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Finkelstein’s critique misreads the special relationship and misunderstands political mobilization

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Norman Finkelstein’s criticisms of those working on campaigns to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel continue. The latest was a video appearance in which Finkelstein strongly criticized the “agnosticism” of the movement on the question of Israel, and suggested that it would be criminal to miss this “historic” opportunity to secure some amount of justice for the Palestinians.

I agree neither with the substance of Finkelstein’s comments about the “resolution” of the Israel-Palestine conflict nor with the impolitic and gratuitously abrasive way he has chosen to present them.

And I share Adam Horowitz’s sentiments about Palestinian self-determination. The question of the temporary or final resolution of the conflict is for Palestinians to decide.

It is their liberation struggle.

However, it is worth noting that many of the Palestinian groups which signed onto the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions are two-staters. It is the BDS call’s plasticity which has allowed it to unite Palestinian civil society in the Occupied Territories. Furthermore – like it or not – a plurality of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are in favor of two states, as are the major Palestinian political parties. In that sense, criticisms of Finkelstein for disrespecting Palestinian self-determination are often tinged with opportunism. Animating them is a dislike for the two-state platform.

That’s what those who say so mean, and that’s what they should say.

Anyway, I agree, although maybe for different reasons.

I think the bourgeois nationalist struggle has reached a dead end and that the only hope for Palestinian freedom is a regional revolution. For it to occur with a minimum of bloodshed and a maximum of transformation, it should eventually draw on the Israeli Jewish lower class.

The precise shape of that political solution will be worked out on the ground, and it is not the job of international solidarity activists to decide the particular (and temporary) political resolution of a conflict far across the ocean.

That said, many have missed the point of Finkelstein’s criticism.

The key claim is simple, although it’s adorned with a lot of alienating rhetoric.

Finkelstein argues that to maximize the mass capable of putting pressure on the US government to pressure Israel to cede Palestinians some measure of justice, the Palestine solidarity movement’s advocacy should be for goals which “mainstream liberal opinion” is prepared to accept. Because of escalating Israeli criminality, American liberals – and especially American liberal Jews – are increasingly unwilling to accept Israeli rejectionism and abuse of Palestinian rights.

What they are willing to accept is action to secure a resolution outlined in a specific body of international law: two states and a just resolution of the refugee question. To secure Palestinians a place to live in peace and security – in the short-term – the solidarity movement should act on that latent consensus. To fail to act in a specific way when the external circumstances allow for it would be to commit a “historic crime,” since it would force the Palestinian population living under occupation and languishing in the camps of the Levant to remain under those conditions when some kind of freedom is possible.

That is Finkelstein’s argument.

It has two core problems.

One, it implicitly relies on a misreading of the intersection of shifting American and European opinion and the needs of American and Israeli power. Two, it misunderstands the nature of political mobilization.

I will treat the issues in turn.

First, Finkelstein’s suggestion that a sanctions campaign with relatively apolitical liberals at its core will be able to beat back Israeli-American rejectionism underplays the degree and reasons for America’s support for Israeli rejectionism.

When Finkelstein argues that the American establishment has no vested interest in the occupation, it is only true in the most literal and narrow sense. What the American establishment cares about is the integrity of the Israeli state. Insofar as the Israeli government feels that the safest route to ensure social stability is to maintain the occupation, the American government will echo that policy. Finkelstein appears to think that if not for the Israel Lobby, the US establishment would not support the occupation.

He is dead wrong.

America has agreed to the occupation since support for Israeli control of Palestinian land became official policy under the Nixon-Kissinger administration, when the latter realized the immense profits to be made from a militarized Middle East: great for arms merchants, the oil conglomerates, and, behind it all, finance, heavily invested in recycling the petrodollars and profiting off the high prices the price-setting petroleum firms could fraudulently pass off as the result of regional chaos.

Rejection of substantive Palestinian statehood is a shared policy of Israeli and American elites, and beyond fevered speculation and the confessional autobiographies of disgruntled Congresspeople and State Department functionaries, no one has ever established otherwise.

There are differences of opinion not only within the American and Israeli establishments, but also between them, with the Israel lobby generally lining up behind the Israeli ruling class, with which it shares so much, especially investments. And there have always been currents within the oil sector and elsewhere pushing not for an end to the occupation but for a settlement that at least limits the settlement project to existing facts on the ground. Still, they never push particularly hard.

Since the pushes are never too hard, and since they tend to collide with the obdurate obstacle of the Israel lobby, they tend to fail. Obama’s palsied pushes have been no exception to that pattern of failure. But even had those pushes succeeded and succeeded wildly, they would not have achieved anything resembling even minimal Palestinian national demands. There is no question that the Israel lobby constricts the American debate on Israel, but nor is there a question that, even without the lobby, negotiations would be about the dimensions of the Palestinians’ cage.

Decolonization is not on Washington’s agenda. It will only get there if the issue is forced.

The current theater around AIPAC and Netanyahu and settlements is not about Palestinian liberation. Nor is it about the United Nations-sanctioned two-state solution. It’s about a rising realization in the Obama administration that it’s past time to put a veneer of justice on an unjust situation.

Not fully understanding this point, Finkelstein conflates the cages envisioned by Israeli and American elites with a serious and substantive two-state settlement, not paying sufficient attention to the fact that the slippage from one to the other has been one of the pillars of the rejectionist strategy from day one.

Still, American civil society pressure could help to secure a real two state settlement.

This takes us to the second issue – political mobilization.

Finkelstein, gesturing at one poll after another, suggests that public opinion both exists and is shifting against Israeli policies. The problem is that for political purposes, public opinion is always latent. It is meaningless until it is directed into meaningful political action. This is not a simple one-way process. The work of activism is not merely to turn public opinion into a political force, but also to change public opinion through small-scale political action. Since this means direct engagement, it should be added that most people are willing to listen to all kinds of ideas. Many Americans, once they understand that even a one-state settlement could still secure a place for Israeli Jews as a political community, might agree with such a program. Indeed, it is often overlooked that a one state “solution” could be consonant with continued Zionist domination of the Palestinians, as white dominance continues in “post”-apartheid South Africa.

Finkelstein argues that reasonable advocacy must work within the confines of what the public already accepts, and that what the public already accepts is an “international consensus” supported by a massive corpus of international law.

In making this argument, Finkelstein collapses the distinction between “international law” and the versions and interpretations of international law that the “global community,” or the ruling classes of the US, Europe, and the post-colonial states, have favored and pushed. The statement that international law is “categorical and absolute” is simply nonsense. International law is drenched in ambiguity.

Finkelstein’s reading of international law is merely the one which the preponderance of international tribunals have shared, the one increasingly solidified into a “rock-solid consensus” on “resolving” the conflict. But they have done so as a compromise between imperial power’s need for a rejectionist policy vis-à-vis the occupation and Europe and the Arab states’ needs to keep their populations quiescent. International law in its dominant interpretations condenses the concessions power has had to make to principle, in the process containing them within the bounds of its actual needs. International law is not just a symbolic consensus on the rightness of Palestinian rights. It’s also a way of containing actual action to secure them, and in turn reflects only partial concessions to Palestinian rights even on the symbolic level. We should never forget that the pre-67 armistice line of the “consensus” was baptized by Israeli violence (and for more in that vein, Richard Seymour’s reflections on the class dimensions of law and Finkelstein’s use of it are well worth reading and re-reading).

Furthermore, international law is hardly silent on the internal composition of Finkelstein’s imagined two-state settlement. It rejects institutionalized racial discrimination. The right of return is likewise anchored in international law if not exactly the “consensus” which the United Nations ceremonially and uselessly ratifies every year.

Israel’s right to be a Jewish state is not secured by international law. It’s an artifact of colonial and imperial power. So the question of what “international law” says about Palestine and how that relates to the BDS call is much more complex and contingent than Finkelstein makes it out to be – insofar as it matters. In making it simple, what Finkelstein is arguing is that proponents of BDS should maneuver only within the space secured by a certain reading of international law.

That argument does have its strengths, in accommodating the perspectives of the “mainstream,” and, perhaps, pushing them into political action. But it also has weaknesses.

The most glaring of them is that this my-way-or-the-highway tack sidesteps the ingenuity of BDS: that it withstands and accommodates several readings of international law as well as several political programs. One-state activists and those who hedge the issue can all partake in boycott and sanctions activity without forcing unnecessary divisions precisely because of the malleability of both international law and the boycott call. By imposing on this cacophony a sectarian reading of what must be done to make a political program viable in the United States, Finkelstein is the one being divisive.

And he is doing so against the grain of concrete political reality, in two senses.

First, he suggests that one-staters and other radicals in the Occupied Territories should simply cease political agitation. This involves conjuring up a non-existent Palestinian leadership that can fight for a two-state settlement along the lines he envisions. That Palestinian leadership does not currently exist, and in the absence of strong internal political leadership, the “line” of the solidarity movement means very little. Indeed, political programs cannot and should not come from the solidarity movement, although many are eager to encourage turning “one state” – the composition of that state is usually left unsaid – into a line in the sand. Such a line is of minimal utility. A political position must emerge from within, and it must emerge organically. Furthermore, solidarity is less about toeing this or the next political line, but about supporting both self-determination and a continuous resistance oriented to decolonization, a fact lost amidst the rhetorical volleys launched back and forth between “one-staters” and “two-staters.”

Additionally, it is the sometimes-incoherent BDS campaign, with its myriad problems, the ultra-left tendencies and the posturing and useless purity tests which rightfully aggravate Finkelstein, which has done a wonderful job of advancing both the level and tempo of activism for Palestine.

It has been the best tool for drawing in activists to actual action, and in creating the simplest red line of all: either support action in favor of Palestinian rights, or don’t. Incidentally, this is why Finkelstein’s none-too-ginger attacks piss so many people off. Not paying close attention to his precise wording, he seems far too much like he is attacking the work that has been on BDS thus far – he is generally not – rather than attacking the political program and strategy he (incorrectly) imputes to it.

Additionally, Finkelstein must acknowledge that focus on the “two-state solution” froze that activism into near-stasis for decades – perhaps a broader indictment of a strange focus on “solutions,” as though a 130-year process of settler-colonialism will suddenly be “solved” at one fell swoop by this or that campaign emanating from Western civil society.

His argument contains very little apprehension of the use of the “two-state solution” as an international-law sanctioned smokescreen for Israeli occupation and settlement building, nor of the fact that it’s a consensus shared by such varied actors – effectively, from Hamas all the way to the iron core of imperial rejectionism, the US – as to mean nothing.

And to have meant nothing for all these decades.

Second, there is the key question of who composes Finkelstein’s social movement. It is directly related to the question of which reading of “international law” he endorses, since “international law” cannot “win” anything independently. It’s not self-implementing. If it were, Palestinians would have their state. Since international law is a not weapon but a terrain of battle, it begs the question: what is the army Finkelstein plans on deploying? (A question too that could be asked of those most vehemently opposed to Finkelstein’s rhetoric).

It turns out that when Finkelstein refers to a “broad public,” he is mostly referring to middle-class and upper-middle class liberals, and especially liberal Jews. Not too radically inclined, but the sort for whom international law really is the be-all and end-all. These are people (purportedly) scared of radical action, but who will mobilize around a campaign framed against a backdrop of international law supporting a two-state solution which secures a Jewish majority in Israel. This, in turn, is directly tied to his flatly incorrect reading of the “Israel Lobby” as the motor of American rejectionism, a reading widely shared, even by people otherwise antagonistic to Finkelstein.

Anyway, let us continue. Imagine that a social movement of the American middle class rises up, demanding sanctions on Israel until it ends the occupation, and enforces “international law.”

How does the Israeli elite react?

Simple.

First, it looks for a Palestinian leadership which looks like it will sell out its people. This is not hard.

Second, it starts squeezing them, as well as the populace, politically and economically. Also not hard.

Third, it puts forth a bridging proposal. Something like the Arab Peace Plan: a demilitarized Palestinian state, with Israeli control over resources and the electromagnetic spectrum, most of the settlement blocks intact. Something somewhat better than what was offered at Camp David, but not much.

Because Finkelstein’s social movement isn’t made up of people cued in to Palestinian sentiment but instead is composed of people taking their political positions from Human Rights Watch, because they are – we are to suppose – Jewish and Zionist and committed to the Jewish state, they are not particularly attuned to the disjuncture between the substantive settlement and the kitted-out pseudo-sovereign Bantustan Israel and America have put in place. Furthermore, they’re told that that it is sovereign, all over the corporate media. And this is not some logical conceit to cleverly “smuggle in” one state advocacy – which, to repeat, is not the primary work of a movement in solidarity with Palestinian self-determination. It’s a simple what-if, informed by history: stuffed into the Trojan horse of previous moves towards two-state solutions have been Bantustans and unsovereign states.

Finkelstein cannot pretend not to know this.

He’s done some of the best histories of these capitulations, highlighting the absurdity of negotiating for Palestinian freedom in Washington.

Returning to the scenario, there would be additional fallout, rehearsing the destruction of Palestinian resistance and the Palestinian left after Oslo. The struggle would be hamstrung. The Special Relationship would continue – as Finkelstein openly acknowledges –and Israel’s arms-and-security-based accumulation pattern would remain unchanged. War would loom, since Arabs are the traditional lab animals for Israeli weaponry. Meanwhile, rising world impatience with Israeli irredentism, as well as the symbolic cachet Palestine has with the peoples of the global South as the last anti-colonial liberation struggle, would evaporate. The boycott campaign would be dealt a crushing blow. And the victory would turn in our mouths into ash.

This is the best-case scenario, the campaign for whose sake Finkelstein demands that the BDS campaign and implicitly Palestinian civil and political society should engage in a sectarian house-cleaning, splitting one-staters and two-staters, demanding that revolutionaries – sorry, cultists – simply shut up about their visions for a far better future for the region, that we close our eyes to the tumult in the Arab surrounds for which Palestine continues to be an activating force, all so that we can grasp this “historic opportunity,” which, it turns out, all the forces Finkelstein dismisses would be the ones to actually bring into being.

This is the tableau which Finkelstein calls a “more or less reasonable” resolution.

One appreciates Finkelstein’s political clarity, when so much of what so many offer is so murky and naïve. Nevertheless, in this case, I think the outcome would be less reasonable, rather than more.

And if it’s more rather than less, we want to know why and how.

Jewbonics
About Max Ajl

Max Ajl is an activist with the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network and an editor at Jadaliyya and Viewpoint. Follow him on Twitter: @maxajl.

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79 Responses

  1. Shmuel
    Shmuel
    June 13, 2012, 2:30 pm

    Thanks. Good analysis, Max.

    • Shmuel
      Shmuel
      June 13, 2012, 2:57 pm

      To take up one of your points, the impossible goal of a focused, unified and disciplined non-violent Palestinian struggle for a 2ss along the lines Finkelstein proposes as the only right way – not to mention endless possibilities of inciting/creating violence and misrepresenting the struggle (largely the case in the First Intifada) – means that Palestinians (and their international supporters) will inevitably, once again, be blamed for their own oppression.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      June 14, 2012, 1:50 am

      Thanks. Good analysis, Max.

      Sounds like psycho babble to me. Credible accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity have been lodged against all of the Palestinian and Israeli factions. It isn’t up to them to develop a final solution in the sweet bye-and-bye, while ignoring international law and consensus on the prohibition against the threat or use of force. We all have an erga omnes interest in stopping wars and violence – by every available means – whether the parties to a particular conflict agree with that humane approach, or not.

      The international community just agreed to put Charles Taylor in jail for 50 years for crimes he committed against a neighboring territory. The International Criminal Tribunal for Sierra Leone overruled an amnesty deal that “the great powers” had negotiated with Taylor. Nobody had to mobilize a grass-roots political army of liberal middle class people to accomplish that goal or wait for the parties to the conflict to develop their own “final solution”.

      I agree neither with the substance of Finkelstein’s comments about the “resolution” of the Israel-Palestine conflict nor with the impolitic and gratuitously abrasive way he has chosen to present them.

      Ali Abunimah is no less abrasive when he acts stupid and pretends that the statehood bid at the UN is just a farce. In fact all of his talk about evidence, international law, and failure of the responsible authorities to act is just speechifying with no follow-up or follow-through. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/02/abunimah-highlights-turning-point-boycott-conference.html

      The statehood bid and the prospect of a legal tsunami literally scared the hell out of the US and Israel last year. I have no faith in the leadership of the PA to follow through without pressure from grass roots organizations, but they’ve already irrevocably accepted the jurisdiction of the international criminal court that can transform the conflict from a strictly violent or political one into one based upon law and order, consensus, and equality of rights. See Mahmoud Abbas, The Long Overdue Palestinian State http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/17/opinion/17abbas.html

      A lot of Palestinian activists and intellectuals have been disingenuously asking “What recognition of the State of Palestine at the UN will accomplish?,” while not even mentioning the international criminal court, e.g.
      *Rashid Khalidi, “On the Possible Recognition of A Palestinian State at the United Nations” http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/2002/on-the-possible-recognition-of-a-palestinian-state
      *Ali Abunimah, Recognising Palestine? The efforts of the Palestinian Authority to push for statehood are nothing more than an elaborate farce http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/04/2011413152522296883.html

      On the other hand, the Israeli press and Israeli supporters “get it”. There’s no shortage of Israeli analysis on the subject of the ICC and the possibility of lawsuits in the wake of recognition at the UN, e.g.
      *Israel won the battle at the ICC, but not the war: Between the lines, the criminal court signaled to Abbas that it would get involved in ‘Palestine’ if Abbas secures nonmember state status via the UN General Assembly. Will he now go down that road? http://www.timesofisrael.com/iccs-rejection-of-palestinian-probe-bid-israel-won-the-battle-but-not-the-war/
      *PA’s UN bid may lead to ICC action against settlers: ACRI warns that successful Palestinian bid in UN will subject settlements to international criminal code, allow lawsuits against settlers http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4121579,00.html

      If you’re not a “one trick pony”, you’ll just have to read about that possibility by accident. The so-called Palestinian Solidarity Movement is busy kvetching about informal grass roots BSD all day every day.

      • MRW
        MRW
        June 14, 2012, 5:22 pm

        “Sounds like psycho babble to me.”

        I agree, and long-winded.

  2. American
    American
    June 13, 2012, 4:05 pm

    “Finkelstein appears to think that if not for the Israel Lobby, the US establishment would not support the occupation.

    He is dead wrong.”

    Gawd, here we go again.
    Sorry old boy…this is pure Chomsky bullshit.
    The US as the capitalist Satan explains a lot but it doesn’t explain and is not the reason for US support for Israel.

    Your references to suport that claim?
    1)The Global political economy of Israel
    2)The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony

    I’ve been thru this so many f’ing times I dont’ want to do it again so let me use just one example of the student Chomsky inability to admit or too stupid to see?..the CAUSE as PRECEEDING the effects and subsequent policies of the US re Israel.

    Your Hidden Hand authors ” claim” the Arab oil embargo of 73 spurred the US’s “desire” to control the ME for oil supplies.

    What was the CAUSE the 73 Arab embargo???? Huh?

    The CAUSE was Israel’s Yom Kipper war.
    The Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refused to ship petroleum TO NATIONS THAT HAD SUPORTED ISRAEL AGAINST EGYPT.

    This embargo imposed on the US meant if the US wanted to support Israel over our Arab oil buddies we were going to have some control or influence in the region.

    Why am I wasting my time on this…you people are so simple minded in your desire to have some big theory to explain ‘all the global troubles’ that you ignore details and results.
    And some of you are so determined so deny that the Israel lobby plays a MAJOR part in us ME policy that you really become ridiculous and lose all creditably.

    • Keith
      Keith
      June 13, 2012, 4:47 pm

      AMERICAN- “Sorry old boy…this is pure Chomsky bullshit.”

      The author of the “bullshit” is Max Ajl. Noam Chomsky has never posted nor commented on Mondoweiss, yet you, and others, feel compelled to bring his name into these discussions as if it has special relevance, which it doesn’t. Why is that? If you disagree with Max Ajl, why not just say so. Why the obsession with Noam Chomsky?

      • American
        American
        June 13, 2012, 6:07 pm

        @ Keith

        I used it because his statement is so Chomsky-like.
        I don’t give a rats ass about defending the US reputation, we are a giant sob in a lot of cases…..what I object to is the f’ing stupidity and/or dishonestly of people who dumb down their ‘followers’ by giving them a one size fits all explanation that is contrary to all evidence in MANY cases and not even logical to anyone in full possession of the facts.
        So sorry about the sarcasm…but it does irritate me to no end.

      • Keith
        Keith
        June 14, 2012, 2:51 pm

        AMERICAN- “I used it because his statement is so Chomsky-like.”

        Yes, you are one of the Mondoweiss commenters who like to apply labels to people, then use the labels as proof, reasoned argument being superfluous.

        “what I object to is the f’ing stupidity and/or dishonestly of people who dumb down their ‘followers’ by giving them a one size fits all explanation….”

        Ah, Chomsky as the guru, those who happen to agree with him on certain issues merely followers who have been ‘dumbed down.’ Max Ajl a follower of Chomsky? I’ll bet that is news to him. Me? Why, a Chomskyite for sure. Who could doubt it? Anyone who believes in empire or imperial strategy and power-seeking essentially simple-minded, lacking the sophistication to see that when all is said and done, the Israel lobby did it. And what better way to demonstrate all of this than to continue to bring up Noam Chomsky and attack him and his alleged ‘followers’ rather than discussing the post on its own terms?

        “So sorry about the sarcasm…but it does irritate me to no end.”

        On this we agree, although I think we have different groups in mind.

      • American
        American
        June 15, 2012, 1:06 am

        @ keith

        You said….”Ah, Chomsky as the guru, those who happen to agree with him on certain issues merely followers who have been ‘dumbed down.’ Max Ajl a follower of Chomsky? I’ll bet that is news to him. Me? Why, a Chomskyite for sure. Who could doubt it? Anyone who believes in empire or imperial strategy and power-seeking essentially simple-minded, lacking the sophistication to see that when all is said and done, the Israel lobby did it. And what better way to demonstrate all of this than to continue to bring up Noam Chomsky and attack him and his alleged ‘followers’ rather than discussing the post on its own terms?””

        1) No, I have the impression Max is trying to blend his ‘socialist ideology’ with a solution for I/P.
        2) And I dont know if you are a Chomsky believer or not, don’t remember you’re arguing that to be honest.
        3) Max did claim the same Chomsky….”Israel Lobby power, what Lobby, what power?” bs as Chomsky.
        But I can’t apologize for what is true —–> that US capitalism is not the reason the US supports Israel.
        4) And EVEN though I believe that the Israel Lobby(-Israel first pressure) is the MAJOR force behind our ME policy where it affects Israel I am NOT simpled minded or uninformed enough to think they dictate EVERYTHING the US does in the ME.
        5) THAT..is the difference between those of us who do recongize (the verified and proven) influence of the lobby and those who claim ALL Israel policy is just US imperalism and capitalism that unnamed elites profit from.

        So yea, not looking at specific policies and policy benefits and results and blaming it ALL on US imperalism and elite profit is simple minded.
        But feel free to answer me on my post below about why the US congress is refusing to pay a measly few hundred million of our NATO missile funding obligation (to save US tax dollars) right after they gave Israel One Billion of US tax dollars for their missile defense program.

      • Keith
        Keith
        June 15, 2012, 9:07 pm

        AMERICAN- “No, I have the impression Max is trying to blend his ‘socialist ideology’ with a solution for I/P.”

        If so, it would seem illogical to quote him and then say “Sorry old boy…this is pure Chomsky bullshit.” Further, “I used it because his statement is so Chomsky-like.” Since I find Max Ajls comments on the Israel Palestine conflict to be significantly different from what Noam Chomsky has said, I continue to believe that by conflating them you have misrepresented both.

        “And I dont know if you are a Chomsky believer or not, don’t remember you’re arguing that to be honest.”

        “Chomsky believer?” I am unaware that Chomsky is some sort of cult leader with followers like say Lyndon LaRouche. Do you have any empirical evidence that those who agree with Chomsky on various issues are, in fact, “believers” of some sort of Chomsky doctrine? People like Glen Greenwald, Ilan Pappe and Arundhati Roy?

        “Max did claim the same Chomsky….”Israel Lobby power, what Lobby, what power?” bs as Chomsky.”

        Unlike Chomsky, Max is a doctrinaire Marxist who places inordinate emphasis on economic determinism. Even so, even Max acknowledges the Lobby, albeit less than Chomsky. Asked to comment on Mearsheimer and Walt on US Middle East policy, Chomsky wrote:

        “Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby….The M-W thesis is that (B) overwhelmingly predominates.”
        http://www.zcommunications.org/the-israel-lobby-by-noam-chomsky

        Several comments are in order. I haven’t read Mearsheimer and Walt (the existence of the Lobby hardly in question) and am taking Chomsky’s word that they emphasize Lobby power in relation to other factors. Also, the power of the Lobby will vary considerably depending upon how one defines “the Lobby.” Throw in enough concentrations of domestic power that have a pro-Israel bias and the power becomes immense but meaningless. The notion that the imperial power structure puts Israel’s interest above imperial power seeking hardly tenable.

        A further consideration is to differentiate between Lobby influence on overall US Middle East policy versus US support for Israel, including the occupied territories. In a book review of “Gaza in Crisis,” by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe, Azhar Ali Khan states that “The scholars assert that U.S. support for Israel rests on three tiers mostly: AIPAC, the powerful lobby, the military industrial complex and Christian Zionists.” He claims that the authors feel that the ongoing expansion of the illegal settlements “has made a two-state solution impractical.” He finds the book “depressing but thoughtful.” Once again, I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to, however, if you are interested in Chomsky’s current thinking on this issue, you might care to.
        http://www.zcommunications.org/book-review-gaza-in-crisis-by-noam-chomsky-and-ilan-pappe-by-azhar-ali-khan

        “So yea, not looking at specific policies and policy benefits and results and blaming it ALL on US imperalism and elite profit is simple minded.”

        Yes indeed, the “Chomskyite” straw man you have constructed is simple minded. So much easier to flail away at your simple minded creation than to respond Chomsky’s actual writings. That is one of the main reasons I strongly object to this ongoing Mondoweiss Chomsky vilification, because you, and others, continue to misrepresent his positions. This in spite of the fact that Chomsky has never posted nor commented on Mondoweiss. Yet his name keeps coming up, even on this post of Max Ajl which differs significantly from anything I have read from Chomsky, but which you characterize as “pure Chomsky bullshit.” Which brings us full circle to why the ritualistic Chomsky bashing?

  3. American
    American
    June 13, 2012, 4:33 pm

    One other thing about this constant pissing on each other between BDS proponents and international law proponents.
    There is no reason BDS efforts and law efforts toward a solution have to be in conflict if they are both aimed at ending the occupation and a final agreement.
    And neither you nor Finkelstein or anyone but the Palestines can say what Palestines want or demand one or two states for them, it’s up to the Palestines.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      June 14, 2012, 12:38 pm

      Well said. A lot of arguing about what are two points on/along the same claim:implementation (of a just and durable result) process continuum. These are not wildly and fatally divergent worldviews.

  4. giladg
    giladg
    June 13, 2012, 7:51 pm

    When Romney gets elected in November, he is going to come down on the BDS movement like a ton of bricks. Congress is going to present laws and presidential executive orders are going to knock the Palestinian struggle back many years.

    • annie
      annie
      June 14, 2012, 12:04 am

      i’m afraid congress doesn’t have the power to do that, the cat is already out of the bag. the ground we have made is not on the legislative front. it’s people power. the more you squeeze the people the more people resent it and talk about it.

      myths no more. israel’s image will just keep sinking.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      June 14, 2012, 6:26 am

      Romney’s not going to get elected in November.

    • June 14, 2012, 10:52 am

      oh yeah, and your precious Obama if re-elected will support the statehood bid, stop all aid to Zionists and boycott all Zionist exports? Like we didn’t have enough robots of the Zionist Propaganda-Abteilung writing here and we also needed more Obamanda? One has to wonder at the censorship policy here.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 14, 2012, 11:42 am

        “oh yeah, and your precious Obama”

        ??? Whose precious Obama?? My belief that Romney isn’t going to win has nothing to do with any positive feelings I have for Obama. It’s simply a political calculation. I’m voting for neither.

    • American
      American
      June 14, 2012, 1:09 pm

      LOL…if Romney gets elected and carries out his promise to attack Iran for Israel and China and Russia take exception to that, as they are doing, then there will be no Israel left for you to worry about….it will get what it has long sought, a regional WWIII and perish in it.

    • MRW
      MRW
      June 14, 2012, 5:33 pm

      “When Romney gets elected in November, he is going to come down on the BDS movement like a ton of bricks.”

      Yeah, Daddy’s going to beat the crap out of ’em, that’ll show ’em. o_O

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      June 15, 2012, 1:16 am

      When Romney gets elected in November, he is going to come down on the BDS movement like a ton of bricks

      It won’t matter. By the time Romney is sworn in if he wins (highly unlikely), the US will be facing the same crisis as Spain.

  5. Inanna
    Inanna
    June 13, 2012, 8:26 pm

    Thanks Max great analysis. I do wonder why NF, who has incisively analysed the power dynamics of previous attempts at negotiations and just how they will affect Palestinians fails to take into consideration those power dynamics with his plan and why he chooses to attack such a broad-based non-violent movement like BDS which has united Palestinian solidarity advocates internationally.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      June 14, 2012, 3:03 am

      I do wonder why NF, who has incisively analysed the power dynamics of previous attempts at negotiations and just how they will affect Palestinians fails to take into consideration those power dynamics with his plan and why he chooses to attack such a broad-based non-violent movement like BDS which has united Palestinian solidarity advocates internationally.

      NF stated his reasoning in no uncertain terms. He thinks the parties to the conflict should accept existing international consensus and abide by existing international law. NF said that choosing to prolong the conflict by rejecting international consensus and international law amounts to a historical crime. The utopian notion that a one state solution at some remote or uncertain date is preferable to judicial remedies and immediate recognition of Palestine within the 67 borders by the UN, ICC, and the national courts of 130 countries world-wide working in concert with each other does reflect an element of cult-like thinking.

      • Inanna
        Inanna
        June 14, 2012, 7:09 am

        The Arab League has accepted the international consensus in its 2002 plan. The PLO has been for two-states for far longer than Israel. The Palestinians tried to get their state recognised at the UN last year and only got UNESCO membership. Why have none of these efforts succeeded? That’s why understanding the power relationships here is important. As Max says, international law is not self-implementing. By stripping his analysis of any mention of the current power dynamics and likely outcomes, NF leaves a lot out of his analysis and needlessly antagonises his allies by using such terms as ‘cult’ and ‘historical crime’ and ‘choosing to prolong the suffering’. It really smacks of the blaming the victim for the obstructions to peace placed by Israel. Palestinians are made to jump through far too many hurdles with new preconditions following previous ones. What NF said was hardly sensitive.

        I’m not sure why you then proceed to a diatribe about a one-state solution since I mentioned nothing about it and BDS is an approach based on individual rights rather than national/collective rights and does not preclude nor endorse a one- or two-state solution. (in fact, if Israel pulled its troops back behind the green line tomorrow and said to the Palestinians you are on your own I would jump for joy as I imagine many one-staters would be, since I think the reason many came to the one-state solution was not an ideological desire for one-state but rather the result of the failure of the two-state model).

        NF, by framing his argument without the context of the current power dynamic among the main agents, gives the power advantage to Israel and American Jews, both of which have been singularly unsuccessful in respecting either the individual and national rights of Palestinians (except for marginalized groups and individuals). If neither you nor NF can understand why that would anger Palestinians, I’m not sure what I can say to make you understand that. I respect NF’s long history of struggle and the personal price he has paid for his convictions in the past. But this time he’s wrong.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 14, 2012, 10:42 am

        As Max says, international law is not self-implementing.

        What Max isn’t telling you is that the majority of ICC member states have harmonized their internal criminal law to incorporate the crimes addressed by the Rome Statute. If the ICC Pre-trial Chamber requests an Interpol Red Notice, even non-ICC member states may assist in making arrests.

        The Palestinians tried to get their state recognised at the UN last year and only got UNESCO membership.

        The UNESCO vote changed a lot of minds in the international legal community. Legal experts, who used to argue that Palestine was not a state capable of accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC, are now arguing that it is. One of the contributing editors of the European Journal of International Law wrote:

        Oddly, an important factor, ignored by the Prosecutor is Palestine’s admission to UNESCO (see previous EJIL:Talk! post on that issue here). At first glance, the admission of Palestine to UNESCO seems most unrelated to questions to do with the jurisdiction of the ICC. However, as explained below, and by Bill Schabas on his blog last year, UNESCO’s decision may be highly relevant.

        *http://www.ejiltalk.org/icc-prosecutor-decides-that-he-cant-decide-on-the-statehood-of-palestine-is-he-right/

        The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties governs any agreement, like the Rome Statute, that serves as the constituent document of an international organization. It recognizes state members of UN specialized agencies, including UNESCO, as belonging to a category of states that are competent to ratify or accede to any multilateral treaty open to States.

        By stripping his analysis of any mention of the current power dynamics and likely outcomes

        This stuff isn’t rocket science. It’s likely that Israel’s current and former Prime Minister would be indicted on the strength of information contained in the ICJ findings of fact regarding the construction of an illegal wall and recent announcements regarding settlement expansion. The Prosecutor and the President of the ICC have both stated publicly that if the General Assembly upgrades the status of Palestine to an observer state, Palestine can join the Court. The Prosecutor would act on the existing criminal complaints and declarations regarding crimes committed on the territory of Palestine after July 2002.

      • Inanna
        Inanna
        June 14, 2012, 8:01 pm

        Yes, go the ICC but it’s only going around implementing some aspects of international law, not UNSC 242. There are also a host of international laws that are being openly violated and the ICC has no jurisdiction over that.

        The UNESCO vote might have changed a lot of minds in the legal community but that is not really the point I was making. The point is that even when given the opportunity to implement 242 last year, the international community did not. Why not? Power dynamics, which NF is ignoring in his current analysis, which gives primacy to American liberal/Jewish opinion changing long-standing US policy which is grounded in certain interests. If this stuff isn’t rocket science then how come NF has got this so wrong?

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        June 15, 2012, 1:51 am

        The Prosecutor and the President of the ICC have both stated publicly that if the General Assembly upgrades the status of Palestine to an observer state, Palestine can join the Court.

        But doesn’t thus take us back to the matter of the power dynamic? What’s preventing the GA from doing this or why hasn’t this already been done? Because the US had embarked on a “marathon” diplomatic effort to block it.

        It’s all well and good to suggest that the Palestinians just have to get over the line, but they don’t seen to be making progress.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 15, 2012, 2:09 am

        Yes, go the ICC but it’s only going around implementing some aspects of international law, not UNSC 242. There are also a host of international laws that are being openly violated and the ICC has no jurisdiction over that.

        No, but it has jurisdiction over “crime against humanity” including the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population:
        *murder
        * Deportation or forcible transfer of population
        *Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty
        *Torture
        * Persecution
        *Enforced disappearance of persons
        *The crime of apartheid

        It has jurisdiction over “war crimes” including “Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions”:
        *Wilful killing
        *Torture or inhuman treatment
        *Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health
        *Extensive destruction and appropriation of property,
        *Wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial
        * Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement
        *Taking of hostages
        Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict
        * Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population
        *Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects
        * Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance
        *Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects
        *The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory
        *Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected
        *Committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment

        And many more crimes that Israelis have routinely committed with impunity.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 15, 2012, 4:59 am

        But doesn’t thus take us back to the matter of the power dynamic? What’s preventing the GA from doing this or why hasn’t this already been done? Because the US had embarked on a “marathon” diplomatic effort to block it.

        They certainly have lobbied, but recognition by the General Assembly of state members of UN specialized agencies is automatic. It happens by operation of conventional law and customary protocol. A determination by the General Assembly that an entity is an observer state is irrelevant. For example, no objection has ever been raised over the Cook Islands membership in the ICC. It is neither a member of the UN nor an observer state.

        Palestine was seated among the States at the recent meeting of parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, despite the objections of Canada, the United States, and Israel. The stakes for officials in Israel and the US are high enough that they will fight ICC jurisdiction to the bitter end. http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=493504

      • Inanna
        Inanna
        June 14, 2012, 8:48 am

        Just to add:

        I’d like NF to take a look at the Palestine Papers and see just how much Palestinian negotiators were prepared to give up and how they got rejected by Israel. You call one-state “utopian” and it may well be. But what is far more utopian to me is the idea that public opinion among American Jews and liberals is somehow going to overturn domestic US political interests that support Israel’s regional role in the Middle East and therefore aren’t going to lift a finger to deny Israel’s occupation when so many people are busy making money out of it.

        I personally think that it’s going to take further regional change and further mobilization of Palestinian resistance at minimum and possibly the decline of American military reach before we get any shifts from the status quo in Israel/Palestine. Jewish Israelis and their leaders will not change the status quo unless far more unpleasant consequences will result from not changing. American Jewish/liberal opinion is not sufficient cause to force that change.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 14, 2012, 11:00 am

        I’d like NF to take a look at the Palestine Papers and see just how much Palestinian negotiators were prepared to give up and how they got rejected by Israel.

        You know, apartheid and persecution are serious crimes that fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC. I’m certain that NF is aware of the fact that the ICJ found the Israeli administrative regime and the Wall violate a number of rights listed in the apartheid convention.

        Why not just have the ICC Prosecutor look over the Palestine Papers for evidence of a policy of Bantustanization or an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one group over any other group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that illegal regime on the basis of non-Jewish descendancy? Judge Goldstone mentioned that in his fact finding report. The whole idea behind the statehood bid is to change the existing “power dynamics”. If you’re going to delegitimize Israeli officials, do it where it does the most good, in criminal court.

      • Inanna
        Inanna
        June 14, 2012, 8:22 pm

        I don’t disagree with anything in this comment but I think you missed my point – which is that NF’s analysis insults Palestinians by not recognising the huge concessions they have already made in terms of what they have given up and to be accused by NF of cult-like behavior and historical crimes, and be told they must settle for whatever the consensus views of American Jewish groups and liberals.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 15, 2012, 3:02 am

        I think you missed my point – which is that NF’s analysis insults Palestinians by not recognising the huge concessions they have already made in terms of what they have given up

        During the previous Palestinians elections, Hamas was ushered into office. I wasn’t aware that they have made any huge concessions regarding their long range goals.

        Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas officials have written Op-Eds that could be interpreted as acceptance of the jurisdiction of the ICC and of a State within the 1967 borders (which are the boundaries that have been recognized by the majority of other states):

        I would like to reiterate on behalf of my people our sincere desire to live in security and stability, without wars and bloodshed; we hope that the world will help us in this venture. We extend our hand to all those who seek a just peace to work seriously to end the occupation and help us establish our state, which the world has already recognised.

        *We Palestinians are reclaiming our destiny
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/08/palestinians-reclaiming-our-destiny
        *Haniyeh calls for prosecution of Israeli leaders for Mavi Marmara attack
        http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/news/middle-east/3879-haniyeh-calls-for-prosecution-of-israeli-leaders-for-mavi-marmara-attack
        *Report: Gaza complains to UN over Goldstone follow-up
        http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=357679

        But that’s just a subterfuge. He doesn’t really mean that he extends his hand in peace to Israelis; that he accepts the 1967 boundaries; or that Hamas wants its own people investigated for war crimes. Briefly he: 1) doesn’t agree that Acre, Eliat and Tiberias belong to Israel; 2) he claims that the Jewish Temple was an ancient polytheists’ brothel in Yemen; 3) that Palestinians are “as committed as ever to seeing historical justice done. What you call Israel is just a name, and we know that names can refer to real things such as the earth and the sky, or they can can refer to invented things such as the Holocaust. One hundred years ago, what was Israel? A Viennese journalist’s fantasy about moving to Madagascar. In a hundred years, it will return to being a fantasy and, inshallah, The Guardian will help us mark the occasion.” — http://hurryupharry.org/2012/06/08/a-guardian-qa-with-ismail-haniyeh/

        Frankly the leaders on both sides who talk like that, need to be held accountable for their actions. They are prolonging and fueling the conflict.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        June 14, 2012, 10:00 am

        I think Max’s point about the ambiguity of international law (remember the lack of “the” instead of “some” in the UN resolution placing responsibility on Israel re getting rid of the settlements?) should be well taken. History reveals way too many weasel words in well-intentioned international curbs on any given state’s sovereign actions. OTOH, Hostage’s ICC point should also be well-taken. Methinks, both realities display the adages, “If there’s a will, there’s a way,” and “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

        I cannot make myself deny the linkage between Israel’s Zionist agenda and those of Big Oil, military merchants (military-industrial-security complex) [AKA Smedley Butler’s War Is A Racket] and Big Finance, recycle of petrodollars, profiting off high oil prices–those who profit off instability, fear of chaos, etc– the history of the Rothschilds.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        June 14, 2012, 10:08 am

        When have the small elites of the world not literally got away with murder? At best only an armed revolution has ever temporarily stopped that. And those with lots of money and influence have usually slipped away to other places where they were protected for their host land’s own elite’s agenda. The masses just pay, and pay.

      • lysias
        lysias
        June 14, 2012, 11:02 am

        Where the English text is ambiguous and the French text is unambiguous, the French meaning — which is, after all, permitted by the English text — should be preferred.

        American law follows this rule all the time, when one authoritative text — in a contract, say — is ambiguous and another one is unambiguous.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 14, 2012, 11:40 am

        When have the small elites of the world not literally got away with murder?

        The effort to end impunity under the auspices of the ICC and other tribunal statutes have actually prolonged armed conflicts. There is no provision anymore for political settlements, e.g. a grant of amnesty, exile, or the use of “Truth and Reconciliation Commissions”. There is no statute of limitations going forward from July of 2002 either. Charles Taylor stepped-down and went into exile thinking that he had immunity from prosecution, but he was arrested and put on trial anyway. There was every incentive after that for others, like Gaddafi, to hang-on till the bitter end and turn down offers of amnesty and exile.

      • American
        American
        June 14, 2012, 1:17 pm

        “The utopian notion that a one state solution at some remote or uncertain date is preferable to judicial remedies and immediate recognition of Palestine within the 67 borders by the UN, ICC, and the national courts of 130 countries world-wide working in concert with each other does reflect an element of cult-like thinking”…Hostage

        The utopian notion is my problem with the One State solution also.
        There is no way that Israel once it has ALL of Palestine and it’s resources will be anything but a real apartheid state and then that will go on for more decades. That is handing the zionist ‘Greater Israel” on a silver platter.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    June 13, 2012, 9:59 pm

    RE: “Norman Finkelstein’s criticisms of those working on campaigns to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel continue.” ~ Max Ajl

    BUT SEE: “Ilan Pappé: the boycott will work, an Israeli perspective” ~ Ceasefire Magazine, 6/16/12

    (continued) . . . After almost thirty years of activism and historical research, I became convinced that the balance of power in Palestine and Israel pre-empted any possibility for a transformation within Jewish Israeli society in the foreseeable future. Though rather late in the game, I came to realize that the problem was not a particular policy or a specific government, but one more deeply rooted in the ideological infrastructure informing Israeli decisions on Palestine and the Palestinians ever since 1948. I have described this ideology elsewhere as a hybrid between colonialism and romantic nationalism.[1]
    Today, Israel is a formidable settler-colonialist state, unwilling to transform or compromise, and eager to crush by whatever means necessary any resistance to its control and rule in historical Palestine. . .
    . . . Even before one begins to define more specifically what such outside pressure entails, it is essential not to confuse the means (pressure) with the objective (finding a formula for joint living). In other words, it is important to emphasize that pressure is meant to trigger meaningful negotiations, not take their place. So while I still believe that change from within is key to bringing about a lasting solution to the question of the refugees, the predicament of the Palestinian minority in Israel, and the future of Jerusalem, other steps must first be taken for this to be achieved.
    What kind a pressure is necessary? South Africa has provided the most illuminating and inspiring historical example
    for those leading this debate, while, on the ground, activists and NGOs under occupation have sought nonviolent means both to resist the occupation and to expand the forms of resistance beyond suicide bombing and the firing of Qassam missiles from Gaza. These two impulses produced the BDS campaign against Israel. It is not a coordinated campaign operated by some secret cabal. [Nor is it a “cult”. – J.L.D.] It began as a call from within the civil society under occupation , endorsed by other Palestinian groups, and translated into individual and collective actions worldwide. . .
    . . . there is really no other alternative. Any other option—from indifference, through soft criticism, and up to full endorsement of Israeli policy—is a wilful decision to be an accomplice to crimes against humanity. The closing of the public mind in Israel, the persistent hold of the settlers over Israeli society, the inbuilt racism within the Jewish population, the dehumanization of the Palestinians, and the vested interests of the army and industry in keeping the occupied territories—all of these mean that we are in for a very long period of callous and oppressive occupation. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/ilan-pappe-boycott-work-israeli-perspective/

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      June 14, 2012, 10:13 am

      Where is the mother country of colonial Israel?

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        June 14, 2012, 2:31 pm

        Where is the mother country of colonial Israel?

        Unlike metropole colonialism, settler colonialism does not require a “mother country”. See e.g. Gabriel Piterberg’s response to Zeev Sternehell’s review of Returns of Zionism:

        http://settlercolonialstudies.org/2010/05/04/new-left-review-palestine-settler-coloniailsm-and-gabriel-piterbergs-returns-of-zionism/

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        June 14, 2012, 5:38 pm

        Thanks, Shmuel. A good read, yet I already essentially knew that when I asked the question, but I wanted to see what others think about the question. I would add that a significant part of the function of Judaism’s “Next year in Jerusalem” as interpreted by Zionists, is that biblical Israel/Zion is the mother of colonial Israel. Remember the interviews of the Jewish people on the street that was captured by a YouTube video called “Where Are You From?” After giving the literal response, the Jews interviewed invariably went back to biblical Israel as their “mother country.” I remember a man from NY and a woman from, I think, Iraq, particularly in this regard. Any other historical case where the mother of colonialist enterprise either has no “mother ship” or that ship is one which may have existed thousands of years ago? It’s like Nazi Germans harking back to the Aryan days sans any literal Germany. That the Zionists got away with it, and that it’s still heavily empowered can be attributed almost exclusively to Christian guilt and empathy for the Shoah, which is nowadays, combined with big Zionist dollars symbolized by the likes of Sheldon Adelson.
        This itself leads me to the Zionist, Bibi’s notion about eternal reoccurrence of hate-of-Jews-just-for-being-Jews, the justification he told all Americans for supporting Israel with a blank check. Now that’s some kind of fallacious and malicious Jewish Nietzsche, eh?

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        June 15, 2012, 1:34 am

        Citizen,

        Whatever the mytho-history, there is no “mother country” for Israeli Jews to go back to. They are more like Afrikaners than pieds noirs in that respect.

  7. Jim Holstun
    Jim Holstun
    June 13, 2012, 11:24 pm

    Dear American,

    You’re absolutely right. As someone recently said, “The question of the temporary or final resolution of the conflict is for Palestinians to decide” (Max Ajl, this column).

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      June 14, 2012, 3:16 am

      You’re absolutely right. As someone recently said, “The question of the temporary or final resolution of the conflict is for Palestinians to decide” (Max Ajl, this column).

      That’s platitudinous nonsense. The Palestinians and Israeli leadership have prolonged this conflict for decades by asserting belligerent claims in violation of international law and international consensus. Elements of both societies continue to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity on others. You may as well have said: “The question of the temporary or final resolution of the conflict is for the Rwandans, the Yugoslavians, or the people of Sierra Leone to decide. The international community and humanity in general have a vested interest in seeing to it that Israel and Palestine fulfill their erga omnes obligations to respect the prohibitions against the threat or use of force and one another’s rights, and duties under international law.

      • aiman
        aiman
        June 14, 2012, 6:44 am

        “Elements of both societies continue to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity on others. ”

        No power dynamic? It is important to emphasise that Israel bears the lion’s share of responsibility. Not because someone says it, but that’s how it likes it. From Miko Peled’s recent article:

        “Israelis, on average, get an estimated 300 cubic meters of water per year, while Palestinians, depending on where they reside in the West Bank, receive between 35-85 cubic meters of water per year. Israelis who agree to settle on stolen Palestinian land receive 1,500 cubic meters of water per year.”

        I think this water ratio can give you the ratio of power in general. And this without even bringing the Nakba or lived experience into the narrative.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 14, 2012, 9:46 am

        “Elements of both societies continue to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity on others. ” . . . No power dynamic? It is important to emphasise that Israel bears the lion’s share of responsibility.

        No it’s not. I’m discussing individual criminal responsibility for a specific number (separate counts) of war crimes or crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg Principles hold that certain acts always give rise to individual criminal responsibility:

        “The very idea that states commit crimes is a fiction. Crimes are always committed by persons. Men who exercised great power cannot be allowed to shift their responsibilities on the fictional state which cannot be produced for trial”

        The jurisdiction of the ICC is strictly limited to “natural persons”, not states. Tu quoque arguments are not a valid defense against prosecution or conviction for the crimes that are subject to ICC jurisdiction. Those arguments may be raised as possible mitigating factors during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial or in a civil lawsuit.

      • American
        American
        June 14, 2012, 1:33 pm

        Hostage says
        June 14, 2012 at 3:16 am

        “You’re absolutely right. As someone recently said, “The question of the temporary or final resolution of the conflict is for Palestinians to decide” (Max Ajl, this column).”

        That’s platitudinous nonsense. The Palestinians and Israeli leadership have prolonged this conflict for decades by asserting belligerent claims in violation of international law and international consensus.””

        You’re ‘over interpreting’ what I said…and what I have said numerous times about international law taking precedence in a solution.
        ‘What’ I am saying is that none of the ‘activist organizations’, particularly those not strictly Palestine have a right to say or speak for what Palestine want. BDS and all of them should concentrate on ending the occupation and not jump the gun and pontificate on what “they’ see as the best solution for the Palestines.
        The Palestine leadeship not withstanding I have never seen a ‘poll’ of Palestines on the one or two state solution.
        I dont’ pretend to know what the average Palestine ‘wants’ but if I had to guess I would say most of them want their own independent state and not to be made to have to live as semi citizens of their *6 decades long oppressors.* I don’t think most people in their position would call that freedom or justice.

      • American
        American
        June 14, 2012, 1:43 pm

        I also think it is likely there are some rats in the woodpile in the activist One State promotion. In that solution ALL the benefits fall to Israel. Any REQUIREMENTS imposed on Israel in that agreement will be ignored just as Israel has ignored and failed to fulfill the original agreements regarding Palestines in UN 181.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        June 15, 2012, 2:51 am

        The Palestinians and Israeli leadership have prolonged this conflict for decades by asserting belligerent claims in violation of international law and international consensus.

        How could this have prolonged it if the ICC only got it’s act together in 2005?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 15, 2012, 5:10 am

        How could this have prolonged it if the ICC only got it’s act together in 2005?

        The good faith requirement to drop all belligerent states and claims was contained in Security Council resolution 242 from the outset. It was given immediate force and effect under the terms of Chapter VII of the Charter by resolution 338 in 1973. A lot of people have died needlessly since then, simply because the parties to the conflict continue to commit crimes against peace and humanity.

        P.S. Most experts agree that the Secretary General would have to accept Palestine’s signature already and that the ICC Assembly of State parties can overrule the UN and admit whoever they want. Palestine is recognized by the majority of ICC member states.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 15, 2012, 5:35 am

        P.P.S. Palestine does not have to become a member and pay dues in order to accept the jurisdiction of the Court as a non-member state in accordance with Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute. It is already a member of a category of states that are legally recognized by the UN under the governing treaty law contained in the Vienna Convention.

        Experts, like Bill Schabas, Dapo Akande, and Kevin Jon Heller are wondering out loud why the Prosecutor is not moving forward and commencing investigations. They have noted that under the Vienna formula, the Palestinians already have “crossed the line” as far as recognition is concerned and that Palestine does not have to become a party to the Rome Statute. A little grass roots hell raising is in order. That’s why I keep raising the subject.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        June 15, 2012, 5:42 am

        The good faith requirement to drop all belligerent states and claims was contained in Security Council resolution 242 from the outset.

        I appreciate that though I seem to recall you making the argument that the Mirchell Report concluded Israel had to withdraw from the OT before fulfilling the requirement to drop all belligerent states and claims.

        While I agree that the violence has not helped the cause of the Palestinians, it clearly isn’t the case that a non violent response would have motivated the ICC into action.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 15, 2012, 10:25 am

        I appreciate that though I seem to recall you making the argument that the Mirchell Report concluded Israel had to withdraw from the OT before fulfilling the requirement to drop all belligerent states and claims.

        That statement applied to claims arising from the continued occupation. Ismail Haniyeh is asserting unrelated belligerent claims to cities in Israel located beyond the armistice lines in violation of resolutions 62, 73, 242, 338, 1515, and 1860. That also violates resolutions of the General Assembly adopted during the 10th Emergency Special Session, ES-10/15. “http://hurryupharry.org/2012/06/08/a-guardian-qa-with-ismail-haniyeh/

        While I agree that the violence has not helped the cause of the Palestinians, it clearly isn’t the case that a non violent response would have motivated the ICC into action.

        Providing a motivation for the Court to act is not relevant to the problem that I was discussing. I noted that elements of both societies have continued to commit acts against others that were known to be crimes of the most serious nature, long before the ICC ever came into existence. The Court was established for the sole purpose of putting “an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole” and “thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes” in the future.

  8. Shmuel
    Shmuel
    June 14, 2012, 2:03 am

    As someone recently said, “The question of the temporary or final resolution of the conflict is for Palestinians to decide” (Max Ajl, this column).

    I like the way Michael Warschawski put it:

    “As a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I prefer one state over two states!” How many times do I hear such a statement in my public meetings abroad?! And the more I hear it, the more upset I get: who cares what you prefer, and it also does not matter what I prefer. Did you ask the Palestinians what THEY want, what are THEY fighting for?

    No doubt, the Palestinian people have the legitimate right to demand and to fight for national sovereignty on their historical homeland, i.e. the land of Palestine, from the sea to the river, a homeland from which they have been dispossessed by the Zionist colonial enterprise. And the role of progressive forces throughout the world is, indeed, to support them in this legitimate and extremely difficult struggle.

    http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/component/content/article/8-michael-warschawski/1142-the-one-state-solution-and-irreversibility.html

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      June 14, 2012, 10:37 am

      What are THEY fighting for? I think that’s obvious to everyone with the slightest knowledge of Palestinian history since the early 20th Century. What land configuration and power would meet their minimum needs? I don’t know, but I will guess:

      1 Would they take a fully sovereign state at original partition lines? Yes
      2 Would they take a fully sovereign state at the green line? Very Likely
      3 Would they take a fully sovereign state minus the settlements Israel tells itself will never be given up? Maybe.
      4 Would they take a rump state devoid of military power over air, land and sea, left after Israel has the settlements it tells itself it would never give up? And with ROR limited to token compensation & transfer to such a rump state? No

      5 Would they take a single state devoid of all discriminatory law, with full equal rights, and with ROR?
      Yes

      Would Israel accept any of these options? Yes, #4

      • American
        American
        June 14, 2012, 1:50 pm

        Israel won’t even take #4.
        Why should they when they are so close to the final ‘Greater Israel” and no one has stopped them yet. Only 20% more to go and it’s all theirs. Once it’s totally controlled by Israel the ‘transfer’ becomes so easy…once a Palestine steps beyond the Israeli encirclement they will never be admitted back in.
        So it’s either prisoner or refugee for Palestines.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        June 14, 2012, 2:53 pm

        Israel wouldn’t accept any of those options, Citizen. Israel is autistic about land .

        The Gaza settler Jews of Gush Katif (RIP) have opened a museum in Israel

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/double-take-the-gush-katif-museum-a-paradise-lost-and-a-warning.premium-1.436152

        The height of the museum experience is a room painted black, featuring stark video scenes of the forcible removal of settlers from synagogues and homes, as a mournful song plays in the background. Many images are from the main synagogue at Neve Dekalim, where soldiers struggled with yeshiva students who had locked arms on the floor, tearfully resisting eviction. The film shows soldiers weeping as they carried out their mission, embracing settlers, sobbing at the synagogue ark. The clip ends with a man crying as he is carried off: “You will not be forgiven!”

        Shlomo Wasserteil, a Gush Katif evacuee who runs the museum, says its message is relevant more than ever today. “One of the aims of the museum is that this won’t happen again,” he says. “Anyone who goes through the museum and sees what took place can understand that this cannot be repeated.”

        Wasserteil says he is concerned that a new generation of alienated settler youth, disillusioned by the Gaza evacuation, would put up a tougher fight against similar moves in the West Bank.

        The youngsters have concluded that no good deed goes unpunished – they view us as having left like sheep,” he says. “They’ll want to prove that this time it will be a different story.”

  9. pipistro
    pipistro
    June 14, 2012, 4:27 pm

    Isn’t that it’s not important what the Palestinians or the Israeli want? Nor what the mainstream is willing to accept, if it’s not even thinkable.
    I mean, by thinking in terms of probability, it’s at least arguable that the alternative “one-state” solution would be a walk in the park, but, just agreeing with Tony Judt (that wrote about that in 2003) and J. Mearsheimer (2010) it is supposed it will be a hard, one-way path toward the solution that somehow, de facto, has been left alive. Based somewhat on demography and mainly on the pattern the entire world is following (more or less). In the sense that it wouldn’t be viable, in the long run, an apartheid state.
    Reciprocal willingness, in a shorter period, could change the facts, but there ain’t.

  10. American
    American
    June 14, 2012, 6:33 pm

    I can’t leave this alone.

    “I think the bourgeois nationalist struggle has reached a dead end and that the only hope for Palestinian freedom is a regional revolution. For it to occur with a minimum of bloodshed and a maximum of transformation, it should eventually draw on the Israeli Jewish lower class.”

    Dont’ want to be sarcastic again but please read my lips….You Will Not Free Palestines or free Palestine to be a state with a ”Socialist Revolution.”

    Particularly one that tries to join Palestines to lower class Israelis in a Socialist movement. What possible incentive do you think lower class Israelis have to include Palestines in a struggle over their economic woes and discontent?

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      June 14, 2012, 7:48 pm

      I think the bourgeois nationalist struggle has reached a dead end

      So according to this line of thought, the people in SWAPO and the ANC should have held out for equal rights in a single state named Utopia Dystopia?

    • Inanna
      Inanna
      June 14, 2012, 8:36 pm

      I don’t think you quite understood the point. What regional changes in leadership could possibly do is bring in leadership that is not as US-compliant as it currently is. You can see for example how hard the US fought to keep Mubarak in or Egyptians similar to Mubarak in power to keep the peace treaty with Israel. In a world where the Egyptian and Saudi regimes express the will of the people rather than the will of US-compliant elites, Israel would be in a far more uncertain strategic position and would have to adjust its behavior accordingly.

      Where I don’t agree with Max is that working class Jews will find common ground with Palestinians to overthrow the apartheid regime. The system in place is designed to prevent that since even working-class Jews are more privileged than Palestinians. I’m not creative enough to think of a force that would change that. I can only see a shifting balance of power that would constrain Israeli military adventures in the region and possibly induce emigration by some Israelis who see the neighbourhood becoming very unfriendly.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        June 15, 2012, 1:49 am

        Where I don’t agree with Max is that working class Jews will find common ground with Palestinians to overthrow the apartheid regime. The system in place is designed to prevent that since even working-class Jews are more privileged than Palestinians.

        I agree, Inanna, but it’s not only actual privilege. The way things are set up, the very fact of membership in the ruling group (even when denied all access to power and resources), precludes making common cause with non-members. How does one raise (create?) class consciousness in a context of all-pervasive ethno-religious nationalism? Chip away at the edges I guess, but I don’t see it happening either.

  11. American
    American
    June 14, 2012, 6:50 pm

    Can’t leave the claim that Israel first lobbying doesn’t hold sway over other US interest alone either.
    Pay attention Chomsky followers.
    I’ll be waiting for your explaination as to why we just gave Israel another US BILLION dollars for ‘their’ missile defense while ending our contribution to NATO missile defense in Europe…where …unlike Israel our MAJOR allies also contribute funding to this and now are at risk of seeing what they contributed go down the drain without the US kicking in it’s share for it’s continuation.

    http://news.yahoo.com/germany-italy-urge-funding-missile-program-020252558–finance.html

    Germany, Italy urge funding for missile program
    By Andrea Shalal-Esa | Reuters – 20 hrs ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – German and Italian officials warned U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday that their plans to cut off funding for a ground-based NATO missile defense program built by Lockheed Martin Corp would endanger U.S. ties with their countries.

    Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola urged U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to ensure continued funding for the Medium Extended Air and Missile Defense System (MEADS)program given its importance to NATO’s future plans and transatlantic cooperation and collaboration.

    German legislator Ernst Reinhard Beck said in a series of e letters to U.S. lawmakers that withholding funding for the program “undermines the longstanding and trustful MEADS partnership” and would risk wasting hundreds of millions of euros already invested in the air missile system.

    Three congressional committees have scrapped the Obama administration’s request for $400 million to complete funding for testing of the new missile defense program, which is jointly financed by the United States, Italy and Germany.

    Di Paola urged Panetta to intervene with the fourth committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, that must still vote on the measure. “We hope and expect that the United States would live up to its (Memorandum of Understanding) commitment,” he said in a copy of the letter obtained by Reuters.

    Beck said failure by the U.S. Congress to fund the final phase of work on the program would be “perceived by Germany as breaking our transatlantic agreement and memorandum of understanding.” It would mark the first time that one of the three partners had terminated a contract and endangered their special relationship, he said.

    “The U.S. Congress must be very aware that a pull-out on its final MEADS commitment has broad implications and it will have long-term impacts to other multinational cooperative projects,” Beck said in the letters.

    The unilateral withdrawal from the joint project would “probably cause significant financial and national security relationship challenge,” he wrote”

    I’ll be particulary interested to see how ‘the elites make money off defense dollars to Israel and that’s where the Israel support comes from” is spun into how the same elites wouldn’t make money off dollars poured into US-Lockheed’s European missile program.

    • Inanna
      Inanna
      June 14, 2012, 8:39 pm

      You make the mistake of thinking that elites are monolithic. They compete among themselves too. It would be interesting to see the background behind the cancellation, whether anything else was offered in return etc.

      • American
        American
        June 15, 2012, 2:57 am

        Inanna says:
        June 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm

        You make the mistake of thinking that elites are monolithic.”

        No……quite the opposite. Evidently you haven’t followed what I said.
        I am not the one that thinks Elites are monolithic and that all the policies/actions of the US are based on some imperialistic monolithic elite entity or entities interest.

        But go ahead explain the decision to fund Israel missile defense with a Billion Extrax over and above the 3 billion in aid and not to fund our obligation to NATO missile defense. And don’t gloss over it as Hostage did with no missile threat to Europeans–address the fact that our allies are telling us this will affect their cooperation with and attitude toward the US on OTHER US INTEREST.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      June 14, 2012, 9:40 pm

      Can’t leave the claim that Israel first lobbying doesn’t hold sway over other US interest alone either. . . . Pay attention Chomsky followers.

      What Chomsky actually had to say about the subject of the Lobby was so subtle that many people fail to grasp it. Like everyone else, he actually agrees that the Lobby shapes our State policy. For example, after heaping praise on John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt for rattling the cages of the supporters of state violence, from the Wall St Journal to Alan Dershowitz, he said:

      M-W make as good a case as one can, I suppose, for the power of the Lobby, but I don’t think it provides any reason to modify what has always seemed to me a more plausible interpretation. Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.

      http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20060328.htm

      Chomsky has never claimed that the Lobby has no influence or that it is only a part of the greater Military-Industrial special interest groups, although at times it certainly can be considered part of the M-I Lobby. He and Finkelstein have both said that US policy on the settlements and other Israeli issues is attributable to the influence of the Israel Lobby, but that policy in the greater Middle East can be interpreted as a combination of the influence of US government, corporate, and Israel Lobby opposition to Arab or other radical nationalism that threatens the stability of the Saudi’s and the Gulf State Sheikdoms. Our policies in other parts of the World also oppose independence and nationalism in exactly the same fashion. The US government has made record-breaking arms deals with the Saudis in the wake of the Iranian election protests and Arab Spring, e.g.
      2010 – $60B U.S.-Saudi Arms Deal Sealed
      *http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/11/19/b-saudi-arms-deal-sealed/
      2011 – With $30 Billion Arms Deal, U.S. Bolsters Saudi Ties
      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/middleeast/with-30-billion-arms-deal-united-states-bolsters-ties-to-saudi-arabia.html
      2 hours ago – Saudi, Japan deals drive record US arms sales
      http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hskfeftSfgy8fz3k-0aBhFZMTzWA?docId=CNG.88decb51918610759164bc6e0c1d5738.1d1
      The Europeans are not under a credible threat from Russian or Iranian missiles that can’t be countered by weapons that are already gathering dust in NATO arsenals.

      Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Sheikdoms are confronted by missile threats and an increase in radical nationalism that promises to shift the balance of power in the region. The US and the EU are up their eyeballs in efforts to bring about regime change in Iran and Syria that will inevitably result in calls for change in Saudi Arabia and the Sheikdoms. Those Saudi arms have already been used against Shias in Bahrain and have been funneled to the Syrian opposition.

      • American
        American
        June 15, 2012, 3:15 am

        I’ll stick with W&M Hostage….if you want to take their documented evidence beginning in 1948 with Truman and all the US Israel policy since and the results of that policy on US interest and how US policy has had to change to accomodate our support of Israel because it was and is unpopular, to put it midly, with the oil states …..try it. I’d be interested to see if you can disprove their conclusions.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 15, 2012, 12:44 pm

        I’ll stick with W&M Hostage….if you want to take their documented evidence

        A lot of people are sticking with the evidence Michael Moore provided of the decades long relationships between the US Government, the Saudi Government, the Bush family, the bin Laden family, & etc.

        Nobody disagrees with M&W’s documentary evidence, as far as it goes. But their documents don’t automatically support all of their assertions, e.g.:

        Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.

        –http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/john-mearsheimer/the-israel-lobby

        In fact M&W can’t possibly have access to the necessary classified materials to make assertions about Middle East policy, thanks to the 30-year declassification schedule and various exceptions permitted by Executive Orders. What governments do is patently obvious. But their motives usually remain classified for decades.

        For example M&W can’t explain the motives behind US ME policy on Saudi Arabia during the 8 year-long Operation Elf One. Do they suggest that Americans had the same vested interest as the Saudis in destabilizing the Marxist regime in South Yemen? The US loaned the Saudis a billion dollars worth of our AWACS systems and trained aircrews year-after-year during the wars in North and South Yemen and the Iran-Iraq war. In the end the US agreed to sell AWACS systems and associated technology to the Saudis over the objections of Israel and AIPAC. If that’s not a graphic example of a powerful Lobby skewing foreign policy, and diverting far from what the national interest would suggest, while making it appear like US and Saudi interests were essentially the same, I don’t know what could be a valid example. Most Americans couldn’t have found North or South Yemen on a map if their lives had depended upon it or named an important export the US purchased from either country. The US really doesn’t have the same strategic interest in suppressing calls for political reform in Saudi Arabia or safeguarding the interests of the Royal family.

        Despite the fact that the Saudis used US weapons to assist the government of Bahrain in murdering civilians on live cable news last year, we’ve ignored the statutory human rights criteria that apply to most other arms sales and have made record setting 60 billion dollar deals with the Saudi regime. Believe me, if they want the regimes in Yemen of Syria destabilized, or the neighboring regime in Bahrain safeguarded, the US government will probably make that happen.

      • American
        American
        June 16, 2012, 2:57 pm

        Hostage,

        If this…..
        “Nobody disagrees with M&W’s documentary evidence, as far as it goes. But their documents don’t automatically support all of their assertions, e.g.:
        Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.”

        I think if you are using the Saudi example…
        “If that’s not a graphic example of a powerful Lobby skewing foreign policy, and diverting far from what the national interest would suggest, while making it appear like US and Saudi interests were essentially the same, I don’t know what could be a valid example. ”

        The obvious realist argument to that would be that ‘oil country Saudi’ is a hell of alot more “mutual” to actual US interest than Israel so going along with Saudi has some quid pro quo, there is no quid pro quo with Israel. It has nothing we need. Israel helps prevent that Arab nationalism the US doesn’t want so it is claimed by some? Where? How? And let’s even be generous and say Mossad and etc are ‘helpful’ to the US regime changing goals and destabalizing of Arab countries….6 billion a year worth of helpful?…actually can do anything the US can’t do with it’s own meddling on their own. Helpful enough to be worth the anti Americaism among the Arab countries? I don’t think so.

        If I were pursuing my own interest and my only interest was oil avability, and that is the US’s only vital interest in the ME, who would I make friends with? Iran or Israel? Which one has the most regional influence with the actors in the ME that I would need to contain or come to some MUTUAL arrangement with to guarentee regional stability and oil needs and flows?
        It sure as hell isn’t Israel who has absolutely nothing to offer the US in quid pro quos.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 16, 2012, 10:51 pm

        The obvious realist argument to that would be that ‘oil country Saudi’ is a hell of alot more “mutual” to actual US interest than Israel so going along with Saudi has some quid pro quo, there is no quid pro quo with Israel.

        Except Saudi Arabia had sponsored several efforts to overthrow the government of South Yemen and intervened in the civil war in North Yemen to supply arms to the royalists. During the Iran-Iraq War Saudi Arabia was Sadaam’s largest financial backer with grants of $30 billion. In addition the Saudis provided low interest loans and entered into joint pipeline deals with the Iraqi regime – and the US was simply backing their efforts to destabilize the region. All of that threatened continued access to the region’s oil.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        June 17, 2012, 3:17 am

        American, don’t you mean “It sure as hell isn’t Israel, who has absolutely nothing to offer the US in quid pro quos.”

  12. American
    American
    June 14, 2012, 7:28 pm

    By 2016 how much more tired of US policy will the nations of the world be?
    Isn’t it unf*believable that the US zio Israel-first- Iran con game is imposing on and demanding other nations damage their OWN ECONOMIES?

    Well, other nations are going to keep finding ways around the US..and eventually when we go too far under our Israel first masters other countries will dump any cooperaiton with us…and being dumped is probably the best we can expect since under our zionist influence we too do not know when to quit and back off.

    UPDATE 1-Japan to pass bill to insure Iran oil imports -report
    Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:44pm EDT

    * Lower house to pass bill on Friday -Yomiuri

    * To allow sovereign guarantee to continue Iran imports

    * Can continue Iran imports after EU insurance ban (Adds details on bill and oil imports from Iran)

    TOKYO, June 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s lower house is set to pass a special bill on Friday to allow it to provide insurance for continuing Iranian crude imports, making it the first country to attempt to initiate sovereign cover once EU sanctions on Iran are expected to start in July, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Thursday.

    The bill is expected to be passed during the current session of the parliament that ends on June 21, as the secretary generals of the biggest opposition Liberal Democratic Party and its former partner, the New Komeito, have backed the bill, the report said.

    The backing of the main opposition parties would clear a hurdle for the bill’s smooth passing. Although the lower house is controlled by the ruling Democratic Party, the opposition has the majority of the upper house.

    The government wants to enact the bill into law this month so that it can provide protection coverage of up to $7.6 billion per tanker carrying Iranian crude bound for Japan in time when the European Union’s ban on reinsurance takes effect as early as July 1.

    The EU ban is part of a raft of Western sanctions aimed at shrinking Tehran’s oil revenues to force it to halt its controversial nuclear programme.

    Iranian oil accounted for nearly 9 percent of Japan’s crude imports last year and the government has come up with the bill to minimize the impact on the world’s third-largest economy.

    Japan’s crude purchases from OPEC’s second-largest producer have fallen sharply, to comply with U.S. sanctions on Iran, despite an increase in overall oil demand after last year’s Fukushima disaster shut down the country’s nuclear power stations. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Gary Hill and Bob Burgdorfer)

    UPDATE 1-Japan to pass bill to insure Iran oil imports -report
    Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:44pm EDT

    * Lower house to pass bill on Friday -Yomiuri

    * To allow sovereign guarantee to continue Iran imports

    * Can continue Iran imports after EU insurance ban (Adds details on bill and oil imports from Iran)

    TOKYO, June 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s lower house is set to pass a special bill on Friday to allow it to provide insurance for continuing Iranian crude imports, making it the first country to attempt to initiate sovereign cover once EU sanctions on Iran are expected to start in July, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Thursday.

    The bill is expected to be passed during the current session of the parliament that ends on June 21, as the secretary generals of the biggest opposition Liberal Democratic Party and its former partner, the New Komeito, have backed the bill, the report said.

    The backing of the main opposition parties would clear a hurdle for the bill’s smooth passing. Although the lower house is controlled by the ruling Democratic Party, the opposition has the majority of the upper house.

    The government wants to enact the bill into law this month so that it can provide protection coverage of up to $7.6 billion per tanker carrying Iranian crude bound for Japan in time when the European Union’s ban on reinsurance takes effect as early as July 1.

    The EU ban is part of a raft of Western sanctions aimed at shrinking Tehran’s oil revenues to force it to halt its controversial nuclear programme.

    Iranian oil accounted for nearly 9 percent of Japan’s crude imports last year and the government has come up with the bill to minimize the impact on the world’s third-largest economy.

    Japan’s crude purchases from OPEC’s second-largest producer have fallen sharply, to comply with U.S. sanctions on Iran, despite an increase in overall oil demand after last year’s Fukushima disaster shut down the country’s nuclear power stations. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Gary Hill and Bob Burgdorfer)

  13. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    June 14, 2012, 8:10 pm

    get’em where they’re most vulnerable

    whether it’s to be one state or two states
    how many americans care?
    but when the matter is israel firster treachery
    who wouldn’t care?

  14. Hostage
    Hostage
    June 14, 2012, 10:08 pm

    Of course. People have made a very comfortable living off circumventing US oil sanctions against Middle East suppliers. Pardoned fugitive oil trader Mark Rich should have been a wake-up call on that score. Here are a few more:

    *Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, was involved in the United Nations oil-for-food scandal in Iraq. Bhutto gave a $2 million commission to the defunct regime of Saddam Hussein to win contracts worth $115 million through two Sharjah-based companies she registered in 2000 and 2001, Hassan Waseem Afzal, NAB deputy chairman, told reporters here. He also released documents suggesting Bhutto’s connections with international companies involved in the scam and facing prosecution in their countries. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=200647\story_7-4-2006_pg1_6

    *A U.N.-appointed panel investigating corruption in prewar Iraq’s oil-for-food program delivered a scathing rebuke of Secretary General Kofi Annan’s management of the largest U.N. humanitarian aid operation and concluded that Kojo Annan took advantage of his father’s position to profit from the system. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/07/AR2005090701646.html

  15. American
    American
    June 15, 2012, 3:50 am

    Well well….appears that Saudi no longer has the largest oil reserves. Chavez does…lol.

    Largest Oil Reserves in the World
    By Charles Kennedy | Thu, 14 June 2012 22:31 | 0
    Tweet

    BP has just released its annual Statistical Review of World Energy in which it claims that Venezuela now holds the largest proven oil reserves in the world, overtaking the original leader Saudi Arabia.

    The South American nation’s oil deposits were increased from last year’s figure to an estimated at 296.5 billion barrels, more than Saudi Arabia’s 265.4 billion barrels.

    Global reserves have been increased by 1.9 percent from last year’s 1.62 trillion barrels to 1.65 trillion. Robert Wine, a spokesman from BP, explained that the reason for the revisions is that BP’s review is published in June, before most countries issue their annual reserve figures.

    Last year’s average oil price was also at record levels which meant that lots of hard-to-reach oil deposits became commercially viable. North Sea Brent crude oil, a general benchmark for most of the world’s oil, averaged $107.38 a barrel in 2011.

    Oil reserves in Venezuela now account for about 17.9 precent of the world’s oil; Saudi Arabia hold 16.1 percent; whilst Canada are third with 10.6 percent.

    The Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez yesterday released plans that promise he will more than double the countries oil production capacity by 2019, if re-elected in October.

    All of BP’s estimates were calculated from a combination of official sources, OPEC data, and other third party estimates.

    By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

  16. FreddyV
    FreddyV
    June 15, 2012, 4:46 am

    Seems to me the most simple answer would be to hold a referendum amongst the Palestinian people on which course to take.

    This would achieve three things:

    1: It would enable activists to get behind a common consensus.
    2: It would demonstrate unity, organisation and a common aim to the world, which would receive fantastic positive P.R.
    3: It would force Israel to respond.

  17. NickJOCW
    NickJOCW
    June 15, 2012, 11:53 am

    Just a thought. The greatest importance of BDS may be in awakening US citizens to what is going on over there, not so much to stir them to humanitarian action but rather to prepare the ground for a change of US policy. Palestine has ever been a rich agricultural area and for that reason, and its geographical location, has arguably been the most fought over piece of land on the globe. The social organization of the people who live there and work the land has always been in flux while kingdoms and tribes have risen and fallen, but what has not changed is that the area has for millennia been successively under the thumb of this or that greater power; overrun and abandoned cyclically within the fluctuating vicissitudes of larger conflicts. The same is true today. Israel is simply the latest local entity dominating the area which is currently under US authority. Any stress lines in this arrangement have less to do with the conflict between Israelis and the Arab population than between the US and Russia. The US involvement in Syria, I mean its fostering of malcontents and its encouragement of conflict in the present disturbances have put the US in direct potential conflict with Russia whose only foothold in the area is Syria. Putin has been dusting his saber since he was confirmed in power, and he sits firmly on his throne while Obama balances on a tightrope.

    Two small things have caught my attention, first Clinton has retreated publicly from the prior claim that Russia was supplying Assad with armed helicopters http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10289589 and then we have a snippet from Press TV claiming Hague asked Iran to help Russia forward the Annan peace plan http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/06/15/246278/hague/. However tenuous this claim may be it does make sense. It is scarcely conceivable that any such approach would have been made by the UK Foreign Secretary without a nudge from Washington.

  18. Citizen
    Citizen
    June 17, 2012, 10:27 am

    The self-described as confused little guy, Truman is responsible for the Golem that is the state of Israel, along with Niles & Clifford & Truman’s ignorant former jewish business partner, Eddie. Anybody have info on why Niles & Clifford were so fanatical in pushing Truman to recognize Israel in the face of all the experts at State & in Diplomatic Corps? Clifford even admitted later that he sometimes only pretended to convey top State Dept officials’ reasoned objections to Truman, e.g., by telling them by phone he’d convey their objections to Truman, then sitting on the information so that Truman never got that input:https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:MGCgk5IJGAYJ:coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue51/articles/51_10-11.pdf+us+oil+companies+and+truman+on+israel+in+1948&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiADlKJwXL58aVDnZt96by5ZahDZCevASH11qTDJyMBbEksrjsgWGvTks8SgCHlelgGRmF9-Y2gv4aiU5sOFHqMRh9yS-6OtvpUmqju7aH7gIdKtx_1b1VPnG_gVfwSKNLIga9m&sig=AHIEtbT73ilub2BbY9hgB4GZtNqVUqbH-g

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      June 17, 2012, 11:24 am

      Here’s Clifford’s reasoning (specially authorized by Truman) making the case for Truman to recognize Israel: http://www.shapell.org/btl.aspx?2929174

      It’s the Holocaust and the Bible, and the State Department was full off anti-Semites.

      The State of Israel has been a domestic matter for the USA since during and since its creation in 1948. The State Department and Diplomatic Corps oddly thought it was an international issue. Truman famously responded he had thousands of Jewish constituents but no Arab constituents.

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