically avoidance of favoritism, political advocacy and conflict of interest?" I also copied my Congressional delegation on the letter and asked them to look into the matter.

      Almost six months later, I have not received any acknowledgement of, or reply to, my letter from PBS or those members of Congress.

  • Front-page play for Israel battle shows that Israel has lost the Democratic Party base
    • Great article. The debate being engendered by the split among Democrats and within the Jewish community will now get even more play, and demonstrate how wrong-headed and misguided the policies of the U.S. have been, especially for the Palestinians, of course, but also for the long-term best interest of the U.S. and Israel itself.

      Opposition to unquestioned support of Israel and its proxies throughout the Middle East will grow, become more strident and more extreme, especially if people begin to connect the dots and see how cutting off support to Israel ties into the need to help the majority of people right here in America by bringing some of our resources and money home from the Middle East.

      Here the message Israel may increasingly hear. No country, even the U.S., has a right to exist. It exists because it has taken steps to protect itself. That’s what the U. S. has done. That’s what Israel should do, instead of hiding behind the U.S. and private supporters like AIPAC and the Israel Lobby.

      Here’s an actual existential threat to Israel, as opposed to the trumped (no pun intended) up threat of a few kids with knives. Let's give them the stick in place of the carrot for a while. Let's see if a cut off of most monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things until they give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements, brings them to their senses and to the reality of not settling the conflict.

      So Israel goes it alone. It won't be any worse for the Palestinians and a lo better for the U.S.

  • Tom Friedman needs to get an inoculation (attacking BDS) before he can say how bad Israel is
    • BDS as a tool to influence Israel's policies, although a good start, is a wet noodle, chump change.

      Even if it isn't realistic to think it will be employed any time soon by the U.S., the ante will have to be upped. The response to so much BDS opposition in the U.S. and in Israel should be: We tried to be reasonable and give you a reality check in a nice way. But I guess you didn't get the message. Maybe it should have been more unvarnished in the first place.

      Here it is now: No country, even the U.S., has a right to exist. It exists because it has taken steps to protect itself. That's what the U. S. has done. That's what Israel should do, instead of hiding behind the U.S. and private supporters like AIPAC and the Israel Lobby.

      Here's an existential threat to Israel: It has shown for decades it is unreasonable by not solving one of the greatest problems in the Middle East and threats to security worldwide, the Palestinian situation, in a way which recognizes the rights of and protects the Palestinians, thereby working toward Israel's own long-term viability.

      Israel needs the stick as well as the carrot. Israel is feasting on carrots from the U.S. to the tune of billions and almost unlimited affirmation and media support. They have no incentive to work out a framework for resolution of the conflict, even one which will benefit it in the long run.

      It never will, unless we threaten (and I don’t mean bluff) to cut off most monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things until they give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements. If we could accomplish anything close to that, the Palestinians wouldn’t be a problem and we could both sides transition to mutual reasonable security. I say reasonable because we can’t promise anyone, including our own citizens, total safety.

  • Clinton campaign is 'nervous' Sanders will push 'divisive' battle over Democratic platform on Israel
    • Finally the hint of a fundamental truth about how to negotiate and have an impact on the policies of foreign governments, like Israel, even if it isn't realistic to think it will be employed any time soon by the U.S.

      A negotiator or policy advocate, say the U.S., has to bring leverage to the table, the stick as well as the carrot. Israel is feasting on carrots from the U.S. to the tune of billions and almost
      unlimited affirmation and media support. They have no incentive to negotiate or work out a framework for resolution of the conflict, even one which will benefit them in the long run, and
      never will, unless we threaten (and I don’t mean bluff) to cut off most monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things until they give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements. If we could accomplish anything close to that, the Palestinians (at least the people, but maybe not Palestinian “leaders” who likely have been bought off) wouldn’t be a problem and we could guarantee both sides reasonable security. I say reasonable because we can’t promise anyone, including our own citizens, total safety.

      Maybe it wouldn’t work because Israel would make the choice to go it alone. But cutting off all or most of our aid after that choice would be better for the U.S. than the hopeless situation we have now, including the waste of our tax dollars which just prop up Israel (and other corrupt Middle East governments). and makes it less likely they will act reasonably. We would at least have more resources to deal with the many problems of all Americans right here in the good old USA, including "restoring effectiveness to self-government, providing for sustainable and equitable prosperity, and extracting from a vastly diverse culture something [worthwhile] to hold in common', to quote Andrew Bacevich, "America's War for the Greater Middle East", p. 370 (2016). We’ve forgotten that charity begins at home.

  • Liberal Zionist group calls for 'Obama Parameters' to resolve conflict (but no real pressure on Israel)
    • The J Street and liberal Zionist (a contradiction in terms, if you ask me) voices being batted back and forth miss a fundamental truth about how to negotiate and have an impact on governmental actions.

      A negotiator or policy advocate, say the U.S., has to bring leverage to the table, the stick as well as the carrot. Israel is feasting on carrots from the U.S. to the tune of billions and almost unlimited affirmation and media support. They have no incentive to negotiate or work out a framework for resolution of the conflict, and never will, unless we threaten (and I don’t mean bluff) to cut off most monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things until they give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements. If we could accomplish anything close to that,, the Palestinians (at least the people, but maybe not Palestinian “leaders” who likely have been bought off) wouldn’t be a problem and we could guarantee both sides reasonable security. I say reasonable because we can’t promise anyone, including our own citizens, total safety.

      Maybe it wouldn’t work because Israel would elect to go it alone, but cutting off all most of our aid after that choice by Israel would be better for the U.S. than the hopeless situation we have now, including the waste of our tax dollars which just props up Israel and makes it less likely they will act reasonably. We would at least have more resources to deal with the many problems right here in the good old USA. We’ve forgotten that charity begins at home.

  • Hillary Clinton supported Iraq war because of Israel, say Matthews and Landler
    • Very good discussion.

      One more bit of hogwash are the statements of Bill Clinton, HRC, the Israel Lobby, and everyone else who purports to represent the best interests of the U.S., which say the way to effect a satisfactory outcome for Israelis and Palestinians is to have Israel's back on almost everything, so they'll feel secure and come to the table in a cooperative mood.

      Not only does our experience since 1948 refute that premise, but this assertion is also either disingenuous and/or shows our leaders don't have the foggiest notion how to negotiate.

      A negotiator has to bring leverage to the table, the stick as well as the carrot. Israel
      is feasting on carrots from the U.S. to the tune of billions and almost unlimited affirmation and media support. They have no incentive to negotiate and never will unless we threaten (and I don't mean bluff) to cut off all monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things unless they give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements. If we did that the Palestinians (at least the people, but maybe not Palestinian "leaders") wouldn't be a problem and we could guarantee both sides reasonable security. I say reasonable because we can't promise anyone, including our own citizens, total safety.

      Maybe it wouldn't work because Israel would elect to go it alone, but cutting off all our aid after that choice by Israel would be better for the U.S. than the hopeless situation we have now. We would at least have more resources to deal with things here in the good old USA. We've forgotten that charity begins at home.

  • US Jews adopted 'deferential' relationship to Israel, and tabooed dissent so as to preserve US gov't support
  • Obama's November surprise
    • Obama's not a key to any of this and never has been. Aside from the Iran deal, done at the best of many, including some of Israel's supporters, to avoid an Israel-Iran conflagration, Obama and his Clintonista, pro-Israel henchmen, have either phoned it in or actively promoted an AIPAC, pro-Israel, Zionist agenda.

      Why? Obama was anointed and financially supported by AIPAC, pro-Israel Americans as an up- and-comer who could (and did) go places in return for fawning pro-Israel support, just as AIPAC has accomplished with almost the entire Congress. And don't think for a minute that his golden parachute isn't tied to being loyal and keeping his mouth shut on Israel's many outrages to the bitter end.

      On influencing Israel's policy to move in a way that could lead to a fair and just solution in Israel-Palestine, there's only one approach that could work, even though it might not work in an apocalyptic country like Israel. And anyone who understands negotiation and practiced it knows what it is. But most of the politicians who talk about this (like the entire Congress, Obama, Kerry and Biden) sound like they haven't the foggiest notion how to negotiate. Trump does, but that's another story.

      You have to bring leverage to the table, the stick as well as the carrot. Israel is feasting on carrots to the tune of billions from us and almost unlimited government, NGO, think tank, and media support. They are no sticks being applied and Israel has no incentive to negotiate and never will unless we threaten to cut off all monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things unless they give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements. BSD, though well-meaning is a wet noodle. I support it because you have to start somewhere. But this really depends on U.S policymakers and the power of the purse. If we did what I suggest, the Palestinians would go along and not be a problem and we could support reasonable security, at a much lesser cost that our unqualified support and unending war in the Middle East, largely carried out with Israel as the unidentified beneficiary.

      As background, everyone who hasn't should consult Mearsheimer and Walt, two respected
      academics, and their "Israel Lobby" book, , including their fact-based views on how we got into the Iraq War and the since unending war in the Middle East. See also, "Against Our Better Judgment" by Alison Weir. They deal with facts and though broadly labeled as anti-Semitic, I haven't seen one criticism that backs the claim up, unless you agree that criticism of Israel's policies and actions is anti-Semitic.

  • A 'longtime activist for social justice,' Booker worries his anti-BDS stance will 'rankle' and 'upset' people
    • Booker, like Obama, starting early on, has been groomed and supported by the Israel Lobby as an attractive, educated black candidate who could be easily wrapped in the mantle of Democratic progressive values and get the black and white progressive vote, while agreeing to be a stealth supporter of Jewish, Zionist, and neocon causes and Israel.

      The payoff: almost unlimited financial, media and endorsement support. Booker and Obama made a Faustian bargain, maybe somewhat unwittingly at first. By now they must realize it or be very good at suppressing it into their unconscious.

      But Booker, a basically decent person? With that history and doubling down on Zionism and anti-BDS, I don't think so. He's reaping what he sowed for a price.

  • Petition urges Sanders to snub AIPAC, hotbed of Clintonism and neoconservatism
    • I signed the petition mentioned in Phil’s post asking Bernie not to speak at the AIPAC conference, mentioning that I voted for him in the Maine Democratic caucuses. That and $3.50 may get you a cup of coffee.

      Anyway, I hope the petition receives a lot more than the 2500 signatures sought.

      Bernie would do better to attend, and participate in, the competing Washington Report on Middle East Affairs conference at which Phil is speaking on March 18 at the National Press Club :

      link to israelsinfluence.org
      Reply
      - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/03/petition-urges-sanders-to-snub-aipac-hotbed-of-clintonism-and-neoconservatism/#sthash.qdZjFlgx.dpuf

    • I signed the petition mentioned in Phil's post asking Bernie not to speak at the AIPAC conference, mentioning that I voted for him in the Maine Democratic caucuses. That and $3.50 may get you a cup of coffee.

      Anyway, I hope the petition receives a lot more than the 2500 signatures sought.

      Bernie would do better to attend, and participate in, the competing Washington Report on Middle East Affairs conference at which Phil is speaking on March 18 at the National Press Club :

      http://israelsinfluence.org/

  • Oscar swag bag includes ten-day VIP trip to Israel worth $55,000 (Updated)
    • The whole thing is in bad taste, shameful and totally insensitive to the plight of Palestinians, victims of Israel's apartheid and worse.

      The outfit which handled this may or may not be pro-Israel or anti-BDS, but they shouldn't be allowed, if I may be allowed to use a crucifixion metaphor, to play Pontius Pilate on something like this.

      The rich get richer and more separated for the dark and real world, as well as whatever humanity and humility they may have once possessed.

      Speaking of BDS, we should perhaps reflect on this before we decide to plunk down bucks to watch performances by these miscreants.

  • Israeli military reportedly seeks to censor private Facebook pages commenting on national security
    • JWalters, you are correct about the Israeli and Israel Lobby capture of America's establishment media. For example, witness the suppression, censorship, hypocricy and double standard inherent in the Public Broadcasting System (PBS)'s actions reported in the Mondoweiss post on "Valentino's Ghost":

      http://mondoweiss.net/2015/12/valentinos-comeback-suppression/

      I have complained to PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), asking for an investigation by PBS and CPB of PBS's programming practices, and requesting corrective and remedial measures.

      In my letter to PBS and CPB, I state that the issue is whether PBS's Frontline and it's then Executive Producer:

      "improperly censored a documentary film and prejudicially favored special interests, including PBS funding sources, thus violating standards of journalistic integrity and ethics. These standards, which the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS claim to uphold, include “...express[ing] diversity of perspectives, strengthen[ing] the democratic and cultural health of the U.S. and the highest commitment to excellence, professionalism, intellectual honesty and transparency."

  • Why are American pro-Palestinian voices silent about the brutal war on Yemen?
    • Solidarity is a great concept, but as other commenters have noted, American pro-Palestinian groups and voices have spent years working to get attention on Israel's wrongs against the Palestinians and the Israel Lobby's and American policymakers' support of those wrongs.

      American pro-Palestinian groups and voices have a full-time job in keeping the spotlight and impetus on the wrongs of Israel and the Israel Lobby, which pile up daily.

      To spend precious time and resources, which are unfortunately limited for pro-Palestinian groups and voices, on either Saudi Arabia or Yemen, as horrible as the situation is and as right-thinking as Mr. Norton is, just distracts from the priority of confronting Israel and the Israel Lobby and waters down that primary message and its potential impact.

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