Saturday, 10 July 2010

House Arabs Only Defend Speech That Doesn’t Offend Zionists

June 9, 2010
By now, many people have heard about the repercussions of Helen Thomas’ comment:
“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine [...] Remember, these people are occupied, and it’s their land; it’s not German, it’s not Poland’s… “they should go home” to “Poland, Germany, [...] America and everywhere else. Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries?”
As can be expected, this remark led to a firestorm. Thomas apologized and subsequently retired from her long career. Her agency dropped her and an invitation to give the commencement speech at a Maryland high school was withdrawn.

Public reaction aside, let’s take a close look at the substance of what she said. She simply called for the decolonization of the Arab land of Palestine in the same sense that Algeria was decolonized of the French. She demanded the reversal of the historical wrong of settler colonialism. Her comment didn’t advocate for any kind of violence. In fact, she didn’t even demand that the Jewish settler community be “removed” or “expelled.” She only advocated that they “leave,” which implies a voluntary act.

Helen Thomas is not the first to note that all Palestine is Arab land. Gandhi stated:
“Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs… Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.”
Even if we were assume for the sake of argument that Thomas’ comment was beyond the pale, doesn’t the First Amendment apply to her? Or does the Arab-American establishment only defend speech that doesn’t offend Zionists? The Arab-American leadership’s reactions to Thomas ranged from deafening silence to outright condemnation. It’s been three days since the controversy erupted. That’s plenty of time for anyone outraged by the attacks on Helen Thomas to voice objection and show solidarity.

American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Although ADC had honored Helen Thomas in the past and hosted her as a speaker, the line was drawn at her remark. As of the date of this writing, ADC has issued no press releases defending Thomas’ fundamental right to free speech, not to mention the Palestinians’ right to full decolonization of their land. Neither did we receive as little as an internal email on ADC’s list encouraging members to stand by their brave fellow Arab. If ADC invites her back to speak or receive awards in the future, Ikhras readers will each receive a free hookah.

Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)

The classical Islamic position is that Palestine is Islamic land, that Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam from which the Prophet took a voyage to the heavens. Palestine obviously carries much weight with Muslims, observant and secular alike. However, CAIR has said nothing in solidarity with Helen Thomas. She might have won CAIR’s support if she were a rabbi.
Hussein Ibish: Nothing.
American Task Force on Palestine: A search for “helen thomas” reveals no relevant results.
Irshad Manji: Nothing.
American Islamic Forum for Democracy: Nothing.

Arab American Institute: We can understand Arab and Muslim groups’ reluctance to support Helen Thomas. Her comment, after all, offends Zionists in the same way slavemasters would be offended when called upon to free their slaves. Silence regarding Helen Thomas’ right to express an opinion, while not excusable, is understandable. So why would any Arab-American want to join the mob that is attacking her? In what the Arab American Institute’s James Zogby thinks is damage control, he volunteers that “Helen Thomas clearly misspoke,” that “It is a shame that her career ends this way” and that her remark was a “mistake.” Zogby could have stopped there but he went on to compare her remark to Rush Limbaugh’s “disgraceful and insulting comments about African Americans, gays, Muslims, and women” and “Pat [Robertson's] bizarre pronouncements connecting the devastation of Katrina or Ariel Sharon’s stroke with God’s justice”.  Why is Zogby pouring gasoline on fire? Isn’t that the ADL‘s role? Would Zogby say it’s right and moral to impose the Jews on the Arabs? Does he in fact believe Palestine is German or Polish land? James, if you can’t support Helen Thomas’ right to free speech, at least IKHRAS!

While the Arab and Muslim American mainstream demonstrably failed to stand up for their fellow Arab-American’s right to express an opinion, we note that at least one Mexican-American group has succeeded where House Arabs have failed. This group’s solidarity with Helen Thomas is remarkable considering the Mexican-Americans community has enough to deal with; the struggle in light of the recent Arizona SB 1070 law. The below was forwarded to us on emaill:
On the day we in Mexico celebrate the Day of Freedom of Expression, Helen Thomas, a bright and daring journalist who until yesterday, had been reporting for the Hearst network of newspapers such as The San Francisco Chronicle, among others, and a reporter who before being forced out occupied one of the first seats at the press conference room of the White House, was fired or, as the current Chairman of the corporation put it:  “presented her resignation…” only for voicing her thoughts in regards to the criminal assault of the Israeli army against 19 human rights activists in the Mediterranean Sea that were in route to the Gaza Strip to carry humanitarian aid to the Palestine People.Besides the violation to one of the most sacred liberties a human being has such as the right of free expression, Helen Thomas was obligated to resign to her job, one she had been performing with brilliance and dignity for more than 50 years, and for this reason we affirm:  WE ARE ALL HELEN THOMAS, AND WHAT HAS BEEN DONE AGAINST HER HAS BEEN DONE AGAINST ALL OF US!

Patricia Barba Avila
Directora General del Consejo Nacional de Comunicadores Ciudadanos, A.C. (CONACC)
Titular del programa Desde la raíz transmitido por Radio La Nueva República todos los martes y viernes de 19 a 21 (hora del Pacífico) y de 21 a 23 (hora del Centro) [ingresar a Google y teclear Radio La Nueva República)
Jueza para el Tribunal Internacional de Conciencia (TIC) – Foro Social Mundial (FSM)

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Obama and Netanyahu Plan Conflict, not Resolution

by Stephen Lendman

On July 6, Bibi and Obama met privately for 79 minutes, Atlanta Journal Constitution writer Jay Bookman calling it "empty theatre, actors going through the motions of pretending to pretend, (when, in fact, there's) no willingness or political ability within Israel to withdraw from settlements (or) create a viable Palestinian state, (nor is there) stomach in Washington" to endorse an equitable agreement. "I can't recall a time when I have been more cynical about peace prospects there, and the prettily staged theatrics in Washington" only harden that view.

Not for New York Times writers Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Mark Lander headlining, "US and Israel Shift Attention to Peace Process," saying:

They "articulated a timetable for peace negotiations (reflecting) a palpable shift in the administration's approach to a relationship that has been rife with tension" since Obama took office. In fact, for decades, Israeli-Washington relations have been rock-solid, including under Obama and the current Congress, the powerful Israeli Lobby assuring it stays that way.

Haaretz writers Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya were also upbeat, headlining "Obama-Netanyahu summit focuses on warm relations, avoids settlements," saying:

They "radiate(d) a sense of friendship and the absence of any crisis in relations between the two leaders," Obama calling "the bond between (the two nations) unbreakable," Bibi "emerg(ing) from the White House meeting in high spirits."

His sources said no pressure was exerted on settlement issues, both sides avoiding the topic, focusing instead on handshakes, photo-ops, and post-meeting comments - customary disingenuous boilerplate, Obama calling Netanyahu a "man of peace," Bibi saying the president is "a great leader (and) a great friend of Israel...."

In contrast, hundreds of protestors demonstrated outside the White House, including members of CodePink, Neturei Kartam - NK (anti-Zionist orthodox Jews), Sabeel (a Jerusalem-based "ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians"), Atra Kadisha (an organization for safeguarding Jewish graves), and the Central Rabbinical Congress of the US and Canada (CRC), a consortium of anti-Zionist groups founded by the Satmar Hassidic ultra-orthodox community, including holocaust survivors and their descendants.

They displayed a banner for Obama to stop Israeli aid and end the Gaza siege, NK Rabbi Yisroel Dovis Weiss calling Netanyahu "a thief and criminal (who) doesn't represent the Jews. We pray for peace and the end of the Zionist State. Our message today is not for Netanyahu. It's for (Obama) not (to) meet with a thief who stole the Jewish star and (committed) crimes (in) the name of the Jews."

Others called Israel an "infidel regime," shouting "No more nickels, no more dimes, no more funding Israel's crimes" - end the Gaza siege and expel Israel's ambassador.

More demonstrations were held outside the Israeli Embassy, waving Palestinians flags and chanting "End the siege in Gaza now....Stop Israeli piracy," traditionally dressed orthodox Jews carrying signs reading "Judaism condemns Zionist atrocities in Gaza."

After the Obama meeting, Bibi went to New York for a curtain call, AFP headlining "Fueled by White House success, Netanyahu heads to UN (for discussions with) UN chief Ban Ki-moon, saying he could perform miracles to hammer out a peace deal if all sides come together."

"We want President Abbas to grasp my hand, get into a room, shake it, sit down and negotiate a final settlement of peace between Israel and the Palestinians," he told ABC News, omitting what he demands, a one-sided deal like all others - namely, capitulation, not compromise; occupation and belligerence, not conciliation, and conflict, not resolution - why Adalah-NY announced the following:

"Hey Hey New York: Netanyahu's Coming to Town. We Say No! Let's tell War Criminal and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: You are NOT welcome in our city!"

"Netanyahu is coming to New York to justify continued colonization and slaughter. The media will be there to relay his 'facts' to the world. Let's make sure they hear the real story."

Hundreds turned out, saying:

"No to the Israeli Occupation!

No to the blockade and siege of Gaza!

No to US tax dollars funding Israeli war crimes!

Yes to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!


We are on a roll, people. The world is confronting Israeli war criminals. Let's not permit this one to visit NYC with no resistance!"

Endorsed by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, American Jews for a Just Peace, Jews Say No, and the WESTPAC Foundation, a Westchester County peace and justice group.

Glorifying a War Criminal

Throughout his visit, Netanyahu was feted like a visionary, not a war criminal head of state, perhaps why Haaretz writer Zeev Sternhell called Israel "A Society falling apart" in his July 9 article, saying:

"Among the regimes in the Western world, Israel stands out with certain characteristics that generally do not indicate a strong democratic system," citing a "nonexistent" opposition, "contempt for the law....unrest caused by the ultra-Orthodox (and) settlers," and the "respectable right (choosing) leaders of the most dangerous kind....Against this backdrop, Israel's moral crisis is getting deeper all the time," especially under Netanyahu, a man contemptuous of moral values, ethical standards, democratic freedoms, and human rights, notably for non-Jews.

A man also responsible for the cold-blooded murder of humanitarian activists bringing aid to besieged Gazans, and for daily institutionalized violence, a snapshot below from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights July 1 - 6 report, citing:

-- Israeli forces attacking peaceful West Bank and Gazan protestors, injuring seven civilians (including two children and a journalist), and arresting two others;

-- firing at Palestinian farmers and workers in Gaza's border areas and fishermen at sea, injuring two children;

-- conducting 21 West Bank incursions, arresting 23 Palestinian civilians, including seven children;

-- continuing the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem, forcing a Palestinian family to demolish its home and leave;

-- destroying 13 North Valley tents and an inhabited hut to remove Palestinians;

-- continuing settlement construction, and letting settlers attack Palestinians with impunity; and

-- enforcing Gaza's siege, so-called easing bogus on its face.

On July 8, the International Middle East Media Center headlined, "Israeli Army Conducts Limited Invasion In Southern Gaza," saying:

At dawn, near the Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) Crossing (east of Rafah), a "number of Israeli armored military vehicles" invaded Gaza, opening fire at civilian homes, causing damage but no injuries.

"Local sources reported that three military vehicles and two armored bulldozers advanced 200 meters into Palestinian farmlands close to the border." They "uprooted farmlands and leveled some structures, while the army opened fire in different directions."

Almost daily, "Israel (conducts) invasions and attacks into northern and eastern areas of the Gaza Strip, and prevents the farmers from reaching their lands close to the border."

In late June, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Affairs Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called for stripping Israeli Arabs of their citizenship and expelling them - his blueprint for peace, saying they're a fifth column, "actively assist(ing) those who want to destroy the Jewish state."

During the 2009 elections, his extremist Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party endorsed the notion of "No loyalty, no citizenship," proposing various loyalty laws, and saying peace depends on "an exchange of populated territories to create two largely homogeneous (ethnically pure) states, one Jewish Israeli and the other Arab Palestinian," accomplished by ethnic cleansing, what ideologues like Lieberman and his followers love, no matter how in violation of international law.

They also endorse confrontations like in Beit Jala (near Bethlehem) on June 20, when Israeli forces burned fields, and attacked peaceful demonstrators, bystanders and six journalists - Yousef Shahin (Palmedia), Abdel Hafith Hashlamon (European News Agency), Nasser Al Shayukhi (AP), Musa Al Shaer (AFP), and Najeh Hashlamon (ABA).

Two Palestinian youths, Mohammed Masalma and Thaer Mahmoud, were severely beaten. Gas canisters set fire to dry fields, engulfing an olive grove. Homes were indiscriminately shot at. No injuries were reported.

Incursions like this happen regularly, with no provocation, including against peaceful demonstrators and bystanders. So do air attacks, targeted assassinations, home demolitions, land seizures, mass arrests and torture, including against children - official Israeli policy, hard line under Netanyahu, his government perhaps Israel's most extremist ever, his peace notion based on capitulation, ethnic cleansing, military occupation, permanent conflict, and slow-motion genocide for Gazans - what Palestinians won't ever accept nor should people anywhere tolerate.

A Final Comment

In America, credible reporting on Israel/Palestine is verboten, a cause for dismissal, censure, and blacklisting - a testimony to the power of the Israeli Lobby and neocon right, as virulent now as under Bush.

Iconic Helen Thomas a recent casualty: age 89, author of five books, a copy girl after college, UPI in 1943 writing radio news, a correspondent for 60 years, the National Press Club's first female officer, the media Gridiron Club's first female member, recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, the long-time White House press corps doyenne, covering every US president since Dwight Eisenhower - ostracized by friends and colleagues, pilloried by the pro-Israeli chorus, and fired for saying Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine (and) go home," expressing frustration and anger about 62 years of persecution, 43 under military occupation, horrific enough to enrage anyone for justice.

CNN's senior Middle East affairs editor, Octavia Nasr, is the latest target, for twittering the following comment:

"Sad to hear of the passing of (Lebanon's Grand Ayatollah) Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah...One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot."

So did his followers, Reuters reporting hundreds thousands ("a sea of men and women from across Lebanon") turned out to mourn his death, a man "who became one of Shi'ite Islam's highest authorities." Buried on July 6, he died Sunday, July 4 at age 74.

After her firing, Nasr elaborated, saying she used the words "respect (and) sad because to me as a Middle Eastern woman, Fadlallah took a contrarian and pioneering stand among Shia clerics on women's rights. He called for the abolition of the tribal system of 'honor killing.' He called the practice primitive and non-productive. He warned Muslim men that abuse of women was against Islam."

He also wrote many books, founded Islamic religious schools, including the Al Mabarrat Association (providing academic and vocational education for orphans, the deaf and blind), lectured often, was a respected scholar, established a public library, a women's cultural center, and a medical clinic.

Yet he was vilified as a terrorist for being Hezbollah's "spiritual mentor," Nasr fired for showing respect - a shameless act by a network known for suppressing truths, endorsing imperial wars, and backing corporate interests, right wing extremism, sham elections, the worst of Israeli crimes, and intolerance of opposing views, as true throughout the major media - corrupted, reprehensible, unscrupulous, worthless, and devoid of real journalism, those daring any fired for doing their job, why Project Censored warns of a "truth emergency inside the military industrial media empire," a graver threat today than ever.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
posted by Steve Lendman @ 3:04 AM  

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

UK Bows to Israel Pressure, Takes Down Ambassador's Obituary to Sayyed Fadlullah

10/07/2010 After the cases of CNN anchorwoman Octavia Nasr and veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas had made headlines, it was now the turn of Frances Guy, Britain's ambassador to Lebanon, to lose her right to voicing out a personal opinion.

While Nasr was sacked for having expressed her admiration for the late Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlullah on her personal blog and Thomas for having called on Jews in the world to stop colonizing Palestine, the British ambassador in Beirut aroused anger in Tel Aviv for having commemorated the renowned Sayyed Fadlullah as a decent man.

In an obituary she also wrote on her personal blog, Frances Guy wrote that she left the presence of Sayyed Fadlullah, who died Sunday, feeling a better person. "Lebanon is a lesser place the day after, but his absence will be felt well beyond Lebanon's shores," she said. "The world needs more men like him, willing to reach out across faiths."

In a statement Friday, Britain's foreign office said the ambassador "expressed a personal view" on Sayyed Fadlullah and did not reflect an official government position. The blog, it said, was taken down.

"While we welcomed his progressive views on women's rights and interfaith dialogue, we also had profound disagreements - especially over his statements advocating attacks on Israel," the statement said.

Guy, who has been British ambassador to Lebanon since 2006, explained her views in a new blog posted Friday. "The problem with diplomatic blogging is that you risk being anodyne or controversial," she wrote. "Clearly in the last few days I have been the latter. This was not my intent. My comments on the late Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlullah have now been removed because they were leading to confusion about British policy.”

"I would like to be clear. I have no truck with terrorism wherever it is committed in whoever's name. The British government has been clear that it condemns terrorist activity carried out by Hezbollah. I share that view."

Guy said Friday that she understood her words had offended people. "The blog was my personal attempt to offer some reflections of a figure who, while controversial, was also highly influential in Lebanon's history and who offered spiritual guidance to many Muslims in need," she wrote.

"I recognize that some of my words have upset people. This was certainly not my intention. I am sorry that an attempt to acknowledge the spiritual significance to many of Sheikh Fadlullah and the views that he held in the latter part of his life, has served only to further entrench divisions in this complex part of the world."

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Israel threats to attack Libyan aid ship sailing for Gaza

[ 10/07/2010 - 10:19 AM ]


The Israeli government threatened to attack the Libyan aid ship that will be sailing from Greece on Saturday to the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Hebrew radio reported that Israel's envoy to the UN stressed in a letter sent to secretary-general Ban-Ki-moon, the Security Council and the General Assembly that Israel retains to itself the right to prevent the Libyan ship from breaking the naval cordon, alleging that this cordon was imposed on Gaza in line with international law.

The Gaddafi international charity and development foundation said a Moldovan-flagged cargo vessel carrying 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies would set sail from Greece either late Friday or early Saturday.

Libya's permanent national committee for supporting the Palestinian people also said it would send next Monday the largest land aid convoy to Gaza.

General coordinator of the committee Nuri Bin-Othman noted that the convoy would be composed of 20 large trucks loaded with different kinds of humanitarian aid.

Bin-Othman added that the committee coordinated with the Egyptian Red Crescent to facilitate the entry of the convoy to Gaza.

For its part, the popular committee to end the siege appealed to the Greek authorities to facilitate the sailing of the Libyan aid ship from its ports to Gaza and not respond to Israel's pressures.

Head of the committee MP Jamal Al-Khudari said that the Libyan ship named "Hope" would sail in compliance with the international maritime law as well as with the UN resolutions that call for ending Gaza siege.

Khudari pointed out in a press release on Saturday that the Libyan ship would be boarded by civilian activists and wold carry humanitarian aid specified by his popular committee in coordination with Arab Knesset member Ahmed Al-Tibi.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

The Adoration of Bibi Netanyahu

Via Intifada Palestine
09. Jul, 2010
By Jeff Gates

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

It’s impossible to know what goes on in the Oval Office. All the public sees is photo-ops and scripted comments. Was Barack Obama’s adoration of the Israeli Prime Minister meant as a subtle manipulation? Was this “keep your friends close and your enemies closer?”

If so, that would be good news for the U.S. provided he grasps that he’s been played for a fool—with the help of his top advisers. His political career is a product of the Chicago Outfit, including his presidency. Can he rise above that? I need to believe that he can.

What we witnessed this week at the White House was words of praise for the leader of a government that has strategically deceived the U.S. for more than six decades. Yet President Obama assured us that he now “trusts” a spokesman for Israel’s ultra-right Likud Party.

Was this presidential subtlety? Perhaps Obama praised “Bibi” Netanyahu a bit too much? Isn’t that what a commander-in-chief would say if he was trying to lull an Israeli leader into a false sense of security so he would misstep?

It’s not like Obama could just blurt out: “Hey Bibi, here’s the new deal. We’re going to endorse the one state solution, declare Jerusalem a cultural heritage site under U.N. protection, recover for Palestinians their occupied land and safeguard them with 30,000 troops that we’re airlifting in from Afghanistan. Oh, and we’re going to secure your nuclear arsenal—tomorrow.”

That may be too rational for such an emotional issue. After all, Americans have yet to sort facts from fiction when it involves “the promised land,” the Exodus mythology and the heroic saga of the long-suffering “Israelites” in search of a “homeland.”

Fools and Crooks

Should you get discouraged, try putting this duplicity in historical perspective. After all, Zionists were deceiving U.S. presidents long before this latest president was born. They duped Harry Truman into recognizing their extremist enclave as a legitimate state back in 1948. Much like Truman, Obama’s political pedigree traces its Chicago roots to organized crime.

The Missouri version of the Chicago Outfit was Kansas City’s Pendergast political machine. Its operatives profiled, picked and produced Truman, grooming him first as a county judge in the 1920s before placing him in the U.S. Senate in 1934.

He never won an election. Not really. Even his reelection as president in 1948 is traceable to the same trans-generational syndicate that brought Obama to political prominence six decades later. The only difference is the sophistication of their electoral operation.

In 1929, the Pendergast machine was represented by Johnny Lazio at the first-ever meeting of the National Crime Syndicate when it convened in Atlantic City. In 1931, 24 exclusive territories were allocated at a Jews-only conclave at the Franconia Hotel in Manhattan. Then as now, Chicago and New York were major nodes in this transnational network.

Zion in the White House

Like Republican G.W. Bush a half-century later, Democrat Harry Truman was an avid Christian Zionist who famously read the Bible cover-to-cover five times by age 15. Ministers in Missouri consulted the Bible-obsessed youngster on scripture.

In 2000, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright named the State Department after Truman. That incident remains an inside joke in Israel because Truman is best known abroad as the U.S. president who rejected the advice of his Secretary of State George C. Marshall when the WWII general opposed U.S. recognition of the Zionist enclave as a legitimate state.

Marshall knew this entangled alliance would prove the undoing of U.S. national security. The Joint Chiefs of Staff cautioned Truman about the “fanatical concepts of the Jewish leaders” and their plans for “Jewish military and economic hegemony over the entire Middle East.”

Thus the need—then as now—for Israeli leaders to deploy strategic duplicity.

In 1997, Albright announced an “epiphany” that she was Jewish. That personal revelation came only after she was named Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State. Dr. Glenn Olds, who had known her family since she was a teenager in Colorado, offered his candid assessment of her epiphany: “That is simply not believable.”

What can we believe? Who can we believe? Barack Obama?

What do Americans dare believe about this meeting between an Israeli Prime Minister and a White House occupant with a “Chicago” political lineage?

This much can be said with confidence: so long as Barack Obama adores their leaders, the Israelis will not assassinate him. Could that explain his Israel-first behavior? See: Will Israel Assassinate Barack Obama?

Duplicity as a Way of Life

Netanyahu spoke at length of his concern about a worldwide movement to de-legitimize Israel. As a lawyer, Obama knows that this concern conveniently ignores the fraud by which that “legitimacy” was recognized—by a political product of organized crime.

Russian oligarchs share a similar concern—and may meet a similar fate. They are waiting for an incredulous world to recognize as “private property” the fruits of their massive fraud. Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev estimates that $1 trillion in wealth was stripped from their economy. The impact fell hardest on pensioners and children.

Stolen property does not become “legit” simply because you hold onto it. Likewise for land taken under cover of what Americans were induced to believe was a 1967 “war.” In truth, that conflict was a long-planned Six-Day Land Grab.

To portray that armed taking as the rightful spoils of war is no more legitimate than the oligarchs defrauding Russia of untold riches under the guise of “privatization.” Six of the top seven richest oligarchs qualify for Israeli citizenship—in a nation whose population is less than two percent Ashkenazim.

As part of Tel Aviv’s typical psy-ops preceding a high-profile White House meeting, Americans were subjected to a public relations blitz. The day before, the Israeli military announced that a soldier was indicted for killing a Palestinian who was attempting to surrender while carrying a white flag. Here’s the catch: the indictment was not for murder but manslaughter.

Tel Aviv also announced proceedings against an officer who ordered the shelling of the entrance to a mosque, killing at least 15. But read the fine print: the charge was not murder but a simple rebuke.
Not wanting to appear overly generous after these magnanimous gestures, Netanyahu declined to extend a “partial 10-month building freeze.” Thumbing his nose at U.S. leaders, he refused to mention even the possibility of a two-state solution.

Then came the Obama Adoration—on nationwide television. What was he thinking?

Tough Guy Obama

Lest someone charge that Barack Obama failed to drive a hard bargain, he promised that, after 43 years of Israeli occupation, proximity talks with the Palestinians may yet mature into direct negotiations!!! Of course that means Israel must first agree to cease the building of settlements on Palestinian land.

That’s a non-starter for the “Israelites” who consider themselves Chosen—by a god of their own choosing. That self-proclaimed status entitles them to take land that their G-D gave them thousands of years ago. No one could make this up; they truly do believe this. Truly.

Obama then declared a renewed commitment to the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship,” proclaimed again an “unshakable bond” with the Zionist enclave, and assured Tel Aviv there was no shift in U.S. policy on Israel’s nuclear arsenal, a stance profoundly out of synch with our professed support of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Tehran take note.

Are you too looking for the silver lining in these otherwise dark developments?

Do you find yourself wondering for whom Barack Obama is working?

Are you confused about just whose interests he represents as our president?

You are not alone. No one is more concerned than U.S. military commanders.

The Obama Adoration meant even more bad news for senior Pentagon personnel. Obama’s behavior was particularly galling for those aware of the common pro-Israeli source of the phony intelligence that induced us to war on false pretenses.

How much longer will U.S. commanders be willing to order that Americans die for Jewish extremists? Knowing the depth of corruption and complicity within our civilian leadership, to whom do military commanders owe their allegiance?

When our command and control system is this corrupted at the top, what then for those who took an oath to defend this nation from all enemies, both foreign and domestic?

Has our entangled alliance with religious extremists eroded U.S. democracy from the inside out? Are our military leaders obliged by their Constitutional oath to challenge the remnants of democracy in order to restore it?

Untangling the Alliance

The Pentagon is not pleased that America’s inevitable showdown with Israel was delayed—yet again. Perhaps this is Obama’s version of the calm before the storm. Maybe—just maybe—No Drama Obama will emerge as the agent of change that he promised his supporters. Absent a dramatic shift in U.S.-Israeli relations, infamy could be his legacy.

Meanwhile Tel Aviv will resort to its two preferred strategies: outrage and entropy. We can expect another round of settlements. Or some killings. No one dares call them murders. Any provocation will do so long as the reaction enables the Israelites to be portrayed as victims.

The likelihood of an entropy strategy always lurks in the background. Obama was repeatedly reminded of the fragility of Netanyahu’s governing coalition. Its collapse would leave the U.S. with no government to negotiate. Though it’s difficult to imagine anything could be worse than Netanyahu, that outcome might well be. Tel Aviv knows this.

For Israeli war-planners, the force-multiplier effect is palpable. In practical game theory terms, the most right-wing parties in the Netanyahu coalition now shape U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. For the U.S. to maintain a stable Netanyahu government, our policies must please right-wing Likud stalwarts, including Israel’s ultra-orthodox extremists.

In short, George Marshall was correct. So was George Washington when he cautioned us against entangled alliances, particularly where, as here, there is a “passionate attachment.”

It gets worse.

After a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the Likud Party leader announced that the U.S. pullout from Iraq could leave Israel vulnerable. Therefore, U.S. troops must provide security along the Jordan Valley as part of any final status agreement with the Palestinians.

What he failed to mention is that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon assured Obama’s predecessor that if the U.S. invaded Iraq, Israel would make peace with the Palestinians. That agreement is no longer mentioned.

Adding insult to six decades of grievous injury, the Israeli news service Haaretz published a next-day headline that read, “Israel won’t attack Iran without coordinating with the U.S.” That caption implies that Obama gave the blessing of the U.S. for an Israeli attack, ensuring that Americans can once again be portrayed as…guilty by association.

Anyone who believes that Israel wants peace fails to grasp how Israel wages war. Peace would preclude Zionism’s pursuit of its hegemonic agenda for the region. The Joint Chiefs cautioned Harry Truman against this alliance 62 long years ago.

Americans—and the U.S. military—have been played for the fool. For more than six decades, transnational organized crime has been setting our agenda in the region at a steadily rising cost in blood and treasure.

The adoration must end for U.S. national security to begin. The next few weeks will determine whether we have a fool or a leader as commander-in-chief.

Jeff Gates is a widely acclaimed author, attorney, investment banker, educator and consultant to government, corporate and union leaders worldwide. He served for seven years as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He is widely published in the trade, popular and academic press.  His Website:

His latest book is Guilt by Association: How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War. His previous books include Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street From Wall StreetThe Ownership Solution: Toward a Shared Capitalism for the 21st Century. and
Read More at his website:
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Israeli troops violently disperse march in Sheikh Jarrah

[ 10/07/2010 - 08:50 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation police used excessive force to disperse hundreds of foreign peace activists and Jerusalemite citizens who marched Friday towards the Palestinian homes seized by Israeli settlers in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The protesters carried banners and chanted slogans condemning Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands and its policy of uprooting Palestinians from their homes and native city.

The policemen dispersed the protesters by force and physically assaulted them using their rifle butts and batons as some of them tried to break through the Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance to the neighborhood.

One of the citizens, whose homes were taken by settlers, said the policemen violently attacked the protesters and rounded up seven of them.

He added the protesters were interrogated before a decision was issued to exile them from the neighborhood for 15 days and fining them 5,000 shekels.

Meanwhile, the policemen also provoked the feelings of Sheikh Jarrah residents and allowed more than 50 settlers to enter the neighborhood to perform Talmudic prayers, but the residents clashed with the policemen and forced the settlers out.

A delegation of Belgian judges participated in the protest to express their rejection and condemnation of expelling the Palestinians from their homes and giving them to settlers.

In the West Bank, many marches were organized on Friday on the fifth anniversary of the decision issued by the international court of Justice in The Hague that criminalized Israel's building of the segregation wall.

Violent clashes broke out between Israeli troops and protesters in the villages of Masarah, Wadi Rahal and Walajeh in Bethlehem, and Ni'lin and Bil'in villages in Ramallah. Arrests and injuries reportedly happened among the protesters.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Epstein hopes Gazans will be ‘free to pursue their lives in dignity’

Today's Zaman

Hedy EpsteinHedy Epstein has been fighting the good fight for more than 60 of her 86 years. She escaped death in 1939 by being placed on one of the British-sponsored Kindertransport ships that carried more than 10,000 children to England and Northern Ireland.

Both her parents and almost all of her family perished at Auschwitz. Arriving in the US in 1948, she embarked on a lifelong campaign of conscience, speaking out for reproductive rights, fair housing and peace.

She has raised her voice in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Cambodia. “My lesson [from the Holocaust] is that when I see injustice -- I don't care who is responsible -- I must do what I can.”

In 1982, following the Israeli-sanctioned massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, her attention began to focus on Palestine and its suffering. In 2001 she founded the St. Louis chapter of Women in Black -- the international women's peace organization.

In 1982, following the Israeli-sanctioned massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Hedy Epstein's attention began to focus on Palestine and its suffering. In 2001 she founded the St. Louis chapter of Women in Black -- the international women's peace organization. In 2009 she joined the 1,000 activists on the Gaza Freedom March. Ms. Epstein spoke about her cases in an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman
In 2009 she joined the 1,000 activists on the Gaza Freedom March, which attempted to enter Gaza from Egypt. During that march she embarked on a hunger strike in solidarity with the Palestinians. She has visited the Occupied Territories five times since 2003. Most recently she was in Cyprus offering logistical support for the Gaza flotilla.

According to the website, “She proudly reports that she has rewritten the post-Holocaust motto, ‘Never again!’: ‘As I stood next to the 25-foot high cement wall in Qalqilya, I coined this phrase: “Never Again (for Jews), Again by Jews”.”
Her autobiography, published in 1999, is fittingly titled “Remembering is Not Enough.” Shortly after her return to the US from Cyprus, Ms. Epstein spoke in an exclusive interview with Today’s Zaman.

Ms. Epstein, your critics claim that because you are a Holocaust survivor you should be especially sensitive to the survival of Israel. How do you reconcile that with your advocacy for Palestinian rights?

In some ways my being a Holocaust survivor has nothing to do with my criticism of Israel’s policies and practices. On the other hand, it is this very experience that has sensitized me to the suffering of others, especially of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government and military. What is the lesson to be learned from the Holocaust? It is that the victims and their descendants should not become victimizers of “the other,” in this case, the Palestinians.

You describe yourself as “anti-Zionist.” What is the origin of that philosophy?

I was born in Freiburg, a village in the Black Forest. All the Jewish children belonged to a Zionist youth organization -- I was the only one who didn’t belong, because my parents were anti-Zionist. When Hitler came to power in 1933, I was 8 years old. My parents very quickly realized that they had to leave Germany. They were willing to go anywhere in the world: “nur raus!” -- just get out!

But they would not go to Palestine because they did not believe in Zionism.

‘When I see injustice, I don’t care who is responsible,’ says activist Epstein.

As a young child I did not completely understand Zionism or anti-Zionism -- but if my parents were anti-Zionist, I was too.

In 1948, about the same time that Israel was created, I arrived in the US. I had mixed feelings then about Israel. On the one hand, I was glad that there was a place for Holocaust survivors who could not, or chose not to, return to their place of origin. But on the other hand, I remembered my parents’ anti-Zionism.

What would happen I could not guess -- but I feared that no good would come of the birth of the state of Israel. I was new to the US, having new experiences and new things to learn and Israel/Palestine stayed on the back burner of my interest and remained there until 1982, when I read about the Israeli-sanctioned massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

I knew that I needed to find out exactly what happened there.

Who was responsible? Who had been adversely affected? What had happened between 1948 and 1982, when I was paying little attention to that part of the world?

As I learned more, I became increasingly disturbed by the policies and practices of the Israeli government and military vis-a-vis the Palestinians and their land. I began to speak out against these policies and practices.

In 2003 I went to the Israeli-occupied West Bank for the first time and have been back there five times since, most recently with the Gaza flotilla. I have tried unsuccessfully four times to enter Gaza, but permission has repeatedly been denied. They say that I am a “security risk”! An 86-year-old woman!

Earlier this month, you told The Guardian, “The mainstream American Jewish community almost speak in one voice and if you dare to criticize Israel you are called anti-Semitic and if you are Jewish you’re called self-hating, a traitor.” How do you react to accusations that advocating for human rights in Palestine equals anti-Semitism?

Naturally, being called a “self-hating Jew” or “a traitor” is not among my most pleasant experiences. However, such remarks have not and will not stop me from doing what my conscience tells me is the right thing to do.

Last year, when you were in Egypt as a member of the Gaza Freedom March, you said, “My message is for the world governments to wake up and treat Israel like they treat any other country and not to be afraid to reprimand and criticize Israel for its violent policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians.” Why do you believe there is such reluctance on the part of the world’s governments? What are they afraid of?

Fear of being accused of being anti-Semitic. ... In Germany, guilt feelings about the Holocaust also play a significant role.

Despite the fact that there is a growing pro-Palestinian rights movement in Israel, the great majority of Israelis still believes that the current state of affairs in Gaza and Israeli policies are correct. Does this indicate a national apathy to suffering?

I believe this is changing, especially after the Israeli massacre in Gaza in December 2008-January 2009 and especially after the attack on the Gaza flotilla.

The average Israeli who is not politically savvy believes the government mantra that Israel is constantly under attack and is the victim -- and he/she also believes in the demonization of the Palestinians. Most Israelis are not really aware of the extent of the suffering of the Palestinian people, who may live just a short distance from them.

Israelis do not visit the Occupied Territories because they have been ordered not to go there. Yes, there is apathy, of living smugly in a very small world, not knowing and not wanting to know what is really and truly taking place in their names.

What is the underlying reason for this national apathy?

There are several explanations: Fear of “the other,” who has been described as “a terrorist”... government-initiated PR ... a complicit media that serves only as a government tool by misrepresenting the reality and plays on the existing fear by fear-mongering.

Are you satisfied with President Barack Obama’s response to the flotilla murders?

Absolutely not! Surely, he knows better. In his younger years, when he befriended Edward Said, Obama was clearly advocating for Palestinian rights. But when he came to the White House, he surrounded himself with pro-Israeli neocons like Rahm Emanuel.

Where is President Obama’s backbone? Why is he so afraid of AIPAC -- the American Israel Public Affairs Committee? Do the pro-Israel folks have something on Obama?

If you could meet President Obama what would you advise?

I will probably not have that opportunity, but if I did, I would ask only one question: “What would your mentor Edward Said say about your position on the Israeli-Palestine question?”

As you are certainly aware, Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel and, furthermore, Jews have enjoyed a climate of tolerance in Turkey for more than 500 years. Are you satisfied with the reaction of the Turkish government to the flotilla massacre? What advice would you give Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan?

Turkey’s reaction is much like what the reaction of what any other country would be in similar circumstances.

The flotilla attack was an attack on the sovereignty of Turkey, but the relationship between Turkey and Israel has been deteriorating recently as a result of Prime Minister Erdoğan’s outspokenness. We can also recall the meeting between Israeli and Turkish diplomats at which the Turkish representative was purposely seated at a lower level than the Israeli.

But it would be presumptuous of me to give advice to the Turkish prime minister.

Are you optimistic about the future of Gaza?

I am an eternal optimist and so I continue to hope that some day Gaza and its people will be free and able to pursue their lives in dignity -- a dignity that will prevail, despite all odds against them.

Finally, may I add a message of condolence to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims?

It is impossible to express the deep sympathy I feel for you. I wish so very much that I could lift the feelings of emptiness and disappointment from your hearts. It is very hard to understand why something like this had to happen. Life is so very unfair at times. Words are so inadequate at a time like this. I do want you to know that the memory of your loved ones is in my constant thoughts, as are you, who have lost so very much.

There will be many difficult times and tasks ahead of you. At this distance (I live in the United States) I don’t know what I can do to be of most help to you, but I hope you will give me the opportunity to be your friend by letting me know if there is any way that I can be of comfort and assistance to you.

* Mark Lieberman is a lecturer at İstanbul Technical University.

07 July 2010, Wednesday


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Mishaal confers with the delegation of independent Palestinian figures

[ 10/07/2010 - 07:51 AM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas, and members of the political bureau received in Damascus on Friday a delegation of independent Palestinian figures led by business tycoon Munib Al-Masri.

The independent figures briefed Mishaal and the political leadership of Hamas on their ideas for overcoming obstacles hampering inter-Palestinian reconciliation and the importance of achieving inter-Palestinian understandings.

Mishaal welcomed the delegation's efforts, which, he said, would help in accomplishing national reconciliation.

The visiting delegation included Dr. Hanna Naser, Dr. Assad Abdul Rahman, Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi, and Hani Al-Masri.

The delegation, which was previously assigned by former PA chief and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to mediate a national reconciliation, had decided to dissolve itself in protest over Abbas's backtracking on his promises and his attempt to reduce the delegation's mediation bid into convincing Hamas to sign the Egyptian reconciliation document.

The delegation decided to initiate another independent attempt to bridge the gap between the two main Palestinian parties and to forge Palestinian-Palestinian understanding that would facilitate ending the internal rupture and achieve reconciliation.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Sheikh Qassem Warns Israel of Big Loss in Any Future War

09/07/2010 Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem warned on Friday the Israeli enemy of a "big loss" in any future assault on Lebanon.

"If the result of the July war was a failure to the Israelis, then Israel would suffer a big loss in its next aggression," Sheikh Qassem said in an interview with Syria Satellite Channel.

According to Sheikh Qassem, the resistance's victory on the Israeli enemy in the year 2006, founded a new stage in the history of the region. His eminence explained that the 2006 resistance victory established a stage, in which the demolishing of the Zionist entity started, in benefit of the Arabic and Islamic issues, where the Palestinian issue comes in the lead.

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General, meanwhile, called for raising the issue of ongoing Israeli violations against Lebanon in the UN Security Council.

Sheikh Qassem expressed belief the national unity government in Lebanon has achieved a "very important goal - political stability and security."

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Egyptian authorities release two Jihad activists, detain ten others

[ 10/07/2010 - 07:28 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Islamic Jihad said that the Egyptian authorities had released two of its members held in Cairo while ten others were still in custody.

Sheikh Khader Habib, a Jihad leader in Gaza, said in a statement to the PIC on Friday that Hamza Hamid and Obeid Al-Gharaballi have been released following many contacts with the Egyptian authorities to close this "painful file".
He hoped that all Palestinian detainees held in Egypt for non-criminal charges would be released the soonest.

Both Jihad activists were detained at Cairo international airport 45 days ago on their way back to Gaza Strip from a trip abroad.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

New Tensions Test Old Allies

10. Jul, 2010

By Lamis Andoni

On the eve of the recent meeting between Barack Obama, the US president, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, in Toronto, the two sides exchanged soft – but poignant – warnings.

Philip Gordon, the US assistant secretary of European and Eurasian affairs, challenged Turkey to prove that it remains “committed to NATO, Europe and the United States,” while Erdogan questioned whether the US was “supporting Turkey adequately in its battle against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)”.

The statements were the strongest public indication of an emerging mutual mistrust between the two allies since the crisis over an Israeli attack on a Turkish Gaza-bound aid flotilla and Turkey’s vote against imposing further sanctions on Iran at the United Nations Security Council.

Turning its back on the West’

Washington has so far refrained from criticising Ankara, despite a growing campaign among lobbyists and the US congress targeting Turkey’s governing Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP). Led mainly, but not exclusively, by the pro-Israel lobby and neo-conservatives, this campaign has called for measures ranging from withholding support for the Turkish government to US backing of the opposition in the country’s next parliamentary elections.

Barry Rubin, a leading neo-conservative, has even called for Turkey to be “permanently” written off as an ally. Writing in the Jewish Commentary Magazine, Rubin declared: “The fact is that Turkey has changed. Gone, and gone permanently, is secular Turkey, a unique Muslim country that straddled East and West and that even maintained a cooperative relationship with Israel.”

But even ‘liberal’ writers have been accusing Turkey of turning its back on the West and attempting to lead a pro-Islamic Arab axis. So far, however, there has been no sign that Obama is ready to downgrade ties with Ankara, let alone treat it as “an international pariah”.

But Gordon’s statements suggest that Washington is questioning some aspects of its support for Ankara: “There are people asking questions about it in a way that is new, and that in itself is a bad thing that makes it harder for the United States to support some of the things that Turkey would like to see us support,” Gordon said in an apparent reference to Turkey’s actions against the PKK.

A buffer between East and West

But Turkey is too important to the US to be easily sacrificed.

The relationship dates back to 1947, when the US, under the Truman Doctrine of then president Harry Truman, designated Turkey as a recipient of special economic and military aid with the intention of combating Soviet influence in Europe and Asia.

Turkey became a crucial partner in the post-9 /11 ‘war on terror’ and a key component of the post-Cold War neo-conservative agenda that guided the two administrations of George W Bush, the former US president.

The US has relied on Ankara to curb Russian expansion towards the former Soviet, mostly Muslim, republics and to check China’s influence in that region.

As a non-Arab Muslim state, neo-conservatives viewed Turkey as an important part of a security belt to protect Israel – a buffer between the Muslim world on one side and Israel and the West on the other – and those who sought to fully integrate Israeli security goals into US national security policy, saw Turkey as a more reliable ally than Arab states like Egypt and Jordan.

Turkish and pro-Israeli lobbies regularly worked together to promote the interests of both countries on Capitol Hill. The pro-Israeli lobby supported Turkish efforts to prevent a US bill calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians “genocide” and to secure US financial and logistical assistance in Ankara’s fight against the PKK. In 1999 the US, with Israeli assistance, even helped to kidnap the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, from Kenya.

The AKP’s ascension to power in 2002 did not affect the country’s strategic pacts with the US or Israel. Nor did the Turkish parliament’s decision not to allow Turkish territories to be used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In fact, many American strategists and writers – liberals and conservatives alike – viewed the AKP’s modern ruling style as “a model for other Muslim and Arab countries” and hoped that the “moderate AKP” would placate anti-Western and Israeli sentiments in the Arab world. Washington did, however, rely heavily on the strength of Turkey’s military council and Turkish yearning to join the European Union to check the Islamic leanings of its government.

At the same time, the AKP’s role was boosted by its sponsorship of indirect talks between Syria and Israel.

A shifting focus

But Turkey was changing.

Firstly, the government began placing a greater emphasis on Turkey’s Islamic identity and affinity with the causes of the Muslim world.

Secondly, in its effort to implement the reforms demanded by the European Union, the Turkish government managed to marginalise the country’s military council, stripping it of its power to shape policies.

Thirdly, the AKP no longer saw itself as a junior partner in its alliances and sought to assert Turkey’s role as a strong regional power rather than a follower in a pro-Western axis.

Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, put forward a new paradigm in international relations where Turkey’s political weight is derived from expanding and developing its ties with its neighbours to the East – including the Arab world, the former Soviet Republics and Iran.

When Obama became US president, Turkey was the first Muslim country he visited in his bid to open a new page with the Muslim world away from the hostile terminology of the ‘war on terror’. His visit was viewed as a triumph for Turkey’s new strategy and a boost to its perceived role as a power broker between East and West.

But the new developments in Turkey alarmed its traditional allies in Washington, particularly neo-conservatives and the pro-Israel lobby – who claimed that Ankara was distancing itself from the West. The Israeli war on Gaza galvanised the AKP’s opponents in Washington, while Turkey saw it as a blow to its efforts to mediate between Israel and Syria at a time when it was expecting a breakthrough.


Ankara’s improving ties with Tehran were also arousing mistrust in Washington, and the Turkish and Brazilian brokered uranium swap deal seemed to confirm the suspicions of those who felt the Turkish government was moving in a direction contrary to US interests. While Turkey may have been asserting its new role and trying to avoid a scenario it saw as destabilising to the entire region, it was not necessarily misunderstood. The Iranian-Brazilian initiative did run counter to US Republican and neo-conservative pressure to support a war or at least an Israeli military strike against Iran.

But two events became the catalyst for an all out campaign against the Turkish government in Washington: Turkey’s suspension of military maneuvers with Israel, the recalling of its ambassador and demand for an international investigation in the wake of Israel’s military interception of the Turkish aid ship; and Turkey’s vote against a new round of sanctions on Iran at the United Nations Security Council.

The response was swift: A number of prominent Republican and Democrat congressmen slammed Turkey’s “disgraceful conduct,” warning that there would be “payback” if Ankara continued to pursue its close relations with Iran and hostility towards Israel.

In conclusion, when Obama visited Turkey in 2009 he declared: “We are not solely strategic partners, we are also model partners.” No similar statement followed the Toronto meeting, but little has changed in terms of the two countries’ mutual needs.

The US needs Turkish support troops in Afghanistan and to benefit from Turkey’s influence the Black Sea region, the Caucuses and the Middle East.

It also needs secure transport from Turkish ports during the eventual withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Likewise, Turkey needs sustained US support in its battle against the PKK and its apparent splinter groups, which Ankara suspects are backed by Israel.

But the US needs to patch up the Turkish-Israeli rapture – partly to placate right wing pressures at home, but also because it is vital to US interests in the Middle East.

It is likely that Ankara will collaborate with Washington to stop any further deterioration in its relations with Israel, but may wait until a new government takes over to mend the rift.

And while the US cannot afford to bow to right wing pressure to drop its support for Turkey, it may still choose to support the AKP’s rivals in the next elections – something US ambassador James Jeffrey’s recent visit to Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party, may hint at.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian