Saturday 29 May 2010

Nasrallah & Hillary – readings each other’s minds

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

Mideastwire's Nick Noe/ here

I have a long piece coming out soon in Tablet magazine that explores these issues in greater depth. The draft was done before Nasrallah’s liberation day speech, but I amended it afterwards. Originally I had cited this passage in Hillary Clinton’s AIPAC speech from april, which I would argue is exactly the logic which Nasrallah is employing when he calls for using the power – the QME – of the resistance axis for a negotiated settlement

“We must recognize,” Hillary said, “that the ever-evolving technology of war is making it harder to guarantee Israel’s security. For six decades, Israelis have guarded their borders vigilantly. But advances in rocket technology mean that Israeli families are now at risk far from those borders. Despite efforts at containment, rockets with better guidance systems, longer range, and more destructive power are spreading across the region… These challenges cannot be ignored or wished away. Only by choosing a new path can Israel make the progress it deserves to ensure that their children are able to see a future of peace, and only by having a partner willing to participate with them will the Palestinians be able to see the same future.”
Well, Nasrallah and Hizbullah do their reading and he used Hillary’s speech at length in order to make his points – here are the key excerpts

“Thirdly – and here she touches on technology, and from here I will go to the new formula. Here again I better read the text lest I make any changes in it. She says: Finally, we must realize that technology, which develops as a result of the continuation of the war, makes it difficult to preserve the security of Israel.

The technology keeps developing. How does it develop? For six decades; that is, 60 years, the Israelis have been able to guard their borders alertly. But developments in the missile technology mean that the Israeli families that are far from the border are in danger. Let us explain this. First of all, the missile technology is no longer complicated, costly, or difficult to comprehend. Missiles can be manufactured locally, and we in the Arab region have as many talents and brains as you want. They need only a political decision.
They are not costly. You can create a missile force that will create a balance of deterrence at a cost that is worth only 10 MIG aircraft. (wink at Elias Murr) It is simply that. It is not costly, complicated, or difficult. Moreover, confronting this missile force will not be easy. All the talk you hear – patriot or matriot, the Iron Dome and whatever they call them – will not be able to do anything to our missiles. Technological development means that you do not fight on the border, but every town, every village, every facility, every airport, and every harbour inside the Zionist entity will be threatened.
This means that the Israeli domestic front will be threatened in any future war and the Israelis will not be able to withstand this.

Thus as a result of these considerations, she tells them – she wants to convince them – come and let us have a settlement. Act before it is too late. Now when the Isr ae lis review what happened in 2000, they will weep in regret. They will say: Had we reached an agreement with Syria before 2000 and returned the Golan to it, we would have gotten rid of Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Jihad and everything called resistance, in addition to Iran also. Regrettably, we were stubborn and we failed to reach such a settlement. Of course this is their evaluation, their revision.

Now the Israelis are being stubborn. I tell you that because of their arrogance, their tyranny, and their racism, they will continue to be obstinate until they fall into the abyss, God willing.... This is Mrs Clinton: If you do not help us; if you do not help Obama to reach a settlement, then there will be no purely Jewish state. Now you might find someone to reach a settlement with you but you will not find anyone in the future...

“…If the war takes place, which we do not want but which we do not fear and which we believe will change the features of the region - here I think Mrs Clinton agrees with me; she is with me and not with her friends in the region - if the war takes place – and here I have to add something – in the past we said that the Israeli domestic front, God be praised, was open, and we know everything about the domestic front, where we should aim at the domestic front, and what the points of weakness and the point of strength…”

Allow me to allude to those who speak about war day and night. There is talk about war and they say:... Let them save their breath. This is no use. The resistance and its strategic presence and its existence in the equation has transcended by a long distance all these speeches and calculations. Today the enemy is scared and it will remain scared, and we will keep it scared…”
Posted by G, Z, or B at 11:44 AM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Ghussain: Fatah's crimes in WB crossed all red lines

[ 29/05/2010 - 03:35 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian interior ministry in Gaza has charged that what Fatah's controlled security militias were doing in the West Bank had crossed all red lines.

Ihab Al-Ghussain, the ministry's spokesman, held Fatah faction fully responsible for the crimes being committed in the West Bank during a press conference he held in Gaza on Saturday.

He said that his ministry would not remain silent vis-à-vis the torture in Fatah dungeons that included detaining and torturing women and even raping a detainee.

The national campaign to defend Mirvat Sabri, who is held in Fatah's jails, said that her arrest was political, explaining that the charges against her were null and void.

The campaign, in a statement on Saturday, said that Sabri, 27, is the mother of two children and her husband is also held in Fatah's jails. It explained that Sabri was arrested when Fatah-controlled PA militias in the West Bank were chasing a group of Mujahideen who took refuge in her husband's house in Qalqilia.

It renewed absolute rejection of torturing Sabri and discrediting her honor, calling on all teachers to show solidarity with their colleague.

For his part, the director of the independent authority for human rights in the West Bank Mousa Abu Duhaim said that the torture practices in the West Bank had increased after the month of February.

He said that most of the arrests were on political background, noting that most of the detainees appear in military not civilian courts, which he described as a violation of the basic bylaw.

Describing the arrests as "arbitrary", Abu Duhaim said that they, on certain occasions, are accompanied by violent storming of detainees' homes.

Meanwhile, the Fatah-controlled militias detained two of Hamas supporters on Saturday, a Hamas statement in the West Bank said.

It added that the Fatah militias summoned tens of Hamas cadres and supporters in Bethlehem district including women.

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USS Liberty: American Servicemen Expendable; Don’t Embarrass “Israel”


In two hours, 34 American sailors died. Another 172 were injured. (USS Liberty)

By Tammy Obeidallah

Within the United States, there has been a growing awareness of Palestinian suffering. This has been manifested in the many demonstrations held during Israel’s assault on Gaza from December 2008-January 2009. The boycott of Israeli goods is gaining speed, as well as the campaign to recognize the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians as apartheid.

Yet there is one tragic and shameful event in particular which serves to discourage Palestinian rights activists. If so-called “patriotic” Americans viciously suppress the concerns of veterans and their families by covering up the murder of their own sailors, what hope is there to recognize the voices of oft-maligned Arabs half a world away?

June 8 will mark the 43rd anniversary of the heaviest attack on an American ship that inflicted the highest number of casualties since World War II. The USS Liberty was an intelligence vessel, patrolling international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The day was clear and sunny; the ship flying the American flag, as was standard. Suddenly and simultaneously, out of that clear azure sky and sea came a two-pronged attack by Israeli air and naval forces. Napalm, gunfire and missiles rained hell on Liberty’s crew for two hours while Israeli torpedo boats closed in.

In that two hours, 34 American sailors died. Another 172 were injured.

The Liberty crew managed to send an SOS, heard by nearby U.S. Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers. Fighter planes launched immediately, however turned back on orders from President Johnson. Naval personnel listening to radio relays heard Johnson say “I don’t care if the ship sinks, I’m not going to embarrass an ally.”

Israel claimed it was a case of “mistaken identity,” in other words, “friendly fire.” Israel’s ludicrous explanation was that pilots thought the USS Liberty was El Quseir, an Egyptian vessel having 1/4 of Liberty’s displacement and half the beam. El Quseir was 180 feet shorter and very differently configured. The Liberty had her name clearly written in English, while the Egyptian ship would have displayed Arabic script.

There are several motives for Israel’s deliberate attack: to prevent the USS Liberty from transmitting intelligence pertaining to massacres by Israeli troops which were taking place in the Golan Heights and that the 1967 War did indeed result from a pre-emptive strike by Israel. The attack could have been used to draw the U.S. into the 1967 War as well. Most of the Liberty’s survivors believe that Israel’s goal was to sink the ship and kill everyone aboard. Had there been no survivors, the attack could have been pinned on an Arab country.

Ward Boston, Jr., himself a U.S. Navy veteran, was the chief legal counsel to the Navy Court of Inquiry investigating the USS Liberty attack. In an editorial published by The San Diego Union Tribune, Boston stated then President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara ordered the Navy Court of Inquiry to conclude the attack was accidental. Furthermore, the late Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, the Court of Inquiry’s president, was given only one week to gather evidence for the investigation, although a proper inquiry would have taken six months.

“We boarded the crippled ship at sea and interviewed survivors. The evidence was clear. We both believed with certainty that this attack was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew,” Boston wrote. “I saw the bullet-riddled American flag that had been raised by the crew after their first flag had been shot down completely.”

For the official record, Admiral Kidd was ordered to rewrite part of the Court’s findings, including striking Lt. Lloyd Painter’s testimony in which he stated three life rafts filled with seriously wounded sailors were gunned down at close range by Israeli torpedo boats.

Survivors of the USS Liberty attack, their families and the families of those killed have demanded a fair congressional inquiry, to no avail. To this day, survivors have never been allowed to testify publicly. Nor have intelligence officers who received real-time Hebrew translations of Israeli commanders ordering pilots to sink “the American ship.”

The cover-up did not stop at the official report: it extended to commemorations honoring USS Liberty survivors and crew members’ memorials alike. The USS Liberty’s Commander, William L. McGonagle was awarded the Medal of Honor in a quiet ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, not in the customary White House setting.

In 1987, the town of Grafton, Wisconsin proposed naming a new $1 million library–to be built with private donations and an $83,000 federal contribution– The USS Liberty Memorial Library. Days later, Jewish community leaders decried the proposal as “anti-Semitic.” An angry letter from a local rabbi, Gideon Goldenholz, stated the name was “insulting to Jews.” Not surprisingly, the $83,000 federal money was put on hold. Even the priest at Grafton’s Catholic Church came out in opposition to the name, stating “The USS Liberty has become a symbol of hate.” The Milwaukee Jewish Council attempted to block the name and there were several picketers at the groundbreaking ceremony. The USS Liberty Memorial Library was finally dedicated in 1989 after two years of battling well-organized opposition.

Shortly after the library’s completion, Congressman Andy Jacobs (D-IN) inserted an essay entitled “The USS Liberty, 1967-89,” written by former Congressman Pete McCloskey (R-CA) into the Congressional Record. McCloskey pointed out that the dedication of the memorial with the names of the 34 dead was the first public recognition of their service in the 22 years since the attack.

The greatest sacrilege, however, is that these 34 crew members’ tombstones are engraved “…died in the Eastern Mediterranean,” rather than “killed in action.”

There is little hope of real policy change in a country where citizens would denigrate their own veterans, both living and dead, in order to protect a state where perpetrating war crimes is commonplace.
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Free Gaza Movement flotilla vs Israeli government spin

Live From Occupied Palestine

Dear friends,
as you will be aware, the Free Gaza Movement's flotilla of 9 ships, with 700 activists from 40 countries is making its way to Gaza in attempt to break Israel's illegal siege and to bring 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

In response, Israel has announced that it will stop the boats and has gone on a PR propaganda blitz arguing that the aid is not needed because there is supposedly no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Al Jazeera, however, has challenged this claim with an excellent report from reporter, Sherine Tadros (see video below).

As part of its media propaganda blitz, the Israeli government has also claimed that Cyprus "banned" the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) flotilla from landing in Cyprus. Reports in the Cypriot media have made it clear that this is not true and simply just more Israeli government spin.

The Cyprus Mail (see: ) on Wednedsay published an article on the flotilla, which reveals the FGM had no plans to dock in Cyprus and therefore did not ask permission to dock. The article makes it clear that the Cypriot government has not banned the FGM flotilla.

According to the Cyprus Mail:

"This is the ninth aid trip conducted by FGM. However, unlike previous journeys when the ships would meet in Larnaca, today they will meet international waters before they attempt to breach the blockade.Asked why they are not docking in Cyprus, Greta Berlin, FGM Spokeswoman said they had not received permission, as the Cypriot Government is following international law and maritime regulations, which state that ships can only go between legal international ports. The Cyprus Government has been wonderful, helping us the previous eight times, but it is not fair to ask Cyprus to deal with this by itself. They are being leaned on by Israel and the US."

"A senior source within Cyprus' Foreign Ministry agreed that they would be following all the rules and international maritime regulations. However, he said that he was not aware of any request being made by the organisers of the flotilla.
"It is up to the organisers, and they have decided not to visit Cyprus. But if any such request had been put forward, the decision will take place according to international and maritime law, and any rules that exist."

Another story circulating in the Israeli media is that the FGM also refused a request from the father of Gilad Shalit to take a letter to him. The FGM movement has stated this is a blatant lie.

In a media release about Israel's disinformation campaign, the FGM states: (see: )

"Israel claims that we refused to deliver a letter and package from POW Gilad Shalit's father. This is a blatant lie. We were first contacted by lawyers representing Shalit's family Wednesday evening, just hours before we were set to depart from Greece. Irish Senator Mark Daly (Kerry), one of 35 parliamentarians joining our flotilla, agreed to carry any letter and deliver it to UN officials inside Gaza. As of this writing, the lawyers have not responded to Sen. Daly, electing instead to attempt to smear us in the Israeli press.[5] We have always called for the release of all political prisoners in this conflict, including the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, among them hundreds of child prisoners"

I have included the full text of the FGM media release regarding Israel's disinformation campaign below.

The Free Gaza Movement flotilla is due to arrive in Gazan waters on Saturday (Palestinian time).

Israeli anti-occupation activists are planning to hold a solidarity action on Saturday in support of the FGM flotilla to oppose their government stance and to support the call for breaking the siege and for the FGM flotilla movement to be allowed safe passage. International actions around the world are also taking place in support of the flotilla and the people of Gaza.

The FGM will be updating supporters and the media with what is happening with the flotilla. You can follow their updates at:

Solidarity with the Free Gaza Movement and the people of Gaza! End the Siege Now!

in solidarity, Kim

Al Jazeera


Israel's Disinformation Campaign Against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Written by Free Gaza team | 28 May 2010
Posted in News

For over four years, Israel has subjected the civilian population of Gaza to an increasingly severe blockade, resulting in a man-made humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions. Earlier this month, John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with humanitarian aid. This weekend, 9 civilian boats carrying 700 human rights workers from 40 countries and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid will attempt to do just that: break through the Israel's illegal military blockade on the Gaza Strip in non-violent direct action. In response, the Israeli government has threatened to send out 'half' of its Naval forces to violently stop our flotilla, and they have engaged in a deceitful campaign of misinformation regarding our mission.

Israel claims that there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every international aid organization working in Gaza has documented this crisis in stark detail. Just released earlier this week, Amnesty International's Annual Human Rights Report stated that Israeli's siege on Gaza has "deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law."[1]

Israel claims that its blockade is directed simply at the Hamas government in Gaza, and is limited to so-called 'security' items. Yet When U.S. Senator John Kerry visited Gaza last year, he was shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade included staple food items such as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste.[2] Furthermore, Gisha, the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, has documented numerous official Israeli government statements that the blockade is intended to put 'pressure' on Gaza's population, and collective punishment of civilians is an illegal act under international law.[3]

Israel claims that if we wish to send aid to Gaza, all we need do is go through 'official channels,' give the aid to them and they will deliver it. This statement is both ridiculous and offensive. Their blockade, their 'official channels,' is what is directly causing the humanitarian crisis in the first place.

According to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: "Palestinians in Gaza are being actually 'starved to death,' receiving fewer calories per day than people in the poorest parts of Africa. This is an atrocity that is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It is a crime... an abomination that this is allowed to go on. Tragically, the international community at large ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are treated more like animals than human beings."[4]

Israel claims that we refused to deliver a letter and package from POW Gilad Shalit's father. This is a blatant lie. We were first contacted by lawyers representing Shalit's family Wednesday evening, just hours before we were set to depart from Greece. Irish Senator Mark Daly (Kerry), one of 35 parliamentarians joining our flotilla, agreed to carry any letter and deliver it to UN officials inside Gaza. As of this writing, the lawyers have not responded to Sen. Daly, electing instead to attempt to smear us in the Israeli press.[5] We have always called for the release of all political prisoners in this conflict, including the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, among them hundreds of child prisoners.[6]

Most despicably of all, Israel claims that we are violating international law by sailing unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to a people desperately in need. These claims only demonstrate how degenerate the political discourse in Israel has become.

Activists from the Freedom flotilla

Despite its high profile pullout of illegal settlements and military presence from Gaza in August—September 2005, Israel maintains “effective control” over the Gaza Strip and therefore remains an occupying force with certain obligations.[7] Among Israel’s most fundamental obligations as an occupying power is to provide for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population. An occupying force has a duty to ensure the food and medical supplies of the population, as well as maintain hospitals and other medical services, “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” (G IV, arts. 55, 56). This includes protecting civilian hospitals, medical personnel, and the wounded and sick. In addition, a fundamental principle of International Humanitarian Law, as well as of the domestic laws of civilized nations, is that collective punishment against a civilian population is forbidden (G IV, art. 33).

Israel has grossly abused its authority as an occupying power, not only neglecting to provide for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population, but instituting policies designed to collectively punish the Palestinians of Gaza. From fuel and electricity cuts that hinder the proper functioning of hospitals, to the deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid delivery through Israeli-controlled borders, Israel’s policies towards the Gaza Strip have turned Gaza into a man-made humanitarian disaster. The dire situation that currently exists in Gaza is therefore a result of deliberate policies by Israel designed to punish the people of Gaza. In order to address the calamitous conditions imposed upon the people, one must work to change the policies causing the crisis. The United Nations has referred to Israel’s near hermetic closure of Gaza as “collective punishment,”[8] strictly prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. All nations signatory to the Convention have an obligation to ensure respect for its provisions.[9]

Given the continuing and sustained failure of the international community to enforce its own laws and protect the people of Gaza, we strongly believe that we all, as citizens of the world, have a moral obligation to directly intervene in acts of nonviolent civil resistance to uphold international principles. Israeli threats and intimidation will not deter us. We will sail to Gaza again and again and again, until this siege is forever ended and the Palestinian people have free access to the world.

One of the ships from the Freedom Flotilla in port.


[1] Amnesty International, Annual Human Rights Report (26 May 2010);

[2] "The pasta, paper and hearing aids that could threaten Israeli security," The Independent (2 March 2009)

[3] "Restrictions on the transfer of goods to Gaza: Obstruction and obfuscation," Gisha (January 2010)

[4] "Carter calls Gaza blockade 'a crime and atrocity," Haaretz (17 April 2008),

[5] "Gaza aid convoy refuses to deliver package to Gilad Shalit," Haaretz (27 May 2010)
[6] "Comprehensive Report on Status of Palestinian Political Prisoners," Sumoud (June 2004); Palestinian Children Political Prisoners, Addameer,

[7] Article 42 of the Hague Regulations stipulates, a “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army,” and that the occupation extends “to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.” Similarly, in the Hostage Case, the Nuremburg Tribunal held that, “the test for application of the legal regime of occupation is not whether the occupying power fails to exercise effective control over the territory, but whether it has the ability to exercise such power.” Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, like those in the West Bank, continue to be subject to Israeli control. For example, Israel controls Gaza’s air space, territorial waters, and all border crossings. Palestinians in Gaza require Israel’s consent to travel to and from Gaza, to take their goods to Palestinian and foreign markets, to acquire food and medicine, and to access water and electricity. Without Israel’s permission, the Palestinian Authority (PA) cannot perform such basic functions of government as providing social, health, security and utility services, developing the Palestinian economy and allocating resources.

[8] John Holmes, Briefing to the U Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 27 January 2009.

[9] Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article I stating, “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.” See also, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, I. C. J. Reports 2004, p. 136 at 138;
Posted by Kim at 6:02 AM 
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian


From I4P


The Zionist propaganda war against the Flotilla has begun. As we know, Israeli announced recently it will attempt to battle the PR war over the flotilla to Gaza by using Government approved hasbara messages and media stunts, along with their armies of online flying monkeys to spread the disinformation. To make people forget about the 1400 people they murdered in Gaza, 400 of which were children like this:

So, just this morning I found this vile little piece of work. DON’T CLICK ON THIS read it all first please. A brand new website has sprung up and notice it is using the name of a legitimate existing humanitarian organisation, e.g. “The Free Gaza Movement Flotilla” The bogus site was only just registered on 27th May 2010, to spread disinformation on the Flotilla and to spread lies about Gaza. See here:

Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Status: clientRenewProhibited
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Updated Date: 27-may-2010
Creation Date: 27-may-2010
Expiration Date: 27-may-2011

This site will be one of many to come. But PLEASE DON’T FEED THE TROLLS by clicking on the link, We don’t want to increase their Google ranking by clicking on it like I ultimately did this morning. I’ve placed it here in this post so you won’t be fooled should you come across it. So let me tell you what happens when you click that link; there is no site at the link, it’s just an immediate redirect to a youtube channel owned by some French Zionist arsehole; who has an extensive list of friends, including the IDF, AIPAC and many more lovely people. The page you land on is a vile video that at first looks like it could be a humanitarian appeal to help the Gazan Civilians, but within a few seconds you see what it really is, a nasty piece of pro-Israel Zionist work. Filled with “photos” claiming to be Gaza markets overflowing with food. But one needs to ask the question, just when did the IDF walk down the street of a market in Gaza City with people smiling at them and waving? When did the IDF supposedly film this nonsense!! My take is that they are video clips and photos of the West Bank, NOT Gaza. And the video goes on to paint Gaza as you would expect from Zionist murdering scum who did this. The video contains a collection of photos that obviously came for a great many years of conflict, some are possibly staged and definitely many years old, especially the photos of “destruction” inside Israel, which, of course is all blamed on Hamas, trouble is, Hamas is not that old, hasn’t been around but a couple of years. Truth is that Israel has been attacked for years by numerous other groups and factions, many within Israel itself, yet this massive collection of photos are all pinned on Hamas and their tiny wee firecracker rockets. Here’s a photo more truthful about the damage Hamas rockets cause:

So,FIGHT BACK WITH THE TRUTH!! and to all you creative Pro-Palestinian humanitarian people who make youtube movies, here is a challenge for you, get going and make a truthful video that refutes these lies, show the world what the Zionists are trying to hide, trying to gloss over, trying to lie, here is the link to the video, be SURE to give it a "Thumbs Down" rating!!

Posted by I4P Writers Group at 1:10 PM  
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Azam Tamimi Interviews Avi Shlaim

Avi Shlaim جسور | مع

alhiwarchannel — May 29, 2010 — برنامج جسور يستضيف الكاتب اليهودي العراقي آفي شاليم
تاريخ البث 22.05.10
مقدم البرنامج: عزام التميمي
Jusoor with Avi Shlaim

Palestine Video - A Palestine Vlog
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Obama, Israel Denounce UN Nuclear Document; Iran Praises it

Batoul Wehbe

29/05/2010 Again and again the US emerges to behave in a double standard and selective manner by disguising Israel’s nuclear weapons program while on the other hand accuses Iran of preparing to manufacture a nuclear bomb. At a UN conference on Friday US President Barack Obama welcomed a nuclear non-proliferation deal reached at the UN conference but "strongly" opposed singling out Israel over talks for a Mideast atomic weapon-free zone.

The agreement reached at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference "includes balanced and practical steps that will advance non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which are critical pillars of the global non-proliferation regime," Obama said in a statement.

The US president expressed concern however with the document's most controversial issue, a commitment to hold a regional conference in 2012 that would aim to create a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons. "The United States has long supported such a zone, although our view is that a comprehensive and durable peace in the region and full compliance by all regional states with their arms control and nonproliferation obligations are essential precursors for its establishment," he said. "We strongly oppose efforts to single out Israel, and will oppose actions that jeopardize Israel's national security."

Obama's national security advisor, General James L. Jones, also issued a statement to the same effect. "The United States will not permit a conference or actions that could jeopardize Israel’s national security," he said. "We will not accept any approach that singles out Israel or sets unrealistic expectations. The United States’ long-standing position on Middle East peace and security remains unchanged, including its unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security."

Jones added that Washington had reservations about the declaration because it names “Israel” while ignoring Iran. "The United States deplores the decision to single out Israel in the Middle East section of the NPT document," he said. "The failure of the resolution to mention Iran, a nation in longstanding violation of the NPT and UN Security Council Resolutions which poses the greatest threat of nuclear proliferation in the region and to the integrity of the NPT, is also deplorable."

Iran is a signature of the NPT treaty and is cooperating with the IAEA, while Israel is not. The 28-page Final Declaration was approved by consensus on the last day of the month-long conference, convened every five years to review and advance the objectives of the 40-year-old NPT.

Under its action plan, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states – the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China – commit to speed up arms reductions, take other steps to diminish the importance of atomic weapons, and report back on progress by 2014. The declaration also calls on Israel to submit its nuclear facilities to inspection by the UN, a clause the US sought to avoid, but it apparently withdrew objections in order to get the final draft approved.

Israel on Saturday denounced what it called the “hypocrisy” of a UN nuclear non-proliferation deal on the Middle East. "This accord has the hallmark of hypocrisy. Only Israel is mentioned, while the text is silent about other countries like India, Pakistan and North Korea, which have nuclear arms, or even more seriously, Iran, which is seeking to obtain them," a senior government official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "The fact that no reference is made to Iran is even more shocking, given that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has disclosed more and more information in recent months on the military character of Iranian nuclear projects," the official added.


Iran's representative to the UN atomic watchdog on Saturday hailed the UN document calling on Israel to open its so far undeclared atomic facilities to international inspection. Iran's IAEA representative Ali Asghar Soltanieh, who attended the conference at the United Nations, welcomed the move. "It is a step forward in creating a world without atomic weapons," Soltanieh told the official IRNA news agency.

Israel has been maintaining an ambiguous policy over its own atomic arsenal by neither denying nor admitting its existence. Soltanieh told IRNA that the United States, despite opposing the NPT text on Israel, will have to fall in line with other countries. "The US reservation is symbolic and it is obliged to go along with the world's request, which is that Israel must join the NPT and open its installations to IAEA inspectors," he said.


However, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that nations criticizing an Iranian nuclear fuel-swap deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey should eliminate their own nuclear weapon stockpiles.

Erdogan made the comments just hours after saying that the West was "envious" of Brazil and Turkey's achievement in getting Iran to agree to the deal. "Those who speak to this issue should eliminate nuclear weapons from their own country and they should bear the good news to all mankind by doing that," Erdogan said while attending a UN conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told reporters in Rio the fuel swap deal contains all the elements that the US and other nations were seeking in similar agreement last year. "The agreement contains all that which was proposed by the Group of Vienna, especially by Russia, the United States and France, and now we need time to see if it will bear results." "The world needs a peaceful Middle East," he said.

Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said world powers cannot use their nuclear weapons to bully other nations into giving up efforts to obtain peaceful nuclear energy. In a meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart in Sofia, Mottaki said, "Today, the world public opinion and the international community do not accept double standards and selective dealings."

Mottaki highlighted Iran's role as one of the founders of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and one of those contributing to the "nuke-free Middle East" initiative. The minister reiterated that Iran's stance was one of "nuclear energy for all, nuclear arms for none" — the slogan introduced by Tehran at an international nuclear disarmament conference hosted by the Islamic Republic.

"Those who have used nuclear arms against humanity and are now threatening other nations with such weapons have no right to prohibit others from exercising their inalienable right to peaceful nuclear energy," Mottaki added.

The Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov, for his part, hailed Iran's recent move to issue a trilateral nuclear fuel swap declaration with Brazil and Turkey. He described the May 17 declaration as a positive effort toward achieving a reasonable solution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.


In the meantime, senior U.S. officials were working hard this week on criticizing and undermining the much successful swap deal.

"The underlying problem is that Iran continues to enrich uranium, and that is what it is obliged to suspend under three (UN Security) Council resolutions," said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "In our view the joint declaration falls short of what's necessary. But regardless of this ... proposal, it is important that we proceed to New York to adopt the resolution."

The U.S. officials said the proposed deal was “too little too late and could not buy more time for Iran.” But the senior U.S. officials made clear the new fuel proposal will in no way slow the Washington-led drive to slap new UN sanctions in Iran, with the resolution expected to move to the full Security Council within weeks. "That was in essence grasping at straws, that somehow this would help resolve the issue," a second official said.

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Jeff Halper: Israel keeps Palestinians a centimeter above the line of starvation

 RT Top Stories

Israel’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank are an attempt to break Palestinians’ resistance, says author and activist Jeff Halper.

“It is simply not true that there is no humanitarian crisis. Actually two-thirds of the people of Gaza live in what the World Health Organization calls food insecurity,” Halper said. "More than 10 percent of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Goods like bananas, chocolate, beans and fresh meat are prohibited in Gaza. Each person in Gaza gets about half of the required calories for a normal life.”
“There are great problems with babies, iron deficiency with pregnant women. This is a controlled experiment in how to keep people hungry, to punish them, to keep them just a centimeter above the line of starvation,” the activist said.
“The thing behind it – and it’s true of the West Bank as well – that Israel is trying to impose a permanent occupation. Everything that Israel is doing is attempt to break the resistance and the will of Palestinian people, so in the end they give up and accept whatever Israel wants. But that is not succeeding,” he added.

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Fatah pledges to quell any form of resistance in the West Bank

[ 28/05/2010 - 12:22 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Fatah dominated PA authority in the West Bank has pledged to quell any form of armed resistance in the West Bank, urging the Israeli occupation authorities to give broader authority in the areas under its control.

According to the minutes of a meeting between PA and Israeli occupation officers, a copy of which was obtained by the PIC, PA officers pledged to suppress the resistance in the West Bank at all cost.

The document also revealed that the PA representatives appealed for the Israelis not to carryout any incursions in the areas falling under PA control in order not to "embarrass" them before the Palestinian public, and urged them to leave the mission of wiping out the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank to the PA security forces operating there.

During the meeting, the Israelis blamed the PA security forces for not doing enough against the Zakat committees in the West Bank, a matter the PA security forces pledged to handle, the document revealed.

The Israelis also asked the Fatah leaders to explain to them terms used by the Fatah authority like "popular resistance", "violence", and the "Israeli incursions", to which, the Fatah leaders replied that the term "Israeli incursions" is used for IOF troops entering into areas classified as "A", which is under the PA control.

Moreover, the Fatah leaders assured their Israeli counterparts that the PA security apparatuses in the West Bank were sincere in silencing any voice calling for or encouraging the resistance against the occupation, and that such policy was clear and firm instructions from the highest PA political echelon.

In return, the Israelis promised to remove a number of barriers in the streets of the West Bank, allow more trucks carrying stones into the West Bank, and allowing Palestinians of the 1948-occupied lands to enter the west Bank through any checkpoint.

The PA officials also requested the Israelis not to humiliate the Palestinian citizens while traveling abroad or passing Israeli checkpoints.

Hundreds of Palestinian resistance fighters were arrested by the forces of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and placed in jail without charges, the majority of them underwent torture, and many others had passed away under torture in Abbas's jails.

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Will IJAN Challenge Jewish Power?

PeaceMonger, Commenting on Nahida's great piece, wrote:

On IJAN, please see "Will IJAN Challenge Jewish Power?" on the Palestine Think Tank. Nahida, what happened to your article from last year on Palestine Think Tank?
4:45 AM, May 29, 2010

The Article was posted at  PTT without the name of the wtiter, hopefully I found it at peacemonger's site.
The Writer of the article is Heny Herskovitz, who placed a great comment on Nahida's piece.

Henry Herskovitz said...

Great writing, with the possible exception that you've granted IJAN more than it deserves. The last point of their "unity" is all about protecting jewish sensibilities. It reads: "Rejection of alliances with anti-Jewish racists, white supremacist and Nazi holocaust deniers in our Palestinian solidarity work."

As you've said beautifully, "The road to Palestine does not pass either through Nazi-Germany or through Auschwitz for that matter."

So why is IJAN so concerned with blocking the voice of holocaust revisionists from their group? Because they too are intent on protecting jewish sensibilities, and to date have yet to challenge jewish power in the US. If jews form groups to offer solidarity with Palestinians and label themselves as jews (e.g. IJAN), yet DO NOT challenge their own community, they should get out of the business.

Thank you, nahida. You rock!
3:54 PM, May 28, 2010

Will IJAN Challenge Jewish Power?

Below is the analysis of Henry Herskovitz (with Michelle J. Kinnucan) of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends to a recent op-ed by Rebecca Tumposky on the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN).

There are many problems with IJAN, which lead me to doubt the purposes of the group. I first question whether they are a Palestinian solidarity group or yet another group that seeks to shield and preserve Jewish power both in Palestine and in the U.S.

In this writer's opinion, Jews - if they are acting in a group that represents Jews in the peace movement - should first and foremost challenge what Akiva Eldar and J. J. Goldberg, among others, call the "Jewish lobby" - the powerful people and institutions (and their rank-and-file supporters) who dominate the US discourse and policy regarding Jews and Israel. Often, these are the very people behind the charge of "self-hating Jews" (and for non-Jews, "anti-Semites") about whom Rebecca Tumposky, national organizer with the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, complains. Yet, nowhere in her article does Ms. Tumposky show a disposition to directly do that.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that three originators of IJAN who live in southeast Michigan, including "Invincible," declined the invitation to stand vigil with us at our Global Vigil Day in 2007 or at any other time. They refused to expose and challenge Beth Israel Congregation--a local institutional bastion of open, unabashed Jewish support for Israel--when they had the opportunity. And yes, I'm the first to admit that standing in front of a synagogue is not the only way to challenge Jewish power, but at the same time ask where does IJAN directly challenge this power using another tactic?

In Tumposky's op-ed she says IJAN "seeks to challenge the violence and injustice of Israeli apartheid" but she and IJAN are US-based. So, where is her mention, let alone challenge, of the Jewish supremacism/power that allows Jews - less than two percent of the US population - to so effectively steer US policy and resources into underwriting Jewish apartheid in Palestine?

Right out of the box, she shows her hand - Tumposky's and IJAN's opposition to apartheid is rooted not in universalistic notions of justice and human rights but in Jewish chauvinism/exceptionalism. Thus, they appeal to Jews on the grounds of "our varied traditions of social justice." And Tumposky wants to make sure - absolutely certain - that fighting anti-Semitism is prioritized in any work on freeing Palestine from the genocide brought on by the Jewish state. Thus, she writes, "We challenge anti-Jewish prejudice while standing in solidarity with organizations that support Palestinian liberation and historic justice ..." In short, IJAN enters the Palestinian solidarity movement with an explicit agenda of highlighting, if not foregrounding, the concerns of Jews, the very people who enjoy Jewish privilege here and in Israel.

Her opposition to Zionism is carefully couched as a subset of opposing colonialism and imperialism, in general: "We share a commitment to participation in struggles against colonialism and imperialism. We therefore oppose Zionism ... IJAN, in fact, opposes all imperialist aggression". She refuses to take notice of the peculiar situation of Zionism - Jewish imperialism - in that Jews lacked a nation-state of their own and, thus, Zionists commandeered other countries, namely Britain and the US, to realize their goals.

Tumposky beats up one or two carefully placed straw men along the way: "We will say it again and again, despite accusations of being 'self-hating Jews': Zionism is not Judaism and the Jewish community." Just who is it that equates Zionism with "Judaism and the Jewish community"? And why is this point so essential for "anti-Zionists" like the IJAN folks? What would Tumposky say to the 757 rabbis - "the largest number of rabbis whose signatures are attached to a public pronouncement in all Jewish history" - who in 1942 stated that Zionism is an "Affirmation of Judaism" and "Anti-Zionism, not Zionism, is a departure from the Jewish religion"?

She also plays a Left Zionist game when she attempts to distinguish the 'types' of Zionism, claiming that "the Zionism we oppose is not a longstanding cultural or religious expression". She conveniently ignores the fact that when push came to shove, all the Zionists - Left, Right and Center - gave their blessings to destroying Palestine.

In the first chapter of his book Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Norman Finkelstein challenged the myth that any of the Zionist tendencies (Labor, Religious, etc.) were ever benign. In short, the only thing about Zionism that really matters is that it "is a form of racism and racial discrimination," as the UN General Assembly correctly identified in 1975.

Tumposky's definition of Zionism is also problematic - "the 19th century ideology that led European Jews to work with imperialist powers to displace and ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people, which continues today." It is folly to imply that Jews were passive objects of that "ideology". Zionism was created, implemented, and popularized by Jews. Are readers supposed to believe that it was the imperialist powers that Jews only "worked with" that committed this crime? Isn't it more accurate to say that Jews led these imperialist powers by the nose - as they still do today - to have non-Jews die for the Jewish state?

When she writes "Israel and its U.S. lobby helped pushed us toward the Iraq war and are exerting similar pressure to attack Iran", readers need to be cognizant of what she omits - EVERY major constituent group of the organized Jewish community pressed for war on Iraq, and there's a list of at least two dozen Jewish individuals - in powerful government or media positions - who also pressed strongly for war.

Tumposky touts "Jewish visions of collective liberation and traditions of social justice", but doesn't give us any proof that this tradition ever existed, other than in the minds of Jews who want their image spit-shined, if not outright falsified. More than 300 years ago, Benedictus de Spinoza, who is often upheld as a great Jewish intellectual, observed that Jews had in fact nothing to commend themselves as superior to others, had acted in such a way as to "incur the hatred of all", and that this hatred was the glue that bound Jews together. Other than, perhaps, a few years during the Civil Rights struggle (and Benjamin Ginsberg casts doubt on even this), Jews collectively have acted in concert NOT for universal well-being, but for the benefit of Jews. IJAN does not seem to be an exception.

Distinguishing IJAN from AIPAC, J-Street and Tikkun, might make good reading, but doesn't let them off the hook. Once again, I'm reminded of Paul Eisen's words: "The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons displaying Jewish religious symbols, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organized Jews worldwide. But to name Jews as responsible for this crime seems impossible to do." It seems obvious to me that IJAN and similar organizations exist, in no small part, to prevent the naming of Jews as responsible for the Jewish-led genocide against the Palestinian people.
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// posted by PeaceMonger @ 2/27/2010 03:16:00 PM

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The Israel Lobby's Big Problem: People Aren't Afraid to Criticize Israel Anymore

Right-wingers in Jerusalem keep getting more and more outrageous. But the political climate in Washington can no longer be predicted, much less taken for granted.

March 27, 2010  |  
I just ran across a couple of noteworthy quotes from members of AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful organization in the much-dreaded “Israel lobby” — which began its annual meeting in Washington on Monday:
“We were never exposed to anti-semitism, but we heard about anti-Israel campaigns in colleges, and next year we are going to college, and we want to have the tools to deal with that,” said a high school senior, one of some 1300 students and youth at the meeting, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Note how effortlessly this kid moves from “anti-semitism” to “anti-Israel.” That’s how AIPAC has always recruited youth: Take Americans who have never experienced anti-semitism personally and make them believe that, even if they haven’t seen any enemies, those enemies are out there, lurking everywhere, disguised as “critics of Israel,” just waiting to pounce on poor, unsuspecting Jews.

But times are changing. Even AIPAC no longer tries to keep up the old fiction that criticizing Israel is, in and of itself, an anti-semitic act. There are too many Israeli Jews, who are obviously loyal to their nation, criticizing their government for that old canard to stick.

So now the right-wingers have come up with a more sophisticated version:  “Soft” critics of Israel are OK — those who don’t go too far in their criticism — but “hard” critics of Israel are obviously anti-semites. And of course AIPAC and its right-wing partners in Israel gets to decide what counts as going too far.

Apparently it’s those “hard critics” who mount the “anti-Israel campaigns in colleges,” and they’re the ones this AIPAC high-schooler has learned to be afraid of. Well, AIPAC has to have some anti-semites out there to pursue its double-barreled strategy: Incite fear to rally the troops while justifying everything the Israel government does as necessary for Jewish survival, and therefore morally justified.

But what if American Jews stopped being afraid and stopped justifying outrageous Israel actions, like the recent announcement (while Vice-President Joe Biden was visiting the country) of 1600 new Jewish housing units in the occupied territory of East Jerusalem?

Which brings me to the other noteworthy quote, a rather blunt one from AIPAC attendee Donell Weinkopf of New York:  “I would not say that I am disappointed by the Netanyahu government. But I feel like shit. Israel did something stupid by declaring this construction. … I think that the time has come for Israel to stop biting the hand of a friend.”

Weinkopf probably tracked the incident closely.  So he knows that no one has been able to turn up evidence to refute Israeli Prime Minister’s Bibi Netanyahu’s claim that the announcement, made by a far right cabinet minister, came as a surprise to him. Let’s assume it did. But Weinkopf also knows that Bibi could have reversed the decision and immediately healed any rift with the U.S. Instead, though, he merely offered Biden a meaningless apology for “bad timing” and boasted that the building project would go ahead anyway.

Then Israel’s PM came to Washington, where Weinkopf and all the other AIPAC’ers heard him deliver a seemingly defiant speech.  The journalist who got the two rich quotes at the AIPAC meeting heard it too and described it this way: “Unsurprisingly, his speech included every possible cliche: Death camps, the relentless persecution the Jewish people have suffered throughout history, the powerful bond between the Jews and the land of Israel and, of course, Jerusalem. … Far from being a conciliatory effort, Netanyahu’s speech was riddled with borderline provocation. … He did not present a real vision for peace or compromise.”

And the very next day, as Netanyahu prepared to meet with Obama at the White House, news came of yet another provocation: approval of a new apartment building for Jews in the hotly-contested Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, a project that has already been criticized by the U.S. government.  It seems likely that the move was intentionally timed by right-wingers to offset any possible image of Netanyahu compromising with Obama.  Bibi “is planting the seeds for the next crisis,” one of his political opponents charged.

However, outright defiance of the U.S. could get Bibi in bad trouble politically at home.  So behind the scenes he is backing down a bit in the face of Obama administration criticism (which was repeated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she addressed the AIPAC gathering).

One Israeli journalist, citing unnamed “analysts,” says that the harsher tone from Washington “stems not from the decision to build in Ramat Shlomo, but because Netanyahu broke an earlier pledge to improve governmental oversight in order to prevent the Interior Ministry coming out with announcements of the kind that sparked this crisis.”

It’s probably no coincidence that, precisely as Netanyahu was spending several hours at the White House, the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee decided to freeze all discussion of expanding Jewish construction in Jerusalem “until further notice”(though the one new building in Sheikh Jarrah will proceed).

And according to Israel’s Interior Ministry, “the prime minister has decided to form a committee of chairmen to improve the coordination between the various government offices over all matters relating to construction and building permits.”  The prime minister had already demanded a list of all plans for large projects in Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods, including Ramat Shlomo.

No, it’s not any huge breakthrough. But it’s one of those little pieces of evidence that point to Netanyahu’s larger strategy. He talks tough and plays the fear card. Quietly, though, he is giving the Americans at least some of what they want. “I can imagine that there will be little building for Jews in Arab neighborhoods,” a consultant to the Israeli government told the Times, and “on Ramat Shlomo I imagine the prime minister gave assurances that nothing would be built for some years.”  Other Jerusalem insiders disagree, believing that Bibi won’t give way very much at all.

Which way the Israelis go depends largely on how much pushback they get from the Obama administration. That’s still an open question.

However, it’s clear that Israel can no longer count on U.S. support no matter what it does, because the political atmosphere here is changing so fast. There are countless thousands of Donell Weinkopfs throughout the United States, Jews who would not have dreamed of criticizing Israel a few years ago, but are now thinking for themselves rather than offering knee-jerk praise.

Some of them were surely among the respondents to the latest poll of American Jewish opinion. A few of the most striking findings:
  • 82% want the U.S. to “play an active role” in the Israel-Palestine peace process
  • 71% want the U.S. to exert pressure on both sides to make compromises for peace
  • Fully half stick want U.S. involvement even if it means the U.S. exerting pressure on Israel alone to make compromises
  • Asked whether U.S. criticisms of Israel should be made in public, more Jews say “yes” than “no”
  • 69% voted for Obama and 62% still approve of the job he’s doing (far higher than h overall public’s rating of the president)
  • Obama’s favorable rating is 15 points higher than Netanyahu’s.
It’s also worth noting that Israel and Judaism are not very central in the lives of this sampling of American Jews:
  • Asked to name the TWO most important issues facing our country, only 10% put Israel on their short list
  • Well over half said they did not follow the controversy surrounding Biden’s visit to Israel closely or at all
  • Only 23% attend synagogue services more than a few times a year, and only 39% attend activities of other Jewish groups
That does not sound like a community ready to use its political clout to “stand with Israel” no matter what the Jewish state does. It sounds like a community that identifies as American more that as Jewish, is split by internal conflict on the question of Israel (when it bothers to think about that question at all), and may well be open to supporting Obama and his Middle East policies, even when they involve pressure on Israel.
So AIPAC knows that its old fear-based tactics may still work, but not nearly as well as they once did. Netanyahu knows it too. So does Obama. That’s why the rules of U.S. – Israel relations are changing, even if only slightly thus far.

But Obama has his own fears. He and his party face an uphill political fight this year. He cannot know for sure how far he can push the Israelis without triggering a backlash — not only among Jewish voters but among the many Christians who support Israel for their own reasons, and among a general public long conditioned by the media to see Israel as an underdog oppressed by Muslim “evildoers.” Already Republican candidates are burnishing their “pro-Israel” credentials as a way to attack the Democrats.
On the other hand, if Obama does not pressure Israel enough he could trigger a backlash from another powerful quarter: the Pentagon, which is now pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement as a way to ease anger against U.S. troops in the greater Middle East.  Democratic presidents who have never served in the military will go to great lengths to avoid alienating their own military leaders, especially if they hope to make good on a controversial pledge to give gays equality in the military.

More to the point, perhaps, Obama has also publicly pledged to move the Israel-Palestine conflict some significant steps toward resolution.  He cannot do that unless he puts enough pressure on Israel.  Without sufficient pressure, his fears of failure on his boldest foreign policy promise are likely to come true.
Now the president has a chance to send a clear signal.  But no one can say for sure what signal he will send. And that’s precisely what made this week’s AIPAC meeting different from any in recent memory.

Right-wingers in Jerusalem keep getting more and more outrageous. But the political climate in Washington can no longer be predicted, much less taken for granted. So there’s far less reason than before to stand in dread and awe of AIPAC or the “Israel lobby.” There’s far more reason to think that countervailing pressures from the left can make a real difference, giving the administration the safety belt it needs to act decisively. Perhaps that’s what made Donell Weinkopf — and plenty of other AIPAC members, including its top leadership, I suspect — feel like shit.

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Read more of his writing on Israel, Palestine, and American Jews on his blog:
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Ahmadinejad Blasts Medvedev Over UNSC Sanctions;

By Juan Cole
28 May, 2010

The Iranian newspaper Tabnak reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech on Wednesday, took a hard line with Russia and also pressured the US to accept the deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil on Iranian low enriched uranium (the “Tehran Declaration.”)

Ahmadinejad, speaking in the city of Kerman, said that Iran and Russia had been friends for centuries. He addressed Dimitry Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation, saying that there was some danger if Russia continued on its present path that Iranians would switch, and begin considering Russia a historical enemy. He added, “We are both neighbors, and two neighbors cannot but be friends with one another. But this friendship has prerequisites. The first prerequisite is honoring reciprocal rights, and defense of them, and mutual respect.”

He continued, “Today, explaining the behavior of Medvedev toward the nation of Iran is very difficult for us . . . The people of Iran do not know if the Russians are our friends or are against us.” He advised President Medvedev to speak with more caution and forethought about such a large and capable nation as Iran.

“We must not perceive that our neighbor, on sensitive positions, has taken the side of those [the United States] who have for 30 years with all their might acted with enmity toward the nation of Iran . . . This matter is unacceptable. The Tehran Declaration is the greatest opportunity and there is no longer any pretext.” He said that if, before, the Russians could say that the West was putting pressure and wanted to see Iran take some significant step and make an important announcement, well, it had now done so.

He said, “We are also under pressure. But can we, just because of that pressure, act against the Russian nation?”

He warned, “They must not permit the Iranian nation to begin considering them as being on the level of historical enemies.”

Ahmadinejad went on to warn President Barack Obama of the US that the Tehran Declaration represents a “historic opportunity for him” should he genuinely want “change,” — an opportunity to begin respecting the rights of other nations and to abandon wrong and inhumane policies, treating other countries instead with justice and fairness.

Ahmadinejad’s blunt comments on Russia brought rebukes from that country. According to Interfax, May 26, 2010, as translated by the USG Open Source Center, Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the International Affairs Committee in the Russian parliament, said he was “disappointed by today’s quite harsh statement by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad about the Russian and US presidents.”
The report continues,

‘ “I am quite disappointed that Mr Ahmadinejad resorted to the megaphone diplomacy method instead of relying on a substantial and constructive conversation on an expert level,” Kosachev told Interfax.
“I leave on the conscience of the Iranian leaders their belief that Russia is supporting forces hostile to Iran, but I would like to emphasize that there are very few counties which sought the observance of all norms of international law with respect to Iran’s nuclear programme as consistently as Russia,” Kosachev said, adding that “Russia has always been and will be committed to this position”.
The Russian MP said he was pleased that the Iranian authorities had finally, although after a long delay, sent the agreement on further enrichment of Iran’s nuclear fuel reached with Turkey and supported by Brazil to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] for assessment. “We can only welcome the fact that the day before yesterday the Iranian authorities sent this document to the IAEA for assessment. However, one cannot but regret that this was not done earlier,” Kosachev said.’
Turkey and Brazil negotiated the agreement announced early last week whereby Iran would send over half of its low enriched uranium to Turkey to be held in escrow and would receive from the international community uranium enriched to 19.75% to run its medical reactor, which produces cancer-fighting isotopes. Both Turkey and Brazil are lobbying for United Nations acceptance of the Tehran Declaration.

Brazilian President Lula da Silva is putting pressure on President Obama to accept the agreement and to back off imposing further sanctions on Iran. Brazil is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council at the moment and its positions have some weight with other non-permanent members.

The USG Open Source Center translated the following news report on Lula’s lobbying of Obama, from the Portuguese press. The article reveals that Obama is insisting that Iran completely cease its uranium enrichment program if it wants to see sanctions lifted and rejoin the international community.
‘ Brazil’s Lula Urges President Obama To Reconsider Iran Sanctions
Report by Denise Chrispim Marin: “Lula Sends Obama Letter To Avoid Sanctions on Iran”
O Estado de Sao Paulo digital
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 …
Document Type: OSC Translated Text …
Brasilia – In a letter sent by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to his US counterpart Barack Obama, the Brazilian leader cautions that new UN Security Council sanctions on Iran could provoke the loss of the opportunity created by the Tehran Declaration to reach a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Taking the precaution of not using the word “sanction,” Lula insisted on stating in his letter that the declaration elicited support from high-ranking leaders.
Lula sent the above letter in response to one sent to him by Obama late in April in which the US President made it clear that he would not give up its demand for sanctions, unless Iran discontinued its uranium enrichment activities immediately. This warning was not contained in excerpts of the letter leaked to Reuters on Friday.
Lula’s letter suggests between the lines that the United States give a truce to Iran before putting new sanctions to a vote at the UN Security Council. The letter focused on the progress made through the agreement signed by Brazil and Turkey with Iran on 17 May on exchanging slightly enriched uranium with nuclear fuel.
Lula pointed out in his letter that, by signing the Tehran Declaration, the Iranian Government agreed “in writing” to points it had rejected earlier. Lula also emphasized the Iranian decision to notify the agreement to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 24 May within the established deadline.
Lula’s letter to Obama is part of new efforts by the Brazilian Government to prevent a UN draft resolution imposing new sanctions on Iran from being voted and approved. According to the Itamaraty press office, Lula sent similar letters yesterday to Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev and to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Within the next few days, Lula will also send letters to Mexican President Felipe Calderon — whose country, like Brazil, is a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council — and to South American leaders. ‘
By the way, Arizona, just a note. Now might not have been an opportune time to anger the Mexicans, if you wanted their support on Iran.

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