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Former Ambassador Asks U.S. to Criminalize Support for Boycott Against Israel

11:25 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

From the Trinity Alps:

Phosphorous rains down on Gaza

Israeili phosphorous rains down on Gaza

More and more American and foreign academic organizations are looking closely at passing resolutions in support of Boycotting, Divesting from and Sanctioning (BDS) Israeli educational organizations and institutions, for their involvement in the illegal occupation of the West Bank, and for those institutions’ lack of concern for educational infrastructure in the Occupied Territories and in Gaza. This past week, two important American academic organizations have passed motions supporting Global BDS of Israel, and advocating the end of relations with Israeli academic institutions and organizations. Back in April, the Association for Asian American Studies voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Last week, the large and influential American Studies Association passed a resolution calling for academic boycott:

A powerful group of US scholars has voted to launch an academic boycott of Israeli colleges and universities. With a membership in the thousands, the group has become the largest academic collective to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The American Studies Association (ASA) announced Monday that its nearly 5,000 members voted in favor of the boycott by a 2-to-1 margin on Sunday night. A total of 1,252 members voted on the issue, with 66 percent voting ‘yes’ and 30 percent voting ‘no.’ Three percent abstained from voting altogether.

The boycott calls on US schools and academic research groups to end all work with Israeli groups. It does allow individual Israeli scholars to still attend conferences and speak at American universities, as long as they do not do so in any official capacity of the government.

Yesterday, the Native American Studies Association passed a similar motion:

Another small North American academic association – the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) – decided this week to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

Ohio State English Prof. Chadwick Allen, president of the association and coordinator of American Indian studies at the university, wrote on the association’s website that the move followed a “member- generated” petition asking that the group “formally support the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural Institutions that was initiated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.”

Some academic organizations have decided not to boycott Israeli academia. The American Association of University Professors (a group I have been a member of) voted against academic sanctions last spring. But the issue is still being debated there, with a recent volume of their journal being devoted to the subject. The Modern Language Association will take up BDS at a January meeting:

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VIDEO: Max Blumenthal Addresses the New America Foundation

8:47 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Max Blumenthal portraits

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On Tuesday, author, journalist and videographer Max Blumenthal addressed the New America Foundation, to a packed house, in the ballroom of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  The foundation, which had been subjected to enormous pressure from Zionist organizations to cancel the event, is still being attacked for having gone through with their commitment to present the young author, as he described the background and content of his recent book, Goliath:  Life sand Loathing in Greater Israel.

Meanwhile, liberal-ish writer Eric Alterman is continuing his attacks on Blumenthal, most recently by complaining about an article published in Salon, written by Natasha Lennard:

I have always respected Salon’s standards, both ethical and journalistic, in the past and hence I must admit to surprise that these appear to have been so casually discarded in the interview with Max Blumenthal published under the (ridiculous) headline, “Max Blumenthal: I knew Alterman would freak out.” I’ve been trying to avoid getting sucked any further into this controversy than was necessitated by my initially agreeing—at the behest of my editors at The Nation—to devote my regular column to Blumenthal’s book which was published by Nation Books and was to be excerpted in the magazine. Following the column, I explained myself in a blog post, added a few details for which I had no room, and would have been happy to end the matter there. Since then, I have been forced to address falsehood after falsehood put forth by Blumenthal and his defenders and now, because this is Salon and not some other publication known for its dishonesty and/or anti-Zionist fanaticism, I am forced to do so once again. So let’s get it over with….

As I wrote, two or three “last time I’ll write about this” agos from Alterman – we’ll see.

Here is Max Blumenthal, addressing the foundation, and then taking questions for about half an hour:

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Attacks on Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath” Escalate, Veer into Wingnut Land – Updated

7:44 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Goliath Crosses Netanyahu's Red Line

The initial attack on Max Blumenthal’s new book, released October 1st, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (currently No. 2 on Amazon’s history of Israel best seller list), was led by Eric Alterman, writing for the November 4th edition of The Nation.  Alterman condemned the book, using the now widely reported terms for it as “The ‘I Hate Israel’ Handbook,” and “Hamas Book-of-the-Month” selection.  Within days of Alterman posting his first critical essay at The Nation, he posted another.  Then, in response to detailed critiques of Alterman’s analyses of the book by Blumenthal and others, Alterman jumped in a third time.

Alterman initially refused to appear in any forum with Blumenthal, to discuss or debate the book’s content and subject matter, but has now indicated he might show up “for $10,000 plus expenses, paid in advance.”

Goliath has received a number of positive reviews.  Perhaps the most comprehensive was that by Chris Hedges, posted at Truthdig:

 There are very few intellectuals or writers who have the tenacity and courage to confront this reality [the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism].

This is what makes Max Blumenthal’s ’Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel’ one of the most fearless and honest books ever written about Israel. Blumenthal burrows deep into the dark heart of Israel. The American journalist binds himself to the beleaguered and shunned activists, radical journalists and human rights campaigners who are the conscience of the nation, as well as Palestinian families in the West Bank struggling in vain to hold back Israel’s ceaseless theft of their land. Blumenthal, in chapter after chapter, methodically rips down the facade. And what he exposes, in the end, is a corpse.

Even as Alterman led the attacks, he was quickly outdone in the dismissive, yet somewhat shallow tone he introduced.   Wall Street Journal Assistant Book Editor, Sohrab Ahmari, announced on Twitter:

@Eric_Alterman rips to shreds @maxblumenthal‘s “Goliath,” of which two review copies currently sit in my trashcan.

What may have turned out to be the most disturbing element introduced by Alterman, was his bringing Max Blumenthal’s father, Sidney Blumenthal, into the argument.  What seemed to some as an innocuous comment in Alterman’s first article, has turned into a sordid campaign by even more sordid people, to attack both the elder Blumenthal, and Hillary and Bill Clinton, and their foundation.  The hits have devolved from Buzzfeed.com to Breitbart.com to white supremacist Robert Stacy McCain’s blog, as the threats have escalated.

On November 6th, Buzzfeed.com carried an article by Rosie Gray, centering on Max’s father:

In a follow-up blog post after the initial review, Alterman wrote that he had become the target of emails sent around by Blumenthal to friends and associates as a result of his review of the book.

‘I attribute to these friendly relations the fact that until now, Sid Blumenthal had not seen fit to make me the object of any of the unflattering e-mails he so often sends around to journalists and others — myself included — about individuals of whom he disapproves,’ Alterman wrote. ‘Privately, I worried that by telling the truth about his son’s book, I would soon hear of nasty e-mails about me sent by Sid to our mutual friends and professional acquaintances. Call it “bizarre,” if you will, but sadly, that’s just what happened.’

BuzzFeed obtained one of the Blumenthal emails from a source; it features a copied-and-pasted article from the anti-Zionist blog Mondoweiss, sent with the subject line ‘Fact-checking Eric Alterman on Goliath.‘ The article in question, by writer Phan Nguyen, calls on The Nation to retract Alterman’s review, describes Alterman as an “unreliable narrator,” and states that he has “undermined his self-proclaimed status as a conscientious critic of the Israeli occupation.”

Gray pursued the links between Sidney Blumenthal and the Clintons:

Several phone calls and emails to the Clinton Foundation seeking clarification on Blumenthal’s role in the organization went unanswered. A BuzzFeed reporter who went to the Clinton Foundation’s offices in New York on Tuesday seeking the organization’s most recent IRS 990 form was turned away.

“We don’t know what you’re referring to,” said Clinton Foundation spokesperson Nick Merill when asked about the emails and whether Hillary Clinton is aware of Blumenthal’s defense of Goliath. He copied Clinton spokespeople Philippe Reines and Matt McKenna on his response to BuzzFeed, as well as Sidney Blumenthal.

The pressure on Billary and the foundation was stepped up on November 8th, with that estimable source, Breitbart.com, giving space, in an article by Joel B. Pollack, to Alan Dershowitz:

On Friday, Dershowitz told Breitbart News that Sid Blumenthal’s vociferous advocacy for his son’s book could damage Hillary Clinton’s widely anticipated run for her party’s nomination for president in 2016.

The article goes on to quote Dershowitz:

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Book Salon Preview: Goliath, Life & Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal – Part Three: The Complete Real News Interviews

8:58 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

This past week, Max Blumenthal, author of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, sat for five interview with The Real News‘ Paul Jay.  I posted part one here in mid-week.  All five segments have now been posted at The Real News.  Saturday afternoon, Firedoglake will host Blumenthal on the Saturday portion of the weekly Book Salon.  As part of the preliminaries for this important salon, here are all five segments, posted together for your convenience.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

I’ll post when I can find a link…..

Part Five:

Book Salon Preview: Goliath, Life & Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal – Part One: The Book

1:10 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Join the FDL Book Salon with Max Blumenthal, hosted by Edward Teller this Saturday at 2:00pm PST.

Max Blumenthal portraits

Firedoglake’s Edward Teller hosts Max Blumenthal book salon this weekend.

In 2009, soon after finishing his bestselling look at authoritarian underpinnings of the evangelical core of the USA’s militant new right, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, Max Blumenthal went to work on his next book.  He had actually conceived of the idea that became the framework of Goliath before he began writing Republican Gomorrah:

I conceived this book project before I even started my first book, Republican Gomorrah, and when I was beginning to refine the tactics that were working really well in exposing the radical right and the Republican Party. I was simply insinuating myself into the institutions of the GOP base, and into the gatherings this party would hold, getting to know people, trying to understand their mentality, and then following up with them. And making constant calls instead of relying on other people to do the reporting for me. From there, I’d conduct my own research and analysis and immerse myself in the history of the Christian right.

So what I set out to do when I made my first extended trip to Israel in May 2009, right after it elected its most right-wing government in history, is to insinuate myself into the major institutions of Israeli society.

The young author spent a lot of time in Israel and the occupied West Bank, assiduously chronicling, and interviewing, posting dozens of articles in magazines, online journals and blogs. Although Blumenthal continued to cover aspects of the far right in America, his efforts toward gathering the vast amount of information packed into the new book must have been a formidable task.

Four years later, what we have in Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel is simply the most detailed look yet taken at the increasingly racist, authoritarian and Xenophobic nation that Israel has become. The book’s narrative is relentless in its pursuit of detail. Interviews with contemporary political, cultural, religious and military figures are interspersed with well laid out chapters looking into the historical context of today’s events.

Divided into ten parts, and subdivided into 73 chapters, the book can be approached cover to cover, or tackled by looking at the subjects contained in the subdivisions. The ten divisions cluster chapter episodes related to a broader subject. For instance, Part V, What Lies Beneath the Forest, concentrates on the legacy of internal displacement of non-Jewish Palestinians within Israel itself. It contains five chapters, each of which looks at an aspect or ramification of this policy over the years:

The Days of ’48 Have Come Again looks at house demolitions of Palestinians inside of Israel, particularly the Lod ghetto, and in the occupied territories.  Blumenthal interviews several people who had their houses destroyed, often without warning.

The Blueprint goes back into the historical basis for internal displacement of non-Jewish residents of Israel, particularly the historically semi-nomadic Bedouins, 170,000 of whom are Israeli citizens. Looking closely at the writings of David Ben Gurion, back into the mid-1930s, Blumenthal demonstrates that the Zionist ideal has always and continues to regard the placement of their Bedouin citizens into concentration camps as a laudable goal.

The Summer Camp of Destruction looks at how a group of Jewish Israeli kids took a day off from summer camp in 2010, to help in the total destruction of the Bedouin village of Al Arabiq in the Negev.

Preparing the Land for Jesus ties into the preceding chapter, which as an aside, brings up the strange relationship between Zionism and millennialist Christian Zionism.  Blumenthal details workings of GOD-TV, “a Jerusalem-based cable television network that claimed to reach over half a billion people around the world with programming blending New World Order conspiracism with Greater-Israeli zealotry.” In essence, Blumenthal discovered that the founders of GOD-TV were partnering with the Jewish National Fund to plant over a million trees on the site or the demolished Bedouin village of Al Arabiq, and in the nearby rural areas. The author describes the development, since the 1980s, of ties between Israeli Jewish agencies, NGOs and non-profits, to American fundamentalist Christian Zionist groups.

There Are No Facts looks at the absurd Canada Forest project, culminating in the late 2010 Carmel area forest fires that killed 40 Israeli police cadets, among others. One of the best chapters of the book, it abundantly shows how nutty some of Israel’s land reclamation projects have been, how destined to failure they always were.

The five chapters of What Lies Beneath the Forest are a microcosm of the way the entire book is constructed — clusters of facts, history, interviews and encounters, showing the fatal shortcomings of Zionism’s paradigm.

Blumenthal, describing this aspect of the book’s thrust:

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Sheldon Adelson Wants Obama To Nuke Tehran

1:54 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

After watching the crowd react to Sheldon Adelson’s proposal Tuesday evening to nuke Tehran, I started to visibly shake.  I haven’t been this upset in a while.  Maybe it is because one of the books I’m reading right now is Command and Control, by Eric Schlosser, about how close to accidental thermonuclear war we’ve sometimes come.

As appalling as Adelson’s statement was, what got me shaking was the incontestable fact that the audience applauded the following utterance, as the President of Yeshiva University, Richard M. Joel, JD, sat there mutely.  Here’s what Adelson was applauded for saying (emphasis added):

Boteach: So you would support negotiations with Iran so long as they first cease all enrichment

Adelson: No. What do you mean support negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ You pick up your cell phone, even at traveling rates. You pick up your cell phone, and– what are they called?

Boteach: roaming charges.

Adelson: Roaming charges. You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever.

And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.

[Applause]

I was upset enough to call the office of President Joel.  I was told he had not responded to Adelson’s call for thermonuclear genocide.  So I wrote him the following open letter:

Mr. Richard M. Joel, JD
President, Yeshiva University
500 West 185th Street, Belfer Hall 1200
New York, NY 10033

Dear President Joel,

I have just finished watching a video segment posted on Youtube of part of a seminar in which you participated Tuesday evening, at Yeshiva University. One moment bothered me to the point I find myself distressed.

One of the participants in the event was Sheldon Adelson. He made the following statement (emphasis added):

Boteach: So you would support negotiations with Iran so long as they first cease all enrichment

Adelson: No. What do you mean support negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ You pick up your cell phone, even at traveling rates. You pick up your cell phone, and– what are they called?

Boteach: roaming charges.

Adelson: Roaming charges. You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever.

And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.

[Applause]

+++++++

I am appalled that you so willingly sat there mutely as Mr. Adelson’s horrific statement and proposal, which would kill millions of people, was applauded so enthusiastically by students and guests at your institution.

I called your office today, Wednesday, October 23, to ask whether you had issued any sort of statement distancing yourself from Mr. Adelson’s suggestion of a horrific act of war against a sovereign nation with which we are currently negotiating. I was told you have not issued any such statement.

I am asking you to make such a statement soon, sir.

Very Truly Yours,

Philip Munger

I’ll let you know if the distinguished university administrator responds. Here is the video of the exchange, initially posted by Phil Weiss, at the blog Mondoweiss.  The troubling statement and response begins just after 5:15:

What would the media response have been had a prominent American Muslim been able to draw such applause from a university audience for recommending using a thermonuclear weapon on Tel Aviv?  The University would be castigated, the president who failed to condemn such a threat then and there, fired or forced to resign in disgrace.

If you want to write to President Joel, here is a link to his office email.

Max Blumenthal Begins Book Tour With Democracy Now! Appearance

1:32 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

 

Blumenthal begins book tour.

Author and journalist Max Blumenthal’s second book came out on October 1. Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel recounts Blumenthal’s four-year quest to fully cover, document and chronicle Israel’s inexorable tilt to a country so far to the right, so authoritarian, so overtly racist, so defiant of international standards, that it risks becoming more than a bit like North Korea in the ways it turns inward, denying the reality of the world’s perception of what the small nation actually is.

Blumenthal’s first book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, came out in late summer of 2009. In it, Blumenthal described in detail how fundamentalist Christian organizations and figures changed the Republican Party into something authoritarian, anti-democratic, overtly racist, anti-science and in denial of how its actions are perceived by the American public at large. It became a New York Times best seller and continues to resonate, as many of the ideas and figures Blumenthal exposed in it have become more powerful in GOP behind-the-scenes decisions.

During Republican Gomorrah‘s book tour, Blumenthal made a number of appearances on mainstream venues. The American media does not handle discussing the dangers of religious fundamentalism very well – unless the fundamentalists being discussed happen to be Muslim. When on Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough, in September, 2009, Scarborough refused to give Blumenthal’s basic premise — that the far right’s obeisance to fundamentalism is deep and structural — any credence.  Even Terry Gross, when interviewing Max on Fresh Air, around the same time, had trouble coming to grips with the importance of Blumenthal’s revelations (although it is a damn good interview!) More than any of the many other interviews Max participated in back in late 2009, Gross and Blumenthal got into the ties between GOP Christian Zionists and Zionism itself.

That same week, Max was welcomed to a Book Salon session here at Firedoglake, hosted by Watertiger. At that time, I posted an appreciation of the young author, titled “Watching Max Blumenthal Grow to be a Major American Writer.”

Max’s work first came to the attention of many through his Youtube postings, where some called him “the Youtube Michael Moore.”  The most famous — and notorious — was made in late Spring of 2009. It was banned from Youtube several times, but keeps on cropping up:

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Israel Threatens to Ban French Diplomat Who Reacted to Armed Thugs

5:02 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Last Friday an incident occurred at the site of the Bedouin village of Khirbet Al-Makhul, in the occupied West Bank area of Palestine. In violation of Geneva Convention protocols for conduct by occupying forces, an Israeli court ruled early last week that the village should be demolished, as nobody living there had been able to receive building permits for dwellings there. According to locals, the village has been at this location since long before the occupying power, Israel, even existed, let alone had occupied the local area through aggressive war, in June, 1967.

Once demolitions had occurred, the International Committee of the Red Cross attempted to deliver temporary housing to the homeless refugees:

Israeli soldiers stopped the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delivering emergency aid on Tuesday and on Wednesday ICRC staff managed to put up some tents but the army forced them to take the shelters down.

Friday, when diplomatic staff from several nations attempted to deliver supplies and shelter, things became violent:

Diplomats from France, Britain, Spain, Ireland, Australia and the European Union’s political office, turned up on Friday with more supplies. As soon as they arrived, about a dozen Israeli army jeeps converged on them, and soldiers told them not to unload their truck.

Here is the longest video of the event I have been able to locate so far. Please note how many people are documenting the confrontation with cameras, phones and video equipment:

Here is a report that was shown on Iranian TV early Saturday:

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All Things Considered Promotes Baldfaced Lie About New Iranian Foreign Minister

11:07 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

When I first heard this story start on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, I thought it was fair to incoming Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’, regarding his “Happy New Year!” tweet to the global Jewish community.

Here is what the foreign minister initially tweeted:

Happy Rosh Hashanah

Among the responders was Nancy Pelosi’s daughter. She replied:

Thanks. The New Year would be even sweeter if you would end Iran’s Holocaust denial, sir.

Zarif replied:

Iran never denied it. The man who was perceived to be denying it is now gone. Happy New Year.

In the NPR story, what got me piqued was when the expert being interviewed – Robin Wright truly is an Iran expert — in what seemed like something she was representing as a tweet quote, changed the nature of what the foreign minister had written in his reply to Pelosi.

Wright said in the NPR interview:

Iran never denied it.  The man who did is now gone.

That’s not what he tweeted.  Changing the phrase “The man who was perceived to be denying it” to “The man who did” is one thing.  For NPR to let this go by as they edited the segment is another.

Didn’t anyone realize the importance of Zarif’s perception of what Iranians have undergone because of the probably inaccurate portrayal of a recently term-limited bogeyman?

That such a formidable Iran expert as Robin Wright did this was probably intentional. If so, it shows well how much pressure media programs, pundits, anchors, stringers, editors and producers are under, as they seem to relentlessly push the violent action meme.

Neither Wright nor the interviewer, Melissa Block wants to be the next Judith Miller. But did Miller realize how fake the stuff she was putting on Team USA’s paper of record was from the beginning?

That’s history. What our media is doing now is reality, as fictional as their narrative is.

What’s the most bullshit example of media distortion or baldfaced lying you’ve witnessed so far?

“So far,” because things will ratchet up next week.

John Kerry Addresses the American Jewish Community Global Forum on Middle East Peace Prospects

12:37 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Kerry

Is Kerry's hope for a two-state solution naive?

Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the annual American Jewish Community Global Forum on Monday, June 3rd.  He focused on the limited time he believes the Palestinians and Israelis have to come up with a workable “two-state solution.”

So I want to ask you this: Whenever you think about this challenge and how hard it is, think about what will happen if it doesn’t work. We will find ourselves in a negative spiral of responses and counter-responses that could literally slam the door on a two-state solution, having already agreed, I think, that there isn’t a one-state one. And the insidious campaign to de-legitimize Israel will only gain steam. Israel will be left to choose between being a Jewish state or a democratic state…

Personally, I believe the two-state solution is dead, and was probably never viable.  The “negative spiral” he cites is an ongoing death spiral of what might have been Democratic Israel, with equal rights for all its citizens.

The ultra-Orthodox are growing in numbers, population percentage and political power.  They do not want a two-state solution.  They want to expel the Palestinian Christians and Muslims, either across the Jordan into other countries, or onto increasingly smaller allotments, similar to the former South African Bantustans, or the kinds of Indian reservations one finds in upstate New York, or along the California coast.  So that they can have their ethnically cleansed, and – in their minds – pure Judea and Samaria.

Kerry’s pandering to American Zionist and Israeli concerns about Palestinian United Nations efforts (and their widening support), and over the rapid growth of the Global BDS movement, by referring to these efforts as “insidious,” is countered by his acknowledging that hostile reaction to Israeli actions is “gaining steam.”

Kerry paints the growing isolation of Israel and its few supporters glumly, without acknowledging why this is happening [emphasis added]:

So before anyone gives up on this hope, we have to ask whether we are prepared to live with permanent conflict, with the possibility of widespread civil disobedience, with the possibility of a civil rights movement that grows in the West Bank, with the possibility of another intifada always looming around the corner. If the parties don’t agree to come back to the table, the Palestinians have already said that they will go to the UN and seek to join more UN organizations, where, despite the best efforts of the United States, they will probably get more votes in their favor than they got last time. And last time, we only got nine votes against. And the Palestinians have also threatened to take their case to the International Criminal Court.

Why is “the possibility of a civil rights movement that grows in the West Bank” a bad thing, in the face of the continuing land confiscations, ghettoization, repression and random violence that Palestinians face daily?

Overall, it is a well put-together, very well delivered speech.  However, it offers nothing imaginative regarding the dangerous impasse with Iran.  It is more than a bit too obsequious.  But it is no more of that than any typical speech about Israel by any leading American politician:

The recent dog-and-pony show of Tony Blair and John Kerry boasting a multi-billion-dollar, multi-year Palestinian development plan, preceded Kerry’s Forum speech, which was informed of Blair’s and Kerry’s “plan” in its content.   The announcement, made at the World Economic Forum in Amman, Jordan, hasn’t gotten much press coverage.  Max Blumenthal wrote a detailed article about it last weekend, in which he describes Kerry’s Amman speech:

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