Category Archives:
US Policy in the Middle East

AIPAC and Bill Kristol turn up the pressure

Philip Weiss on
Bill Kristol, at Rightweb

Bill Kristol of the Emergency Committee for Israel urges AIPAC attendees to boycott speeches from the Obama administration officials as AIPAC urges congressmen to attend Netanyahu’s speech next week

Kerry says Netanyahu was wrong the last time he pushed war for the U.S.

Philip Weiss on
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  listens as US Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement to the press before a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office on January 2, 2014 in Jerusalem. (Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State John Kerry took the US-ISrael disagreement to a new level yesterday, saying that Netanyahu had pushed the disastrous Iraq war. “A very tough shot” at the war party, Chris Matthews said, while the New York Times, covering for neocons, dismissed the line as a needling.

Netanyahu flips off Harry Truman

Philip Weiss on
Mideast Israel Palestinians

Netanyahu’s latest defiant campaign ad suggests that Israel doesn’t need the US because the State Dep’t opposed the creation of Israel in 1948. He is flipping the bird to Harry Truman, who recognized Israel within minutes of its declaration of independence.

Netanyahu claims to know ‘details’ of Iran deal — and State Dep’t mocks him

Philip Weiss on
NIAC ad in NYT

Benjamin Netanyahu claims to know the “details” of the proposed deal between the P5+1 and Iran. State Department’s Jen Psaki mocks his claim: “it sounds like he knows more than the negotiators.” Meanwhile, the National Iranian American Council has run a full-page ad in the New York Times challenging Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims to speak in the interests of Americans. “Who is our commander in chief?” Obama or Netanyahu? And the ad pillories Netanyahu for selling the Iraq war 13 years ago.

White House suggests Israel is lying about Iran talks– as Obama officials shun Netanyahu

Philip Weiss on
Josh Earnest, Getty images

The divide between the U.S. and Israel just gets wider and wider. The White House and the State Department yesterday said openly that the Obama administration is restricting the information it gives to Israel about the Iran talks because Israel is misrepresenting the talks in its efforts to derail them. There is “no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterizing our negotiating position have not been accurate,” the White House press secretary says.

US and Israel divorce rumors over Iran

Philip Weiss on
Obama in 2012

The stakes are rising over the Netanyahu speech to Congress to push a hardline on Iraq. The White House has reportedly cut off some communications with Israel following leaks by Netanyahu. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani calls Obama a “moron” for talking to Iran.

Ros-Lehtinen removes pro-Palestinian activists from Congressional hearing on punishing PA for joining ICC

Sam Knight on
Code Pink organizer Medea Benjamin is asked to leave by Capitol Police after Ros-Lehtinen orders the hearing room cleared. (Photo: Sam Knight)

On Wednesday the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee convened a hearing on cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority in response to joining the International Criminal Court. The hearing panel was staffed exclusively by neoconservatives—three out of four of whom have written about Palestinian children as constituting a “demographic threat” to the Jewish state. Citizens concerned about human rights in Israel/Palestine packed the hearing to represent the growing number of Americans who object to the US government’s one-sided diplomatic and military support for Israel. Subcommittee chairperson Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) was not amused.

Netanyahu is a paper tiger

Mike Coogan on
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on July 23. (Photo: AFP)

Stories of the power of the Israel lobby have long haunted efforts in the U.S. to advocate for a more balanced American policy toward Israel/Palestine. But at a moment when an unprecedented number of members of Congress are up in arms over Netanyahu’s efforts to sabotage the Obama administration’s policy towards Iran, there are other signs that the pro-Israel lobby may not be invincible in Washington. Here are seven pieces of news from the last year that proponents of a less lopsided policy towards Israel/Palestine should find heartening.

In Iraq and Syria the US sanctions its allies while its friends back its enemies (got that?)

Ted Snider on
A U.S. flag waves while displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community cross the Syria-Iraq border on Feeshkhabour bridge over Tigris River at Feeshkhabour border point, northern Iraq. (Photo: Khalid Mohammed/AP)

The war in Syria and Iraq has so many sides it’s hard to keep track of the teams. In Syria, we’re fighting the Assad government, but we’re also fighting the rebels who are fighting the Assad government, putting us on both sides of that civil war. But when you throw in the other countries that are taking sides, the program becomes even harder to follow. Recently, it seems that allies are on our enemy’s side while our enemies are on our side. To be on our side, it seems, you first have to let us sanction you.

US feels the heat on Palestine vote at UN

Jonathan Cook on
US Secretary of State John Kerry walks past American (back) and Israeli flags at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on January 6, 2014. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

The floodgates have begun to open across Europe on recognition of Palestinian statehood. On Friday the Portuguese parliament became the latest European legislature to call on its government to back statehood, joining Sweden, Britain, Ireland, France and Spain. But while Europe is tentatively finding a voice in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, silence reigns across the Atlantic. The White House appears paralysed, afraid to appear out of sync with world opinion but more afraid still of upsetting Israel and its powerful allies in the US Congress.