@eljay, et al
For the record:
"Israel’s Netanyahu says he wants 'war with Iran' and is meeting Arab states to 'advance' it"
BY TOM O'CONNOR
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his desire to go to war with Iran, and said he was meeting with dozens of foreign envoys, including those from the Arab world, in order to push the initiative forward.
"The United States has rallied countries from across the world, especially from Europe and the Middle East, to attend a summit in Warsaw in a bid to form a united front against revolutionary Shiite Muslim Iran. In a video posted Wednesday to his office's Twitter account, Netanyahu said he had just had an 'excellent meeting' in the Polish capital with Oman's foreign minister, with whom he 'discussed additional steps we can take together with the countries of the region in order to advance common interests.'
"'From here I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran,' the Israeli head of state continued, according to the account’s English-language translation of his Hebrew remarks.
"'What is important about this meeting. and it is not in secret, because there are many of those—is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran,' he added.
"*Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with press following a meeting with Oman’s top diplomat, in Warsaw, Poland, on February 13. Israel has attempted to break its traditional feud with Arab states in order to unite in the face of what it perceives as threats from Iran. ISRAELI GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE/SOCIAL MEDIA*"
"The English-language tweets were soon deleted and re-uploaded with the phrase 'combating Iran' replacing 'war with Iran.' The video with English subtitles was also removed.
"Just before heading to the Warsaw conference, Netanyahu revealed on Tuesday that Israeli forces were behind the shelling of an observation post in Syria's southwestern Al-Quneitra province. The attack was the latest in a once-secretive, years-long campaign to target alleged Iranian and Iran-backed forces battling a 2011 rebel and jihadi uprising on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"Israel has argued that Iran was attempting to set up forward bases through its elite Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force. While the U.S. has tacitly endorsed such operations, Israeli strikes have antagonized Iranian officials, who have threatened retaliation and have also angered Assad's other major ally, Russia, which has recently called for an end to such maneuvers.
"While a number of Arab League states have begun to repair relations with Damascus, they have done so in the interest of pushing back against Tehran's growing influence in the region, which includes friendly political forces in the capitals of Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In the Arab world, Saudi Arabia has led the charge against Iran, and Israel has often appealed to the kingdom to join forces against the Islamic Republic, though no high-level contacts have been publicly revealed.
"Netanyahu has, however, traveled to Oman in a rare visit to one of the few Arab states that maintain ties with Israel. Upon the majority-Jewish state's establishment in 1948 and the mass exodus [i.e., mass violent dispossession and expulsion] of [native] Palestinians that followed, Arab powers went to war with Israel, which would go on to clash with a coalition of hostile neighbors at least twice more in the 20th century before focusing on the threat posed by Iran and its own regional partners, such as the Lebanese Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement.
"Israel and Saudi Arabia were among the few international voices supporting President Donald Trump's exit from a 2015 nuclear deal that they alleged had allowed Iran to use funds unfrozen by its agreeing to curb nuclear activities to support militant groups abroad and develop ballistic missiles, which Iranian leaders have threatened to use against Israel and U.S. bases should a conflict break out. Fellow signatories China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom have vowed to continue trading with Iran despite new U.S. sanctions.
"The White House stepped up its campaign against Iran ahead of the Warsaw summit as Trump and national security adviser John Bolton attacked Tehran's leaders on social media with #40YearsofFailure hashtags mocking ongoing celebrations commemorating four decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted a West-backed monarchy. Iranian officials have what they consider to be a conspiracy to overthrow their government.#
"As international representatives met in Warsaw, a suicide bombing Revolutionary Guards blamed on 'terrorists' and 'agents of intelligence services' struck a bus carrying members of the Iranian force, killing up to 27 and wounding 10 more, in the southeast Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran."
@Boomer, et al
Re: Ilhan Omar versus Elliott Abrams:
"The massacre Trump’s envoy to Venezuela wants us to forget"
The Washington Post - Today's Worldview, Feb. 15/19
"Skeletons in the Closet" By Ishaan Tharoor.
“'I fail to understand,' the congresswoman said at a hearing Wednesday, 'why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.'
"The politician in question was freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Her interlocutor was Elliott Abrams, the veteran national security official recently installed by the Trump administration as Washington’s special envoy to Venezuela. Omar, who weathered a storm of controversy this week over her tweets about the financial influence of a pro-Israel lobby group, was now heaping scrutiny on the diplomat’s checkered career.
"Abrams, Omar reminded the hearing, had pleaded guilty in 1991 to two counts of withholding information from Congress — essentially lying over the Iran-contra affair in the late 1980s while serving as an official in the Reagan administration. In 1992, though, he was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush and later joined the younger Bush’s National Security Council. Out of office, he has remained a fixture in Washington’s foreign policy establishment as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
"But Omar was not so impressed. She pushed him on an earlier chapter of his career, when, as a prominent State Department official in the Reagan administration, Abrams led the American coverup of a hideous massacre in the Salvadoran village of El Mozote. In December 1981, the U.S.-backed Salvadoran army, locked in a struggle with leftist guerrillas, slaughtered at least 800 civilians in the town as part of its brutal counterinsurgency. On Wednesday, Abrams balked at Omar’s line of questioning, deeming it 'ridiculous.'
“'The back-and-forth refocused a spotlight on controversies that have trailed Abrams, 71, during a half-century in public life,' wrote The Post’s Isaac Stanley-Becker. 'And it revealed the moral trade-offs involved in the hawkish role that he has advanced for the United States — a global posture that Trump once purported to reject but has increasingly embraced, including by maintaining that military intervention in Venezuela is ‘an option.’ '
"As footage of the exchange went viral on social media, Beltway insiders and foreign policy veterans rallied in defense of Abrams, arguing that a dark chapter nearly four decades ago need not negate a lifetime of public service. 'Elliott Abrams is a devoted public servant who has contributed much of his professional life to our country,' tweeted Nicholas Burns, a former senior State Department official. 'It’s time to build bridges in America and not tear people down.'
"Francisco Toro, a dissident Venezuelan writer, wheeled on Omar for focusing on the death squads of a long-defunct regime, rather than the current abuses of the one in Caracas. 'Showcasing astonishing insensitivity to the victims of a human rights catastrophe that is still ongoing today, she disgraced her perch in Congress and scored an invaluable propaganda victory to the regime sponsoring the exact type of human rights abuses she imagines herself to be opposing,' Toro wrote for The Post’s Global Opinions.
"Many others, though, commended Omar for raising the ghosts of the past. Abrams’s lengthy career, argued Esquire’s Charles Pierce, seemed proof that in Washington 'there is no limit to the number of peasants on your butcher’s bill that would keep you from government work.'
“'If you are going to appoint someone who has a history of lying to Congress about human rights abuses to be the special envoy for a brewing humanitarian crisis,' noted Dan Drezner in PostEverything, 'it is entirely fair to question him about prior acts of bad faith.'
"The massacre at El Mozote occurred just before Abrams assumed his post as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs in the Reagan administration. News of the brutal killings and rapes that took place there and in surrounding hamlets — considered some of the worst atrocities in modern Latin American history — reached the United States via the front pages of the New York Times and The Washington Post.
"The Post’s Alma Guillermoprieto, who reached El Mozote in January 1982, found 'dozens of decomposing bodies,' left to molder for a month in the ruins of the flattened village and adjacent fields. In a central square, she entered a church where many of the village’s men had been taken and executed. 'The walls of the smaller sacristy beside it also appeared to have had its adobe walls pushed in,' she wrote. 'Inside, the stench was overpowering, and countless bits of bones — skulls, rib cages, femurs, a spinal column — poked out of the rubble.'
"Later reports uncovered other acts of barbarism. 'We could hear the women being raped on the hills,' one witness told journalist Mark Danner, author of 'The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War.' 'And then, you know, the soldiers would pass by, coming from there, and they’d talk about it. You know, they were talking and joking, saying how much they liked the 12-year-olds.'
"Men were beheaded with machetes, women raped and left to die, children had their skulls crushed in under the boots of soldiers."
"At the time, Abrams worked to suppress news of the massacre, dismissing the news reports as not 'credible' and enabling the propaganda of the guerrillas. 'He was the point of the spear of the Reagan administration in denying a massacre had taken place at El Mozote,' Danner said in an interview with Today’s WorldView. He added that, for Abrams, human rights violations like this 'were really nothing' compared with the grave danger perceived by the Reagan administration of left-wing, pro-Soviet victory in Central America."
Given the horrors Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis during WWII, I used to wonder why Jewish Zionists so readily adopt fascism and racism and eagerly direct them at Palestine's indigenous Arab inhabitants. However, after doing some research, I realized that as were the Hitler Youth, they are indoctrinated in these twin evils from birth.
Rabbi Perin, in an eulogy for mass murderer, Baruch Goldstein, in 1994: 'One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.' (New York Times, Feb. 28, 1994)
In April, 2001, during his Passover sermon, Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party and former Israeli Chief Rabbi, described the Arabs as 'serpents' and in his Passover sermon, he stated that 'the Lord shall waste their seed, devastate them and vanish them from this world. It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.'
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared during an interview with the foreign editor of the London Sunday Times that 'it was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine…and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.' (Sunday Times, London, June 15, 1969)
In the view of another prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir, the Palestinians are of no more significance than insects when compared to Jews: 'From this mountain top and from the vantage point of history I say that these people [the Palestinians] are like grasshoppers compared to us.' (The Independent, April 1988, from Reuter, Tel Aviv; quoted by Michael Rice, False Inheritance, Kegan Paul International, London and New York, 1994, p. 127).
While delivering a televised address to his Likud party in 1989, Shamir further maligned Palestinians by describing them as 'alien invaders of the Holy Land…. They are brutal, wild alien invaders in the land of Israel that belongs to the people of Israel, and only to them.' (New York Post, February 6, 1989)
During a speech to the Knesset, Menachem Begin, Israel’s sixth prime minister, referred to Palestinians as 'beasts walking on two legs.' (New Statesman, 25 June 1982)
Regarding Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank, Raphael Eitan, then Israel’s Chief of Staff, declared: 'When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle…. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.' (New York Times, 14 April 1983)
Prime Minister Ehud Barak: 'The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more...' (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2002)
Rafael Eitan, Israeli Chief of Staff, stated: 'When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.' (N.Y. Times, 14 April 1988)
@JWalters, et al
"Americans can criticise America. But not Israel" Redress Information and Analysis, 12 Feb. 2019
"It is official. Criticism of Israel is anti Semitism and recognising the power of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, invites retribution.
"Ilhan Omar, a Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, first created a stir by refusing to delete her 2012 tweet, which said: 'Israel has hypnotised the world.' Her original tweet was in response to Israel’s eight-day bombing of Gaza, the so-called Operation Pillar of Defence. The Israeli army claimed that it had 'as usual… made great efforts to reduce the number of civilian casualties and amount of collateral damage.' The families of the167 Palestinians killed in the bombing were no doubt reassured by these words.
"Ms Omar recently apologised for her choice of words, but added:
'What is important to me is that people recognise that there’s a difference between criticising a military action by a government that has exercised really oppressive policies and being offensive or attacky to particular people of faith…
"'I say the same things if not worse when it comes to the Saudi government. I’ve called for boycotts of Hajj, and boycotts of Saudi Arabia, because to me it is important when you see oppression taking place – when you see regression – when you see our values being attacked as humans, you must stand up, and it doesn’t matter who the inhabiters of that particular region might be.'
"This humanitarian statement was evidently too much for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who threatened punishment for Ms Omar and for Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim representative from Michigan. Mr McCarthy was surely not influenced by the fact that uber Zionist Sheldon Adelson is currently the Republican’s largest donor. And, of course, McCarthy was joined by a chorus of outraged congressmen.
"Glenn Greenwald tweeted in response:
'GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel. It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.'
"Omar replied to Greenwald, quoting a 1997 rap song by Puff Daddy: 'It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.' Apparently, no one at Politico is familiar with Puff Daddy, and hysterically interpreted the music emoji Omar attached as a suggestion 'that money was calling the tune for McCarthy.'
"Batya Ungar-Sargon, opinion editor of the formerly left-wing news outlet, The Forward, asked Omar: 'Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.'
"Omar replied with what everyone knows. 'AIPAC.'
"Presidential daughter Chelsea Clinton chimed in, tweeting: 'We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.'
"Omar’s reply was more well reasoned and polite than Clinton’s words merited. 'We must call out smears from the GOP and their allies. And I believe we can do that without criticising people for their faith. I look forward to building an inclusive movement for justice with you.'
"First the need to explain that they are on the correct side before taking the wrong side. Joshua Zeitz, liberal historian and contributing editor at Politico, wrote that he is 'one of those American Jews who opposes the occupation, laments Israel’s anti-democratic drift, and doesn’t regard the country as especially central to my Jewish identity.' The tweet then condemns Omar, 'She might as well call us hooked-nosed.'
"Oh, so noting the money that Israel and its supporters pour into the political system is the same as physical stereotyping? Really?"
"Bernie Sanders Called Ilhan Omar to Offer His Support Amid Anti-Semitism Controversy"
The Daily Beast, Feb. 14/19 By Gideon Resnick
"The senator privately reached out to Omar after she was criticized by both parties for trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes while criticizing U.S. policy on Israel."
"Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reached out to Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday to offer his support amid criticism from both Democrats and Republicans that the progressive freshman lawmaker trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes on Twitter.
"Omar’s office confirmed that the congresswoman spoke with Sanders—who is Jewish—but the conversation was off-record and so they could not go into further details about the contents of the discussion. A source familiar with the conversation confirmed to The Daily Beast that Sanders expressed support for Omar.
"Earlier on Thursday, Jewish Insider reported that Sanders was asked about Omar’s tweets on a conference call hosted by James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute and a former member of the Democratic National Committee’s executive committee.
“'I talked to Ilhan last night to give her my personal support,' Sanders was quoted as saying. 'We will stand by our Muslim brothers and sisters.'
"Zogby told The Daily Beast the call was off-record when contacted about the veracity of the reporting, but the source familiar with the lawmakers’ conversation confirmed the Jewish Insider story.
"Omar apologized Monday after Democratic leadership condemned a series of tweets—including one in which she wrote 'It’s all about the Benjamins' —suggesting that many fellow lawmakers are beholden to the pro-Israel lobbying interests of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
“'Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,' she said in her apology. 'My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.'
"Some progressive allies have perceived the attacks on her as being disingenuous and have since thanked Sanders for reaching out.
“'Ilhan is a vital, important new leader in Congress--and she’s been facing a slew of Islamophobic attacks,' Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political Action told The Daily Beast. 'We’re proud to have supported her in her primary and general election campaign. We’re eager to continue supporting her strong, principled leadership on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and across our shared priorities. She apologized for her tweet, and these endless bad-faith attempts to attack and undermine the only two Muslim women in the House need to stop.'"