You are browsing the archive for Palestine.

Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein: U.S. policy to Israel, Palestine must change

8:26 pm in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

Originally published at AlterPolitics

Dr. Jill Stein, the prospective Green Party presidential nominee, just released a policy statement regarding Israel / Palestine on her website (which follows below).

For those who have longed to hear a U.S. Presidential candidate bravely step up with a Middle East policy platform grounded in international law, human rights, and equality and justice for ALL, her statement will not disappoint:

United States policy regarding Israel and Palestine must be revised to make international law, peace and human rights for all people, no matter their religion or nationality, the central priorities. While the U.S. government sometimes voices support for this principle in name, in practice U.S policy towards Palestine and Israel has violated this principle more often than not.

In particular, the United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law. Instead of allying with the courageous proponents of peace within Israel and Palestine, our government has rewarded consistent abusers of human rights. There is no peace or justice or democracy at the end of such a path. We must reset U.S. policy regarding Israel and Palestine, as part of a broader revision of U.S. policy towards the Middle East.

On taking office, I will put all parties on notice – including the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, and the Hamas administration in Gaza – that future U.S. support will depend on respect for human rights and compliance with international law. All three administrations will also be held responsible for preventing attacks by non-state actors on civilians or military personnel of any nationality. The parties will be given 60 days to each demonstrate unilateral material progress towards these ends.

Material progress will be understood to include but not be limited to an end to the discriminatory apartheid policies within the state of Israel, the removal of the Separation Wall, a ban on assassination, movement toward denuclearization, the release of all political prisoners and journalists from Israeli and Palestinian prisons, disarmament of non-state militias, and recognition of the right of self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Failure by any party to demonstrate sufficient material progress will result in the end of U.S. military and economic aid to that party. Should the end of U.S. aid fail to cause a party to redirect its policies and to take steps resulting in sufficient material progress within an additional 60 days, I will direct my State Department to initiate diplomacy intended to isolate and pressure the offending party, including the use of economic sanctions and targeted boycott. In this way, U.S. policy will begin to become consistent with its practices regarding other violators of human rights and international law in the region.

Consistency in U.S. policy regarding human rights and international law will begin, but not end, with Palestine and Israel. I will apply this same approach to other nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen, among others. I will also ensure that the United States begins to honor its obligations to protect human rights, and will expect that the world community will hold us to the same account we hold others.

Finally, as President I will put the full weight of the United States behind the establishment of a Palestine and Israel Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the vehicle for shifting from an era of human rights violations to one based on trust and bringing all parties together to seek solutions. Any stakeholder who enters into this process must pledge to work for a solution that respects the rights of all involved. This will bring America’s Middle East policy into alignment with American values. I understand that in the end, a dedicated commitment to justice will further American interests in the region much better than the current policies of supporting abuses and violence by one side against the other. And I believe that this is in the best interests of all people living in Israel and Palestine.

Two State Solution: Why A Jewish Democracy Is An Impossibility

11:19 am in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

In Peter Beinart’s NY Times Op-Ed, To Save Israel, Boycott the Settlements, he begins by painting the picture of a ‘noble’ ideal being attacked by two antithetical extremes:

TO believe in a democratic Jewish state today is to be caught between the jaws of a pincer.

He first points out the threat to Israel’s status as a democracy, namely Israel’s continued occupation and settlement expansion of Palestinian lands, where “millions of West Bank Palestinians are barred from citizenship and the right to vote in the state that controls their lives.”

He then points towards what he feels threatens Israel’s Jewish majority, namely BDS supporters’ calls for “the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes,” which if were to happen, would “dismantle Israel as a Jewish state.”

What strikes me as odd, is the fact that Beinart cannot see the blatant incongruity of the two core components of his Utopian ideal for Israel: ‘democratic Jewish’ state.

It is farcical to believe that a two-state solution, even if it prohibited the Palestinians’ right of return (which international law, by the way, accords every human being on the planet), would bring a ‘Jewish Democracy.’

Democracy is a government by the people, as ruled by the majority. If one subgroup within what constitutes ‘the people’ is permitted to enforce discriminatory laws to ensure that their group always enjoys a ruling majority, then the government is not really one of ‘the people’ — i.e. a democracy — but a government of that one subgroup.

Those outside that dominant subgroup, in this case non-Jewish Israelis, could not claim to enjoy democracy inside their own country, because the laws have been stacked against them to ensure they will always remain outnumbered, and thus, their voices forever silenced in government.

To predetermine that ANY group will always remain powerless within their own government is to pervert the very concept of democracy in ways that might even make Vladimir Putin blush.

Liberal Zionists should at least be honest, like Netanyahu has been, and state unequivocally that their notion of Israel’s ‘survival’ is predicated on a country where ONLY Jews will have a voice in government, and all non-Jews effectively silenced by a permanent minority status, which can only be ensured by systematic discrimination.

VIDEO Debate: Attacking Iran, AIPAC, Israel-Palestine and Obama with Rashid Khalidi and Jonathan Tobin

1:03 pm in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

Rashid Khalidi (photo: FLoyd Brown/Flickr)

Rashid Khalidi (photo: FLoyd Brown/Flickr)

Yesterday, President Barack Obama addressed the annual policy conference of the powerful pro-Israel lobby group, AIPAC.

In his speech, he attempted to walk a fine line between reassuring the group of his ‘sacrosanct’ commitment to both Israel’s security and ethnic identity as a ‘Jewish state,’ and yet tamp down on its insistence that the United States bomb Iran.

In making the case that he has been one of the most pro-Israel Presidents to date, he outlined the many ways he has bolstered the country’s security apparatus over the last three years, and then boasted about some of the more controversial diplomatic efforts he has made on Israel’s behalf:

And just as we’ve been there with our security assistance, we’ve been there through our diplomacy. When the Goldstone report unfairly singled out Israel for criticism, we challenged it. (Applause.) When Israel was isolated in the aftermath of the flotilla incident, we supported them. (Applause.) When the Durban conference was commemorated, we boycotted it, and we will always reject the notion that Zionism is racism. (Applause.)

When one-sided resolutions are brought up at the Human Rights Council, we oppose them. When Israeli diplomats feared for their lives in Cairo, we intervened to save them. (Applause.) When there are efforts to boycott or divest from Israel, we will stand against them. (Applause.) And whenever an effort is made to de-legitimize the state of Israel, my administration has opposed them. (Applause.) So there should not be a shred of doubt by now — when the chips are down, I have Israel’s back. (Applause.)

This morning, President Obama received Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, and it is being reported that much of their discussion was focused on Iran, and that the two continued to buck heads on the ‘red lines’ necessary for war:

Even though Obama has offered assurances of stiffened U.S. resolve against Iran before the White House meeting, the two allies are still far apart on explicit nuclear “red lines” that Tehran must not be allowed to cross, and they have yet to agree on a time frame for when military action may be necessary.

While the two leaders hashed it out at the Oval Office, Amy Goodman moderated an excellent debate between Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University and Commentary Magazine’s Senior Online Editor, Jonathan Tobin. Read the rest of this entry →

If U.S. Liberals Share Same Values As Israel, Why Do You Applaud Pat Buchanan’s Ouster From MSNBC?

11:01 am in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

On Thursday, February 16th, MSNBC effectively dropped its go-to conservative pundit Pat Buchanan, after having suspended him four months earlier, due to the uproar caused by his latest book, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?.

The controversy stemmed from one of the book’s premises that America’s identity will cease to exist as it loses its white Christian majority. Buchanan wrote, “America is being transformed into a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.”

Take a look at the names of his chapters to get an idea of just why this book has so inflamed liberal American sensibilities:

1. The Passing of a Superpower
2. The Death of Christian America
3. The Crisis of Catholicism
4. The End of White America
5. Demographic Winter
6. Equality or Freedom?
7. The Diversity Cult
8. The Triumph of Tribalism
9. “The White Party”
10. The Long Retreat
11. The Last Chance

To sell his book, Buchanan appeared on a white-nationalist radio program called The Political Cesspool, which describes itself as representing “a philosophy that is pro-White and … against political centralization.” It says, “We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races.

Buchanan’s attempt to peddle his white Christian-supremacy message to the American public would not stand uncontested. Liberals coalesced around the controversy, arguing that a network that claims to “lean forward” has a responsibility to shun this sort of polarizing and destructive bigotry; not to continue to empower its advocates with a mainstream media platform.

Progressive groups CREDO Action and ColorOfChange.org quickly gathered 275,000 signatures on a petition, demanding that MSNBC President Phil Griffin and NBC News President Steve Capus fire Buchanan at once.

Last month Griffen consented that he didn’t believe Buchanan’s book “should be part of the national dialogue, much less part of the dialogue on MSNBC.” And so last Thursday, he fired Buchanan.

After his ouster, Buchanan was invited to appear on right-winger Sean Hannity’s TV program (on Fox News) to defend himself. Attempting to rationalize his beliefs, Buchanan said:

“The year 2042, people had talked about where the European majority in the country, the white majority, would be a minority. Now, there was a cover story in The Atlantic titled ‘The End of White America,’ and this fella who was a professor celebrated it. Bill Clinton went out to Portland State and said by 2050, there’s going to be no racial majority in the country, and everybody applauded.

“So I took up that issue and I said, ‘Wait a minute. This… it’s not known for sure that this is going to be beneficial because I don’t know a country in this day and age where there’s no ethnic majority that is not in danger of coming apart. And my question is, why can everybody else celebrate this and say it’s wonderful, and I can’t even write about it without being blacklisted?”

The Left’s reaction to Buchanan’s beliefs just exemplify how prominent the virtues of inclusiveness and equality are to liberal values. Any Buchanan-like ideology predicated on the belief that demographic shifts (in race, religion, or ethnicity) represents a ‘threat’ to the country, is considered so bigoted, so immoral, so un-American, that all responsible gatekeepers must denounced it, and expunged it from mainstream American discourse.

So why wasn’t there a similar display of outrage by these ‘principled’ liberals, including groups CREDO Action and ColorOfChange.org, when nearly every Democratic member of the U.S. House and Senate gave 29 exuberant standing ovations during Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech last year to a joint session of Congress? This adoration trumped the reception they displayed for our own Democratic U.S. President, who received 25 standing ovations at his State of the Union Address, earlier that year.

And Netanyahu’s and Buchanan’s bigoted views are virtually indistinguishable from one another’s. They each regularly cite potential demographic shifts away from their own religious/ethnic majorities as existential threats to their respective countries.

In fact, Netanyahu likens anything short of a lopsided Jewish-majority in Israel as the literal destruction of Israel. He considers Arab-Israelis to be an existential threat to Israel, in much the same way that Buchanan sees Mexican Americans, African Americans, and other minorities as existential threats to America.

As an example, while speaking at the Herzliya Conference on security, Netanyahu said:

“If there is a demographic problem, and there is, it is with the Israeli Arabs who will remain Israeli citizens,” he said. The Declaration of Independence said Israel should be a Jewish and democratic state, but to ensure the Jewish character was not engulfed by demography, it was necessary to ensure a Jewish majority, he said.

If Israel’s Arabs become well integrated and reach 35-40 percent of the population, there will no longer be a Jewish state but a bi-national one, he said. If Arabs remain at 20 percent but relations are tense and violent, this will also harm the state’s democratic fabric. “Therefore a policy is needed that will balance the two.”

[...]

Netanyahu said that the “separation fence” would … help to prevent a “demographic spillover” of Palestinians from the territories.

And yet this obscenely bigoted policy statement — built upon the same rationale used throughout history to incite ethnic cleansing and genocide — does not cause a stir in American liberal circles. In fact, liberal leaders line up enthusiastically to shake Netanyahu’s hand, to pledge their allegiance to Israel, and to repeat (almost mechanically) that Israel and the United States share common values, and that our countries’ interests are identical.

Our Democratic President, our Democratic Congresspeople, and some of our most popular ‘liberal’ political journalists and pundits either refuse to acknowledge or discuss Netanyahu’s bigoted beliefs and policies, or more often than not, subordinate their own progressive values on equality to his bigoted ones.

Take, for instance, President Obama speaking to the Union for Reform Judaism’s biennial conference:

“We stand with Israel as a Jewish democratic state because we know Israel was born of values that we share. America’s commitment and my commitment to Israel and Israel’s security is unshakable.”

“Israel was born of values that we share” might be true, if you are Pat Buchanan. Think about it, Buchanan’s cardinal sin, which got him tarred/feathered, and ultimately fired, was for insinuating that the U.S. should remain a state with a white Christian majority.

Obama’s commitment above, to Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state, could lead one to reasonably conclude that our President and Buchanan share identical anti-progressive values when it comes to racial, religious, and ethnic equality.

And Netanyahu is far more dangerous than political pundit Pat Buchanan ever was, or ever could be. Buchanan merely whines aloud, or on paper, about losing his idealistic ‘white Christian’ America. Netanyahu actually implements this line of bigotry as Israeli policy, and then states unapologetically that Israel’s very existence depends upon it.

And this bigotry didn’t just begin with Netanyahu. As he stated in his speech above, it goes back to the founding of Israel. It is the central tenet of Zionism, as a political ideology. The country was founded on this very goal of creating and then solidifying a Jewish majority in a country that was predominately inhabited by Arab non-Jews.

We see this Buchanan brand of bigotry implemented on the ground today in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank, as Palestinian homes continue to be demolished — entire families made homeless, for having had the audacity of being born as non-Jews. Their lands and their homes wiped clean from the map, and quickly supplanted by Jewish-only settlements, interconnected by Jewish-only roads.

This is ethnic cleansing.

And any so called ‘liberal’ who subscribes to, defends, or even acquiesces to an ideology that incites or rationalizes ethnic cleansing, has absolutely no ground to stand on when it comes to criticizing Pat Buchanan for merely writing similar extremist opinions down on paper.

Originally published at AlterPolitics

WATCH: ADL’s Abe Foxman Exposed In Television Interview

1:08 pm in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

Ha’aretz writer David Sheen interviews the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman in this 53 minute video clip (h/t Max Blumenthal), and Foxman literally flips his wig over what would seem to be softball questions.

Sheen asks the ADL’s National Director about many topics, including: his bestowing Rupert Murdoch with the ADL Award, his denunciation of PETA, his condemnation of the proposed Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan, his recent blacklisting of human rights groups (proclaiming them to be anti-Israel), his position on Breaking the Silence (a group of Israeli soldiers who came forward and admitted to needlessly destroying homes, firing white phosphorous into populated areas in Gaza, amongst other war crimes); on why Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak is allowed to compare Israel to an Apartheid state, yet ADL proclaims others who make the comparison to be anti-semitic; his position on the BDS movement, and many more.

Sheen poses each of his questions in a very conscientious, non-combative way giving Foxman the full floor to explain (if not clarify) himself to viewers who perhaps can’t comprehend ADL’s inconsistent, often incoherent, positions.  But Foxman — obviously unable to logically defend them himself — goes nuts, cutting the interviewer off repeatedly, accusing him of being selective in his questioning, and of trying to do a hit-job on him.  An ironic accusation, coming from Abe Foxman.

At one point, Sheen asked Foxman how he and ADL’s board formulates its positions, and Foxman quips, “That’s not your business! … It’s not your business how we do this.”

Considering how Abe Foxman has made a highly rewarding career for himself by tarnishing the reputations of honorable, peace-loving, human-rights activists, I’d say it is everyone’s business how ADL formulates its positions.

Meanwhile, Abe Foxman’s vitriolic screeds continue to get top placement at the Huffington Post.  Here is his latest post — released just yesterday — lashing out at Jimmy Carter, once again;  this time for calling Gaza a ‘prison’.  Why Arianna continues to give this uber-neo-con a platform to demagogue honorable Progressives who sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people is beyond me.  Perhaps even the Left needs its own ‘Glenn Beck’ equivalent to help fuel the traffic…

Here’s the David Sheen interview.

ENJOY:

Originally published at AlterPolitics

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

5:34 am in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

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 when he took aim at the Israel Defense Forces, and in particular the extreme elements that make up an increasing number of those serving:

“An increasing number of the young people in the IDF (Israel Defense Force) are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem,” Clinton said. “It’s a different Israel. Sixteen percent of Israelis speak Russian.” [...]

Clinton called the Russian immigrant population in Israel the group least interested in a peace deal with the Palestinians. “They’ve just got there, it’s their country, they’ve made a commitment to the future there,” Clinton said. “They can’t imagine any historical or other claims that would justify dividing it.”

The former president added that those who have been in Israel the longest and “have the benefit of historical context” were those most supportive of peace in Israel. “They can imagine sharing a future,” he said.

Clinton added that he feared this growing extremist element within the IDF would make it very difficult for Israel to deal with the half-million illegal settlers in the West Bank — something essential for any future peace agreement with the Palestinians.

As one might expect, this statement provoked a sharp rebuttal from Israel’s far-right Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, whose core supporters happen to be these same extremist — often Russian — settlers. He accused Clinton of meddling in Israel’s internal affairs. Benjamin Netanyahu — trying to downplay the controversy — stated he “regretted” Clinton’s statement. MK Lia Shemtov (Yisrael Beitenu), chairperson of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, actually went on the offensive. Shemtov accused Clinton of having once provided Palestinian terrorists with rifles that lead to the deaths of Russian Jewish settlers, and demanded that he apologize.

So it was quite a shock to learn that after the fall-out from his first statement, Bill Clinton lobbed an even larger bomb shell at Israel. This time he blamed much of the world’s terrorism on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict:

“It will take about half the impetus in the whole world — not just the region, the whole world — for terror away,” he told an audience of Egyptian businessmen from the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt. “It would have more impact by far than anything else that could be done.”

Clinton — as both Vice President Joe Biden and General David Petraeus had done last March — linked the necessity for a Middle East peace agreement with the strategic interests of the United States of America (proclaiming it to be the very cornerstone of our battle against global terrorism). This is a HUGE rhetorical shift for the former President.

The former President’s comments should not be taken lightly. Not only is his wife, Hillary Clinton, serving as Secretary of State, he is a seasoned politician who devoted much energy and time to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict during his eight year term. He understands better than anyone the political ramifications in America for criticizing Israel publicly. It’s considered a faux pas for any American politician to suggest that the strategic interests of the United States are not identical to Israel’s, much less that Israeli policies are risking American lives.

Hillary Clinton, while serving as US Senator from New York and while running as a 2008 Presidential Candidate, never once dared to stray from the AIPAC-boilerplate narrative with regards to Israel. Last March, however, after Israel announced a resumption of illegal settlement expansions, Secretary of State Clinton rebuked Netanyahu in a telephone call . She was reported to have told him that “this action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America’s interests.” But after intense pressure from the Israel Lobby, the Administration backed away completely from this line of messaging. So why is Bill Clinton all of a sudden exorcising it from the grave?

The Obama Administration knows too well that each side of this conflict literally hangs onto every word uttered by an American President, past or present, but especially when an ex-President happens to be married to the current Secretary of State.

Haaretz reported that the Obama Administration is “incensed” with the Israeli government for not agreeing to extend the settlement moratorium in exchange for “unprecedented U.S. political and security assistance”:

Senior American officials said they were frustrated by Netanyahu’s conduct in the affair. “We’re not buying the excuse of political difficulties anymore,” a senior U.S. official told his Israeli counterpart.

The Americans said Netanyahu’s conduct is humiliating the president,” said a senior European diplomat who met with senior U.S. officials in New York last week.

Madame Secretary Clinton and Middle East Envoy George J. Mitchell are still pressing Israel to extend its now-lapsed moratorium. So was Bill Clinton — who just polled as the most popular politician in America — tasked with laying the groundwork for a potential US policy shift? His statements would obviously be reported world-wide and generate the appropriate controversy, thus guaranteeing the attention of both American and Israeli politicians and press — all without directly implicating the current Democratic Administration just before midterm elections.

One thing is for certain: it will be impossible for Bill Clinton (and extremely difficult for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) to walk back his statement — blaming the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as the main impetus for world terrorism. It will also be impossible for the Obama Administration (or even the voices of the Israel Lobby, for that matter) to convince anybody that Israel is not 100% responsible for intentionally sabotaging the current peace talks.

According to Bill Clinton’s statement, this would logically leave the US and Israel at a strategic impasse — that being Israeli intransigence in forging peace remains the major cause of worldwide terrorism, thereby threatening the lives of US citizens and US troops.

Which begs the obvious question: how should the United States respond when an ally’s intransigence poses a grave threat to US national security?

Originally published at AlterPolitics

Max Blumenthal Attended Pro-Israel Rally In NYC Celebrating Gaza Attack

9:01 am in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

Originally posted on AlterPolitics

Max Blumenthal attended a Pro-Israel rally in New York City in celebration of the annihilation of Gaza (Operation Cast Lead). He interviewed many of the rally attendees to get their perspective on what had just happened.

He reran this video on his blog today, under the title: ‘Gaza, Never Forget’ in memory of the Gaza massacre which began a year ago from yesterday.

WATCH: