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Glenn Greenwald Debates David Frum on Universal Jurisdiction Over Torturers & On U.S. Aid to Israel

by on Friday, February 25, 2011 at 10:40 am EDT in DOJ, Middle East, Politics, World

There are few ideologies I find as confounding, disjointed, and brazenly dishonest as neo-conservatism. Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, who debates Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, is far from an idiot. I wish he were, because I like to believe every pundit — regardless of where he lies on the political spectrum — honestly thinks the arguments he puts forward are based upon facts.

We like to believe the people whom we disagree with are as sincere as we are in finding the truth.

But there is an unshakable feeling I get each time I read a column by a neo-con that the statements he/she makes are in spite of the facts they know to be true. That they are intentionally misleading their readers. They seem to spend a great deal of time and effort cherry-picking facts and inventing narratives (i.e. “They hate us for our freedoms” — which Frum reasserts in this debate as the impetus for terrorism).

I’ve dismantled Frum’s propagandizing posts in the past, but it’s a lot more entertaining to watch the masterful and articulate Glenn Greenwald do it live on video.

Here they debate Universal Jurisdiction over alleged torturers, and then they butt heads on Frum’s recent statements that the U.S. should increase military aid to Israel in light of increased instability in the region.


Neocon David Frum Distorts Reality To Push An Anti-Palestinian Narrative

by on Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum just posted pure pro-Israel propaganda on his blog, Frum Forum.  In it he attempts to outline why a UN Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders would be counterproductive.

First, he disingenuously blames the failure of the latest rounds of peace talks on the Palestinians, and then concludes that for the UN to recognize a Palestinian state would be tantamount to giving Abbas cover to never speak with Israel again:

From the beginning of the Obama administration, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate directly with Israel. Indirect discussions have stumbled along without result. Abbas has insisted he cannot talk without a settlement freeze. Then when he gets his settlement freeze, he explains he still cannot talk.

The beauty of the UN approach is that it provides a perfect excuse never to talk to Israel again.

What Frum fails to mention is that the United States government demanded that Israel freeze its illegal settlement expansions.  By conveniently omitting this fact he implies that ONLY the Palestinians made such a ‘bold’ demand that Israel stop stealing their land as a sign of good faith in negotiating borders roughly along the 1967 green line (with occasional land swapping).

Could you imagine haggling with someone who wants to purchase your car, only to watch him park your car in his garage during the negotiations, and proceed to have a pal of his at the DMV change the title to his name?  Frum seems to believe this is acceptable negotiating behavior.

The US government went so far as to offer the right-winged Israeli government an additional $3 billion in military aid, and to pre-veto any UN Security Council Resolutions for an entire year (thereby hurting its own standing in the world, by trivializing international law as it might one day impact its own ally’s illegal actions), if Israel would just agree to suspend settlement expansion for a mere 3 months.

So how does Israel respond to its largest benefactor — who provides it with $3 billion annually in foreign aid?  Israel astonishingly refuses the offer.  Why?  Because in the spirit of Zionism-run-amok, Israel is determined to steal all of the Palestinian’s land, and will allow NOTHING to get in its way.

What Frum intentionally fails to mention is that the so-called ‘settlement freeze’ that Israel agreed to for a period of ten months — which strategically ended just before the 2010 US Midterm Elections — excluded East Jerusalem, an area that the international community recognizes as Palestinian territory.

What Frum fails to mention is that Peace Now, at eight months into the so called 10 month ‘settlement freeze’, reported that the moratorium on settlement expansion never actually occurred.  The Israelis plowed right along with their illegal settlements:

The Main Findings:

  • At least 600 housing units have started to be built during the freeze, in over 60 different settlements.
  • At least 492 of those housing units are in direct violation of the law of the freeze.
  • During an average year (when there is no freeze) approximately 1,130 housing units start to be built in 8 months in the settlements. The new construction starts during the moratorium constitute approximately half of the normal construction pace in the settlements.
  • Some 2,000 housing units are currently under construction in the settlements, most of them started before the freeze was announced in November 2009.

This means that on the ground, there is almost no freeze or even a visible slowdown, despite the fact that legal construction starts have been frozen for 8 months. It also means that the Government of Israel is not enforcing the moratorium.

Frum states the following on the likelihood of a US veto over any UN Security Council Resolution which might acknowledge a Palestinian state along the internationally recognized 1967 borders:

Such a [UN] vote is not very likely to happen. The United States could and would veto it. (On Wednesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to urge President Obama to veto any such UN move. The vote was unanimous. And that was the outgoing Democratic-majority House.)

He uses the term “Unanimous” to describe the vote taken by the US House of Representatives in making his point that the US Congress is firmly committed to pressuring the Obama Administration to veto any such UN Resolution.

I would recommend that Mr. Frum read this article which gives a behind-the-scenes look at how that AIPAC-sponsored resolution was passed.  It shows how this so-called “unanimous vote” amounts to ten Representatives who voted on a bill that was rushed to the floor late at night, for fear it might not pass.

He then lies that the Palestinians have never acknowledged the state of Israel:

The UN approach may never achieve anything. It may leave the Palestinian people stuck in a frustrating status quo. But anything is better than a deal that would require a Palestinian leader to acknowledge the permanence of Israel. Back in 2000, Yasser Arafat told Bill Clinton that signing a treaty with Israel would cost Arafat his life. Abbas seems to have reached the same conclusion.

What Frum fails to mention is that in 1992, Arafat and the PLO DID acknowledge Israel’s right to exist in peace, and accepted a two-state solution.  The Palestinians to this day STILL recognize Israel’s right to exist, despite the fact Israel refuses to remain bound by its internationally recognized borders.

Israel continues to this day, to steal Palestinian land (as if Palestinians don’t exist), and ethnically cleanses Palestinians from East Jerusalem.  And yet, not a mention about any of this from Frum.

The audacity that such a prominent voice — who unfortunately is just one of many in our media establishment that seem to monopolize all middle east discussions with a dishonest pro-Likud narrative — would sign his name to such a blatant distortion of the facts, goes to the heart of why this country remains impudent in bringing peace to the Middle East.