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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.

This November, Write-In “Public Option”

by on Friday, September 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

I met up with Stan at The Seminal at FireDogLake (FDL).

I’d recently written about the rationality of we on the Left strategically boycotting the upcoming midterm elections, and had continued pushing that notion in the comments of a diary by Democratic Party flack Jason Rosenbaum, seeking help in those elections from we who had given his co-opted little party the Congress and White House on a silver platter just two years ago. In that same diary’s comments, Stan suggested that a strategic write-in campaign, rather than a strategic boycott, would be even better.

And he’s right.

The resulting diary follows. (See it on FDL here.)

Reclaiming the Democratic Party for the American Left

By: themalcontent Wednesday September 8, 2010 11:42 am

Even as elements of the faux-Left media machine crank up their efforts to minimize the inevitable losses Democrats will suffer this fall, a few diaries in the last week […] at FDL have helped crystallize what I believe could prove an effective strategy by which the American Left might reclaim the party from the DINOs who have so thoroughly and blatantly co-opted it.

The search for a credible, irrefutable way to give voice to our frustration has bubbled up in direct proportion to failure of the Obama Administration – and its Democratic Party majorities in both houses of Congress – to lead, since Inauguration Day 2009. So the diaries I’m about to reference contain merely the latest and perhaps most clear statements (to date) about what form such a statement might take, and are not meant to diminish or negate all the deep thought and dedication to progressive ideals so many here have expressed since the 2008 election.

The first, posted last Wednesday by Bill Egnor, prompted this one from me, over the weekend. Yesterday, I shamelessly whored that admittedly hastily assembled diary on several threads on both the main page and here at The Seminal. Then Jason Rosenbaum posted this, and the comments indicate to me that perhaps something resembling critical mass is near.

TheCallUp’s comment on Jason’s diary was my lightbulb moment, and appears to have been one for others. Not merely a boycott of the two major parties by those on the Left, but a way to register our displeasure, one that resists the Coakley-esque parsing which DINO flacks perpetuated – that’s what’s needed.

While writing-in “public option” or “single payer” or “Medicare for all” (h/t to alternateid), or “John Q. Public Option” (and maybe “Jane Q.,” to differentiate male and female voters?) – and I think we must all agree on one of these, or another that relates to the massive health insurance reform FAIL, so as to further reduce any possibility of parsing – the mere act of writing it in won’t get us where we want to go. If the goal is reclaiming the Democratic Party for the American Left, we need to make clear how we’re doing it, why we’re doing it, and what we expect to happen next. Without a clear, succinct statement of our goals, we will be marginalized by the sycophants and we will fail.

Having just elaborated on How we’re doing it, I’ll again state, below, the other elements I believe critical (for ease of reference as we discuss this initiative further in the comments):

Why we’re doing it: Because Barack Obama has failed to lead based on his 2008 stump speech, and Democratic obstructionists within his administration and the Congress are complicit in that failure. To have even a hope of keeping the White House in 2012, we insist Obama begins leading based on his campaign. If he does, we might, in 2012, even give him a majority in both houses of Congress once more. But that majority will not include anyone who thinks or votes like Joe Lieberman, Bart Stupak, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, and other duplicitous DINOs.

What we expect to happen next: On November 3, the massive Democratic loss still stinging, Obama must fire Rahm Emanuel, Tim Keane, Robert Gibbs, and Tim Geithner, and replace them with Russ Feingold, Dennis Kucinich (or Dr. Dean), Al Franken, and Elizabeth Warren respectively. Further, Warren’s counsel – alone – determines who will head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (Note: If Larry Summers has a problem with any of this, he can hit the fucking pike, too.)

And: On November 4, Mr. Obama addresses a joint session of Congress. In the somber, serious-as-a-heart-attack five-minute speech – two minutes is better – he creates by executive order, as Congress looks on, a public works program which mirrors the WPA, but in 2010 proportion to FDR’s 1935 model. He blunty states, with the wolrd watching, that a vote against funding it is a vote against putting Americans back to work. While he’s at it, he signs another order, ending DADT. Finally, he demands legislation outlawing corporate personhood, in similarly blunt fashion: “Refusal to do so will make quite clear which of you work for real people and which work for phony ones – and, I’ll venture, will subject you who work for the latter to the same kind of popular revolt my party has just undergone.”

In closing this diary, I’ll add one more thing: A lot of people have been saying for a long time that the Internet will change politics forever. It almost did in 2008. We now have a chance to actually make it happen, and (respectfully disagreeing with TheCallUp) we don’t need MoveOn to promote it, at least not yet. In fact, the more obvious it becomes that this has truly bubbled up from independently thinking Dems and Progs, the less it opens us to Righty accusations of being an astroturf org like the teabaggers.

So: What HCR-referencing phrase or name can we all agree is best to write in? And, will you commit to e-mailing at least 20 people and/or blogging your support of this initiative at one lefty blog, in order to help get it going?

Remember, we must move quickly: The campaign season is under way.