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Is the U.S. quietly imposing travel sanctions on Israeli officials?

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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As the United States begins implementing travel restrictions on Russian officials involved in the military occupation and annexation of Crimea, there are signs that the State Department has been quietly denying visas to Israeli military and intelligence officials in accordance with a separate set of U.S. laws.

In recent weeks, a number of Israeli news publications have reported an increase in the denial of visa requests to Israeli youth, military, and intelligence officials.  Much of the reporting has focused on speculation that the restrictions are a move by the Obama administration to thwart Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program.

The State Department has categorically denied that there is any broad policy of denying visas to younger Israelis or military officials.  By most accounts, the denial of visas to some younger Israelis is linked to widespread visa fraud and organized crime related to the Dead Sea industry, a phenomenon detailed in a 2010 State Department cable made public by Wikileaks.

Regarding the denial of visas to Israeli military and intelligence officials, the most compelling explanation is that the State Department has begun implementing recommendations contained in a 2011 Inspector General report examining operations at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv.  A crucial finding of the Inspector General’s report was the need for the State Department to provide the U.S. embassy with “updated guidance on vetting Israeli military personnel under the Leahy Amendment.”

In response to a request for information about the denial of visas to Israeli military officials, a State Department spokesperson said visa requests were “adjudicated individually” and in accordance with the law, noting, “When any individual makes a U.S. visa application anywhere in the world, a consular officer reviews the facts of the case and makes a determination of eligibility based on U.S. law.”

The need for this legal scrutiny to actually occur was reiterated in the Inspector General’s report, which stated, “U.S. legislation requires the mission to vet Israeli military personnel who train with U.S. counterparts to make sure they have not committed human rights abuse.  The embassy is preparing a standard operating procedure for doing so by checking names against the records maintained at post by various sections of the mission, including material used to prepare the annual Human Rights Report.”

The Leahy Law, a section of the Foreign Assistance Act that has been on the books since 1997, requires the U.S. to withhold assistance from foreign military units or officials who are known to be involved in human rights violations.  A New York Times article from 2013 described the scope of Leahy Law enforcement, reporting, “In 2011, 1766 individuals and units from 46 countries, out of a total of about 200,000 cases, were denied assistance because of human rights concerns.”

Widespread enforcement of the Leahy Law appears to have been stepped up in recent years, in part due to advances in technology but also because of new legislative mandates.  Beginning in 2010, the State Department gradually increased its use of a new computerized system to vet military officials called the International Vetting and Security Tracking System (INVEST).  The system makes it easier for U.S. embassies to screen visa applications using a database with information about individuals and military units believed to be involved in gross human rights abuses.

There have also been significant improvements to the laws regulating military aid, including changes to both the Foreign Assistance Act and the recurring Leahy Law provision included in annual defense appropriations legislation.  Last year, Congress updated the Leahy Law as part of the  2014 Department of Defense appropriations bill  to bring it more in line with the Foreign Assistance Act.

report by the Congressional Research Service identified some of the critical changes in the new appropriations legislation, including the expansion of the Leahy Law’s scope from only training, to “training, equipment and other assistance.”  The report also highlighted updated language in the law intended to clarify that evidence of human rights abuses does not have to meet the admissibility standard of U.S. courts, changing ‘credible evidence’ to ‘credible information.’

Three years ago Israeli officials reacted to the stepped-up enforcement of the Leahy Law and publicly opposed efforts to hold Israeli military accountable.  According to news reports, the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other officials exerted heavy pressure on Senator Leahy to forgo enforcement of the Foreign Assistance Act against three Israeli military units with known involvement in human rights abuses.

In response to the Israeli government’s public and private lobbying campaign, Senator Leahy’s spokesman David Carle explained, “the [Leahy] law applies to U.S. aid to foreign security forces around the globe and is intended to be applied consistently across the spectrum of U.S. military aid abroad.  Under the law the State Department is responsible for evaluations and enforcement decision and over the years Senator Leahy has pressed for faithful and consistent application of the law.”

A key factor affecting whether sanctions are applied under the Foreign Assistance Act is the ability and willingness of foreign governments to credibly investigate and prosecute cases of human rights abuses.  On this point, the Israeli government has long argued that it has an independent and functioning judiciary that holds Israeli military officials accountable.

In practice, Israeli military officials involved in human rights violations are rarely held accountable.  A recent Amnesty International report found that “Israeli forces have repeatedly violated their obligations under international human rights law by using excessive force to stifle dissent and freedom of expression, resulting in a pattern of unlawful killings and injuries to civilians, including children, and have been permitted to do so with virtual impunity due, in no small part, to the authorities’ failure to conduct thorough, impartial and independent investigations.”

While internal investigations involving Israeli military personnel are dropped in the vast majority of cases, this year’s State Department Human Rights Report cited a 99% conviction rate for Palestinians in Israel’s military courts.

Though the United States prides itself on being a nation of laws, it often fails to consistently apply laws like the Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act, with enforcement instead being driven by political opportunism.

In response to Russia’s occupation of Crimea, it took less than two weeks for the Obama administration and Congress to announce proposed sanctions on Russian officials.  In contrast, Israel’s forty six year military occupation of Palestinian territories has elicited the opposite response, billions in military aid and unconditional diplomatic support.

If it is the case that the Leahy Law is finally being applied to Israeli military and intelligence officials who have committed  gross human rights violations, it would be a long overdue but welcome development.

Mike Coogan
About Mike Coogan

Mike Coogan is the Legislative Coordinator for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

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43 Responses

  1. Cliff
    Cliff
    March 23, 2014, 9:58 am

    Antisemitic!

    This is like when Jewish refugees were denied entry into the US and other countries during WW2 and afterwards!

    Paging Abe Foxman!

  2. Ellen
    Ellen
    March 23, 2014, 9:59 am

    Shopping malls in the US, especially around the DC area, are still filled with young Israelis hawking Dead Sea beauty products. (Or spying, and reporting on the pulses of the American man/woman in the street?)

    • American
      American
      March 23, 2014, 10:57 am

      Good to know.
      Maybe we should get up a team and kidnap a few of them—trade them for Palestine prisoners.

    • MRW
      MRW
      March 23, 2014, 2:26 pm

      And charging hundreds of dollars for their dreck. My niece got taken in by them for over $750 for two or three products. When I pointed out that the ingredients were mainly food-grade silicon that she mistook for some instant skin-softening ingredient, she was crestfallen. Then I showed her how she could have bought the same shit on Amazon for $28; she was livid.

    • Naftush
      Naftush
      March 25, 2014, 3:12 am

      Nah, those spy-kids in the malls can’t report on the pulses of men/women in the street; we Zios send our spy-buzzards to do that. You admit as much by stating that the mall kids “hawk.”

  3. March 23, 2014, 10:24 am

    I would be very (and pleasantly) surprised if the US State dept were doing anything the Lobby did not want them to.

    Change will have to come from the grassroots level. The elites are too ambitious and lacking in courage to take a stand

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      March 24, 2014, 6:42 am

      It starts at the top. If our leaders, especially in Congress, did not allow AIPAC to slither in to our political system, even write some our foreign policy bills, and be devoted servants to their every command, then we would have had some chance at getting out of this strange stranglehold Israel seems to have over this country.
      Our leaders surely know what goes on there, if we do, they just pretend to believe the Israeli narrative, that they are constantly attacked and are the victims, while the long list of Israeli crimes condemned by the rest of the world, that provokes hostility, among the neighborhood, and the brutal occupation, is conveniently ignored. They have got to be fools, if they do not realize at the moment that Israel keeps blatantly building more and more illegal settlements, detrimental to US efforts at a peace resolution, and yet the President gets no support from this shameful lot.

  4. Joeygee23
    Joeygee23
    March 23, 2014, 11:04 am

    Having lurked in the shadows for quite some time…I am finally posting a reply. My niece is a journalism major at a New England College which was recently visited by Max Blumenthal. She wrote a review of his stance on the Occupation and a quick review of Goliath. I told her that will be the last time she will ever pen such a story without “balance” ie …terrorism….rocket attacks…drive Jews into the sea.

    I just finished reading Goliath…(I couldn’t put it down) …I felt sad and angered ….How can our leaders NOT know what is going on there? Instead they parrot “No daylight” “unbreakable bonds” ad nauseum. I feel powerless to help. What happened to my country… To support this?

    • March 23, 2014, 2:14 pm

      ‘how can our leaders not know?’ have you been in a cave?
      of course they know. they’re 100% complicit

    • Cliff
      Cliff
      March 23, 2014, 5:31 pm

      All politics are rotten.

      People who support Israel, other than Zionist Jews, are mostly Zionist Christians (who are mostly Evangelical Christians who never met a war they didn’t like).

      Other than that, it’s safe to say that politicians don’t want the headache associated with going up against the Israel Lobby and organized Jewish community (who specialize in slander campaigns and dishonest identity politics).

      It’s a criminal enterprise, and ordinary people have too much shit to do than to worry about it.

      Politicians want to get their policies through so picking a fight with the lobby is counter-productive and a no-starter in most cases.

      You have to pretty much devote yourself to this issue and put yourself firmly in one camp or the other to make a dent. Otherwise, you’re by-definition ‘pro-Israel’.

      Not because it may be something that you sincerely believe in with an almost religious fervor (Republicans) – but because it costs too much politically to be against.

      It’s risk analysis – why do you care about dead/homeless Palestinians when you’re trying to fix some budget issue or build a new whatever here or there? Once you open your mouth about Palestine, the Zionist hivemind is out to tar and feather you as the worst thing since Hitler.

    • American
      American
      March 24, 2014, 10:06 am

      ‘I felt sad and angered ….How can our leaders NOT know what is going on there? Instead they parrot “No daylight” “unbreakable bonds” ad nauseum. I feel powerless to help. What happened to my country… To support this?’..Joey

      They know, they don’t care.
      If you feel like speaking to them address them as traitors….and if you want to help get rid of this abomination tell and explain to everyone you know exactly how they are traitors.

  5. Denis
    Denis
    March 23, 2014, 11:10 am

    “In recent weeks, a number of Israeli news publications have reported an increase in the denial of visa requests to Israeli youth, military, and intelligence officials.”

    Is this part of Obama’s program to get resolution on the peace negotiation?
    The next step should be to revisit Fullbright’s attempt to force DOJ to register AIPAC Foreign Agents’ Registration Act.

    Excellent article, Mike.

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      March 23, 2014, 3:31 pm

      More details on the supposed increase in denials of visas is needed. What are the sources behind the Israeli news publications? What is the degree of the recent increase? For what reasons were visas denied? All applicants are interviewed and often given reasons behind a denial.

      I suspect this could be a contrived political issue to attack Obama again. The 2010 U.S State department cable from the Embassy in Tel Aviv (link in the article) reports a jump in denials of visas — and that was four years ago.

  6. Ellen
    Ellen
    March 23, 2014, 11:21 am

    After reading the State Dept. 2010 cable, it is absolutely stunning that the Visa Waiver program bill (partly drafted by Israel itself) was even put forth.

    Those supporting it should be asked the hard questions against the documented visa, tax fraud, money laundering and organized crime connected to young Israelis entering the US on tourists visas.

    • NickJOCW
      NickJOCW
      March 24, 2014, 9:53 am

      @Ellen. The DOS briefing for Friday last indicates a rise in Israeli visa application rejections. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/03/223805.htm The briefing also contains the following snippet:

      I will say that, as you know, Visa Waiver Program participants are required to meet a number of statutory requirements. At this time, Israel does not comply with many of the Visa Waiver Program – it’s a mouthful – eligibility requirements. And also, reciprocal visa-free travel privileges for U.S. citizens is among the requirements for a Visa Waiver Program.

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        March 24, 2014, 11:19 am

        And just a few moments after [my emphasis]:

        The Department of Homeland Security and State remain concerned with the unequal treatment that Palestinian Americans and other Americans of Middle Eastern origin experience at Israel’s border and checkpoints, and reciprocity is the most basic condition of the Visa Waiver Program.

        Sound like Israelis won’t be getting visa-free entry to the US any time soon.

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        March 24, 2014, 9:22 pm

        I dunno, Sumud, Since when did Congress pay attention to State. That bill, like many others, was bought and paid for. Roy Blount of MO (a former Preacher) who introduced it, is perhaps one of the most corrupt (and now very rich) members of the Senate.

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        March 24, 2014, 9:16 pm

        Nick, thanks for the info on that DOS briefing.

        Note that the questioned stemmed from ” concern on the Hill about the visa denials.”

        So Congress concerned that 9.7 percent of Israelis were denied Visas this year. This is up around 3% on average over recent years.

        Whats’s really going on is that AIPAC and others are banging on Congressional doors about this and their stooges loyal to Israel are “concerned” that the US Embassy in Tel Aviv is not giving out enough visas….but not even concerned exactly why.

  7. bilal a
    bilal a
    March 23, 2014, 11:34 am

    “the military occupation and annexation of Crimea”

    why do Liberals support extra-national violent coups (Palestine, Venezuela, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Ukraine) while opposing majority opposition to such in referendum or armed resistance?

    Disgusting how Hayes and Maddow are supporting the neocons in Ukraine.

  8. irmep
    irmep
    March 23, 2014, 12:00 pm

    It is fairly routine for State Department findings to be utterly ignored by Congress on matters relating to Israel.

    In preambles to AIPAC-sponsored legislation to confer “Major Strategic Ally” status on Israel its record as not proliferating or misusing U.S. supplied arms is stated—refuting Israel’s documented misuse in many State Department Inspector General audits such as:

    http://www.irmep.org/ila/Audit/default.asp

  9. kalithea
    kalithea
    March 23, 2014, 12:04 pm

    But-but the U.S. commits and has committed gross human rights violations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to name some! When you break you own law this nullifies all moral authority. The U.S. has zeeeero moral authority right now. How can the U.S. possibly expect any other country to respect its authority? This is laughable! The U.S. has been showing favoritism to Israel for decades. The U.S. has been covering up Israel’s crimes; the U.S. Congress threw out the Goldstone Report and called it biased. Biased? Who’s reeally biased?

    The U.S. commits crimes around the world and Israel commits crimes in their own country and outside their own country repeatedly with total impunity protected by America.

    This Leahy Law is a total farce of staggering hypocrisy. Get your house in order and then preach to the world! And here’s the worst of it: Americans used to march and protest injustice and the world use to cheer them on and admire their spirit, but now they’ve become so shallow; obsessed with beauty and material things while others have turned into apathetic couch potatoes consumed with the most vacuous garbage their media can produce to keep them that way. Americans have become a sorry lot and a terrible example for the rest of the world.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      March 23, 2014, 8:27 pm

      But-but the U.S. commits and has committed gross human rights violations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to name some!
      Yes.

      When you break you own law this nullifies all moral authority.
      Not all moral authority is nullified, but admittedly it is reduced. If we stop backing a system of discrimination in one country, it will be a step forward, wouldn’t you say?

      Secondly, there are some ways in which the Israeli system is deeper and more permanent than that which is done to, say Yemen. The US does not seem to directly benefit from keeping one of the world’s largest refugee populations out of their land.

  10. irmep
    irmep
    March 23, 2014, 12:05 pm

    If any American dares complain to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on counterfeit Chinese-made soap entering the U.S. under the U.S. – Israel trade agreement, they will be told they “lack standing” and given the run-around.

    Perhaps such “enforcement” is what makes it the worst performing bilateral agreement (by one metric) ever signed.

    https://twitter.com/IRmep/status/447755702497329152/photo/1

    All part of that awesome “special relationship”

  11. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 23, 2014, 12:05 pm

    Amazing how feeble US response to Israel’s lack of discretion is not only supported by our government but funded by it. I’m humiliated by my own government. Seems like Israel has a patent on Chutzpah and humble Dick and Jane pay for it–and say thank you!

  12. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    March 23, 2014, 12:33 pm

    If there is (later? soon?) visa-waiver for Israel, will the laws (on which visas are sometimes denied) be powerless or can entry be denied on grounds (and by mechanisms) other than visa-denial?

    It should be worth noting, here, that Israel routinely grants visas to foreigners and then, at the airport, denies them entry (as well, of course, as subjecting them to terrible and intrusive ordeals). the USA could APE this as it apes so many Israeli security inventions.

    If it does, I hope it limits the practice to people from countries with which it has visa-waiver agreements.

  13. amigo
    amigo
    March 23, 2014, 2:05 pm

    All roads lead to the Hague.

    Arrest the Military and Intelligence personnel and give them a good ole welcome , Israeli style and when they break apply a dose of rendition and make a few of them disappear.

    The rest drop off at the Hague–literally.Saves on parachutes.

  14. Icarusverum
    Icarusverum
    March 23, 2014, 2:43 pm

    Genius article.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    March 23, 2014, 8:02 pm

    RE: “Though the United States prides itself on being a nation of laws, it often fails to consistently apply laws like the Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act, with enforcement instead being driven by political opportunism.” ~ Mike Coogan

    FOR INSTANCE, NOTHING WAS EVER DONE ABOUT THIS:
    “Israel May Have Violated Arms Pact, U.S. Says”, By David S. Cloud and Greg Myre, New York Times, 1/28/07

    [EXCERPT] WASHINGTON, Jan 27 — The Bush administration will inform Congress on Monday that Israel may have violated agreements with the United States when it fired American-supplied cluster munitions into southern Lebanon during its fight with Hezbollah last summer, the State Department said Saturday.
    The finding, though preliminary, has prompted a contentious debate within the administration over whether the United States should penalize Israel for its use of cluster munitions against towns and villages where Hezbollah had placed its rocket launchers.
    Cluster munitions are anti-personnel weapons that scatter tiny but deadly bomblets over a wide area. The grenadelike munitions, tens of thousands of which have been found in southern Lebanon, have caused 30 deaths and 180 injuries among civilians since the end of the war, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service.
    Midlevel officials at the Pentagon and the State Department have argued that Israel violated American prohibitions on using cluster munitions against populated areas, according to officials who described the deliberations. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/world/middleeast/28cluster.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    • DICKERSON3870
      DICKERSON3870
      March 23, 2014, 8:03 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Cluster Munitions at a Glance”, armscontrol.org, November 2012

      [EXCERPT] . . . Although cluster munitions first saw use in World War II and more than 50 countries have since acquired stockpiles of such arms, efforts to regulate or ban the use of cluster munitions gained greater attention and momentum after the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, a Shiite organization that the United States identifies as a terrorist group. Israel’s extensive cluster munitions use in the last 72 hours of that conflict resulted in an estimated one million unexploded bomblets scattered across southern Lebanon, arousing some strong condemnation. Jan Egeland, then-UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, blasted Israel’s use of cluster munitions as “shocking and completely immoral.” . . .

      SOURCE – http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/clusterataglance

    • DICKERSON3870
      DICKERSON3870
      March 23, 2014, 8:05 pm

      P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “18-year-old Lebanese killed by Israeli cluster bomb”, By Mohammed Zaatari, The Daily Star, 8/10/13

      SIDON, Lebanon: An 18-year-old was killed Saturday when an Israeli cluster bomb exploded in Hasbaya, south Lebanon. Hisham Abdel-Al, a young shepherd, was working on a farm in the Hallat village when he stepped on a cluster bomb, dying instantly.
      Israel dropped some 4 million cluster bombs in Lebanon during the July-August 2006 war, most during the last 48 hours of the conflict, according to the United Nations. Hundreds have been wounded in cluster-bomb related incidents since 2000 and 2006.
      The Army’s Lebanon Mine Action Center along with the U.N. and other international organizations have been working since 2006 to remove the deadly ordinance from the south.

      SOURCE – http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2013/Aug-10/226887-18-year-old-lebanese-killed-by-israeli-cluster-bomb.ashx#axzz2dray05RT

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        March 23, 2014, 10:28 pm

        Both McCain and Hillary Clinton voted to continue the sale of cluster bombs to Israel after the carpet bombing of Lebanon with cluster bombs.

      • tree
        tree
        March 23, 2014, 11:42 pm

        As did Biden. Meanwhile, 6 years into the Obama Presidency, his Administration has still not ratified the 2008 Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions, banning all cluster bombs. There is plenty of blame to spread around.

        http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/jointhetreaty/

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        March 24, 2014, 4:46 am

        The UN condemned the fact that these Israeli cluster bombs were dropped in civilian areas, and that civilians, especially children, were killed later on, when accidentally coming upon the unexploded remnants of these despicable bombs.
        Israel also has a bad record of indiscriminately dropping their deadly weapons, or shooting at, civilian structures, and homes. The last time they sent precision bombs into civilian homes, the world saw Bibi and other leaders stating firmly, that they do not target civilian areas, but the split screen on CNN showed little children being pulled out dead, from the rubble.

        Which again shows the dishonesty of these zionists, and how much they try to fool the world, while violating international laws.

        So who really is the bigger terrorist?

      • Walid
        Walid
        March 24, 2014, 12:36 am

        “Israel dropped some 4 million cluster bombs in Lebanon during the July-August 2006 war, most during the last 48 hours of the conflict, according to the United Nations. ”

        Most despicably, those were dropped AFTER there had been an agreement to stop the war while the US and France were stalling with the wording of the resolution to give Israel a bit more time to try to win the war.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 24, 2014, 2:45 am

        “Most despicably, those were dropped AFTER there had been an agreement to stop the war”

        Patrick Chappatte’s “death in the field” video is another nail in the coffin of Tikkun Olam.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KFfP4wiluA

        He’s a very famous Swiss cartoonist and his mother is Lebanese.

      • Walid
        Walid
        March 24, 2014, 4:56 am

        Very good video, seafoid, thanks. Another great of Lebanese roots is Latuff.

  16. Denis
    Denis
    March 23, 2014, 8:33 pm

    And now RT is reporting that GoI’s Foreign Ministry has closed down its ministries all over the world and canceled the Pope’s visit.

    Now, that’s encouraging. Maybe the GoI Ministry of Defense will close down next.

  17. Kay24
    Kay24
    March 24, 2014, 12:32 am

    This should come as no surprise to anyone. According to an Associated Press article:
    “The CIA considers Israel its No. 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency’s Near East Division, the group that oversees spying across the Middle East, according to current and former officials. Counterintelligence is the art of protecting national secrets from spies. This means the CIA believes that U.S. national secrets are safer from other Middle Eastern governments than from Israel.”

    Our State Department and CIA do not trust Israel. In 1985 an Arab American human rights activist, in California, was brutally killed by a bomb when he entered his office.
    This act of terrorism was the work of the Jewish Defense League, (the State Department officially calls this group, terrorists), who had the audacity to enter our shores and carry out this brutal murder, the criminals then fled to Israel, where they were protected by the Israeli government, and they gave our investigating officials the run around, and to this day the criminals are free. Alex Odeh’s family never got the justice they deserved.
    There have been many crimes committed by Israel agains the US, including various Jewish Americans spying for Israel, some like Jonathan Pollard are now paying the price for it, in our jails.
    The question is, had this been another nation, would we still be sending the most foreign aid, weapons, and championing their causes at the UN? Why are we taking this garbage from this devious nation, that gets away with these crimes, and most of all, why are our elected officials in Congress, so beholden to a nation one can deem a threat, to our intelligence, and security. Are they so desperate for campaign donors that they have to shamelessly take donations from a nation that has earned the reputation of not being trustable, and insidious, by the CIA and State Department officials, and compromising the safety of our nation?

    • NickJOCW
      NickJOCW
      March 24, 2014, 11:22 am

      @Kay24, I imagine the answer to your question is that Israel has kept the ME from becoming an entirely Islamic, largely Arab, area, something that would not have suited post WWII US foreign policy and still wouldn’t. The bought and sold members of the legislature are simply riding the freight train. Although it looks otherwise, they are probably less responsible for policy than the policy is responsible for them.

  18. Accentitude
    Accentitude
    March 24, 2014, 6:23 am

    Well in the cases in which visas are not declined, I think it’s only fair to give them visas that limit their travels or maybe I’m still just bitter from my “Judea and Samaria” visa and the “VIP treatment” I get everytime I come through the Allenby bridge or Ben Gurion. Still it would bring joy to my heart to issue Israeli travelers visas that bar them from using JFK airport for example or prevent them from entering the New York or Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Or maybe they should only be able to enter the United States through Mexico by Mule or through a connecting flight from Antarctica. And lets not forget full body cavity searches, detainment, and stupid interviews…”what did you have for breakfast 9 Thursdays ago and who were you with and how do you know that person and what is his father’s favorite TV show?”

  19. Theo
    Theo
    March 24, 2014, 10:32 am

    I know that MW wants to concentrate on the Israel/Palestina issue, however there are more urgent events in the world.

    The takeover of the government in Kiew by non-elected nazis and ultra right elements, they provide 3 ministers and the head prosecutor, should ring alarm bells in a jewish blog, and the annexation of the Krim by Russia is returning us to the days of the cold war, when a nervous idiot could have started a world war.
    With the sanctions of the USA and EU we are pouring oil on the already hot situation, and if we know Putin, he will not back off. Obama feels that his time is getting short and want to show how he can master a dangerous situation. The only problem is, the west miscalculate Putin, he will not budge an inch.
    Ukraine is not a member in the EU or NATO, so can we risk a serious confrontation by putting our noses into that affair? Historically speaking the Krim belongs to Russia since 1783, Sevastopol is their most important naval base since that date, so in the opinion of many educated person they should have the peninsula. After all, good 60-70% of the population are ethnic russians.

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