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WATCH: Max Blumenthal Discusses Israel And The American Elections

by on Friday, February 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm EDT in Election 2012, Middle East, Politics, World

Max Blumenthal discusses the significant roles several key right-wing, pro-Israel political donors have played, and continue to play, in American elections:

On Haim Saban:

He got rich with this show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and now he has established an entire, you know, wing within the establishment, the major establishment think tank in Washington, Brookings Institute.

He funded the construction of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters.

He was the largest individual donor to President Bill Clinton and came forward to support Clinton’s campaign during the impeachment crisis. He was the largest individual donor, I think, to President Barack Obama’s campaign. And Haim Saban says he’s also a donor to the Israeli army. Every year he gives millions of dollars to the Friends of the IDF. And Saban has said, I’m a single issue guy; my issue is Israel. He is funding the Democratic Party to make sure that the Democratic Party remains in the pro-Israel camp. 

On Sheldon Adelson:

He’s sort of just like the Jewish Donald Trump. He got into Israel after he broke up with his first wife. He had a divorce, and he decided that he wanted to meet Israeli women. And he’s sort of a hovercraft elite who can go around the world and pretty much get whatever he wants. So he went to Israel and met a woman who is extremely right-wing, became his wife, and she’s pumping money into Gingrich’s campaign. And now Adelson has said, according to Gingrich, that his life’s mission is supporting Israel. And he’s one of the key donors to the Republican Party, as well as to the Israel lobby.

WATCH:

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Transcript

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.

The World Moves To Action: ‘Israel Must End Its Illegal Occupation!’

by on Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

After having cringed through the most recent installment of the Middle East Peace ‘negotiations’, where the Netanyahu government publicly ‘castrated’ US President Barack Obama, the rest of the world appears to have had enough.

Incoming US Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), recently promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he and his fellow Republicans would unite against his own country’s President and vital national security interests, to stand firm with Israel.  This appears to have rattled the Obama Administration, who has all but thrown in the towel.  This week the State Department announced it was giving up on pressing Israel to slow down its illegal settlement expansion.

The US has proven itself, once again, powerless to apply an iota of pressure to its greatest foreign aid recipient, even when a peace agreement is essential to its own national strategic interests:

In recent months Barack Obama has said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a “vital national security interest of the United States”. His vice-president, Joe Biden, has confronted Netanyahu in private and told the Israeli leader that Israel’s policies are endangering US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senior figures in the American military, including General David Petraeus who has commanded US forces in both wars, have identified Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian land as an obstacle to resolving those conflicts.

Former President Bill Clinton recently stated that a Middle East Peace Agreement would “take about half the impetus in the whole world — not just the region, the whole world — for terror away.”  He said, “It would have more impact by far than anything else that could be done”.

The first to react to the failure of the US peace initiative were South American countries, including Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.  They announced they now formally recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.  Israel fears that Mexico, Ecuador and El Salvador are about to follow suit.  None of these countries were amongst the more than 100 countries to already recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

It is now being reported that 26 former European leaders (who held power within the last ten years) sent a strong-worded letter last Monday to each of the governments of the 27 member states and to EU institutions, calling on the EU to punish Israel for its illegal occupation.  The EU Observer, which read the letter, reports it recommends the following:

Israel “like any other state” should be made to feel “the consequences” and face “a price tag” for breaking international law by building thousands of new Jewish homes on Palestinian land. […]

… That the EU: “Will not recognize any changes to the June 1967 boundaries, and clarify that a Palestinian state should be in sovereign control over territory equivalent to 100 percent of the territory occupied in 1967, including its capital in East Jerusalem.”

It also asks ministers to set an ultimatum of April 2011 for Israel to fall into line or see the Union seek an end to the existing US-led peace talks format in favour of a UN solution.

[In addition, The EU] should:

  • officially link its informal freeze on an upgrade in EU-Israel diplomatic relations to a settlement freeze;
  • block imports of products made in settlements but labeled as made in Israel;
  • make Israel pay the lion’s share of aid to Palestine;
  • send a high-level delegation to East Jerusalem to back Palestinian claims;
  • and reclassify EU support for Palestine as “nation building” instead of “institution building.”

The signatories of the letter include:

Former German chancellor Helmut Schmid, former German president Richard von Weizsacker, one-time Spanish leader Felipe Gonzales, ex-EU commission president and Italian PM Romano Prodi and the UK’s former EU commissioner Chris Patten.

It also represents the first time that the forerunner of EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, Javier Solana, has come out of the wings to challenge the newcomer.

Apparently, it’s become evident to the world that the US is NOT a fair and honest broker in this conflict.  And despite its ‘superpower’ status, its billions of taxpayer dollars in annual foreign aid to Israel, and its long history of vetoing UN Security Council Resolutions against Israel, due to domestic political forces (Read: the Israel lobby), the US is powerless to apply pressure to Israel in ways that would even benefit its own stated strategic interests.

UPDATE (Dec. 14, 2010):

It appears the EU Foreign Affairs Council decided to ignore the letter by the 26 former European leaders cited above.  They just released their Official Statement on the Middle East Peace Process.

Why Has Bill Clinton Gone ‘Jimmy Carter’ On Israel?

by on Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 1:37 am EDT in Middle East, World

Former President Bill Clinton — a favorite both in Israel, and amongst pro-Israel supporters here in the US — recently made an abrupt shift in his public statements on Israel, breaking completely from the dominant ‘neo-conservative, inner-beltway’ narrative on US foreign policy in the Middle East. First, Clinton created an uproar in the Israeli government […]

Ha’aretz: E.U. Presidency Document Calls For Division Of Jerusalem & Return To 1967 Borders

by on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 5:34 pm EDT in Middle East, World

The pressure continues to mount on the far-right Likudnik government in Israel.  Ha’aretz has just obtained a copy of a document, drafted by the European Union Presidency, which effectively backs a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood, based on the 1967 borders.  The document follows: The world is clearly getting sick and tired of Netanyahu’s refusal […]

U.S. Press Corps Not Buying White House Spin On Israeli Intransigence

by on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 3:51 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

The Huffington Post is reporting that, in clear violation of both U.S. demands and international law: The Jerusalem city government moved toward the construction of 900 additional housing units in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim for the capital of their future state. This comes right after the Obama Administration recently softened […]

Hillary Clinton’s Pandering To Israel Destroys U.S. Credibility On Middle East Peace

by on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

U.S. Middle East policy has effectively come full-circle again, as it has done repeatedly for the past forty-plus years.  Every blue moon we get a U.S. President who dares to challenge Israel on its ethnic cleansing — as demonstrated by continued Palestinian home demolitions and Jewish-ONLY settlement expansion within the occupied territories (all interconnected by […]