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Another AIPAC man joins State Dep’t negotiating team

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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David Makovsky discussing Iran at a 2012 talk in St. Louis sponsored by the Jewish Light newspaper, Jewish Community Center and Jewish Community Relations Council. (Photo: Mike Sherwin)

David Makovsky discussing Iran at a 2012 talk in St. Louis sponsored by the Jewish Light newspaper, Jewish Community Center and Jewish Community Relations Council. (Photo: Mike Sherwin)

Well I’m shocked.

Laura Rozen broke the story.

Veteran Middle East scholar David Makovsky has joined the team of US Middle East peace envoy Martin Indyk as a strategist and senior advisor.

Makovsky is a keynoter at AIPAC and a senior fellow at the Washington Institute, AIPAC’s thinktank spawn in the 80s. A “central player” in the lobby, according to Walt and Mearsheimer’s book, Makovsky is Dennis Ross’s co-author on several occasions. He has proposed landswaps that allow Israel to keep almost all settlements in the West Bank, and encircle Jerusalem– and in exchange Palestinians get land at the margins. A Palestinian mayor stated on our site that Makovsky had misrepresented him to Congress, saying that he would accept the presence of the wall running through his community in exchange for compensation. Makovsky also told Congress that Israel should ease checkpoints through the use of “appropriate biometrics” — for Palestinians, of course:

“Another idea would be to upgrade Israeli crossing points with appropriate biometrics, in order to shorten the line for visitors.”

This is mind boggling. I have to believe that the Israelis are being intransigent and that Makovsky is the Obama team’s way of saying, We’re on your side, we love you, our team is just about all Jewish and Israel lobbyists, now please give a little, in order to save Israel (Dennis Ross and Makovsky understood that the Jewish state was at risk years ago, in calling for the two-state solution to preserve Israel’s “Jewish character”).


Makovsky’s hire also suggests to me that the Israel lobby is reconstituted, and there is no such thing as a liberal Zionist anymore. You are either a mainstream member of the Israel lobby or a rightwinger. J Street has effected that shift. Dennis Ross and Makovsky and Indyk and J Street are on one side, and the people who support the settlers no matter what are on the right, and the outside of this administration. But both “sides” are variations of the lobby, and the liberal side is incapable of applying real pressure on Israel, and Indyk and Makovsky will accept what Ari Shavit told Terry Gross today: we can’t just end the occupation because that won’t end the conflict, because the Palestinians are stuck on that right of return. But we must manage the conflict indefinitely by making Palestinians’ lives better bit by bit. Economic peace. Appropriate biometrics to make checkpoints run smoothly. Taxation without representation. A deeply cynical idea of freedom for another people.

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30 Responses

  1. annie
    annie
    November 18, 2013, 6:43 pm

    Appropriate biometrics to make checkpoints run smoothly.

    they’ve had this plan in the works for awhile:

    The Biometric Database Law[1] is an Israeli law which the Knesset passed in December 2009, determining that fingerprints and facial contours would be collected from all Israeli residents, that the collected data would be integrated onto the Israeli digital identity cards and digital passports, and that a biometric government database of all Israeli citizens and residents would be created which would be used for biometric identification that would allow the management of access control, identification of individuals and assist in locating individuals suspected of criminal activity by the law enforcement officials. When the law passed in December 2009 it was determined that the law be gradually applied and that at the first phase, the inclusion of one’s biometric data in the central database would be voluntary.

    Opponents of the highly controversial law, including prominent Israeli scientists and security experts, warned that the existence of such a database could damage both civil liberties and state security, because any leaks could be used by criminals or hostile individuals against Israeli residents.[2][3]

    and check this out, the alleged need:

    the facts which led to the passing of the law are also explained:

    The law is aimed for the dealing with the serious issues which the State of Israel is facing in the recent years in identifying documents which are produced by the Interior Ministry, including: Fake ID cards and passports, producing double records for the same person, and identity theft which are caused when using the documentation of a person from whom the identity was stolen. These examples, allow the misuse of identification documents for illegal immigration, criminal and economic offenses, and activities which harm Israel’s national security.

    so you see, it has nothing to do with creating a profile database of every single person for the purpose of controlling the apatheid state/occupation, the “facts” which led to the passing of the law were merely to stop identity theft and such. riiiight.

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 18, 2013, 6:44 pm

    J-Street is calling folks asking them to call their Congressperson asking said CP to vote for HR 365 (apparently recommending 2SS)..

    WELL! If Indyk and Makovsky are likely to push things the way bad-baby Bibi wants them, then what’s the point **AND** is it good or bad (for I/P peace with justice etc.) to call your CP to vote for HR 365, or **NOT**.

    Any chance that (say in the next 50 years, or before climate change is believed in even by the whoever inherits the mantel from the Koch Bros.) a US CP will float a proposal (or merely say out loud) that USA should require Israel to roll-back the settlements, etc.?

  3. Bandolero
    Bandolero
    November 18, 2013, 7:05 pm

    To get such an influential person like David Makovsky on it’s side will probably give “team Bibi” a big boost in negotiations with Palestine.

    In contrast to that “team Palestine” is doing far worse. Except some promising efforts by Metropolitan Hilarion and Mr Putin to get Pope Francis on board for team Palestine, and some efforts by Mr Lavrov and Mr Shoigu to curb team Bibi’s QME a bit with some hi-tec weapon deals to Egypt and possibly also to Jordan, team Palestine has hardly achieved anything to change the equations of the region for getting into a better negotiation position against team Bibi.

  4. American
    American
    November 18, 2013, 8:55 pm

    ”Makovsky is the Obama team’s way of saying, We’re on your side, we love you, our team is just about all Jewish and Israel lobbyists, now please give a little, in order to save Israel ”

    65 years of proving that old definition of stupid was right……sucking up over and over and expecting a different result.
    I would suggest what the Zios & Isr should be told to get the right results but it would never get pass moderation.

  5. just
    just
    November 18, 2013, 9:14 pm

    What a completely misbegotten and provocative and dismal move. Are we really this stupid???

    Maybe the US does not want peace or justice, either.

  6. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    November 18, 2013, 9:26 pm

    As a Palestinian American with family in Palestine I can assure everyone. The Palestinians will never settle for anything less than either full freedom or increasingly full integration. They can’t beat the US so they have to take the US out of the equation. The US had a mollified Arab street, but even that is no longer. The Palestinians have the upper hand but with Abbas and company there is no one to play it. That won’t be forever

    • just
      just
      November 18, 2013, 9:35 pm

      I do believe that you are exactly correct. Nor should the Palestinians “settle”.

      ” The US had a mollified Arab street, but even that is no longer. ”

      This is so true that it hurts. We’ve squandered just about everything and any good will, and still risk much more with our astounding hypocrisy in our own actions and our dirty, never- ending support for the Apartheid state of Israel.

      We should be kicked to the curb.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        November 19, 2013, 5:05 pm

        @ just
        Are you sending your message to CAIR?
        Do so, and also incorporate your CAIR donors are not Adelson or Soros,

      • just
        just
        November 19, 2013, 11:11 pm

        I’m not entirely sure what you mean, Citizen.

        CAIR can read what I write. Many others can as well. I don’t have any “donors”, thank goodness.

        I’m just me.

  7. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    November 18, 2013, 11:27 pm

    I saw photo op of the meeting with Simone Cowell at the IDF fundraiser. They have fundraisers across the country that get hundreds of millions of dollars for free and out of goodwill every year.

    It is incredibly hard to imagine the situation changing to an equal balance of political status in this century minus some massively unforeseen event like a radical re-orientation and spontaneous awareness and dedication of American citizens to Human Rights and to the issue, or the collapse of capitalist economics outside the Asian and North African countries.

    The situation of increasing dispossession is just going to get more entrenched. Anybody with Simon Cowell as a major donor is practically unstoppable, because it says that the position is a winner.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      November 19, 2013, 5:10 pm

      @ W. Jones

      Yep. Follow the money.

      • just
        just
        November 19, 2013, 6:51 pm

        How in the world has it became so twisted in humans that money means much, much more than humanity and justice? Is it Darwinian or greed? Are we just all animals? Can’t we respect one another, or is there no respect left– just support for the genocide of an indigenous People? Why can one group claim land that they left of their own accord for better prospects, come back and commit genocide based on their particular and remote history and even have a credible shred of legitimacy?

        That’s all I really want to know. WHY does money and a loud, screaming voice of Zionism trump justice and compassion and truth?

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        November 20, 2013, 1:15 am

        Because we live in a material world and money is a means of exchanging material goods.

        Generally justice, etc. are not automatically changed into money, which is not to say that over time justice will triumph. It is sad that by the time it does people will have aged and suffered and even died. This is one of the reasons we often hope for resurrection or a super-natural force that will overcome the material situation of injustice.

  8. Krauss
    Krauss
    November 19, 2013, 1:38 am

    But we must manage the conflict indefinitely by making Palestinians’ lives better bit by bit. Economic peace. Appropriate biometrics to make checkpoints run smoothly. Taxation without representation. A deeply cynical idea of freedom for another people.

    Two things. First, a comment on your excellent comment but then a slight difference i have with you, at the end.

    1. Right, but can they vote in the election of the country whose army is oppressing them? This is what led to the American revolutionary war, which is why I am glad you mentioned “taxation without representation”. Only that the American colonists were actually much more free than the Palestinians are today.

    And how can you have economic peace when the West Bank’s natural resources are taken away from them, notably water but also other minerals?

    Shavit does not really have any answer but the same answer that Netanyahu does: peace without peace. Indefinitive management. I wouldn’t be surprised if he would defend, with typical shoot-and-cry rhetoric, a future ethnic cleansing campaign.

    After all, he has already stated that “those who were left behind were better off” after the ethnic cleansing campaign against Lydda.

    2. This is my main difference with you. You speak as if the liberal side wants to pressure Israel but is too weak. But that still implies a good intention.

    I am saying, listen to their words when they speak and read their words when they write: they have no such intentions.

  9. Bandolero
    Bandolero
    November 19, 2013, 1:39 am

    I wait for the day when the current round of negations is over and Israel blames the “totally one-sided pro-Palestinian” US negotiating team consisting of Martin Indyk and David Makovsky for the failure of the negotiations.

    I think the next day after this day might become very interesting.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      November 19, 2013, 5:19 pm

      @ Banolero
      Not to worry. All American political leaders will rubber-stamp the USA’a “honest broker” reports.

  10. peeesss
    peeesss
    November 19, 2013, 3:32 am

    Philip Weiss; To use the word “liberal” {liberal side} as pertaining to the Palestine/Israel situation to Makovsky and Indyk and Ross truly boggles the mind. I understand the way the word “liberal” has been transformed from its original meaning in politics and diplomacy . But is Makovsky liberal toward a just solution to Palestine/Israel? Please. I guess you can say they are liberal in the context that they seem, only seem, to accept that Palestinians do exist unlike Golda Meir and numerous leading Israeli politicians and Rabbi’s who equate them to “cockroaches”, “cattle”, “vermin”. If Im not mistaken Makovsky and his wife have been strong proponents of middle east wars , in particular Iraq, and I would consider a strong , neoconservative Zionist in full standing.

    • piotr
      piotr
      November 19, 2013, 9:56 pm

      If I understand Chomsky correctly, “liberal” means not standing for anything, in spite of various appearances to the contrary. So liberal Zionist kind of stand for Greater Israel, and kind of stand for Israel that is Just a Bit Greater, but try as you might, it is hard to tell for which.

  11. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    November 19, 2013, 4:39 am

    Why stop so early? Why not install aipac as the white house stab obama?

  12. Citizen
    Citizen
    November 19, 2013, 6:38 am

    Here’s SOD Hagel, SOS Kerry, and Dempsey, all declaring their deep commitment to Israel. Big Military Brass Dempsey says if Israel bombs Iran, America will implement its specific obligations to Israel, and he adds that Arabs in Israel live better than Arabs in the rest of the Middle East.

    http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/19/if-israel-strikes-iran-dempsey-says-u-s-would-meet-obligations/?hpt=hp_t3

  13. Walid
    Walid
    November 19, 2013, 6:59 am

    US should stop beating about the bush and hire one of Netanyahu’s Israeli assistants to the American team of negotiators. Something odd about how Bush goes about nominating rabidly pro-Israeli to sensitive positions at the State Dept. The last absurd Obama nomination was a few years back when he nominated Dennis Ross as special envoy to negotiate with Iran in the week that the book co-authored by Ross and Makovsky saying nothing to be done about relations with Iran came out. A small tempest arose because of the wrong call by Obama but he immediately fixed it by removing Ross from the post and putting him in another even higher post of senior advisor at State. With Makovsky’s nomination, the same Ross mistake is being repeated.

    • Walid
      Walid
      November 19, 2013, 7:28 am

      Ooops, I meant Obama rather than Bush in my above post on 2nd line.

      • just
        just
        November 19, 2013, 7:32 am

        I think that was understood, Walid.

        Unfortunately, with most US Presidents wrt to Israel, there is hardly any difference at all…

        It’s our biggest shame, imho.

    • Theo
      Theo
      November 20, 2013, 10:18 am

      Why fool around with underlings, invite Netanyahu to chair the team, this way we can be sure that we get an agreement that pleases Israel.
      American interests? Who cares, they are not important!

  14. Talkback
    Talkback
    November 19, 2013, 8:15 am

    Does this mean that the US is back to being an “honest” broker?

  15. marc b.
    marc b.
    November 19, 2013, 8:41 am

    jesus, the illogic of that last paragraph. ‘there is no such thing as a liberal Zionist anymore, but the liberal side of the JStreet/settler coin is incapable of …’ yawn. a simple report on the appointment of makovsky would have been sufficient. we can figure out the rest.

  16. pmb1414
    pmb1414
    November 19, 2013, 10:44 am

    The State Department’s sole remaining thread of objectivity in the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian talks just broke.

  17. James Canning
    James Canning
    November 19, 2013, 2:24 pm

    One should be surprised at this development?

  18. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes
    November 19, 2013, 5:30 pm

    Obama is throwing a bone to AIPAC/WINEP in hopes of quieting their calls to stiffen sanctions on Iran. Netanyahu certainly won’t be satisfied by such a move, but will Democratic Senators feel less pressure to pass more sanctions on Iran?

    • piotr
      piotr
      November 19, 2013, 11:49 pm

      I wish you are correct. A deal with Iran can change the situation in the Middle East in a way that would be very disturbing to Israeli right wingers and the Saudis.

      I suspect that on the face of it, Iran will make substantial concessions and get very small sanction relief. However, there will be a green light to restore imports from Iran by China, India and other Asian countries. With more cash, Iran will be able to spare a few billions to shore up Syria, and even though it does not signify any real threat to Israel, Netanyahu, Bennet etc. will feel squeezed.

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