Archive for the ‘Israeli Lobby’ Category

Ashrawi: Maybe it’s time to stop Zionizing Palestinians and start de-Zionizing Israel – Mondoweiss

Weve several times mentioned Hanan Ashrawis lacerating speech on the cruel delusions of the peace process at the Israel lobby conference in March. Now the conference sponsors, Institute for Research: Middle East Policy and the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs, have published a transcript of the speech, and we wanted to get it out to readers. Ashrawi:

Thank you very much. Thank you. This is indeed heartwarming and humbling. I thank you all for coming.

As you know, this is a very significant occasion, because were talking about 100, 70, 50, and zero:

A hundred years since the Balfour Declaration. I do hope that the Brits will not celebrate it, even though Theresa May invited [Binyamin] Netanyahu to celebrate with her. This is a colonial legacy par excellence.

Seventy years since the partition plan that did partition Palestine and created the State of Israel, at that time on 55 percent of Palestine.

Fifty years since the occupation of 1967.

And zero time for the two-state solution.

Im asked to talk about the Israel lobby and the peace process. I will focus on the peace process, because you all know that the Israel lobby is never absent. Whenever anything happens related to Palestine, it is there. And when it comes to the peace process, they have always been a shaping force-intertwining, interweaving, intervening their presence, and at the same time maintaining theirI dont want to say control, but their influence every step of the way. They play a major role in shaping and influencing U.S. policy, particularly the peace process. Since its inception, theres a sense of ownership, that the peace process is owned by the Israeli lobby in many ways, because theyre looking out for the interests of Israel all the time.

There are various components of the lobby. As you all know, theyre not monolithic. They all have their impact here and there. But the most significant impact is for the lobby groups, the special interest groups that are closest to the Israeli government in particular. And that tends to be the more hard-line extremist groups. Even though there are different voices, but the greatest impact is by the more extreme voices. The most influential, of course, is AIPAC and its Washington Institute for Near East Policyas you know, a think tank that has probably had the most direct say in terms of the peace process itselfand other organizationsthe Heritage Foundation and so on.

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) arrives to speak with Israeli-American media tycoon Haim Saban about negotiations with Iran in Washington December 7, 2013. (Photo: James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

So you have all these organizations that move from the extreme right to the center like J Street, as was being discussed before this talk. They all have a different set of requirements and different ways of intervening. There are different fields and players. Theres a diversity in the pro-Israel lobby. Theres the private sector. And as you know [Sheldon] Adelson was trying to buy a president here, but hes also buying a prime minister in Israel. [Irving] Moskowitz, who bought settlements, who built settlements in Jerusalem. These are individuals in the private sector who have had a direct impact and direct intervention using their money. Haim Saban, as you know, and Brookings, and down to the left, Danny Abraham, who has accompanied the peace process all along from a more liberal perspective.

There are institutions and think tanks with individuals feeding into them. The most significant and youll hear me talk him about often not because I like him very much but because he has been the most persistentDennis Ross, Martin Indyk and others. Then you have academic and cultural individuals and spin doctors who have been a primary force in shaping public perceptions, including [Charles] Krauthammer, [Alan] Dershowitz, Im sure youre hearing him now, Daniel Pipes. There are lots of people who are Israeli apologists and spin doctors.

Then you have religious organizations and institutions, self-appointed Israeli apologists and defenders who take the Bible literally, many of them. And this is the extreme Zionist-Christian organizations. They are extremely dangerous, in the sense that they do have a literal biblical exegesis that gives Israel license to do whatever it wants. And one of them told me once, Palestinians have no right to exist because youre standing in the way of prophecy, the fulfillment of the prophecy. So I said, It doesnt sound very Christian when you advocate genocide.

And then there are toxic organizations, as you know. They have been very effective in distorting the Palestinian message in reality, like MEMRI. You know, M-E-M-R-I? You should be aware of this. This is a most toxic organization. It is run by Yigal Carmon, who used to be the adviser to the military governors, and he became the adviser to Shamir on terrorism and so on. And he used to interrogate me once in a while. But now, he has this organization with tremendous funds. He monitors everything and then he has access to Congress, particularly to many decision makers. He distorts Palestinian utterance and anything that is published. We can talk about this later. You have MEMRI, you have NGO Monitor that attempts to bad-mouth all Palestinian NGOs. You have the PM Watch [Palestinian Media Watch], which is also waiting for any Palestinian to open his or her mouth and they attack.

And then you have publications. Im sure youre hearing more and more about Breitbart, for example. Gladstone [Observer]. These are extreme right-wing white supremacists. Some of them are really anti-Semitic, but Zionistsvery interesting, this combination. Now, they influenced substance, structure, procedure, and priorities and objectives in the peace process. They influenced terms of reference. And they influenced also the players, and predominantly the U.S. role in the peace process.

I would like to mention that many of the individuals who are associated follow what I call the revolving door. They use the revolving door as a charge against Palestinians, that when people are arrested, they are released later. But you have a revolving door in terms of their role. Many of them were in the State Department. And it seems thatlike Dennis and Martinthat they do go to the State Department, and then they leave and go to the Washington Institute or another pro-Israeli lobby. Then they come back through another door in the State Department.

Now we have people in the White House who are not only lobbyists and advocates, but who are active supporters of settlements. So its not enough to have settlers in the Israeli coalition government. Now you have settlers in the White House. This is incredible. So they dont need to lobby. They are decision makers. So thats whats happening. That frames in terms of influence the peace process with this revolving door. Youll be surprised also that ex-[U.S.] Ambassador [to Israel] Dan Shapiro, for example, decided to stay in Israel. Hes joined the Institute for National Security Studies, which is something that also Dennis joined at one point or anotherDennis Ross.

Its interchangeable. Either they are influencing policy or they are making policy. Thats why American policy was so distorted, because they played a significant role in framing and defining the discourse and perceptions, but went beyond that to manipulating the verbal public space, anything related to the peace process. And they generated a narrative based on myths, and provided alternative facts. Its not Kellyanne [Conway] who invented alternative facts. Weve been victims of alternative facts all our lives, alternative realities. Theyve certainly willfully misled public opinion with a fabric-I dont want to go into details about the spin, about the hasbara, as they call it. But it has been very active in shaping public perceptions and, hence, attitudes.

A distorted pattern emerged that was totally weighted in favor of the occupation, generating a cyclical pattern, a vicious cycle, that totally subverted progress and led to the current impasse, which has been in the making for quite a long time-since the beginning. And they ensured that the peace process maintained its parameters within the domain of Israeli priorities and interests.

Martin Indyk

Now we are back at the beginning. I wanted to read you a quotation from a paper in 1991, a position paper by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. And guess who wrote this? Martin Indyk. This is March 4, 1991 just before the peace process started, when President [George H.W.] Bush and James Baker were preparing for the 1991 Madrid process. Some of the things he says, I mean, are being said right now. Thats why I call it a cyclical pattern. He says, Israel now has a golden opportunity to deal with an indigenous Palestinian leadership in the territories before the PLO phoenix rises again. Its true the prime minister leads an unruly coalition of right-wing and religious parties unwilling to countenance territorial compromise in the West Bank. But if there is a genuine offer of peace from the Arab side-outside then-hes acceptable to delivering a territorial compromise on the Golan Heights and an interim deal for Palestinian self-government which leaves open the final status of the territories. This is the ongoing policy. I mean, all you need to do is go to the Washington Institute website and you will find all these policy papers.

Now theres another one. Im not going to read all these things, but this one is the Transition 2017: Toward a New Paradigm for Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, David Makovsky and Dennis Ross, Washington Institute.

This is another blueprint that was prepared to give to your new President [Donald] Trumpand you have my full sympathyon how to progress. Because they want to confiscate the language once again and confiscate the process once again and decide how its going to proceed.

Anyway, so the peace process, conceptually, the influence was on the terms of reference. They made sure it dealt only with [U.N. Resolutions] 242 [and] 338, not other resolutions. Because 242 [and] 338 deal with 67. They dont deal with 48 or the roots of the conflict, if you call it a conflict. They also made sure that there was no reference to sovereignty or statehood for the Palestinians. No reference to the roots of the conflict, including refugees and so on, 1948, [U.N.] Resolution 181. No international law. It must not apply. Only what the parties agree to in this asymmetry of power, where you have occupier and occupied, you go and talk and you agree and well agree with whatever you decide.

And of course, they used the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords in order to define Palestinian objectives or rights as autonomous. We need autonomy, functional autonomy, or self-government for the people, as though the Israeli control is a given, and therefore you deal with self-government for Palestinians. No reference to Palestine as a country or the Palestinians as a people or a nation. Youve had this construct of Israel and Palestinians. Its never Israel and Palestine. Its never Israel and the Palestinians. Its Israel and Palestinians that we found by the wayside.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley at AIPAC, March 27, 2017

Again, I mean, look, Nikki Haley at the U.N. voted against Salam Fayyad, vetoed the appointment of Salam Fayyad as deputy secretary-general to [Antonio] Guterres. Why? Because the appointment had the word Palestine. So we are guilty for existing. We are guilty because we have an identity. We are guilty because we are members of Palestinethe Palestinian nation.

Now of course, youve read Uri Savirs article on Madrid II or Moshe Yaalons new article on [giving] the Palestinians autonomy, or Netanyahus speeches here and there, particularly in Australia, when he talked about transitional phases and functional approach. We will get to that later. But you have enough literature to see where theyre heading with that.

On substance, the priority, of course, for the peace process was Israels security. That was the primary objective. Israels security is defined in military terms and maintaining military control. Now, there is doctrine if you want a demilitarized state minus our entity, then if you want a state minus, then it has to be demilitarized. Then Israel has to have full military control, especially control over the borders, the air space, territorial waters, and with true presence. And of course, they want the Palestinian Authority to be the security subcontractor.

Congress in its overzealousness wanted to cut off all funds to the Palestinians. There was a resolutionwhats her name? I forgot her name. Anyway, shes the one who always comes up with these interesting resolutions about the Palestinian culpability a priori. Kay Granger. Any of you from Florida? Youre really blessed with two. Kay Granger and-whats her name[Ileana] Ros-Lehtinen. Yeah, the hyphenated name. Its obsessive with them.

Anyway, but they have decided that they should cut off all funds from the Palestinians. Then AIPAC went to them and said, no, no, no. You cant cut off funds to the security forces. You have to keep paying the Palestinian security forces, because theyre good for Israels security. Really. Its AIPAC that wanted funding for the Palestinian security force. They want a subcontractor, and that to them is the primary function of any Palestinian security force.

But also, finally enough with this, it doesnt have to do with security, but I always like to say this. That the Congress in its overzealousness to protect Israel-who was it? I think, Jim [Moran] was talking about it or Nick [Rahall], about how they are overzealous. Sometimes they want to outdo AIPAC, Congress members. Yeah, in their overzealousness to serve Israel and protect Israel, they took resolutions that gave us enormous power. They took resolutions that any organization which accepts Palestinian membership will be defunded by the U.S. and they will not pay their fees. They took resolutions that any convention or agreement that we accede to and so on will not be supported by the U.S.

Whats happening? We told them, fine, we are going to join all of them. This means the U.S. will be isolated because it will have to leave all of them. [APPLAUSE] So can you imagine what happens when we join WIPO Intellectual Property? What will happen to all the patents and intellectual property of the U.S.? Or when we decide to join the Atomic Energy Commission? But they say, if you join these things and if you accede to any agreement or convention that you will be punished. We will not fund you. Well, thank you very much. Lets accede and see what happens to the U.S. when it has no say in any international organization. Anyway, thats overzealousness. Sometimes you go overboard where you punish yourself.

Not only that, but we were supposed to be held-I said this before, forgive me if I quote myself, it became a famous quote, I think-that we are being held responsible for the safety of our occupiers. That the Israeli settlers and the Israeli army can do whatever they want to us, and we are responsible for their safety. No Palestinian can react, not even in self-defense. Because automatically, the terrorist label comes out and like a Post-It its on your forehead, youre a terrorist. Because a 14-year-old dared attempt to strike at a soldier carrying scissorsshe was carrying scissors. But he was on Palestinian land as an occupation soldier wearing a bullet-proof vest, wearing a helmet, and carrying a machine gun at a checkpoint on her own land. But shes the terrorist. Hes the victim. And she was the one who was shot.

Anyway, we are responsible for the safety of our occupiers. The Israeli army can go into Area A-and I hate this designationbut Area A, in which they are not supposed to come in. And they can arrest. They can blow up homes. They can do whatever they want at will. But should the Palestinian security forces try to stop them, theyre in serious trouble. They cannot, and theyre not supposed to, stand up to the Israeli army. Should any Palestinian react to this intense injustice, then he or she is a terrorist.

Now, in terms of the regional dimension, of course, it has become very clear and it has come back to haunt us. Now it is called the outside-in approach. And its a very sexy term now. Im sure youve read this in all the new proposed approaches to peace making, outside-in. Lets go to the Arabs. Lets go to the region. Lets put the APIthe Arab Peace Initiative-on its head. Lets normalize with the Arabs, and then we can deal with the Palestinians. This was from the beginning the Israeli lobby approach. Two tracks, Palestinian-Israeli track, Arab-Israeli track. Bilateral track. Multilateral track. Normalize. Bring the Arabs to normalization with Israel and then the Palestinians will fall in step. Not just that, but you transform the Palestinian issue into a domestic issue within Israel. We can control-well deal with them. Therefore, it becomes a question of controlling the people in Palestine. And we are a domestic issue.

Im sure many of you have read [Isaac] Herzogs 10-Point Plan. Herzog is supposed to represent the more moderate, what has become the Labor Party in Israel that has been renamed as the Zionist Camp, because they have to compete with Likud on Likuds terms. They have to show they are more right-wing and hard-liner than the Likud. Now, he has a plan, a 10-point plan. Again, functional approach. Again, gradual approach. Put the Palestinians on probation. I will talk about this later.

But this is Netanyahus constant hymn-that the Palestinians live in population centers, fragmented and localized. Of course, the approach now is back to the Village Leagues approach. If you remember, many of you are young enough not to remember, but some of you are old enough to remember the attempts to establish Village Leagues, localized communities, community centers, and so on. But it takes us back even further, where you can find collaborators who will collaborate with the occupation and then our lives. It takes us back to the Balfour Declaration, right? Didnt he say they want to establish a national home for the Jews but at the same time a state? Keeping in mind what the interest ofthe well-beingwithout prejudicing the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. We are being now addressed as the non-Jewish communities in Palestine.

Excuse me. I mean, the majority and the basis were PalestinianChristian, Muslim and Jewish, and some atheist, but they couldnt be officially atheist. Thats the majority. Were not the exception as being non-Jewish. Now, its the minority that has become the defining factor. Now, we are the non-Jewish community, so we are back to 100 years ago. Of course, there were attempts at bringing together some Arab countries, like the Aqaba meeting, in order to come up with an agreement with Israel. This time it was Netanyahu who scuttled it. The whole approach, of course, is the substance. Its not ending the occupation but carrying out administrative functions, economic ease, the quality of life argument which is now part of the [Jason] Greenblatt platform.

I remember when they offered us in the early 1980s to run our lives. They said, you can have all the powers and responsibilities of the civil administration. We said no thank you. We dont want to work for the occupation. We want the occupation to leavethen we can run our lives. So now, this has become another focus. We are going back to the beginning and even pre-peace process.

Four, maintain the strategic alliance between U.S. and Israel. This was a constant focus of the peace process. It was brought to bear on everything that was done in that context. It has enhanced the power asymmetry and the imbalance until now. The features of this alliance was accommodate Israeli priorities and demands, adopt their own diction and perspective. I was going to say fiction. Yes, most of it is fiction and perspectives. Always frame the relationship in terms of the Judeo-Christian traditionsremember-and shared values.

So I keep asking my American friends, what shared values? The values of occupation, of enslavement of a people, of impunity, of oppressing a whole nation, of carrying out extrajudicial executions, of demolishing homes, of stealing other peoples lands, and so on. Are these the values you want to share with Israel? Is this the Judeo-Christian tradition? I dont know. I mean, really. To me, its very strange. Because automatically, the moment you find this fusion today, you are excluding Islamic, Buddhist, any other tradition that does not belong to this club. And to me, Islam is one of the most tolerant religions, because it doesnt deny the existence of the others. It builds on Judaism and Christianity, while Judaism and Christianity supposedly cancel each other out, dont they? Anyway.

Of course, the other myth is that Israel is the only democracy in the region. You hear that all the time. This is part of this alliance. Even Theresa May talked about this when she criticized John Kerry for not vetoing the [U.N.] 2334 resolution on settlements. How dare you criticize the only democracy in the region and our best friend, our ally? And the Palestinians, of course, are the alien, the other, the fearful, the incomprehensible. And even the orientalist glasses, to quote Edward Said, the late Edward Said, have come out again. And of course, there is an automatic linkage between terrorism and Islam. And now, its becoming much more evident.

Jason Greenblatt with Donald Trump. (Photo: Jason Greenblatt/Twitter)

Never surprise Israel with any American statement, position, or document related to the peace process. This I know from experience, and they will admit it. The American team, they always coordinated with the Israelis first on any American position. They always cleared it ahead of time with the Israelis. And if you have the Greenblatt-Friedman Plan, also you should read it, it was called a policy paper for Trump. He was candidate Trump then and it became Trumps policy paper on Israel. You will see how toxic it has become. It was read by him as an AIPAC speech.

Again, never allow or express any public censure or criticism of Israel. Thats why they reacted in such a hysterical manner. They waxed ballistic just for the mere fact that the U.S. abstained on settlements, when a few years earlier they had vetoed a resolution on settlements, which violate international law and so on. Therefore, theyre not used to accepting any kind of criticism or censure, let alone sanctions.

Always use the positive approach with Israel. Incentives, rewards, advanced payments, inducements, and so on. When we started the talks, they immediately got the Zionism is Racism resolution nullified. You know that. And then they got the diplomatic recognition, trade agreements, and so on.

Another thing, of courseincentivizing Israel, including Europe. I can give you many examples how Europe used this approach too. Conversely, you use pressure, threats, and blackmail on the Palestinians. Exploit the weakness of Palestine and augmenting Israeli power and control. Of course, this was the special contribution of AIPAC, ZOA, and others, the Council of Presidents [of Major American Jewish Organizations]. And drafting Congressional resolutions that always adopted punitive measures against the Palestinians especially if we joined organizations like the ICC [International Criminal Court] and IC3 [Internet Crime Complaint Center]. How dare you hold Israel accountable? Israel is above the law. Hence, the Palestinians are always on probation, on good behavior. We have to prove that we deserve our rights. We have to prove that we deserve human recognition. Its a test that we have to demonstrate that we are worthy, the test of merit.

Alan Dershowitz at AIPAC March 26, 2017

Im sure youve read Dershowitzs horrible article posted on the Gatestone Institute website, in which he says, Palestinians must earn the two-state solution. And of course, he proceeded to give a fake version of history. I have news for him, the Palestinians dont think that the two-state solution is a fair or just solution. It was a major painful compromise by the Palestinians. [APPLAUSE] So its not our aspiration to give away 78 percent of our land. It is a compromise that we made in order to give our children a future and a life in freedom and dignity and to exercise our right to self-determination. Now, Israel, and probably the world, are not very keen on seeing it happen. Well, Ill get to that later.

Now, always blame the Palestinians in the blame game. I can give you many examples from the Clinton Parameters, even when there was discussion in Camp David in 2000. I was there. We were told, you will not be blamed. Give it your best shot. And I remember Yasser Arafat told them, We are not ready. The talks have not progressed enough to have a summit in Camp David. Clayton Swisher is here. I dont know if you remember, right? He said, We are not ready. And both Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton said, give it your best shot. We wont blame you. What happened later? The whole mess of the generous offer. We were blamed when there was no offer. I said, Show me. Show me a concrete offer on the table. There were all these different groups discussing different issues in a fragmented way, but there was no generous offer that the Palestiniansand this myth gained a life of its own, actually.

Now every time you hear an Israeli apologist, he or she will say, you see the Palestinians refused the generous offer. And we have to earn it. Always blame the Palestinians. We said that, again, the roadmap. Do you remember the roadmap, 2002-2003? Sharon placed 14 reservations on the roadmap that totally nullified and negated it. They came out and said, the Israelis accepted the roadmap. The Palestinians didnt. The Palestinians accepted the roadmap knowing that its not perfect or ideal. But we knew that Sharon was rejecting it. So the issue was that Sharon accepted it and not even a footnote about the 14 reservations. But the Palestinians didnt. I dont know where they get their version of history.

Again, John Kerrys initiative on 2014. You remember when he tried this initiative. He tried to do more of the same thinking that he will get a different result, or thinking that he might get one. Anyway, he promised. He said that any party that scuttles or undermines or rejects or whatever the peace talks will be publicly blamed. So what happened?

The Palestinians dutifully went to these negotiations knowing full well that we took a decision not to go, frankly speaking, because there were no terms of reference. There were no clear objectives. There was nothing to tell Israel to stop settlement activities, to respect signed agreements, to release prisoners and so on. And John Kerry said, try your best. He was given a verbal promise, an oral promise by the Israelis that they will minimize settlements, that they will release prisoners.

What did they do? Immediately, they escalated settlements. They escalated violence. They shot a few people at checkpoints. And then they refused to release the last installment of prisoners. So where is the blame? Both sides. Theyre not ready. What? The Palestinian leadership lost its constituency for going to these negotiations when they werent assured of the substance and outcome. And the Israelis deliberately violated their commitments and obligations, and they werent blamed. There were some leaks here and there that the settlements were bad.

In that context, I have to mention this. Its a very racist statement that makes me very angry. Abba Eban said this, The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It has

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, accompanied by Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Abba Eban, visits President Harry Truman during their visit to the states, 01/05/1951. (Photo: FRITZ COHEN)

been used to bash the Palestinians and to feed these misconceptions and distortions forever. So every time you hear this, I think you have to reverse this. Its the Israelis that missed historic opportunities to make peace and totally destroyed the chances of peace. Were not on the defensive. We dont have to prove that we miss opportunities, because we never had one.

Of course, the other terms, like the leitmotifs of our reality, have been shaped by the Israeli lobby. Like, Hamas rockets raining down on Israeli towns and villages. Have you heard this? And its repeated verbatim by everybody in Congress and outside Congress. Nobody asked how many did they kill, and nobody asked how many Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army. And nobody asked about the siege and the assault and so on. Its as if people in Gaza decided to wake up one day and manufactured these homemade pipes and threw them out of the blue because theyre terrorists by definition. Again, Palestinian terrorism, incitement, and violence.

Now, you cannot mention Israeli settlements without finding a force equivalent with incitement. Palestinians incite. Palestinians incite to violence. Palestinians think that their prisoners are heroes, and they are terrorists. So you adopt the language of the Israelis that everybody whos a Palestinian is a terrorist. But since 1967, Israel has imprisoned more than 800,000 Palestinians, including myself and many others of my friends. And so I dont think there are 800,000 terrorists. People who did not acquiesce to the occupation or accept to have their spirit brokenthese are not terrorists. Israel has killed more than 75,000 Palestinians since 67. Who are the terrorists?

Now again, there are new preconditions. The refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, thats our fault. Either we become Zionists or we are not fit for human company. Again, any criticism of Israel is conflated with anti-Semitism. Youve heard this before. So this is one way of censoring and silencing criticism. And the Palestinians are not a peace partner. We dont have a peace partner among the Palestinians. I cant tell you how many types of negotiations there were, needless negotiations from direct to indirect, to proximity talks, to bilateral, to multilateral, to long-distance talks, to exploratory talks. And at the end, we even had epistolary talks, exchanges of letters. Weve been talked out, frankly speaking. But it was a good peace process because Israel used it as a cover to create facts on the ground, to negate the very substance and to destroy the objective of the talks. So here we are.

Now, while the process is ongoing, never allow any issue critical of Israel to be brought before the U.N. This is something ongoingagain, massive lobbying. I dont want to give you too many examples, but we dont have time. I know Ive run over my time. Should I stop? [AUDIENCE SAYS NO] Okay.

So use the veto, and at the same time protect Israels impunity. Enable Israel but maintain Palestinian vulnerability. We shouldnt have access to international organizations or international law to protect our rights and our lands. But Israel has the full right to act outside the law. No sanctions or punitive measures from any party anywhere, no accountability and so on. And this generated a culture of entitlement, exceptionalism, preferential treatment and privilege in Israel which in itself justifies the subjugation, discrimination, violence, and total captivity of the Palestinian people, and especially the continued military assaults on Gaza.

Palestinian lives in Gaza have been reduced to abstractions. They are numbers; theyre not human beings. The murder of civilians doesnt count. Its the fact that there were 70 soldiers who were killed, thats very important. But they [Palestinians] were being attacked, bombed from the air. Ninety-two families totally obliterated from the population register. It doesnt matter. And yet, you blame the victim because Hamas was using these people as human shields. Therefore, they have the right to kill them. Of course, the occupier is claiming self-defense. They are defending themselves against their own victims. Ive never heard this logic before in all history.

Then, the structure and participants, the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation as you know, now its back again, the whole issue of the Jordanian option, the alternative homeland, the confederation, that its a Jordanian issue. When they said no Palestinians from the PLO and no Palestinians from Jerusalem, thats precisely because they didnt want a national address for the Palestinians, a localized address. Village Leagues, communities, and so on, but not the right to self-determination and not Jerusalem.

Again, there was a division of labor. I will skip a few things. That the U.S. is in charge of the political process, but Europe and the Arabs are in charge of signing checks. So the political decisions are up to the U.S. Its a monopoly. The others have to work on nation building. Because you see, we have to prove that we deserve a state, even though it is a right enshrined in international lawthe right to self-determination. Again, proof of merit.

Even then, for the U.S. to participate directly in the talks, it had to get Israels permission. They couldnt participate unless Israel invited them to participate or asked them to participate with their approval. So Israel positioned itself as a gatekeeper to the peace process. And the Europeans followed step. They always had to give them inducements and advance payments and rewards and so on to allow them to play a role. If you are the occupying power and you are the gatekeeper, what kind of peace process is this where you exclude others?

Procedurally, the phased approach, conflict management, open-ended processyou can look at all these documents I gave you. And of course, the deal, we had to deal with administrative, technical, peripheral issues first. Postpone the real issues and get no guarantees on that. No mechanisms for arbitration, monitoring and verification, although all negotiations should have thoseeven though I still believe negotiations between occupying and occupied are illegal. They violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, by the way. And it has to be done between equal parties. But when you have a situation of occupation, where one party exercises total control over the others, any agreement will be illegal because it will be reached under duress and with undue influence and force.

And then the whole issue of pocket and proceed. This is happening with things like the land swaps. There was never any agreement on the land swap. But somehow they decided that, yes, land swaps, because they want to keep the settlement blocs no matter what. All settlements are illegal, whether they are blocs or whether they are outposts or whether they are mobile homes or whatever. They are all illegal. So we never agreed to having settlement blocs as being legal or remaining. Now, they talk about it as a foregone conclusion, or that there will be land swaps. It was very difficult to accept the 67 boundaries. Now, we have to give away Jerusalem, the Jerusalem environment, Ariel, Gush Etzion, all this. So they pocket and proceed, including the issue of refugees, by the way.

The process is a process for its own sake. Now, using prolongation and stalling, it is the Dennis Ross logic, I call it, where so long as theres a process, God is in his heaven, all is well with the world. Let the two parties speak. And then Israel can do whatever it wants on the ground, which is an endless process. It became an abstraction. It became a tool for Israeli power and expansionism and so on. And they cover for the occupation. So negotiations became an objective, not a tool to get somewhere.

Now, we are back at the beginning, as I said. At one point, there was one point in which there was talk of 67 boundaries, two states. It started with George Bush and Clinton talking about two states. It wasnt, by the way, Obama who was bashed by Israel for mentioning 67. It was Clinton and George Bush. It was George Bush actually who talked about 67 and the two states. Youll be surprised. And then now, the cycle is completed. Were going back to all the issues of the functional approach, non-sovereign approach, gradual approach, and so on.

With Greenblatt, I just want to mention quickly-there are two things I cannot skip. The fact that we are not a demographic problem for Israel, please do not accept this. [APPLAUSE] We are a nation with our rights, with our history, with our culture, and we abide by international law. I dont believe any other country in the world is allowed to discriminate against the people because it wants to maintain the ethnic or religious purity of its own entity at all. So we cannot be a demographic problem to scare the Israelis into giving us our little statelet or state minus, as they say.

Now, they are busy superimposing Greater Israel on historical Palestine. What are the options if they destroyed and they are destroying the two-state solution? Is it the ongoing state of apartheid that exists? Of course, again, they waxed hysterical when people described them as being apartheid. Note what happened to Rima Khalaf. Because now, the U.N. is echoing the language of Israel at the behest of Netanyahu and Danny Danon, and all these people who formulate that language. If the situation will continue then it will run its course as an ongoing perpetual occupation, conflict, extremism. Or are we going to have a qualitative shift? Maybe we need to de-Zionize Israel rather than Zionize the Palestinians.

I have to stop. Okay. I will talk later about what Greenblatt did. But I wouldnt hold my breath. Thank you very much. Its a pleasure. Thank you.

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Ashrawi: Maybe it’s time to stop Zionizing Palestinians and start de-Zionizing Israel – Mondoweiss

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May 12, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Poll: Over 40% Of Americans Back Sanctions on Israel For Crimes Against Palestinians – Mintpress News (blog)

The results of a recent poll show that a growing number of Americans approve the use of sanctions to punish Israel for its occupation of Palestine. This rising support could result in such measures being put into place, much to the displeasure of the U.S.-Israeli lobby.

Protesters demonstrate against a state-sanctioned backlash against the movement for Palestinian human rights. New York City, June 9, 2016. (Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/ Sipa/AP)

MINNEAPOLIS Anew survey conducted by polling firm Nielsen Scarborough has produced some interesting and perhaps unexpected results that are sure to cause worry among the U.S. powerful Israel lobby.

The results showed that 40 percent of respondents support imposing sanctions or taking more serious action against Israels government for its continued construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land. Among Democrats who were polled, 56 percent supported sanctions against Tel Aviv.

The survey, commissioned by professors Shibley Telhami and Stella Rouse at the University of Maryland, asked over 2,000 participants about their views on major foreign affairs issues, including Israels occupation of Palestine. In addition to covering opinions on possible sanctions targeting Israel, some of the polls other results indicate that opposition to the U.S. historic support for Israel is growing.

For instance, the results showed that more than half of those polled feel that the U.S. should be entirely neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a position espoused by President Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, but rejected upon his assumption of the presidency. In addition, 57 percent of respondents told pollsters that they currently see the U.S. leaning significantly more towards Israel.

The results also showed strong polarization between people identifying as Democrats or Independents and those identifying as Republicans, with Republicans more likely to back Israel and support the strengthening of U.S.-Israeli ties. But even Republicans who participated in the poll were wary of Israel entrenching its current apartheid practices in the long term.

Similar polls that were recently conducted in Australia and Canada also indicated growing public support in the West for direct action to be taken against Israels government, including boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.

The results of this latest poll are likely to hit home for Israels massive political lobby in the United States. A recently leaked report written by two powerful organizations within the U.S.-Israel lobby the Anti-Defamation League and the Reut Institute revealed internal concerns that the Israel lobby had failed to derail the growth of Palestine solidarity movements in the U.S. and elsewhere, despite significant spending that was intended to impair their growth.

Israels government will also likely take notice, as it has waged a years-long battle against the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement around the world. If support for BDS policies continues to grow, Israel will likely share the same concerns as those of the U.S.-Israel lobby.

The U.S. has long been Israels most ardent supporter since it was founded in the 1940s. But waning support for Israel among the U.S. populace could lead to a reduction in the amount of foreign aid the U.S. provides to Israel.

Israel receives $9.8 million a day from the U.S. in military aid alone, a staggering number that only represents a portion of taxpayer money that is regularly given to Israel. If the surge in public support for sanctions against Israel continues to grow in the U.S. and elsewhere, a drastic change in Israels domestic policy is a likely outcome.

See the complete survey results below:

http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/american_attitudes_on_israel-palestine.pdf

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Poll: Over 40% Of Americans Back Sanctions on Israel For Crimes Against Palestinians – Mintpress News (blog)

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Why not a probe of ‘Israel-gate’? – Personal Liberty Digest

This article was originally published on Consortiumnews.com on April 20, 2017.

The other day, I asked a longtime Democratic Party insider who is working on the Russia-gate investigation which country interfered more in U.S. politics, Russia or Israel. Without a moments hesitation, he replied, Israel, of course.

Which underscores my concern about the hysteria raging across Official Washington about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign: There is no proportionality applied to the question of foreign interference in U.S. politics. If there were, we would have a far more substantive investigation of Israel-gate.

The problem is that if anyone mentions the truth about Israels clout, the person is immediately smeared as anti-Semitic and targeted by Israels extraordinarily sophisticated lobby and its many media/political allies for vilification and marginalization.

So, the open secret of Israeli influence is studiously ignored, even as presidential candidates prostrate themselves before the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both appeared before AIPAC in 2016, with Clinton promising to take the U.S.-Israeli relationship to the next level whatever that meant and Trump vowing not to pander and then pandering like crazy.

Congress is no different. It has given Israels controversial Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a record-tying three invitations to address joint sessions of Congress (matching the number of times British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared). We then witnessed the Republicans and Democrats competing to see how often their members could bounce up and down and who could cheer Netanyahu the loudest, even when the Israeli prime minister was instructing the Congress to follow his position on Iran rather than President Obamas.

Israeli officials and AIPAC also coordinate their strategies to maximize political influence, which is derived in large part by who gets the lobbys largesse and who doesnt. On the rare occasion when members of Congress step out of line and take a stand that offends Israeli leaders they can expect a well-funded opponent in their next race, a tactic that dates back decades.

Well-respected members, such as Rep. Paul Findley and Sen. Charles Percy (both Republicans from Illinois), were early victims of the Israeli lobbys wrath when they opened channels of communication with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the cause of seeking peace. Findley was targeted and defeated in 1982; Percy in 1984.

Findley recounted his experience in a 1985 book, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israels Lobby, in which Findley called the lobby the 700-pound gorilla in Washington. The book was harshly criticized in a The New York Times review by Adam Clymer, who called it an angry, one-sided book that seems often to be little more than a stringing together of stray incidents.

Since then, there have been fewer and fewer members of Congress or other American politicians who have dared to speak out, judging that when it comes to the Israeli lobby discretion is the better part of valor. Today, many U.S. pols grovel before the Israeli government seeking a sign of favor from Prime Minister Netanyahu, almost like Medieval kings courting the blessings of the Pope at the Vatican.

During the 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama, whom Netanyahu viewed with suspicion, traveled to Israel to demonstrate sympathy for Israelis within rocket-range of Gaza while steering clear of showing much empathy for the Palestinians.

In 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney tried to exploit the tense Obama-Netanyahu relationship by stopping in Israel to win a tacit endorsement from Netanyahu. The 2016 campaign was no exception with both Clinton and Trump stressing their love of Israel in their appearances before AIPAC.

Money, of course, has become the lifeblood of American politics and American supporters of Israel have been particularly strategic in how they have exploited that reality.

One of Israels most devoted advocates, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, has poured millions of dollars in dark money into political candidates and groups that support Israels interests. Adelson, who has advocated dropping a nuclear bomb inside Iran to coerce its government, is a Trump favorite having donated a record $5 million to Trumps inaugural celebration.

Of course, many Israel-connected political donations are much smaller but no less influential. A quarter century ago, I was told how an aide to a Democratic foreign policy chairman, who faced a surprisingly tough race after redistricting, turned to the head of AIPAC for help and, almost overnight, donations were pouring in from all over the country. The chairman was most thankful.

Israels involvement in U.S. politics also can be covert. For instance, the evidence is now overwhelming that the Israeli government of right-wing Prime Minister Menachem Begin played a key role in helping Ronald Reagans campaign in 1980 strike a deal with Iran to frustrate President Jimmy Carters efforts to free 52 American hostages before Election Day.

Begin despised Carter for the Camp David Accords that forced Israel to give back the Sinai to Egypt. Begin also believed that Carter was too sympathetic to the Palestinians and if he won a second term would conspire with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to impose a two-state solution on Israel.

Begins contempt for Carter was not even a secret. In a 1991 book, The Last Option, senior Israeli intelligence and foreign policy official David Kimche explained Begins motive for dreading Carters reelection. Kimche said Israeli officials had gotten wind of collusion between Carter and Sadat to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Kimche continued, This plan prepared behind Israels back and without her knowledge must rank as a unique attempt in United Statess diplomatic history of short-changing a friend and ally by deceit and manipulation.

But Begin recognized that the scheme required Carter winning a second term in 1980 when, Kimche wrote, he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby.

In a 1992 memoir, Profits of War, former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe also noted that Begin and other Likud leaders held Carter in contempt.

Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David, Ben-Menashe wrote. As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israels back.

So, in order to buy time for Israel to change the facts on the ground by moving Jewish settlers into the West Bank, Begin felt Carters reelection had to be prevented. A different president also presumably would give Israel a freer hand to deal with problems on its northern border with Lebanon.

Ben-Menashe was among a couple of dozen government officials and intelligence operatives who described how Reagans campaign, mostly through future CIA Director William Casey and past CIA Director George H.W. Bush, struck a deal in 1980 with senior Iranians who got promises of arms via Israel in exchange for keeping the hostages through the election and thus humiliating Carter. (The hostages were finally released on Jan. 20, 1981, after Reagan was sworn in as President.)

Though the evidence of the so-called October Surprise deal is far stronger than the current case for believing that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign, Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. media have refused to accept it, deeming it a conspiracy theory.

One of the reasons for the hostility directed against the 1980 case was the link to Israel, which did not want its hand in manipulating the election of a U.S. president to become an accepted part of American history. So, for instance, the Israeli government went to great lengths to discredit Ben-Menashe after he began to speak with reporters and to give testimony to the U.S. Congress.

When I was a Newsweek correspondent and first interviewed Ben-Menashe in 1990, the Israeli government initially insisted that he was an impostor, that he had no connection to Israeli intelligence.

However, when I obtained documentary evidence of Ben-Menashes work for a military intelligence unit, the Israelis admitted that they had lied but then insisted that he was just a low-level translator, a claim that was further contradicted by other documents showing that he had traveled widely around the world on missions to obtain weapons for the Israel-to-Iran arms pipeline.

Nevertheless, the Israeli government along with sympathetic American reporters and members of the U.S. Congress managed to shut down any serious investigation into the 1980 operation, which was, in effect, the prequel to Reagans Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal of 1984-86. Thus, U.S. history was miswritten. [For more details, see Robert Parrys Americas Stolen Narrative; Secrecy & Privilege; and Trick or Treason.]

Looking back over the history of U.S.-Israeli relations, it is clear that Israel exercised significant influence over U.S. presidents since its founding in 1948, but the rise of Israels right-wing Likud Party in the 1970s led by former Jewish terrorists Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir marked a time when Israel shed any inhibitions about interfering directly in U.S. politics.

Much as Begin and Shamir engaged in terror attacks on British officials and Palestinian civilians during Israels founding era, the Likudniks who held power in 1980 believed that the Zionist cause trumped normal restraints on their actions. In other words, the ends justified the means.

In the 1980s, Israel also mounted spying operations aimed at the U.S. government, including those of intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard, who fed highly sensitive documents to Israel and after being caught and spending almost three decades in prison was paroled and welcomed as a hero inside Israel.

But it is true that foreign interference in U.S. politics is as old as the American Republic. In the 1790s, French agents working with the Jeffersonians tried to rally Americans behind Frances cause in its conflict with Great Britain. In part to frustrate the French operation, the Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts.

In the Twentieth Century, Great Britain undertook covert influence operations to ensure U.S. support in its conflicts with Germany, while German agents unsuccessfully sought the opposite.

So, the attempts by erstwhile allies and sometimes adversaries to move U.S. foreign policy in one direction or another is nothing new, and the U.S. government engages in similar operations in countries all over the world, both overtly and covertly.

It was the CIAs job for decades to use propaganda and dirty tricks to ensure that pro-U.S. politicians were elected or put in power in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, pretty much everywhere the U.S. government perceived some interest. After the U.S. intelligence scandals of the 1970s, however, some of that responsibility was passed to other organizations, such as the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

NED, USAID and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) finance activists, journalists and other operatives to undermine political leaders who are deemed to be obstacles to U.S. foreign policy desires.

In particular, NED has been at the center of efforts to flip elections to U.S.-backed candidates, such as in Nicaragua in 1990, or to sponsor color revolutions, which typically organize around some color as the symbol for mass demonstrations. Ukraine on Russias border has been the target of two such operations, the Orange Revolution in 2004, which helped install anti-Russian President Viktor Yushchenko, and the Maidan ouster of elected pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

NED president Carl Gershman, a neoconservative who has run NED since its founding in 1983, openly declared that Ukraine was the biggest prize in September 2013 just months before the Maidan protests as well as calling it an important step toward ousting Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2016, Gershman called directly for regime change in Russia.

Another key issue related to Israeli influence inside the United States is the role of the neocons, a political movement that emerged in the 1970s as a number of hawkish Democrats migrated to the Republican Party as a home for more aggressive policies to protect Israel and take on the Soviet Union and Arab states.

In some European circles, the neocons are described as Israels American agents, which may somewhat overstate the direct linkage between Israel and the neocons although a central tenet of neocon thinking is that there must be no daylight between the U.S. and Israel. The neocons say U.S. politicians must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel even if that means the Americans sidling up to the Israelis rather than any movement the other way.

Since the mid-1990s, American neocons have worked closely with Benjamin Netanyahu. Several prominent neocons (including former Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, Meyrav Wurmser and Robert Loewenberg) advised Netanyahus 1996 campaign and urged a new strategy for securing the realm. Essentially, the idea was to replace negotiations with the Palestinians and Arab states with regime change for governments that were viewed as troublesome to Israel, including Iraq and Syria.

By 1998, the Project for the New American Century (led by neocons William Kristol and Robert Kagan) was pressuring President Bill Clinton to invade Iraq, a plan that was finally put in motion in 2003 under President George W. Bush.

But the follow-on plans to go after Syria and Iran were delayed because the Iraq War turned into a bloody mess, killing some 4,500 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Bush could not turn to phase two until near the end of his presidency and then was frustrated by a U.S. intelligence estimate concluding that Iran was not working on a nuclear bomb (which was to be the pretext for a bombing campaign).

Bush also could pursue regime change in Syria only as a proxy effort of subversion, rather than a full-scale U.S. invasion. President Barack Obama escalated the Syrian proxy war in 2011 with the support of Israel and its strange-bedfellow allies in Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni-ruled Gulf States, which hated Syrias government because it was allied with Shiite-ruled Iran and Sunnis and Shiites have been enemies since the Seventh Century. Israel insists that the U.S. take the Sunni side, even if that puts the U.S. in bed with Al Qaeda.

But Obama dragged his heels on a larger U.S. military intervention in Syria and angered Netanyahu further by negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program rather than bomb-bomb-bombing Iran.

Obamas perceived half-hearted commitment to Israeli interests explained Romneys campaign 2012 trip to seek Netanyahus blessings. Even after winning a second term, Obama sought to appease Netanyahu by undertaking a three-day trip to Israel in 2013 to show his love.

Still, in 2015, when Obama pressed ahead with the Iran nuclear agreement, Netanyahu went over the Presidents head directly to Congress where he was warmly received, although the Israeli prime minister ultimately failed to sink the Iran deal.

In Campaign 2016, both Clinton and Trump wore their love for Israel on their sleeves, Clinton promising to take the relationship to the next level (a phrase that young couples often use when deciding to go from heavy petting to intercourse). Trump reminded AIPAC that he had a Jewish grandchild and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Both also bristled with hatred toward Iran, repeating the popular falsehood that Iran is the principal source of terrorism when it is Saudi Arabia and other Sunni sheikdoms that have been the financial and military supporters of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, the terror groups most threatening to Europe and the United States.

By contrast to Israels long history of playing games with U.S. politics, the Russian government stands accused of trying to undermine the U.S. political process recently by hacking into emails of the Democratic National Committee revealing the DNCs improper opposition to Sen. Bernie Sanderss campaign and of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta disclosing the contents of Clintons paid speeches to Wall Street and pay-to-play aspects of the Clinton Foundation and sharing that information with the American people via WikiLeaks.

Although WikiLeaks denies getting the two batches of emails from the Russians, the U.S. intelligence community says it has high confidence in its conclusions about Russian meddling and the mainstream U.S. media treats the allegations as flat-fact.

The U.S. intelligence community also has accused the Russian government of raising doubts in the minds of Americans about their political system by having RT, the Russian-sponsored news network, hold debates for third-party candidates (who were excluded from the two-party Republican-Democratic debates) and by having RT report on protests such as Occupy Wall Street and issues such as fracking.

The major U.S. news media and Congress seem to agree that the only remaining question is whether evidence can be adduced showing that the Trump campaign colluded in this Russian operation. For that purpose, a number of people associated with the Trump campaign are to be hauled before Congress and made to testify on whether or not they are Russian agents.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other establishment-approved outlets are working with major technology companies on how to marginalize independent news sources and to purge Russian propaganda (often conflated with fake news) from the Internet.

It seems that no extreme is too extreme to protect the American people from the insidious Russians and their Russia-gate schemes to sow doubt about the U.S. political process. But God forbid if anyone were to suggest an investigation of Israel-gate.

Robert Parry

.

Continued here:

Why not a probe of ‘Israel-gate’? – Personal Liberty Digest

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May 5, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Why not a probe of Israel-gate? – Mondoweiss

This article first appeared at Consortium News 10 days ago, but it has been passed around a lot, and Consortium News gave us permission to republish. Ed.

The other day, I asked a longtime Democratic Party insider who is working on the Russia-gate investigation which country interfered more in U.S. politics, Russia or Israel. Without a moments hesitation, he replied, Israel, of course.

Which underscores my concern about the hysteria raging across Official Washington about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign: There is no proportionality applied to the question of foreign interference in U.S. politics. If there were, we would have a far more substantive investigation of Israel-gate.

The problem is that if anyone mentions the truth about Israels clout, the person is immediately smeared as anti-Semitic and targeted by Israels extraordinarily sophisticated lobby and its many media/political allies for vilification and marginalization.

So, the open secret of Israeli influence is studiously ignored, even as presidential candidates prostrate themselves before the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both appeared before AIPAC in 2016, with Clinton promising to take the U.S.-Israeli relationship to the next level whatever that meant and Trump vowing not to pander and then pandering like crazy.

Congress is no different. It has given Israels controversial Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a record-tying three invitations to address joint sessions of Congress (matching the number of times British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared). We then witnessed the Republicans and Democrats competing to see how often their members could bounce up and down and who could cheer Netanyahu the loudest, even when the Israeli prime minister was instructing the Congress to follow his position on Iran rather than President Obamas.

Israeli officials and AIPAC also coordinate their strategies to maximize political influence, which is derived in large part by who gets the lobbys largesse and who doesnt. On the rare occasion when members of Congress step out of line and take a stand that offends Israeli leaders they can expect a well-funded opponent in their next race, a tactic that dates back decades.

Well-respected members, such as Rep. Paul Findley and Sen. Charles Percy (both Republicans from Illinois), were early victims of the Israeli lobbys wrath when they opened channels of communication with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the cause of seeking peace. Findley was targeted and defeated in 1982; Percy in 1984.

Findley recounted his experience in a 1985 book, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israels Lobby, in which Findley called the lobby the 700-pound gorilla in Washington. The book was harshly criticized in a New York Times review by Adam Clymer, who called it an angry, one-sided book that seems often to be little more than a stringing together of stray incidents.

Enforced Silence

Since then, there have been fewer and fewer members of Congress or other American politicians who have dared to speak out, judging that when it comes to the Israeli lobby discretion is the better part of valor. Today, many U.S. pols grovel before the Israeli government seeking a sign of favor from Prime Minister Netanyahu, almost like Medieval kings courting the blessings of the Pope at the Vatican.

During the 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama, whom Netanyahu viewed with suspicion, traveled to Israel to demonstrate sympathy for Israelis within rocket-range of Gaza while steering clear of showing much empathy for the Palestinians.

In 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney tried to exploit the tense Obama-Netanyahu relationship by stopping in Israel to win a tacit endorsement from Netanyahu. The 2016 campaign was no exception with both Clinton and Trump stressing their love of Israel in their appearances before AIPAC.

Money, of course, has become the lifeblood of American politics and American supporters of Israel have been particularly strategic in how they have exploited that reality.

One of Israels most devoted advocates, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, has poured millions of dollars in dark money into political candidates and groups that support Israels interests. Adelson, who has advocated dropping a nuclear bomb inside Iran to coerce its government, is a Trump favorite having donated a record $5 million to Trumps inaugural celebration.

Of course, many Israel-connected political donations are much smaller but no less influential. A quarter century ago, I was told how an aide to a Democratic foreign policy chairman, who faced a surprisingly tough race after redistricting, turned to the head of AIPAC for help and, almost overnight, donations were pouring in from all over the country. The chairman was most thankful.

The October Surprise Mystery

Israels involvement in U.S. politics also can be covert. For instance, the evidence is now overwhelming that the Israeli government of right-wing Prime Minister Menachem Begin played a key role in helping Ronald Reagans campaign in 1980 strike a deal with Iran to frustrate President Jimmy Carters efforts to free 52 American hostages before Election Day.

Begin despised Carter for the Camp David Accords that forced Israel to give back the Sinai to Egypt. Begin also believed that Carter was too sympathetic to the Palestinians and if he won a second term would conspire with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to impose a two-state solution on Israel.

Begins contempt for Carter was not even a secret. In a 1991 book, The Last Option, senior Israeli intelligence and foreign policy official David Kimche explained Begins motive for dreading Carters reelection. Kimche said Israeli officials had gotten wind of collusion between Carter and Sadat to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Kimche continued, This plan prepared behind Israels back and without her knowledge must rank as a unique attempt in United Statess diplomatic history of short-changing a friend and ally by deceit and manipulation.

But Begin recognized that the scheme required Carter winning a second term in 1980 when, Kimche wrote, he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby.

In a 1992 memoir, Profits of War, former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe also noted that Begin and other Likud leaders held Carter in contempt.

Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David, Ben-Menashe wrote. As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israels back.

So, in order to buy time for Israel to change the facts on the ground by moving Jewish settlers into the West Bank, Begin felt Carters reelection had to be prevented. A different president also presumably would give Israel a freer hand to deal with problems on its northern border with Lebanon.

Ben-Menashe was among a couple of dozen government officials and intelligence operatives who described how Reagans campaign, mostly through future CIA Director William Casey and past CIA Director George H.W. Bush, struck a deal in 1980 with senior Iranians who got promises of arms via Israel in exchange for keeping the hostages through the election and thus humiliating Carter. (The hostages were finally released on Jan. 20, 1981, after Reagan was sworn in as President.)

Discrediting History

Though the evidence of the so-called October Surprise deal is far stronger than the current case for believing that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign, Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. media have refused to accept it, deeming it a conspiracy theory.

One of the reasons for the hostility directed against the 1980 case was the link to Israel, which did not want its hand in manipulating the election of a U.S. president to become an accepted part of American history. So, for instance, the Israeli government went to great lengths to discredit Ben-Menashe after he began to speak with reporters and to give testimony to the U.S. Congress.

When I was a Newsweek correspondent and first interviewed Ben-Menashe in 1990, the Israeli government initially insisted that he was an impostor, that he had no connection to Israeli intelligence.

However, when I obtained documentary evidence of Ben-Menashes work for a military intelligence unit, the Israelis admitted that they had lied but then insisted that he was just a low-level translator, a claim that was further contradicted by other documents showing that he had traveled widely around the world on missions to obtain weapons for the Israel-to-Iran arms pipeline.

Nevertheless, the Israeli government along with sympathetic American reporters and members of the U.S. Congress managed to shut down any serious investigation into the 1980 operation, which was, in effect, the prequel to Reagans Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal of 1984-86. Thus, U.S. history was miswritten. [For more details, see Robert Parrys Americas Stolen Narrative; Secrecy & Privilege; and Trick or Treason.]

Looking back over the history of U.S.-Israeli relations, it is clear that Israel exercised significant influence over U.S. presidents since its founding in 1948, but the rise of Israels right-wing Likud Party in the 1970s led by former Jewish terrorists Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir marked a time when Israel shed any inhibitions about interfering directly in U.S. politics.

Much as Begin and Shamir engaged in terror attacks on British officials and Palestinian civilians during Israels founding era, the Likudniks who held power in 1980 believed that the Zionist cause trumped normal restraints on their actions. In other words, the ends justified the means.

In the 1980s, Israel also mounted spying operations aimed at the U.S. government, including those of intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard, who fed highly sensitive documents to Israel and after being caught and spending almost three decades in prison was paroled and welcomed as a hero inside Israel.

A History of Interference

But it is true that foreign interference in U.S. politics is as old as the American Republic. In the 1790s, French agents working with the Jeffersonians tried to rally Americans behind Frances cause in its conflict with Great Britain. In part to frustrate the French operation, the Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts.

In the Twentieth Century, Great Britain undertook covert influence operations to ensure U.S. support in its conflicts with Germany, while German agents unsuccessfully sought the opposite.

So, the attempts by erstwhile allies and sometimes adversaries to move U.S. foreign policy in one direction or another is nothing new, and the U.S. government engages in similar operations in countries all over the world, both overtly and covertly.

It was the CIAs job for decades to use propaganda and dirty tricks to ensure that pro-U.S. politicians were elected or put in power in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, pretty much everywhere the U.S. government perceived some interest. After the U.S. intelligence scandals of the 1970s, however, some of that responsibility was passed to other organizations, such as the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

NED, USAID and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) finance activists, journalists and other operatives to undermine political leaders who are deemed to be obstacles to U.S. foreign policy desires.

In particular, NED has been at the center of efforts to flip elections to U.S.-backed candidates, such as in Nicaragua in 1990, or to sponsor color revolutions, which typically organize around some color as the symbol for mass demonstrations. Ukraine on Russias border has been the target of two such operations, the Orange Revolution in 2004, which helped install anti-Russian President Viktor Yushchenko, and the Maidan ouster of elected pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

NED president Carl Gershman, a neoconservative who has run NED since its founding in 1983, openly declared that Ukraine was the biggest prize in September 2013 just months before the Maidan protests as well as calling it an important step toward ousting Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2016, Gershman called directly for regime change in Russia.

The Neoconservatives

Another key issue related to Israeli influence inside the United States is the role of the neocons, a political movement that emerged in the 1970s as a number of hawkish Democrats migrated to the Republican Party as a home for more aggressive policies to protect Israel and take on the Soviet Union and Arab states.

In some European circles, the neocons are described as Israels American agents, which may somewhat overstate the direct linkage between Israel and the neocons although a central tenet of neocon thinking is that there must be no daylight between the U.S. and Israel. The neocons say U.S. politicians must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel even if that means the Americans sidling up to the Israelis rather than any movement the other way.

Since the mid-1990s, American neocons have worked closely with Benjamin Netanyahu. Several prominent neocons (including former Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, Meyrav Wurmser and Robert Loewenberg) advised Netanyahus 1996 campaign and urged a new strategy for securing the realm. Essentially, the idea was to replace negotiations with the Palestinians and Arab states with regime change for governments that were viewed as troublesome to Israel, including Iraq and Syria.

By 1998, the Project for the New American Century (led by neocons William Kristol and Robert Kagan) was pressuring President Bill Clinton to invade Iraq, a plan that was finally put in motion in 2003 under President George W. Bush.

But the follow-on plans to go after Syria and Iran were delayed because the Iraq War turned into a bloody mess, killing some 4,500 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Bush could not turn to phase two until near the end of his presidency and then was frustrated by a U.S. intelligence estimate concluding that Iran was not working on a nuclear bomb (which was to be the pretext for a bombing campaign).

Bush also could pursue regime change in Syria only as a proxy effort of subversion, rather than a full-scale U.S. invasion. President Barack Obama escalated the Syrian proxy war in 2011 with the support of Israel and its strange-bedfellow allies in Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni-ruled Gulf States, which hated Syrias government because it was allied with Shiite-ruled Iran and Sunnis and Shiites have been enemies since the Seventh Century. Israel insists that the U.S. take the Sunni side, even if that puts the U.S. in bed with Al Qaeda.

But Obama dragged his heels on a larger U.S. military intervention in Syria and angered Netanyahu further by negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program rather than bomb-bomb-bombing Iran.

Showing the Love

Obamas perceived half-hearted commitment to Israeli interests explained Romneys campaign 2012 trip to seek Netanyahus blessings. Even after winning a second term, Obama sought to appease Netanyahu by undertaking a three-day trip to Israel in 2013 to show his love.

Still, in 2015, when Obama pressed ahead with the Iran nuclear agreement, Netanyahu went over the Presidents head directly to Congress where he was warmly received, although the Israeli prime minister ultimately failed to sink the Iran deal.

In Campaign 2016, both Clinton and Trump wore their love for Israel on their sleeves, Clinton promising to take the relationship to the next level (a phrase that young couples often use when deciding to go from heavy petting to intercourse). Trump reminded AIPAC that he had a Jewish grandchild and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Both also bristled with hatred toward Iran, repeating the popular falsehood that Iran is the principal source of terrorism when it is Saudi Arabia and other Sunni sheikdoms that have been the financial and military supporters of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, the terror groups most threatening to Europe and the United States.

By contrast to Israels long history of playing games with U.S. politics, the Russian government stands accused of trying to undermine the U.S. political process recently by hacking into emails of the Democratic National Committee revealing the DNCs improper opposition to Sen. Bernie Sanderss campaign and of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta disclosing the contents of Clintons paid speeches to Wall Street and pay-to-play aspects of the Clinton Foundation and sharing that information with the American people via WikiLeaks.

Although WikiLeaks denies getting the two batches of emails from the Russians, the U.S. intelligence community says it has high confidence in its conclusions about Russian meddling and the mainstream U.S. media treats the allegations as flat-fact.

The U.S. intelligence community also has accused the Russian government of raising doubts in the minds of Americans about their political system by having RT, the Russian-sponsored news network, hold debates for third-party candidates (who were excluded from the two-party Republican-Democratic debates) and by having RT report on protests such as Occupy Wall Street and issues such as fracking.

The major U.S. news media and Congress seem to agree that the only remaining question is whether evidence can be adduced showing that the Trump campaign colluded in this Russian operation. For that purpose, a number of people associated with the Trump campaign are to be hauled before Congress and made to testify on whether or not they are Russian agents.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other establishment-approved outlets are working with major technology companies on how to marginalize independent news sources and to purge Russian propaganda (often conflated with fake news) from the Internet.

It seems that no extreme is too extreme to protect the American people from the insidious Russians and their Russia-gate schemes to sow doubt about the U.S. political process. But God forbid if anyone were to suggest an investigation of Israel-gate.

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Why not a probe of Israel-gate? – Mondoweiss

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Indian Lobbying and its Influence in US Decision Making: Post-Cold War- Review – Free Press Journal

By Jatin Desai|Apr 29, 2017 12:55 pm

Book: Indian Lobbying and its Influence in US Decision Making: Post-Cold War Author: Ashok Sharma Publisher: Sage Price: Rs. 895

Lobbying is a reality of modern world. Lobbying does take place from micro to macro level. Lobbying is done by various interest groups to influence law makers, policy makers. More and more interest groups lobby in the US as it has emerged as the supreme power. With the collapse USSR, US remained the only super power though China cannot be discounted. US is influencing global politics and so naturally various groups including nations wants to influence US policies to their benefit. India and Indians are also active in influencing US policies through lobbying.

The recent book Indian Lobbying and its Influence in US Decision Making: Post-Cold War by Ashok Sharma is a valuable addition on the debate. The book throws light on the history of lobbying in US. The author says lobbying is an intrinsic part of American life. The Jewish lobby is considered to be the most powerful pressure groups. They often lobby on behalf of Israel. Jews population is 2.7 per cent of the US population. Indian lobbying is also yielding results. The Indian lobbying is of recent origin. The Indian-Americans and Indian government is playing an active role in influencing USs foreign and economic policies. Indians became more active in US after the end of cold-war. Earlier, India was much engaged with USSR.

During 1980s, only 5 per cent of American legislators were interested in India. But, the scenario is different now. Be Democratic Party or Republican Party, US now cannot afford to neglect India. US need India even for their compulsions. Indian community in US was initially not much politically active. In comparison, people from other countries were much active. They were raising their voices. Indian-Americans became active in the 1980s and more pro-active in the early 1990s with the opening of Indian economy. The political activism of Indian-Americans resulted in the formation of Indian Caucus in the US Congress in 1993 and in the US Senate in 2004. The Indian Diaspora became more and more influential during these periods because of rise in their socio-economic conditions. Similarly, Indian government also decided to hire US lobbying firms to make their voice heard. Lobbying of Pakistan to influence US foreign policy also prompted Indian government and Indian Diaspora to play more pro-active role. India and Pakistan are actively lobbying with US law makers to influence USs foreign policy on South Asia. Indian lobbyist played an important role especially in aftermath of nuclear testing of May 1998 and Kargil war of 1999. It was not easy as sentiment in US and other European countries was against nuclear testing. India was clearly opposed to Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Then Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee wrote to then US President Bill Clinton on May 12 1998 saying deteriorating security and nuclear environment (with oblique references to China and Pakistan) as the impetus for Indias conducting the nuclear tests. Even in such an atmosphere, India and US came much closer. OnMay 13President Clinton announced imposing of economic and military sanctions mandated by Section 102 of the Arms Export Controls Act. US imposed the same sanctions to Pakistan onMay 30. Democrats in US are always more concerned about nuclear proliferation.Statements of former President Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state, helped India gets support of Democrats and Republicans.

Pakistans armed incursion in the Kargil in 1999 helped India in a big way. US lifted most of the remaining sanctions. Indian lobbyist and government were visibly active. It is believed that Clinton and Pakistans PM Nawaz Sharifs agreement, which put an end to the conflict, was the result of Indian lobbyists. The Washington Post reported that this pro-India tilt in Washington was made possible in no small measure because of the political activism and the lobbying efforts of Indian-Americans.

The lobbying by Indian-American community is yielding results. India has become a close strategic ally of US. There are strategic experts who believe India has become junior partner of US and it is against Indias policy of Non-aligned. In the process, Indias relation with Israel has also become strong. Diplomatic ties with Israel were established in 1992 when P V Narasimha Rao was the PM. Since then the relations between two countries are growing. The Israeli lobby also helped India in influencing the US.

Being a close ally should not mean India should abandon Non-aligned Movement (NAM). India needs to give confidence to the aspiring nations by rejuvenating NAM. The book authored by Ashok Sharma truly gives fascinating details of Indians lobbying in US.

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Indian Lobbying and its Influence in US Decision Making: Post-Cold War- Review – Free Press Journal

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Defeat for Israel lobby as Ken Livingstone beats Labour expulsion – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Asa Winstanley Lobby Watch 6 April 2017

Ken Livingstone outside his Labour Party disciplinary hearing in London.

Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone on Tuesday had his suspension from the Labour Party extended for bringing the party into disrepute last year.

But Israel lobby elements within the party had pushed hard for Livingstone, long a supporter of Palestinian rights, to be expelled outright.

Livingstone vowed in a statement to fight the suspension.

Todays Labour Party panel extended my suspension for another year because of my political views, not because I have done anything to harm the Labour Party, he said.

Livingstone is a left-wing veteran of Labour, and for decades led anti-racism efforts in local government in London.

The new suspension is an attempt to protect Israel from criticism, while simultaneously weakening the position of the pro-Palestinian left in the party, a statement by Jewish members of the Labour Party said.

It is the verdict, not Ken Livingstone, that has brought the Labour Party into disrepute, they asserted.

In April last year, Livingstone was asked in a BBC radio interview if a Labour lawmakers comments about Hitlers actions being legal had been anti-Semitic.

He replied by referring to the 1933 Haavara agreement between the Nazi government and the Zionist Federation of Germany as Hitler supporting Zionism by transferring Jews to Palestine.

After initially being suspended for anti-Semitism, the charges against Livingstone were changed to bringing the party into disrepute. Now he is accused of having revised the history of the Holocaust.

His suspension was the peak of a witch hunt manufactured by right-wing Labour lawmakers and their allies in the Israel lobby.

The moral panic sought to portray the party under new pro-Palestinian leader Jeremy Corbyn as a hive of anti-Semitism.

But the media obsession with the anti-Semitism crisis in Labour was highly exaggerated and, in some cases, outright fabricated.

Livingstones historically accurate comment about Zionism was met with a storm of attacks by right-wing Labour lawmakers and anti-Palestinian activists.

At the time, these forces were seeking to undermine the Labour leader in the run-up to May 2016 local elections.

The manufactured crisis led to dozens of suspensions of Labour Party activists, usually for little more than an out-of-context social media posting from years earlier.

One veteran Labour activist in south London was suspended for 10 weeks for merely agreeing that Livingstones comment on the radio was largely accurate.

Livingstone described the three-day Labour disciplinary hearing this week as like something out of North Korea. The three-person panel of the National Constitutional Committee questioned Livingstone, as well as witnesses against him.

They insisted on keeping the hearing closed to the public, despite Livingstones request it be open. He had vowed to fight any expulsion in a legal action.

In an LBC London radio interview on Wednesday, Livingstone said that the only reason he had not been expelled was because the partys lawyer must have told them they didnt have a chance if it went to court.

Livingstone was represented in the hearing by Michael Mansfield, the high-profile human rights lawyer known for overturning miscarriages of justice.

Labour Friends of Israel reacted with fury on Tuesday night, saying it was disgraceful that Jeremy Corbyns Labour Party had allowed Livingstone to remain a member and had decided his behavior is acceptable.

Corbyn himself reacted by criticizing Livingstones accurate historical comments as causing deep offense and hurt to the Jewish community, and saying Livingstone could face further disciplinary action.

This was not enough for Labour Friends of Israel though, which retorted on Wednesday that Corbyns statement had failed to mention anti-Semitism, and demanded he call on Labours ruling body to review the inappropriate sentence delivered last night.

Labour Friends of Israel was shown by an undercover Al Jazeera documentary in January to be working in close financial and logistical coordination with the Israeli embassy.

Its leader, Labour lawmaker Joan Ryan, was also shown fabricating an accusation of anti-Semitism against a party member who challenged her groups policies with respect to Israeli settlements.

The Jewish Labour Movement, which was also shown in the documentary to be working closely with the Israeli embassy, has led much of the campaign to boot Livingstone out of the party.

Its chair, Jeremy Newmark, has vowed to take the matter to the partys conference in September.

Newmark has been a leading voice calling for Livingstone to be expelled. He was one of the witnesses at the hearing against Livingstone, reportedly submitting a 170-page dossier.

A veteran Israel lobby activist, Newmark has a history of lying, with a tribunal judge in 2013 calling his evidence in a failed case about supposed institutional anti-Semitism in the University and College Union untrue and preposterous.

Newmarks campaign against unions that dare express solidarity with Palestine continued. He told an Israeli newspaper in 2012 that he was liaising closely with the government of Israel in a similar lawsuit against public sector union Unison.

Newmarks close connection to the Israeli embassy begs the question of whether they are working together on the campaign to oust Livingstone from Labour.

The fact of the matter is, Mr. Livingstone’s comments regarding the 1933 Ha’avara Agreement were taken from Mr. Lenni Brenner’s book, “Zionism in the Age of Dictators”. Mr. Brenner, by the way, was born a Jew but subsequently became an atheist as well as an anti-Zionist.

Criticism of Israel has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with being in any way anti-Semitic.

Livingstone has never said one word of which I am aware which qualifies as anti-Semitic.

He was simply reciting an historical truth, one embarrassing to defenders of Israel’s excesses.

And he did this at a time when the press and the Tony Blair acolytes were feverishly creating a months-long McCarthyite storm of lies about anti-Semitism in the party.

That effort – very much including The Independent and The Guardian – is what is truly shameful and wrong about what happened.

Politics is a dirty business, and the actual story of the re-creation of Israel has warehouses full of dirty deals and unpleasantries.

Again, here is the hard evidence for Livingstone’s original comment about Zionists and Nazis:

https://www.numisbids.com/sale…

Had Ken Livingstone suffered expulsion, he would have had the option of pursuing the matter in court. He has indicated a preference for doing so. The decision to continue his suspension for another year (probably to be renewed annually in the manner of an Israeli detention order) will not be subject to outside litigation, and that makes it a more effective tool of intimidation. He would likely have prevailed in a suit against the party over expulsion. But now he can never play a role in Labour circles and has no opportunity to clear his name. Others are to take note, that criticism of Israel in any but the most superficial and passing manner will not be tolerated.

As for the charge of bringing the party into disrepute, that’s a form of wording that can prove as flexible as the purpose driving the charge. No one can define what it means. But it’s clear that in opting for such a formula while quietly dropping a direct accusation of antisemitism there’s an unspoken acknowledgement that Zionist arguments cannot be upheld if certain historical facts and ideological affinities are addressed. They don’t want a discussion.

As someone who has long defended Jeremy Corbyn, I’ve finally begun to concede that he’s simply not up to the job. He’s a man in a dirty street fight who refuses to throw a punch. He could have scotched the antisemitism campaign long ago if he’d stood firm on this and really fought back. You can’t spend your entire term of office responding with futile concessions in the hopes that the people trying to destroy you will somehow be won over. The more ground you surrender, the more power you concede to the Right.

Your post has given me perspective, Tom, thanks. As a passionate campaigner for, and defender of, Jeremy, I’ve agonised over this for over 24 hours now. I feel he’s bent at the knee and walked right into the Blairite trap with yesterday’s statement. I’m struggling to see how this can be recovered now. Freedom of speech and value of truth are, arguably, our most important civil liberties placed at risk by Jeremy, who should have, instead, showed solidarity with Ken and directly dispelled the wrongfully enforced stigma. Instead now, Ken is in uncertain chaos and the subliminal message we’re left with is “use freedom of speech to speak against Israel injustice or quote truthful historic facts and you’ll be ruined”.

He should not have been even suspended considering his 50 year devotion to the Labour party with his passion and incredible hard work for the party. His views have ever changed which goes to prove he is an exceptionally honest man with a real commitment to truth and justice. it is a wonder why the Labour right israel supporters cannot stomach the truth and act as cry babies. It seems the Israeli lobby in Britain is getting pretty strong day by day.

I can no longer support Corbyn nor the labour party. They have sold out to the apartheid, genocidal right.

Originally posted here:

Defeat for Israel lobby as Ken Livingstone beats Labour expulsion – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

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April 7, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Retired Reps. Jim Moran and Nick Rahall: What it Takes To Beat the Israel Lobby in Congress – Antiwar.com (blog)

Delivered to The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference March 24, 2017 at the National Press Club

The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference was solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). This is a rush transcript.

Grant Smith: Everybody, we need to start. So please take your seats. While you do, were going to roll a very short clip of an interesting panel that took place. Everyone has been talking about J Street. Well, this is a J Street panel. Were just going to roll a very short clip about a former fundraiser speaking on J Street, Stephanie Schriock [now president of Emilys List], and her experience in obtaining startup capital for political campaigns. Can you cue [Beholden to Israel and AIPAC Even before Running for Office], Nart [Shekim]?

Janet McMahon: Hi. For those of you who may be just joining us on our livestream video, Im Janet McMahon, managing editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. One of our main focuses is keeping track of members of Congress and the pro-Israel PAC contributions so many of them receive. I think Grant Smith made it clear this morning that these pro-Israel members of Congress increasingly do not reflect the views of the majority of Americans.

Today Im very happy to introduce two Democratic former members of Congress who do reflect those views. Fortunately, I dont have to introduce them to each other, since they have been colleagues and friends for nearly a quarter of a century. We thought it would be fascinating and informative to hear a conversation between them about their experiences as congressmen and how they continued to win re-election for decades despite the opposition of the Israel lobby.

Jim Moran, on my far right, represented Virginias 8th congressional district, just across the river from here, from 1991 until he retired in 2015. He was the mayor of Alexandria, VA from 1985 to 1990, when he defeated incumbent Stanford Parris. As a congressman, Jim was a staunch critic of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem an issue which never seems to die and of the major role the Israel lobby played in pushing for the disastrous US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Of Irish decent, Jim is the son of professional football player James Moran, Sr. and the brother of Brian Moran, the former chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. He is currently a professor of practice at Virginia Techs School of Public and International Affairs.

Nick Rahall, to my immediate right, is the grandson of Lebanese immigrants and the longest serving ever member of Congress from West Virginia, whose 3rd and 4th districts he represented from 1977 to 2015. He was one of only eight House members to vote against the authorization for use of military force against Iraq in 2002 that preceded the US invasion. He has repeatedly expressed concern about Americas relationship with Israel stating, Israel cant continue to occupy, humiliate, and destroy the dreams and spirits of the Palestinian people and continue to call itself a democratic state.

When Nick spoke at our conference two years ago, he regaled us with his story about going on an AIPAC-sponsored trip to Israel in 1995, and taking with him to Gaza several AIPAC board members who wanted to meet Yasser Arafat. They were just stumbling over themselves to get their pictures taken with him, he recalled.

Seriously though, I think this is proof that Nick is willing to talk to anyone in order to advance the cause of peace and justice. Unfortunately today Congress seems to have few members who follow that lead. So please join me in welcoming Jim Moran and Nick Rahall today.

Lets get the conversation going by starting at the beginning, how the two of you got elected in the first place. In the short video that you just saw, we heard a political strategist and campaign fund-raiser explain that, in her experience, funding from three groups was essential labor, pro-choice, and the Jewish community. But before approaching the Jewish community, Stephanie Schriock said a potential candidate had to meet with the lead AIPAC person in his or her state who would make it clear that the candidate needed to draw up a paper on Israel even before hiring a campaign manager or policy director. Thats how we raise money, she said. So to raise money from the Jewish community, a major contributor to Democratic candidates, one needs the AIPAC seal of approval.

Jim, you defeated a five-term incumbent who criticized your opposition to the first Gulf War by saying, the only three people I know who support Saddam Hussains position are Muammar Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, and Jim Moran.

Jim Moran: He left out Nick.

Janet McMahon: He didnt know him. Nick, youre an Arab American who got elected at the age of 27 to become the youngest member of Congress. You went on to be re-elected 17 times. How did you each do it?

Jim Moran: Go ahead, buddy.

Nick Rahall: Well, in my case, unlike my dear friend Jim Moran, I had never held political office before my first run for Congress in 1976. I was unheard of except in my local hometown where I had been active in local issues, civic clubs, chamber of commerce, etc., etc.

My predecessor had served for 18 years. Much to everybodys surprise, at literally the last second of the filing period that year, [he] dropped out of the congressional race to run for governor. I had previously filed for the congressional race, again, as an unknown, with several other unknowns, the main political figures in the district not believing that the incumbent was going to drop out to run for governor. Well, when he dropped out I decided and I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow money at that time on my own, and used those borrowings to run for Congress. At that time it cost me I think $150,000 a drop in the bucket these days.

There was another well-funded Democrat running as well. Four of us really were running for a seat, and nobody knew anything about either of us. I proceeded to run a very aggressive campaign. I had the backing of our senior senator at that time, although not publicly, in a primary. But I used his name quite a bit, Sen. Robert Byrd. I had worked for him previously, which was my only experience in the political arena. With an aggressive media campaign, I was able to secure the nomination.

My predecessor lost his race for governor. He came back against me, trying to lead the people to believe he was the incumbent in the general election on a write-in campaign. The press caught on to it very quickly and reminded the people hes not the incumbent. He gave up the seat. We have a nice young guy running by my name, Nick Rahall. I had pretty good press endorsements. Much to my surprise, I had Democratic establishment support, and I had my own money.

So AIPAC was not a factor. There are very few synagogues in my district, in southern West Virginia a very rural area of our country where coal is the main industry. So running an aggressive campaign, I got elected that first term basically without any outside groups. I did not even have labor endorsement. They were for another candidate that was an official of the United Mine Workers union in my primary campaign. So I had no major group endorsements not labor, not NRA, not anybody.

Then becoming the incumbent, my predecessor was still running against me in my full first term, again trying to mislead the public into believing he was the current congressman. Re-elect your congressman. Ken Hechler was his name. He came at me one-on-one in the primary two years later in 78. Again, I had to borrow some additional money. I had no major endorsements, and I ran. Actually, Im sorry, on my first reelection I did finally get labor endorsement. That was a big boost in defeating my predecessor, actually a second time. He then came out against me a third time 10 years later, but I was well-entrenched then and defeated him a third time.

But really AIPAC never was a factor in my early elections. I was a homegrown boy, so to speak, and had gotten the committees I wanted in the Congress. Then-Speaker Tip ONeill, my first Speaker, was very kind to me, knowing I was a newcomer. In those days, a newcomer [wouldnt] sit on the back of the bench and keep quiet until youve been here 30 years. Tip ONeill was very good about giving newcomers their committee of preference, and I used that to my advantage to continue to be reelected year after year.

Jim Moran: So when that comment was made by Stan Parris, a Washington Post reporter called me in an unguarded moment. (Of course no staffer or anything [was] around and not having the erudition, not to mention the intellect of Professor Mearsheimer) So they asked me, you know, he says, how do you feel? Mr. Parris said in connection to Muammar Qaddafi and Saddam Hussain. I said, Oh, Christ, Id like to punch that fatuous jerk on the nose, is how I feel, which the Post printed in its entirety. That probably set me back a little, because the district in Northern Virginia is one of the best educated and most politically engaged in the country. But it didnt cause any kind of mortal political wound.

Basically in the first election I just worked, because I wasnt going to let myself lose. So Id get up at 4:00 in the morning and Id go down to Prince William County. Down at Prince William County in 95, if any of you is familiar with the area because of the traffic, they have buses that can use the HOV lanes. But in order to get a parking space, let alone a place on the bus, you have to get there by 5:00 a.m.

So Id go down there and Id knock on the car doors. I have to (Well, Im not supposed to say car. Im supposed to say automobile doors, because it betrays my Massachusetts accent, but I dont care now that Im not running.) So I knock on the car doors and theyd roll [down] the window. I didnt wake them up, obviously, because they have to get there at 5:00 in order for them to get on the bus that left at 6:00. So Id wake them up. They turn and they give me a digital salute invariably for the first couple of weeks. But after I kept doing it, eventually they reached for the handout. It was the same. Id stand at a corner holding the sign, and the same initial reaction. But after a while they realized, gosh, this guy means it. If hes willing to work this hard, then maybe hell work this hard for me. So eventually that worked, but it was just through sheer determination plus something else.

I think Nick and I have in common I know actually what we have in common. We like people and we enjoy running. We go into a big room, Oh, this is fun. Lets go and meet so and so. Even people that didnt agree with us, you know, wed say, How are you doing? and so on. Thats [like] the Kennedy clan, and theres a lot of folks who certainly Tip was like that. Politics should be about liking people and enjoying doing something meaningful for them when you get the opportunity. Unfortunately, its more about money now, frankly. But before the process was so corrupted, it really was just about who wants to work the hardest and who enjoys meeting people the most. So I think thats how I got elected the first time.

Janet McMahon: Then both of you kept getting reelected Then you did have some opposition from the lobby as the years went by, I gather. So how did you keep getting reelected?

Jim Moran: Well, I can speak for myself. I did engage in some herculean efforts to make some of my races challenging. [LAUGHTER] I dont need to go into all of those things that I said and did but, yeah, we had some close races. One of them in particular was at the time of the Iraq War. I was asked at a forum, actually by a Jewish woman who asked, Why arent more Jews involved in opposing the war? I said, well, its similar to my criticism of Catholics. War is wrong and, yet, all we seem to hear from the Pope is how wrong abortion is. Somehow they overlooked some of the other wrongs that are taking place. If the Catholic Church came out in opposition to the war (at that time 80 percent of the American people were in favor of going into Iraq, I think it would make a difference.

And I said similarly, if the leaders of the Jewish community particularly the pro-Israeli community had a different attitude and were willing to get more engaged against the war, I dont think wed have a war. So that was reported in a way that was the most critical you can imagine. The conservative rabbi in my district took it and ran with it and put it on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and made a big name for himself. The headline in the Post was Moran Blames Jews for the War in Iraq. But of course, as Professor Mearsheimer mentioned in his terrific address, the Israeli lobby had an instrumental role. It wasnt the only reason by any means that we went into Iraq, but it was a contributing factor.

I might as well get into some of the policy issues. It was interesting, in Tony Blairs book, he mentioned going down before England chose to side with the Bush administration in the Iraq War that he went down to the Crawford ranch to meet with Bush, and it was Netanyahu who met him. The executive director of AIPAC in 2003, in an interview with a New York newspaper, took credit that his greatest accomplishment was getting the authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. So the Israeli lobby did have a contributing influence to us going to war.

There are other reasons or things I can cite too to support that, but my suggesting that particularly upset the Washington Post. Im sure I could have been far more articulate in explaining my position. But it stung because I think many people did realize this is something that Israel wanted us to do, and certainly Netanyahu did.

Sharon understood what George H.W. Bush understood, that this may not in the long run be beneficial to Israel given the Shia-Sunni conflict and the ramifications that it caused. Sharon felt that Iran should have been where the focus was, but Bibi was pretty adamant that he wanted us to go into a war in Iraq. Anyway, thats a digression from the original question. But Im just trying to get into a little of the policy here instead of the personal reflection on our political career. But the point is that we had some tough races.

I never lost a race, and Nick never should have lost a race until the Koch brothers went after him in the last race and finally beat him with the help of the Israeli lobby, frankly, who always gave him a hard time. Nick is one of the people who Ive always looked up to because its hard not to admire people who show courage and conviction. Nick always has, and was one of my heroes in the Congress frankly.

Nick Rahall: Thank you, Jim. Youre very kind with your words. As I mentioned earlier, Tip ONeill was my first Speaker. You may recall his famous saying was, all politics is local. I really took that to heart during my entire time in the US Congress. I always felt my duties were first to the constituents that honored me and humbled me by sending me to Washington. I always was back home every weekend and every congressional break. Working the grassroots continued from my first days of standing outside the coal mine gates and meeting every coal miner as he or she went to work at 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. and when theyd get off the shift at 3:00 p.m or 4:00 p.m.; at factory gates when we had large numbers of people working in both of those operations, which is not true today, but in those days we did.

I always was close to the ground back home. I got to be known as the personal representative of my district. I took to heart the fact that we in the House are the closest elected federal officials for our people. Nobodys ever appointed to the House of Representatives. We have to always be elected regardless of any vacancy where we served. Unlike senators, who can be appointed. So I really worked the grassroots throughout my career.

My first running amok of the lobby, so to speak, was I guess in 1982. Tip ONeill came to me first at the height of the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon. When I saw what was happening there, I said to a local reporter back home which hit press throughout my district that Israel was acting as a monster; that they were out of control; that Sharon had gone beyond the initial aim of that Israeli campaign that year in ridding southern Lebanon of the PLO. He was wanting to capture Beirut, and thats when I really started to have run-ins with the lobby.

But Tip ONeill came to me, even after I had said those comments. He said, Nick, I want you to lead a congressional delegation to the Middle East and to Beirut, and Ill give you a plane. You know, Im only in my third term. I thought about it not very long, of course. But I said, yes, Mr. Speaker, Ill do it. At that time he had a daughter-in-law who was of Lebanese ancestry and he was quite concerned about what was happening in Lebanon.

So I got six other members of Congress. We went to six countries in the Middle East. We happened to be in Beirut on July 31, 1982, the height of the Israeli bombardment. I had arranged through contacts to meet with Chairman [Yasser] Arafat in the bowels of Beirut at the height of the bombing. It took about four hours of rendezvousing around Beirut, from about midnight to 4:00 a.m. We had to lose our State Department security, because certainly they couldnt know where we were headed and we had to really be secretive about it. At least I thought that was the way it was going to be, because Id met with Chairman Arafat two years before in a very private meeting that never hit the press.

But this time we came out of that meeting. The members of Congress with me were Mary Rose Oakar; Pete McCloskey; Mervyn Dymally, the late congressman from California. Elliott Levitas, a Jewish member, was with us on the CODEL but he did not go to the Arafat meeting. He made it clear he could not do that.

So those are basically the four of us that came out of that meeting about 4:00 a.m. and, lo and behold, the worldwide press is there. Arafat had made sure that it was going to get to the press, which was okay, nothing wrong with that. But during that meeting wed gotten Arafat to sign the paper saying that he recognized Israels right to exist, that he renounced violence, and that he recognized all U.N. resolutions relevant to the Palestinian question. Something that really, we were just a decade early, but thats something that came to fruition in Oslo. But in 1982 we were way ahead of our time, and everybody in the press said, Youre just being snookered by Arafat. He didnt really say or do that, even though we showed a signed document where he did say that. But of course nobody wanted to believe him at that time.

The next day we had meetings scheduled with the prime minister of Israel and with the defense minister, [Ariel] Sharon, at that time. [Menachem] Begin was the prime minister at the time. Well, they heard about our Arafat meeting, of course. They canceled the meetings with us. Elliott Levitas, the Jewish member of Congress from Georgia on our CODEL sent word back to Begin and Sharon. Listen, Im a Jewish member of this congressional delegation. I did not attend the Arafat meeting. But Im going to tell you, youre going to continue your previously scheduled meetings with this CODEL I dont care who they met with yesterday or youre going to have trouble from this Jewish member of the Congress when I get back to Washington. Begin and Sharon both rescheduled us. We got in to see them. [APPLAUSE]

Having met with Arafat just the day before, it got into a shouting match. Sharons map in his office showed no division and no borderlines between Israel and Jordan or Israel and Lebanon. It was Eretz Israel. The Greater Israel was his version of the land at that time. We questioned about the use of American-made cluster bombs, [which were] supposed to be used only for defensive purposes. [We asked] why are you dropping them in southern Lebanon? Sharon picked up a piece of paper and said, Heres what we do with agreements. We dont care what country its with. In times of war, this is what we do with agreements. He picked up that paper and just ripped it apart. We just looked around at each other, just shuddering at what he was saying.

So it was a very contentious and angry meeting. We went on and we met with other heads of state. We met with the president of Syria on this trip, the president in Egypt, and the king in Jordan. So it was quite a whirlwind trip we had that summer of 1982. But while in Beirut, I might add also, as I said, we met with Arafat at the height of the Israeli bombardment. It was the next day that Ronald Reagan, to his credit, got on the phone to Menachem Begin and said, call Ariel Sharon off. Enough is enough. Hes going too far into Beirut now. Thats when the bombing ceased.

Thats what we need more of these days in the president of the United States, is the courage that Ronald Reagan had. [APPLAUSE] Im not defending every action of Ronald Reagan of course, but during that particular moment he did get on the phone and called to tell the Israelis to stop it.

So back home, getting to your question Im sorry for the diversion. But back home, did I take flak? The lobby was enraged. They got a gentleman from New York, Ben Rosenthal, to introduce a resolution in Congress to impeach me for treason and high crimes. I went to Tip almost crying and saying, Mr. Speaker, Im sorry. What should I do about this? He said, Nick, are you crazy? You dont have anything to apologize [for]. Dont worry about this resolution. Its not going anywhere. So then he put my mind at ease. He wanted to hear all about the trip, which I relayed to him a lot more than I have here. He was very pleased with the actions of our CODEL.

But back home they were on my side, quite honestly. When I used the argument that, hey, Ill talk with anybody; Id rather talk than fight; communication does not mean capitulation of your views it worked back home. The polls showed that the people agreed with my CODEL. They agreed with what I had said. They agreed that we should be more objective on our policies in the Middle East. They agreed on a homeland for the Palestinians and a homeland for the Israelis, as I said back in those days, before the two-state solution was ever in popular vogue. My votes against foreign aid, for example, it all went so well back home. I think the lobby saw that and they never really came after me until about a decade later, when they thought all of this would subside. It wasnt major, not like they came against Jim Moran.

Yes, they found a Jewish member of the Reagan White House, I believe it was. He came down to West Virginia, bought a farm and claimed he was a West Virginian, and ran against me with AIPAC money. But again it was not the AIPAC money to the degree that they put up against Jim Moran.

Again, I think its because they saw me as a member of Congress of Arab descent, saying, Ah, hes just speaking because of his ancestry, let him go. That may have been something in their thought processes. But then I think the biggest thing was because of the local rapport and the local support again, all politics is local that I had back home that allowed me to survive those early challenges of AIPAC.

Janet McMahon: I think Im going to intersperse questions from the audience as they come up.

Nick Rahall: Sure.

Janet McMahon: So heres a good one that follows right on what youre saying. Can both of you describe your interactions with the other side of the aisle, including those Israel-firsters and those you find more agreement with, such as Ron Paul? So was there more bipartisanship? Was there more working together? Or how has that evolved over the years, or deteriorated?

Jim Moran: Well, with Ron Paul, his philosophy is basically that of isolationism. So he has opposed American intervention militarily. But something that I think the public might be interested in is that after votes, members will go to an elevator that is off the floor on the Republican side. Its only members that are allowed so you can talk freely. I dont think its bugged. Theres no microwave ovens or anything in it. [LAUGHTER] So its interesting how often on two issues. The primary one that were referring to is on Israeli-Palestinian-related issues, but it also oftentimes happens in gun issues. Members will say, Hey, that was a good amendment; Im proud of you for voting the way you did. Then you look at them because you know that they oftentimes spoke against you and certainly voted against you. I said, Well, thanks a lot for your support, not. Theyll say, Well, I couldnt be with you obviously. Id be defeated. But you are right, of course.

A comment was made earlier that people are not voting with the views of the vast majority of Americans on some issues. Oftentimes theyre not voting consistent with their own views. But theres a political reality that they see. There are a lot of members who know what the consequences would be and are not willing to face those consequences. Thats why I single out Nick who would be the first one to take to the floor and let it rip, but he was always informed. Dennis Kucinich was another one who spoke from his heart with a lot of courage. There are a few others.

But frankly, when you say the other side of the aisle, this issue is not really because of certain developments, and I think theres some credit to the Obama administration certainly Senator [John] Kerry and people like Keith Ellison and so on that theres actually a very substantial shift in views toward the Israeli-Palestinian issue between Republicans and Democrats now. But in terms of the voting, the AIPAC has at least as much influence within the Democratic caucus as the Republican caucus.

So when you say on the other side of the aisle, it happens that theres maybe half a dozen or, well, I guess its close to a dozen now, who will speak out. They tend to be Democrats, but its not partisan in terms of this issue, generally speaking.

Nick Rahall: Let me just add to what Jim has said. I totally agree with what he had said. There is a great deal more opposition privately in the Congress to US policy in the Middle East than is publicly stated. Members will come up to me, as Im sure they did to Jim, after many of these one-sided resolutions wed vote upon that blamed everything on the Palestinians and say in the cloak room again, like Jim is saying Nick, I had to [hold my nose gesture] when I voted, [Theyd] hold their nose and vote the way they did, but they had to vote the way they did. The real truth of why they voted the way they did its easier. Its an easier path to follow for so many members of Congress.

Theyre not hearing from their constituency on the issue. Its not a big issue back home. It is, if not already, a possible good campaign financing vote to help them raise money without having to put up with the anger if they vote the other way, which is much more of a repercussion, severe repercussion, against them of having to answer phone calls, having to answer letters that the lobby may generate from their district, but more than likely its going to be from other parts of the country.

So members of Congress are so often as well, its kind of a Pavlovian reflex. When they see something come up in the Middle East, theyre going to jump out there to try to out-AIPAC AIPAC. They dont want to be hassled and have to put up with what AIPACs going to direct. They know whats going to come their way if they dont do a letter. They dont want to be accused of doing a letter that AIPAC wrote for them. So they jump out and write their own letter that actually ends up to out-AIPACing AIPAC in order to get ahead of the curve and try to beat themselves on the chest and say what they did for Israel, especially during the campaign or in preparation for a campaign which were always doing in the House. Thats a never ending process.

The money is a big factor, theres no question about it. I think one of the ways that is most effective these days in working around it is and I think there is progress being made. Witness the 80 votes earlier this year on the UN resolution settlement question, most of which were Democratic votes. But you had minority leader [Nancy] Pelosi in that bunch. You had Jan Schakowsky from Illinois in the 80 no votes. The resolution, and I think everybody recalls it, it was disapproving our actions in the UN, Obamas actions in the UN [abstaining] on settlements. There were 80 no votes. Yesterdays vote against David Friedman as ambassador to Israel, 52 to 46, unprecedented. The most number of no votes for any ambassador, not just to Israel, I think has ever gotten in the Congress of the United States. So thats an indication. [APPLAUSE] Yeah.

So what you need to do is look at those 80 votes earlier this year and look at those 46 votes yesterday in the Senate. Thank them. Write them a letter. Email them. Let them know that their vote is appreciated by somebody out there. So look at those two lists and other votes that come up in which you note courageous actions from members. Urge them to go to the Middle East at any opportunity. If you know groups who can help send them there you have to get Ethics Committee approval these days, of course, but it can be done. Urge your member of Congress to go visit. See the facts on the ground.

Theres one other individual, by the way, going back to my previous description of my trip to the Middle East, one other important individual who was on that CODEL with me, who came back with his eyes opened, was David Bonior from Michigan. He came back and rose in the leadership at the House. He kept saying its because of that CODEL to the Middle East in 1982, which I led, that his eyes were opened as to what was happening in the Middle East. So youve got to get members of Congress over there. Not just on AIPAC trips. Not one-sided trips. But get them over there to see the reality on the ground in Palestinian territory.

Janet McMahon: So one thing you mentioned was that AIPAC often generates letters and responses from all over the country, not just from ones own congressional district. How can people talk to the congressperson from their own district and make a difference, from the constituents in one district? Or does it have to be How can constituents from a given district support their congressman? Is that sufficient, or would it have to be a national effort where people from everywhere are calling and saying thank you? How can we build on that?

Jim Moran: Forget the national effort, really. For the most part, unless you have a lot of money and are willing to contribute to their campaign, people dont care that much about how somebody feels that they dont have to answer to within their constituency in the House. Its the same case in the Senate, but there are different broader constituencies, of course, in the Senate. Its your own member of Congress. The reality is, and I know that Nick will agree, there is virtually no downside in voting for Israels policy, whatever it may be. In this context, were talking about the Israeli lobbys policy which includes more than AIPAC, of course. Theres no downside for voting with them, generally speaking. I mean you may tick off two or three people who youll hear from.

But theres a whole lot of downside if you stand up to them, because theyre well-organized within every congressional district. Theyre generous. Theyre well-informed. Theyre politically engaged. Thats not a bad thing, because this is not a random sample of people off the street that we have in this room. The best way if you oppose AIPACs power and influence and even tactics, the best thing is to understand why they are so successful.

I have to share with you, it bugs me no end to go see some of my friends sitting around at a coffee shop drinking good strong coffee and complaining about something that just happened. So many of them will only talk within their comfort zone, only talk with people they agree with. They dont get involved locally. They dont even know who their school board member or their county board member are. Sometimes they dont even know who their member of Congress is. Theyve got lots of opinions, but theyre useless in terms of the political process unless you get engaged, particularly with people who disagree with you.

So the best approach to dealing with the influence of the Israeli lobby is to understand why it is so powerful, to organize, to contribute. It doesnt have to be a whole lot of money. To know your member of Congress, to get your kid to intern, to reach out to your neighbors. I dont want to get too clichish, but its up to everyone individually and then collectively. People need to be informed. They need to have their eyes opened. Thats what happened with me.

Initially Tom Davis, who was then a supervisor at Fairfax County for the Mason district, and Al Wynn, who was a county attorney in Prince Georges County, and David Clarke, who had just been elected to the [DC] City Council, and I was a vice mayor in Alexandria, we were contacted back in 1982 by the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington they were actually based in Montgomery County [MD] to go to Israel. Oh, that sounds kind of fun. They said, you know, youll enjoy meeting the people. How did they know that I would be elected mayor and then to the Congress; Al Wynn would be elected to the Congress; Tom Davis would become chairman of the board of supervisors and be elected to the Congress; and David Clarke became president of the DC City Council? Because they were watching. They were engaged. They understood how this political system works.

We all went. I had come with an open mind. Gosh, I went into Yad Vashem. I was struck and I stayed there. I delayed the whole bus. I couldnt get it out of my mind and so on, and I became a firm supporter of Israel, not knowing anything else. That was my paradigm. In fact, back in the very beginning when I was first elected, there was a vote on the $10 billion loan [guarantees] that shouldnt be used for settlements, and I just went along with it. It was a wrong vote. It was a horrible vote. I cant believe I voted that way. I didnt know any better.

There was a young Jewish activist who came to me, and he was all upset. He said, This is so wrong. I said, Really? Youre Jewish? He says, Im a humanitarian. This is wrong, let me tell you why

I got to thinking. Then I talked to Saba Shami, who we both know, and who made his way into the campaign. I started thinking and reading more and watching the votes and realizing that the people who had the most courage of conscience were invariably voting in the minority on this. But if you asked them why they voted, it wasnt because of politics or campaign contributions. They would explain exactly why they voted, and it was the most thoughtful response, as I mentioned last night. Those are the people I wanted to identify with because lifes too short to just follow the herd. [APPLAUSE]

Then there was a guy by the name of Danny Abraham. He sold Slim-Fast owned Slim-Fast. Ironically, he sold it to Tom & Jerrys ice cream Ben & Jerrys, excuse me, go figure. [LAUGHTER] But Danny Abraham is at the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation. He had this woman, Sara Ehrman, who had worked for AIPAC, and she was very close to Hillary. In fact, shes the one who convinced Hillary to go down to Arkansas when Hillary wasnt sure: Do I want to go with this guy or do I want to follow my Wellesley classmates? Anyway, she convinced her to go down to Arkansas. The rest is history.

But Sara started talking with me. Danny Abraham brought me to the West Bank to talk to Yasser Arafat. I asked Arafat at the time you have to put this in a historical context, this was right after Rabin had been assassinated I said, I heard that you cried; that they couldnt talk to you, you were so upset when Yitzhak Rabin had been assassinated. Why? He said, Yitzhak was the only Jew who ever treated me like I was a man. Thats fascinating.

So a lot of this is a struggle for dignity and being recognized. Anyways, one thing led to another and eventually you form your views. But it goes back to the need to open peoples eyes. When you open their eyes, sometimes their heart opens up too and they do the right thing. The fact is that the Jewish community in the United States realizes that this is a true democracy. If you get sufficiently engaged, it will serve your purposes.

But I also want to say something, I think, thats very important. If this issue is going to turn in the direction of justice, and you cant have peace without justice, but if it is going to turn, the arc of history is going to turn as Barack Obama would say toward justice, a lot of it is going to be because young Jewish men and women who are on campuses and who are reading and who understand the importance of this democratic process, and are of the same ilk that disproportionally turned around the civil rights struggle in the South. They were the ones that came down from New England and the northeastern states and so on, and many of them lost their lives. They have to be engaged, too. And they will be engaged as long as sufficient information is out there, as long as people know the facts on the ground and have the courage of their convictions to share that information, and understand that basically most people are good. When they know the reality of a situation, theyre going to do the right thing and then the Congress will follow. [APPLAUSE]

Janet McMahon: You want to add anything to that, Nick? I mean youve said that you think the Israel lobby is there are many lobbies and many special interests.

Nick Rahall: Let me just say one thing to follow up on what Jim has said about the young people and getting them involved. That is so crucial. Im going to say something here that may be heresy and some are going to boo probably when I mention the name, because I know theyve been described as AIPAC lite and other descriptions. But a group in town that has been very effective at involving the young people and getting them to see members of Congress and, I think, provide a great deal of cover for members, including these two votes I mentioned earlier, a group in town that I think is worth reaching out to in trying to get across the divide is J Street.

I think they are a growing organization. Theyre involving a lot of young active people across this nation. Theyre causing a stir in the Democratic Party. You saw, for example, this year the first time Ive ever seen in a presidential debate the issue of Israel and Palestine come up like it did and be debated. They can get into members of Congress office, and thats important.

So whatever coalition building you can do, there might not be a hundred percent agreement on not a lot but a few issues. But I think there is a common goal. Its important to stress upon members of Congress, especially the newer members of Congress, that AIPAC does not speak for the Israeli people. They speak for the right-wing Likud government. A lot of newer members of Congress dont quite distinguish that; whereas, J Street

Let me just tell you some of their positions. Im sure you probably know it. They supported the Iran nuclear deal. They opposed David Friedman as US ambassador [to Israel]. They opposed the Trump anti-immigration policies, including the ban on Muslims, civil liberties, and increased defense spending at the expense of domestic programs. J Street opposed the Israeli settlement expansion and supported the Obama administrations decision to abstain from UN Resolution 2334. Thats that 80-vote I referred to earlier. They opposed a 2015 amendment to the US trade promotion bill that would have protected Israeli settlements from the BDS movement. They have acknowledged the painful side of Israels creation, which was a displacement of the Palestinian people.

So I think there is a ground there for a reach out and an approach that says, lets do this together and lets go to Congress together. I think members of Congress will respond when they see Jewish- and Arab- [Americans] working together instead of hurling insults each way. We all know the American people are yearning for that to happen in our political environment. Were not there yet. Were further back, I think, than when Jim and I were in the Congress. But thats what, I think, would strike a responsive chord if we want to expand beyond just this group, is what Im saying, and beyond just Arab groups working on behalf of a two-state solution, for example. J Street supports that, and I think thats what weve got to get back to. So I throw that out. Its something that I think should be explored to try to enhance our mutual goals. [APPLAUSE]

Janet McMahon: Heres another question from the audience: Im the son of an Irish mother and an Arab father. Im from the Deep South originally, so the two of you are as good as it gets. [APPLAUSE] Would either of you consider moving to my district in Dallas, Texas and running against Sam Johnson? [LAUGHTER]

Jim Moran: Whats the district? We may be interested. Whats the district?

Janet McMahon: I dont know. Go out there and track this person down. Well, I think I

Jim Moran: That was a rhetorical question, I assume.

Janet McMahon: I dont know. I doubt it. So Id like to thank, again, Nick Rahall and Jim Moran for being with us today. [APPLAUSE]

Nick Rahall: Thank you, Janet. Thank you. Thank you.

Jim Moran: Could I just give a little shout out here? Shai Tamari, come in here. Shais in the front row here. He shaved his hair since he last worked for me. Shai was my foreign policy person. Shai used to be a member of the Israel Defense Forces. He informed, in large part, my view, because you need to know where people are coming from whose views differ from yours. That ability to empathize was extraordinarily powerful in terms of my understanding of why this issue was so important and worth taking the tough votes on. Its people like Shai Tamari who are going to, as I say, bend the arc of history in the right direction. So thank you, Shai, for all you did for me. [Applause]

Janet McMahon: I also wanted to thank Jim and Nick for their service to our country for so many decades, not only for being here today. [APPLAUSE]

Nick Rahall: Thank you.

Jim Moran: Its our honor.

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Retired Reps. Jim Moran and Nick Rahall: What it Takes To Beat the Israel Lobby in Congress – Antiwar.com (blog)

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Hanan Ashrawi: The Israel Lobby and the ‘Peace Process’ From a Palestinian Perspective – Antiwar.com (blog)

Delivered to The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference March 24, 2017 at the National Press Club

The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference was solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). This is a rush transcript.

Delinda Hanley: Im Delinda Hanley, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs news editor and executive director of the American Educational Trust.

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi has broken through the glass ceiling that can prevent women around the world from reaching the top. She was the first woman to be elected a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian [sic] Liberation Organization in 2009. She served as the official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East Peace Process from 1991 to 1993 and participated in the 1991-1992 Madrid Peace Conference. In 1993, Dr. Ashrawi founded the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights, PICCR, to investigate Israeli and Palestinian human rights violations recording her experiences in This Side of Peace: A Personal Account which she would just sign at lunch time.

In 1996, Ashrawi was elected and subsequently reelected many times to the Palestinian Legislative Council. In 1996, she also accepted the post of Minister of Higher Education and Research. In 1998, Ashrawi founded and continues to serve in MIFTAH in the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy. It is not hyperbolic to say that Dr. Ashrawi has also broken through the Palestinian sound barrier, the wall of silence in Americas media which excludes Palestinian voices. She is the Palestinian Iron Dome. Whenever Israel sends war planes, troops, and weaponized drones to attack her people, we can count on Hanan Ashrawi to be out there trying to stop the bombs and the Israeli propaganda. Her only weapon, her articulate reasonable voice and demand for justice and fair play. She will address the Israel lobby and the peace process. Welcome, Hanan Ashrawi.

Hanan Ashrawi: Thank you very much. Thank you. This is indeed heartwarming and humbling. I thank you all for coming. Thank you, Delinda, for your invitation. Thank you, Grant. Thank you, John for picking me up also and all the people who made this possible. Im delighted to be here with you. Im delighted to be part of this occasion, this endeavor which in many ways is extremely timely. It does respond to a sense of urgency really. I need to intervene and to say policy and discourse. And its wonderful to hear all these not just distinguished people but very profound and persuasive people and courageous people, really, who are speaking truth to power and who are standing up for justice. I dont want to waste too much time because I have a lot to say. So you have to let me know ahead of time.

As you know this is a very significant occasion because were talking about 100, 70, 50, and zero. A hundred years since the Balfour Declaration. I do hope that the Brits will not celebrate it even though Theresa May invited Netanyahu to celebrate with her. This is a colonial legacy par excellence. Seventy years since the partition plan that did partition Palestine and created the State of Israel, at that time on 55 percent of Palestine. Fifty years since the occupation of 1967. And zero time for the two-state solution.

Im asked to talk about the Israel lobby and the peace process. I will focus on the peace process because you all know that the Israel lobby is never absent. Whenever anything happens related to Palestine, it is there. And when it comes to the peace process, they have always been a shaping force intertwining, interweaving, intervening their presence and at the same time maintaining their I dont want to say control but their influence every step of the way. They play the major role in shaping and influencing U.S. policy particularly the peace process. Since its inception, theres a sense of ownership that the peace process is owned by the Israeli lobby in many ways because theyre looking out for the interest of Israel all the time.

There are various components of the lobby. As you all know, theyre not monolithic. They all have their impact here and there. But the most significant impact is for the lobby groups, the special interest groups that are closest to the Israeli government in particular. And that tends to be the more hardline extremist groups. Even though there were different voices but the greatest impact was by the more extreme voices. The most influential, of course, is AIPAC and theres Washington Institute for Near East Policy as you know. As I think back, that has probably had the most direct say in terms of the peace process itself and other organizations the Heritage Foundation and so on.

So you have all these organizations that move from the extreme right to the center like J Street, what was being discussed before this talk. They all have a different set of requirements and different ways of intervening. There are different fields and players. Theres a diversity in the pro-Israel lobby. Theres the private sector. And as you know Adelson was trying to buy a president here but hes also buying a prime minister in Israel. Moskowitz who brought settlements, who built settlements in Jerusalem. These are individuals in the private sector that have had a direct impact and direct intervention using their money. Haim Saban, as you know, and Brookings, and down to the left, Danny Abraham who has accompanied the peace process all along from a more liberal perspective.

There are institutions and think tanks individualizing to them. The most significant and youll hear me talk him about often not because I like him very much but because he has been the most persistent, Dennis Ross, and no doubt [sounds like], and Martin Heinrich and others. Then you have academic and cultural individuals and spin doctors who have been a primary force in shaping public perceptions including Krauthammer, Dershowitz, Im sure youre hearing him now. Daniel Pipes. There are lots of people who are Israeli apologists and spin doctors.

Then you have religious organizations and institutions, self-appointed Israeli apologists and defenders who take the Bible literally, many of them. And this is the extreme Zionist-Christian organizations. They are extremely dangerous in the sense that they do have a literal biblical exegesis that gives Israel license to do whatever it wants. And one of them told me once Palestinians have no right to exist because youre standing in the way of prophecy, the fulfillment of the prophecy. So I said it doesnt sound very Christian when you advocate genocide.

And then there are toxic organizations as you know. They have been very effective in distorting the Palestinian message in reality like MEMRI. You know, M-E-M-R-I? You should be aware of this. This is a most toxic organization. It is run by Yigal Carmon who used to be the advisor to the military governors and he became the advisor to Shamir on terrorism and so on. And he used to interrogate me once in a while. But now, he has this organization with tremendous funds. He monitors everything and then he has access to Congress particularly to many decision makers. He distorts Palestinian utterance and anything that is published. We can talk about this later. You have MEMRI, you have NGO Monitor that attempts to badmouth all Palestinian NGOs. You have the PM Watch which is also waiting for any Palestinian to open his or her mouth and they attack.

And then you have publications. Im sure youre hearing more and more about Breitbart, for example. Blackstone. These are extreme right-wing white supremacists. Some of them are really anti-Semitic but Zionists, very interesting this combination. Now, they influence substance, structure, procedure, and priorities and objectives in the peace process. They influence terms of reference. And they influence also the players and predominantly the US role in the peace process.

I would like to mention that many of the individuals who are associated follow what I call the revolving door. They use the revolving door as a charge against Palestinians, that when people are arrested, they are released later. But you have a revolving door in terms of their role. Many of them were in the State Department. And it seems that like Dennis and Martin that they do go to the State Department and then they leave and go to the Washington Institute or another pro-Israeli lobby. Then they come back through another door in the State Department.

Now we have people in the White House who are not only lobbyists and advocates but who are active supporters of settlements. So its not enough to have settlers in the Israeli coalition government. Now you have settlers in the White House. So they dont need to lobby. They are decision makers. So thats whats happening. That frames in terms of influence the peace process with this revolving door. Youll be surprised also that Israels ex-Ambassador Dan Shapiro, for example, decided to stay in Israel. Hes joined the Institute for National Security Studies which is something that also Dennis joined at one point or another Dennis Ross.

Its interchangeable. Either they are influencing policy or they are making policy. Thats why American policy was so distorted because they played a significant role in framing and defining the discourse and perceptions, but went beyond that to manipulating the verbal public space, anything related to the peace process. And they generated a narrative based on myths and provided alternative facts. Its not Kellyanne who invented alternative facts. Weve been victims of alternative facts all our lives, alternative realities. Theyve certainly willfully misled public opinion with a fabric I dont want to go into details about the spin, about the hasbaras they call it. But it has been very active in shaping public perceptions and hence, attitudes.

A distorted pattern emerged that was totally weighted in favor of the occupation generating a cyclical pattern, a vicious cycle that totally subverted progress and led to the current impasse which has been in the making for quite a long time since the beginning. And they ensured that the peace process maintained its parameters within the domain of Israeli priorities and interest.

Now we are back at the beginning. I wanted to read you a quotation from a paper in 1991, a position paper by the Washington Institute for Near East Affairs. And guess who wrote this? Martin Indyk. This is March 4, 1991 just before the peace process started when President Bush and James Baker were preparing for the 1991 Madrid process. Some of the things he says, I mean, are being said right now. Thats why I call it a cyclical pattern. He says, Israel now has a golden opportunity to deal with an indigenous Palestinian leadership in the territories before the PLO phoenix rises again. Its true the prime minister leads an unruly coalition of right wing and religious parties unwilling to countenance territorial compromise in the West Bank. But if that is a genuine offer of peace from the Arab side outside then hes acceptable to delivering a territorial compromise on the Golan Heights and an interim deal for Palestinian self-government which leaves open the final status of the territories. This is the ongoing policy. I mean, all you need to do is go to the Washington Institute website and you will find all these policy papers. Now theres another one. Im not going to read all these things but this one is the Transition 2017 Toward a New Paradigm for Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, David Makovsky and Dennis Ross, Washington Institute. This is another blueprint that was prepared to give to your new President Trump and you have my full sympathy on how to address. Because they want to confiscate the language once again and confiscate the process once again and decide how its going to proceed.

Anyway, so the peace process conceptually, the influence was on the terms of reference. They made sure it dealt only with 242 338, not other resolutions. Because 242 338 deal with 67. They dont deal with 48 or the roots of the conflict, if you call it a conflict. They also made sure that there was no reference to sovereignty or statehood for the Palestinians. No reference to the roots of the conflict including refugees and so on in 1948, Resolution 181. No international law. It must not apply. Only what the parties agree to in this asymmetry of power where you have occupied and occupied [sounds like], you go and talk and you agree and well agree with whatever you decide.

And of course, they used the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords in order to define Palestinian objectives or rights as autonomous. We need the autonomy, functional autonomy or self-government for the people as though the Israeli control is a given, and therefore you deal with self-government for Palestinians. No reference to Palestine as a country or the Palestinians as a people or a nation. Youve had this construct of Israel and Palestinians. Its never Israel and Palestine. Its never Israel and the Palestinians. Its Israel and Palestinians that we found by the wayside.

Again, I mean, look, Nikki Haley at the UN voted against Salam Fayyad, vetoed the appointment of Salam Fayyad as deputy secretary general to Guterres. Why? Because the appointment had the word Palestine. So we are guilty for existing. We are guilty because we have an identity. We are guilty because we are members of Palestine the Palestinian nation. Now of course, youve read Uri Savirs article on Madrid II or Moshe Yaalons new article on Lets Give the Palestinians Autonomy or Netanyahus speeches here and there particularly in Australia when he talked about transitional phases and functional approach. We will get to that later. But you have enough literature to see where theyre heading with that.

On substance the priority of course for the peace process was Israels security. That was the primary objective. Israels security is defined in military terms and maintaining military control. Now, there is doctrine if you want a demilitarized state minus our entity, then if you want a state minus, then it has to be demilitarized. Then Israel has to have full military control especially control over the borders, the air space, territorial waters, and with true presence. And of course, they want the Palestinian Authority to be the security subcontractor.

Congress in its overzealousness wanted to cut off all funds to the Palestinians. There was a resolution whats her name? I forgot her name. Anyway, shes the one who always comes up with these interesting resolutions about the Palestinian culpability a priori. Kay Granger. Any of you from Florida? Youre really blessed with two. Kay Granger and whats her name Ros-Lehtinen. Yeah, the hyphenated name. Its obsessive with them.

Anyway, but they have decided that they should cut off all funds from the Palestinian. Then AIPAC went to them and said, no, no, no. You cant cut off funds to the security forces. You have to keep paying the Palestinian security forces because theyre good for Israels security. Really. Its AIPAC that wanted funding for the Palestinian security force. They want a subcontractor and that to them is the primary function of any Palestinian security force.

But also, finally enough with this, it doesnt have to do with security but I always like to say this. That the Congress in its overzealousness to protect Israel – who was it? I think, Jim was talking about it or Nick about how they are overzealous. Sometimes they want to outdo AIPAC, the Congress members. Yeah, in their overzealousness to serve Israel and protect Israel, they took resolutions that gave us enormous power. They took resolutions that any organization which accepts Palestinian membership will be defunded by the US and they will not pay their fees. They took resolutions that any convention or agreement that we accede to and so on will not be supported by the US

Whats happening? We told them, fine, we are going to join all of them. This means the US will be isolated because it will have to leave all of them. So can you imagine what happens when we join WIPO Intellectual Property? What will happen to all the patents and intellectual property of the US? Or when we decide to join the Atomic Energy Commission? But they say, if you join these things and if you accede to any agreement or convention that you will be punished. We will not fund you. Well, thank you very much. Lets accede and see what happens to the US when it has no say in any international organization. Anyway, thats overzealousness. Sometimes you go overboard where you punish yourself.

Not only that, but we were supposed to be held I said this before, forgive me if I quote myself, it became a famous quote I think that we are being held responsible for the safety of our occupiers. That the Israeli settlers and the Israeli army can do whatever they want to us, and we are responsible for their safety. No Palestinian can react not even in self-defense. Because automatically, the terrorist label comes out and like a Post-It its on your forehead, youre a terrorist. Because a 14-year old dared attempt to strike at a soldier carrying scissors she was carrying scissors. But he was on Palestinian land as an occupation soldier wearing a bullet proof vest, wearing a helmet, and carrying a machine gun at a checkpoint on her own land. But shes the terrorist. Hes the victim. And she was the one who was shot.

Anyway, we are responsible for the safety of our occupiers. The Israeli army can go into Areas A and I hate this designation. But Areas A in which we are not supposed to come in. And they can arrest. They can blow up homes. They can do whatever they want at will. But should the Palestinian security forces tried to stop them, theyre in serious trouble. They cannot and theyre not supposed to stand up to the Israeli army. Should any Palestinian react to this intense injustice, then he or she is a terrorist. Now, in terms of the regional dimension, of course, it has become very clear and it has come back to haunt us. Now it is called the outside-in approach. And its a very sexy term now. Im sure youve read this in all the new proposed approaches to peace making, outside-in. Lets go to the Arabs. Lets go to the region. Lets put the API the Arab Peace Initiative on its head. Lets normalize with the Arabs, and then we can deal with the Palestinians. This was from the beginning the Israeli lobby approach. Two tracks, Palestinian-Israeli track, Arab-Israeli track. Bilateral track. Multilateral track. Normalize. Bring the Arabs to normalization with Israel and then the Palestinians will fall in step. Not just that but you transform the Palestinian issue into a domestic issue within Israel. We can control well deal with them. Therefore, it becomes a question of controlling the people in Palestine. And we are a domestic issue.

Im sure many of you have read Herzogs 10-Point Plan. Herzog is supposed to represent the more moderate, what has become the Labor Party in Israel that has been renamed as the Zionist camp, because they have to compete with Likud on Likuds terms. They have to show they are more right wing and hardliner than the Likud. Now, he has a plan, a 10-point plan. Again, functional approach. Again, gradual approach. Put the Palestinians on probation. I will talk about this later.

But this is Netanyahus constant hymn that the Palestinians live in population centers, fragmented, and localized. Of course, the approach now is back to the Village Leagues approach. If you remember, many of you are young and have not to remember but some of you are old enough to remember the attempts to establish Village Leagues, localized communities, community centers, and so on. But it takes us back even further where you can find collaborators who will collaborate with the occupation and then our lives. It takes us back to the Balfour Declaration, right? Then he say they want to establish a national home for the Jews but at the same time keeping in mind what the interest of the well-being without prejudicing the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. We are being now addressed as the non-Jewish communities in Palestine.

Excuse me. I mean, the majority and the bases were Palestinian, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish, and some atheist but they couldnt be officially atheist. Thats the majority. Were not the exception as being non-Jewish. Now, its the minority that has become the defining factor. Now, we are the non-Jewish community so we are back to 100 years ago. Of course, there were attempts at bringing together some Arab countries like the Al Kaaba [phonetic] meeting in order to come up with an agreement with Israel. This time it was Netanyahu who scuttled it. The whole approach, of course, is the substance. Its not ending the occupation but carrying out administrative functions, economic ease, the quality of life argument which is now part of the Greenblatt platform.

I remember when they offered us in the early 1980s to run our lives. They said you can have all the powers and responsibilities of the civil administration. We said, no, thank you. We dont want to work for the occupation. We want the occupation to leave then we can run our lives. So now, this has become another focus. We are going back to the beginning and even pre-peace process.

Four, maintain the strategic alliance between US and Israel. This was a constant focus of the peace process. It was brought to bear on everything that was done in that context. It has enhanced the power asymmetry and the imbalance until now. The features of this alliance was accommodate Israeli priorities and demands, adopt their own diction and perspective. I was going to say fiction. Yes, most of it is fiction and perspectives. Always, frame the relationship in terms of the Judeo-Christian traditions remember and shared values.

So I keep asking my American friends, what shared values? The values of occupation, of enslavement of a people, of impunity, of oppressing a whole nation, of carrying out extrajudicial executions, of demolishing homes, of stealing other peoples lands, and so on. Are these the values you want to share with Israel? Is this the Judeo-Christian tradition? I dont know. I mean, really. To me, its very strange. Because automatically, the moment you find this fusion today, you are excluding Islamic, Buddhist, any other tradition that does not belong to this club. And to me, Islam is one of the most tolerant religions because it doesnt deny the existence of the others. It builds on Judaism and Christianity while Judaism and Christianity supposedly cancel each other out, dont they? Anyway.

Of course, the other myth is that Israel is the only democracy in the region. You hear that all the time. This is part of this alliance. Even Theresa May talked about this when she criticized John Kerry for not vetoing the 2334 resolution on settlements. How dare you criticize the only democracy in the region and our best friend, our ally? And the Palestinians, of course, are the alien, the other, the fearful, the incomprehensible. And even the orientalist glasses to quote Edward Said the late Edward Said have come out again. And of course, there is an automatic linkage between terrorism and Islam. And now, its becoming much more evident.

Never surprise Israel with any American statement, position, or document related to the peace process. This I know from experience, and they will admit it. The American team, they always coordinated with the Israelis first on any American position. They always clear that up ahead of time with the Israelis. And if you have the Greenblatt-Friedman Plan, also you should know that it was called a policy paper for Trump. He was candidate Trump then and it became Trumps policy paper on Israel. You will see how toxic it has become. It was read by him as an AIPAC speech.

Again, never allow or express any public censure or criticism of Israel. Thats why they reacted in such a hysterical manner. They waxed ballistic just for the mere fact that the US abstained on the settlements, when a few years earlier, they had vetoed a resolution on settlements which violate international law and so on. Therefore, theyre not used to accepting any kind of criticism or censure, let alone, sanctions.

Always use the positive approach with Israel. Incentives, rewards, advanced payments, inducements, and so on. When we started the talks, they immediately got the Zionism-Israelism resolution nullified. You know that. And then they got the diplomatic recognition, trade agreements, and so on.

Another thing, of course, incentivizing Israel, including Europe. I can give you many examples how Europe used this approach too. Conversely, you use pressure, threats, and blackmail on the Palestinians. Exploit the weakness of Palestine and augmenting Israeli power and control. Of course, this was the special contribution of AIPAC, ZOA, and others, the Council of Presidents. And drafting Congressional resolutions that always adopted punitive measures against the Palestinians especially if we joined organizations like the ICC and IC3 [phonetic]. How dare you hold Israel accountable? Israel is above the law. Hence, the Palestinians are always on probation, on good behavior. We have to prove that we deserve our rights. We have to prove that we deserve human recognition. Its a test that we have to demonstrate that we are worthy, the test of merit.

Im sure youve read this which is a horrible article posted on the Gatestone Institute website in which he says, Palestinians must earn the two-state solution. And of course, he proceeded to give a fake version of history. I have news for him, the Palestinians dont think that the two-state solution is a fair or just solution. It was a major painful compromise by the Palestinians. So its not our aspiration to give away 78 percent of our land. It is a compromise that we made in order to give our children a future and a life in freedom and dignity and to exercise our right to self-determination. Now, Israel, and probably the world, are not very keen on seeing it happen. Well, Ill get to that later.

Now, always blame the Palestinians in the blame game. I can give you many examples from the Clinton Parameters, even when there was discussion in Camp David in 2000. I was there. We were told, you will not be blamed. Give it your best shot. And I remember Yasser Arafat told them, We are not ready. The talks have not progressed enough to have a summit in Camp David. Clayton Swisher is here. I dont know if you remember, right? He said, We are not ready. And both Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton said give it your best shot. We wont blame you. What happened later? The whole mess of the generous offer. We were blamed when there was no offer. I said, Show me. Show me a concrete offer on the table. There were all these different groups discussing different issues in a fragmented way, but there was no generous offer that the Palestinians and this myth gained a life of its own, actually.

Now every time you hear an Israeli apologist, he or she will say, you see the Palestinians refused the generous offer. And we have to earn it anyway. Always blame the Palestinians. We said that, again, the roadmap. Do you remember the roadmap 2002-2003? Sharon placed 14 reservations on the roadmap that totally nullified and negated it. They came out and said, the Israelis accepted the roadmap. The Palestinians didnt. The Palestinians accepted the roadmap knowing that its not perfect or ideal. But we knew that not that Sharon was rejecting it. So the issue was that Sharon accepted it and not even a footnote about the 14 reservations. But the Palestinians didnt. I dont know where they get their version of history.

Again, John Kerrys initiative on 2014. You remember when he tried this initiative. He tried to do more of the same thinking that he will get a different result, or thinking that he might get one. Anyway, he promised. He said that any party that scuttles or undermines or reject or whatever the peace talks will be publicly blamed. So what happened?

The Palestinians dutifully went to these negotiations knowing full well that we took a decision not to go, frankly speaking, because there were no terms of reference. There were no clear objectives. There was nothing to tell Israel to stop settlement activities, to respect signed agreements, to release prisoners and so on. And John Kerry said, try your best. He was given a verbal promise, an oral promise by the Israelis that they will minimize settlements, that they will release prisoners.

What did they do? Immediately, they escalated settlements. They escalated violence. They shot a few people on checkpoints. And then they refused to release the last installment of prisoners. So where is the blame? Both sides. Theyre not ready. What? The Palestinian leadership lost its constituency for going to these negotiations when they werent assured of the substance and outcome. And the Israelis deliberately violated their commitments and obligations and they werent blamed. There were some leaks even that the settlements were bad.

In that context, I have to mention this. Its a very racist statement that makes me very angry. Abba Eban said this, The Palestinians never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It has been used to bash the Palestinians and to feed these misconceptions and distortions forever. So every time you hear this, I think you have to reverse this. Its the Israelis that missed historic opportunities to make peace and totally destroyed the chances of peace. Were not on the defensive. We dont have to prove that we make use of opportunities because we never had one.

Of course, the other terms like the leitmotifs of our reality have been shaped by the Israeli lobby. Like, Hamas rockets raining down on Israeli towns and villages. Have you heard this? And its repeated verbatim by everybody in Congress and outside Congress. Nobody asked how many did they kill and nobody asked how many Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army. And nobody asked about the siege and the assault and so on. Its as if people in Gaza decided to wake up one day and manufactured these homemade pipes and threw them out of the blue because theyre terrorists by definition. Again, Palestinian terrorism, incitement, and violence.

Now, you cannot mention Israeli settlements without finding a force equivalent with incitement. Palestinians incite. Palestinians incite to violence. Palestinians think that their prisoners are heroes and they are terrorists. So you adopt the language of the Israelis that everybody whos a Palestinian is a terrorist. But since 1967, Israel has imprisoned more than 800,000 Palestinians, including myself and many others of my friends. And so I dont think there are 800,000 terrorists. People who did not acquiesce to the occupation or accept to have their spirit broken these are not terrorists. Israel has killed more than 75,000 Palestinians since 67. Who are the terrorists?

Now again, there are new preconditions. The refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, thats our fault. Either we become Zionists or we are not fit for human company. Again, any criticism of Israel is conflated with anti-Semitism. Youve heard this before. So this is one way of censoring and silencing criticism. And the Palestinians are not a peace partner. We dont have a peace partner among the Palestinians. I cant tell you how many types of negotiations there were needless negotiations from direct to indirect, to proximity talks, to bilateral, to multilateral, to long distance talks, to exploratory talks. And at the end, we even had epistolary talks, exchanges of letters. Weve been talked out frankly speaking. But it was a good peace process because Israel used it as a cover to create facts on the ground to negate the very substance and to destroy the objective of the talks. So here we are.

Now, while the process is ongoing, never allow any issue critical of Israel to be brought before the UN. This is something ongoing again, massive lobbying. I dont want to give you too many examples but we dont have time. I know Ive run over my time. Should I stop? Okay.

So use the veto and at the same time protect Israels impunity. Enable Israel but maintain Palestinian vulnerability. We shouldnt have access to international organizations or international law to protect our rights and our lands. But Israel has the full right to act outside the law. No sanctions or punitive measures from any party on anywhere, no accountability and so on. And this generated a culture of entitlement, exceptionalism, preferential treatment, and privilege in Israel which in itself justifies the subjugation, discrimination, violence, and total captivity of the Palestinian people, and especially the continued military assaults on Gaza.

Palestinian lives in Gaza have been reduced to abstractions. They are numbers; theyre not human beings. The murder of civilians doesnt count. Its the fact that there were 70 soldiers who were killed, thats very important. But they were being attacked, bombed from the air. Ninety-two families totally obliterated from the population register. It doesnt matter. And yet, you blame the victim because Hamas was using these people as human shields. Therefore, they have the right to kill them. Of course, the occupier is claiming self-defense. They are defending themselves against their own victims. Ive never heard this logic before in all history.

Then, the structure and participants, the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation as you know, now its back again the whole issue of the Jordanian option, the alternative homeland, the confederation that its a Jordanian issue. When they said no Palestinians from the PLO and no Palestinians from Jerusalem, thats precisely because they didnt want a national address for the Palestinians, a localized address. Village Leagues, communities, and so on but not the right to self-determination and not Jerusalem.

Again, there was a division of labor. I will skip a few things. That the US is in charge of the political process but Europe and the Arabs are in charge of signing checks. So the political decisions are up to the US Its a monopoly. The others have to work on nation building. Because you see, we have to prove that we deserve a state even though it is a right enshrined in international law the right to self-determination. Again, proof of merit.

Even then, for the US to participate directly in the talks, it had to get Israels permission. They couldnt participate unless Israel invited them to participate or asked them to participate with their approval. So Israel positioned itself as a gatekeeper to the peace process. And the Europeans followed step. They always had to give them inducements and advance payments and rewards and so on to allow them to play a role. If you are the occupying power and you are the gatekeeper, what kind of peace process is this where you exclude others.

Procedurally, the phase approach, conflict management, open ended process, you can look at all these documents I gave you. And of course, the deal, we had to deal with administrative technical peripheral issues first. Postpone the real issues and get no guarantees on that. No mechanisms for arbitration, monitoring, and verification although all negotiations should have those. Even though I still believe negotiations between occupying and occupied are illegal. They violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, by the way. And it has to be done between equal parties. But when you have a situation of occupation where one party exercises total control over the others, any agreement will be illegal because it will be reached under duress and with undue influence and force.

And then the whole issue of pocket and proceed. This is happening with things like the land swaps. There was never any agreement on the land swap. But somehow they decided that, yes, land swaps because they want to keep the settlement blocs no matter what. All settlements are illegal whether they are blocs or whether they are outposts or whether they are mobile homes or whatever. They are all illegal. So we never agreed to having settlement blocs as being legal or remaining. Now, they talk about it as a foregone conclusion or that there will be land swaps. It was very difficult to accept the 67 boundaries. Now, we have to give away Jerusalem, the Jerusalem environment, Ariel, Gosachion [phonetic], all this. So they pocket and proceed including the issue of refugees by the way.

The process is a process for its own sake. Now, using prolongation and stalling, it is the Dennis Ross logic, I call it, where so long as theres a process, God is in his heaven, all is well with the world. Let the two parties speak. And then Israel can do whatever it wants on the ground which is an endless process. It became an abstraction. It became a tool for Israeli power and expansionism and so on. And they cover for the occupation. So negotiations became an objective, not a tool to get somewhere.

Now, we are back at the beginning as I said. At one point, there was one point in which there was talk of 67 boundaries, two states. It started with George W. Bush and Clinton talking about two states. It wasnt, by the way, Obama who was bashed by Israel for mentioning 67. It was Clinton and George Bush. It was George Bush actually who talked about 67 and the two states. So youll be surprised. And then now, the cycle is completed. Were going back to all the issues of the functional approach, non-sovereign approach, gradual approach, and so on.

With Greenblatt, I just want to mention quickly there are two things I cannot skip. The fact that we are not a demographic problem for Israel, please do not accept this. We are a nation with our rights, with our history, with our culture, and we abide by international law. I dont believe any other country in the world is allowed to discriminate against the people because it wants to maintain the ethnic or religious purity of its own entity at all. So we cannot be a demographic problem to scare the Israelis into giving us our little statelet or state minus, as they say.

Now, they are busy superimposing Greater Israel on historical Palestine. What are the options if they destroyed and they are destroying the two-state solution? Is it the ongoing state of apartheid that exists? Of course, again, they waxed hysterical when people described them as being apartheid. Not what happened to Rima Khalaf. Because now, the UN is echoing the language of Israel at the behest of Netanyahu and Danny Danon, and all these people who formulate that language. If the situation will continue then it will run its course as an ongoing perpetual occupation, conflict, extremism. Or are we going to have a qualitative shift? Maybe we need to de-zionize as Israel rather than zionize the Palestinians.

I have to stop. Okay. I will talk later about what Greenblatt did. But I wouldnt hold my breath. Thank you very much. Its a pleasure to me. Thank you.

See more here:

Hanan Ashrawi: The Israel Lobby and the ‘Peace Process’ From a Palestinian Perspective – Antiwar.com (blog)

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April 3, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Cabals behind the UNHRC inquisition – Lankaweb

March 28, 2017, 7:34 pm

The 34th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have just ended, and another resolution on Sri Lanka adopted Resolution A/HRC/34/L.1 requests the Commissioner and his special procedure mandate holders to strengthen their technical assistance to Sri Lanka on the promotion and protection of human rights, truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability.

More importantly perhaps, the resolution calls for a written update on the implementation of resolution 30/1 (of 2015) at the 37th session of the UNHRC, and a comprehensive report at its 40th session. These requirements are clearly designed to keep Sri Lanka on the leash for the foreseeable future. Needless to say it was the hand of the global enforcer, the US that was behind these impositions on Sri Lanka. The foreign minister, in co-sponsoring the junk resolution with the self-appointed imperium may have thought, cynically, that it will soon be someone elses problem anyway!

The latest resolution warrants an analytical look into the dark forces behind American machinations at the UN, their objectives and the methods they adopt. The task essentially becomes one of taking a close look at the crucial influence exerted by the most potent force that fashions US foreign policy implementation at the UN: the special interest group informally known as the Israel lobby (also called the Zionist lobby).

The Israel lobby is a collective of Jewish, fundamental Christian, and some secular American individuals and groups who seek to influence the foreign policy of the US in support of specific policies of the Israeli government. They overtly function under the very active and extremely well-financed umbrella organisation, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The groups in this coalition are motivated by a piquant mix of myth-based belief including chosenness, racial exclusivity, and literalist interpretation of the Book. The largest single Israel lobby group, contrary to expectations, is the evangelical amalgam Christians United for Israel. The AIPAC juggernaut outnumbers many Jews against Zionism amalgams spread across America thousands to one.

The simple, yet extremely efficient method deployed by the Israel lobby in achieving their aims is based on lavishly financing both sides of the American political duopoly.Over the years, the Israel lobby has managed to buy influence with US presidents of both political persuasion, virtually the entire membership of the Congress, the White House staff, and policy making levels of bureaucracy; John Kennedy has been the only president on record to have rejected the lure of the Israel lobby that has corrupted the US body politic: in They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israels Lobby (p. 114), Paul Findleya congressman from Illinois,1961-1983narrates the story of a meeting Kennedy had with some prominent Jewish lobbyists during the presidential campaign of 1960; Kennedy is supposed to have been infuriated by the offer of a rich Jew that he and his friends would help and help significantly Kennedys campaign if, as president, Kennedy would allow them to set the course of Middle East policy over the next four years. Kennedy may have disagreed, but available evidence suggests that all presidential candidates before and after him have been jumping at such offers.

According to figures released by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks financial contributions of all lobbies and political action committees (PACs), these groups doled out $18 m to Hillary Clinton, and a comparatively trifling $ 400000 to Donald Trump at the 2016 presidential elections.Individual billionaire super PAC donorslike the casino owner Sheldon Adelson who doled out $92.8 million to Republican super PACs in 2012are important agents who buy influence for the Israel lobby.

The method by which they exercise real control over US foreign policy however, is through volunteers to political party offices and campaigns and other nominees who seamlessly transition in to policy-making positions in the state department and the diplomatic service,irrespective of the party that wins the elections.

Notorious individuals who infiltrated the US body politic through this method include the architects of the 2003 Iraq invasion, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, and the earlier generation as the permanent representative at the UN, starting with Jean Kirkpatrick, the late Richard Holbrooke and Madeleine Albright. More recent examples include highly inflated figures like Samantha Power at the UN and Virginia Neuland and Nisha Biswal (a volunteer not associated with the Israel lobby the mouse that roared!) at the state department. They have fallen off their perches recently, at the end of the Obama regime. Some appear to have crept through the barriers Donald Trump erected on this route.

The Israel lobby formally consists of groups that operate across society, organised as PACs for campaign finance, innumerable think tanks that devise national policy, and media watchdog groups who constantly monitor views and discussions on Israel and related issues on the Internet. Their singular aim is to garner stronger US support for Israels strategic aims in the Middle East by controlling the sources and content of debate in the US:In the landmark study The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (2007), John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt observe that the historical tilt of American foreign policy strongly toward support for Israel has been caused by the Israel lobbys control of the terms and boundaries of debate and discussion of the Middle East in American policymaking, not to mention their financing of the political apparatus; They conclude that American support for Israel does not serve Americasnational interests.

Since the early 1990s, Israels main focus has been on regime change in its Arab neighbours such as Iraq, Libya and Syria, perceived to be too strong to its liking. Americas commitment to carrying out this agendaat great financial cost and cost to its reputationdemonstrates the strength of the Israel lobbys hold on the American political system.

Obviously, the UN being the most important forum for enforcing US agenda on the world, the US behaviour at the UN is the primary target of the Israel lobby. The position of permanent US representative at the UN is a key target of the lobby, after the key jobs of secretary of state and foreign secretary. They routinely get to fill these positions with their agents by gaining influence with both presidential candidates and their respective parties.

As the Wikileaks revealed during the last presidential campaign, nominations for higher levels of bureaucracy following the anticipated Hillary Clinton win (that seemed a matter of course at the time) had been finalised months before the election, with declared and undeclared Israel lobbyists tipped to fill the positions. Policy advisers supplied by the Israel lobby are routinely portrayed through corporate media as objective scholars who give neutral recommendations to the US government!

In a nutshell, the Israel lobby, armed with their own foreign policy agenda devised by the neocon think tank circuitCouncil on Foreign Relations, American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundationassign tasks to the US foreign policy machinery at forums like the UNHRC.The approach is generally determined by the primary aim of repelling or diverting the global condemnation of Israels loathsomely aggressive behaviour.There is a certain amount of vested interest too, due to American military and financial support to Israel being the enabler of such aggression.

The US machinations to haul countries like Sri Lanka before UNHRC is borne out of this grand plan founded on the deceitful canard that Israel has long been at the receiving end of an unfair campaign of Israel-bashing by the UN. The facts do not support any such UN bias against Israel. Contrary to such claims, Israel has been the beneficiary of some of the most favourable treatment by the UN: resolution 181 in 1947 that called for the partition of British Mandate Palestine to establish a Jewish State was a repulsive symbol of neocolonialism that was out-of-sync (politically and racially) with the post-colonial, post-Nazi world emerging at the time.

Following Israel becoming a UN member in 1948, it has manoeuvred its way to gain full membership of the powerful Western European and Others Group. In 1991, Israel managed to repeal the resolution of November 10, 1975 which declared Zionism a form of racism and racial discrimination; In 2014 Israel was elected, ironically, as vice-chair of the UN Special Political and Decolonisation Committee.

The so-called Israel-bashing refers to persistent UN Member demands for just treatment of the Palestiniansin the name of common decencyby way of an extraordinarily high number of resolutions passed since Israel forcibly occupied Palestinian land following the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur war. These resolutions have called for Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967.

Israel has been condemned in 50 resolutions by UNHRC since its creation in 2006almost more resolutions than on the rest of the world combined. The UN Security Council has adopted 226 resolutions relating to Israel since 1948. Six of the 10 Emergency Sessions of the General Assembly (UNGA) have been on Israels aggression in the Middle East. UNGA has adopted a large number of resolutions condemning Israeli actions and the US-Israel strategic relationship that encourages Israel to pursue aggressive expansionist practices. At the 2016 Sessions alone, the UNGA adopted 20 resolutions criticising Israel.

Israel has defied these demands for half a century, and naturally, Israels non-compliance has attracted ongoing UN focus on, and criticism of, its behaviour. The UN Middle East envoy reported on March 25, that Israel has not taken any steps to implement resolution 2334 (adopted by the UNSC on December of 2016) by halting illegal settlement building on occupied territory as demanded by the Security Council. Instead, Israel has been continuing with a high rate of settlement expansion in violation of international law. At the same time, Israel is complaining about UN insistence that they honour international law like all other nations. US is complicit in aiding and abetting this unlawful behaviour, and attempt to divert attention from Israel by bringing in cases like Sri Lanka to take the heat off Israel at the UN.

As Israels all-powerful guardian at the UN, the US has been engaged in a disgraceful campaign of finding fault with UN structures and operations, withholding its membership dues and imposing conditions on UN demands for decency by Israelwhile vetoing all Israel-related resolutions at the Security Council.

The appointment of the rumbustious Richard Holbrooke in August 1999 as permanent representative to the UN signified a new, in-your-face style of diplomacy by the US at the UN. (Holbrook who was famous for his ruthless, yet unfulfilled career ambitions, gained notoriety later as the Butcher of the Balkans, and died in 2010 of the relatively rare condition aortic dissection that affects 0.003 per cent of the people annually.

The most disgraceful of the US reaction at the UN was the adoption, in 2002, of the so-called Negroponte doctrine, of opposing all UN resolutions that condemn Israel without also condemning terrorist groups. Negroponte was the US Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985 and would have first-hand experience with terrorism, having played a key role in supporting and supervising the Nicaraguan Contras based in Honduras as well as Honduran military death squads that murdered thousands in the 1980s.

At the same time, they went about reforming (more like re-forming) the UN Commission on Human Rights, basically as punishment for electing Muammar Gaddafi Chair in 2003. Two years later, the US-compliant UN Secretary General Kofi Annan singing from the Israeli hymn bookcalled for scrapping of the commission alleging it was politicised, selective, and had lost credibility. (Just before the end of his second term as secretary general, Ban Ki-moon carried on the tradition of US lap dogs by telling the Security Council on December 17, 2016 that the UN has had a disproportionate focus on Israel.

The reforming of the UN human rights mechanisms to include what is referred to as the Special Procedures consisting of hoards of special rapporteurs, independent experts, and working group members drawn from the INGO movement, empowered with specific country and thematic mandates, was a cynical plot aimed at exploiting conflicts in the poor world, arising from economic insufficiency rather than through deeply-entrenched racial and other prejudice or disrespect for human rights.

The woman who led the US neocon campaign against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in 2014, Paula Schriefer, embodied the US Zionist lobbys relentless campaign to shield Israel from criticism at UN forums, especially at the UNHCR. A seasoned operator with experience at a number of CIA Human Rights fronts like Freedom House and the NED, and Zionist think-tanks for nearly two decades, Schriefer fell from the skies in to Obamas foreign policy team of 2009 as a politically appointed secretary at state department.

They reversed George W. Bushs boycott of the UNHRC and started working from within the UNHRC to achieve their ends. A rare glimpse in to the neocon conspiracy at the UNHRC was provided by Schriefer during a talk at the neocon Mecca, the Brookings Institution, on July 11,2012. Detailing her achievements in the first three months in the job and three years following the US re-entry into the UNHRC, Schriefer saw her mission as essentially to address the continuing problems with the councils tendency to single out Israel by shifting focus to Iran and renewing special procedure mandates on Sudan, Somalia, North Korea and others.

Schriefer arrogantly used the March 2012 anti-Sri Lankan resolution as an excellent example of what the US has been able to achieve at the UNHRC. She claimed that they managed to completely break down the Non-Aligned voting bloc. Schriefer interpreted Indias 2012 vote against Sri Lanka as a demonstration of the impact of civil society outreach on parliament members in Tamil Nadu. She used the example to show the power of NGOs and the need to nurture NGOs in emerging democracies.

US at the 34th Session of UNHRC (March, 2017)

The 34th Sessions was the first UN event for the newly appointed permanent UN representative Nikki Haley, another American of supposed ethnic Indian extraction. She will be assisted by none-other-than Michele Sison who was a key player in affecting regime change in Sri Lanka in 2015. A team headed by these two will be determining Sri Lankas fortunes at the UNHRC in the coming years, making it dependent upon the trajectory of Israels fortunes. This is the reason behind the US decision to allow another two years for Sri Lanka to hang itself!

Haley was a little-known representative of the South Carolina state legislature until she became governor of South Carolina in 2010.She has no foreign policy experience that would have prepared her to contribute to US policy toward global issues. Haleys appointment came despite her backing Trumps contender Marco Rubio for Republican nomination at the last presidential elections process. But she was chosen because she had played her cards right: she outlawed the vibrant Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel in her state of South Carolinaon grounds that it resembled Nazi tactics. She championed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus objections to Barack Obamas 2014 Iran nuclear deal. During the Senate hearings of her appointment, Haley slammed the Obama administration for allowing the December 2016 UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlement expansion. Haley even pledged her support for moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, so far resisted by the US as too explosive a measure.

Things bode well for Haley when the Senate confirmed her nomination for the UN job without much scrutiny; It is doubtful whether her credentials for the job would have held up to any serious scrutiny. But the Israeli lobby spoke when Sen. Ben Cardin, a Jew from Maryland and Democrat on the committee, praised Haley for her promises at the confirmation hearings to strongly support Israel at the UN and to keep Israels interests close at heart.

Nikki Haley has initiated a seemingly accelerated campaign against UN demands for decency from Israel, by denouncing the UN, at the very beginning of her stint, for focusing only on Israelthe only democracy in the Middle East according to herwithout questioning Syria, Iran, or North Korea. Sri Lanka has been among the list of alleged perpetrators committing gross and systematic human rights abuses included in the previous Israeli and US rants (together with China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe) about the persecution of Israel. Judging by Haleys fervour of devotion to Israel, she is unlikely to spare Sri Lanka when the next UN resolution comes up for discussion at the plenary stage.

Since assuming duties, Nikki Haley has displayed strong loyalties to Israel that are likely to please her benefactors to no end: She vetoed Secretary General Antonio Guterres choice of the former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as UN envoy to Libya. She expressed outrage on the recent UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report that outlined the details of Israels of apartheid system that constitutes a crime against humanity under customary international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Haley personally attacked its author Richard Falka renowned campaigner against Israeli aggression. She capped it all by ordering the Palestinian Authoritys envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, in her first meeting, ordering him not to look to the UN for a solution and that they must meet with Israel in direct negotiations. The US boycotted a session at the Human Rights Council that focused on the permanent agenda item 7 on Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, but voted against the anti-Israel resolutions. State Department announced that the continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council.

Interesting times ahead for Sri Lanka

The persistence of US and Israeli attacks on the UN in general, and the undermining of individual member countries outside the forum (as in the case of Sri Lanka) appear to be yielding results from their perspective: demands for Israeli decency has decreased, from 60 per cent of the country-specific resolutions passed by the HRC in 2006 to 40 per cent in 2009 (when the US re-joined the HRC), to just 20 percent in 2016. A large part of this shift was caused by inquisition on Sri Lanka that rose to prominence between 2012 and 2015, taking away the heat from Israel.

Judging by the performance of the new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, he appears to be following the path of strict compliance with US interests, impositions and agendas, similar to other Lap Dogs like Kofi Annan and Ban ki Moon:he acted meekly and relatively quickly to distance the UN from the ESCWA report on Israeli apartheid, saying it was released without prior consultation with the UN secretariat. His spokesman Stephane Dujarrica Georgian national and an alumni of the US foreign policy degree factory, the Georgetown University, who has strong US connections provided another mealy-mouthed response.

There are signs that the UK , special relation of the US, is going to step up its backing of Israel at the UN: speaking immediately after the UNHRC had approved four resolutions condemning Israeli actions against the Palestinians, UK Ambassador to the UN Julian Braithwaite announced that the UK was putting the UNHRC on notice for its biased treatment of Israel, and for failing to condemn Palestinian terrorism. Braithwaite warned that the UK would follow the US in rejecting all resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the UNHRC did not treat Israel proportionally. He also took issue with the UNHRC mandate to debate Israeli human rights abuses at every session under Agenda Item 7.

The cunning plans of the US Israel lobbybacked by the UK and Europeare focused on strengthening Israels land grab in the West bank and East Jerusalem, without acceding to global demands for just treatment of the Palestinians.Their schemes will need countries like Sri Lanka and other countries with festering internal issues to be used as lightning rods.To that effect, other arms of the octopus, like the US embassy in Colombo will work on the ground to frustrate government efforts of national reconciliation and effective settlement of the issue.

Under the circumstances only Russia and China have the capability to ward off US efforts against Sri Lanka, by ultimately vetoing any attempts to impose sanctions at the Security Council level, and by forcing a just settlement for the Palestinians, that would take Israel out of the equation. The call, earlier in the year, of the Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem was a pointer to where the Chinese sentiments seem to lie.

Looking more broadly at the issues from a broader geopolitical perspective, Israel should be thankful to the world for agreeing to allow the formation of a racially-based country so soon after the abhorrent experience of colonialism and Nazism. They need to remember that they are the only racially exclusive society in the world today. Israelis from Holocaust survivors to prime ministers have long warned that the country was already, or risked becoming, an apartheid state. Disgracefully, those fears appear to have been realised.

The best way for Israel to eliminate the perceived bias of the UN including Agenda Item 7 would be to stop its human rights abuses and withdraw from the occupied territories. Failing that, states, international organisations, and civil society groups will be obligated to impose sanctions and other punitive measures to compel Israel to bring its actions into compliance with international law.

No amount of scheming would yield a different result.

Shalom aleikhem!

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COURTESY : THE ISLAND

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Cabals behind the UNHRC inquisition – Lankaweb

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April 3, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Ashrawi: Maybe it’s time to stop Zionizing Palestinians and start de-Zionizing Israel – Mondoweiss

Weve several times mentioned Hanan Ashrawis lacerating speech on the cruel delusions of the peace process at the Israel lobby conference in March. Now the conference sponsors, Institute for Research: Middle East Policy and the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs, have published a transcript of the speech, and we wanted to get it out to readers. Ashrawi: Thank you very much. Thank you. This is indeed heartwarming and humbling. I thank you all for coming. As you know, this is a very significant occasion, because were talking about 100, 70, 50, and zero: A hundred years since the Balfour Declaration. I do hope that the Brits will not celebrate it, even though Theresa May invited [Binyamin] Netanyahu to celebrate with her. This is a colonial legacy par excellence. Seventy years since the partition plan that did partition Palestine and created the State of Israel, at that time on 55 percent of Palestine. Fifty years since the occupation of 1967. And zero time for the two-state solution. Im asked to talk about the Israel lobby and the peace process. I will focus on the peace process, because you all know that the Israel lobby is never absent. Whenever anything happens related to Palestine, it is there. And when it comes to the peace process, they have always been a shaping force-intertwining, interweaving, intervening their presence, and at the same time maintaining theirI dont want to say control, but their influence every step of the way. They play a major role in shaping and influencing U.S. policy, particularly the peace process. Since its inception, theres a sense of ownership, that the peace process is owned by the Israeli lobby in many ways, because theyre looking out for the interests of Israel all the time. There are various components of the lobby. As you all know, theyre not monolithic. They all have their impact here and there. But the most significant impact is for the lobby groups, the special interest groups that are closest to the Israeli government in particular. And that tends to be the more hard-line extremist groups. Even though there are different voices, but the greatest impact is by the more extreme voices. The most influential, of course, is AIPAC and its Washington Institute for Near East Policyas you know, a think tank that has probably had the most direct say in terms of the peace process itselfand other organizationsthe Heritage Foundation and so on. U.S. President Barack Obama (L) arrives to speak with Israeli-American media tycoon Haim Saban about negotiations with Iran in Washington December 7, 2013. (Photo: James Lawler Duggan/Reuters) So you have all these organizations that move from the extreme right to the center like J Street, as was being discussed before this talk. They all have a different set of requirements and different ways of intervening. There are different fields and players. Theres a diversity in the pro-Israel lobby. Theres the private sector. And as you know [Sheldon] Adelson was trying to buy a president here, but hes also buying a prime minister in Israel. [Irving] Moskowitz, who bought settlements, who built settlements in Jerusalem. These are individuals in the private sector who have had a direct impact and direct intervention using their money. Haim Saban, as you know, and Brookings, and down to the left, Danny Abraham, who has accompanied the peace process all along from a more liberal perspective. There are institutions and think tanks with individuals feeding into them. The most significant and youll hear me talk him about often not because I like him very much but because he has been the most persistentDennis Ross, Martin Indyk and others. Then you have academic and cultural individuals and spin doctors who have been a primary force in shaping public perceptions, including [Charles] Krauthammer, [Alan] Dershowitz, Im sure youre hearing him now, Daniel Pipes. There are lots of people who are Israeli apologists and spin doctors. Then you have religious organizations and institutions, self-appointed Israeli apologists and defenders who take the Bible literally, many of them. And this is the extreme Zionist-Christian organizations. They are extremely dangerous, in the sense that they do have a literal biblical exegesis that gives Israel license to do whatever it wants. And one of them told me once, Palestinians have no right to exist because youre standing in the way of prophecy, the fulfillment of the prophecy. So I said, It doesnt sound very Christian when you advocate genocide. And then there are toxic organizations, as you know. They have been very effective in distorting the Palestinian message in reality, like MEMRI. You know, M-E-M-R-I? You should be aware of this. This is a most toxic organization. It is run by Yigal Carmon, who used to be the adviser to the military governors, and he became the adviser to Shamir on terrorism and so on. And he used to interrogate me once in a while. But now, he has this organization with tremendous funds. He monitors everything and then he has access to Congress, particularly to many decision makers. He distorts Palestinian utterance and anything that is published. We can talk about this later. You have MEMRI, you have NGO Monitor that attempts to bad-mouth all Palestinian NGOs. You have the PM Watch [Palestinian Media Watch], which is also waiting for any Palestinian to open his or her mouth and they attack. And then you have publications. Im sure youre hearing more and more about Breitbart, for example. Gladstone [Observer]. These are extreme right-wing white supremacists. Some of them are really anti-Semitic, but Zionistsvery interesting, this combination. Now, they influenced substance, structure, procedure, and priorities and objectives in the peace process. They influenced terms of reference. And they influenced also the players, and predominantly the U.S. role in the peace process. I would like to mention that many of the individuals who are associated follow what I call the revolving door. They use the revolving door as a charge against Palestinians, that when people are arrested, they are released later. But you have a revolving door in terms of their role. Many of them were in the State Department. And it seems thatlike Dennis and Martinthat they do go to the State Department, and then they leave and go to the Washington Institute or another pro-Israeli lobby. Then they come back through another door in the State Department. Now we have people in the White House who are not only lobbyists and advocates, but who are active supporters of settlements. So its not enough to have settlers in the Israeli coalition government. Now you have settlers in the White House. This is incredible. So they dont need to lobby. They are decision makers. So thats whats happening. That frames in terms of influence the peace process with this revolving door. Youll be surprised also that ex-[U.S.] Ambassador [to Israel] Dan Shapiro, for example, decided to stay in Israel. Hes joined the Institute for National Security Studies, which is something that also Dennis joined at one point or anotherDennis Ross. Its interchangeable. Either they are influencing policy or they are making policy. Thats why American policy was so distorted, because they played a significant role in framing and defining the discourse and perceptions, but went beyond that to manipulating the verbal public space, anything related to the peace process. And they generated a narrative based on myths, and provided alternative facts. Its not Kellyanne [Conway] who invented alternative facts. Weve been victims of alternative facts all our lives, alternative realities. Theyve certainly willfully misled public opinion with a fabric-I dont want to go into details about the spin, about the hasbara, as they call it. But it has been very active in shaping public perceptions and, hence, attitudes. A distorted pattern emerged that was totally weighted in favor of the occupation, generating a cyclical pattern, a vicious cycle, that totally subverted progress and led to the current impasse, which has been in the making for quite a long time-since the beginning. And they ensured that the peace process maintained its parameters within the domain of Israeli priorities and interests. Martin Indyk Now we are back at the beginning. I wanted to read you a quotation from a paper in 1991, a position paper by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. And guess who wrote this? Martin Indyk. This is March 4, 1991 just before the peace process started, when President [George H.W.] Bush and James Baker were preparing for the 1991 Madrid process. Some of the things he says, I mean, are being said right now. Thats why I call it a cyclical pattern. He says, Israel now has a golden opportunity to deal with an indigenous Palestinian leadership in the territories before the PLO phoenix rises again. Its true the prime minister leads an unruly coalition of right-wing and religious parties unwilling to countenance territorial compromise in the West Bank. But if there is a genuine offer of peace from the Arab side-outside then-hes acceptable to delivering a territorial compromise on the Golan Heights and an interim deal for Palestinian self-government which leaves open the final status of the territories. This is the ongoing policy. I mean, all you need to do is go to the Washington Institute website and you will find all these policy papers. Now theres another one. Im not going to read all these things, but this one is the Transition 2017: Toward a New Paradigm for Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, David Makovsky and Dennis Ross, Washington Institute. This is another blueprint that was prepared to give to your new President [Donald] Trumpand you have my full sympathyon how to progress. Because they want to confiscate the language once again and confiscate the process once again and decide how its going to proceed. Anyway, so the peace process, conceptually, the influence was on the terms of reference. They made sure it dealt only with [U.N. Resolutions] 242 [and] 338, not other resolutions. Because 242 [and] 338 deal with 67. They dont deal with 48 or the roots of the conflict, if you call it a conflict. They also made sure that there was no reference to sovereignty or statehood for the Palestinians. No reference to the roots of the conflict, including refugees and so on, 1948, [U.N.] Resolution 181. No international law. It must not apply. Only what the parties agree to in this asymmetry of power, where you have occupier and occupied, you go and talk and you agree and well agree with whatever you decide. And of course, they used the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords in order to define Palestinian objectives or rights as autonomous. We need autonomy, functional autonomy, or self-government for the people, as though the Israeli control is a given, and therefore you deal with self-government for Palestinians. No reference to Palestine as a country or the Palestinians as a people or a nation. Youve had this construct of Israel and Palestinians. Its never Israel and Palestine. Its never Israel and the Palestinians. Its Israel and Palestinians that we found by the wayside. US Ambassador Nikki Haley at AIPAC, March 27, 2017 Again, I mean, look, Nikki Haley at the U.N. voted against Salam Fayyad, vetoed the appointment of Salam Fayyad as deputy secretary-general to [Antonio] Guterres. Why? Because the appointment had the word Palestine. So we are guilty for existing. We are guilty because we have an identity. We are guilty because we are members of Palestinethe Palestinian nation. Now of course, youve read Uri Savirs article on Madrid II or Moshe Yaalons new article on [giving] the Palestinians autonomy, or Netanyahus speeches here and there, particularly in Australia, when he talked about transitional phases and functional approach. We will get to that later. But you have enough literature to see where theyre heading with that. On substance, the priority, of course, for the peace process was Israels security. That was the primary objective. Israels security is defined in military terms and maintaining military control. Now, there is doctrine if you want a demilitarized state minus our entity, then if you want a state minus, then it has to be demilitarized. Then Israel has to have full military control, especially control over the borders, the air space, territorial waters, and with true presence. And of course, they want the Palestinian Authority to be the security subcontractor. Congress in its overzealousness wanted to cut off all funds to the Palestinians. There was a resolutionwhats her name? I forgot her name. Anyway, shes the one who always comes up with these interesting resolutions about the Palestinian culpability a priori. Kay Granger. Any of you from Florida? Youre really blessed with two. Kay Granger and-whats her name[Ileana] Ros-Lehtinen. Yeah, the hyphenated name. Its obsessive with them. Anyway, but they have decided that they should cut off all funds from the Palestinians. Then AIPAC went to them and said, no, no, no. You cant cut off funds to the security forces. You have to keep paying the Palestinian security forces, because theyre good for Israels security. Really. Its AIPAC that wanted funding for the Palestinian security force. They want a subcontractor, and that to them is the primary function of any Palestinian security force. But also, finally enough with this, it doesnt have to do with security, but I always like to say this. That the Congress in its overzealousness to protect Israel-who was it? I think, Jim [Moran] was talking about it or Nick [Rahall], about how they are overzealous. Sometimes they want to outdo AIPAC, Congress members. Yeah, in their overzealousness to serve Israel and protect Israel, they took resolutions that gave us enormous power. They took resolutions that any organization which accepts Palestinian membership will be defunded by the U.S. and they will not pay their fees. They took resolutions that any convention or agreement that we accede to and so on will not be supported by the U.S. Whats happening? We told them, fine, we are going to join all of them. This means the U.S. will be isolated because it will have to leave all of them. [APPLAUSE] So can you imagine what happens when we join WIPO Intellectual Property? What will happen to all the patents and intellectual property of the U.S.? Or when we decide to join the Atomic Energy Commission? But they say, if you join these things and if you accede to any agreement or convention that you will be punished. We will not fund you. Well, thank you very much. Lets accede and see what happens to the U.S. when it has no say in any international organization. Anyway, thats overzealousness. Sometimes you go overboard where you punish yourself. Not only that, but we were supposed to be held-I said this before, forgive me if I quote myself, it became a famous quote, I think-that we are being held responsible for the safety of our occupiers. That the Israeli settlers and the Israeli army can do whatever they want to us, and we are responsible for their safety. No Palestinian can react, not even in self-defense. Because automatically, the terrorist label comes out and like a Post-It its on your forehead, youre a terrorist. Because a 14-year-old dared attempt to strike at a soldier carrying scissorsshe was carrying scissors. But he was on Palestinian land as an occupation soldier wearing a bullet-proof vest, wearing a helmet, and carrying a machine gun at a checkpoint on her own land. But shes the terrorist. Hes the victim. And she was the one who was shot. Anyway, we are responsible for the safety of our occupiers. The Israeli army can go into Area A-and I hate this designationbut Area A, in which they are not supposed to come in. And they can arrest. They can blow up homes. They can do whatever they want at will. But should the Palestinian security forces try to stop them, theyre in serious trouble. They cannot, and theyre not supposed to, stand up to the Israeli army. Should any Palestinian react to this intense injustice, then he or she is a terrorist. Now, in terms of the regional dimension, of course, it has become very clear and it has come back to haunt us. Now it is called the outside-in approach. And its a very sexy term now. Im sure youve read this in all the new proposed approaches to peace making, outside-in. Lets go to the Arabs. Lets go to the region. Lets put the APIthe Arab Peace Initiative-on its head. Lets normalize with the Arabs, and then we can deal with the Palestinians. This was from the beginning the Israeli lobby approach. Two tracks, Palestinian-Israeli track, Arab-Israeli track. Bilateral track. Multilateral track. Normalize. Bring the Arabs to normalization with Israel and then the Palestinians will fall in step. Not just that, but you transform the Palestinian issue into a domestic issue within Israel. We can control-well deal with them. Therefore, it becomes a question of controlling the people in Palestine. And we are a domestic issue. Im sure many of you have read [Isaac] Herzogs 10-Point Plan. Herzog is supposed to represent the more moderate, what has become the Labor Party in Israel that has been renamed as the Zionist Camp, because they have to compete with Likud on Likuds terms. They have to show they are more right-wing and hard-liner than the Likud. Now, he has a plan, a 10-point plan. Again, functional approach. Again, gradual approach. Put the Palestinians on probation. I will talk about this later. But this is Netanyahus constant hymn-that the Palestinians live in population centers, fragmented and localized. Of course, the approach now is back to the Village Leagues approach. If you remember, many of you are young enough not to remember, but some of you are old enough to remember the attempts to establish Village Leagues, localized communities, community centers, and so on. But it takes us back even further, where you can find collaborators who will collaborate with the occupation and then our lives. It takes us back to the Balfour Declaration, right? Didnt he say they want to establish a national home for the Jews but at the same time a state? Keeping in mind what the interest ofthe well-beingwithout prejudicing the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. We are being now addressed as the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Excuse me. I mean, the majority and the basis were PalestinianChristian, Muslim and Jewish, and some atheist, but they couldnt be officially atheist. Thats the majority. Were not the exception as being non-Jewish. Now, its the minority that has become the defining factor. Now, we are the non-Jewish community, so we are back to 100 years ago. Of course, there were attempts at bringing together some Arab countries, like the Aqaba meeting, in order to come up with an agreement with Israel. This time it was Netanyahu who scuttled it. The whole approach, of course, is the substance. Its not ending the occupation but carrying out administrative functions, economic ease, the quality of life argument which is now part of the [Jason] Greenblatt platform. I remember when they offered us in the early 1980s to run our lives. They said, you can have all the powers and responsibilities of the civil administration. We said no thank you. We dont want to work for the occupation. We want the occupation to leavethen we can run our lives. So now, this has become another focus. We are going back to the beginning and even pre-peace process. Four, maintain the strategic alliance between U.S. and Israel. This was a constant focus of the peace process. It was brought to bear on everything that was done in that context. It has enhanced the power asymmetry and the imbalance until now. The features of this alliance was accommodate Israeli priorities and demands, adopt their own diction and perspective. I was going to say fiction. Yes, most of it is fiction and perspectives. Always frame the relationship in terms of the Judeo-Christian traditionsremember-and shared values. So I keep asking my American friends, what shared values? The values of occupation, of enslavement of a people, of impunity, of oppressing a whole nation, of carrying out extrajudicial executions, of demolishing homes, of stealing other peoples lands, and so on. Are these the values you want to share with Israel? Is this the Judeo-Christian tradition? I dont know. I mean, really. To me, its very strange. Because automatically, the moment you find this fusion today, you are excluding Islamic, Buddhist, any other tradition that does not belong to this club. And to me, Islam is one of the most tolerant religions, because it doesnt deny the existence of the others. It builds on Judaism and Christianity, while Judaism and Christianity supposedly cancel each other out, dont they? Anyway. Of course, the other myth is that Israel is the only democracy in the region. You hear that all the time. This is part of this alliance. Even Theresa May talked about this when she criticized John Kerry for not vetoing the [U.N.] 2334 resolution on settlements. How dare you criticize the only democracy in the region and our best friend, our ally? And the Palestinians, of course, are the alien, the other, the fearful, the incomprehensible. And even the orientalist glasses, to quote Edward Said, the late Edward Said, have come out again. And of course, there is an automatic linkage between terrorism and Islam. And now, its becoming much more evident. Jason Greenblatt with Donald Trump. (Photo: Jason Greenblatt/Twitter) Never surprise Israel with any American statement, position, or document related to the peace process. This I know from experience, and they will admit it. The American team, they always coordinated with the Israelis first on any American position. They always cleared it ahead of time with the Israelis. And if you have the Greenblatt-Friedman Plan, also you should read it, it was called a policy paper for Trump. He was candidate Trump then and it became Trumps policy paper on Israel. You will see how toxic it has become. It was read by him as an AIPAC speech. Again, never allow or express any public censure or criticism of Israel. Thats why they reacted in such a hysterical manner. They waxed ballistic just for the mere fact that the U.S. abstained on settlements, when a few years earlier they had vetoed a resolution on settlements, which violate international law and so on. Therefore, theyre not used to accepting any kind of criticism or censure, let alone sanctions. Always use the positive approach with Israel. Incentives, rewards, advanced payments, inducements, and so on. When we started the talks, they immediately got the Zionism is Racism resolution nullified. You know that. And then they got the diplomatic recognition, trade agreements, and so on. Another thing, of courseincentivizing Israel, including Europe. I can give you many examples how Europe used this approach too. Conversely, you use pressure, threats, and blackmail on the Palestinians. Exploit the weakness of Palestine and augmenting Israeli power and control. Of course, this was the special contribution of AIPAC, ZOA, and others, the Council of Presidents [of Major American Jewish Organizations]. And drafting Congressional resolutions that always adopted punitive measures against the Palestinians especially if we joined organizations like the ICC [International Criminal Court] and IC3 [Internet Crime Complaint Center]. How dare you hold Israel accountable? Israel is above the law. Hence, the Palestinians are always on probation, on good behavior. We have to prove that we deserve our rights. We have to prove that we deserve human recognition. Its a test that we have to demonstrate that we are worthy, the test of merit. Alan Dershowitz at AIPAC March 26, 2017 Im sure youve read Dershowitzs horrible article posted on the Gatestone Institute website, in which he says, Palestinians must earn the two-state solution. And of course, he proceeded to give a fake version of history. I have news for him, the Palestinians dont think that the two-state solution is a fair or just solution. It was a major painful compromise by the Palestinians. [APPLAUSE] So its not our aspiration to give away 78 percent of our land. It is a compromise that we made in order to give our children a future and a life in freedom and dignity and to exercise our right to self-determination. Now, Israel, and probably the world, are not very keen on seeing it happen. Well, Ill get to that later. Now, always blame the Palestinians in the blame game. I can give you many examples from the Clinton Parameters, even when there was discussion in Camp David in 2000. I was there. We were told, you will not be blamed. Give it your best shot. And I remember Yasser Arafat told them, We are not ready. The talks have not progressed enough to have a summit in Camp David. Clayton Swisher is here. I dont know if you remember, right? He said, We are not ready. And both Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton said, give it your best shot. We wont blame you. What happened later? The whole mess of the generous offer. We were blamed when there was no offer. I said, Show me. Show me a concrete offer on the table. There were all these different groups discussing different issues in a fragmented way, but there was no generous offer that the Palestiniansand this myth gained a life of its own, actually. Now every time you hear an Israeli apologist, he or she will say, you see the Palestinians refused the generous offer. And we have to earn it. Always blame the Palestinians. We said that, again, the roadmap. Do you remember the roadmap, 2002-2003? Sharon placed 14 reservations on the roadmap that totally nullified and negated it. They came out and said, the Israelis accepted the roadmap. The Palestinians didnt. The Palestinians accepted the roadmap knowing that its not perfect or ideal. But we knew that Sharon was rejecting it. So the issue was that Sharon accepted it and not even a footnote about the 14 reservations. But the Palestinians didnt. I dont know where they get their version of history. Again, John Kerrys initiative on 2014. You remember when he tried this initiative. He tried to do more of the same thinking that he will get a different result, or thinking that he might get one. Anyway, he promised. He said that any party that scuttles or undermines or rejects or whatever the peace talks will be publicly blamed. So what happened? The Palestinians dutifully went to these negotiations knowing full well that we took a decision not to go, frankly speaking, because there were no terms of reference. There were no clear objectives. There was nothing to tell Israel to stop settlement activities, to respect signed agreements, to release prisoners and so on. And John Kerry said, try your best. He was given a verbal promise, an oral promise by the Israelis that they will minimize settlements, that they will release prisoners. What did they do? Immediately, they escalated settlements. They escalated violence. They shot a few people at checkpoints. And then they refused to release the last installment of prisoners. So where is the blame? Both sides. Theyre not ready. What? The Palestinian leadership lost its constituency for going to these negotiations when they werent assured of the substance and outcome. And the Israelis deliberately violated their commitments and obligations, and they werent blamed. There were some leaks here and there that the settlements were bad. In that context, I have to mention this. Its a very racist statement that makes me very angry. Abba Eban said this, The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It has Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, accompanied by Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Abba Eban, visits President Harry Truman during their visit to the states, 01/05/1951. (Photo: FRITZ COHEN) been used to bash the Palestinians and to feed these misconceptions and distortions forever. So every time you hear this, I think you have to reverse this. Its the Israelis that missed historic opportunities to make peace and totally destroyed the chances of peace. Were not on the defensive. We dont have to prove that we miss opportunities, because we never had one. Of course, the other terms, like the leitmotifs of our reality, have been shaped by the Israeli lobby. Like, Hamas rockets raining down on Israeli towns and villages. Have you heard this? And its repeated verbatim by everybody in Congress and outside Congress. Nobody asked how many did they kill, and nobody asked how many Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army. And nobody asked about the siege and the assault and so on. Its as if people in Gaza decided to wake up one day and manufactured these homemade pipes and threw them out of the blue because theyre terrorists by definition. Again, Palestinian terrorism, incitement, and violence. Now, you cannot mention Israeli settlements without finding a force equivalent with incitement. Palestinians incite. Palestinians incite to violence. Palestinians think that their prisoners are heroes, and they are terrorists. So you adopt the language of the Israelis that everybody whos a Palestinian is a terrorist. But since 1967, Israel has imprisoned more than 800,000 Palestinians, including myself and many others of my friends. And so I dont think there are 800,000 terrorists. People who did not acquiesce to the occupation or accept to have their spirit brokenthese are not terrorists. Israel has killed more than 75,000 Palestinians since 67. Who are the terrorists? Now again, there are new preconditions. The refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, thats our fault. Either we become Zionists or we are not fit for human company. Again, any criticism of Israel is conflated with anti-Semitism. Youve heard this before. So this is one way of censoring and silencing criticism. And the Palestinians are not a peace partner. We dont have a peace partner among the Palestinians. I cant tell you how many types of negotiations there were, needless negotiations from direct to indirect, to proximity talks, to bilateral, to multilateral, to long-distance talks, to exploratory talks. And at the end, we even had epistolary talks, exchanges of letters. Weve been talked out, frankly speaking. But it was a good peace process because Israel used it as a cover to create facts on the ground, to negate the very substance and to destroy the objective of the talks. So here we are. Now, while the process is ongoing, never allow any issue critical of Israel to be brought before the U.N. This is something ongoingagain, massive lobbying. I dont want to give you too many examples, but we dont have time. I know Ive run over my time. Should I stop? [AUDIENCE SAYS NO] Okay. So use the veto, and at the same time protect Israels impunity. Enable Israel but maintain Palestinian vulnerability. We shouldnt have access to international organizations or international law to protect our rights and our lands. But Israel has the full right to act outside the law. No sanctions or punitive measures from any party anywhere, no accountability and so on. And this generated a culture of entitlement, exceptionalism, preferential treatment and privilege in Israel which in itself justifies the subjugation, discrimination, violence, and total captivity of the Palestinian people, and especially the continued military assaults on Gaza. Palestinian lives in Gaza have been reduced to abstractions. They are numbers; theyre not human beings. The murder of civilians doesnt count. Its the fact that there were 70 soldiers who were killed, thats very important. But they [Palestinians] were being attacked, bombed from the air. Ninety-two families totally obliterated from the population register. It doesnt matter. And yet, you blame the victim because Hamas was using these people as human shields. Therefore, they have the right to kill them. Of course, the occupier is claiming self-defense. They are defending themselves against their own victims. Ive never heard this logic before in all history. Then, the structure and participants, the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation as you know, now its back again, the whole issue of the Jordanian option, the alternative homeland, the confederation, that its a Jordanian issue. When they said no Palestinians from the PLO and no Palestinians from Jerusalem, thats precisely because they didnt want a national address for the Palestinians, a localized address. Village Leagues, communities, and so on, but not the right to self-determination and not Jerusalem. Again, there was a division of labor. I will skip a few things. That the U.S. is in charge of the political process, but Europe and the Arabs are in charge of signing checks. So the political decisions are up to the U.S. Its a monopoly. The others have to work on nation building. Because you see, we have to prove that we deserve a state, even though it is a right enshrined in international lawthe right to self-determination. Again, proof of merit. Even then, for the U.S. to participate directly in the talks, it had to get Israels permission. They couldnt participate unless Israel invited them to participate or asked them to participate with their approval. So Israel positioned itself as a gatekeeper to the peace process. And the Europeans followed step. They always had to give them inducements and advance payments and rewards and so on to allow them to play a role. If you are the occupying power and you are the gatekeeper, what kind of peace process is this where you exclude others? Procedurally, the phased approach, conflict management, open-ended processyou can look at all these documents I gave you. And of course, the deal, we had to deal with administrative, technical, peripheral issues first. Postpone the real issues and get no guarantees on that. No mechanisms for arbitration, monitoring and verification, although all negotiations should have thoseeven though I still believe negotiations between occupying and occupied are illegal. They violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, by the way. And it has to be done between equal parties. But when you have a situation of occupation, where one party exercises total control over the others, any agreement will be illegal because it will be reached under duress and with undue influence and force. And then the whole issue of pocket and proceed. This is happening with things like the land swaps. There was never any agreement on the land swap. But somehow they decided that, yes, land swaps, because they want to keep the settlement blocs no matter what. All settlements are illegal, whether they are blocs or whether they are outposts or whether they are mobile homes or whatever. They are all illegal. So we never agreed to having settlement blocs as being legal or remaining. Now, they talk about it as a foregone conclusion, or that there will be land swaps. It was very difficult to accept the 67 boundaries. Now, we have to give away Jerusalem, the Jerusalem environment, Ariel, Gush Etzion, all this. So they pocket and proceed, including the issue of refugees, by the way. The process is a process for its own sake. Now, using prolongation and stalling, it is the Dennis Ross logic, I call it, where so long as theres a process, God is in his heaven, all is well with the world. Let the two parties speak. And then Israel can do whatever it wants on the ground, which is an endless process. It became an abstraction. It became a tool for Israeli power and expansionism and so on. And they cover for the occupation. So negotiations became an objective, not a tool to get somewhere. Now, we are back at the beginning, as I said. At one point, there was one point in which there was talk of 67 boundaries, two states. It started with George Bush and Clinton talking about two states. It wasnt, by the way, Obama who was bashed by Israel for mentioning 67. It was Clinton and George Bush. It was George Bush actually who talked about 67 and the two states. Youll be surprised. And then now, the cycle is completed. Were going back to all the issues of the functional approach, non-sovereign approach, gradual approach, and so on. With Greenblatt, I just want to mention quickly-there are two things I cannot skip. The fact that we are not a demographic problem for Israel, please do not accept this. [APPLAUSE] We are a nation with our rights, with our history, with our culture, and we abide by international law. I dont believe any other country in the world is allowed to discriminate against the people because it wants to maintain the ethnic or religious purity of its own entity at all. So we cannot be a demographic problem to scare the Israelis into giving us our little statelet or state minus, as they say. Now, they are busy superimposing Greater Israel on historical Palestine. What are the options if they destroyed and they are destroying the two-state solution? Is it the ongoing state of apartheid that exists? Of course, again, they waxed hysterical when people described them as being apartheid. Note what happened to Rima Khalaf. Because now, the U.N. is echoing the language of Israel at the behest of Netanyahu and Danny Danon, and all these people who formulate that language. If the situation will continue then it will run its course as an ongoing perpetual occupation, conflict, extremism. Or are we going to have a qualitative shift? Maybe we need to de-Zionize Israel rather than Zionize the Palestinians. I have to stop. Okay. I will talk later about what Greenblatt did. But I wouldnt hold my breath. Thank you very much. Its a pleasure. Thank you.

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May 12, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Poll: Over 40% Of Americans Back Sanctions on Israel For Crimes Against Palestinians – Mintpress News (blog)

The results of a recent poll show that a growing number of Americans approve the use of sanctions to punish Israel for its occupation of Palestine. This rising support could result in such measures being put into place, much to the displeasure of the U.S.-Israeli lobby. Protesters demonstrate against a state-sanctioned backlash against the movement for Palestinian human rights. New York City, June 9, 2016. (Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/ Sipa/AP) MINNEAPOLIS Anew survey conducted by polling firm Nielsen Scarborough has produced some interesting and perhaps unexpected results that are sure to cause worry among the U.S. powerful Israel lobby. The results showed that 40 percent of respondents support imposing sanctions or taking more serious action against Israels government for its continued construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land. Among Democrats who were polled, 56 percent supported sanctions against Tel Aviv. The survey, commissioned by professors Shibley Telhami and Stella Rouse at the University of Maryland, asked over 2,000 participants about their views on major foreign affairs issues, including Israels occupation of Palestine. In addition to covering opinions on possible sanctions targeting Israel, some of the polls other results indicate that opposition to the U.S. historic support for Israel is growing. For instance, the results showed that more than half of those polled feel that the U.S. should be entirely neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a position espoused by President Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, but rejected upon his assumption of the presidency. In addition, 57 percent of respondents told pollsters that they currently see the U.S. leaning significantly more towards Israel. The results also showed strong polarization between people identifying as Democrats or Independents and those identifying as Republicans, with Republicans more likely to back Israel and support the strengthening of U.S.-Israeli ties. But even Republicans who participated in the poll were wary of Israel entrenching its current apartheid practices in the long term. Similar polls that were recently conducted in Australia and Canada also indicated growing public support in the West for direct action to be taken against Israels government, including boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. The results of this latest poll are likely to hit home for Israels massive political lobby in the United States. A recently leaked report written by two powerful organizations within the U.S.-Israel lobby the Anti-Defamation League and the Reut Institute revealed internal concerns that the Israel lobby had failed to derail the growth of Palestine solidarity movements in the U.S. and elsewhere, despite significant spending that was intended to impair their growth. Israels government will also likely take notice, as it has waged a years-long battle against the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement around the world. If support for BDS policies continues to grow, Israel will likely share the same concerns as those of the U.S.-Israel lobby. The U.S. has long been Israels most ardent supporter since it was founded in the 1940s. But waning support for Israel among the U.S. populace could lead to a reduction in the amount of foreign aid the U.S. provides to Israel. Israel receives $9.8 million a day from the U.S. in military aid alone, a staggering number that only represents a portion of taxpayer money that is regularly given to Israel. If the surge in public support for sanctions against Israel continues to grow in the U.S. and elsewhere, a drastic change in Israels domestic policy is a likely outcome. See the complete survey results below: http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/american_attitudes_on_israel-palestine.pdf

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May 9, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Why not a probe of ‘Israel-gate’? – Personal Liberty Digest

This article was originally published on Consortiumnews.com on April 20, 2017. The other day, I asked a longtime Democratic Party insider who is working on the Russia-gate investigation which country interfered more in U.S. politics, Russia or Israel. Without a moments hesitation, he replied, Israel, of course. Which underscores my concern about the hysteria raging across Official Washington about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign: There is no proportionality applied to the question of foreign interference in U.S. politics. If there were, we would have a far more substantive investigation of Israel-gate. The problem is that if anyone mentions the truth about Israels clout, the person is immediately smeared as anti-Semitic and targeted by Israels extraordinarily sophisticated lobby and its many media/political allies for vilification and marginalization. So, the open secret of Israeli influence is studiously ignored, even as presidential candidates prostrate themselves before the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both appeared before AIPAC in 2016, with Clinton promising to take the U.S.-Israeli relationship to the next level whatever that meant and Trump vowing not to pander and then pandering like crazy. Congress is no different. It has given Israels controversial Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a record-tying three invitations to address joint sessions of Congress (matching the number of times British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared). We then witnessed the Republicans and Democrats competing to see how often their members could bounce up and down and who could cheer Netanyahu the loudest, even when the Israeli prime minister was instructing the Congress to follow his position on Iran rather than President Obamas. Israeli officials and AIPAC also coordinate their strategies to maximize political influence, which is derived in large part by who gets the lobbys largesse and who doesnt. On the rare occasion when members of Congress step out of line and take a stand that offends Israeli leaders they can expect a well-funded opponent in their next race, a tactic that dates back decades. Well-respected members, such as Rep. Paul Findley and Sen. Charles Percy (both Republicans from Illinois), were early victims of the Israeli lobbys wrath when they opened channels of communication with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the cause of seeking peace. Findley was targeted and defeated in 1982; Percy in 1984. Findley recounted his experience in a 1985 book, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israels Lobby, in which Findley called the lobby the 700-pound gorilla in Washington. The book was harshly criticized in a The New York Times review by Adam Clymer, who called it an angry, one-sided book that seems often to be little more than a stringing together of stray incidents. Since then, there have been fewer and fewer members of Congress or other American politicians who have dared to speak out, judging that when it comes to the Israeli lobby discretion is the better part of valor. Today, many U.S. pols grovel before the Israeli government seeking a sign of favor from Prime Minister Netanyahu, almost like Medieval kings courting the blessings of the Pope at the Vatican. During the 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama, whom Netanyahu viewed with suspicion, traveled to Israel to demonstrate sympathy for Israelis within rocket-range of Gaza while steering clear of showing much empathy for the Palestinians. In 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney tried to exploit the tense Obama-Netanyahu relationship by stopping in Israel to win a tacit endorsement from Netanyahu. The 2016 campaign was no exception with both Clinton and Trump stressing their love of Israel in their appearances before AIPAC. Money, of course, has become the lifeblood of American politics and American supporters of Israel have been particularly strategic in how they have exploited that reality. One of Israels most devoted advocates, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, has poured millions of dollars in dark money into political candidates and groups that support Israels interests. Adelson, who has advocated dropping a nuclear bomb inside Iran to coerce its government, is a Trump favorite having donated a record $5 million to Trumps inaugural celebration. Of course, many Israel-connected political donations are much smaller but no less influential. A quarter century ago, I was told how an aide to a Democratic foreign policy chairman, who faced a surprisingly tough race after redistricting, turned to the head of AIPAC for help and, almost overnight, donations were pouring in from all over the country. The chairman was most thankful. Israels involvement in U.S. politics also can be covert. For instance, the evidence is now overwhelming that the Israeli government of right-wing Prime Minister Menachem Begin played a key role in helping Ronald Reagans campaign in 1980 strike a deal with Iran to frustrate President Jimmy Carters efforts to free 52 American hostages before Election Day. Begin despised Carter for the Camp David Accords that forced Israel to give back the Sinai to Egypt. Begin also believed that Carter was too sympathetic to the Palestinians and if he won a second term would conspire with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to impose a two-state solution on Israel. Begins contempt for Carter was not even a secret. In a 1991 book, The Last Option, senior Israeli intelligence and foreign policy official David Kimche explained Begins motive for dreading Carters reelection. Kimche said Israeli officials had gotten wind of collusion between Carter and Sadat to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Kimche continued, This plan prepared behind Israels back and without her knowledge must rank as a unique attempt in United Statess diplomatic history of short-changing a friend and ally by deceit and manipulation. But Begin recognized that the scheme required Carter winning a second term in 1980 when, Kimche wrote, he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby. In a 1992 memoir, Profits of War, former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe also noted that Begin and other Likud leaders held Carter in contempt. Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David, Ben-Menashe wrote. As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israels back. So, in order to buy time for Israel to change the facts on the ground by moving Jewish settlers into the West Bank, Begin felt Carters reelection had to be prevented. A different president also presumably would give Israel a freer hand to deal with problems on its northern border with Lebanon. Ben-Menashe was among a couple of dozen government officials and intelligence operatives who described how Reagans campaign, mostly through future CIA Director William Casey and past CIA Director George H.W. Bush, struck a deal in 1980 with senior Iranians who got promises of arms via Israel in exchange for keeping the hostages through the election and thus humiliating Carter. (The hostages were finally released on Jan. 20, 1981, after Reagan was sworn in as President.) Though the evidence of the so-called October Surprise deal is far stronger than the current case for believing that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign, Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. media have refused to accept it, deeming it a conspiracy theory. One of the reasons for the hostility directed against the 1980 case was the link to Israel, which did not want its hand in manipulating the election of a U.S. president to become an accepted part of American history. So, for instance, the Israeli government went to great lengths to discredit Ben-Menashe after he began to speak with reporters and to give testimony to the U.S. Congress. When I was a Newsweek correspondent and first interviewed Ben-Menashe in 1990, the Israeli government initially insisted that he was an impostor, that he had no connection to Israeli intelligence. However, when I obtained documentary evidence of Ben-Menashes work for a military intelligence unit, the Israelis admitted that they had lied but then insisted that he was just a low-level translator, a claim that was further contradicted by other documents showing that he had traveled widely around the world on missions to obtain weapons for the Israel-to-Iran arms pipeline. Nevertheless, the Israeli government along with sympathetic American reporters and members of the U.S. Congress managed to shut down any serious investigation into the 1980 operation, which was, in effect, the prequel to Reagans Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal of 1984-86. Thus, U.S. history was miswritten. [For more details, see Robert Parrys Americas Stolen Narrative; Secrecy & Privilege; and Trick or Treason.] Looking back over the history of U.S.-Israeli relations, it is clear that Israel exercised significant influence over U.S. presidents since its founding in 1948, but the rise of Israels right-wing Likud Party in the 1970s led by former Jewish terrorists Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir marked a time when Israel shed any inhibitions about interfering directly in U.S. politics. Much as Begin and Shamir engaged in terror attacks on British officials and Palestinian civilians during Israels founding era, the Likudniks who held power in 1980 believed that the Zionist cause trumped normal restraints on their actions. In other words, the ends justified the means. In the 1980s, Israel also mounted spying operations aimed at the U.S. government, including those of intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard, who fed highly sensitive documents to Israel and after being caught and spending almost three decades in prison was paroled and welcomed as a hero inside Israel. But it is true that foreign interference in U.S. politics is as old as the American Republic. In the 1790s, French agents working with the Jeffersonians tried to rally Americans behind Frances cause in its conflict with Great Britain. In part to frustrate the French operation, the Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts. In the Twentieth Century, Great Britain undertook covert influence operations to ensure U.S. support in its conflicts with Germany, while German agents unsuccessfully sought the opposite. So, the attempts by erstwhile allies and sometimes adversaries to move U.S. foreign policy in one direction or another is nothing new, and the U.S. government engages in similar operations in countries all over the world, both overtly and covertly. It was the CIAs job for decades to use propaganda and dirty tricks to ensure that pro-U.S. politicians were elected or put in power in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, pretty much everywhere the U.S. government perceived some interest. After the U.S. intelligence scandals of the 1970s, however, some of that responsibility was passed to other organizations, such as the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). NED, USAID and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) finance activists, journalists and other operatives to undermine political leaders who are deemed to be obstacles to U.S. foreign policy desires. In particular, NED has been at the center of efforts to flip elections to U.S.-backed candidates, such as in Nicaragua in 1990, or to sponsor color revolutions, which typically organize around some color as the symbol for mass demonstrations. Ukraine on Russias border has been the target of two such operations, the Orange Revolution in 2004, which helped install anti-Russian President Viktor Yushchenko, and the Maidan ouster of elected pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. NED president Carl Gershman, a neoconservative who has run NED since its founding in 1983, openly declared that Ukraine was the biggest prize in September 2013 just months before the Maidan protests as well as calling it an important step toward ousting Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2016, Gershman called directly for regime change in Russia. Another key issue related to Israeli influence inside the United States is the role of the neocons, a political movement that emerged in the 1970s as a number of hawkish Democrats migrated to the Republican Party as a home for more aggressive policies to protect Israel and take on the Soviet Union and Arab states. In some European circles, the neocons are described as Israels American agents, which may somewhat overstate the direct linkage between Israel and the neocons although a central tenet of neocon thinking is that there must be no daylight between the U.S. and Israel. The neocons say U.S. politicians must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel even if that means the Americans sidling up to the Israelis rather than any movement the other way. Since the mid-1990s, American neocons have worked closely with Benjamin Netanyahu. Several prominent neocons (including former Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, Meyrav Wurmser and Robert Loewenberg) advised Netanyahus 1996 campaign and urged a new strategy for securing the realm. Essentially, the idea was to replace negotiations with the Palestinians and Arab states with regime change for governments that were viewed as troublesome to Israel, including Iraq and Syria. By 1998, the Project for the New American Century (led by neocons William Kristol and Robert Kagan) was pressuring President Bill Clinton to invade Iraq, a plan that was finally put in motion in 2003 under President George W. Bush. But the follow-on plans to go after Syria and Iran were delayed because the Iraq War turned into a bloody mess, killing some 4,500 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Bush could not turn to phase two until near the end of his presidency and then was frustrated by a U.S. intelligence estimate concluding that Iran was not working on a nuclear bomb (which was to be the pretext for a bombing campaign). Bush also could pursue regime change in Syria only as a proxy effort of subversion, rather than a full-scale U.S. invasion. President Barack Obama escalated the Syrian proxy war in 2011 with the support of Israel and its strange-bedfellow allies in Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni-ruled Gulf States, which hated Syrias government because it was allied with Shiite-ruled Iran and Sunnis and Shiites have been enemies since the Seventh Century. Israel insists that the U.S. take the Sunni side, even if that puts the U.S. in bed with Al Qaeda. But Obama dragged his heels on a larger U.S. military intervention in Syria and angered Netanyahu further by negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program rather than bomb-bomb-bombing Iran. Obamas perceived half-hearted commitment to Israeli interests explained Romneys campaign 2012 trip to seek Netanyahus blessings. Even after winning a second term, Obama sought to appease Netanyahu by undertaking a three-day trip to Israel in 2013 to show his love. Still, in 2015, when Obama pressed ahead with the Iran nuclear agreement, Netanyahu went over the Presidents head directly to Congress where he was warmly received, although the Israeli prime minister ultimately failed to sink the Iran deal. In Campaign 2016, both Clinton and Trump wore their love for Israel on their sleeves, Clinton promising to take the relationship to the next level (a phrase that young couples often use when deciding to go from heavy petting to intercourse). Trump reminded AIPAC that he had a Jewish grandchild and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Both also bristled with hatred toward Iran, repeating the popular falsehood that Iran is the principal source of terrorism when it is Saudi Arabia and other Sunni sheikdoms that have been the financial and military supporters of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, the terror groups most threatening to Europe and the United States. By contrast to Israels long history of playing games with U.S. politics, the Russian government stands accused of trying to undermine the U.S. political process recently by hacking into emails of the Democratic National Committee revealing the DNCs improper opposition to Sen. Bernie Sanderss campaign and of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta disclosing the contents of Clintons paid speeches to Wall Street and pay-to-play aspects of the Clinton Foundation and sharing that information with the American people via WikiLeaks. Although WikiLeaks denies getting the two batches of emails from the Russians, the U.S. intelligence community says it has high confidence in its conclusions about Russian meddling and the mainstream U.S. media treats the allegations as flat-fact. The U.S. intelligence community also has accused the Russian government of raising doubts in the minds of Americans about their political system by having RT, the Russian-sponsored news network, hold debates for third-party candidates (who were excluded from the two-party Republican-Democratic debates) and by having RT report on protests such as Occupy Wall Street and issues such as fracking. The major U.S. news media and Congress seem to agree that the only remaining question is whether evidence can be adduced showing that the Trump campaign colluded in this Russian operation. For that purpose, a number of people associated with the Trump campaign are to be hauled before Congress and made to testify on whether or not they are Russian agents. Meanwhile, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other establishment-approved outlets are working with major technology companies on how to marginalize independent news sources and to purge Russian propaganda (often conflated with fake news) from the Internet. It seems that no extreme is too extreme to protect the American people from the insidious Russians and their Russia-gate schemes to sow doubt about the U.S. political process. But God forbid if anyone were to suggest an investigation of Israel-gate. Robert Parry .

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May 5, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Why not a probe of Israel-gate? – Mondoweiss

This article first appeared at Consortium News 10 days ago, but it has been passed around a lot, and Consortium News gave us permission to republish. Ed. The other day, I asked a longtime Democratic Party insider who is working on the Russia-gate investigation which country interfered more in U.S. politics, Russia or Israel. Without a moments hesitation, he replied, Israel, of course. Which underscores my concern about the hysteria raging across Official Washington about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign: There is no proportionality applied to the question of foreign interference in U.S. politics. If there were, we would have a far more substantive investigation of Israel-gate. The problem is that if anyone mentions the truth about Israels clout, the person is immediately smeared as anti-Semitic and targeted by Israels extraordinarily sophisticated lobby and its many media/political allies for vilification and marginalization. So, the open secret of Israeli influence is studiously ignored, even as presidential candidates prostrate themselves before the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both appeared before AIPAC in 2016, with Clinton promising to take the U.S.-Israeli relationship to the next level whatever that meant and Trump vowing not to pander and then pandering like crazy. Congress is no different. It has given Israels controversial Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a record-tying three invitations to address joint sessions of Congress (matching the number of times British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared). We then witnessed the Republicans and Democrats competing to see how often their members could bounce up and down and who could cheer Netanyahu the loudest, even when the Israeli prime minister was instructing the Congress to follow his position on Iran rather than President Obamas. Israeli officials and AIPAC also coordinate their strategies to maximize political influence, which is derived in large part by who gets the lobbys largesse and who doesnt. On the rare occasion when members of Congress step out of line and take a stand that offends Israeli leaders they can expect a well-funded opponent in their next race, a tactic that dates back decades. Well-respected members, such as Rep. Paul Findley and Sen. Charles Percy (both Republicans from Illinois), were early victims of the Israeli lobbys wrath when they opened channels of communication with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the cause of seeking peace. Findley was targeted and defeated in 1982; Percy in 1984. Findley recounted his experience in a 1985 book, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israels Lobby, in which Findley called the lobby the 700-pound gorilla in Washington. The book was harshly criticized in a New York Times review by Adam Clymer, who called it an angry, one-sided book that seems often to be little more than a stringing together of stray incidents. Enforced Silence Since then, there have been fewer and fewer members of Congress or other American politicians who have dared to speak out, judging that when it comes to the Israeli lobby discretion is the better part of valor. Today, many U.S. pols grovel before the Israeli government seeking a sign of favor from Prime Minister Netanyahu, almost like Medieval kings courting the blessings of the Pope at the Vatican. During the 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama, whom Netanyahu viewed with suspicion, traveled to Israel to demonstrate sympathy for Israelis within rocket-range of Gaza while steering clear of showing much empathy for the Palestinians. In 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney tried to exploit the tense Obama-Netanyahu relationship by stopping in Israel to win a tacit endorsement from Netanyahu. The 2016 campaign was no exception with both Clinton and Trump stressing their love of Israel in their appearances before AIPAC. Money, of course, has become the lifeblood of American politics and American supporters of Israel have been particularly strategic in how they have exploited that reality. One of Israels most devoted advocates, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, has poured millions of dollars in dark money into political candidates and groups that support Israels interests. Adelson, who has advocated dropping a nuclear bomb inside Iran to coerce its government, is a Trump favorite having donated a record $5 million to Trumps inaugural celebration. Of course, many Israel-connected political donations are much smaller but no less influential. A quarter century ago, I was told how an aide to a Democratic foreign policy chairman, who faced a surprisingly tough race after redistricting, turned to the head of AIPAC for help and, almost overnight, donations were pouring in from all over the country. The chairman was most thankful. The October Surprise Mystery Israels involvement in U.S. politics also can be covert. For instance, the evidence is now overwhelming that the Israeli government of right-wing Prime Minister Menachem Begin played a key role in helping Ronald Reagans campaign in 1980 strike a deal with Iran to frustrate President Jimmy Carters efforts to free 52 American hostages before Election Day. Begin despised Carter for the Camp David Accords that forced Israel to give back the Sinai to Egypt. Begin also believed that Carter was too sympathetic to the Palestinians and if he won a second term would conspire with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to impose a two-state solution on Israel. Begins contempt for Carter was not even a secret. In a 1991 book, The Last Option, senior Israeli intelligence and foreign policy official David Kimche explained Begins motive for dreading Carters reelection. Kimche said Israeli officials had gotten wind of collusion between Carter and Sadat to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Kimche continued, This plan prepared behind Israels back and without her knowledge must rank as a unique attempt in United Statess diplomatic history of short-changing a friend and ally by deceit and manipulation. But Begin recognized that the scheme required Carter winning a second term in 1980 when, Kimche wrote, he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby. In a 1992 memoir, Profits of War, former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe also noted that Begin and other Likud leaders held Carter in contempt. Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David, Ben-Menashe wrote. As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israels back. So, in order to buy time for Israel to change the facts on the ground by moving Jewish settlers into the West Bank, Begin felt Carters reelection had to be prevented. A different president also presumably would give Israel a freer hand to deal with problems on its northern border with Lebanon. Ben-Menashe was among a couple of dozen government officials and intelligence operatives who described how Reagans campaign, mostly through future CIA Director William Casey and past CIA Director George H.W. Bush, struck a deal in 1980 with senior Iranians who got promises of arms via Israel in exchange for keeping the hostages through the election and thus humiliating Carter. (The hostages were finally released on Jan. 20, 1981, after Reagan was sworn in as President.) Discrediting History Though the evidence of the so-called October Surprise deal is far stronger than the current case for believing that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign, Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. media have refused to accept it, deeming it a conspiracy theory. One of the reasons for the hostility directed against the 1980 case was the link to Israel, which did not want its hand in manipulating the election of a U.S. president to become an accepted part of American history. So, for instance, the Israeli government went to great lengths to discredit Ben-Menashe after he began to speak with reporters and to give testimony to the U.S. Congress. When I was a Newsweek correspondent and first interviewed Ben-Menashe in 1990, the Israeli government initially insisted that he was an impostor, that he had no connection to Israeli intelligence. However, when I obtained documentary evidence of Ben-Menashes work for a military intelligence unit, the Israelis admitted that they had lied but then insisted that he was just a low-level translator, a claim that was further contradicted by other documents showing that he had traveled widely around the world on missions to obtain weapons for the Israel-to-Iran arms pipeline. Nevertheless, the Israeli government along with sympathetic American reporters and members of the U.S. Congress managed to shut down any serious investigation into the 1980 operation, which was, in effect, the prequel to Reagans Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal of 1984-86. Thus, U.S. history was miswritten. [For more details, see Robert Parrys Americas Stolen Narrative; Secrecy & Privilege; and Trick or Treason.] Looking back over the history of U.S.-Israeli relations, it is clear that Israel exercised significant influence over U.S. presidents since its founding in 1948, but the rise of Israels right-wing Likud Party in the 1970s led by former Jewish terrorists Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir marked a time when Israel shed any inhibitions about interfering directly in U.S. politics. Much as Begin and Shamir engaged in terror attacks on British officials and Palestinian civilians during Israels founding era, the Likudniks who held power in 1980 believed that the Zionist cause trumped normal restraints on their actions. In other words, the ends justified the means. In the 1980s, Israel also mounted spying operations aimed at the U.S. government, including those of intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard, who fed highly sensitive documents to Israel and after being caught and spending almost three decades in prison was paroled and welcomed as a hero inside Israel. A History of Interference But it is true that foreign interference in U.S. politics is as old as the American Republic. In the 1790s, French agents working with the Jeffersonians tried to rally Americans behind Frances cause in its conflict with Great Britain. In part to frustrate the French operation, the Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts. In the Twentieth Century, Great Britain undertook covert influence operations to ensure U.S. support in its conflicts with Germany, while German agents unsuccessfully sought the opposite. So, the attempts by erstwhile allies and sometimes adversaries to move U.S. foreign policy in one direction or another is nothing new, and the U.S. government engages in similar operations in countries all over the world, both overtly and covertly. It was the CIAs job for decades to use propaganda and dirty tricks to ensure that pro-U.S. politicians were elected or put in power in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, pretty much everywhere the U.S. government perceived some interest. After the U.S. intelligence scandals of the 1970s, however, some of that responsibility was passed to other organizations, such as the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). NED, USAID and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) finance activists, journalists and other operatives to undermine political leaders who are deemed to be obstacles to U.S. foreign policy desires. In particular, NED has been at the center of efforts to flip elections to U.S.-backed candidates, such as in Nicaragua in 1990, or to sponsor color revolutions, which typically organize around some color as the symbol for mass demonstrations. Ukraine on Russias border has been the target of two such operations, the Orange Revolution in 2004, which helped install anti-Russian President Viktor Yushchenko, and the Maidan ouster of elected pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. NED president Carl Gershman, a neoconservative who has run NED since its founding in 1983, openly declared that Ukraine was the biggest prize in September 2013 just months before the Maidan protests as well as calling it an important step toward ousting Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2016, Gershman called directly for regime change in Russia. The Neoconservatives Another key issue related to Israeli influence inside the United States is the role of the neocons, a political movement that emerged in the 1970s as a number of hawkish Democrats migrated to the Republican Party as a home for more aggressive policies to protect Israel and take on the Soviet Union and Arab states. In some European circles, the neocons are described as Israels American agents, which may somewhat overstate the direct linkage between Israel and the neocons although a central tenet of neocon thinking is that there must be no daylight between the U.S. and Israel. The neocons say U.S. politicians must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel even if that means the Americans sidling up to the Israelis rather than any movement the other way. Since the mid-1990s, American neocons have worked closely with Benjamin Netanyahu. Several prominent neocons (including former Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, Meyrav Wurmser and Robert Loewenberg) advised Netanyahus 1996 campaign and urged a new strategy for securing the realm. Essentially, the idea was to replace negotiations with the Palestinians and Arab states with regime change for governments that were viewed as troublesome to Israel, including Iraq and Syria. By 1998, the Project for the New American Century (led by neocons William Kristol and Robert Kagan) was pressuring President Bill Clinton to invade Iraq, a plan that was finally put in motion in 2003 under President George W. Bush. But the follow-on plans to go after Syria and Iran were delayed because the Iraq War turned into a bloody mess, killing some 4,500 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Bush could not turn to phase two until near the end of his presidency and then was frustrated by a U.S. intelligence estimate concluding that Iran was not working on a nuclear bomb (which was to be the pretext for a bombing campaign). Bush also could pursue regime change in Syria only as a proxy effort of subversion, rather than a full-scale U.S. invasion. President Barack Obama escalated the Syrian proxy war in 2011 with the support of Israel and its strange-bedfellow allies in Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni-ruled Gulf States, which hated Syrias government because it was allied with Shiite-ruled Iran and Sunnis and Shiites have been enemies since the Seventh Century. Israel insists that the U.S. take the Sunni side, even if that puts the U.S. in bed with Al Qaeda. But Obama dragged his heels on a larger U.S. military intervention in Syria and angered Netanyahu further by negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program rather than bomb-bomb-bombing Iran. Showing the Love Obamas perceived half-hearted commitment to Israeli interests explained Romneys campaign 2012 trip to seek Netanyahus blessings. Even after winning a second term, Obama sought to appease Netanyahu by undertaking a three-day trip to Israel in 2013 to show his love. Still, in 2015, when Obama pressed ahead with the Iran nuclear agreement, Netanyahu went over the Presidents head directly to Congress where he was warmly received, although the Israeli prime minister ultimately failed to sink the Iran deal. In Campaign 2016, both Clinton and Trump wore their love for Israel on their sleeves, Clinton promising to take the relationship to the next level (a phrase that young couples often use when deciding to go from heavy petting to intercourse). Trump reminded AIPAC that he had a Jewish grandchild and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Both also bristled with hatred toward Iran, repeating the popular falsehood that Iran is the principal source of terrorism when it is Saudi Arabia and other Sunni sheikdoms that have been the financial and military supporters of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, the terror groups most threatening to Europe and the United States. By contrast to Israels long history of playing games with U.S. politics, the Russian government stands accused of trying to undermine the U.S. political process recently by hacking into emails of the Democratic National Committee revealing the DNCs improper opposition to Sen. Bernie Sanderss campaign and of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta disclosing the contents of Clintons paid speeches to Wall Street and pay-to-play aspects of the Clinton Foundation and sharing that information with the American people via WikiLeaks. Although WikiLeaks denies getting the two batches of emails from the Russians, the U.S. intelligence community says it has high confidence in its conclusions about Russian meddling and the mainstream U.S. media treats the allegations as flat-fact. The U.S. intelligence community also has accused the Russian government of raising doubts in the minds of Americans about their political system by having RT, the Russian-sponsored news network, hold debates for third-party candidates (who were excluded from the two-party Republican-Democratic debates) and by having RT report on protests such as Occupy Wall Street and issues such as fracking. The major U.S. news media and Congress seem to agree that the only remaining question is whether evidence can be adduced showing that the Trump campaign colluded in this Russian operation. For that purpose, a number of people associated with the Trump campaign are to be hauled before Congress and made to testify on whether or not they are Russian agents. Meanwhile, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other establishment-approved outlets are working with major technology companies on how to marginalize independent news sources and to purge Russian propaganda (often conflated with fake news) from the Internet. It seems that no extreme is too extreme to protect the American people from the insidious Russians and their Russia-gate schemes to sow doubt about the U.S. political process. But God forbid if anyone were to suggest an investigation of Israel-gate.

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May 1, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Indian Lobbying and its Influence in US Decision Making: Post-Cold War- Review – Free Press Journal

By Jatin Desai|Apr 29, 2017 12:55 pm Book: Indian Lobbying and its Influence in US Decision Making: Post-Cold War Author: Ashok Sharma Publisher: Sage Price: Rs. 895 Lobbying is a reality of modern world. Lobbying does take place from micro to macro level. Lobbying is done by various interest groups to influence law makers, policy makers. More and more interest groups lobby in the US as it has emerged as the supreme power. With the collapse USSR, US remained the only super power though China cannot be discounted. US is influencing global politics and so naturally various groups including nations wants to influence US policies to their benefit. India and Indians are also active in influencing US policies through lobbying. The recent book Indian Lobbying and its Influence in US Decision Making: Post-Cold War by Ashok Sharma is a valuable addition on the debate. The book throws light on the history of lobbying in US. The author says lobbying is an intrinsic part of American life. The Jewish lobby is considered to be the most powerful pressure groups. They often lobby on behalf of Israel. Jews population is 2.7 per cent of the US population. Indian lobbying is also yielding results. The Indian lobbying is of recent origin. The Indian-Americans and Indian government is playing an active role in influencing USs foreign and economic policies. Indians became more active in US after the end of cold-war. Earlier, India was much engaged with USSR. During 1980s, only 5 per cent of American legislators were interested in India. But, the scenario is different now. Be Democratic Party or Republican Party, US now cannot afford to neglect India. US need India even for their compulsions. Indian community in US was initially not much politically active. In comparison, people from other countries were much active. They were raising their voices. Indian-Americans became active in the 1980s and more pro-active in the early 1990s with the opening of Indian economy. The political activism of Indian-Americans resulted in the formation of Indian Caucus in the US Congress in 1993 and in the US Senate in 2004. The Indian Diaspora became more and more influential during these periods because of rise in their socio-economic conditions. Similarly, Indian government also decided to hire US lobbying firms to make their voice heard. Lobbying of Pakistan to influence US foreign policy also prompted Indian government and Indian Diaspora to play more pro-active role. India and Pakistan are actively lobbying with US law makers to influence USs foreign policy on South Asia. Indian lobbyist played an important role especially in aftermath of nuclear testing of May 1998 and Kargil war of 1999. It was not easy as sentiment in US and other European countries was against nuclear testing. India was clearly opposed to Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Then Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee wrote to then US President Bill Clinton on May 12 1998 saying deteriorating security and nuclear environment (with oblique references to China and Pakistan) as the impetus for Indias conducting the nuclear tests. Even in such an atmosphere, India and US came much closer. OnMay 13President Clinton announced imposing of economic and military sanctions mandated by Section 102 of the Arms Export Controls Act. US imposed the same sanctions to Pakistan onMay 30. Democrats in US are always more concerned about nuclear proliferation.Statements of former President Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state, helped India gets support of Democrats and Republicans. Pakistans armed incursion in the Kargil in 1999 helped India in a big way. US lifted most of the remaining sanctions. Indian lobbyist and government were visibly active. It is believed that Clinton and Pakistans PM Nawaz Sharifs agreement, which put an end to the conflict, was the result of Indian lobbyists. The Washington Post reported that this pro-India tilt in Washington was made possible in no small measure because of the political activism and the lobbying efforts of Indian-Americans. The lobbying by Indian-American community is yielding results. India has become a close strategic ally of US. There are strategic experts who believe India has become junior partner of US and it is against Indias policy of Non-aligned. In the process, Indias relation with Israel has also become strong. Diplomatic ties with Israel were established in 1992 when P V Narasimha Rao was the PM. Since then the relations between two countries are growing. The Israeli lobby also helped India in influencing the US. Being a close ally should not mean India should abandon Non-aligned Movement (NAM). India needs to give confidence to the aspiring nations by rejuvenating NAM. The book authored by Ashok Sharma truly gives fascinating details of Indians lobbying in US. Previous Article Google CEO Sundar Pichai made nearly $200 million in 2016 Next Article Cant link Dinakarans bribery case with Election Commission: Subramanian Swamy

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April 29, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Defeat for Israel lobby as Ken Livingstone beats Labour expulsion – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Asa Winstanley Lobby Watch 6 April 2017 Ken Livingstone outside his Labour Party disciplinary hearing in London. Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone on Tuesday had his suspension from the Labour Party extended for bringing the party into disrepute last year. But Israel lobby elements within the party had pushed hard for Livingstone, long a supporter of Palestinian rights, to be expelled outright. Livingstone vowed in a statement to fight the suspension. Todays Labour Party panel extended my suspension for another year because of my political views, not because I have done anything to harm the Labour Party, he said. Livingstone is a left-wing veteran of Labour, and for decades led anti-racism efforts in local government in London. The new suspension is an attempt to protect Israel from criticism, while simultaneously weakening the position of the pro-Palestinian left in the party, a statement by Jewish members of the Labour Party said. It is the verdict, not Ken Livingstone, that has brought the Labour Party into disrepute, they asserted. In April last year, Livingstone was asked in a BBC radio interview if a Labour lawmakers comments about Hitlers actions being legal had been anti-Semitic. He replied by referring to the 1933 Haavara agreement between the Nazi government and the Zionist Federation of Germany as Hitler supporting Zionism by transferring Jews to Palestine. After initially being suspended for anti-Semitism, the charges against Livingstone were changed to bringing the party into disrepute. Now he is accused of having revised the history of the Holocaust. His suspension was the peak of a witch hunt manufactured by right-wing Labour lawmakers and their allies in the Israel lobby. The moral panic sought to portray the party under new pro-Palestinian leader Jeremy Corbyn as a hive of anti-Semitism. But the media obsession with the anti-Semitism crisis in Labour was highly exaggerated and, in some cases, outright fabricated. Livingstones historically accurate comment about Zionism was met with a storm of attacks by right-wing Labour lawmakers and anti-Palestinian activists. At the time, these forces were seeking to undermine the Labour leader in the run-up to May 2016 local elections. The manufactured crisis led to dozens of suspensions of Labour Party activists, usually for little more than an out-of-context social media posting from years earlier. One veteran Labour activist in south London was suspended for 10 weeks for merely agreeing that Livingstones comment on the radio was largely accurate. Livingstone described the three-day Labour disciplinary hearing this week as like something out of North Korea. The three-person panel of the National Constitutional Committee questioned Livingstone, as well as witnesses against him. They insisted on keeping the hearing closed to the public, despite Livingstones request it be open. He had vowed to fight any expulsion in a legal action. In an LBC London radio interview on Wednesday, Livingstone said that the only reason he had not been expelled was because the partys lawyer must have told them they didnt have a chance if it went to court. Livingstone was represented in the hearing by Michael Mansfield, the high-profile human rights lawyer known for overturning miscarriages of justice. Labour Friends of Israel reacted with fury on Tuesday night, saying it was disgraceful that Jeremy Corbyns Labour Party had allowed Livingstone to remain a member and had decided his behavior is acceptable. Corbyn himself reacted by criticizing Livingstones accurate historical comments as causing deep offense and hurt to the Jewish community, and saying Livingstone could face further disciplinary action. This was not enough for Labour Friends of Israel though, which retorted on Wednesday that Corbyns statement had failed to mention anti-Semitism, and demanded he call on Labours ruling body to review the inappropriate sentence delivered last night. Labour Friends of Israel was shown by an undercover Al Jazeera documentary in January to be working in close financial and logistical coordination with the Israeli embassy. Its leader, Labour lawmaker Joan Ryan, was also shown fabricating an accusation of anti-Semitism against a party member who challenged her groups policies with respect to Israeli settlements. The Jewish Labour Movement, which was also shown in the documentary to be working closely with the Israeli embassy, has led much of the campaign to boot Livingstone out of the party. Its chair, Jeremy Newmark, has vowed to take the matter to the partys conference in September. Newmark has been a leading voice calling for Livingstone to be expelled. He was one of the witnesses at the hearing against Livingstone, reportedly submitting a 170-page dossier. A veteran Israel lobby activist, Newmark has a history of lying, with a tribunal judge in 2013 calling his evidence in a failed case about supposed institutional anti-Semitism in the University and College Union untrue and preposterous. Newmarks campaign against unions that dare express solidarity with Palestine continued. He told an Israeli newspaper in 2012 that he was liaising closely with the government of Israel in a similar lawsuit against public sector union Unison. Newmarks close connection to the Israeli embassy begs the question of whether they are working together on the campaign to oust Livingstone from Labour. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Livingstone’s comments regarding the 1933 Ha’avara Agreement were taken from Mr. Lenni Brenner’s book, “Zionism in the Age of Dictators”. Mr. Brenner, by the way, was born a Jew but subsequently became an atheist as well as an anti-Zionist. Criticism of Israel has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with being in any way anti-Semitic. Livingstone has never said one word of which I am aware which qualifies as anti-Semitic. He was simply reciting an historical truth, one embarrassing to defenders of Israel’s excesses. And he did this at a time when the press and the Tony Blair acolytes were feverishly creating a months-long McCarthyite storm of lies about anti-Semitism in the party. That effort – very much including The Independent and The Guardian – is what is truly shameful and wrong about what happened. Politics is a dirty business, and the actual story of the re-creation of Israel has warehouses full of dirty deals and unpleasantries. Again, here is the hard evidence for Livingstone’s original comment about Zionists and Nazis: https://www.numisbids.com/sale… Had Ken Livingstone suffered expulsion, he would have had the option of pursuing the matter in court. He has indicated a preference for doing so. The decision to continue his suspension for another year (probably to be renewed annually in the manner of an Israeli detention order) will not be subject to outside litigation, and that makes it a more effective tool of intimidation. He would likely have prevailed in a suit against the party over expulsion. But now he can never play a role in Labour circles and has no opportunity to clear his name. Others are to take note, that criticism of Israel in any but the most superficial and passing manner will not be tolerated. As for the charge of bringing the party into disrepute, that’s a form of wording that can prove as flexible as the purpose driving the charge. No one can define what it means. But it’s clear that in opting for such a formula while quietly dropping a direct accusation of antisemitism there’s an unspoken acknowledgement that Zionist arguments cannot be upheld if certain historical facts and ideological affinities are addressed. They don’t want a discussion. As someone who has long defended Jeremy Corbyn, I’ve finally begun to concede that he’s simply not up to the job. He’s a man in a dirty street fight who refuses to throw a punch. He could have scotched the antisemitism campaign long ago if he’d stood firm on this and really fought back. You can’t spend your entire term of office responding with futile concessions in the hopes that the people trying to destroy you will somehow be won over. The more ground you surrender, the more power you concede to the Right. Your post has given me perspective, Tom, thanks. As a passionate campaigner for, and defender of, Jeremy, I’ve agonised over this for over 24 hours now. I feel he’s bent at the knee and walked right into the Blairite trap with yesterday’s statement. I’m struggling to see how this can be recovered now. Freedom of speech and value of truth are, arguably, our most important civil liberties placed at risk by Jeremy, who should have, instead, showed solidarity with Ken and directly dispelled the wrongfully enforced stigma. Instead now, Ken is in uncertain chaos and the subliminal message we’re left with is “use freedom of speech to speak against Israel injustice or quote truthful historic facts and you’ll be ruined”. He should not have been even suspended considering his 50 year devotion to the Labour party with his passion and incredible hard work for the party. His views have ever changed which goes to prove he is an exceptionally honest man with a real commitment to truth and justice. it is a wonder why the Labour right israel supporters cannot stomach the truth and act as cry babies. It seems the Israeli lobby in Britain is getting pretty strong day by day. I can no longer support Corbyn nor the labour party. They have sold out to the apartheid, genocidal right.

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April 7, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Retired Reps. Jim Moran and Nick Rahall: What it Takes To Beat the Israel Lobby in Congress – Antiwar.com (blog)

Delivered to The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference March 24, 2017 at the National Press Club The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference was solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). This is a rush transcript. Grant Smith: Everybody, we need to start. So please take your seats. While you do, were going to roll a very short clip of an interesting panel that took place. Everyone has been talking about J Street. Well, this is a J Street panel. Were just going to roll a very short clip about a former fundraiser speaking on J Street, Stephanie Schriock [now president of Emilys List], and her experience in obtaining startup capital for political campaigns. Can you cue [Beholden to Israel and AIPAC Even before Running for Office], Nart [Shekim]? Janet McMahon: Hi. For those of you who may be just joining us on our livestream video, Im Janet McMahon, managing editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. One of our main focuses is keeping track of members of Congress and the pro-Israel PAC contributions so many of them receive. I think Grant Smith made it clear this morning that these pro-Israel members of Congress increasingly do not reflect the views of the majority of Americans. Today Im very happy to introduce two Democratic former members of Congress who do reflect those views. Fortunately, I dont have to introduce them to each other, since they have been colleagues and friends for nearly a quarter of a century. We thought it would be fascinating and informative to hear a conversation between them about their experiences as congressmen and how they continued to win re-election for decades despite the opposition of the Israel lobby. Jim Moran, on my far right, represented Virginias 8th congressional district, just across the river from here, from 1991 until he retired in 2015. He was the mayor of Alexandria, VA from 1985 to 1990, when he defeated incumbent Stanford Parris. As a congressman, Jim was a staunch critic of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem an issue which never seems to die and of the major role the Israel lobby played in pushing for the disastrous US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Of Irish decent, Jim is the son of professional football player James Moran, Sr. and the brother of Brian Moran, the former chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. He is currently a professor of practice at Virginia Techs School of Public and International Affairs. Nick Rahall, to my immediate right, is the grandson of Lebanese immigrants and the longest serving ever member of Congress from West Virginia, whose 3rd and 4th districts he represented from 1977 to 2015. He was one of only eight House members to vote against the authorization for use of military force against Iraq in 2002 that preceded the US invasion. He has repeatedly expressed concern about Americas relationship with Israel stating, Israel cant continue to occupy, humiliate, and destroy the dreams and spirits of the Palestinian people and continue to call itself a democratic state. When Nick spoke at our conference two years ago, he regaled us with his story about going on an AIPAC-sponsored trip to Israel in 1995, and taking with him to Gaza several AIPAC board members who wanted to meet Yasser Arafat. They were just stumbling over themselves to get their pictures taken with him, he recalled. Seriously though, I think this is proof that Nick is willing to talk to anyone in order to advance the cause of peace and justice. Unfortunately today Congress seems to have few members who follow that lead. So please join me in welcoming Jim Moran and Nick Rahall today. Lets get the conversation going by starting at the beginning, how the two of you got elected in the first place. In the short video that you just saw, we heard a political strategist and campaign fund-raiser explain that, in her experience, funding from three groups was essential labor, pro-choice, and the Jewish community. But before approaching the Jewish community, Stephanie Schriock said a potential candidate had to meet with the lead AIPAC person in his or her state who would make it clear that the candidate needed to draw up a paper on Israel even before hiring a campaign manager or policy director. Thats how we raise money, she said. So to raise money from the Jewish community, a major contributor to Democratic candidates, one needs the AIPAC seal of approval. Jim, you defeated a five-term incumbent who criticized your opposition to the first Gulf War by saying, the only three people I know who support Saddam Hussains position are Muammar Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, and Jim Moran. Jim Moran: He left out Nick. Janet McMahon: He didnt know him. Nick, youre an Arab American who got elected at the age of 27 to become the youngest member of Congress. You went on to be re-elected 17 times. How did you each do it? Jim Moran: Go ahead, buddy. Nick Rahall: Well, in my case, unlike my dear friend Jim Moran, I had never held political office before my first run for Congress in 1976. I was unheard of except in my local hometown where I had been active in local issues, civic clubs, chamber of commerce, etc., etc. My predecessor had served for 18 years. Much to everybodys surprise, at literally the last second of the filing period that year, [he] dropped out of the congressional race to run for governor. I had previously filed for the congressional race, again, as an unknown, with several other unknowns, the main political figures in the district not believing that the incumbent was going to drop out to run for governor. Well, when he dropped out I decided and I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow money at that time on my own, and used those borrowings to run for Congress. At that time it cost me I think $150,000 a drop in the bucket these days. There was another well-funded Democrat running as well. Four of us really were running for a seat, and nobody knew anything about either of us. I proceeded to run a very aggressive campaign. I had the backing of our senior senator at that time, although not publicly, in a primary. But I used his name quite a bit, Sen. Robert Byrd. I had worked for him previously, which was my only experience in the political arena. With an aggressive media campaign, I was able to secure the nomination. My predecessor lost his race for governor. He came back against me, trying to lead the people to believe he was the incumbent in the general election on a write-in campaign. The press caught on to it very quickly and reminded the people hes not the incumbent. He gave up the seat. We have a nice young guy running by my name, Nick Rahall. I had pretty good press endorsements. Much to my surprise, I had Democratic establishment support, and I had my own money. So AIPAC was not a factor. There are very few synagogues in my district, in southern West Virginia a very rural area of our country where coal is the main industry. So running an aggressive campaign, I got elected that first term basically without any outside groups. I did not even have labor endorsement. They were for another candidate that was an official of the United Mine Workers union in my primary campaign. So I had no major group endorsements not labor, not NRA, not anybody. Then becoming the incumbent, my predecessor was still running against me in my full first term, again trying to mislead the public into believing he was the current congressman. Re-elect your congressman. Ken Hechler was his name. He came at me one-on-one in the primary two years later in 78. Again, I had to borrow some additional money. I had no major endorsements, and I ran. Actually, Im sorry, on my first reelection I did finally get labor endorsement. That was a big boost in defeating my predecessor, actually a second time. He then came out against me a third time 10 years later, but I was well-entrenched then and defeated him a third time. But really AIPAC never was a factor in my early elections. I was a homegrown boy, so to speak, and had gotten the committees I wanted in the Congress. Then-Speaker Tip ONeill, my first Speaker, was very kind to me, knowing I was a newcomer. In those days, a newcomer [wouldnt] sit on the back of the bench and keep quiet until youve been here 30 years. Tip ONeill was very good about giving newcomers their committee of preference, and I used that to my advantage to continue to be reelected year after year. Jim Moran: So when that comment was made by Stan Parris, a Washington Post reporter called me in an unguarded moment. (Of course no staffer or anything [was] around and not having the erudition, not to mention the intellect of Professor Mearsheimer) So they asked me, you know, he says, how do you feel? Mr. Parris said in connection to Muammar Qaddafi and Saddam Hussain. I said, Oh, Christ, Id like to punch that fatuous jerk on the nose, is how I feel, which the Post printed in its entirety. That probably set me back a little, because the district in Northern Virginia is one of the best educated and most politically engaged in the country. But it didnt cause any kind of mortal political wound. Basically in the first election I just worked, because I wasnt going to let myself lose. So Id get up at 4:00 in the morning and Id go down to Prince William County. Down at Prince William County in 95, if any of you is familiar with the area because of the traffic, they have buses that can use the HOV lanes. But in order to get a parking space, let alone a place on the bus, you have to get there by 5:00 a.m. So Id go down there and Id knock on the car doors. I have to (Well, Im not supposed to say car. Im supposed to say automobile doors, because it betrays my Massachusetts accent, but I dont care now that Im not running.) So I knock on the car doors and theyd roll [down] the window. I didnt wake them up, obviously, because they have to get there at 5:00 in order for them to get on the bus that left at 6:00. So Id wake them up. They turn and they give me a digital salute invariably for the first couple of weeks. But after I kept doing it, eventually they reached for the handout. It was the same. Id stand at a corner holding the sign, and the same initial reaction. But after a while they realized, gosh, this guy means it. If hes willing to work this hard, then maybe hell work this hard for me. So eventually that worked, but it was just through sheer determination plus something else. I think Nick and I have in common I know actually what we have in common. We like people and we enjoy running. We go into a big room, Oh, this is fun. Lets go and meet so and so. Even people that didnt agree with us, you know, wed say, How are you doing? and so on. Thats [like] the Kennedy clan, and theres a lot of folks who certainly Tip was like that. Politics should be about liking people and enjoying doing something meaningful for them when you get the opportunity. Unfortunately, its more about money now, frankly. But before the process was so corrupted, it really was just about who wants to work the hardest and who enjoys meeting people the most. So I think thats how I got elected the first time. Janet McMahon: Then both of you kept getting reelected Then you did have some opposition from the lobby as the years went by, I gather. So how did you keep getting reelected? Jim Moran: Well, I can speak for myself. I did engage in some herculean efforts to make some of my races challenging. [LAUGHTER] I dont need to go into all of those things that I said and did but, yeah, we had some close races. One of them in particular was at the time of the Iraq War. I was asked at a forum, actually by a Jewish woman who asked, Why arent more Jews involved in opposing the war? I said, well, its similar to my criticism of Catholics. War is wrong and, yet, all we seem to hear from the Pope is how wrong abortion is. Somehow they overlooked some of the other wrongs that are taking place. If the Catholic Church came out in opposition to the war (at that time 80 percent of the American people were in favor of going into Iraq, I think it would make a difference. And I said similarly, if the leaders of the Jewish community particularly the pro-Israeli community had a different attitude and were willing to get more engaged against the war, I dont think wed have a war. So that was reported in a way that was the most critical you can imagine. The conservative rabbi in my district took it and ran with it and put it on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and made a big name for himself. The headline in the Post was Moran Blames Jews for the War in Iraq. But of course, as Professor Mearsheimer mentioned in his terrific address, the Israeli lobby had an instrumental role. It wasnt the only reason by any means that we went into Iraq, but it was a contributing factor. I might as well get into some of the policy issues. It was interesting, in Tony Blairs book, he mentioned going down before England chose to side with the Bush administration in the Iraq War that he went down to the Crawford ranch to meet with Bush, and it was Netanyahu who met him. The executive director of AIPAC in 2003, in an interview with a New York newspaper, took credit that his greatest accomplishment was getting the authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. So the Israeli lobby did have a contributing influence to us going to war. There are other reasons or things I can cite too to support that, but my suggesting that particularly upset the Washington Post. Im sure I could have been far more articulate in explaining my position. But it stung because I think many people did realize this is something that Israel wanted us to do, and certainly Netanyahu did. Sharon understood what George H.W. Bush understood, that this may not in the long run be beneficial to Israel given the Shia-Sunni conflict and the ramifications that it caused. Sharon felt that Iran should have been where the focus was, but Bibi was pretty adamant that he wanted us to go into a war in Iraq. Anyway, thats a digression from the original question. But Im just trying to get into a little of the policy here instead of the personal reflection on our political career. But the point is that we had some tough races. I never lost a race, and Nick never should have lost a race until the Koch brothers went after him in the last race and finally beat him with the help of the Israeli lobby, frankly, who always gave him a hard time. Nick is one of the people who Ive always looked up to because its hard not to admire people who show courage and conviction. Nick always has, and was one of my heroes in the Congress frankly. Nick Rahall: Thank you, Jim. Youre very kind with your words. As I mentioned earlier, Tip ONeill was my first Speaker. You may recall his famous saying was, all politics is local. I really took that to heart during my entire time in the US Congress. I always felt my duties were first to the constituents that honored me and humbled me by sending me to Washington. I always was back home every weekend and every congressional break. Working the grassroots continued from my first days of standing outside the coal mine gates and meeting every coal miner as he or she went to work at 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. and when theyd get off the shift at 3:00 p.m or 4:00 p.m.; at factory gates when we had large numbers of people working in both of those operations, which is not true today, but in those days we did. I always was close to the ground back home. I got to be known as the personal representative of my district. I took to heart the fact that we in the House are the closest elected federal officials for our people. Nobodys ever appointed to the House of Representatives. We have to always be elected regardless of any vacancy where we served. Unlike senators, who can be appointed. So I really worked the grassroots throughout my career. My first running amok of the lobby, so to speak, was I guess in 1982. Tip ONeill came to me first at the height of the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon. When I saw what was happening there, I said to a local reporter back home which hit press throughout my district that Israel was acting as a monster; that they were out of control; that Sharon had gone beyond the initial aim of that Israeli campaign that year in ridding southern Lebanon of the PLO. He was wanting to capture Beirut, and thats when I really started to have run-ins with the lobby. But Tip ONeill came to me, even after I had said those comments. He said, Nick, I want you to lead a congressional delegation to the Middle East and to Beirut, and Ill give you a plane. You know, Im only in my third term. I thought about it not very long, of course. But I said, yes, Mr. Speaker, Ill do it. At that time he had a daughter-in-law who was of Lebanese ancestry and he was quite concerned about what was happening in Lebanon. So I got six other members of Congress. We went to six countries in the Middle East. We happened to be in Beirut on July 31, 1982, the height of the Israeli bombardment. I had arranged through contacts to meet with Chairman [Yasser] Arafat in the bowels of Beirut at the height of the bombing. It took about four hours of rendezvousing around Beirut, from about midnight to 4:00 a.m. We had to lose our State Department security, because certainly they couldnt know where we were headed and we had to really be secretive about it. At least I thought that was the way it was going to be, because Id met with Chairman Arafat two years before in a very private meeting that never hit the press. But this time we came out of that meeting. The members of Congress with me were Mary Rose Oakar; Pete McCloskey; Mervyn Dymally, the late congressman from California. Elliott Levitas, a Jewish member, was with us on the CODEL but he did not go to the Arafat meeting. He made it clear he could not do that. So those are basically the four of us that came out of that meeting about 4:00 a.m. and, lo and behold, the worldwide press is there. Arafat had made sure that it was going to get to the press, which was okay, nothing wrong with that. But during that meeting wed gotten Arafat to sign the paper saying that he recognized Israels right to exist, that he renounced violence, and that he recognized all U.N. resolutions relevant to the Palestinian question. Something that really, we were just a decade early, but thats something that came to fruition in Oslo. But in 1982 we were way ahead of our time, and everybody in the press said, Youre just being snookered by Arafat. He didnt really say or do that, even though we showed a signed document where he did say that. But of course nobody wanted to believe him at that time. The next day we had meetings scheduled with the prime minister of Israel and with the defense minister, [Ariel] Sharon, at that time. [Menachem] Begin was the prime minister at the time. Well, they heard about our Arafat meeting, of course. They canceled the meetings with us. Elliott Levitas, the Jewish member of Congress from Georgia on our CODEL sent word back to Begin and Sharon. Listen, Im a Jewish member of this congressional delegation. I did not attend the Arafat meeting. But Im going to tell you, youre going to continue your previously scheduled meetings with this CODEL I dont care who they met with yesterday or youre going to have trouble from this Jewish member of the Congress when I get back to Washington. Begin and Sharon both rescheduled us. We got in to see them. [APPLAUSE] Having met with Arafat just the day before, it got into a shouting match. Sharons map in his office showed no division and no borderlines between Israel and Jordan or Israel and Lebanon. It was Eretz Israel. The Greater Israel was his version of the land at that time. We questioned about the use of American-made cluster bombs, [which were] supposed to be used only for defensive purposes. [We asked] why are you dropping them in southern Lebanon? Sharon picked up a piece of paper and said, Heres what we do with agreements. We dont care what country its with. In times of war, this is what we do with agreements. He picked up that paper and just ripped it apart. We just looked around at each other, just shuddering at what he was saying. So it was a very contentious and angry meeting. We went on and we met with other heads of state. We met with the president of Syria on this trip, the president in Egypt, and the king in Jordan. So it was quite a whirlwind trip we had that summer of 1982. But while in Beirut, I might add also, as I said, we met with Arafat at the height of the Israeli bombardment. It was the next day that Ronald Reagan, to his credit, got on the phone to Menachem Begin and said, call Ariel Sharon off. Enough is enough. Hes going too far into Beirut now. Thats when the bombing ceased. Thats what we need more of these days in the president of the United States, is the courage that Ronald Reagan had. [APPLAUSE] Im not defending every action of Ronald Reagan of course, but during that particular moment he did get on the phone and called to tell the Israelis to stop it. So back home, getting to your question Im sorry for the diversion. But back home, did I take flak? The lobby was enraged. They got a gentleman from New York, Ben Rosenthal, to introduce a resolution in Congress to impeach me for treason and high crimes. I went to Tip almost crying and saying, Mr. Speaker, Im sorry. What should I do about this? He said, Nick, are you crazy? You dont have anything to apologize [for]. Dont worry about this resolution. Its not going anywhere. So then he put my mind at ease. He wanted to hear all about the trip, which I relayed to him a lot more than I have here. He was very pleased with the actions of our CODEL. But back home they were on my side, quite honestly. When I used the argument that, hey, Ill talk with anybody; Id rather talk than fight; communication does not mean capitulation of your views it worked back home. The polls showed that the people agreed with my CODEL. They agreed with what I had said. They agreed that we should be more objective on our policies in the Middle East. They agreed on a homeland for the Palestinians and a homeland for the Israelis, as I said back in those days, before the two-state solution was ever in popular vogue. My votes against foreign aid, for example, it all went so well back home. I think the lobby saw that and they never really came after me until about a decade later, when they thought all of this would subside. It wasnt major, not like they came against Jim Moran. Yes, they found a Jewish member of the Reagan White House, I believe it was. He came down to West Virginia, bought a farm and claimed he was a West Virginian, and ran against me with AIPAC money. But again it was not the AIPAC money to the degree that they put up against Jim Moran. Again, I think its because they saw me as a member of Congress of Arab descent, saying, Ah, hes just speaking because of his ancestry, let him go. That may have been something in their thought processes. But then I think the biggest thing was because of the local rapport and the local support again, all politics is local that I had back home that allowed me to survive those early challenges of AIPAC. Janet McMahon: I think Im going to intersperse questions from the audience as they come up. Nick Rahall: Sure. Janet McMahon: So heres a good one that follows right on what youre saying. Can both of you describe your interactions with the other side of the aisle, including those Israel-firsters and those you find more agreement with, such as Ron Paul? So was there more bipartisanship? Was there more working together? Or how has that evolved over the years, or deteriorated? Jim Moran: Well, with Ron Paul, his philosophy is basically that of isolationism. So he has opposed American intervention militarily. But something that I think the public might be interested in is that after votes, members will go to an elevator that is off the floor on the Republican side. Its only members that are allowed so you can talk freely. I dont think its bugged. Theres no microwave ovens or anything in it. [LAUGHTER] So its interesting how often on two issues. The primary one that were referring to is on Israeli-Palestinian-related issues, but it also oftentimes happens in gun issues. Members will say, Hey, that was a good amendment; Im proud of you for voting the way you did. Then you look at them because you know that they oftentimes spoke against you and certainly voted against you. I said, Well, thanks a lot for your support, not. Theyll say, Well, I couldnt be with you obviously. Id be defeated. But you are right, of course. A comment was made earlier that people are not voting with the views of the vast majority of Americans on some issues. Oftentimes theyre not voting consistent with their own views. But theres a political reality that they see. There are a lot of members who know what the consequences would be and are not willing to face those consequences. Thats why I single out Nick who would be the first one to take to the floor and let it rip, but he was always informed. Dennis Kucinich was another one who spoke from his heart with a lot of courage. There are a few others. But frankly, when you say the other side of the aisle, this issue is not really because of certain developments, and I think theres some credit to the Obama administration certainly Senator [John] Kerry and people like Keith Ellison and so on that theres actually a very substantial shift in views toward the Israeli-Palestinian issue between Republicans and Democrats now. But in terms of the voting, the AIPAC has at least as much influence within the Democratic caucus as the Republican caucus. So when you say on the other side of the aisle, it happens that theres maybe half a dozen or, well, I guess its close to a dozen now, who will speak out. They tend to be Democrats, but its not partisan in terms of this issue, generally speaking. Nick Rahall: Let me just add to what Jim has said. I totally agree with what he had said. There is a great deal more opposition privately in the Congress to US policy in the Middle East than is publicly stated. Members will come up to me, as Im sure they did to Jim, after many of these one-sided resolutions wed vote upon that blamed everything on the Palestinians and say in the cloak room again, like Jim is saying Nick, I had to [hold my nose gesture] when I voted, [Theyd] hold their nose and vote the way they did, but they had to vote the way they did. The real truth of why they voted the way they did its easier. Its an easier path to follow for so many members of Congress. Theyre not hearing from their constituency on the issue. Its not a big issue back home. It is, if not already, a possible good campaign financing vote to help them raise money without having to put up with the anger if they vote the other way, which is much more of a repercussion, severe repercussion, against them of having to answer phone calls, having to answer letters that the lobby may generate from their district, but more than likely its going to be from other parts of the country. So members of Congress are so often as well, its kind of a Pavlovian reflex. When they see something come up in the Middle East, theyre going to jump out there to try to out-AIPAC AIPAC. They dont want to be hassled and have to put up with what AIPACs going to direct. They know whats going to come their way if they dont do a letter. They dont want to be accused of doing a letter that AIPAC wrote for them. So they jump out and write their own letter that actually ends up to out-AIPACing AIPAC in order to get ahead of the curve and try to beat themselves on the chest and say what they did for Israel, especially during the campaign or in preparation for a campaign which were always doing in the House. Thats a never ending process. The money is a big factor, theres no question about it. I think one of the ways that is most effective these days in working around it is and I think there is progress being made. Witness the 80 votes earlier this year on the UN resolution settlement question, most of which were Democratic votes. But you had minority leader [Nancy] Pelosi in that bunch. You had Jan Schakowsky from Illinois in the 80 no votes. The resolution, and I think everybody recalls it, it was disapproving our actions in the UN, Obamas actions in the UN [abstaining] on settlements. There were 80 no votes. Yesterdays vote against David Friedman as ambassador to Israel, 52 to 46, unprecedented. The most number of no votes for any ambassador, not just to Israel, I think has ever gotten in the Congress of the United States. So thats an indication. [APPLAUSE] Yeah. So what you need to do is look at those 80 votes earlier this year and look at those 46 votes yesterday in the Senate. Thank them. Write them a letter. Email them. Let them know that their vote is appreciated by somebody out there. So look at those two lists and other votes that come up in which you note courageous actions from members. Urge them to go to the Middle East at any opportunity. If you know groups who can help send them there you have to get Ethics Committee approval these days, of course, but it can be done. Urge your member of Congress to go visit. See the facts on the ground. Theres one other individual, by the way, going back to my previous description of my trip to the Middle East, one other important individual who was on that CODEL with me, who came back with his eyes opened, was David Bonior from Michigan. He came back and rose in the leadership at the House. He kept saying its because of that CODEL to the Middle East in 1982, which I led, that his eyes were opened as to what was happening in the Middle East. So youve got to get members of Congress over there. Not just on AIPAC trips. Not one-sided trips. But get them over there to see the reality on the ground in Palestinian territory. Janet McMahon: So one thing you mentioned was that AIPAC often generates letters and responses from all over the country, not just from ones own congressional district. How can people talk to the congressperson from their own district and make a difference, from the constituents in one district? Or does it have to be How can constituents from a given district support their congressman? Is that sufficient, or would it have to be a national effort where people from everywhere are calling and saying thank you? How can we build on that? Jim Moran: Forget the national effort, really. For the most part, unless you have a lot of money and are willing to contribute to their campaign, people dont care that much about how somebody feels that they dont have to answer to within their constituency in the House. Its the same case in the Senate, but there are different broader constituencies, of course, in the Senate. Its your own member of Congress. The reality is, and I know that Nick will agree, there is virtually no downside in voting for Israels policy, whatever it may be. In this context, were talking about the Israeli lobbys policy which includes more than AIPAC, of course. Theres no downside for voting with them, generally speaking. I mean you may tick off two or three people who youll hear from. But theres a whole lot of downside if you stand up to them, because theyre well-organized within every congressional district. Theyre generous. Theyre well-informed. Theyre politically engaged. Thats not a bad thing, because this is not a random sample of people off the street that we have in this room. The best way if you oppose AIPACs power and influence and even tactics, the best thing is to understand why they are so successful. I have to share with you, it bugs me no end to go see some of my friends sitting around at a coffee shop drinking good strong coffee and complaining about something that just happened. So many of them will only talk within their comfort zone, only talk with people they agree with. They dont get involved locally. They dont even know who their school board member or their county board member are. Sometimes they dont even know who their member of Congress is. Theyve got lots of opinions, but theyre useless in terms of the political process unless you get engaged, particularly with people who disagree with you. So the best approach to dealing with the influence of the Israeli lobby is to understand why it is so powerful, to organize, to contribute. It doesnt have to be a whole lot of money. To know your member of Congress, to get your kid to intern, to reach out to your neighbors. I dont want to get too clichish, but its up to everyone individually and then collectively. People need to be informed. They need to have their eyes opened. Thats what happened with me. Initially Tom Davis, who was then a supervisor at Fairfax County for the Mason district, and Al Wynn, who was a county attorney in Prince Georges County, and David Clarke, who had just been elected to the [DC] City Council, and I was a vice mayor in Alexandria, we were contacted back in 1982 by the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington they were actually based in Montgomery County [MD] to go to Israel. Oh, that sounds kind of fun. They said, you know, youll enjoy meeting the people. How did they know that I would be elected mayor and then to the Congress; Al Wynn would be elected to the Congress; Tom Davis would become chairman of the board of supervisors and be elected to the Congress; and David Clarke became president of the DC City Council? Because they were watching. They were engaged. They understood how this political system works. We all went. I had come with an open mind. Gosh, I went into Yad Vashem. I was struck and I stayed there. I delayed the whole bus. I couldnt get it out of my mind and so on, and I became a firm supporter of Israel, not knowing anything else. That was my paradigm. In fact, back in the very beginning when I was first elected, there was a vote on the $10 billion loan [guarantees] that shouldnt be used for settlements, and I just went along with it. It was a wrong vote. It was a horrible vote. I cant believe I voted that way. I didnt know any better. There was a young Jewish activist who came to me, and he was all upset. He said, This is so wrong. I said, Really? Youre Jewish? He says, Im a humanitarian. This is wrong, let me tell you why I got to thinking. Then I talked to Saba Shami, who we both know, and who made his way into the campaign. I started thinking and reading more and watching the votes and realizing that the people who had the most courage of conscience were invariably voting in the minority on this. But if you asked them why they voted, it wasnt because of politics or campaign contributions. They would explain exactly why they voted, and it was the most thoughtful response, as I mentioned last night. Those are the people I wanted to identify with because lifes too short to just follow the herd. [APPLAUSE] Then there was a guy by the name of Danny Abraham. He sold Slim-Fast owned Slim-Fast. Ironically, he sold it to Tom & Jerrys ice cream Ben & Jerrys, excuse me, go figure. [LAUGHTER] But Danny Abraham is at the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation. He had this woman, Sara Ehrman, who had worked for AIPAC, and she was very close to Hillary. In fact, shes the one who convinced Hillary to go down to Arkansas when Hillary wasnt sure: Do I want to go with this guy or do I want to follow my Wellesley classmates? Anyway, she convinced her to go down to Arkansas. The rest is history. But Sara started talking with me. Danny Abraham brought me to the West Bank to talk to Yasser Arafat. I asked Arafat at the time you have to put this in a historical context, this was right after Rabin had been assassinated I said, I heard that you cried; that they couldnt talk to you, you were so upset when Yitzhak Rabin had been assassinated. Why? He said, Yitzhak was the only Jew who ever treated me like I was a man. Thats fascinating. So a lot of this is a struggle for dignity and being recognized. Anyways, one thing led to another and eventually you form your views. But it goes back to the need to open peoples eyes. When you open their eyes, sometimes their heart opens up too and they do the right thing. The fact is that the Jewish community in the United States realizes that this is a true democracy. If you get sufficiently engaged, it will serve your purposes. But I also want to say something, I think, thats very important. If this issue is going to turn in the direction of justice, and you cant have peace without justice, but if it is going to turn, the arc of history is going to turn as Barack Obama would say toward justice, a lot of it is going to be because young Jewish men and women who are on campuses and who are reading and who understand the importance of this democratic process, and are of the same ilk that disproportionally turned around the civil rights struggle in the South. They were the ones that came down from New England and the northeastern states and so on, and many of them lost their lives. They have to be engaged, too. And they will be engaged as long as sufficient information is out there, as long as people know the facts on the ground and have the courage of their convictions to share that information, and understand that basically most people are good. When they know the reality of a situation, theyre going to do the right thing and then the Congress will follow. [APPLAUSE] Janet McMahon: You want to add anything to that, Nick? I mean youve said that you think the Israel lobby is there are many lobbies and many special interests. Nick Rahall: Let me just say one thing to follow up on what Jim has said about the young people and getting them involved. That is so crucial. Im going to say something here that may be heresy and some are going to boo probably when I mention the name, because I know theyve been described as AIPAC lite and other descriptions. But a group in town that has been very effective at involving the young people and getting them to see members of Congress and, I think, provide a great deal of cover for members, including these two votes I mentioned earlier, a group in town that I think is worth reaching out to in trying to get across the divide is J Street. I think they are a growing organization. Theyre involving a lot of young active people across this nation. Theyre causing a stir in the Democratic Party. You saw, for example, this year the first time Ive ever seen in a presidential debate the issue of Israel and Palestine come up like it did and be debated. They can get into members of Congress office, and thats important. So whatever coalition building you can do, there might not be a hundred percent agreement on not a lot but a few issues. But I think there is a common goal. Its important to stress upon members of Congress, especially the newer members of Congress, that AIPAC does not speak for the Israeli people. They speak for the right-wing Likud government. A lot of newer members of Congress dont quite distinguish that; whereas, J Street Let me just tell you some of their positions. Im sure you probably know it. They supported the Iran nuclear deal. They opposed David Friedman as US ambassador [to Israel]. They opposed the Trump anti-immigration policies, including the ban on Muslims, civil liberties, and increased defense spending at the expense of domestic programs. J Street opposed the Israeli settlement expansion and supported the Obama administrations decision to abstain from UN Resolution 2334. Thats that 80-vote I referred to earlier. They opposed a 2015 amendment to the US trade promotion bill that would have protected Israeli settlements from the BDS movement. They have acknowledged the painful side of Israels creation, which was a displacement of the Palestinian people. So I think there is a ground there for a reach out and an approach that says, lets do this together and lets go to Congress together. I think members of Congress will respond when they see Jewish- and Arab- [Americans] working together instead of hurling insults each way. We all know the American people are yearning for that to happen in our political environment. Were not there yet. Were further back, I think, than when Jim and I were in the Congress. But thats what, I think, would strike a responsive chord if we want to expand beyond just this group, is what Im saying, and beyond just Arab groups working on behalf of a two-state solution, for example. J Street supports that, and I think thats what weve got to get back to. So I throw that out. Its something that I think should be explored to try to enhance our mutual goals. [APPLAUSE] Janet McMahon: Heres another question from the audience: Im the son of an Irish mother and an Arab father. Im from the Deep South originally, so the two of you are as good as it gets. [APPLAUSE] Would either of you consider moving to my district in Dallas, Texas and running against Sam Johnson? [LAUGHTER] Jim Moran: Whats the district? We may be interested. Whats the district? Janet McMahon: I dont know. Go out there and track this person down. Well, I think I Jim Moran: That was a rhetorical question, I assume. Janet McMahon: I dont know. I doubt it. So Id like to thank, again, Nick Rahall and Jim Moran for being with us today. [APPLAUSE] Nick Rahall: Thank you, Janet. Thank you. Thank you. Jim Moran: Could I just give a little shout out here? Shai Tamari, come in here. Shais in the front row here. He shaved his hair since he last worked for me. Shai was my foreign policy person. Shai used to be a member of the Israel Defense Forces. He informed, in large part, my view, because you need to know where people are coming from whose views differ from yours. That ability to empathize was extraordinarily powerful in terms of my understanding of why this issue was so important and worth taking the tough votes on. Its people like Shai Tamari who are going to, as I say, bend the arc of history in the right direction. So thank you, Shai, for all you did for me. [Applause] Janet McMahon: I also wanted to thank Jim and Nick for their service to our country for so many decades, not only for being here today. [APPLAUSE] Nick Rahall: Thank you. Jim Moran: Its our honor.

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April 6, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Hanan Ashrawi: The Israel Lobby and the ‘Peace Process’ From a Palestinian Perspective – Antiwar.com (blog)

Delivered to The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference March 24, 2017 at the National Press Club The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference was solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). This is a rush transcript. Delinda Hanley: Im Delinda Hanley, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs news editor and executive director of the American Educational Trust. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi has broken through the glass ceiling that can prevent women around the world from reaching the top. She was the first woman to be elected a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian [sic] Liberation Organization in 2009. She served as the official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East Peace Process from 1991 to 1993 and participated in the 1991-1992 Madrid Peace Conference. In 1993, Dr. Ashrawi founded the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights, PICCR, to investigate Israeli and Palestinian human rights violations recording her experiences in This Side of Peace: A Personal Account which she would just sign at lunch time. In 1996, Ashrawi was elected and subsequently reelected many times to the Palestinian Legislative Council. In 1996, she also accepted the post of Minister of Higher Education and Research. In 1998, Ashrawi founded and continues to serve in MIFTAH in the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy. It is not hyperbolic to say that Dr. Ashrawi has also broken through the Palestinian sound barrier, the wall of silence in Americas media which excludes Palestinian voices. She is the Palestinian Iron Dome. Whenever Israel sends war planes, troops, and weaponized drones to attack her people, we can count on Hanan Ashrawi to be out there trying to stop the bombs and the Israeli propaganda. Her only weapon, her articulate reasonable voice and demand for justice and fair play. She will address the Israel lobby and the peace process. Welcome, Hanan Ashrawi. Hanan Ashrawi: Thank you very much. Thank you. This is indeed heartwarming and humbling. I thank you all for coming. Thank you, Delinda, for your invitation. Thank you, Grant. Thank you, John for picking me up also and all the people who made this possible. Im delighted to be here with you. Im delighted to be part of this occasion, this endeavor which in many ways is extremely timely. It does respond to a sense of urgency really. I need to intervene and to say policy and discourse. And its wonderful to hear all these not just distinguished people but very profound and persuasive people and courageous people, really, who are speaking truth to power and who are standing up for justice. I dont want to waste too much time because I have a lot to say. So you have to let me know ahead of time. As you know this is a very significant occasion because were talking about 100, 70, 50, and zero. A hundred years since the Balfour Declaration. I do hope that the Brits will not celebrate it even though Theresa May invited Netanyahu to celebrate with her. This is a colonial legacy par excellence. Seventy years since the partition plan that did partition Palestine and created the State of Israel, at that time on 55 percent of Palestine. Fifty years since the occupation of 1967. And zero time for the two-state solution. Im asked to talk about the Israel lobby and the peace process. I will focus on the peace process because you all know that the Israel lobby is never absent. Whenever anything happens related to Palestine, it is there. And when it comes to the peace process, they have always been a shaping force intertwining, interweaving, intervening their presence and at the same time maintaining their I dont want to say control but their influence every step of the way. They play the major role in shaping and influencing U.S. policy particularly the peace process. Since its inception, theres a sense of ownership that the peace process is owned by the Israeli lobby in many ways because theyre looking out for the interest of Israel all the time. There are various components of the lobby. As you all know, theyre not monolithic. They all have their impact here and there. But the most significant impact is for the lobby groups, the special interest groups that are closest to the Israeli government in particular. And that tends to be the more hardline extremist groups. Even though there were different voices but the greatest impact was by the more extreme voices. The most influential, of course, is AIPAC and theres Washington Institute for Near East Policy as you know. As I think back, that has probably had the most direct say in terms of the peace process itself and other organizations the Heritage Foundation and so on. So you have all these organizations that move from the extreme right to the center like J Street, what was being discussed before this talk. They all have a different set of requirements and different ways of intervening. There are different fields and players. Theres a diversity in the pro-Israel lobby. Theres the private sector. And as you know Adelson was trying to buy a president here but hes also buying a prime minister in Israel. Moskowitz who brought settlements, who built settlements in Jerusalem. These are individuals in the private sector that have had a direct impact and direct intervention using their money. Haim Saban, as you know, and Brookings, and down to the left, Danny Abraham who has accompanied the peace process all along from a more liberal perspective. There are institutions and think tanks individualizing to them. The most significant and youll hear me talk him about often not because I like him very much but because he has been the most persistent, Dennis Ross, and no doubt [sounds like], and Martin Heinrich and others. Then you have academic and cultural individuals and spin doctors who have been a primary force in shaping public perceptions including Krauthammer, Dershowitz, Im sure youre hearing him now. Daniel Pipes. There are lots of people who are Israeli apologists and spin doctors. Then you have religious organizations and institutions, self-appointed Israeli apologists and defenders who take the Bible literally, many of them. And this is the extreme Zionist-Christian organizations. They are extremely dangerous in the sense that they do have a literal biblical exegesis that gives Israel license to do whatever it wants. And one of them told me once Palestinians have no right to exist because youre standing in the way of prophecy, the fulfillment of the prophecy. So I said it doesnt sound very Christian when you advocate genocide. And then there are toxic organizations as you know. They have been very effective in distorting the Palestinian message in reality like MEMRI. You know, M-E-M-R-I? You should be aware of this. This is a most toxic organization. It is run by Yigal Carmon who used to be the advisor to the military governors and he became the advisor to Shamir on terrorism and so on. And he used to interrogate me once in a while. But now, he has this organization with tremendous funds. He monitors everything and then he has access to Congress particularly to many decision makers. He distorts Palestinian utterance and anything that is published. We can talk about this later. You have MEMRI, you have NGO Monitor that attempts to badmouth all Palestinian NGOs. You have the PM Watch which is also waiting for any Palestinian to open his or her mouth and they attack. And then you have publications. Im sure youre hearing more and more about Breitbart, for example. Blackstone. These are extreme right-wing white supremacists. Some of them are really anti-Semitic but Zionists, very interesting this combination. Now, they influence substance, structure, procedure, and priorities and objectives in the peace process. They influence terms of reference. And they influence also the players and predominantly the US role in the peace process. I would like to mention that many of the individuals who are associated follow what I call the revolving door. They use the revolving door as a charge against Palestinians, that when people are arrested, they are released later. But you have a revolving door in terms of their role. Many of them were in the State Department. And it seems that like Dennis and Martin that they do go to the State Department and then they leave and go to the Washington Institute or another pro-Israeli lobby. Then they come back through another door in the State Department. Now we have people in the White House who are not only lobbyists and advocates but who are active supporters of settlements. So its not enough to have settlers in the Israeli coalition government. Now you have settlers in the White House. So they dont need to lobby. They are decision makers. So thats whats happening. That frames in terms of influence the peace process with this revolving door. Youll be surprised also that Israels ex-Ambassador Dan Shapiro, for example, decided to stay in Israel. Hes joined the Institute for National Security Studies which is something that also Dennis joined at one point or another Dennis Ross. Its interchangeable. Either they are influencing policy or they are making policy. Thats why American policy was so distorted because they played a significant role in framing and defining the discourse and perceptions, but went beyond that to manipulating the verbal public space, anything related to the peace process. And they generated a narrative based on myths and provided alternative facts. Its not Kellyanne who invented alternative facts. Weve been victims of alternative facts all our lives, alternative realities. Theyve certainly willfully misled public opinion with a fabric I dont want to go into details about the spin, about the hasbaras they call it. But it has been very active in shaping public perceptions and hence, attitudes. A distorted pattern emerged that was totally weighted in favor of the occupation generating a cyclical pattern, a vicious cycle that totally subverted progress and led to the current impasse which has been in the making for quite a long time since the beginning. And they ensured that the peace process maintained its parameters within the domain of Israeli priorities and interest. Now we are back at the beginning. I wanted to read you a quotation from a paper in 1991, a position paper by the Washington Institute for Near East Affairs. And guess who wrote this? Martin Indyk. This is March 4, 1991 just before the peace process started when President Bush and James Baker were preparing for the 1991 Madrid process. Some of the things he says, I mean, are being said right now. Thats why I call it a cyclical pattern. He says, Israel now has a golden opportunity to deal with an indigenous Palestinian leadership in the territories before the PLO phoenix rises again. Its true the prime minister leads an unruly coalition of right wing and religious parties unwilling to countenance territorial compromise in the West Bank. But if that is a genuine offer of peace from the Arab side outside then hes acceptable to delivering a territorial compromise on the Golan Heights and an interim deal for Palestinian self-government which leaves open the final status of the territories. This is the ongoing policy. I mean, all you need to do is go to the Washington Institute website and you will find all these policy papers. Now theres another one. Im not going to read all these things but this one is the Transition 2017 Toward a New Paradigm for Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, David Makovsky and Dennis Ross, Washington Institute. This is another blueprint that was prepared to give to your new President Trump and you have my full sympathy on how to address. Because they want to confiscate the language once again and confiscate the process once again and decide how its going to proceed. Anyway, so the peace process conceptually, the influence was on the terms of reference. They made sure it dealt only with 242 338, not other resolutions. Because 242 338 deal with 67. They dont deal with 48 or the roots of the conflict, if you call it a conflict. They also made sure that there was no reference to sovereignty or statehood for the Palestinians. No reference to the roots of the conflict including refugees and so on in 1948, Resolution 181. No international law. It must not apply. Only what the parties agree to in this asymmetry of power where you have occupied and occupied [sounds like], you go and talk and you agree and well agree with whatever you decide. And of course, they used the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords in order to define Palestinian objectives or rights as autonomous. We need the autonomy, functional autonomy or self-government for the people as though the Israeli control is a given, and therefore you deal with self-government for Palestinians. No reference to Palestine as a country or the Palestinians as a people or a nation. Youve had this construct of Israel and Palestinians. Its never Israel and Palestine. Its never Israel and the Palestinians. Its Israel and Palestinians that we found by the wayside. Again, I mean, look, Nikki Haley at the UN voted against Salam Fayyad, vetoed the appointment of Salam Fayyad as deputy secretary general to Guterres. Why? Because the appointment had the word Palestine. So we are guilty for existing. We are guilty because we have an identity. We are guilty because we are members of Palestine the Palestinian nation. Now of course, youve read Uri Savirs article on Madrid II or Moshe Yaalons new article on Lets Give the Palestinians Autonomy or Netanyahus speeches here and there particularly in Australia when he talked about transitional phases and functional approach. We will get to that later. But you have enough literature to see where theyre heading with that. On substance the priority of course for the peace process was Israels security. That was the primary objective. Israels security is defined in military terms and maintaining military control. Now, there is doctrine if you want a demilitarized state minus our entity, then if you want a state minus, then it has to be demilitarized. Then Israel has to have full military control especially control over the borders, the air space, territorial waters, and with true presence. And of course, they want the Palestinian Authority to be the security subcontractor. Congress in its overzealousness wanted to cut off all funds to the Palestinians. There was a resolution whats her name? I forgot her name. Anyway, shes the one who always comes up with these interesting resolutions about the Palestinian culpability a priori. Kay Granger. Any of you from Florida? Youre really blessed with two. Kay Granger and whats her name Ros-Lehtinen. Yeah, the hyphenated name. Its obsessive with them. Anyway, but they have decided that they should cut off all funds from the Palestinian. Then AIPAC went to them and said, no, no, no. You cant cut off funds to the security forces. You have to keep paying the Palestinian security forces because theyre good for Israels security. Really. Its AIPAC that wanted funding for the Palestinian security force. They want a subcontractor and that to them is the primary function of any Palestinian security force. But also, finally enough with this, it doesnt have to do with security but I always like to say this. That the Congress in its overzealousness to protect Israel – who was it? I think, Jim was talking about it or Nick about how they are overzealous. Sometimes they want to outdo AIPAC, the Congress members. Yeah, in their overzealousness to serve Israel and protect Israel, they took resolutions that gave us enormous power. They took resolutions that any organization which accepts Palestinian membership will be defunded by the US and they will not pay their fees. They took resolutions that any convention or agreement that we accede to and so on will not be supported by the US Whats happening? We told them, fine, we are going to join all of them. This means the US will be isolated because it will have to leave all of them. So can you imagine what happens when we join WIPO Intellectual Property? What will happen to all the patents and intellectual property of the US? Or when we decide to join the Atomic Energy Commission? But they say, if you join these things and if you accede to any agreement or convention that you will be punished. We will not fund you. Well, thank you very much. Lets accede and see what happens to the US when it has no say in any international organization. Anyway, thats overzealousness. Sometimes you go overboard where you punish yourself. Not only that, but we were supposed to be held I said this before, forgive me if I quote myself, it became a famous quote I think that we are being held responsible for the safety of our occupiers. That the Israeli settlers and the Israeli army can do whatever they want to us, and we are responsible for their safety. No Palestinian can react not even in self-defense. Because automatically, the terrorist label comes out and like a Post-It its on your forehead, youre a terrorist. Because a 14-year old dared attempt to strike at a soldier carrying scissors she was carrying scissors. But he was on Palestinian land as an occupation soldier wearing a bullet proof vest, wearing a helmet, and carrying a machine gun at a checkpoint on her own land. But shes the terrorist. Hes the victim. And she was the one who was shot. Anyway, we are responsible for the safety of our occupiers. The Israeli army can go into Areas A and I hate this designation. But Areas A in which we are not supposed to come in. And they can arrest. They can blow up homes. They can do whatever they want at will. But should the Palestinian security forces tried to stop them, theyre in serious trouble. They cannot and theyre not supposed to stand up to the Israeli army. Should any Palestinian react to this intense injustice, then he or she is a terrorist. Now, in terms of the regional dimension, of course, it has become very clear and it has come back to haunt us. Now it is called the outside-in approach. And its a very sexy term now. Im sure youve read this in all the new proposed approaches to peace making, outside-in. Lets go to the Arabs. Lets go to the region. Lets put the API the Arab Peace Initiative on its head. Lets normalize with the Arabs, and then we can deal with the Palestinians. This was from the beginning the Israeli lobby approach. Two tracks, Palestinian-Israeli track, Arab-Israeli track. Bilateral track. Multilateral track. Normalize. Bring the Arabs to normalization with Israel and then the Palestinians will fall in step. Not just that but you transform the Palestinian issue into a domestic issue within Israel. We can control well deal with them. Therefore, it becomes a question of controlling the people in Palestine. And we are a domestic issue. Im sure many of you have read Herzogs 10-Point Plan. Herzog is supposed to represent the more moderate, what has become the Labor Party in Israel that has been renamed as the Zionist camp, because they have to compete with Likud on Likuds terms. They have to show they are more right wing and hardliner than the Likud. Now, he has a plan, a 10-point plan. Again, functional approach. Again, gradual approach. Put the Palestinians on probation. I will talk about this later. But this is Netanyahus constant hymn that the Palestinians live in population centers, fragmented, and localized. Of course, the approach now is back to the Village Leagues approach. If you remember, many of you are young and have not to remember but some of you are old enough to remember the attempts to establish Village Leagues, localized communities, community centers, and so on. But it takes us back even further where you can find collaborators who will collaborate with the occupation and then our lives. It takes us back to the Balfour Declaration, right? Then he say they want to establish a national home for the Jews but at the same time keeping in mind what the interest of the well-being without prejudicing the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. We are being now addressed as the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Excuse me. I mean, the majority and the bases were Palestinian, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish, and some atheist but they couldnt be officially atheist. Thats the majority. Were not the exception as being non-Jewish. Now, its the minority that has become the defining factor. Now, we are the non-Jewish community so we are back to 100 years ago. Of course, there were attempts at bringing together some Arab countries like the Al Kaaba [phonetic] meeting in order to come up with an agreement with Israel. This time it was Netanyahu who scuttled it. The whole approach, of course, is the substance. Its not ending the occupation but carrying out administrative functions, economic ease, the quality of life argument which is now part of the Greenblatt platform. I remember when they offered us in the early 1980s to run our lives. They said you can have all the powers and responsibilities of the civil administration. We said, no, thank you. We dont want to work for the occupation. We want the occupation to leave then we can run our lives. So now, this has become another focus. We are going back to the beginning and even pre-peace process. Four, maintain the strategic alliance between US and Israel. This was a constant focus of the peace process. It was brought to bear on everything that was done in that context. It has enhanced the power asymmetry and the imbalance until now. The features of this alliance was accommodate Israeli priorities and demands, adopt their own diction and perspective. I was going to say fiction. Yes, most of it is fiction and perspectives. Always, frame the relationship in terms of the Judeo-Christian traditions remember and shared values. So I keep asking my American friends, what shared values? The values of occupation, of enslavement of a people, of impunity, of oppressing a whole nation, of carrying out extrajudicial executions, of demolishing homes, of stealing other peoples lands, and so on. Are these the values you want to share with Israel? Is this the Judeo-Christian tradition? I dont know. I mean, really. To me, its very strange. Because automatically, the moment you find this fusion today, you are excluding Islamic, Buddhist, any other tradition that does not belong to this club. And to me, Islam is one of the most tolerant religions because it doesnt deny the existence of the others. It builds on Judaism and Christianity while Judaism and Christianity supposedly cancel each other out, dont they? Anyway. Of course, the other myth is that Israel is the only democracy in the region. You hear that all the time. This is part of this alliance. Even Theresa May talked about this when she criticized John Kerry for not vetoing the 2334 resolution on settlements. How dare you criticize the only democracy in the region and our best friend, our ally? And the Palestinians, of course, are the alien, the other, the fearful, the incomprehensible. And even the orientalist glasses to quote Edward Said the late Edward Said have come out again. And of course, there is an automatic linkage between terrorism and Islam. And now, its becoming much more evident. Never surprise Israel with any American statement, position, or document related to the peace process. This I know from experience, and they will admit it. The American team, they always coordinated with the Israelis first on any American position. They always clear that up ahead of time with the Israelis. And if you have the Greenblatt-Friedman Plan, also you should know that it was called a policy paper for Trump. He was candidate Trump then and it became Trumps policy paper on Israel. You will see how toxic it has become. It was read by him as an AIPAC speech. Again, never allow or express any public censure or criticism of Israel. Thats why they reacted in such a hysterical manner. They waxed ballistic just for the mere fact that the US abstained on the settlements, when a few years earlier, they had vetoed a resolution on settlements which violate international law and so on. Therefore, theyre not used to accepting any kind of criticism or censure, let alone, sanctions. Always use the positive approach with Israel. Incentives, rewards, advanced payments, inducements, and so on. When we started the talks, they immediately got the Zionism-Israelism resolution nullified. You know that. And then they got the diplomatic recognition, trade agreements, and so on. Another thing, of course, incentivizing Israel, including Europe. I can give you many examples how Europe used this approach too. Conversely, you use pressure, threats, and blackmail on the Palestinians. Exploit the weakness of Palestine and augmenting Israeli power and control. Of course, this was the special contribution of AIPAC, ZOA, and others, the Council of Presidents. And drafting Congressional resolutions that always adopted punitive measures against the Palestinians especially if we joined organizations like the ICC and IC3 [phonetic]. How dare you hold Israel accountable? Israel is above the law. Hence, the Palestinians are always on probation, on good behavior. We have to prove that we deserve our rights. We have to prove that we deserve human recognition. Its a test that we have to demonstrate that we are worthy, the test of merit. Im sure youve read this which is a horrible article posted on the Gatestone Institute website in which he says, Palestinians must earn the two-state solution. And of course, he proceeded to give a fake version of history. I have news for him, the Palestinians dont think that the two-state solution is a fair or just solution. It was a major painful compromise by the Palestinians. So its not our aspiration to give away 78 percent of our land. It is a compromise that we made in order to give our children a future and a life in freedom and dignity and to exercise our right to self-determination. Now, Israel, and probably the world, are not very keen on seeing it happen. Well, Ill get to that later. Now, always blame the Palestinians in the blame game. I can give you many examples from the Clinton Parameters, even when there was discussion in Camp David in 2000. I was there. We were told, you will not be blamed. Give it your best shot. And I remember Yasser Arafat told them, We are not ready. The talks have not progressed enough to have a summit in Camp David. Clayton Swisher is here. I dont know if you remember, right? He said, We are not ready. And both Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton said give it your best shot. We wont blame you. What happened later? The whole mess of the generous offer. We were blamed when there was no offer. I said, Show me. Show me a concrete offer on the table. There were all these different groups discussing different issues in a fragmented way, but there was no generous offer that the Palestinians and this myth gained a life of its own, actually. Now every time you hear an Israeli apologist, he or she will say, you see the Palestinians refused the generous offer. And we have to earn it anyway. Always blame the Palestinians. We said that, again, the roadmap. Do you remember the roadmap 2002-2003? Sharon placed 14 reservations on the roadmap that totally nullified and negated it. They came out and said, the Israelis accepted the roadmap. The Palestinians didnt. The Palestinians accepted the roadmap knowing that its not perfect or ideal. But we knew that not that Sharon was rejecting it. So the issue was that Sharon accepted it and not even a footnote about the 14 reservations. But the Palestinians didnt. I dont know where they get their version of history. Again, John Kerrys initiative on 2014. You remember when he tried this initiative. He tried to do more of the same thinking that he will get a different result, or thinking that he might get one. Anyway, he promised. He said that any party that scuttles or undermines or reject or whatever the peace talks will be publicly blamed. So what happened? The Palestinians dutifully went to these negotiations knowing full well that we took a decision not to go, frankly speaking, because there were no terms of reference. There were no clear objectives. There was nothing to tell Israel to stop settlement activities, to respect signed agreements, to release prisoners and so on. And John Kerry said, try your best. He was given a verbal promise, an oral promise by the Israelis that they will minimize settlements, that they will release prisoners. What did they do? Immediately, they escalated settlements. They escalated violence. They shot a few people on checkpoints. And then they refused to release the last installment of prisoners. So where is the blame? Both sides. Theyre not ready. What? The Palestinian leadership lost its constituency for going to these negotiations when they werent assured of the substance and outcome. And the Israelis deliberately violated their commitments and obligations and they werent blamed. There were some leaks even that the settlements were bad. In that context, I have to mention this. Its a very racist statement that makes me very angry. Abba Eban said this, The Palestinians never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It has been used to bash the Palestinians and to feed these misconceptions and distortions forever. So every time you hear this, I think you have to reverse this. Its the Israelis that missed historic opportunities to make peace and totally destroyed the chances of peace. Were not on the defensive. We dont have to prove that we make use of opportunities because we never had one. Of course, the other terms like the leitmotifs of our reality have been shaped by the Israeli lobby. Like, Hamas rockets raining down on Israeli towns and villages. Have you heard this? And its repeated verbatim by everybody in Congress and outside Congress. Nobody asked how many did they kill and nobody asked how many Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army. And nobody asked about the siege and the assault and so on. Its as if people in Gaza decided to wake up one day and manufactured these homemade pipes and threw them out of the blue because theyre terrorists by definition. Again, Palestinian terrorism, incitement, and violence. Now, you cannot mention Israeli settlements without finding a force equivalent with incitement. Palestinians incite. Palestinians incite to violence. Palestinians think that their prisoners are heroes and they are terrorists. So you adopt the language of the Israelis that everybody whos a Palestinian is a terrorist. But since 1967, Israel has imprisoned more than 800,000 Palestinians, including myself and many others of my friends. And so I dont think there are 800,000 terrorists. People who did not acquiesce to the occupation or accept to have their spirit broken these are not terrorists. Israel has killed more than 75,000 Palestinians since 67. Who are the terrorists? Now again, there are new preconditions. The refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, thats our fault. Either we become Zionists or we are not fit for human company. Again, any criticism of Israel is conflated with anti-Semitism. Youve heard this before. So this is one way of censoring and silencing criticism. And the Palestinians are not a peace partner. We dont have a peace partner among the Palestinians. I cant tell you how many types of negotiations there were needless negotiations from direct to indirect, to proximity talks, to bilateral, to multilateral, to long distance talks, to exploratory talks. And at the end, we even had epistolary talks, exchanges of letters. Weve been talked out frankly speaking. But it was a good peace process because Israel used it as a cover to create facts on the ground to negate the very substance and to destroy the objective of the talks. So here we are. Now, while the process is ongoing, never allow any issue critical of Israel to be brought before the UN. This is something ongoing again, massive lobbying. I dont want to give you too many examples but we dont have time. I know Ive run over my time. Should I stop? Okay. So use the veto and at the same time protect Israels impunity. Enable Israel but maintain Palestinian vulnerability. We shouldnt have access to international organizations or international law to protect our rights and our lands. But Israel has the full right to act outside the law. No sanctions or punitive measures from any party on anywhere, no accountability and so on. And this generated a culture of entitlement, exceptionalism, preferential treatment, and privilege in Israel which in itself justifies the subjugation, discrimination, violence, and total captivity of the Palestinian people, and especially the continued military assaults on Gaza. Palestinian lives in Gaza have been reduced to abstractions. They are numbers; theyre not human beings. The murder of civilians doesnt count. Its the fact that there were 70 soldiers who were killed, thats very important. But they were being attacked, bombed from the air. Ninety-two families totally obliterated from the population register. It doesnt matter. And yet, you blame the victim because Hamas was using these people as human shields. Therefore, they have the right to kill them. Of course, the occupier is claiming self-defense. They are defending themselves against their own victims. Ive never heard this logic before in all history. Then, the structure and participants, the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation as you know, now its back again the whole issue of the Jordanian option, the alternative homeland, the confederation that its a Jordanian issue. When they said no Palestinians from the PLO and no Palestinians from Jerusalem, thats precisely because they didnt want a national address for the Palestinians, a localized address. Village Leagues, communities, and so on but not the right to self-determination and not Jerusalem. Again, there was a division of labor. I will skip a few things. That the US is in charge of the political process but Europe and the Arabs are in charge of signing checks. So the political decisions are up to the US Its a monopoly. The others have to work on nation building. Because you see, we have to prove that we deserve a state even though it is a right enshrined in international law the right to self-determination. Again, proof of merit. Even then, for the US to participate directly in the talks, it had to get Israels permission. They couldnt participate unless Israel invited them to participate or asked them to participate with their approval. So Israel positioned itself as a gatekeeper to the peace process. And the Europeans followed step. They always had to give them inducements and advance payments and rewards and so on to allow them to play a role. If you are the occupying power and you are the gatekeeper, what kind of peace process is this where you exclude others. Procedurally, the phase approach, conflict management, open ended process, you can look at all these documents I gave you. And of course, the deal, we had to deal with administrative technical peripheral issues first. Postpone the real issues and get no guarantees on that. No mechanisms for arbitration, monitoring, and verification although all negotiations should have those. Even though I still believe negotiations between occupying and occupied are illegal. They violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, by the way. And it has to be done between equal parties. But when you have a situation of occupation where one party exercises total control over the others, any agreement will be illegal because it will be reached under duress and with undue influence and force. And then the whole issue of pocket and proceed. This is happening with things like the land swaps. There was never any agreement on the land swap. But somehow they decided that, yes, land swaps because they want to keep the settlement blocs no matter what. All settlements are illegal whether they are blocs or whether they are outposts or whether they are mobile homes or whatever. They are all illegal. So we never agreed to having settlement blocs as being legal or remaining. Now, they talk about it as a foregone conclusion or that there will be land swaps. It was very difficult to accept the 67 boundaries. Now, we have to give away Jerusalem, the Jerusalem environment, Ariel, Gosachion [phonetic], all this. So they pocket and proceed including the issue of refugees by the way. The process is a process for its own sake. Now, using prolongation and stalling, it is the Dennis Ross logic, I call it, where so long as theres a process, God is in his heaven, all is well with the world. Let the two parties speak. And then Israel can do whatever it wants on the ground which is an endless process. It became an abstraction. It became a tool for Israeli power and expansionism and so on. And they cover for the occupation. So negotiations became an objective, not a tool to get somewhere. Now, we are back at the beginning as I said. At one point, there was one point in which there was talk of 67 boundaries, two states. It started with George W. Bush and Clinton talking about two states. It wasnt, by the way, Obama who was bashed by Israel for mentioning 67. It was Clinton and George Bush. It was George Bush actually who talked about 67 and the two states. So youll be surprised. And then now, the cycle is completed. Were going back to all the issues of the functional approach, non-sovereign approach, gradual approach, and so on. With Greenblatt, I just want to mention quickly there are two things I cannot skip. The fact that we are not a demographic problem for Israel, please do not accept this. We are a nation with our rights, with our history, with our culture, and we abide by international law. I dont believe any other country in the world is allowed to discriminate against the people because it wants to maintain the ethnic or religious purity of its own entity at all. So we cannot be a demographic problem to scare the Israelis into giving us our little statelet or state minus, as they say. Now, they are busy superimposing Greater Israel on historical Palestine. What are the options if they destroyed and they are destroying the two-state solution? Is it the ongoing state of apartheid that exists? Of course, again, they waxed hysterical when people described them as being apartheid. Not what happened to Rima Khalaf. Because now, the UN is echoing the language of Israel at the behest of Netanyahu and Danny Danon, and all these people who formulate that language. If the situation will continue then it will run its course as an ongoing perpetual occupation, conflict, extremism. Or are we going to have a qualitative shift? Maybe we need to de-zionize as Israel rather than zionize the Palestinians. I have to stop. Okay. I will talk later about what Greenblatt did. But I wouldnt hold my breath. Thank you very much. Its a pleasure to me. Thank you.

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April 3, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Cabals behind the UNHRC inquisition – Lankaweb

March 28, 2017, 7:34 pm The 34th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have just ended, and another resolution on Sri Lanka adopted Resolution A/HRC/34/L.1 requests the Commissioner and his special procedure mandate holders to strengthen their technical assistance to Sri Lanka on the promotion and protection of human rights, truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability. More importantly perhaps, the resolution calls for a written update on the implementation of resolution 30/1 (of 2015) at the 37th session of the UNHRC, and a comprehensive report at its 40th session. These requirements are clearly designed to keep Sri Lanka on the leash for the foreseeable future. Needless to say it was the hand of the global enforcer, the US that was behind these impositions on Sri Lanka. The foreign minister, in co-sponsoring the junk resolution with the self-appointed imperium may have thought, cynically, that it will soon be someone elses problem anyway! The latest resolution warrants an analytical look into the dark forces behind American machinations at the UN, their objectives and the methods they adopt. The task essentially becomes one of taking a close look at the crucial influence exerted by the most potent force that fashions US foreign policy implementation at the UN: the special interest group informally known as the Israel lobby (also called the Zionist lobby). The Israel lobby is a collective of Jewish, fundamental Christian, and some secular American individuals and groups who seek to influence the foreign policy of the US in support of specific policies of the Israeli government. They overtly function under the very active and extremely well-financed umbrella organisation, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The groups in this coalition are motivated by a piquant mix of myth-based belief including chosenness, racial exclusivity, and literalist interpretation of the Book. The largest single Israel lobby group, contrary to expectations, is the evangelical amalgam Christians United for Israel. The AIPAC juggernaut outnumbers many Jews against Zionism amalgams spread across America thousands to one. The simple, yet extremely efficient method deployed by the Israel lobby in achieving their aims is based on lavishly financing both sides of the American political duopoly.Over the years, the Israel lobby has managed to buy influence with US presidents of both political persuasion, virtually the entire membership of the Congress, the White House staff, and policy making levels of bureaucracy; John Kennedy has been the only president on record to have rejected the lure of the Israel lobby that has corrupted the US body politic: in They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israels Lobby (p. 114), Paul Findleya congressman from Illinois,1961-1983narrates the story of a meeting Kennedy had with some prominent Jewish lobbyists during the presidential campaign of 1960; Kennedy is supposed to have been infuriated by the offer of a rich Jew that he and his friends would help and help significantly Kennedys campaign if, as president, Kennedy would allow them to set the course of Middle East policy over the next four years. Kennedy may have disagreed, but available evidence suggests that all presidential candidates before and after him have been jumping at such offers. According to figures released by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks financial contributions of all lobbies and political action committees (PACs), these groups doled out $18 m to Hillary Clinton, and a comparatively trifling $ 400000 to Donald Trump at the 2016 presidential elections.Individual billionaire super PAC donorslike the casino owner Sheldon Adelson who doled out $92.8 million to Republican super PACs in 2012are important agents who buy influence for the Israel lobby. The method by which they exercise real control over US foreign policy however, is through volunteers to political party offices and campaigns and other nominees who seamlessly transition in to policy-making positions in the state department and the diplomatic service,irrespective of the party that wins the elections. Notorious individuals who infiltrated the US body politic through this method include the architects of the 2003 Iraq invasion, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, and the earlier generation as the permanent representative at the UN, starting with Jean Kirkpatrick, the late Richard Holbrooke and Madeleine Albright. More recent examples include highly inflated figures like Samantha Power at the UN and Virginia Neuland and Nisha Biswal (a volunteer not associated with the Israel lobby the mouse that roared!) at the state department. They have fallen off their perches recently, at the end of the Obama regime. Some appear to have crept through the barriers Donald Trump erected on this route. The Israel lobby formally consists of groups that operate across society, organised as PACs for campaign finance, innumerable think tanks that devise national policy, and media watchdog groups who constantly monitor views and discussions on Israel and related issues on the Internet. Their singular aim is to garner stronger US support for Israels strategic aims in the Middle East by controlling the sources and content of debate in the US:In the landmark study The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (2007), John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt observe that the historical tilt of American foreign policy strongly toward support for Israel has been caused by the Israel lobbys control of the terms and boundaries of debate and discussion of the Middle East in American policymaking, not to mention their financing of the political apparatus; They conclude that American support for Israel does not serve Americasnational interests. Since the early 1990s, Israels main focus has been on regime change in its Arab neighbours such as Iraq, Libya and Syria, perceived to be too strong to its liking. Americas commitment to carrying out this agendaat great financial cost and cost to its reputationdemonstrates the strength of the Israel lobbys hold on the American political system. Obviously, the UN being the most important forum for enforcing US agenda on the world, the US behaviour at the UN is the primary target of the Israel lobby. The position of permanent US representative at the UN is a key target of the lobby, after the key jobs of secretary of state and foreign secretary. They routinely get to fill these positions with their agents by gaining influence with both presidential candidates and their respective parties. As the Wikileaks revealed during the last presidential campaign, nominations for higher levels of bureaucracy following the anticipated Hillary Clinton win (that seemed a matter of course at the time) had been finalised months before the election, with declared and undeclared Israel lobbyists tipped to fill the positions. Policy advisers supplied by the Israel lobby are routinely portrayed through corporate media as objective scholars who give neutral recommendations to the US government! In a nutshell, the Israel lobby, armed with their own foreign policy agenda devised by the neocon think tank circuitCouncil on Foreign Relations, American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundationassign tasks to the US foreign policy machinery at forums like the UNHRC.The approach is generally determined by the primary aim of repelling or diverting the global condemnation of Israels loathsomely aggressive behaviour.There is a certain amount of vested interest too, due to American military and financial support to Israel being the enabler of such aggression. The US machinations to haul countries like Sri Lanka before UNHRC is borne out of this grand plan founded on the deceitful canard that Israel has long been at the receiving end of an unfair campaign of Israel-bashing by the UN. The facts do not support any such UN bias against Israel. Contrary to such claims, Israel has been the beneficiary of some of the most favourable treatment by the UN: resolution 181 in 1947 that called for the partition of British Mandate Palestine to establish a Jewish State was a repulsive symbol of neocolonialism that was out-of-sync (politically and racially) with the post-colonial, post-Nazi world emerging at the time. Following Israel becoming a UN member in 1948, it has manoeuvred its way to gain full membership of the powerful Western European and Others Group. In 1991, Israel managed to repeal the resolution of November 10, 1975 which declared Zionism a form of racism and racial discrimination; In 2014 Israel was elected, ironically, as vice-chair of the UN Special Political and Decolonisation Committee. The so-called Israel-bashing refers to persistent UN Member demands for just treatment of the Palestiniansin the name of common decencyby way of an extraordinarily high number of resolutions passed since Israel forcibly occupied Palestinian land following the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur war. These resolutions have called for Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967. Israel has been condemned in 50 resolutions by UNHRC since its creation in 2006almost more resolutions than on the rest of the world combined. The UN Security Council has adopted 226 resolutions relating to Israel since 1948. Six of the 10 Emergency Sessions of the General Assembly (UNGA) have been on Israels aggression in the Middle East. UNGA has adopted a large number of resolutions condemning Israeli actions and the US-Israel strategic relationship that encourages Israel to pursue aggressive expansionist practices. At the 2016 Sessions alone, the UNGA adopted 20 resolutions criticising Israel. Israel has defied these demands for half a century, and naturally, Israels non-compliance has attracted ongoing UN focus on, and criticism of, its behaviour. The UN Middle East envoy reported on March 25, that Israel has not taken any steps to implement resolution 2334 (adopted by the UNSC on December of 2016) by halting illegal settlement building on occupied territory as demanded by the Security Council. Instead, Israel has been continuing with a high rate of settlement expansion in violation of international law. At the same time, Israel is complaining about UN insistence that they honour international law like all other nations. US is complicit in aiding and abetting this unlawful behaviour, and attempt to divert attention from Israel by bringing in cases like Sri Lanka to take the heat off Israel at the UN. As Israels all-powerful guardian at the UN, the US has been engaged in a disgraceful campaign of finding fault with UN structures and operations, withholding its membership dues and imposing conditions on UN demands for decency by Israelwhile vetoing all Israel-related resolutions at the Security Council. The appointment of the rumbustious Richard Holbrooke in August 1999 as permanent representative to the UN signified a new, in-your-face style of diplomacy by the US at the UN. (Holbrook who was famous for his ruthless, yet unfulfilled career ambitions, gained notoriety later as the Butcher of the Balkans, and died in 2010 of the relatively rare condition aortic dissection that affects 0.003 per cent of the people annually. The most disgraceful of the US reaction at the UN was the adoption, in 2002, of the so-called Negroponte doctrine, of opposing all UN resolutions that condemn Israel without also condemning terrorist groups. Negroponte was the US Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985 and would have first-hand experience with terrorism, having played a key role in supporting and supervising the Nicaraguan Contras based in Honduras as well as Honduran military death squads that murdered thousands in the 1980s. At the same time, they went about reforming (more like re-forming) the UN Commission on Human Rights, basically as punishment for electing Muammar Gaddafi Chair in 2003. Two years later, the US-compliant UN Secretary General Kofi Annan singing from the Israeli hymn bookcalled for scrapping of the commission alleging it was politicised, selective, and had lost credibility. (Just before the end of his second term as secretary general, Ban Ki-moon carried on the tradition of US lap dogs by telling the Security Council on December 17, 2016 that the UN has had a disproportionate focus on Israel. The reforming of the UN human rights mechanisms to include what is referred to as the Special Procedures consisting of hoards of special rapporteurs, independent experts, and working group members drawn from the INGO movement, empowered with specific country and thematic mandates, was a cynical plot aimed at exploiting conflicts in the poor world, arising from economic insufficiency rather than through deeply-entrenched racial and other prejudice or disrespect for human rights. The woman who led the US neocon campaign against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in 2014, Paula Schriefer, embodied the US Zionist lobbys relentless campaign to shield Israel from criticism at UN forums, especially at the UNHCR. A seasoned operator with experience at a number of CIA Human Rights fronts like Freedom House and the NED, and Zionist think-tanks for nearly two decades, Schriefer fell from the skies in to Obamas foreign policy team of 2009 as a politically appointed secretary at state department. They reversed George W. Bushs boycott of the UNHRC and started working from within the UNHRC to achieve their ends. A rare glimpse in to the neocon conspiracy at the UNHRC was provided by Schriefer during a talk at the neocon Mecca, the Brookings Institution, on July 11,2012. Detailing her achievements in the first three months in the job and three years following the US re-entry into the UNHRC, Schriefer saw her mission as essentially to address the continuing problems with the councils tendency to single out Israel by shifting focus to Iran and renewing special procedure mandates on Sudan, Somalia, North Korea and others. Schriefer arrogantly used the March 2012 anti-Sri Lankan resolution as an excellent example of what the US has been able to achieve at the UNHRC. She claimed that they managed to completely break down the Non-Aligned voting bloc. Schriefer interpreted Indias 2012 vote against Sri Lanka as a demonstration of the impact of civil society outreach on parliament members in Tamil Nadu. She used the example to show the power of NGOs and the need to nurture NGOs in emerging democracies. US at the 34th Session of UNHRC (March, 2017) The 34th Sessions was the first UN event for the newly appointed permanent UN representative Nikki Haley, another American of supposed ethnic Indian extraction. She will be assisted by none-other-than Michele Sison who was a key player in affecting regime change in Sri Lanka in 2015. A team headed by these two will be determining Sri Lankas fortunes at the UNHRC in the coming years, making it dependent upon the trajectory of Israels fortunes. This is the reason behind the US decision to allow another two years for Sri Lanka to hang itself! Haley was a little-known representative of the South Carolina state legislature until she became governor of South Carolina in 2010.She has no foreign policy experience that would have prepared her to contribute to US policy toward global issues. Haleys appointment came despite her backing Trumps contender Marco Rubio for Republican nomination at the last presidential elections process. But she was chosen because she had played her cards right: she outlawed the vibrant Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel in her state of South Carolinaon grounds that it resembled Nazi tactics. She championed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus objections to Barack Obamas 2014 Iran nuclear deal. During the Senate hearings of her appointment, Haley slammed the Obama administration for allowing the December 2016 UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlement expansion. Haley even pledged her support for moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, so far resisted by the US as too explosive a measure. Things bode well for Haley when the Senate confirmed her nomination for the UN job without much scrutiny; It is doubtful whether her credentials for the job would have held up to any serious scrutiny. But the Israeli lobby spoke when Sen. Ben Cardin, a Jew from Maryland and Democrat on the committee, praised Haley for her promises at the confirmation hearings to strongly support Israel at the UN and to keep Israels interests close at heart. Nikki Haley has initiated a seemingly accelerated campaign against UN demands for decency from Israel, by denouncing the UN, at the very beginning of her stint, for focusing only on Israelthe only democracy in the Middle East according to herwithout questioning Syria, Iran, or North Korea. Sri Lanka has been among the list of alleged perpetrators committing gross and systematic human rights abuses included in the previous Israeli and US rants (together with China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe) about the persecution of Israel. Judging by Haleys fervour of devotion to Israel, she is unlikely to spare Sri Lanka when the next UN resolution comes up for discussion at the plenary stage. Since assuming duties, Nikki Haley has displayed strong loyalties to Israel that are likely to please her benefactors to no end: She vetoed Secretary General Antonio Guterres choice of the former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as UN envoy to Libya. She expressed outrage on the recent UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report that outlined the details of Israels of apartheid system that constitutes a crime against humanity under customary international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Haley personally attacked its author Richard Falka renowned campaigner against Israeli aggression. She capped it all by ordering the Palestinian Authoritys envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, in her first meeting, ordering him not to look to the UN for a solution and that they must meet with Israel in direct negotiations. The US boycotted a session at the Human Rights Council that focused on the permanent agenda item 7 on Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, but voted against the anti-Israel resolutions. State Department announced that the continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council. Interesting times ahead for Sri Lanka The persistence of US and Israeli attacks on the UN in general, and the undermining of individual member countries outside the forum (as in the case of Sri Lanka) appear to be yielding results from their perspective: demands for Israeli decency has decreased, from 60 per cent of the country-specific resolutions passed by the HRC in 2006 to 40 per cent in 2009 (when the US re-joined the HRC), to just 20 percent in 2016. A large part of this shift was caused by inquisition on Sri Lanka that rose to prominence between 2012 and 2015, taking away the heat from Israel. Judging by the performance of the new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, he appears to be following the path of strict compliance with US interests, impositions and agendas, similar to other Lap Dogs like Kofi Annan and Ban ki Moon:he acted meekly and relatively quickly to distance the UN from the ESCWA report on Israeli apartheid, saying it was released without prior consultation with the UN secretariat. His spokesman Stephane Dujarrica Georgian national and an alumni of the US foreign policy degree factory, the Georgetown University, who has strong US connections provided another mealy-mouthed response. There are signs that the UK , special relation of the US, is going to step up its backing of Israel at the UN: speaking immediately after the UNHRC had approved four resolutions condemning Israeli actions against the Palestinians, UK Ambassador to the UN Julian Braithwaite announced that the UK was putting the UNHRC on notice for its biased treatment of Israel, and for failing to condemn Palestinian terrorism. Braithwaite warned that the UK would follow the US in rejecting all resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the UNHRC did not treat Israel proportionally. He also took issue with the UNHRC mandate to debate Israeli human rights abuses at every session under Agenda Item 7. The cunning plans of the US Israel lobbybacked by the UK and Europeare focused on strengthening Israels land grab in the West bank and East Jerusalem, without acceding to global demands for just treatment of the Palestinians.Their schemes will need countries like Sri Lanka and other countries with festering internal issues to be used as lightning rods.To that effect, other arms of the octopus, like the US embassy in Colombo will work on the ground to frustrate government efforts of national reconciliation and effective settlement of the issue. Under the circumstances only Russia and China have the capability to ward off US efforts against Sri Lanka, by ultimately vetoing any attempts to impose sanctions at the Security Council level, and by forcing a just settlement for the Palestinians, that would take Israel out of the equation. The call, earlier in the year, of the Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem was a pointer to where the Chinese sentiments seem to lie. Looking more broadly at the issues from a broader geopolitical perspective, Israel should be thankful to the world for agreeing to allow the formation of a racially-based country so soon after the abhorrent experience of colonialism and Nazism. They need to remember that they are the only racially exclusive society in the world today. Israelis from Holocaust survivors to prime ministers have long warned that the country was already, or risked becoming, an apartheid state. Disgracefully, those fears appear to have been realised. The best way for Israel to eliminate the perceived bias of the UN including Agenda Item 7 would be to stop its human rights abuses and withdraw from the occupied territories. Failing that, states, international organisations, and civil society groups will be obligated to impose sanctions and other punitive measures to compel Israel to bring its actions into compliance with international law. No amount of scheming would yield a different result. Shalom aleikhem! http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=162694 COURTESY : THE ISLAND

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April 3, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed


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