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Obama and Kerry are spurred by ‘vainglory’ in pursuing talks — Finkelstein

Israel/Palestine
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Obama and Kerry at the White House, Dec. 2012, photo by Mandel Ngan for AFP/Getty images

Obama and Kerry at the White House, Dec. 2012, photo by Mandel Ngan for AFP/Getty images

Norman Finkelstein has an interesting piece up at the Chiseler on the peace negotiations, “Norman Finkelstein Asks: The End of Palestine?” based on talks he gave in Britain in March. Finkelstein notes that he also spoke in Turkey and Iran.

Some excerpts:

In all the commentary on the Kerry process, one question has been studiously avoided: Why has Kerry embarked on this mission now, and why has Obama lent his prestige to it?  The Israel-Palestine conflict is hardly a pressing concern: a surfeit of other crises has sidelined it on the international agenda, while Obama and Kerry already have their hands full with Iran and Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, China and Russia, and the fallout from the Snowden leaks and drone strikes.  Neither Israel nor the Palestinians (not that they count) beseeched Washington to intervene.  Except for the clinical diagnosis of Israel’s defence minister (“misplaced obsession and messianic fervour”), the only plausible explanation for the US administration’s interest is the mundane one of legacy.  The principal impetus behind the US initiative—embarrassing as it might be to the President and his Secretary of State, and deflating as it might be to everyone else—is personal vanity.  Like Clinton and Rice before them, Obama and Kerry seek historical vindication.  When harnessed to the machinery of a powerful state, vainglory can prove to be an irresistible force, and has often been the root of incalculable human misery.  If Obama and Kerry do not strike gold, however, it also means that, once their terms of office expire, the pressure coming from Washington will vanish, until and unless a genuine crisis arises…

It is no secret what the Kerry plan will look like.  If he is to have any chance of success, Kerry cannot fight a war on two fronts.  Israel constitutes a “strategic asset” of the US and can count on the clout of a powerful domestic lobby.  It is consequently in a far stronger position than Palestinians to resist Washington’s orders.  Judging by both official and insider statements, the Secretary of State has therefore appropriated Israel’s minimal demands as his own; the “Kerry process” refers to his efforts to foist these on the Palestinians.

On Israel’s motivation to participate.

Like the US, Israel does not currently have an urgent stake in ending the conflict.  Israel negotiated an agreement with Egypt at Camp David in 1977 because it had suffered a major military setback in the 1973 war, and feared the outcome of a second round.  It negotiated the Oslo agreement with the Palestinians in 1993 because it suffered a major public relations debacle during the first intifada, and worried about the army’s fighting ability if it got bogged down in policing the occupied territories…

On the pro side of the ledger, an agreement will free Israel once and for all of the albatross of the occupation, while enabling it to keep almost everything it wants, and ridding it of what it doesn’t (i.e., the Palestinian people); it will normalize relations with the Arab world, opening up new vistas for regional trade, investment and military cooperation; it will enable Israel’s fuller integration with the EU, its largest trading partner; and it will further entrench the US-Israeli “special relationship” by placating the Washington establishment, much of which has also grown weary of the occupation.  If a treaty is signed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be the toast of the town in Tel Aviv, Washington, Paris, London, and Berlin, and bag a Nobel Peace Prize into the bargain.  If, on the other hand, he refuses to play ball, Netanyahu will incur the wrath of the US and EU.  For a person of Netanyahu’s outsized ego, the potency of these incentives shouldn’t be underestimated…

Finkelstein is good on the “Jewish state” recognition demand, and suggests if it were a genuine demand, Israel could just change its name tomorrow to The Jewish State of Israel, ala The Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979.

It is widely speculated that Netanyahu threw in the “Jewish state” demand to sabotage the Kerry mission.  The likelier explanation is that, if he extracts such recognition, this ideological victory and—the yet more satisfying flipside—humiliation of Palestinians will win over to the Kerry plan his right-wing governing coalition and natural constituency.  (The same motive might impel Netanyahu to make acceptance of the Kerry plan contingent on Obama’s release of Jonathan Pollard, a cause célèbre on the Israeli right.)  The danger lurks that Palestinians might be painted into a corner, such that the more Netanyahu holds out on this demand, the more it becomes framed, including by Palestinians, as the defining issue…

Even if Netanyahu is forced to dissolve the current government, he (or another prime minister) can still form a new left-centre coalition in order to ratify the agreement.

I’m leaving out Finkelstein’s attack on the BDS movement as feckless; it includes his assertion that Palestinians are alone in the world, his mockery of the Scarlett Johansson campaign, and his analysis that European sanctions have nothing to do with BDS (the Europeans aim to support Kerry, he says, and by celebrating the European moves, BDS activists are celebrating a blow against Palestinian freedom). He is, IMHO, engaged in a feud on this question; though you can read his argument at the link.

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186 Responses

  1. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    April 20, 2014, 12:12 pm

    I like Finkelstein as a person, but some of his views are really strange.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      April 20, 2014, 1:23 pm

      You sum up my feelings. I don’t think Finkelstein is a crypto-Zionist like some have portrayed it. (Chomsky is another story, especially in his subtle help in the smearing of Walt/Smearsheimer back in ’06-’07).

      Finkelstein just calls it as he sees it, and he happens to be wrong on BDS.

      Finally:

      it includes his assertion that Palestinians are alone in the world

      Really? So why do they win every vote in the UN general assembly by a margin of 190-5 or something along those lines?

      It’s just that Apartheid South Africa’s ambassador to the UN was right when he told his U.S. colleague in the 1960s: “There are almost 200 votes in the UN, but both of us know that there is only one that counts, the U.S. veto in the security council”.

      Apartheid South Africa had the help of the U.S. veto for almost 30 years since he said that. Israel has gotten the benefit of the veto on a consistent basis since the 1970s(before that, it didn’t need it that much).

      It will use that veto for more than 30 years, but nothing lasts forever.

      Finkelstein’s problem is that he always paid too much attention to formalia. He clings romantically to the notion of international law, even when it is mostly for show.

      The major powers, US, Russia, China etc, none of them care about that. When national interest is at stake, “international law” doesn’t come into the equation. If it did, then Bush would have been tried at the Hague. Instead, it is mostly a political court picking off easy targets from Africa and similar places, allowing white liberals to feel good about themselves.

      The PA will never accept a deal because it knows it can’t deliver one. It has no credibility. It is not only Bibi that wants the status quo to continue forever. So does the corrupt PA, who all rely on salaries from Israel, US and the EU and who fear a democratic vote – as does its patrons.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 20, 2014, 3:20 pm

        It’s informative to know where somebody gets their paycheck from. This makes interesting that Abbas has announced he’s considering bent on desolving the PA and declaring his sovereign agency “occupied government.” Don’t you think that’s pretty desperate? He’s age 79, and maybe he’s ready to thrown in the flag?

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        April 20, 2014, 4:30 pm

        I don’t think Finkelstein is a crypto-Zionist like some have portrayed it.
        I think that he is. I remember an interview in which he said that Zionism is not the problem.
        Also, read here:
        Why did Finkelstein avoid Zionism questions?
        http://www.arabamericannews.com/news/news/id_3849

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      April 20, 2014, 1:58 pm

      Hes one of the best indeed so there should be no need for him to attack his own camp like that. Who does it benefit but Israel/supporters?

      • puppies
        puppies
        April 20, 2014, 3:07 pm

        JPB – Not so fast; the BDS blessings are not there yet to be counted. Yes there is some movement and it provides excellent opportunities to educate the public, but it is infested by “liberal” Zionists; its targets are almost exclusively their targets: not the Zionist entity proper but only some post-1967 high-visibility cases. Those that even a Zionist political party chair inside the Zionist entity (Meretz) follows and supports. Its leadership in some places is almost openly Zionist, cult-like obsessed with a Reinheitsgebot to weed out “Antisemites” (whatever that is in their sick imagination it does not involve opposition to boycott.) These guys’ objectives are obvious: salvage Zionism or at least extend its life by giving it a continued racial supremacist state within a so-called 2-state solution (one state + one powerless, unarmed collaborator = 2 states.) So on the whole I’m not sure any benefits of BDS outweigh its liabilities. Most people here are trying to present as a fait accompli a Zionist entity legitimately extending to the 1967 green line; even though I do not question their self-definition wrt Zionism I wouldn’t expect most of them to be critical of BDS.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        April 20, 2014, 4:34 pm

        there should be no need for him to attack his own camp like that.
        Um, is he in our camp at all? He is anti-BDS. We are pro-BDS. Therefore, we are in different camps.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        April 20, 2014, 8:19 pm

        @ German Lefty,

        Q: …is he in our camp at all?

        R: I don’t think being in whatever ‘camp’ is the solution to human problems. Humans should be allowed to roam around freely [currently ‘free speech zones’] and only interact when they’ve reached ‘common ground.’

        I have my personal thoughts, opinions and personality, but they would all die, once they end up locked into the confined space of any ‘camp.’

        Some food for th0ught about BDS.

        Wasn’t Jesus the 9th Messiah?

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        April 21, 2014, 3:59 pm

        I don’t think being in whatever ‘camp’ is the solution to human problems.
        First of all, I’d like to point out that “camp” is not my preferred term. Justpassingby used it first and I merely picked it up in my reply.
        Second, I do think that being in the “camp of justice” is the solution to most human problems.

        Wasn’t Jesus the 9th Messiah?
        I am not a Jesus freak. So, I have no idea what your question means.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        April 21, 2014, 5:19 am

        Germany Lefty

        No offense but Finkelstein is more in the pro-palestine “camp” that both you and me.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        April 21, 2014, 2:28 pm

        No offense but Finkelstein is more in the pro-palestine “camp” that both you and me.

        How am I not supposed to be offended by that? An anti-BDS person like Finkelstein is certainly less supportive of Palestinian rights than I am. To supporters of justice, there is no rational reason to oppose BDS.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        April 22, 2014, 3:37 am

        Germany Lefty

        Take it easy I wasnt even talking about BDS.
        Besides how do you approach the criticism of BDS that Finkelstein puts up?

    • John Douglas
      John Douglas
      April 20, 2014, 6:41 pm

      Obama and Kerry are motivated in their ME ventures by …”personal vanity” writes Finkelstein. There are four or five million other possibilities, feel free to write here whatever you want them to be motivated by.

      First, most people, myself included, are clueless about what they themselves are motivated by, (Why did you become a philosophy prof they ask. I make something up. Why does Finkelstein speak out? He makes something up.)
      Second, in any case what motivates Obama and Kerry is entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether what they are doing is worth doing or not.

      Zionists are addicted to motive mongering – although the list of motives they attribute is so short it hardly qualifies as a list.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        April 21, 2014, 2:29 pm

        What motivates Obama and Kerry is entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether what they are doing is worth doing or not.

        True!

  2. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride
    April 20, 2014, 12:30 pm

    One is beginning to notice a pattern of duplicity among some leading Jewish progressives regarding Israel. At first they present themselves to the world as fearless and principled critics of Israel and Zionism, they establish themselves as leaders and moderators of that conversation, and then they use the influence they have acquired to mount often sleazy apologetics for the Israeli government. Have some or most of them been “ops” from the very beginning, executing a long-range game plan?

    Obama and Kerry have been committed to solving the I/P problem because they realize that the failure to do so will likely have disastrous strategic consequences for the United States and Israel down the line if it is not fixed now. This moment in history is probably the last opportunity to fix the problem before it becomes unfixable.

    It turns out that quite a few progressive anti-Zionists or non-Zionists are really liberal Zionists who are really Likud Zionists who are running interference for the grand project of building Jewish dominated Greater Israel — they are, quite simply, Zionists — passionate Jewish nationalists. After observing the peculiar gyrations of Benny Morris, Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, M.J. Rosenberg and others one wonders — which progressive critics of Israel are the real deal? Which have been presenting a false face to the world? Is Norman Finkelstein just a more left-wing variation on Aaron David Miller, Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk? In the end, a clever saboteur of all efforts to stop or slow down Zionism’s messianic scheme to build Greater Israel?

    Have many of us been hoodwinked?

    The insulting rhetoric here (“vanity,” “vainglory,” etc.) is straight out of the neocon playbook.

    Fool me once….

    • Donald
      Donald
      April 20, 2014, 2:49 pm

      “After observing the peculiar gyrations of Benny Morris, Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, M.J. Rosenberg and others one wonders — which progressive critics of Israel are the real deal? Which have been presenting a false face to the world? Is Norman Finkelstein just a more left-wing variation on Aaron David Miller, Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk?”

      This is paranoid. I’m thoroughly tired of MJ, for instance, but he’s never hidden the fact that he’s a liberal Zionist. I’m surprised that he’s come as far as he has, and not surprised (just disgusted) to see him screeching “anti-semite” at Ali Abunimah and others.

      And lumping all these people into the same category of evil Zionists who are trying to pull the wool over your eyes isn’t a very helpful analysis. Finkelstein is an extremely harsh critic of Israeli actions–Morris has been an apologist for most of what they’ve done in the 15 years. Finkelstein has been a jerk about BDS, but in this very piece he criticizes the PA for giving up on refugee rights. A clever saboteur? Yeah, sure, anyone reading Finkelstein over the past 30 years would think he was one of the most devastating critics of Israel and Zionism in existence, but it’s all just been a ruse. Sneaky bastard.

      No idea what the potshot at Greenwald is about.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 20, 2014, 3:10 pm

        Donald,

        And lumping all these people into the same category of evil Zionists who are trying to pull the wool over your eyes isn’t a very helpful analysis.

        There is absolutely a pattern of significance here: liberals and progressives taking a critical stance towards Israel and Zionism and later creating a great deal of cognitive dissonance by making statements which protect Israel from being subject to any effective pressure for changing its policies.

        This pattern is most obvious in the behavior of liberal Zionists like Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller and Martin Indyk, who have deliberately obstructed and sabotaged the Mideast peace process while pretending to champion it — but one also hears echos of this routine in the behavior of more hard left critics of Israel like Finkelstein.

        This current slam by Finkelstein at John Kerry and Barack Obama could have easily come out of the mouth of Aaron David Miller or even a typical neocon. Something really doesn’t add up. It is not paranoid to wonder about what is the real agenda here when one sees so much self-contradictory behavior.

        The bottom line in all this messy and confusing back-and-forth: Israel keeps building more settlements and consolidating its hold over Greater Israel. That is what one should be paying attention to — and to whom precisely has enabled this state of affairs all across the political spectrum, from the far right to the far left. Finkelstein is one of many enablers.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 20, 2014, 3:41 pm

        Donald,

        Let’s leave Finkelstein, Morris, Chomsky, Rosenberg and Greenwald out of this for the moment.

        Do you believe that Ross, Miller and Indyk have been sincere in their efforts to pursue the two-state solution to the I/P conflict? Or have they been duplicitous and manipulative, attempting to drag out the peace talks for as long as possible while providing space for the Israeli government to continue to build new settlements in the occupied territories?

        And more: how active do you think Mossad has been in attempting to control the political opposition in the United States and Europe? Not active at all? Very active? What methods would it use? What resources does it have at its disposal?

      • philweiss
        philweiss
        April 20, 2014, 10:48 pm

        I’m with Donald. Ross, Miller and Indyk, sure. Chomsky and Finkelstein? These are intellectuals of integrity, even if you don’t agree with them.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 21, 2014, 12:29 am

        Phil,

        I’m with Donald. Ross, Miller and Indyk, sure. Chomsky and Finkelstein? These are intellectuals of integrity, even if you don’t agree with them.

        Chomsky and Finkelstein have written some of the most searching and thoughtful critiques of Israel and Zionism out there and I respect them for that.

        They have also tried to protect the Israel lobby from full scrutiny and have opposed BDS. So sometimes I wonder about how their ideas hang together and about what realistic plans they have for achieving a change in Israeli policies.

        When Finkelstein begins sounding a bit like Aaron David Miller in ridiculing Kerry’s peace efforts, I feel a trifle suspicious about what’s up. But Finkelstein is probably perfectly sincere and is who he appears to be — someone who is intensely conflicted on Israeli issues and not always perfectly coherent. (I can relate to that because my own views on Israel keep shifting in volatile and unpredictable ways.)

        Is Mossad running ops to try to control the political opposition? Of course, and they are very good at what they do. But it would be a mistake to run wild with paranoia about this. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 1:13 pm

        They have also tried to protect the Israel lobby from full scrutiny and have opposed BDS.

        Now you are engaging in hyperbole. Neither Chomsky nor Finkelstein has ever tried to act as some kind of information gatekeeper. They usually appear in symposiums or panel discussions where anyone else can speak their mind or publish to the Internet where you can just Google for the people they criticize to see the opposing views.

        They simply point out the fact that the Lobby, while very powerful and successful in influencing I/P policy, is not the only factor or even the deciding factor in other US Middle East policy decisions. If you are going to propose an alternate theory, it has to be able to accurately predict the failure of the Lobby to get America to attack Iran after 20 years of constant attempts; and the failure of 300 AIPAC lobbyists to obtain the authorization to use military force (AUMF) from their thralls in Congress against the Assad regime in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

        I’m no prophet, but like Chomsky and Finkelstein, I can read a congressional news letter or press release without asking for anyone’s permission. So I know for certain that the Lobby is not all powerful. When Obama punted and left the decision up to the Congress and the Lobbyists, I knew all along that they would opt for getting re-elected and ignore the dumbshits @ AIPAC who advised them to piss-off masses of disgruntled voters that constitute their power base and get the US bogged down in yet another unpopular war in the Middle East. That’s magical cult-like thinking on the Lobby’s part and it ain’t ever gonna happen. So I was predicting as much. I’m not a genius, I just don’t believe AIPAC’s self-promoting propaganda that portrays the Lobby as an 800 pound gorilla in the room and haven’t found a better theory to explain their successes and failures yet:
        * http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/dubious-intelligence-and-iran-blackmail-how-israel-is-driving-the-us-to-war-in-syria.html/comment-page-1#comment-589837
        * http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/dubious-intelligence-and-iran-blackmail-how-israel-is-driving-the-us-to-war-in-syria.html/comment-page-1#comment-590027
        * http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/dubious-intelligence-and-iran-blackmail-how-israel-is-driving-the-us-to-war-in-syria.html/comment-page-1#comment-590246
        * http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/influence-politics-government.html/comment-page-1#comment-645517

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 21, 2014, 2:29 pm

        @ Philip Weiss
        So, will we ever get Chomsky and Finkelestein’s view of the Adelson GOP primary last month at his Vegas casino? How about their respective views of Mark Kirk? How about the customary freebee jaunts to Israel of our congress critters, paid for by AIPAC’s “educational” corporate buddy who just happens to share the same corporate address and personnel as AIPAC itself?

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        April 20, 2014, 4:44 pm

        I’m thoroughly tired of MJ, for instance, but he’s never hidden the fact that he’s a liberal Zionist.

        Oh, that is definitely NOT true! He once wrote an article for his website in which he stated that he supports Israel as a Jewish state but that this doesn’t make him a Zionist. I can’t find the article anymore. I assume that he deleted it. However, there is still a tweet online in which he claimed that he is not a Zionist. See here:
        “I am not a Zionist. If I was I would move to Israel. All honest Zionists do.”
        https://twitter.com/MJayRosenberg/status/230088416656760833
        That’s why I used to refer to him as “a Zionist who thinks that he is not a Zionist”.
        (By the way, I took a screenshot of the tweet, just in case MJR decides to delete this evidence, too.)

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder
      April 20, 2014, 4:06 pm

      At first they present themselves to the world as fearless and principled critics of Israel and Zionism, they establish themselves as leaders and moderators of that conversation, and then they use the influence they have acquired to mount often sleazy apologetics for the Israeli government.

      Sean, I agree absolutely with Donald, that’s classic paranoid style, plain and simple. Maybe more than that, really, if my personal response is any measure.

      Why do you need this? Can’t you address what irritates you more directly. Is it this?:

      The principal impetus behind the US initiative—embarrassing as it might be to the President and his Secretary of State, and deflating as it might be to everyone else—is personal vanity. Like Clinton and Rice before them, Obama and Kerry seek historical vindication. When harnessed to the machinery of a powerful state, vainglory can prove to be an irresistible force, and has often been the root of incalculable human misery. If Obama and Kerry do not strike gold, however, it also means that, once their terms of office expire, the pressure coming from Washington will vanish, until and unless a genuine crisis arises.

      But back to your quote above:

      they use the influence they have acquired to mount often sleazy apologetics for the Israeli government.

      How about giving us at least one or two events, quotes or citations from any of his books, that amount to “apologetics for the Israel government”?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 20, 2014, 5:20 pm

        LeaNder,

        How about giving us at least one or two events, quotes or citations from any of his books, that amount to “apologetics for the Israel government”?

        I assume you are referring to Finkelstein?

        I read his first two books when they were first published and was greatly impressed — he struck me as intellectually courageous.

        But he stopped me dead in my tracks when I read his >>emotional<<attacks on the BDS movement — which, as I recall, he smeared as a "cult" (M.J. Rosenberg has adopted the same tone on this issue). But even then I wasn't ready to write him off.

        Now he is accusing Kerry and Obama of being "vainglorious" in making a last-ditch effort to save the peace process — using language that reminds one of Aaron David Miller or Moshe Yaalon, the Israeli defense minister who attacked Kerry for being "obsessive and messianic" (that's an exact quote). (Miller, as I recall, in his Foreign Policy essay also used to the term "messianic" to write off the peace process that he had been supposedly working to advance for the last decade or so.)

        The only conceivable way of slowing down or stopping Likud's drive to build Greater Israel is through BDS or through heavy pressure from the American government to achieve a political settlement.

        Apparently Finkelstein (like Miller) wants to remove that pressure. So what's his game plan? How do you envision this situation unfolding?

        With regard to apologetics for the Israeli government I was thinking primarily of the Ross/Miller/Indyk triumvirate — but also of Noam Chomsky, who has often blamed the behavior of the Israeli government on a vague American corporatocracy — he never develops his claims on this point with any particular facts. Chomsky has consistently run interference for the Israel lobby.

        There is a distinct pattern of critics of Israel on the left obstructing any meaningful American pressure on the Israeli government. These people do not add up. They express good wishes and then argue for policies that make the fulfillment of those wishes impossible. They might just as well be adjuncts of Likud.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        April 20, 2014, 7:19 pm

        Sean, concerning Aaron David Miller. Norman had one of his many heavy fights with him. It was about Miller’s The Much too Promised Land. At one point Miller did not answer his mails anymore, apparently Norman pointed out to him where he was not honest. I forget where I read the article. He brilliantly picked the book apart, at least he seemed to, for someone that had not read the book.

        Now if you want to create fast analogies, if I remember correctly, Phil took a much more eulogistic perspective on the book in his own review.

        I have to admit, I was not as bothered about the “cult” accusation as the vast majority here was and seemingly still is, since I interpreted it a little differently. In that context you will no doubt have much support here.

        From my own perspective Norman went from optimist to utterly pessimist with this article. But his optimist times coincided obviously with the cult statement context. And for me it was a struggle about strategy, or how to seize the moment.

        But back to cult: From a pure PR perspective part of his cult-critique that BDS was not focused enough on the occupied territory, made sense. The top target against BDS was and still is that it’s intention is to “destroy Israel”. Obvious you attack an opponent on his weakest spot. (Notice, I do not share that perspective) Now, obviously they couldn’t have used that attack had BDS focused on the Occupied Territories only, at least for the time being. And Norman simply suggested to focus power and focus on where the international consent existed. Not go beyond, since there wasn’t any support as far as the power players are concerned.

        He always said also in this context: It is not about what I want, it is about what is achievable. And it felt to me that he feared an important moment to change something elementarily for the Palestinians on the ground was possible at that point and it would be wasted by an unfocused strategy like BDS. (Remember from optimism to pessimism, or maybe it’s isolation now, maybe)

        I had exchanges with Norman too, in hindsight quite funny ones really. I tried to convince him to try a little diplomacy, it felt he would be much more effective if he tried. I can assure you he is very, very curt and harsh if he has made up his mind about matters. I can also assure you, it never bothered me in the least and neither did the label “cult”. Since I realized I was trying to play mama, and it’s exactly his character that produced brilliant little encounters like this: Crocodile Tears. They wouldn’t happen if someone turned him into slightly less impulsive and empowered by anger. I sympathize with him a little in this respect, I can be just as adrenaline powered as he seems to be, in a similarly detail oriented way.

        You should look at Hostage’s critique below. He may in fact criticize exactly what angered you. And partly I can understand. Although, the article is from speeches in England in mid-March and if you consider he may have worked on it even before. How much has our own view changed since mid-March. Mine and yours?

      • brenda
        brenda
        April 20, 2014, 8:11 pm

        “The only conceivable way of slowing down or stopping Likud’s drive to build Greater Israel is through BDS or through heavy pressure from the American government to achieve a political settlement.”

        remove the “or” and I’ll agree with you. well, I’ll agree with you if you say BDS, American government pressure and threat of European sanctions/UN sanctions. It will all of this.

        also would have you look a bit closer at Indyk, as I did several months ago. Yes, that name raises hackles. Neocon, AIPAC linked. But I didn’t believe Kerry would choose an envoy who would work against his mission — that was just too unbelievable given the energy Kerry is putting into it, ditto Obama. Both men have taken considerable personal hits from the Israelis also. Here is a link from ZOA. They do not like Indyk, for all the right reasons. This is worth a read.
        http://zoa.org/2013/07/10208640-zoa-opposes-possible-appointment-of-martin-indyk-as-u-s-chief-negotiator-with-israel-p-a/

        Another one of the usual suspects is the US Ambassador to Israel; but as it turns out, this one — Dan Shapiro — even though he has all the credentials that would endear him to the Israelis is actually acting for US interests. I’ve followed him in the Israeli press, he’s ok. He’s standing firm for the policy of his boss, Obama. But a truly nice guy, not confrontational, just stands firm — which should be easy when you come to think of it, when you have the power of the US government behind you it should be easy. Here’s the way you know he’s working for us and not for Israel — they refer to him as “a court jew” (look it up)

        Otherwise, I think there is something to your analysis but I don’t feel like getting involved with infighting among the tribe. Just let them fight it out, it’s their nature. The political story will continue apace and will be resolved without reference to this aspect.

    • April 20, 2014, 5:02 pm

      The Fink is for real. Nobody would have put up with the personal attacks and damage to his career that he has as part of an elaborate set up.

      Like many, however, he cannot admit to himself just how powerful the Lobby is.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 20, 2014, 8:32 pm

        Which is astonishing, since it destroyed his career and tossed him out of the system to be “an independent scholar”. I suspect that his outlook has been embittered by that.

      • jewishgoyim
        jewishgoyim
        April 20, 2014, 9:42 pm

        Like Chomsky: can someone ask the guy a pointed question about the office of special plans or the Clean Break report?

        How guys very concerned with the issue can argue more or less that Iraq is all about American imperialism without any Israeli angle? LIARS…

        “Nobody would have put up with the attacks” except maybe someone on deep cover whose usefulness depended precisely on getting attacked this way.

        I mean, are we seriously supposed to take everyone at face value in this game or be called a paranoid lunatic? Only the imbecile will not have detected a pattern of deceit on some individuals on the issue (see Indyk and David Aaron Miller). Once this is established, suspicion is warranted for any individual behaving oddly.

        Also people can be compromised or turned if they cheat on their wives or can be otherwise blackmailed. We know that Israel has a back door to the NSA more or less. Let’s not be surprised if they can turn people every now and then…

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 12:16 am

        Like Chomsky: can someone ask the guy a pointed question about the office of special plans or the Clean Break report?

        How guys very concerned with the issue can argue more or less that Iraq is all about American imperialism without any Israeli angle? LIARS…

        Because the Clean Break was a platform written by American interlopers for Netanyahu to implement, not vice versa. Finklestein does not deny that the Israel Lobby calls the shots on I/P, he just denies that it rules over other aspects of US foreign policy in the Middle East. Obama and 300 AIPAC lobbyists got their asses handed to them over their request for the use of military force against Syria. They also lost the fight over adopting further sanctions against Iran, while the Geneva negotiations were being conducted. The Israel lobby has been unsuccessfully trying to get the US to attack Iran longer than some of the people commenting here have been alive. If you had adopted the view that the Israel Lobby is all powerful, then you would have not been able to accurately predict any of the defeats that I just mentioned. Contrary to popular belief, the actual differences between the positions of Mearsheimer and Walt versus Chomsky and Finkelstein on the applicable issues of political science and their treatments of the Lobby are narrow and very nuanced.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 21, 2014, 10:47 am

        Hostage,

        Because the Clean Break was a platform written by American interlopers for Netanyahu to implement, not vice versa.

        See background on the Clean Break here:

        [Wikipedia; A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clean_Break:_A_New_Strategy_for_Securing_the_Realm ]

        Would it be fair to describe Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and Meyrav Wurmser as Jewish nationalists and Likud Zionists who have been operating inside the American government on behalf of Israeli interests (and more specifically the interests of Greater Israel)? Haven’t they (and neoconservatives in general) been focused on using American military power to achieve the goals of Likud?

        And haven’t the Clean Breakers succeeded in achieving many, if not all, of their goals? Particularly in smashing Iraq to smithereens? (And at a cost of trillions of dollars for Americans?)

        I don’t think the Israel lobby is all-powerful in American politics (we haven’t attacked Iran *yet*), but it is extremely powerful — much more powerful than any other foreign lobby in American history. And I don’t think that Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein have adequately addressed the issue of this power. What explains their reticence on this matter?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 7:33 pm

        Hostage, Because the Clean Break was a platform written by American interlopers for Netanyahu to implement, not vice versa.

        Seanmcbride: Would it be fair to describe Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and Meyrav Wurmser as Jewish nationalists and Likud Zionists who have been operating inside the American government

        No, that would be hyperbole, since Meyrav Wurmser was not working inside the US government and the endless coterie of American Zionist chicken hawks and militants predates the existence of the Likud or even the Bergsen group. The rise of militant Zionism and bellicose neoconservatism is as American as mom’s apple pie and did not originate in Palestine or Israel. In Yoav Shamir’s film “Defamation” Norman Finkelstein said:

        “It’s the best thing that will ever happen to Israel if they get rid of these American Jews who are warmongers from Martha’s Vinyard; and the warmongers from the Hamptons; and the warmongers from Beverly Hills; and the warmongers from Miami. It’s been a disaster for Israel. It’s the best thing if it can ever get rid of this [warmongering] American Jewry. It’s a curse.”

        In any event, the article you cited says that the paper was prepared for Likud party leader and then incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not our own government. It required no action on the part of the government of the USA at all.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 22, 2014, 9:45 am

        Hostage,

        To my remark:

        Would it be fair to describe Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and Meyrav Wurmser as Jewish nationalists and Likud Zionists who have been operating inside the American government

        You replied:

        No, that would be hyperbole, since Meyrav Wurmser was not working inside the US government….

        Meyrav Wurmser’s husband, David Wurmser, was Middle East adviser to Dick Cheney, which provided her with direct access to the highest levels of the American government — and she ranks among the most important Jewish neoconservatives and Likud Zionists in American politics. See: [Wikipedia; Meyrav Wurmser http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meyrav_Wurmser ]

        With regard to her influence in the Bush 43 administration, Right Web reported:

        In the June 2006 American Prospect, Robert Dreyfuss claimed that Wurmser was responsible for arranging a meeting between Syrian dissident Farid Ghadry and prominent officials in the Bush administration, including Elizabeth Cheney and John Hannah. Ghadry, a Virginia businessman and Syrian expatriate, is the founder and president of the Reform Party of Syria.”

        http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Wurmser_Meyrav

        Regarding her overall profile:

        # Meyrav Wurmser: associations
        1. Ariel Center for Policy Research
        2. Benador Associates
        3. Benjamin Netanyahu
        4. Clarion Fund
        5. Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
        6. David Wurmser
        7. Dick Cheney
        8. Douglas Feith
        9. Eleana Benador
        10. EMET (Endowment for Middle East Truth)
        11. George Washington University
        12. Herut
        13. Hudson Institute
        14. Institute for Advanced Strategic and International Studies
        15. Iraq War
        16. Islamophobia
        17. Israel
        18. Israel lobby
        19. Jewish lobby
        20. Johns Hopkins University
        21. Likud
        22. MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute)
        23. neoconservatives
        24. Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West
        25. Revisionist Zionism
        26. Richard Perle
        27. Sarah Stern
        28. US Naval Academy
        29. Yigal Carmon

        Meyrav Wurmser is only one of hundreds of Likud Zionists operating at the highest levels of the American power structure — but one rarely sees Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein investigating this lobby in any depth, with names and facts.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 22, 2014, 10:41 am

        Hostage,

        How extensively would you guess that Mossad and its satellite organizations have infiltrated and acquired control over anti-Israel groups and networks in the United States by means of stealth, deception, coercion and other means?

        How high, in your opinion, would this project rank on the agenda of the Israeli government and the Israel lobby?

      • April 21, 2014, 9:07 am

        Are you really trying to sell the idea that Fink is and has been under deep cover for all these decades? That the Lobby wanted him to destroy the Israeli founding narrative as presented in Joan Peter’s book or to expose the Holocaust Industry. Sorry but that is not credible. Fink has his blind spots but is no Zionist plant

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 21, 2014, 10:24 am

        Giles,

        Are you really trying to sell the idea that Fink is and has been under deep cover for all these decades? That the Lobby wanted him to destroy the Israeli founding narrative as presented in Joan Peter’s book or to expose the Holocaust Industry. Sorry but that is not credible. Fink has his blind spots but is no Zionist plant

        With regard to Finkelstein: my own opinion is that he is the real deal, painfully sincere about his beliefs, but also somewhat confused and incoherent in those beliefs because these issues are incredibly complex and he is emotionally conflicted about them.

        But in the matter of running ops to control the opposition: they can be incredibly sophisticated and involve intense long-range planning and the use of “actors” with extraordinary talent. Don’t ever think for a second that a bright and skeptical person like yourself couldn’t be fooled by one of these players.

        The other point is that it is possible to turn and acquire control over leaders of the opposition through a wide variety of means, including bribery, blackmail, threats, enticements, entrapment, etc. — not only directed at leaders but at their family members and loved ones. This stuff happens in the real world — it’s not just lurid spy fiction.

        Mossad is reputedly the best in the business in running these kinds of operations — and it has all the skills and techniques that have been developed by Hollywood at its fingertips.

        With regard to the matter of many critics of Israel on the left holding peculiar self-contradictory beliefs or exhibiting a pattern of doing strange flip-flops from left to right — that issue is still live.

        What triggered my original post in this thread was noticing that Finkelstein sounded much like Aaron David Miller and Moshe Yaalon in his slam at Kerry and Obama. But I should have been more surgical in broaching this topic — my bad.

  3. Citizen
    Citizen
    April 20, 2014, 12:32 pm

    “Judging by both official and insider statements, the Secretary of State has therefore appropriated Israel’s minimal demands as his own; the “Kerry process” refers to his efforts to foist these on the Palestinians.”

    It’s nearly down to the wire. Abbas is, what age 79? Israeli papers are saying Abbas has threatened to declare the PA an “occupied government.” That suicide of PA sovereignty would demolish Oslo? Some Israeli leaders are responding, “Abbas can go if he wants to, no problem.” Wouldn’t Israel then be fully responsible for the Palestinian people? And wouldn’t those settlements look even more illegal?

    Kerry’s best moment was when he sequenced “poof.” How many trips has taken to Israel pursuing the holy grail? A dozen? How much time spent by the sole superpower’s secretarial head of state? Where did Gaza fit in his framework planning? Motivation does seem to be vainglory, as Finkelstein deduces. Guess I will go read his full article.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      April 20, 2014, 4:57 pm

      Wouldn’t Israel then be fully responsible for the Palestinian people?

      Israel is fully responsible for the Palestinian people anyway. According to international law, the occupying power has to take care of the people it occupies.

  4. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    April 20, 2014, 1:25 pm

    Normalization of the evil has long been a Israeli doctrine.
    Past success lures to the encore moment .

  5. Donald
    Donald
    April 20, 2014, 1:46 pm

    “He is, IMHO, engaged in a feud on this question; though you can read his argument at the link.”

    Some of this on both sides smacks of classic lefty moral purity disease–it’s not enough for people to agree on a great many issues and disagree on others. No, you’ve got to destroy the other person, etc… Finkelstein has a little of this in him, and and in general I think it’s something that afflicts lefties (including me, not that I matter). We’re so used to being the dissenters against the hypocritical mainstream we sometimes turn that same skepticism against each other.

    That aside, he makes a good case for feeling pessimistic about the situation.

    • oneof5
      oneof5
      April 21, 2014, 8:51 am

      Donald,

      As someone who hails from the right side of the political spectrum (or once did), allow me to assure you that the “moral purity” affliction is not something that is solely confined to the left by any stretch of the imagination – many on the right are similarly afflicted.

      As with many (most ?) such things, it’s simply a human frailty …

  6. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    April 20, 2014, 1:57 pm

    Great article!

    There is no “two state solution”, even alot of people here still belives that crap.

    • libra
      libra
      April 20, 2014, 3:37 pm

      @Justpassingby

      Though Finkelstein rightly rejects the Kerry proposal for two-states as a sham, at no point does he mention, let alone advocate, a single-state as an alternative. I think Phil should have mentioned that.

      Finkelstein appears to be that rare thing, an honest liberal Zionist who believes Israel must make sacrifices to secure ‘the Jewish State’. But in the end he is still a Zionist and that makes me think he is on a very dubious moral and intellectual footing when he advocates for mass Palestinian non-violent resistance.

      If he was serious about changing the whole dynamic then advocating for a mass, non-violent Palestinian campaign, supported by international BDS, for equal rights in one state would have made a much more coherent conclusion to his bleak, but in many ways realistic, analysis of the current situation.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        April 20, 2014, 7:48 pm

        Finkelstein appears to be that rare thing, an honest liberal Zionist

        that’s exactly what Norman Finkelstein is not. Have you ever heard of a Jewish liberal Zionist prevented from entering Israel on his way to visit his friend in the occupied territories? You will of course claim, well that is what happened to “liberal Zionist” Noam Chomsky too. But if you are little more serious, you will realize that they are blocked from entering not because they are liberal, let alone liberal Zionists, but something that Israel may term “self-hating Jews” or more generally people that endanger Israeli security.

        But no doubt its fun to sort people into boxes sometimes. The box you may sort and shelve me in is: Nitwit, considering the above, suspect of being a liberal Zionist, if it helps.

      • oneof5
        oneof5
        April 21, 2014, 8:54 am
      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 20, 2014, 10:09 pm

        Finkelstein appears to be that rare thing, an honest liberal Zionist who believes Israel must make sacrifices to secure ‘the Jewish State’.

        Short answer: Oh hell no, you haven’t been listening at all. Try, try, again.

  7. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    April 20, 2014, 2:18 pm

    Finkelstein is sloppy in his description of the Israeli motivation for pursuing peace with Egypt: “Israel negotiated an agreement with Egypt at Camp David in 1977 because it had suffered a major military setback in the 1973 war, and feared the outcome of a second round.” The recentness of the 1973 war was certainly a factor in the Begin-Dayan willingness to negotiate an exchange of the Sinai for peace, but “feared the outcome of a second round” is mediocre (inaccurate and slanted against Israel) phraseology to describe the motives of Begin-Dayan.

    • jon s
      jon s
      April 20, 2014, 2:26 pm

      Finkelstein is sloppy on more than that. The Camp David accord was signed in 1978.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 20, 2014, 2:33 pm

      @ yonah
      What would have happened if Nixon-Kissinger had not jumped in with lots of US military aid in 1973? Yet, we all know Nixon was an anti-semite, and so, what was Kissinger? Funny how all this played out, eh? I am seeking comments. Thanks! Who benefited, who losses? Dick and Jane, which?

    • Donald
      Donald
      April 20, 2014, 2:33 pm

      ““feared the outcome of a second round” is mediocre (inaccurate and slanted against Israel) phraseology to describe the motives of Begin-Dayan.”

      Why? Israel showed no interest in giving up anything before 73. They won in 73, but were badly scared at first. It wasn’t remotely the lopsided victory 67 had been, and it shook their complacency.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 20, 2014, 2:52 pm

        Maybe it’s coming again?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        April 20, 2014, 7:52 pm

        Donald- Yes. It shook their complacency. Feared the second round does not describe it. But yes, it was barely 4 years after the war and yes, Begin being from a different party than the generals made a difference and yes, Dayan was no longer from the point of view “better Sharm el sheikh without peace than peace without Sharm el sheikh”, but the attempt to be pithy with feared another round, puts a slant on it that I don’t think fits the history or the mindset. It is accurate to contrast the fluidity of 77 with the stagnation and status quo “acceptability” of 2014 and the fluidity was due to the war in 73, but feared another round (second round shows that finkelstein is not considering the entire history of 48, 56 and 67. 73 was not the first round and the entire history in the person of Dayan played a role in the evolving conception of giving up the sinai). “feared a second round” is a mediocre, insufficient glib and slanted summary of the change that occurred as a result of 73, there were specific aspects of sinai and egypt that offered possibilities that the Golan and the West Bank did not offer and there was a change as a result of 73, but it is not a formulation that a historian trying to convey objectivity would use. If you think otherwise, you can sue me in the court of comments regarding an unwise use of the words mediocre and slanted.

  8. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw
    April 20, 2014, 3:10 pm

    Professor Finkelstein is a believer in International law, and is forever quoting the World Court opinion [on the settlements], but that’s all it was an opinion, in my view the ICC have to be forced to come to a decision one way or another on opening an investigation into the legality of those settlements, any subsequent resistance by the Palestinians would/should have the support of the International community, rather like the civil rights movement in the US, that was successful in part because the movement had the backing of Federal law and many court decisions, these decisions provided the Federal government with the powers to enforce desegregation. So that not only did the Blacks in the southern states have morality on their side, they had the law also.

  9. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    April 20, 2014, 3:19 pm

    I think this particular suggestion by the ordinarily sensible Finkelstein (a hero of mine, BTW)– a concern by these guys for legacy — is out of the ballpark looney. They do have a concern for the future, and it is not in I/P, but in the Democratic Party’s treasury.

    If Obama/Kerry did not care about the enormous contributions of campaign money expected to be given to Democrats by BIG-ZION (money which could always, in a pinch, be given to Republicans instead), he could be speaking out on I/P (as he seemed to do early in his first year) and telling his rep in UNSC to vote against Israel on resolutions.

    But he doesn’t. and the negotiations are coming to an end, after dire warnings by O/K. I think O/K have been “making nice” with BIG-ZION. Legacy has nothing to do with these “negotiations”. It is all theater.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 20, 2014, 3:41 pm

      @ pabelmount
      Both Obama and Kerry on assured of their remaining duration of power in Obama’s second term. What they are angling for has to be post-POTUS afterlife. So, Finklestein is right, it seems to me. They are fighting for legacy; Finklestein just didn’t spell out this means a very practical thing, not just a historic legacy. They will do books, they will do speeches, and thus they will bring in cash and prestige to their post-POTUS careers. What, you think they will go drive in nails with a hammer for poor folks homes, like Jimmy Carter? Heh. Carter’s more like the current pope; Obama and Kerry are more like–the last Pope?

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        April 20, 2014, 8:33 pm

        @ Citizen,

        Q: So, Finklestein is right, it seems to me. They are fighting for legacy;

        R: I concur. Having a library or an airport named after you is one thing, but to be know as the architect of (fill in the blanks) beats everything else. Too bad Palestinian suffering, again, is used as a springboard to achieve and/or reach higher regions of personal glorification.

        If either man was serious, they’d know what to do; cut off any and all financial/military aid to the Apartheid State.

        “You can’t ask a puppy to jump over a cliff…, you throw it…” – USMC

        ‘Change you can believe in?’

        ‘Keep your ff-ing handful of coins!’ – Jesuits Under Democratically Arranged Sainthood [JUDAS]

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 20, 2014, 10:26 pm

        What they are angling for has to be post-POTUS afterlife. . . . They will do books, they will do speeches, and thus they will bring in cash and prestige to their post-POTUS careers.

        Kerry and his wife already have more money than they can possibly spend before they cash in their chips. These guys are trying to keep the ball in play and preserve the status quo until the end of their terms. They are doing that for their Zionist political patrons, allies, and the party faithful. The Palestinians themselves are planning on walking away from their bankrupt government and predict it will collapse by the end of the year. Obama and Kerry need to figure out a way to keep that from happening, while preventing Abbas from taking action in the UN, the ICJ, and the ICC. The only option left is more nonsensical talks about the framework for the talks. So they are stalling.

      • pabelmont
        pabelmont
        April 21, 2014, 7:17 am

        Citizen: OK, I forgot. It is (in your analysis, with which I can certainly agree) possible that OLIGARCHY/BRIBERY is playing its usual game here, and Obama is playing to preserve the rich rewards of the presidency, namely, the ridiculously high fees BIGs will pay for speech-making, consultancy (think Kissinger!), or into the pot for a big Italian Marble Presidential Library in Hawai’i (where scholars will flock, at great expense, to study the papers from his 8-years).

        As you recall, I had mentioned OLIGARCHY/BRIBERY in connection with ordinary electoral-fund-raising by Democrats in future which might be lost or reduced if the Dems were perceived to have abandoned Imperial Israel.

        But both your remark and my earlier remark were about the same general topic, OLIGARCHY/BRIBERY — in this case by BIG-ZION. Not about Obama being remembered as a great man — or as post-hoc deserving his Nobel Prize.

        And, of course, in other respects as well, OLIGARCHY seems to retain the driver’s seat as money is spend uselessly and ridiculously for “Defense/Intel” but not a dime to reduce (to zero, mind) greenhouse gas emission.

  10. American
    American
    April 20, 2014, 3:19 pm

    I think basically Finkelstein has worn his brain out on Israel over the decades and is now totally muddled…as the strange statements in this piece show.
    He’s lost, tired and crumbling.
    Its too bad, he was good once upon a time.
    First he was victimized by the US Zionist and now he’s a victim of Israel.

    • Taxi
      Taxi
      April 20, 2014, 11:45 pm

      Finkelstein is basically a liberal zionist who is staunchly anti ‘holocaust industry’ and anti all individuals and institutions (aipac etc) who promote it.

      All his fierce attacks are against the politicization and commercialization of the holocaust – in honor of his righteous late parents who survived the holocaust.

      • pabelmont
        pabelmont
        April 21, 2014, 7:22 am

        Taxi, the earliest I ever heard Finkelstein was in a talk at MIT (1980s) where he discussed house demolition in OPTs. It was a fiercely argued speech. He might not have been anti-Zionist, but he was fierce against the occupation. so it’s not only the holocaust-industry he hates, And his take-down of Peters’ “From time Immemorial” was good scholarship and consistent with the anti-Zionism which attacks false arguments.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        April 21, 2014, 7:32 am

        Thanks pabelmont, I stand corrected.

    • American
      American
      April 21, 2014, 3:24 pm

      I still think Finkelstein deserves respect for his lifetime of exposing the holocuast and zio mafia.
      Hes smart enough to have been able to do whatever he wanted and have a nice trouble free life but he chose to fight the cult instead.
      And paid the price for it.
      So whatever else anyone may disagree with him on he’s earned respect the hard way.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        April 21, 2014, 6:59 pm

        @ American,

        Q: I still think Finkelstein deserves respect for his lifetime of exposing the holocuast and zio mafia.

        R: Yes he does, but honesty shouldn’t succumb to the soothing calls of sirens, luring truth asunder.

        One of my friends once said about his [Indian] gf, ‘You can take a girl out of the ghetto…, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the girl…’

        Her ‘naan’ is still to die for though…

        Norman lost a bright future. He did so willingly and knowingly by stepping up to the [moral] plate. No matter how much I disagree with him [at times], I cannot but admire his courage and [unwilling] sacrifice by sticking to his ‘guns.’

  11. Edward Q
    Edward Q
    April 20, 2014, 3:33 pm

    I think the reason Kerry/Obama decided to pursue these talks is that at the beginning of Obama’s second term there was a lot of talk that within two years the possibility of a Palestinian state will be dead.

  12. American
    American
    April 20, 2014, 3:36 pm

    I dont known why Obama or Kerry are doing the peace farce.
    They obviously arent it to win it.
    So the motive doesnt really matter.
    If I had to guess I/P has been regarded as a chore on the ‘to do ‘ list of every White House, so they hold meetings on how to tidy up the mess and when no one agrees on how , its passed on to the next WH ‘to do’ list.

  13. ritzl
    ritzl
    April 20, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Way OT, but I was just in our local [North Alabama] upscale organic grocery store. I glanced up at the giant, wall-sized event calendar they have.

    Passover wasn’t even listed.

    I was a little shocked. I don’t quite know what that means wrt I/P, but I think it means something significant, one way or the other.

    One Way: There is no great sense of Jewish interests out here in flyover country. If support/aid for Israel goes against local self-interest, that support goes away in a heartbeat.

    The Other Way: There is no great sense of Jewish interests out here in flyover country. Israel and its Lobby and minions can do whatever they want and nobody will care.

    The other Other Way: Complete blank slate on this issue. Educable?

    Book tours might consider bustouring their way through my part of the country with the local self-interest message tied to Palestinian justice.

    Just ruminatin’.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      April 20, 2014, 5:13 pm

      Passover wasn’t even listed. I was a little shocked.

      LOL. Why were you shocked? Why did you expect Passover to be listed on the calendar? If the store owner isn’t Jewish, then there’s no reason for Passover to be listed. It’s not an official holiday and Jews are just 2% of the population. German-language calendars only include the official holidays of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. And these are either non-religious, Protestant, or Catholic.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 20, 2014, 6:55 pm

        Always instructive to see which organizations, both public and privately funded, give out free calendars, and then look to see which display which historical days listed on their respective calendars, e.g., banks, insurance companies, NGOs, Vet associations, etc.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 20, 2014, 10:51 pm

        Sorry, GL. More surprised than shocked. They are the top provider of kosher and halal products in town. If Passover isn’t even on their self-interested marketing radar, Israel is way over the horizon as a local issue. There’s exploitable politics involved in that, somehow.

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      April 20, 2014, 5:45 pm

      @ritzl

      In 2012 there were 8k Jews in Alabama. Jews don’t live there. There is nothing political about it they population of Jews just isn’t evenly distributed.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 20, 2014, 7:03 pm

        Here’s the comparative stats on Jews in each US state. What we need is the same thing on Jewish donation money for each state’s congressional reps. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/14/most-and-least-jewish-states_n_1574438.html

        Remember, POTUS has been telling us, and establishing by fiat, that money is political speech. And we all know to follow the money trail in American politics, eh? Who has less power than the average American; it’s what defines him/her, right? Nothing has been better documented in recent years than that the average American has no say at all in American politics.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 20, 2014, 10:54 pm

        @JeffB- The uneven distribution of Jewish population (or even awareness of Jewish interests) and the even distribution of US Senators IS the political point.

        Sorry for straying OT, everyone. Fini.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 21, 2014, 8:24 am

        @Ritzl —

        Jewish senators aren’t from the south either: California x2, Oregon, Michigan, NY, Maryland, Vermont, Conn, Hawaii

    • dbroncos
      dbroncos
      April 20, 2014, 5:56 pm

      Educating Americans about I/P is beneficial only to the extent that some of those who learn about it will take action. Since the second Intifada the number of Americans learning about I/P and mobilizing to take action has grown a lot. The “American people” are mostly bystanders and that’s not going to change but those of us who are mobilized and taking action are gaining traction every year. It’ll be a small number of Americans that turn the tide.

      “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

      Margeret Mead

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 20, 2014, 7:11 pm

        @ dbroncos
        So, let’s see, Israel took the WB by force in its pre textual war of 1967, and has how many Jewish settlers (many from Brooklyn) now? Soon it will be for half a century, with nothing changed except more settlers, and the power of those settlers increasingly taking over Israel’s power structure. What, again, should we get from this on-going lesson? Please tell us.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        April 20, 2014, 10:21 pm

        @ dbroncos,

        Q: The “American people” are mostly bystanders…

        R: I have observed that human treat on many an occasion around the globe, so, in all fairness, it’s not solemnly an American thingie.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 20, 2014, 10:44 pm

        Agree, dbroncos. I’m of the “blank slate” view. No one is hard over one way or the other.

        We’re a poor state, this is a military/government town where R&D is the big-ticket local work product (which competes with operations spending), we send a lot of people away to fight these wars, and we have two Senators. Here anyway, I think those dots of local self-interest are connectable, and may yet be. Though it’s not a pure binary, and it is certainly a nascent condition, they argue against Israel’s ongoing political blank check.

        Appreciate your response. As much time as I spend on this site, and as important as I think awareness of others’ sensitivities is, it was just odd to realize that what’s important to Jews (and Muslims for that matter) is not necessarily shared very broadly or all that deeply. Muslims feel the brunt of that daily. Israel may yet.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      April 20, 2014, 10:03 pm

      How about Diwali, the Queeen’s Birthday, Songkran, or the Royal Hobart Regatta? Were they on the calendar?

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 20, 2014, 11:19 pm

        Now that you mention it, RoHa… :) It was just a readjustment for me, personally. I used to think that support for Israel was a mile wide and an inch deep (as reflected by what I thought was the genuine incorporation of Jewish life into middle America, as an indicator of sympathies for Israel), but now I think it’s a mile wide and a molecule deep.

      • Walid
        Walid
        April 21, 2014, 9:11 am

        Queen’s Birthday was one of my favourites because it signaled the start of really warm weather. Your queen has lots of ee’s.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      April 21, 2014, 8:16 am

      ritzl: Was Passover listed on last year’s calendar there?

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 21, 2014, 12:21 pm

        I don’t know, PAB. Good question.

  14. puppies
    puppies
    April 20, 2014, 3:53 pm

    Look at it from another angle as to what motivates Obama.
    The Zionists need, every once in a while, to have some “2-state peace talks” going on for a short while to be able to formally establish they “tried” –no need to try hard. It makes their life easier on formal levels with some European and US requirements and stalls off a little more the reckoning about “civilian” armed occupation and ongoing ethnic cleansing / genocide. The formal nature is so obvious that there sure is no need to slow down the ongoing invasion-ethnic cleansing during the very talks, as we’ve seen. There is no need for any requests to be acceptable by even a puppet administration: the absurdity to be introduced to derail talks at a minute’s notice doesn’t have to be convincing either.
    In order to replay this comedy every few years as needed, the Zionists need two reliable partners: the Oslo puppet “Administration” and the “honest broker”, AIPAC-whipped US. Both these sockpuppets are participating under orders –under duress.
    Obama is forced to do this.
    Does it look like anyone is a willing player? What an illusion. It’s a case of galloping “or else”. To be tended right away, ahead of any national or personal interest.

  15. Keith
    Keith
    April 20, 2014, 4:19 pm

    Norman Finkelstein has maintained from the start that Kerry’s position was to force the Palestinians to accept an agreement based upon long standing Israeli positions, in other words, Palestinian capitulation made possible by current Palestinian weakness. Yet, we see that Israel refuses to make peace even on its own terms. How can this be? The only answer which makes any sense to me is that Israel won’t make peace on any terms, peace itself an existential threat to the Jewish state. Israel, like the US, is a warfare state which needs conflict to maintain internal cohesion, as well as to pursue the hegemonic ambitions of the Israeli elites. Furthermore, American Jewish Zionist elites also require an Israeli “Sparta” under perceived threat to motivate and direct the activities of the US Zionist cadres, and of organized American Jewry in general. There is something extraordinarily perverse about a situation where Israel, in effect, refuses to even consider a Palestinian surrender because they are much too valuable as “enemies.”

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      April 20, 2014, 5:48 pm

      @Keith —

      Or maybe the Israelis are telling the truth there is no great psychological ploy and the Palestinian T&C weren’t agreeable to the Israelis but they would have agreed to different T&C. The same reason lots of negotiations break down, the seller thinks the buyer’s bid is too low while the buyer thinks the seller’s ask is too high so they don’t come to terms.

    • seanmcbride
      seanmcbride
      April 20, 2014, 5:56 pm

      Keith,

      Your analysis is persuasive: Israel has never had any intention of achieving a two-state solution with the Palestinians or abandoning its ambition to keep expanding the borders of a Jewish state.

      And I strongly disagree with Donald and LeaNder that it is “paranoid” to suspect that many promoters of the two-state solution, like Ross, Miller and Indyk, have been duplicitous about their real game plan, which was to stall, stall, stall for as long as possible until the “peace process” petered out and while Israel created facts on the ground that would be impossible to undo.

      The question, then, for “progressives” like Norman Finkelstein and M.J. Rosenberg is this: how do you intend to rein in aggressive Greater Israelism without the application of massive coercive pressure from the United States and Europe? Keep in mind that even the prospect of BDS arouses powerful emotions of anxiety and anger in them.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 20, 2014, 6:07 pm

        Example:

        Here is liberal Zionist Aaron David Miller (on the left), once a key leader of the two-state effort, in bed with Likud Zionist Elliott Abrams (on the right):

        “Miller, Abrams both say settlement pressure misguided” (June 22, 2009)

        Both Aaron David Miller, who advised Secretary of State Jim Baker on Arab-Israeli issues during the George H.W. Bush and was at the Camp David negotiations during the Clinton administration, and Elliott Abrams, who was deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, agreed last week that the Obama administration’s pressure on Israel over settlements isn’t the correct move right now. And both said they saw virtually no chance of a conflict-ending agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians anytime soon.

        http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2009/06/22/1006046/miller-abrams-both-say-settlement-pressure-misguided

        One would have to be quite dense not to comprehend that we’ve been played here — this has nothing to do with “paranoia.”

      • libra
        libra
        April 20, 2014, 7:35 pm

        Sean McBride: One would have to be quite dense not to comprehend that we’ve been played here — this has nothing to do with “paranoia.”

        Sean, to be played you have to want a two-state solution. Or perhaps more accurately, by wanting two states you play into their hands. The role of the ‘liberal Zionists’ in this farrago is to keep the two-state fantasy alive, very few would believe the sincerity of the ‘Likud Zionists’. It’s this insidious aspect of ‘liberal Zionism’ that makes it the more dangerous face of the Zionist coin.

      • puppies
        puppies
        April 20, 2014, 8:11 pm

        Well, duh. They both are Zionists. Who knew?

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 20, 2014, 7:17 pm

        Finklelstein and Rosenberg blame the Christian USA (98% Gentile). I’d like to know how they can be disputed when you consider the US Congress’s activity on the subject of Israel.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 20, 2014, 11:00 pm

        And I strongly disagree with Donald and LeaNder that it is “paranoid” to suspect that many promoters of the two-state solution, like Ross, Miller and Indyk, have been duplicitous about their real game plan, which was to stall, stall, stall for as long as possible until the “peace process” petered out and while Israel created facts on the ground that would be impossible to undo.

        But you were way off-base when you tried to include Finkelstein or Chomsky in that group of hair-brained co-conspirators.

        If you’re just looking for people who have done everything humanly possible to keep the “non-existent” (yet occupied) State of Palestine out of the UN and the ICC, then Abunimah and Barghouti couldn’t have run a more effective campaign to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the PA bid if Sheldon Adelson had put them on his payroll. That doesn’t make them part of a Zionist conspiracy or mean they are being evil, any more than the positions that Finkelstein and Chomsky have staked out make them supporters of the idea that Israel is the state or homeland of the Jewish people.

      • peeesss
        peeesss
        April 21, 2014, 4:01 am

        Keith, Much truth in your analysis. “Persuasive” , indeed. It is difficult for me to read the words “Liberal Zionist”. To equate Aaron Miller, Dennis Ross , and Indyk , as “liberal” in the context of Zionism is , to me, an oxymoron. Zionism as practiced is a racist, oppressive, belief in the superiority of one particular people over all others. Since those three Zionists seem to accept the fact that there “are” Palestinians in the land of Palestine, I guess , they could be considered “Liberal” in comparison to the much beloved Golda Meir, who stated , “There are no Palestinians.”

  16. brenda
    brenda
    April 20, 2014, 4:39 pm

    I read the whole piece; it seemed rambling and even incoherent in places. The end paragraphs especially:

    “It’s our job to patiently explain the reality of Kerry’s so-called two-state solution: that it breaches international law, as it shafts the Palestinians. As Palestinians stand poised on the precipice of a historic defeat, shouldn’t exposing Kerry’s perfidy rank at least as high a priority as chronicling the comings and goings of Scarlett Johansson? The good news is, for all my criticism of it, BDS has, to its credit, managed to plant in the public consciousness the idea of imposing sanctions on Israel if it flouts its legal obligations. If Palestinians in the occupied territories enter into revolt, the foundation will already have been laid for a global campaign compelling Israel to comply with the law.

    “I said it’s hard to be optimistic, but I still sincerely believe that victory—a just and lasting peace—is within reach if we are guided by truth, on the path to justice, and make one last push, before it’s too late.”

    My take: needs editing

    • Parity
      Parity
      April 20, 2014, 7:20 pm

      At last! A comment by someone who has read Finkelstein’s whole article, as I did. I think Finkelstein is giving us a wake-up call. He says that Kerry is allowing Israel to get essentially everything it wants, including taking no responsibility for the ethnic cleansing in 1948.

      “If the goal of resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict is, as it should be, justice and reconciliation, then the Kerry process is a sham. It amounts to unilateral Palestinian submission to Israeli diktat.

      “The fact that the Kerry plan is a sham, however, doesn’t mean that it can be safely ignored. If Palestinians sign on the bottom line, they will forfeit their essential rights under international law, especially because the UN Security Council and General Assembly will in short order ratify the result. The Wall will no longer be illegal; it will become Israel’s internationally recognized border. The Kerry plan will render the most formidable of Palestinian weapons, international legitimacy and international law, null and void. . . .

      “Only mass nonviolent civil resistance can catapult Palestine back on the international stage. If a popular revolt, like the first intifada, erupts under the simple slogan, Enforce the Law, and if the international solidarity movement does its part, it might be possible to mobilize public opinion—including sectors of liberal American Jewish opinion—and exert sufficient pressure on the international community such that Israel will be compelled to meet its legal obligations. . . .”

      “I said it’s hard to be optimistic, but I still sincerely believe that victory—a just and lasting peace—is within reach if we are guided by truth, on the path to justice, and make one last push, before it’s too late.”

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 20, 2014, 7:49 pm

        Parity,

        Regarding Finkelstein’s game plan:

        Only mass nonviolent civil resistance can catapult Palestine back on the international stage.

        This is where my bs detector kicks in hard and I wonder about what Finkelstein is really up to.

        Does he really believe that such a popular revolt is going to happen or that it would be successful? I don’t. Israel would easily crush such a revolt if it were to occur — and it has some very effective tricks up its sleeve to prevent such a revolt from even getting off the ground in the first place.

        From my perspective, Finkelstein is just buying more time for Greater Israelists to get on with doing what they are doing. Perhaps he is sincere and not devious like the Ross/Miller/Indyk trio — but in that case he is incredibly naive, in my opinion. I hope I am wrong and he is right — but I don’t see it

        Holding out the prospect of this chimera can be used as a device to obstruct effective pressure on the Israeli government by the United States and Europe. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for magic — and by no means is BDS acceptable.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 21, 2014, 9:01 am

        @seanmcbride

        Does he really believe that such a popular revolt is going to happen or that it would be successful?

        Yes he does. He wrote an entire book about Ghandi: http://www.orbooks.com/catalog/gandhi/

        I happen to agree with you that he’s wrong, but I do believe that Finkelstein believes in a mass movement.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 20, 2014, 8:13 pm

        You know, there is a major factor in the Palestinian situation that I don’t see many people noticing or commenting on: the Arab world overall seems to be showing decreasing interest in the plight of the Palestinians and in fighting for their rights.

        Many Americans and Europeans may be thinking, if Arab governments themselves aren’t up in arms about the suffering of the Palestinians, why should we be?

        The future of the Palestinians could be very bleak indeed. Israel and the Israel lobby are determined to crush their spirit, and possibly to spirit them out of them of Greater Israel in large numbers. Power elites in the United States and Europe seem to be unwilling to get into a real fight with Israel and the Israel lobby over these policies and plans — the personal costs of doing so are much too high. Likud Zionists could conceivably get everything they want by simply wearing down everyone else in the world. No one should underestimate their determination and staying power.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        April 21, 2014, 12:02 am

        Sean,

        Many Arab countries are experiencing internal political conflicts/upheavals and their governments are indeed distracted. But I assure you, Arab citizens everywhere have NOT forgotten Palestine in the slightest.

        My observation: while the West spends all its energy on chatter-mongering about the I/P and BDS, the Arab countries surrounding israel, who’ve been practicing BDS for some sixty five years, are busy training for the next war with israel – they know more than anybody else on the planet that israel has NO DESIRE for peace and the only way to deal with the zionist regime is to smash it – before it smashes them.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 21, 2014, 9:08 am

        @Taxi

        , the Arab countries surrounding israel, who’ve been practicing BDS for some sixty five years, are busy training for the next war with israel – they know more than anybody else on the planet that israel has NO DESIRE for peace and the only way to deal with the zionist regime is to smash it – before it smashes them.

        Which Arab country? Egypt has in the last year crossed from simple peace with unofficial military cooperation to full on explicit open military cooperation under SCAF. Jordan’s Hashemite regime has comfortably relied on Israel power pmost particularly in 1970 against the Palestinians / Syrians. Lebanon just kicked their pro-Syria regime out of power over instigating trouble with Israel. And Syria I’d say is a rather preoccupied right now.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 21, 2014, 9:59 am

        Lebanon just kicked their pro-Syria regime out of power over instigating trouble with Israel

        Umm, wrong. Hezbollah remains within the ruling coalition.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        April 21, 2014, 10:12 am

        jeffb,

        I said “Arab citizens” and you assumed I was talking about governments. But never mind your inability to comprehend the written word, here’s going down your list:

        Egypt, by popular demand, will be addressing Camp David after the next elections – and its people hate you as much as you zionists hate Egyptians – except there’s more of them than there are of you. Plus security arrangements between israel and Egypt are not the result of a love affair – it’s strategic and not permanent.

        The king of Jordan, everyone knows, is a broke wuss who needs to do whatever USA tells him, BUT Jordanian citizens hate you zionists as much as you hate them and come a regional war, I wouldn’t rely on the Jordanians to lend you zionists a hand – they will use the upheaval or any other opportunity to overthrow their treasonous, fake king.

        Lebanon has NOT kicked no nothing Syrian out – in fact the two countries are closer than EVER! Read hizbollah fighting salafists in Syria, and read: the most likely new president to be next elected, in a couple of months, is a maronite christian known for his STAUNCH SUPPORT OF HIZBOLLAH AND SYRIA.

        And Syria, well, they’re not so busy anymore but the idf has certainly been made busy in the Golan lately. And the idf will be getting busier and busier in the Golan – till it’s liberated.

        And once the Golan is liberated from the zionists, The Galilee will follow (a promise from hizbollah), followed by the liberation of Jerusalem (a promise from ALL Arabs, neighboring or otherwise).

        But you go ahead and tell yourself that no neighbor danger exists – while you guys simultaneously continue to cry ‘holocaust’ and ‘existential threat’ every five seconds.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        April 22, 2014, 7:57 am

        Many Americans and Europeans may be thinking, if Arab governments themselves aren’t up in arms about the suffering of the Palestinians, why should we be?

        Sean,, “may be”, as you write. Journalistic basic rule: Facts are sacred and comment is free. Now strictly it makes sense for all of us.

        Your scenario tries to simplify a couple of centuries into a simple convenient sentence, that does not reflect the reading you have done on the issue. Obviously the Palestinian fedayeen complicated matters in some Arab states. Democracy is a complicated matter, many voices, with many different outlooks.

        Over the attacks on Max Blumenthal, I was reminded that I met you in a group with a high percentage crazies, who attacked you as antisemite but at the same time considered the SPLC a part of the big, ultimately Scull and Bones controlled larger conspiracy. Scull and Bones of course was the hobby horse of you know who. In that context you sticked out as comparatively rational.

        Strictly the only way we can access what “the Arabs”, Europeans and Americans think is via polls, ideally with carefully designed questionnaires, and based on a good design.

        The future of the Palestinians could be very bleak indeed.

        I don’t claim to be an expert on Norman Finkelstein’s mind, but during the earliest debates about the larger issue, I had the impression that is exactly what is at the center of his mind. The Palestinians on the occupied ground, among them a close friend and his family. A friend he couldn’t meet, when he was prevented from entering.

        Apart from that, my reading or interpretation of what he said at that point in time, was that maybe BDS does not represent the wishes of these people first and foremost as is claimed.

        And personally, no doubt partly a matter of age, in spite of the highest respect for Abunimah, some of his verbal fights irritate me too.

        In any case, I vaguely remember that his core criticism was that BDS represents the multitude of civil society representatives in Palestine on the ground.

        If I can add: maybe to large extend expatriates? I respect their justified claims, i do not doubt or challenge it here. But I do not have any idea or solid data, if his skepticism is correct in that context. But I would assume that under the condition of occupation for several centuries now he may well be right, at least partly. Not long ago, I caught the statement somewhere here: Already 10 people in a crowd are considered illegal. Maybe that was in Alison’s portrays of the youth movement.

        Now for me that would complicate a purely humanitarian approach too. I don’t think there can be any discussion about the fact that they are the ones that need help most urgently.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 22, 2014, 9:29 am

        LeaNder,

        Your comment didn’t address my main point: for several years (decades?) now, one has sensed decreasing pressure and urgency from Arab governments (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, etc.) *and* the Arab street to solve the Palestinian issue. Non-Palestinian Arabs are preoccupied with their own problems.

        Certainly it is unlikely that most Americans and Europeans are going to be more concerned about the Palestinian issue than Arabs in the region. And the oil factor is a much less important now than it was in the 1970s and 1980s.

        Some of Israel’s most dangerous enemies among Arab leaders have been removed from the board (Saddam and Gaddafi for instance).

        Israel may be under the impression that it can do whatever it likes without any significant opposition. It has been able to easily cow Obama and Kerry and it believes that it can handle the BDS threat with ease.

        The future of the Palestinians looks bleak to me.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder
      April 20, 2014, 8:46 pm

      I haven’t re-read it today. But now that you cite it, I remember his admission that BDS indeed has the power to raise public awareness. At the time I registered this as a slight shift concerning BDS. I think one cannot compare the boycott against South Africa with a boycott happening today. The Internet changes matters elementarily. He may not have considered this well enough. …

      I read the article at the end of March, and asked Hostage what he thinks about it. Here is Hostage’s answer Don’t miss his comments here in the comment section, there is a more recent article on ynet he links to:Palestinian threat to dissolve PA could have serious repercussions.

      I have decided to trust Hostage on this. But while I see differences between the two, the main difference I see is that Norman doesn’t seem to give the Palestinian side as much leverage as Hostage does, considering more the usual US support of Israel. Which as Hostage tells us, may well end.

      But yes, I mainly remembered the larger pessimism of the piece and not the more optimist end.

      • brenda
        brenda
        April 21, 2014, 8:41 am

        thanks for directing me to the Hostage commentary, Lea. It is amazing the resources here on Mondoweiss — very fine to have someone who is knowledgeable about international law and can interpret what is going on from that aspect.

        about Finkelstein’s piece, The End of Palestine? He wrote in March. Sometime before that he wrote (somewhere I cannot now find the link) that he thought the Kerry mission would be successful in rendering a peace deal. Great, I thought, there is at least one other person on the planet who thinks as I do. Finkelstein did express contempt for Obama in that piece, which didn’t sit well with me but that is ok.

        To me, a peace deal under whatever auspices is the thing to have — I am looking at this thing from the viewpoint of an ordinary Palestinian woman, an elderly woman who was made a refugee as a child, who saw her sons and her grandsons wasted in the fight against Israel, who sees no future for her family. No chance of living an ordinarily dignified and productive life. To me, the ending of the occupation is paramount, even if under Obama/Kerry there will not be the perfect justice for the Palestinian State — I would put my elderly Palestinian woman and her family against all of the intellectual arguments.

        I’ve taken a look at the Palestine negotiators and governing authority — and I am ok with them as I am ok with Obama/Kerry. Not perfect, but will give relief to the present situation. Finkelstein’s allusion to an intifada — he specified non-violent but it is unlikely to remain that — would be disastrous for Palestinian aspirations in my opinion.

  17. Hostage
    Hostage
    April 20, 2014, 4:42 pm

    Why has Kerry embarked on this mission now, and why has Obama lent his prestige to it? The Israel-Palestine conflict is hardly a pressing concern . . . Except for the clinical diagnosis of Israel’s defence minister (“misplaced obsession and messianic fervour”), the only plausible explanation for the US administration’s interest is the mundane one of legacy.

    Not at all. The Obama administration lost the ability to shield Israel from international sanctions, when Abbas won the UNESCO bid and started talking about converting the conflict into a legal battle in the international courts. At the same time, Obama lost the ability to protect the PA from Congressional reprisals aimed at collapsing the PA, because of decades-old statutes from the 1980s that contradict the subsequent UN and Middle East Quartet Road Map. So it was imperative to take immediate action to prevent Abbas from joining the UN, ICC, and other treaty bodies as a member state, triggering funding sanctions.

    That’s when the Quartet started floating the scam that they could get Israel to provide a map with proposed borders within 90 days. Israel insisted that the clock couldn’t start until Palestine agreed to restart negotiations. In the meantime, Abbas went back to the UN and got the upgraded status from the General Assembly needed to overcome objections raised by the ICC Prosecutor. None of this had anything to do with Obama or Kerry’s legacy, It was all aimed at desperately preserving the status quo. The fact is that things may have already spiraled beyond the control of any of the parties to prevent the financial collapse of the Palestinian government.

    — See Palestinian threat to dissolve PA could have serious repercussions: Should Palestinian self-rule end, hundreds of Palestinians would lose their job, and Israel would have to enter the vacuum created as a result, offering Palestinians security, education and welfare services at a cost Israel cannot afford. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4511507,00.html

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      April 20, 2014, 4:55 pm

      P.S. See US officials: We can’t stop Palestinian UN statehood bid if talks fail and note this: “Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly quoted American officials as saying they “won’t be able to” stop the Palestinian UN bid should talks fail. The headline was now corrected to “can’t stop.” link to ynetnews.com

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        April 20, 2014, 5:20 pm

        “won’t be able to stop” vs. “can’t stop”

        Difference in meaning?

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 20, 2014, 7:22 pm

        Kerry did say that this is Israel’s last chance to get what it pretty much wants. He also said Israel blew it, made it go “poof.” He’s an asshole, just looking for his place in short term lucrative history, but is he wrong?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 20, 2014, 11:23 pm

        “won’t be able to stop” vs. “can’t stop” Difference in meaning?

        The correction implies the task is simply impossible. The former statement had been criticized as evidence of a veiled threat of reprisal from the US, or a lack of willingness and cooperation owing to hostility.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 20, 2014, 11:38 pm

        One implies unwillingness to do so, even though they have the means. The other says willing but unable to.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      April 20, 2014, 8:39 pm

      “Israel would have to enter the vacuum created as a result, offering Palestinians security, education and welfare services at a cost Israel cannot afford.”

      What’s to stop Israel from saying “if you won’t do it for yourselves, do without?”

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 20, 2014, 11:30 pm

        What’s to stop Israel from saying “if you won’t do it for yourselves, do without?”

        Israel has prevented self-rule and the World Bank has reported that the occupation has bankrupted the Palestinian economy and deprived them of billions of dollars in annual income and resources that Israel siphons off to subsidize its own economy.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 21, 2014, 1:30 am

        Exactly. Israel screws the Palestinians. Any reason they would not continue, only more so?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 12:14 pm

        Exactly. Israel screws the Palestinians. Any reason they would not continue, only more so?

        I’m no prophet, but the Palestinians have announced plans to turn the conflict into a legal issue, where they will pursue criminal charges against transnational companies that pillage or profiteer in the EU, Asia, and Latin America. The Israeli’s will also face arrest and prosecution for the crimes of illegal colonization, apartheid, and persecution.

        The reason they would stop, is because the resulting fear of global government sanctions would trigger capital flight that would crater their economy. Their public officials, together with those who aid and abet them, would face the life-long prospect of being arrested at any moment over the disaster they had create by overplaying their hand. It’s not that the US won’t protect them from all of that, it’s that the US can’t.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 21, 2014, 7:56 pm

        Hostage, you’re the nearest thing to a prophet we’ve got, and I hope you are right in prophesying Israeli fear of sanctions and arrests. But we have seen Israel get away with so much for so long that I have doubts.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 22, 2014, 1:59 am

        But we have seen Israel get away with so much for so long that I have doubts.

        I don’t think that the Israelis can pull that off on their own and the US is signaling that it can’t help Israel in the event that these last-chance talks are a failure. Poof! Netanyahu dropped the fig leaf.

        The transnational banks and companies that aid and abet the illegal settlement enterprise are attuned to the attitude of the governments where they are headquartered. Now the UN is actively pointing out their culpability to their host governments. They don’t enjoy that exposure or risk. Like the miner’s canary, they are sending an unmistakable signal. There have been a series of divestments, because Israel is no longer a responsible investment risk and there are safer havens and ventures for their capital elsewhere. Netanyahu’s coalition will have a harder and harder time delivering on their economic promises. That’s why they are already having high level discussions within the ranks of the right wing and with the intelligence agencies about BDS counter-measures. If things continue on the present course, they won’t be able to remain in power. So I remain hopeful.

  18. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    April 20, 2014, 5:16 pm

    i had to read the rest of the Chiseler piece and was annoyed by Finkelstein chutzpah

    Can the Kerry juggernaut be stopped? It’s hard to be optimistic. The PA fantasizes that it can liberate Palestine via international diplomacy, while BDS fantasizes that it can liberate Palestine via international sanctions. But the only ones who can liberate Palestine are the Palestinian people themselves, principally those living under occupation. Only mass nonviolent civil resistance can catapult Palestine back on the international stage. If a popular revolt, like the first intifada, erupts under the simple slogan, Enforce the Law, and if the international solidarity movement does its part, it might be possible to mobilize public opinion—including sectors of liberal American Jewish opinion—and exert sufficient pressure on the international community such that Israel will be compelled to meet its legal obligations.

    i had to read this a few times

    Finkelstein dimisses the PA and BDS for fantasizing.
    he then goes on to say “the only ones who can liberate Palestine are the Palestinian people themselves” and “Only mass nonviolent civil resistance can catapult Palestine back on the international stage.”

    for all its faults the PA represent the Palestinians in the West Bank and its their right to try and liberate Palestine via international diplomacy.

    i would like to inform Finkelstein there is a growing nonviolent Palesinian civil resistance and its called the BDS movement. i’m sorry for Finkelstein that BDS is not up his standards but it makes no difference to Palestinan civil society who are behind the BDS movement.

    then Finkelstein praises the BDS, yes the same movement that he accuses of fantasizing earlier.

    The good news is, for all my criticism of it, BDS has, to its credit, managed to plant in the public consciousness the idea of imposing sanctions on Israel if it flouts its legal obligations. If Palestinians in the occupied territories enter into revolt, the foundation will already have been laid for a global campaign compelling Israel to comply with the law.

    wow! the BDS movement managed to plant creative ideas in the public consciousness, three cheers for fantasizing.

    if Finkelstein wants to stay real with the Palesine/Israel issue he needs to respect the Palestinians who are under Israeli occupation in choosing any nonviolent path to put an end to the occupation. this does not mean he has to agreed with it because that his choice as a free white man in the US.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      April 20, 2014, 6:08 pm

      if Finkelstein wants to stay real with the Palesine/Israel issue he needs to respect the Palestinians who are under Israeli occupation in choosing any nonviolent path to put an end to the occupation. this does not mean he has to agreed with it because that his choice as a free white man in the US.

      I agree. But please leave his whiteness out of it.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 20, 2014, 7:26 pm

        I agree, his whiteness is a diversion.

      • Sycamores
        Sycamores
        April 20, 2014, 9:17 pm

        hi German Lefty,

        i respect Norman Finkelstein he’s very knowledgeable person who is not afraid to say whats he thinks. he’s not always right but he’s right enough of the time for me re-examine his point of view on more then one occassion.

        on his site he has several pull down menus one of them is call the ‘Forbidden Zone’

        where he has a piece called Reflections on Race, Privilege, and the Zimmerman Verdict by Kenny Steven Fuentes under ‘On Race and Privilege’ http://normanfinkelstein.com/2013/forbidden-zone-on-race-and-privilege/

        I won’t pretend to know the experiences that shaped my classmate’s lens, but the power imbalance was clear. To be white (especially male) in America is the “default” position. His identity didn’t disqualify him from expressing his opinion, but mine did. I am not considered an “American” by default. In this moment, I was considered “Mexican”. Never mind that I was born in Boston, couldn’t speak Spanish, and adopted The Simpsons as my dominant cultural touchstone. For all my privilege, I will never be fully accepted into American society no matter what I do. It doesn’t matter that I have European blood, because I’ve been tainted by “Mayan”. The burden of proof will always be on me.

    • puppies
      puppies
      April 20, 2014, 7:48 pm

      @Sycamores – Both you and Finkelstein are a bit ludicrous, aren’t you, limiting the future possibilities to “nonviolent only” while observing that these are, at best, the accessory and incidental ones in the inventory?

      • Sycamores
        Sycamores
        April 21, 2014, 12:17 am

        Hi Puppies,

        where did i say “nonviolent only” ?

      • puppies
        puppies
        April 21, 2014, 10:09 am

        @Sycamores – Is this the last para of your post or not? Not a biggie in today’s situation, but still…
        “if Finkelstein wants to stay real with the Palesine/Israel issue he needs to respect the Palestinians who are under Israeli occupation in choosing any nonviolent path to put an end to the occupation.”

      • Sycamores
        Sycamores
        April 21, 2014, 12:14 pm

        thanks Puppies,

        you right of course i should have made that clear. resistance comes in all forms.

    • puppies
      puppies
      April 20, 2014, 7:57 pm

      And the PA represents the Palestinians like Quisling represented the Norwegians, Pétain the French, Tsolakoglou the Greeks, should I continue? Despicable.
      Before the PA hangs there is no way out for Palestinians.

      As for BDS, if you think that “liberal-Zionist” dominated but still somewhat valuable stirring may ever replace by itself armed resistance, it’s more than strange; one wonders what planet you’ve been living on.

      Here, listen to some Palestinian who has not been bought with US money for the Zionists (the only ones you guys will not listen to, of course:)

      http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/palestinian-israel-futile.html

      ‘ I always knew and believed that the PA was an arm of the occupation. But you can’t just have those thoughts, you need to go through the full experience of the confrontation and practice to demonstrate your thoughts.’

      “It’s all about the facts on the ground and the Zionist project is going underway as it always has—successfully.”

      “Its deeper than that because we are not objecting to just the negotiations and their failures and their success,” he said. “We’re against the whole thing: recognizing Israel, the two-state solution. We’re against all of it in principle. Because we are against the existence of Israel in principle.”

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      April 20, 2014, 8:02 pm

      @Sycamores

      Finkelstein is on record repeatedly saying he doesn’t believe the BDS movement has support on the ground in Palestine. He thinks it is a western movement with some tiny group of supporters in Palestine not a Palestinian movement. His feeling is the BDS leadership as they exist are unable to mobilize large numbers of Palestinians and thus aren’t a Palestinian leadership.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 21, 2014, 12:35 am

        JeffB,

        Side note: thanks for responding to those ten questions about your general political/cultural profile so forthrightly and crisply!

        You got that these are not trick questions or part of a “gotcha” fishing expedition but an effort to speed up useful and intelligent exchanges among parties who know very little about their respective beliefs and biases. (Some people become defensive about these inquiries.)

        I now have a better grasp of how your ideas and opinions hang together — and am actually more receptive now to giving them a full hearing.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder
      April 20, 2014, 8:15 pm

      “Only mass nonviolent civil resistance can catapult Palestine back on the international stage.”

      Sycamores, I happen to agree with him that this would be very, very effective. For one reason: Israel’s top argument, “Palestinian terrorism”, would be taken away from them. Where I would beg to differ by now is, that Hostage convinced me that the UN option may be just as good, maybe a combination?

      This is what Norman Finkelstein has on his mind in that context: Or Books: Norman Finkelstein and there specifically: What Gandhi Says.

      I read Norman’s pessimist perspective and warning a while ago. It’s the text of several UK lectures from mid-March, which he may even have written before. Wasn’t there a flood of leaks about Israel’s demand around that time? The Jordan valley? Didn’t that make quite a few of us pretty pessimist too, and hadn’t we been before already as hesitant as he is here concerning Kerry’s peace process?. Even more if we do not only read articles and comments but also Kate’s news?

      Concerning my slightly decreasing pessimism lately, it has to do with Hostage’s tireless efforts here. It does seem to have the effect to raise my mood. You should follow his links to two more recent Ynet articles concerning the larger UN context here in this comment section. According to Hostage, Norman is wrong , the Palestinians are not as powerless as he feels they are.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      April 20, 2014, 11:40 pm

      i had to read the rest of the Chiseler piece and was annoyed by Finkelstein chutzpah

      I agree, which is why I stopped listening to him since his attack on BDS. All along he’s been insisting that only international law is the legitimate avenue for the Pa to take, and when they pursue it, he criticizes them for trying.

  19. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw
    April 20, 2014, 5:51 pm

    My one criticism of Professor Finlelsteins views of the BDS movement is that most BDS people do not have the professors undoubted educational and literary abilities or the professors ability to speak with authority to world wide audiences, or to be invited to same. Most BDS people simply see a very unfair situation and want to do something about it, within their own educational and/or financial means, as an example sending a letter to the local newspaper or simply supplying the cost of the postage. Most people do not have the time or financial resources to devote much time to such pursuits, that does not mean that their minimal contributions should not be valued, or still less demeaned.

  20. Hostage
    Hostage
    April 20, 2014, 6:14 pm

    Israel constitutes a “strategic asset” of the US and can count on the clout of a powerful domestic lobby.

    A declassified US intergovernmental working group report said that view isn’t an accurate description of reality. Israel is not a valuable asset. It is the US policy to protect the existence of the state of Israel, but not because it serves any vital US interest. https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v24/d2

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 20, 2014, 7:56 pm

      @Hostage

      Yes. Follow the money. All you need to know is that the Gun Lobby is very powerful, yet, e.g., Chuck Shuuer is willing to take it on in public with his big bank account. Please name the person or organization who is equally willing to take on AIPAC? Of course, you all know that, unlike the gun lobby, or ARP, the Israel Lobby is not even a local American domestic issue? It’s all about a foreign country. Hard to see shy the US main media never even makes this an issue. Private ownership rights of guns for Americans, rights of obligations pertaining to America’s senior citizens–how is this even faintly close to what the f++k Israel does, and why we should fund it and diplomatically cover it at the UN?

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 21, 2014, 9:59 am

        @Citizen

        Please name the person or organization who is equally willing to take on AIPAC?

        https://donate.jstreetpac.org/candidate/allcandidates

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 21, 2014, 11:42 am

        @ JeffB
        J Street? ROFL
        J Street is AIPAC Light

        That agency could care less about anybody but you know who.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 21, 2014, 1:25 pm

        @Citizen

        That’s what congressional opposition is going to look like. There aren’t people with your political opinions in congress. The Dems are Reps light, so the anti-AIPAC group is going to be AIPAC light. You want more elect anti-colonial socialists candidates to congress.

      • brenda
        brenda
        April 21, 2014, 12:46 pm

        I was wondering…

        JeffB just has to be AIPAC. Has to be, has too much ready information in rebuttal etc. But yes, J Street fits also. Maybe better…

        So Jeff, you at least have an interest in the J Street lobby. So let me ask this question: If the only way to rein in AIPAC is by requiring it to register as a foreign lobby, would you then agree that J Street should also be registered as a foreign lobby? The only reason for J Street’s existence is to put forward the cause of a foreign country, right?

        I anxiously await your response

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 21, 2014, 2:01 pm

        @Brenda

        If the only way to rein in AIPAC is by requiring it to register as a foreign lobby, would you then agree that J Street should also be registered as a foreign lobby? The only reason for J Street’s existence is to put forward the cause of a foreign country, right?

        I’d disagree with the “if” part of your question.

        1) AIPAC is not a foreign lobby. A foreign lobby is an organization run by foreigners designed to lobby the USA government for policy changes. AIPAC is a domestic lobby about a foreign policy issue. Registering AIPAC as a foreign lobby even if it made sense would have 0 impact because everyone involved is a US citizen so they could do the same stuff 100 different ways.

        2) JStreet and AIPAC should be subject to the same laws.

        3) AIPAC’s power comes from the fact that the USA public is 60/30/10 pro-israel/neutral/pro-Palestinian. Israel issues are a no brainer for congress because the public strongly favors Israel. You want to rein in AIPAC you need to change the opinions of around 50m people on the Israeli / Palestinian issue so that they agree with your position.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        April 21, 2014, 6:39 pm

        1) AIPAC is not a foreign lobby. A foreign lobby is an organization run by foreigners designed to lobby the USA government for policy changes.

        Which is what AIPAC is, albeit they pretend to be an American lobby, but AIPAC is nothing more than an arm of Likud. Israel even funnels money to AIPAC to buy off Congressmen.

        3) AIPAC’s power comes from the fact that the USA public is 60/30/10 pro-israel/neutral/pro-Palestinian.

        Rubbish. As former APAIC man MJ Rosenberg has explained, AIPAC’s power comes from it’s connection to very wealthy individuals. In spite of their large numbers, Christian Zionist lobby is of no consequence because they have no money.

        Israel issues are a no brainer for congress because the public strongly favors Israel.

        No they do not. The polls show that that side more with Israel than the Palestinians (thanks to the racism of the media) but that they care very little for Israel. In fact, compared to other countries, Israel comes in at 7th or 8th in terms of relevance and importance to Americans.

        In fact, polls show that the majority of Americans would rather see a democratic Israel than a Jewish Israel.

      • brenda
        brenda
        April 21, 2014, 2:37 pm

        Would you agree that the raison d’etre for J Street lobby is to advance the cause of a foreign country?

        also about this: “A foreign lobby is an organization run by foreigners designed to lobby the USA government for policy changes.”

        Would you agree that Israel is a foreign country?

        and about this: ” Israel issues are a no brainer for congress because the public strongly favors Israel.”

        Would you say that the US public strongly favors Britain? Would you say the lobby lawfully registered in the US to promote British interests (such as trade) has no need to be registered? Because after all the US public thinks highly of Britain, therefore no need for the US to look after its own interests related to trade. Is that right?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 7:59 pm

        A foreign lobby is an organization run by foreigners designed to lobby the USA government for policy changes.

        That’s not exactly what 22 U.S. Code § 611 – Definitions has to say on the subject. It includes any persons, organizations and businesses run by US citizens, who act on requests from a foreign principle, whether for pay or on a voluntary basis. An “agent” of a foreign principle is:

        any person who acts as an agent, representative, employee, or servant, or any person who acts in any other capacity at the order, request, or under the direction or control, of a foreign principal or of a person any of whose activities are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized in whole or in major part by a foreign principal, and who directly or through any other person—
        (i) engages within the United States in political activities for or in the interests of such foreign principal;
        (ii) acts within the United States as a public relations counsel, publicity agent, information-service employee or political consultant for or in the interests of such foreign principal;
        (iii) within the United States solicits, collects, disburses, or dispenses contributions, loans, money, or other things of value for or in the interest of such foreign principal; or
        (iv) within the United States represents the interests of such foreign principal before any agency or official of the Government of the United States; and
        (2) any person who agrees, consents, assumes or purports to act as, or who is or holds himself out to be, whether or not pursuant to contractual relationship, an agent of a foreign principal as defined in clause (1) of this subsection.

        http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/22/611

    • American
      American
      April 20, 2014, 8:08 pm

      Hostage says:

      April 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Israel constitutes a “strategic asset” of the US and can count on the clout of a powerful domestic lobby.

      A declassified US intergovernmental working group report said that view isn’t an accurate description of reality. Israel is not a valuable asset.
      >>>>>

      lol…thats the ‘strange statement ‘of his I was referring to in my comment.
      Surely as deep into this as he has been most of his life he knows thats been debunked over and over by heads of the military and intelligence.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 2:28 am

        Surely as deep into this as he has been most of his life he knows thats been debunked over and over by heads of the military and intelligence.

        The volume of the FRUS that I cited was just published in 2013. The testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and his successors in the military and CIA said that the I/P conflict had unfavorable repercussions for the US armed forces and harmed relations with other allies. But that criticism did not really debunk the legend that Israel is nonetheless a valuable strategic asset. This report was prepared by an intergovernmental working group commissioned to examine that question after the Six Day War. The fact that there wasn’t even a dissenting minority opinion was one of the things that struck me as unusual. Apparently none of the members held an unqualified expert opinion that Israel is somehow vital to our national interests.

        Even the portions of the report that say Israel might be a possible exception are pretty watered-down by the overall judgment that:

        “It is difficult to prove that this area is vital to our security, in the sense that our own survival would be threatened by the extinction of any state in the area.”

        Believe me that is not how the government usually describes real strategic allies or assets.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 21, 2014, 3:40 am

        ” But that criticism did not really debunk the legend that Israel is nonetheless a valuable strategic asset.”–Hostage

        “How about, “Many in the US ruling elite believe Israel constitutes a “strategic asset” of the US.“–Sibiriak

        I think American campaign finance system, partnering with pro-Israel main media & think thanks, TV pundits always has the ball in the game. Where R the Palestinian Adelsons, Sabans, Soros moneybags? The remaining key factor, a tangent of this, is military power–the point Putin always makes, which is force is a given, the only issue for effective diplomacy arises when the opposing forces are equal enough nobody wants the risk on their head, in their name. Palestinians don’t have a chance. I see no change in their powerless status quo unless as unintended fall out from America attacking Iran and/or demise of the American dollar–and there’s logical linkage there.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 1:59 pm

        I see no change in their powerless status quo unless as unintended fall out from America attacking Iran and/or demise of the American dollar–and there’s logical linkage there.

        Well I think there is a decade long initiative by the UN that might have an impact. In many cases corporations and corrupt government officials exploit armed conflicts to pillage public and private resources. There are on-going efforts to hold corporations culpable for the role they play in war crimes, in particular pillage, by going after their officers under the criminal codes and obtaining forfeiture of their profits or proceeds by using the right of private or government action in the laws of their home countries. Many of them have adopted laws that are designed to address racketeering and corrupt organizations. The UNHRC and all of its mandate holders are beginning to apply that program to the companies doing business in the occupied State of Palestine.
        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/resolution-companies-settlements.html
        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/opinion/punish-companies-that-pillage.html?_r=0

        There are parallel efforts to hold responsible Israeli officials and settlers accountable for wrongful acts of state, crimes against humanity, and for pillaging, colonizing, and persecuting Palestinians in the ICC and ICJ. Those efforts began with the 2003 ICJ Wall case and the 2009 complaint that Abbas filed with the ICC after Operation Cast Lead. The Obama and Kerry talks are aimed at delaying the inevitable next steps in that legal battle from unfolding.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      April 20, 2014, 11:42 pm

      That stuck out to me like a sore thumb too Hostage. Fink and Chomsky sling to the illusion that Israel is a “strategic asset” in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

    • lysias
      lysias
      April 21, 2014, 3:39 pm

      As someone who has worked as a naval officer in the E-Ring of the Pentagon just a few doorways away from the offices of the Secretary of Defense, allow me to express my doubts that you will find many high-ranking military officers who agree that Israel is a strategic asset.

  21. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    April 20, 2014, 11:17 pm

    Israel constitutes a “strategic asset” of the US

    How about, “Many in the US ruling elite believe Israel constitutes a “strategic asset” of the US.

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      April 21, 2014, 9:14 am

      @Sibiriak

      No need to back down. As the USA needs to get more deeply involved with terror organizations in other countries they need a reliable intelligence agency with plausible deniability for all concerned. Israel fits the bill nicely like it did in the 1980s. Yemen is a PR disaster for both Yemenite government and the USA.

  22. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    April 21, 2014, 5:46 am

    If one reads Aaron David Miller’s book, “Much too promised land” one can learn more about the limits and attempts of different administrations to push the peace process forward. Kerry’s announcement that he can name that tune in 9 months was empty rhetoric, but given that the Obama administration still has 33 months remaining until its constitutionally declared finish line, it is not ridiculous to uncover or reveal how far one can expect the process to proceed with the current Israeli and Palestinian leadership. It seems unwise to declare that peace is on hand, but to probe adequately the current leaders for where their limits (and negotiation stances) are in the current moment is not unwise and although unlikely to produce any breakthroughs, it is not unwise to know where one stands at this time and it required effort to determine “what condition my condition was in”.

  23. piotr
    piotr
    April 21, 2014, 9:48 am

    Two comments.

    What is a “strategic asset”? A key mountain pass? A port? Nowadays, a “strategic asset” is an object of a consensus that it is a strategic asset. Consider that: “As the USA needs to get more deeply involved with terror organizations in other countries …”. I rest my case.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 21, 2014, 11:45 am

      Putin thinks Crimea is a Russian asset. AIPAC sells Israel as a strategic asset to USA.
      Let’s compare the two notions. Result?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 7:44 pm

        Putin thinks Crimea is a Russian asset. AIPAC sells Israel as a strategic asset to USA.
        Let’s compare the two notions. Result?

        Current events look like somebody wants to do a reenactment of the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–55). There’s been a Russian port and strategic interest in the region for a very long time.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      April 21, 2014, 6:39 pm

      What is a “strategic asset”?

      Only those things that can be relied upon to advance U.S. national interests. We are not a Jewish nation, and have no national interest in protecting the existence of a Jewish state. The USA needs Israel like the proverbial fish needs a bicycle.

  24. JeffB
    JeffB
    April 21, 2014, 11:57 am

    @Taxi

    I said “Arab citizens” and you assumed I was talking about governments. But never mind your inability to comprehend the written word,

    You said Arab citizens in relation to support. I don’t doubt that. But you most certainly talked about governments in the part I was responding to, “the Arab countries surrounding israel, who’ve been practicing BDS for some sixty five years, are busy training for the next war with israel” Who do you think is going to be having the next war with Israel the citizens or the army?

    Egypt, by popular demand, will be addressing Camp David after the next elections – and its people hate you as much as you zionists hate Egyptians

    Israelis don’t hate Egyptians. They are happy to be at peace. In any case the Egyptians will be addressing Camp David with whom? And what popular demand? We’ve had both the Muslim Brotherhood and SCAF in power, both strengthened the alliance with Israel though SCAF far more than Israelis had dared hope even a few years back.

    Plus security arrangements between israel and Egypt are not the result of a love affair – it’s strategic and not permanent.

    That’s how most military alliances work. All of Israel’s relationships will be strategic not permanent. The USA doesn’t have non-strategic alliances either.

    The king of Jordan, everyone knows, is a broke wuss who needs to do whatever USA tells him,

    Which is the point.

    BUT Jordanian citizens hate you zionists as much as you hate them and come a regional war, I wouldn’t rely on the Jordanians to lend you zionists a hand

    No one is asking Jordan to lend a hand. Your claim was that they were preparing to help against Israel like in ’67.

    Lebanon has NOT kicked no nothing Syrian out – in fact the two countries are closer than EVER! Read hizbollah fighting salafists in Syria, and read: the most likely new president to be next elected, in a couple of months, is a maronite christian known for his STAUNCH SUPPORT OF HIZBOLLAH AND SYRIA.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedar_Revolution

    And Syria, well, they’re not so busy anymore

    Syria’s most populate city is still under rebel control. I’d say they are busy for years.

    but the idf has certainly been made busy in the Golan lately.

    The IDF is having to deal with freelancers because Syria can’t control their own borders anymore. That’s a good thing for Israel not a bad thing. The IDF would much rather be dealing with freelancers than the Syrian Armed Forces. The worse that freelancers are going to do is kill a few civilians, blow up a store… something like that.

    And the idf will be getting busier and busier in the Golan – till it’s liberated. And once the Golan is liberated from the zionists, The Galilee will follow (a promise from hizbollah), followed by the liberation of Jerusalem (a promise from ALL Arabs, neighboring or otherwise).

    Yes I hear the flying donkey attack is coming any day now.

    But you go ahead and tell yourself that no neighbor danger exists – while you guys simultaneously continue to cry ‘holocaust’ and ‘existential threat’ every five seconds.

    No neighbor danger exists. Point to real forces that are doing something not imaginary pan-arabic hyperbole.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 21, 2014, 12:38 pm

      RE: ” The USA doesn’t have non-strategic alliances either.”

      The US-Israel alliance is not a strategic alliance. It’s totally due to bribery by Zionists as part of US campaign finance system. Recent comments on various threads on MW here have discussed this thoroughly. US Intell community consensus is Israel is not a US strategic asset. Problem is, the US politicians tell the public the contrary, and the mainstream media doesn’t raise the issue.

    • Taxi
      Taxi
      April 21, 2014, 1:09 pm

      jeffb,

      I have to first correct myself: the Lebanese presidential elections are actually in a couple of days and not in a “couple of months”. General Auon, a christian maronite who staunchly supports the hizb is slated to comfortably win. He’s the guy whom israel wants least to win :-)

      Look dear, there is plenty of resistance training against israel going on – your Apartheid zionist friends in the idf know all about it – not my problem that they dis-inform you 24/7.

      Maybe we can both count the “imaginary” resistors when war breaks out.

      • Walid
        Walid
        April 21, 2014, 3:37 pm

        Taxi, your first answer about the elections in 2 months is closer to being true than the official one scheduled to take place in a couple of days. What’s happening in a couple of days is the first round of the election by the Members of Parliament and the winner must get 2/3 of all the member’s votes. All predictions about Geagea as the only declared runner are saying that he has a 100% chance of losing. This would kick-off a second round of MP voting in a month of whoever is nominated at the time and that would get over half of the votes. If that second round also fails, it will go to a third vote in a couple of months in which the winner must get a third of the votes. So it will take between another month and 2 months to elect the president.

        Since it’s a forgone conclusion that the first round in a couple of days is mostly theatrics, by the time the second vote is scheduled, the voting will be for a candidate that all MP’s will have agreed on in advance. Most are predicting that Aoun will win it in the second round, while almost just as many are predicting that the convenient choice will be former President Amin Gemayel or someone else neutral such as the Governor of the Bank of Lebanon.

        By the way, at 2 days away from the start of the elections, Hizbullah has still not come out and openly supported Aoun. They are all playing games with each other.

    • lysias
      lysias
      April 21, 2014, 2:58 pm

      Syria’s most populate city is still under rebel control.

      According to Wikipedia, control of Aleppo is divided:

      In late July 2012, the conflict reached Aleppo in earnest when fighters from the surrounding countryside mounted their first offensive there,[62] apparently trying to capitalise on momentum gained during the Damascus assault.[63] Since then some of the civil war’s “most devastating bombing and fiercest fighting has taken place” in Aleppo, often in residential areas.[62] In the summer, autumn and winter of 2012 house-to-house fighting between rebels and government forces has continued, and as of spring 2013 the Syrian army has entrenched itself in the western part of Aleppo (government forces were operating from a military base in the southern part of the city) and the rebels in the eastern part with a no man’s land between them.[62]

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 21, 2014, 3:18 pm

        @Lysias

        I don’t have inside information. I’m not even sure which sources are better than others for what’s happening on the ground. Al Bawaba which ain’t bad has the rebels controlling most of the city with the government recently getting control of the highway leading to it. The city still basically rebel: http://www.albawaba.com/conflict-syria/syria-aleppo-570510

      • lysias
        lysias
        April 22, 2014, 10:13 am

        Wikipedia piece on the Battle of Aleppo has a map of the situation in Aleppo as of April 2014. Sure looks to me as if the city is divided half and half.

    • Walid
      Walid
      April 21, 2014, 3:51 pm

      “No neighbor danger exists. ”

      So very correct, Jeff, but only for as long as Israel keeps it in its pants and stays on its side of the border.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 8:16 pm

        Hostage, 1. Is the Israel lobby the most powerful foreign lobby in American history?

        Nobody, least of all Finkelstein and Chomsky, has ever denied that the Lobby is powerful, they simply say that they are not the sole determining factor in US foreign policy decisions on the Middle East. You are wasting your time ignoring their published views and asking rhetorical questions that avoid what they’ve said on the subject.

        4. Did pro-Israel activists play the lead role in driving the United States into the Iraq War?

        Sure, if by pro-Israel activists you mean Tony Blair and George Bush. But the idea that they were leading from the rear of the pack is ludicrous. Their policies were patently evident, but their motives for adopting those policies are still classified. http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/news/update_on_inquiry_progress_-_november_2013.aspx

  25. seanmcbride
    seanmcbride
    April 21, 2014, 1:29 pm

    Hostage,

    1. Is the Israel lobby the most powerful foreign lobby in American history?

    2. Does the Israel lobby comprise dozens or hundreds of interlinked organizations operating globally, often at odds with the nations in which they are located?

    3. Do pro-Israel billionaires and hectomillionaires tend to dominate both the Democratic and Republican Parties?

    4. Did pro-Israel activists play the lead role in driving the United States into the Iraq War?

    5. Have Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein attempted in the past to deflect attention from the power of the Israel lobby through vague and evasive speech and doubletalk?

    6. Do Chomsky and Finkelstein sometimes seem to be as emotionally conflicted about Israel and Zionism as Jeffrey Goldberg, M.J. Rosenberg, Eric Alterman and Leon Wieseltier?

    Rhetorical questions — think whatever you like. I’ve come to my own conclusions on these matters — yes to all of the above. We may have to agree to disagree.

  26. Citizen
    Citizen
    April 21, 2014, 2:38 pm

    Palestinians May Turn Policing, Services Authority of Territories Over to Israel
    by Jason Ditz, April 20, 2014
    Print This | Share This
    It’s a possibility that has been raised in the past, but with the current round of peace talks apparently now well and truly dead, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is giving serious talks to dismantling the Palestinian Authority (PA) entirely.

    Under the Oslo Accords, the PA has some measure of autonomy in governance of West Bank Palestinian cities under Israeli occupation. The PA is pretty much perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy, relying on foreign aid and Israeli collected tax money, which Israel is often withholding for some perceived slight or other.

    The PA was never really intended to be a long-term solution anyhow, and was meant to just give the Palestinians some autonomy until a final peace deal was reached that granted them full independence. Instead, it has become a caretaker for cities under seemingly permanent occupation.

    Dismantling the PA would mean either conning the UN into taking over the territory directly, an unlikely proposition, or simply handing the keys back to Israel and forcing the Israeli military, the official governor of the occupied territories, to handle basic services in major cities.

    That’s a lose-lose for the Israelis, who would be stuck with a major bill in providing those services to the cities, and would also face more direct blame when their policies cause hardship in cities that have come under their direct rule.

    (So, the US would just give Israel more money each year?)

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      April 22, 2014, 2:15 am

      Citizen:

      Dismantling the PA would mean either conning the UN into taking over the territory directly, an unlikely proposition, or simply handing the keys back to Israel and forcing the Israeli military, the official governor of the occupied territories, to handle basic services in major cities.

      Or: Israel annexes Area C etc. and lets Palestinians keep the keys to the remaining populous areas in the West Bank. The West Bank then becomes like Gaza: nobody is forcing Israel to handle basic services etc. there.

  27. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    April 21, 2014, 4:13 pm

    One more letter about the perennial topic:
    Is Israel a strategic asset or a strategic liability for the US?

    Here’s my argument:
    (1) the number one prize for the US is control of the oil fields of the Middle East. That gives the US control over the fossil fuel energy supply of Japan, China, and Europe. In short, US control gives the US power of rival countries.
    (2) From the point of US imperialism, the greatest threat to US control is Arab nationalism. The US wants to keep the Arab world divided, backward and weak.
    Same considerations apply to Iran, even though Iranians are not Arabs. The US imposed (in 1953) and supported the Shah of Iran. The overthrow of the Shah in 1979 was a big loss for the US empire (whatever you think of the Islamic Republic of Iran).
    (3) Israel also has an interest in keeping the Arab world divided, backward, and weak. Israel ethnically cleansed the Palestinians in 1947 and has imposed systematic racial discrimination against non-Jews. A strong and united Arab world would be a strong advocate for the Palestinians. This gives the US and Israel a common interest.
    (4) One piece of evidence that could be checked: look at US aid to Israel, as a function of time. After the 1967 war, US aid to Israel quadrupled to ~ $3B/year an has stayed high ever since. What happened in the 1967 war? Israel utterly clobbered Arab nationalism in the form of Nasser. Before the 1967 war, Egypt called for uniting all Arabs. The US media commonly compared Nasser to Adolph Hitler.
    (5) Certainly there have been conflicts between the US and Israel. All readers of MW are familiar with many conflicts between the US and Israel. Examples include: Jonathan Pollard, Israel inflaming anti-US sentiment among Arabs, etc. The book by Walt/Mearshimer is proof that two pillars of the foreign policy Establishment feel driven to criticize Israel openly and in public.
    In today’s headlines, the most recent conflict between the US and Israel is that Israel is not supporting the US in the conflict with Russia over the Ukraine.
    (6) Many critics worry about the unending crisis in the Middle East. If you think that the goal of the US is to promote democracy and human rights, then of course the US policy is a failure. But if you think that the real US policy is to maintain US control over middle East oil, then the policy on the whole been a success, except for Iran. (Hence the US eagerness to impose sanctions on Iran, ending in regime change and the renewed US control of Iranian oil.) The US has little stake in the welfare of the Palestinians. The US doesn’t really care who runs the West Bank, whatever they may say in public.
    (7) Of course, the Israel Lobby is an important factor with Congress. But the Lobby doesn’t act in a vacuum. There is also the strategic asset argument.
    (8) Often the Lobby wins. But sometimes the votes make the Israel Lobby happy while having little effect. For example, Congress has repeatedly voted (for decades) to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. But Congress always add a escape provision, saying the President can decide whether or not moving the embassy is in the US national interest. So the US embassy stays in Tel Aviv.
    My personal opinion is that the level of US aid would not have stayed this high since 1967 if it were not for the role of Israel in opposing Arab nationalism.
    (9) In today’s headlines, the US and Israel are both opposed to Iran, claiming Iran is “just about” to get nuclear weapons. While there is some conflict between Israel and the US about the right approach to Iran, the US and Israel have in common an opposition to Iran.
    (10) In much of the discussion, on MW and elsewhere, there have been two positions: EITHER it’s the Israel Lobby and its strength OR it’s the US drive to control the oilfields of the Middle East. But it doesn’t have to be either/or. Both factors are present in the real world.
    When Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the journalist Russell Baker wrote in the New York Times “if you take oil out of the equation, the war between Iraq and Kuwait would be just another tiresome conflict between fragments of the former British Empire, of little interest to the world”.
    Well, you can’t take oil out of the equation. That’s my argument in a nutshell.

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      April 21, 2014, 7:30 pm

      Well done Ned!

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 21, 2014, 8:18 pm

      @ Nevada Ned
      The reality is friction between Iran and the US could be readily resolved with viable diplomacy save two: Israel’s current level of unflinching hostility towards Iran, and America’s addiction to global energy resources. These two factors guarantee that there will be tension between Iran and the United States for some time to come, and place blame for the continuation of tension firmly on the side of the United States.

      The US and Israel have a common interest in keeping Iran and Arab Oil states under deep despot control so they don’t nationalize their oil in the best interest of their respective peoples. The US elite can only about themselves, and care not at all about the masses in any country, including the USA. International banking joins such elites throughout the world. In each country, the military is just a pawn of the 1%. The next 9% are their key hired hands.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 21, 2014, 10:42 pm

        Finkelstein and Chomsky are “liberal Zionists” in the sense that they advocate a two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders that would preserve Israel as a Jewish state within those borders.

        Chomsky actually is in favor of bi-nationalism and federalism in Cis-Jordan, but is willing to settle for a compromise, since he doesn’t believe that will happen anytime soon. He actually objects to the idea of trying to establish democracy in a “Jewish State”, because it will be undemocratic to its non-Jewish citizens to whatever degree it happens to be “Jewish”. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1975/jul/17/an-exchange-on-the-jewish-state/

  28. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    April 21, 2014, 5:56 pm

    Finkelstein and Chomsky are “liberal Zionists” in the sense that they advocate a two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders that would preserve Israel as a Jewish state within those borders. They are not “crypto” because they do not conceal that this is their position. While they use the “realism” argument, they may also have an emotional loyalty to the “other Israel” — the “nice” (or at any rate nicer) Israel that existed (or seemed to exist) before the occupation. This is especially true of Chomsky in light of his early biography.

    The problem with liberal Zionism is that it is built on illusion. Even if the nice Israel did once exist (and of course there are ample grounds for arguing that it did not) it certainly does not exist now. The process of polarization makes the liberal Zionist position harder and harder to maintain.

    In the old GDR they used the expression “really existing socialism” — i.e., you want socialism to mean something else but this is the socialism that actually exists and you have to define your attitude toward it, one way or the other. The same goes for “actually existing Zionism.” Liberal Zionists are under pressure either to swallow their misgivings and support Israel even as it exists or to cross the Rubicon, forget their dreams of what they wanted Israel to be, and oppose Israel as it exists (forgive the mixed metaphors). Some go one way, some the other, and some move back and forth in confusion. Their incoherence is genuine, it isn’t some sort of clever plot to deceive the unwary.

    In the liberal Zionist publication “The Other Israel” I read about a ceremony that Israeli peaceniks held to “bury” the State of Israel — that is, to recognize that the Israel they wanted was dead and would not be resurrected. What they were really burying, of course, was their own illusions. It perhaps helped them cross over to a consistently anti-Zionist position.

    • brenda
      brenda
      April 21, 2014, 7:22 pm

      ” Their incoherence is genuine, it isn’t some sort of clever plot to deceive the unwary.”

      I feel the same way on this that you do, Stephen. I think there is a lot of uncomfortable inner turmoil going on there, very painful feelings all round, with them and with their critics — just more of the fallout from this whole horrible situation.

  29. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    April 21, 2014, 6:29 pm

    ‘Liberal zionists’ are on par with ‘semi-vegetarians,’ they both don’t exist…, unless your imaginary friend tells you otherwise…

  30. JeffB
    JeffB
    April 21, 2014, 7:29 pm

    @brenda says:

    Would you agree that the raison d’etre for J Street lobby is to advance the cause of a foreign country?

    No. J-Street feels free to disagree with the Israeli government on matters of policy and to disagree with the Israeli population on matters of policy. In some sense it has a friendly paternalistic attitude towards a foreign country. But mainly J-Street exists to lobby the USA about a foreign country.

    Human Rights Watch mostly deals with foreign countries, do you consider it a foreign lobby?

    also about this: “A foreign lobby is an organization run by foreigners designed to lobby the USA government for policy changes.”

    Would you agree that Israel is a foreign country?

    Yes, absolutely. But AIPAC is all Americans. If it had Israelis then it would be a foreign lobby.

    ”Israel issues are a no brainer for congress because the public strongly favors Israel.”

    Would you say that the US public strongly favors Britain? Would you say the lobby lawfully registered in the US to promote British interests (such as trade) has no need to be registered?

    Absolutely. In fact that’s a great example. Britain for about 200 years wanted to break American away from silver banking (what would today be state currencies and / or private currencies). The New York banks supported (and still do) this policy while the regional banks often opposed it. For example recently you still have the New York financial establishment focused on convertibility and stability of exchange rates as core issues so for example they have been pushing often for moderate interests rates while regional banks were more concerned about foreclosures and wanted a very generous policies even it if meant a weak dollar. The London financial interests are on the side of the New York banks. That doesn’t mean the New York bankers need to register their lobby as a foreign lobby.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 22, 2014, 8:46 am

      @ JeffB
      RE: “Yes, absolutely. But AIPAC is all Americans. If it had Israelis then it would be a foreign lobby.”

      How many AIPAC members, donors, are dual citizens? What percentage would make it a foreign lobby, if any?

      10 Reasons to Keep an Eye on AIPAC http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/424-national-security/10261-10-reasons-to-keep-an-eye-on-aipac

      Wasn’t former WH chief of staff Rahm Immanuel a dual citizen? Now he’s mayor of Chicago. Is he still a dual citizen? How many high level US government appointees/employees are dual citizens? How many Israeli government officials working here are dual citizens? And over there (in Israel)?

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 22, 2014, 10:34 am

        @Citizen

        How many AIPAC members, donors, are dual citizens? What percentage would make it a foreign lobby, if any?

        Dual citizen probably wouldn’t cut it. Though if they held office or official position in Israel that certainly would.

        Wasn’t former WH chief of staff Rahm Immanuel a dual citizen? Now he’s mayor of Chicago.

        A good example. He was head of the DCCC, House Democratic Caucus, and then Chief of Staff to the USA president. He is now mayor of America’s 3rd largest city. Those are rather strong ties to the USA.

        AIPAC is not a foreign lobby it is a bunch of Americans who like Israel.

      • lysias
        lysias
        April 22, 2014, 10:53 am

        Isn’t there evidence that AIPAC coordinates its actions with the Government of Israel? Doesn’t that make it a foreign lobby?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        April 22, 2014, 11:20 am

        JeffB,

        AIPAC is not a foreign lobby it is a bunch of Americans who like Israel.

        Do you mind me asking: with which Jewish and Israeli organizations have you been affiliated?

        Regarding the Israel lobby:

        One can turn up many hundreds of articles in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal over the last few decades in which Jewish Americans have been arguing for policies (usually pro-war policies) that have been originated and defined by the Israeli government.

        One finds very few (any?) articles by Irish Americans, German Americans, Swedish Americans, Japanese Americans, Egyptian Americans, etc. which have promoted policies that have been originated and defined by Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Egypt, etc.

        How do you explain this discrepancy? Isn’t it obvious that the political activities of the American Jewish establishment are much more organized around the interests of a foreign government than the politics of all other major ethnic groups in American life?

        According to the ideology of Zionism (and often Judaism as well) all Jews worldwide are members of the Jewish “nation” — a nation which stands separate and apart from “the nations.” This situation may strike you as normal and unexceptional, but much of the rest of the world would beg to differ — the situation is highly abnormal.

    • American
      American
      April 22, 2014, 11:19 am

      JeffB says..
      “Yes, absolutely. But AIPAC is all Americans. If it had Israelis then it would be a foreign lobby.”>>>>>>>>>>

      It doesnt matter. The dual or not dual citizenship doesnt matter. Whether the AIPAC member are American or not doesnt matter. In fact it makes it worse for them.
      Because the fact is some day the subversive activities of AIPAC and other I-Orgs in this country are to create a huge outrage that all the public cant ignore—and then something will be done about it.
      So until then you can hasbara all you want, that wont make any difference either in the end.

  31. LeaNder
    LeaNder
    April 22, 2014, 9:45 am

    citizen, it’s not illegal, as far as I know, to have dual citizenship. You are a lawyer aren’t you? Do you remember, to complicate matters slightly, what Danaa wrote a couple of years ago here. It was in fact not so easy to give up her Israeli citizenship. The more you descend to the level of the single humans, the less you may find the typical suspect of dual citizenship = dual interests you are looking for. Strictly, there may be quite a few of solely American Jews that represent what you are trying to grasp via dual citizenship in this context.

    I know, I am repeating myself here But the issue was used over here in the election in Hesse a couple of years ago for a populist reason regarding Germans with Turkish roots. There is a very specific reason, why Turkish Germans may in fact need dual citizenship. I happen to k ow it more accidentally, since a friend of mine built a self-designed building house for holidays there on the coast. He needed a Turkish straw man, since he could not buy ground in Turkey himself. Could this concern e.g. their inheritance of real estate too? This is only from the top of my head. But obviously there is a larger identity issue.

    A prominent German author with Turkish roots spends part of her time in Turkey and part in Berlin, a dual citizenship may come in handy in this context. This may well be true for others like a prominent filmmaker, who comes to mind here. These people are quite worthy representatives of their culture while having definitively been influenced by ours too.

    I cannot completely grasp it, but there are times, when I feel the advocated purely human rights (international) perspective sometimes takes a distinctively nationalist turn here.

  32. JeffB
    JeffB
    April 22, 2014, 10:27 am

    @Hostage

    Looks we are going to have another debate on the law. But look at the clause right below “request” directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized in whole or in major part by a foreign principal, and who directly or through any other person—

    None of which qualifies. It is even unclear that AIPAC acts uniformally on requests. For example Israel was unhappy with AIPAC’s pressuring of Sen. Bob Corker and wanted to publicly distance themselves from that action. That is to say AIPAC isn’t under Israeli control. They agree with Israel (Likud primarily) on a bunch of issues but these are Americans.

  33. seafoid
    seafoid
    April 22, 2014, 11:04 am

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.586587#

    “U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday against dissolving the Palestinian Authority, saying “those kinds of extreme measures would have grave implications” on the relationship between the U.S. and the Palestinians.

    “A great effort has been made in the last few years to build Palestinian institutions, including with U.S. financial aid,” she said. “Dissolving the Palestinian Authority is not in the interest of the Palestinians … and will have implications on our relationship and our assistance.” “

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      April 22, 2014, 11:16 am

      LOL. It’s like a man who’s been seeing the local prostitute telling his wife that if she decides to file for divorce it would “have grave implications” for the marriage.

      I guess if the US was so interested in preserving US/Palestinian relations, it would have stopped being the puppet of the evil force oppressing the Palestinians since the 1940s.

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