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6 DC heavyweights tell Kerry, Netanyahu in West Bank is like Putin in Crimea

on 99 Comments
Benjamin Netanyahu with British Labour leader Ed Miliband, from the p.m.'s twitter feed

Benjamin Netanyahu with British Labour leader Ed Miliband, from the p.m.’s twitter feed

In a refreshing break from the usual noises inside the Beltway, here’s a piece by six heavyweights at Politico called “Stand Firm, John Kerry,” that likens Israel’s occupation of the West Bank to Russia’s occupation of Crimea. The piece contains one condemnation after another of Netanyahu and the Israelis for “morally unacceptable” positions and says that the U.S. is complicit in its failure to speak out.

The heavyweights are Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci, Carla Hills, Lee Hamilton, Thomas Pickering, and Henry Siegman (former national security adviser, Defense secretary, secretary of Housing and trade rep, congressman, ambassador, and Jewish leader).

Here’s some of their series of condemnations. On settlements and U.S. acceptance:

U.S. disapproval of continued settlement enlargement in the Occupied Territories by Israel’s government as “illegitimate” and “unhelpful” does not begin to define the destructiveness of this activity. Nor does it dispel the impression that we have come to accept it…

On incitement and U.S. silence:

Surely the “incitement” of Palestinian rhetoric hardly compares to the incitement of Israel’s actual confiscations of Palestinian territory. If the United States is not prepared to say so openly, there is little hope for the success of these talks.

On the Jewish state demand. Notice the affirmation of the Palestinian narrative.

Israeli demands that Palestinians recognize that Israel has been and remains the national homeland of the Jewish people is intended to require the Palestinians to affirm the legitimacy of Israel’s replacement of Palestine’s Arab population with its own. It also raises Arab fears of continuing differential treatment of Israel’s Arab citizens.

On the obstructionism of the Israelis:

The terms for a peace accord advanced by Netanyahu’s government, whether regarding territory, borders, security, resources, refugees or the location of the Palestinian state’s capital, require compromises of Palestinian territory and sovereignty on the Palestinian side of the June 6, 1967, line. They do not reflect any Israeli compromises, much less the “painful compromises” Netanyahu promised in his May 2011 speech before a joint meeting of Congress. Every one of them is on the Palestinian side of that line.

Here the authors compare the Israeli occupation to the Russian occupation of Crimea and say the U.S. is complicit because it doesn’t say a word:

Netanyahu’s unrelenting efforts to establish equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian demands, insisting that the parties split the difference and that Israel be granted much of its expansive territorial agenda beyond the 78 percent of Palestine it already possesses, are politically and morally unacceptable. The United States should not be party to such efforts, not in Crimea nor in the Palestinian territories…. [C]larity on America’s part regarding the critical moral and political issues in dispute will have a far better chance of bringing the peace talks to a successful conclusion than continued ambiguity or silence.

P.S. Ali Abunimah has the most incisive line on the Jewish state demand I’ve seen recently. From his book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine:

Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians must accept Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state,” is an implicit recognition that the Zionist project can never enjoy legitimacy or stability without the active consent of the Palestinian people. Palestinians have steadfastly resisted granting such recognition because to do so would negate their rights and indeed threaten their very existence.

Thanks to Phyllis Bennis.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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99 Responses

  1. Kay24 on April 10, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Wow, I am impressed by these great people. I always found Zbigniew Brezezinski,
    a very intelligent official, who spoke his mind, and was very rational in his thinking.
    It is up to these distinguish Americans, to speak out, and try drive some sense into our leaders, who still dare not acknowledge, that Israel is resorting to crimes, we keep accusing others nations of. I wonder if this brave group would now be accused of being “anti semitic”, as usual.
    Russia’s occupation was very recent, whereas Israel’s occupation has been going on for decades. Decades of suffering and loss for the Palestinians. Time the US stopped being a hypocrite, or selective, in it’s outrage.

    • giladg on April 10, 2014, 3:00 pm

      “Intelligent official”? Many regarded the Nazi leadership as “intelligent” with lots of ‘intelligent officials”. “Intelligent officials” get it right no more than anyone else as they usually have an agenda that blinds the truth. Brezezinski has an agenda and is one scary guy.

      • lysias on April 10, 2014, 3:17 pm

        The Polish aristocrat Brzezinski is never very rational about Russia.

        I knew the Polish Jewish historian Richard Pipes at Harvard. When it came to Russia, he was equally irrational.

        Both of them hated/hate Russia, whether it is Communist or not.

      • Dentrebeccag on April 11, 2014, 6:40 am

        Is there anything Richard Pipes isn’t irrational about?

      • phacepalm on April 11, 2014, 10:00 am

        Agree with Lysias 100% and this is something that always struck me about Brzezinski. He comes off (and really is) a rational, realist politician and thinker until the subject of Russia comes along: that’s when his tribal instincts take over (he is Polish) and goes full time crazy russo-phobe mode. Sad really

      • Shingo on April 10, 2014, 4:40 pm

        Many regarded the Nazi leadership as “intelligent”

        Many regarded the Israeli leadership as “intelligent”, which apparently means they are Nazis according to Gilad.

      • Kay24 on April 10, 2014, 10:53 pm

        This is not about the Nazis, it is about heavy weights like Brezezinski, and other credible American thought leaders, being able to bravely withstand criticism like yours, and speak the truth. Everyone has an agenda, and if Brezenzinski scares you, you obviously do not like what he says, and the hasbara-like attack on him, and not addressing the content of what he says, clearly shows you find it hard to defend the indefensible.
        Bad try.

      • Kathleen on April 10, 2014, 11:14 pm

        Dr. Brezezinski is one of the more intelligent public officials of all times. On top of that he was very clear that he was against the invasion of Iraq, tried as much as possible to let people know that there were quite a group of brilliant officials, former CIA analyst etc who were questioning the validity of the WMD intelligence before the invasion He is also quite reasonable and bases his stance on the situation with Iran on facts. There is nothing “scary” about Brezezinski. Unless you are afraid of facts and a rational mind…which it appears that you are giladg

      • Kay24 on April 11, 2014, 12:12 am

        Good point. We should note that instead of addressing what exactly Dr. Brezezinski and his group are saying, they make him out to be the “bogey man”. Typical deflect and attacking of those who criticize, or bring attention to, the crimes of Israel.

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 2:07 pm

        I agree, Kathleen. And we remember Zbig a few years ago said the US should shoot down any Israeli jets trying to fly over Iraq enroute to attacking Iran.

      • pabelmont on April 11, 2014, 9:09 pm

        ZB is intelligent? Maybe. But Israel has been playing its games for a long time and he has been (I imagine) rather quite or approving of USA support for Israel.

        Until today. Gee. what’s up? (Crimea? USSR redux?) (A sudden need for consistency as to annexation?)

        People change and situations change. ZB was not, I dare say, always against the settlements,. not always, I dare say, ranting about (the lack of Israeli) “morality”, etc.

        So what’s interesting here is not to test ZB or the others (imperialists all, I dare say) for consistency, or for hating Russia, or loving Israel (or not): but to test them for showing that there is a change going on (or might be) in USA’s politics of knuckling under to Israel and AIPAC.

        Shall we say, thank you Gospodin Putin?

    • Blownaway on April 10, 2014, 11:56 pm

      What do these guys know….Kerry has notched a major win. The talks will go on forever. When Abbas dies of old age, the talks are assured to continue. That’s a big win for Kerry and Israel. The pay checks for Abbas and his band will continue and only the Palestinians will continue to be screwed….I’d consider that a hig win if I was Kerry or Netanyahu

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 2:05 pm

        I think John Kerry in fact would like to see Israel out of the West Bank.

  2. Justpassingby on April 10, 2014, 1:22 pm

    Pathetic, they cant even get it right.

    Crimea wanted to be part of Russia.
    Does Westbank want to be part of Israel?

    • JeffB on April 10, 2014, 1:32 pm


      Crimea wanted to be part of Russia.
      Does Westbank want to be part of Israel?

      The Russians moved into Ukraine by Stalin want to be part of Russia. The Israelis moved into the WestBank by Israel want to be part of Israel. Yes it is very equivalent. I agree with the analogy those six are marking but in both cases side with self determination and against Kerry. I think the idea of keeping people trapped in states they hate and reject is grossly immoral and a true danger to world peace.

      • lysias on April 10, 2014, 3:19 pm

        The Russians moved into Ukraine by Stalin want to be part of Russia. The Israelis moved into the WestBank by Israel want to be part of Israel.

        Can you please write that in English? I have no idea what you are trying to say there.

        I think the idea of keeping people trapped in states they hate and reject is grossly immoral and a true danger to world peace.

        Which would seem to imply that it would have been grossly immoral and dangerous to force the Crimeans to remain in Ukraine after the coup in Kiev, and that it is now grossly immoral and dangerous to force the Palestinians to remain under Israeli rule.

      • Ellen on April 10, 2014, 3:42 pm

        lysis, nothing about JffB’s post above made any sense at all. As often, he even got his facts completely wrong.

        Russians started moving into Crimea under the Czars and the region was completely transformed during the Crimean wars when Russia went at it against the Ottomans.

        Crimea has historically never been a part of the Ukraine and was part of Russia (under annexation) for hundreds of years. It became an autonomous republic of the Ukraine in 1991 — only 23 years ago.

        Powers have been fighting for control over that Peninsula ever since the Greeks moved in around the 5th century.

      • pabelmont on April 10, 2014, 9:44 pm

        The USSR moved Russian speakers into Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and many others and with the dissolution of USSR those people (“settlers”) are stranded. Russia should offer them a right to return home to Mother Russia and perhaps they should also have a right to remain (if the countries they are inside welcome them). The international law was perhaps not so clear then and the law that forbids Israel to settle its nationals in OPTs may not, for all I know, have made USSR’s settlement program formally illegal.

        Anyhow, the present Israeli settlers are clearly present illegally and everyone (except possibly the settlers themselves) knew it from day one. So there should be no question at all of allowing them to remain — and certainly not now, during the long-continuing occupation, when their presence is illegal.

        The settlers should be removed and the settlements (buildings: residences, public buildings, the university, factories, all) should be dismantled (UNSC 465). In fact it is pretty hard to imagine a path toward peace other than an international push, with sanctions as enforcers, to requirer Israel to remove the settlers and dismantle settlements and wall. By contrast, a sanctions-enforced requirement on Israel to get that done in one or two years would powerfully concentrate Israel’s mind on the benefits of a negotiated peace.

      • puppies on April 11, 2014, 12:42 am

        @pabelmont – With all due respect, any talk about legality of Russian or any other Soviet nationality’s settlement in any of the former SSRs is plumb crazy. This was the USSR. Moreover, it was the continuation of the Russian empire. It’s not only about Russians, as every possible nationality from every possible SSR settled in other SSRs. Think of it as of another USA. The crazy thing is the Western-imposed breakup and the nationalist and religious disaster –or crime.

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 12:50 pm

        The Soviet Union’s policy was to try to prevent Muslims from Central Asian Soviet Republics from relocating to Moscow or Leningrad. The decline of the Great Russian element of the population of the USSR was a factor helping to lead toward collapse.

      • puppies on April 11, 2014, 1:34 pm

        “Muslims”? Not a concept in the USSR. A good number of citizens from Caucasian and Turcic republics did settle in Moscow and Leningrad, and overwhelmingly took Russian citizenship.

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 1:58 pm

        @Puppies – – You appear unaware of a big factor that helped to bring about collapse of the USSR. Conscripts from Central Asia in Soviet army did much of the construction work in Moscow, Leningrad and other cities within Russia, but upon discharge they were forced to return to Central Asia.

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 2:11 pm

        Ethnic Russians in former Soviet Republics could of course relocate in Russia. The Baltics require a certain level of fluency in the language of each country, for citizenship in that country. This has led to a good number of Russian-speakers lacking citizenship.

      • puppies on April 13, 2014, 3:12 am

        @pabelmont – If a big miracle happened and ownership of the US was relinquished by the Zionists, opening the way to issuing serious sanctions as you describe to Azrael, the result would almost certainly be total collapse within few months, as an evacuation of settlements is unthinkable and sanctions of any severity to elicit a withdrawal of the “settlement” militia would be met by diehard defiance by all, including the now foes of the settlements and sinking together abandoned by the US (followed by all without exception, of course.) If, however, their government is crazy enough to risk compliance, the civil war will be of unseen violence and bring down the Shitty Spartan State even worse. That is also the nature of the more recent settlement activity: it forever burned the bridges of the Zionists, committing all the present and future population to the conquest plan. Of course, miracles do happen in history and the crazies may take up their past citizenships or even go back to Azrael proper –better not indulge too much in idle dreams.

      • piotr on April 11, 2014, 9:04 am

        JeffB is obviously mixing Stalin with Empress Catherine who conquered Crimea. Subsequent settlement of the lands of Crimean Khanate (Crimea and the coast of Ukraine) involved mostly Russians, Ukrainians were never a majority there, and their settlement is not preceding the Russians. Actually, the characteristic feature of the region is big variety of ethnic origins and common Russian language, except for Crimean Tatars who could not care less if they are in Ukraine or Russia.

      • JennieS on April 13, 2014, 12:09 am

        Crimea was part of the Russian SSR until 1954 when the ethnic Ukrainian, Khruschev, moved it into the Ukrainian SSR. It didn’t matter at the time as everyone was part of the USSR but it did matter when the USSR fell apart.

      • James Canning on April 13, 2014, 2:42 pm

        Krushchev from an ethnic Russian from Kharkov, but his wife had roots in western Ukraine. His grandaughter teaches at Princeton.

      • Woody Tanaka on April 10, 2014, 3:48 pm

        “I think the idea of keeping people trapped in states they hate and reject is grossly immoral and a true danger to world peace.”

        Yeah, they should just occupy them and destroy their lives and deny them their human rights and you’ll be all for it!! (As long as the oppressors Jews and not the oppressed, natch!!)

      • Shingo on April 10, 2014, 4:41 pm

        The Russians moved into Ukraine by Stalin want to be part of Russia. The Israelis moved into the WestBank by Israel want to be part of Israel. Yes it is very equivalent

        So you are comparing Israeli leaders to Stalin?

      • JeffB on April 11, 2014, 8:17 am


        So you are comparing Israeli leaders to Stalin?

        Yes I’ve been saying for months the process of nation formation is the same for all people through all time. Everyone does the same thing. They have to.

      • Shingo on April 11, 2014, 8:42 am

        Yes I’ve been saying for months the process of nation formation is the same for all people through all time.

        False. Just look at East Timor.

      • Woody Tanaka on April 11, 2014, 9:46 am

        “Yes I’ve been saying for months the process of nation formation is the same for all people through all time. Everyone does the same thing. They have to.”

        Then be sure to tell all the Jewish organizations to shut the hell up with all this complaining-about-the-Holocaust nonsense. I mean, the Nazis were no better or worse than any other state, like Canada, in your view, correct?


      • pjdude on April 10, 2014, 8:25 pm

        That’s not self determination pumpkin that’s illegally trying to prevent it

    • Donald on April 10, 2014, 1:35 pm

      “Pathetic, they cant even get it right”
      How much influence do you think people trying to persuade Kerry would have if they not only criticized Israel, but took Putin’s side in the Crimea?

      • John Douglas on April 10, 2014, 1:43 pm

        Exactly, Donald. But there’s danger as well in further demonizing Putin by using him as the measure of evil. Looks now like someone’s trying to pin the Boston marathon bombings Putin. That’s war talk.

      • Justpassingby on April 10, 2014, 3:26 pm

        “Exactly”? Why are you saying that when you are saying its bad to demonize Putin, which is in turn my point.

      • annie on April 10, 2014, 4:15 pm

        Why are you saying that when you are saying its bad to demonize Putin, which is in turn my point.

        john was responding to donald not you. donald’s point, as i read it, was that people trying to persuade Kerry would not have influence w/him if they supported crimea rejoining w/russia. so john stated that in turn, it ends up demonizing putin which isn’t helpful. so of the 2 pts, john stated ‘exactly’ referencing donald’s ‘influence’ point not yours.

      • on April 10, 2014, 2:13 pm

        I know it’s a crazy thought but why not be 100% truthful on these matters?

        Once you allow the Zionists to cause you to censor yourself, have you not lost?

    • Ellen on April 10, 2014, 2:36 pm

      They are simply pushing buttons to get support for this stance.

      Unfortunately not one of these former “heavyweights” have any real policy influence. If they did, they would not be in their jobs long.

      But their voices on Politico on this is significant.

      I can already hear the whining songs of victim-hood out of Zioland when the US finally stops bankrolling Israel.

      But before that happens, things will be very very ugly and that is frightening.

    • American on April 10, 2014, 3:22 pm

      Justpassingby says:

      April 10, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Pathetic, they cant even get it right.

      Crimea wanted to be part of Russia

      True, Zig gets is wrong there. Crimea ‘voted’ to join Russia–Russia didn’t and hasn’t ‘invaded’ Crimea against its will.
      NATO is now saying Scotland must be ‘prevented’ from voting itself independent of GB……so whats NATO going to do if Scotland votes itself out?….bomb it back into GB?
      The New World Order enforcers are finding they cant control the world like they thought they could.

      • Justpassingby on April 10, 2014, 4:35 pm


        Although “NWO” might succeed. They seems to be crazy enough.

      • pjdude on April 10, 2014, 8:34 pm

        Your right their were no russian gun men in Crimea during the vote oh wait there were. Not saying they wouldn’t have voted to go with Russia but to pretend their wasn’t an element of intimidation involved is ignoring the facts

      • Justpassingby on April 11, 2014, 4:08 am


        Of coruse there were troops Russia have a base there.
        Stop typing on subjects you dont know anything about.

      • pjdude on April 11, 2014, 12:27 pm

        So because I disagree with you I don’t know anything bout it. Wasn’t referring to the Russians on the based. Was referring to the unmarked russian made apcs roaming around Crimea blockading the Ukrainian bases. Or did you just forget about those? So before you decide to condescend make sure your your ducks are in a row

      • puppies on April 11, 2014, 1:41 pm

        @pjdude – Well duh! Should the Crimean local administration leave its population at the mercy of a Ukrainian military under the orders of a fascist band that overthrew legal government and announced its racist intentions by banning the Russian language in favor of a non-standard dialect?

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 1:56 pm

        The proposed action removing Russian as a second official language in parts of Ukraine, was suspended.

      • puppies on April 11, 2014, 4:59 pm

        @Canning – Yeah, a most believable suspension, fully enough to restore trust.

      • James Canning on April 12, 2014, 7:35 pm

        @Puppies – – If you are arguing in effect that the proposal to abolish Russian as an offical language in areas of Ukraine where it was one, was foolish, I agree with you. I doubt it was going to happen, however.

      • Justpassingby on April 11, 2014, 2:13 pm


        Again dont talk on subjects you dont know about.
        Again Russia have a base there. This base. Have. Soldiers. Russian ones.
        There were also self defense groups on the islands.

        Get it?

      • pjdude on April 12, 2014, 10:22 am

        Your clearly more concerned with attacking the west and apologizing for Russia. You’ve completely ignored what said to attack me. Have a nice day I’m done with you

  3. GJB on April 10, 2014, 1:29 pm

    Good to hear these foreign policy experts weighing in with such sensible arguments. There is a big difference with the Russia/Crimea situation, however: In I/P, we have been actively supporting and enabling the occupation, which not only makes us complicit, but we can influence the situation by simply withdrawing that support. We have little influence, nor do we have any real national interest, in the situation in Crimea.

    • Kathleen on April 10, 2014, 3:23 pm

      Recently get a few shots in on Washington Journal about how absurd it was for the U.S. to be shouting at Russia for their illegal actions in Crimea compared to U.S. actions in Iraq and Israel’s persistent international law breaking. Really like it that I have my own file over at Camera’s Cspan watch. Always keep in mind that Washington Journal has millions of viewers each week. Have mentioned Mondoweiss numerous time during some of my calls into the show. Camera has had a file on me for awhile now about calling in about this issue. Problem is that they missed about 15 years of my phone calls into that program about this critical issue

      ” Host: STEVE SCULLY ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected]).

      Topic: U.S. sanctions on Russia – is it enough?

      Caller: Kathleen from Dayton, Ohio (click here to view).

      This obsessively anti-Israel caller – whose lengthy, uninterrupted rants are always indulged – is again allowed to violate C-SPAN’s ostensible one-call-per-30-days rule. She called only two days prior as “Kathleen from Athens, Ohio” (March 16 – 7:06 AM, click here to view) during a segment also hosted by Scully. Would C-SPAN have people believe that Scully did not recognize from only two days prior, Kathleen’s highly distinctive voice and similar spiel? Notice the unusual opening dialogue between Steve and Kathleen. This is a suspicious departure from the norm in which C-SPAN hosts obtain caller’s name and location from a computer screen. Scully previously had indulged this caller on Sept. 8, 2013 (click here to view).

      Host: “Good morning, where are you calling from?”

      Caller: “I’m calling from Dayton, Ohio.”

      Host: “Yes. Go ahead please – and your name?”

      Caller. “My name is Kathleen.”

      Host: “Hi Kathleen.”

      Caller: “Hey, you know, the question I have with President Obama – and really many of our presidents – is that when we scream about – well, Obama wasn’t screaming – the territorial integrity and the international law, and you know we applied it there – to [Russian President] Putin – but don’t apply it to Israel in regards to the West Bank and international law with regards to Israel. You guys just had a recent special on C-SPAN called “Reassessing the U.S.-Israel relationship .” I encourage people to come to your Web site – on Washington Journal – and watch it. There’s a double standard about application of certain international laws in regard to Putin but not when it comes to Israel. Those double standards don’t fly in the rest of the world. There’s hardly been a whisper on MSNBC or anywhere about the Obama meeting with [Palestinian President] Abbas. So, what’s with this all the silence on that issue?”

      Host: “Okay. We did cover that story yesterday in the Washington Times …”

      • American on April 11, 2014, 8:05 pm

        @ Kathleen

        yes the I-minons have their eye on you don’t they…lol
        good for you

  4. Justpassingby on April 10, 2014, 1:58 pm

    None which is better than to use lies.

  5. Amar on April 10, 2014, 2:28 pm

    Is it any wonder that Israel refused to back the U.S. in its efforts to isolate Russia diplomatically at the UN a few weeks ago over Crimea? Israel abstained in the vote condemning Russia.

    • lysias on April 10, 2014, 3:24 pm

      Lieberman has been making noises about cozying up to Russia, especially if the U.S. distances itself from Israel.

    • puppies on April 11, 2014, 12:54 am

      Wow. So they need the systematic US veto and that of its sockpuppets in the Pacific Islands, but won’t even participate in an itty-bitty strongarming vote? Some allies, these.

  6. Kathleen on April 10, 2014, 3:12 pm

    Not a mention of Kerry’s “poof” statement or how the MSM has actually been reporting a bit more honestly about this issue over at Huffington Post.. Sent them some tips as if they were not aware of this issue. HP seems to have shut down to this issue again. Just making way too much money and still too risky I guess to cover this hot topic for Arianna and team $$$$

  7. seafoid on April 10, 2014, 3:32 pm

    Crimea is a sign of the decline of American power. Brzezinski keeps hammering this point- the Yanks have lost status BECAUSE OF IRAQ and Israel doesn’t get it.
    Israel can’t play realpolitik anyway- it has no resources and it is utterly dependent on the bots in DC pulling strings.

  8. James Canning on April 10, 2014, 3:59 pm

    Bravo, six “heavyweights”. More prominent poeple need to say publicly that Israel needs to get out of the West Bank.

  9. bilal a on April 10, 2014, 4:25 pm

    Pickering, Carlucci, Hills : amongst the most demonic representatives of the multinational cartel, must be time for some major population transfers:

  10. RudyM on April 10, 2014, 4:48 pm

    Brzezinski is one of the strategists we may well have to thank for recent U.S. intervention in Ukraine, and for NATO aggressiveness toward Russia, in general. Additionally, we can thank him for beginning the process of destroying Afghanistan (in the name of defeating the Soviet Union). A lot of anti-Zionists are entirely too forgiving of this man.

    In my opinion, Putin did the right thing by going into Crimea.

    Those who can’t agree with that should at least be able to agree that the U.S. has absolutely no claim to the moral high ground, not least because it was the force behind the overthrow of an elected government in Ukraine, in the context of Russia’s repeated willingness to engage in negotiated solutions to conflicts around Ukraine.

    Since Russia has been on of the most significant checks on an all out U.S. assault on Syria and Iran, let’s ask ourselves if we want to see it weakened. Of course, if you feel it has done something worthy of condemnation, I guess there’s no avoiding that.

    (I do have to laugh very hard at anyone who supported U.S. intervention in Libya but condemns Russia’s military action in Crimea, which consisted largely of simply adding too the troops already stationed there. Didn’t Russia get the NATO memo that the only way a country or region can be saved is by bombing the hell out of it?)

    • James Canning on April 10, 2014, 6:24 pm

      The overthrow of the president of Ukraine was not likely to “weaken” Russia. In fact, Russia would gain from a more stable, prosperous Ukraine.

      • Shingo on April 10, 2014, 10:31 pm

        The overthrow of the president of Ukraine was not likely to “weaken” Russia.

        Of course it would.

        1. The new regime is ardently anti Russian. Tymoshenko vowed to tear up all treaties and remove the base in Crimea
        2. The plan was to include Ukraine into NATO, which would place hostile military bases on Russia’s border.
        3. Multinationals want to acquire Ukraine’s fertile farmlands for agricultural exports. That would enrich a handful of oligarch and do nothing for the economy.
        4. The IMF imposed austerity measures are going to crush what remains of Ukraine’s economy

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 12:01 pm

        I think it was unlikely Ukraine was getting near to gaining membership in Nato. And continuing Russian use of its naval bases in Crimea was not seriously threatened, in my view.

        Neocons were seeking Ukrainian membership in Nato, is is true. They also seek Georgia’s and Israel’s membership in Nato. Bad ideas all round.

      • JennieS on April 13, 2014, 12:17 am

        @ Shingo & RudyM excellent and acurate both of you.

      • James Canning on April 13, 2014, 2:44 pm

        Obama’s generals were not keen on Ukriane’s admission to Nato. I think it was unlikely. And I think Russia’s continuing use of its naval bases in Crimea was not seriously threatened (despite noises made to that effect by opportunistic politicians).

      • puppies on April 11, 2014, 12:56 am

        And this is your idea of stabilization? If it’s so, I’ll take anarchy any day.

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 12:44 pm

        @Puppies – – I was not an enthusiast for the events in Kiev that ended up with quite a few people shot and with the presdient of the country overthrown.

        That said, a stable, prosperous Ukraine would be a good thing for Russia.

      • Keith on April 12, 2014, 7:06 pm

        JAMES CANNING- “That said, a stable, prosperous Ukraine would be a good thing for Russia.”

        Probably it would, which is why you will not see a stable, prosperous Ukraine as long as the US/NATO/IMF are calling the shots. Thanks to the Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution,” its economy is in bad shape in spite of Russian subsidies and is now heading towards a total disaster. The Ukraine will now be subjected to the IMF neoliberal shock routine resulting in massive privatization and corporate/oligarchic looting. It has been effectively destroyed and can no longer present a threat of some sort of union with Russia, a problem for imperial hegemony. Also, this new “cold war” puts a chill on German/Russian cooperation, a secondary objective. Below, I provide a quote and a link to an excellent discussion of the Ukrainian economic situation by Jack Rasmus.

        “Looking longer term, should the USA and the west prevail politically somehow in the coming contest for the Ukraine, the Ukrainian economy will be in shambles far worse than it is even today. Ukraine’s currency will be near-worthless. Inflation rampant. Government subsidies stripped from households. And economic hardship severe, as a ‘Greek-Style’ austerity is imposed. But western banks and multinational corporations will have a field day, as they say, buying up industries and companies on the cheap in the east and restructuring them to fit their global economic plans.” (Jack Rasmus)

      • James Canning on April 13, 2014, 2:53 pm

        Chronic corruption in Ukraine is viewed as a problem by the EU and by Russia.

  11. pabelmont on April 10, 2014, 7:16 pm

    Lee Hamilton — on of the 6 mentioned above — was in Congress back (in 1978?) when a joint committee asked the Legal Advisor of the State Department to give a legal opinion of the legality of Israel’s settlements under international law. He gave a fine analysis in a three page letter (as I recall) and concluded that the settlements were violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    At some early moment after 1967, or so i read, a legal advisor to the Israeli government gave a similar opinion to the Israeli government.

    Both governments ignored the legal advice. I suppose that ever since 1967 (and, indeed, before) it has been a matter of “How many divisions have the Palestinians” — to paraphrase Joseph Stalin’s famous question The Pope! How many divisions has he got?

    Neither morality nor lawfulness are very high on the priority lists of imperialists like the USA and Israel (or USSR, Nazi Germany, or older imperialisms — Pharaoh’s Egypt?).

    That being the case, what exactly is bothering Les Six? does the USA really have something to lose here, as so many critics of AIPAC so confidently assert?

    • James Canning on April 10, 2014, 7:27 pm

      Didn’t Lee Hamilton tell GW Bush in 2006 to make deals with Iran and Syria and get all US troops out of Iraq asap? Good advice, but not taken.

      • Kathleen on April 11, 2014, 10:01 am

        “Life after Congress

        On March 15, 2006, Congress announced the formation of the Iraq Study Group, organized by the United States Institute of Peace, of which Hamilton is the Democratic co-chairman, along with the former Secretary of State (under President George H.W. Bush) James A. Baker III. Hamilton, like Baker, is considered a master negotiator.

        Since leaving Congress, Mr. Hamilton has served as a member of the Hart-Rudman Commission, and was co-chairman of the Commission to Investigate Certain Security Issues at Los Alamos. He sits on many advisory boards, including those to the CIA, the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, and the United States Army. Hamilton is an Advisory Board member and Co-Chair for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy. He is previously the president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and was appointed to serve as the vice chair of the 9/11 Commission. In 2000-2001, he served as the American member of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which prepared the U.N policy of Responsibility to Protect, adopted in 2005. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors of Albright Stonebridge Group.

        Hamilton serves as a co-chair of the National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG) at the Bipartisan Policy Center.[1] He also serves as an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America.

        On February 25, 2011 Mr. Hamilton wrote a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to commute Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served. Jonathan Pollard is serving a life sentence for providing Israel with classified information, without the intent to harm the United States, a crime which normally carries a sentence of 2 – 4 years. In his letter, he states, “I do believe that he has served a disproportionately severe sentence.” He also states, “I have been acquainted for many years with members of his family, especially his parents, and I know how much pain and anguish they have suffered because of their son’s incarceration.” He concludes that,”commuting his sentence is a matter of basic compassion and justice.[2]”

        Whoa did not know Hamilton wrote a letter asking Obama to release Pollard.

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 1:47 pm

        Lee Hamilton and James Baker told GW Bush to make deals with Iran and Syria, and get all US troops out of Iraq asap. Great advice, and Bush blundered badly by not taking it.

        Pollard aspect is interesting, Kathleen.

  12. just on April 10, 2014, 7:34 pm

    I don’t see the comparison between “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank to Russia’s occupation of Crimea”.

    One is weeks old (never mind that the Crimeans are not suffering the same unconscionable atrocities that the Palestinians have been, and that they voted to join Russia and break from Ukraine ), the other is decades old and has been FULLY supported by our government. I see Crimea mentioned once in the article. Russia not at all. Israel and Palestine– plenty.

    Perhaps this article is more about the grotesque Israeli Occupation, the illegality of Israeli ‘settlements’ and Israel’s continued intransigence than anything else. Oh, yeah– and our complicity and enabling of same.

    Or maybe I am wrong.

  13. Daniel Rich on April 10, 2014, 9:01 pm

    Bad Vlad ‘The Hammer’ Putin?

    Facts only: Kosovo vs Crimea – ‘Good Independence’ vs ‘Bad Referendum’.

    Netanyahoo is like a white Afrikaan boer who created laws to keep firearms out of the hands of ‘kaffirs’ only to realize years later that the ‘kaffirs’ he needed to staff his police force to keep the other ‘kaffirs’ in check ended up being unarmed. No worries, change the law a bit to make everything ‘legal’ … and wait for the end of apartheid.

  14. mascraig on April 10, 2014, 11:56 pm

    While I agree with Ali Abunimah that the mere existence and continued struggle of Palestinians perpetually and justifiably calls into question Israel’s legitimacy, I disagree with the notion that this is why Netanyahu is pushing for recognition of Israel as Jewish state. This demand, along with the demands made of Arafat at CD II, are intended to elicit a certain refusal from the Palestinians and thus throw yet another irreconcilable obstacle in the path (in addition to thrusting blame, yet once again, upon the Palestinians). It’s as it has always been, the negotiations – and the various demands made therein – are never to reach a resolution but rather a cover under which to further their colonization. I don’t think Netanyahu, or any other Israeli leader, loses any sleep over what the Palestinians recognize or don’t.

    • Kay24 on April 11, 2014, 8:55 am

      You are right, and demanding to be “recognized” as a Jewish state, has nothing to do with Israel’s safety and security. This is yet another ploy by Bibi, to keep moving that goal post, making it hard for the US to achieve any peace for all.

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 12:06 pm

        Correct: it has nothing to do with Israel’s security.

  15. Pixel on April 11, 2014, 5:27 am

    As a basic thinker, my guess is that, because criticism of Israel is so new and so tentative, comparing two situations merely “spreads the criticism around”.

    Also, Israel’s comparison to Crimea, if on any level for public consumption plays to J & J Q Public’s thinking on the issue, which I believe is very basic.

    “Russia shouldn’t be in the Crimea and has no right to be there. That powerful country and its “evil” leader have taken advantage of the small and weak, who were fighting for their independence. America needs to stand up to them. Oh, and you’re saying Israel is doing the same thing?”

    It doesn’t matter that they don’t know “to whom” it’s being done by Israel, they resonate with the general concept. And, for as crazy at it may sound, I also think that Zbigniew benefits from some street cred from people who watch Morning Joe and “know” his daughter, Mika. If they like her, they’re more inclined to “like” (believe) her father.

    For the mainstream public, I think the message is, “Israel is doing wrong.”

    In that way, it seems important to me.

  16. Dentrebeccag on April 11, 2014, 6:34 am

    It warmed my heart to read this article. These wonderful men undoubtedly have and will face harsh criticism for their brave words, but everything they have written is 100% true. I wonder why former president, Jimmy Carter, wasn’t included among them?

  17. John Smithson on April 11, 2014, 8:17 am

    I am puzzled about how this comment string got so hi-jacked into a discussion about Russia – who cares? Looked to me like the main thrust of the article was how totally unfair and inconsistent the US approach to IP has been.

    Zbig, Hamilton, Pickering, Seigman (I haven’t read the other 2 as much) all get IP. Hamilton was on 9/11 panel and was the only one to ask ‘Why did they do it? What motivated these men?’ – anyone know what the FBI officer’s reply was?

    I found this refreshing and hopeful – slowly we are giving timid, less ‘into the issue’ folks room to feel freer to explore and learn without fear of retribution. Another drip of water on the wall of sugar cubes that separates most Americans from the truth about IP and their governments complicity in these atrocities.

    Again the concern is what happens when the average guy figures out who’s been pressuring his government to make this terrible policy a reality.

    • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 12:08 pm

      Bravo, for Lee Hamilton’s asking publicly why they did it (attacked the US on “9/11”).

      One reason was Israel’s continuing oppression of the Palestinians, as aided and abetted by the US.

      • John Smithson on April 11, 2014, 2:13 pm

        From 9/11 hearing: “What motivated them to do it?” was finally asked. Lee Hamilton, vice chair of the 9/11 Commission said, “I’m interested in the question of motivation of these hijackers, and my question is really directed to the agents. … what have you found out about why these men did what they did? What motivated them to do it?” The agents looked at each other, apparently not eager to be the one to have to say it. FBI Special Agent Fitzgerald stepped up to the plate and laid out the facts, “I believe they feel a sense of outrage against the United States. They identify with the Palestinian problem, they identify with people who oppose repressive regimes and I believe they tend to focus their anger on the United States.” But this testimony was kept out of the 9/11 Commission Report and no recommendation was given to address the main motive for the 9/11 attacks.

      • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 3:38 pm

        Great post, John. That the report would suppress the truth, about the great damage done to the US due to its foolish encouragement of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, is not surprising.

      • Shingo on April 11, 2014, 6:35 pm

        But this testimony was kept out of the 9/11 Commission Report and no recommendation was given to address the main motive for the 9/11 attacks.

        Was it kept out of the report or only out of the declassified version?

      • John Smithson on April 12, 2014, 11:05 am

        AFAIK it is NOT in the report. I read the book and the only place IP comes up is when they asked KSM his motivations. Fitzgerald’s testimony is available on the 911 commission website, but only if you watch the video and know where to look (I don’t know of any transcript of the testimony – that you could search on and find stuff more easily). There is also a video of a guy pestering Hamilton at a press conference about the IP/911 connection, whom Lee brushes off. o/w I don’t know of any other info.

      • James Canning on April 13, 2014, 2:55 pm

        Thanks, John.

  18. anthonybellchambers on April 11, 2014, 8:41 am

    Given the sentiments of Israel’s extreme right and its threats of annexation of Palestinian land, the most appropriate response from the democratic community of free nations is for the EU to immediately abrogate the Association Agreement that allows Israel free trading access with the European single market.

    Israel has been in breach of this agreement for some years but now the Israeli state is threatening criminal action by further violation of the Geneva Conventions . It must be stopped. Further appeasement has shades of Munich in 1939.

    • pabelmont on April 11, 2014, 4:29 pm

      Abrogating such an agreement is an example of what — more generally — might be called “sanctions”. The point of sanctions might be no more than expressing outrage, but most usefully sanctions would be part of an enforcement regime aimed at requiring Israel to do something.

      Require Israel to do what? Well, the nations have not yet agreed to that. far from it. But if they DO agree to require SOMETHING, that something would most easily (most easily agreed to by the nations that is) be a requirement that Israel conduct the occupation(s) legally and, accordingly, remove all settlements, the wall, and the settlers. Remove (as to settlements and wall) means DISMANTLE (DESTROY). see UNSC 465 (1980), which calls for that.

  19. German Lefty on April 11, 2014, 8:48 am

    Wow, this is great! They even refer to Israel within the Green Line as “78 percent of Palestine”. The remarks on the Jewish state demand are also straight to the point. I posted a link to this article on “All In with Chris Hayes” in the hope that the issue will be picked up.

    • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 12:05 pm

      Perhaps the average American can grasp the concept of Israel within its 1966 borders as being 78% of what was Palestine in 1946? If he or she hears it enough?

  20. Kathleen on April 11, 2014, 10:07 am

    Lee Hamilton was also the Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission Report (if you have never read). They even allow facts about how Israel’s illegal actions have created incentive for attacks on the U.S. due to the unending support for Israel no matter what they do. Pisses many people in that part of the world off. It’s in the report. Forget the pages but it is in there

    • James Canning on April 11, 2014, 12:47 pm

      Sadly, too few Americans comprehend that American support for ongoing oppression of the Palestinians helped to cause or bring on the “9/11” attacks.
      Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon was also a primary factor in Osama bin Laden’s hatred of the US.

  21. anthonybellchambers on April 12, 2014, 11:40 am


    Why is Israel so frightened by Palestinian accession to international conventions and treaties to which every state in Europe and America is a signatory?

    Is it because the Israeli state has refused to sign and ratify the Nuclear non- proliferation treaty (NPT) to which every state in Europe and America is a party?

    Is it because the Israeli state has refused to sign and ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to which every state in Europe and America is a party?

    Is it because the Israeli state has refused to sign and ratify the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) to which every state in Europe and the US is a party?

    Or is because the Israeli state is very afraid that if the Palestinians become members of the UN’s International Court then it will have to face charges of war crimes alleged by the UNHRC to have been committed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008/9 by heavily armed Israeli troops against a predominately civilian population in which over 300 children under the age of sixteen were murdered?

    Welcome to the United Nations. It’s your world.
    UN Search
    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

    NOTES TO CORRESPONDENTS in response to questions asked concerning Palestinian letters for accession to international conventions and treaties
    New York, 2 April 2014

    We can confirm that Robert Serry, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the PLO and the PA has received 13 letters for accession to international conventions and treaties.

    The treaties and conventions are:

    The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
    The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
    The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in armed conflict
    The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
    The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
    The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
    The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    The United Nations Convention against Corruption
    The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
    The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
    The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    Accession letters for the following conventions were submitted to the Swiss and Dutch Representatives to the PA, respectively:

    The Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the First Additional Protocol
    The Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land.

    • Ellen on April 12, 2014, 11:20 pm

      Sorry, this is in German and reported by the Neue Zuericher Zeitung, but in short the Swiss will recognize the Palestinian membership into the Geneva Convention. This is significant as Israel is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention on many many levels. Israel’s only argument against the Palestinian entrance is that it is not a state, so cannot be a member. So there you have it: Israel will do everything to prevent an establishment of a Palestinian state.

      Please plug into google translate or something like that.

      “Die Palästinenser können nach Angaben der Schweizer Regierung den Genfer Konventionen beitreten. Die Aufnahme des «Staates Palästina» sei am 2. April wirksam geworden, teilte das Aussenministerium in Bern am Freitag mit.
      (ap) Die Palästinenser haben im Streit mit Israel um die Gründung eines eigenen Staates den Beitritt zu mehreren internationalen Organisationen und Konventionen angestrebt. Die Vereinten Nationen teilten am Donnerstag mit, Generalsekretär Ban Ki Moon habe die Bewerbungen für den Beitritt zu 13 Konventionen akzeptiert.

      Israel ist gegen einen Beitritt der Palästinenser zu den Genfer Konventionen. Diese sind Teil des humanitären Völkerrechts und schützen Menschen vor Grausamkeiten in Kriegssituationen. Sie untersagen auch die Kolonisierung von besetztem Land. 195 Staaten sind dem Genfer Abkommen von 1949 beigetreten. Israel argumentiert, dass die Konventionen nicht auf die Palästinenser angewendet werden können, weil sie keinen eigenständigen Staat haben.”

      • puppies on April 13, 2014, 1:17 am

        “According to indications by the Swiss government, the Palestinians may join the Geneva Convention. The Foreign Ministry in Berne communicated that the acceptance of the “State of Palestine” has been effective on April 2.
        (ap) In their fight with Israel for the founding of their own state, the Palestinians have tried to join several international organizations and conventions. On Thursday, the United Nations announced that Secretary General Ban Ki Moon had accepted the applications for participating in thirteen conventions.

        Israel opposes the Palestinians’ joining the Geneva Conventions. These are part of humanitarian international law; they protect people from atrocities in war situations. They also ban the colonization of occupied land. The 1949 Geneva Convention has been joined by 195 states. Israel argues that the conventions cannot be applied to the Palestinians while they have no state of their own.”

  22. kalithea on April 12, 2014, 11:51 pm

    Let’s get this straight. The overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted for annexation to Russia. While the Palestinians were ETHNICALLY CLEANSED AND ROBBED of their land. Big difference!

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