How the Lebanese Delegation was Blindsided at Annapolis

According to good sources, the Lebanese government was blindsided at Annapolis with the candidacy of Michel Suleiman as President 

As officials began to arrive at Annapolis and started circulating, E.U, and then Egyptian officials began to approach their Lebanese counterparts. “Congratulations on your new president,” they were informed.

The jaws of the Lebanese delegates dropped. It was the first any of them had heard of such news.

The Lebanese made their way to Secretary of State Rice to find out the truth of this breaking news. Secretary Rice played coy, claiming that the deal was the doing of the French and Egyptians. It was not clear to what extent she was on top of the latest deal making.

Kouchner is primary target of Lebanese contempt. They blame him for pulling the rug out from under them and fixing the deal behind their backs. It was their way of getting the Syrians to Annapolis. Egypt helped swing the deal. They had been in favor of Michel Suleiman from the start. The Saudis had fallen into line begrudgingly.

Faysal Miqdad, the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, was by all accounts very quite and subdued at the Annapolis meeting. He did not demand attention, but rather watched the proceedings with an air of satisfaction and anticipation. One reporter told me that the Syrian delegation was jubilant after it was over.

As one Lebanese said, “The French screwed us because they brought Syria to Annapolis. They decided the President of Lebanon without March 14.” 

When asked what is wrong with Suleiman. I was told. “He is an unknown person to March 14.”

The Fouad Seniora government had wanted, in order of preference, the president to be

  1. Nassib Lahoud
  2. Butros Harb
  3. Khoury 

Evidently, Saad Hariri had not been so much asked as told by the French that Michel Suleiman was to be given the go ahead to become president.

He caved to the French pressure because he has been faced with growing complaints from the Christians that the Sunnis are taking too much power. Hariri has been accused of hurting the Christians by allowing the presidency to remain weak. They are worried that Hariri will allow it to remain vacant now that Lahoud has gone.

The March 14 position of insisting that the president be elected by the parliament based on a vote from 50% of the deputies plus-one collapsed when Cardinal Sfeir announced that he would not accept this.


Why would France want Syria at Annapolis so much? Why would Washington allow itself to be dragged along? What about Saudi Arabia and Israeli?


At this point I enter into the land of speculation. The above part of this story seems fairly well sourced and I trust it.

What follows is what some well placed Lebanese believe. I do not believe that the US can or will attack Iran, but many Lebanese do. It is how they explain what happened at Annapolis. This is what was told to me. The anxiety that Lebanon will be cut loose and sold down the river by the US and France is palpable.

"It is all about Iran," my informant explained to me.

The Lebanese feel certain that the US is planning to hit Iran this summer. 

France and Israel do not want the Assad regime to fall. They do not want Syria to get sucked into a conflict. If Iran is going to get hit, they do not want the radicals to be able to move. This means getting Syria safely off the Iran ship before it goes down. Syria had to be "flipped," no matter the price.

Kind Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called Bashar al-Assad to warn him that “this was his last chance” and that he had to find a safe port to weather the storm. “You have to move over to the Arab camp now.” The Saudis went along with the Michel Suleiman request begrudgingly. 

Turkey also played an important role in bringing the Syrians on board. P.M. Erdoghan called Bashar four times.

One Lebanese said, “When you hear Israeli P.M. Olmert saying such nice things to the Palestinians it is to shut them up so that should Iran get hit, the Middle East does not blow up. It is not because he wants to be nice to Palestinians.” 

“This is what the French have done.” I was told. “The hit on Iran is going to come at the expense of March 14. This is the only reason the French and Egyptians are doing this. They feel certain that Iran is going to get hit.”

“This is to get Syria out of Iran’s orbit. Israel does not want Bashar to fall. They pushed to get Assad to Annapolis. They do not want anything to lead to war with Syria or the toppling of the regime, which would only multiply chaos in the region. France shares Israel's concern about Syria. The Sarkozy presidency is with Israel. It is different now than it was under Chirac when Lebanon was a primary concern for France and Hariri had a good understanding with the president."

When I asked if the Michel Suleiman would become President and if his candidacy could get through the steps needed. I was told: 

"Iran wants a “faragh” or vacuum in Lebanon. Any president will be bad for Iran, because he will act as a restraint on Hizbullah. Thus, acting on Iran's orders, Hizbullah will not let a president be elected.”  

There is another explanation for the story of Annapolis and why the Syrians have been brought in from the cold by the Israelis and France. It is that the French have lost confidence in the March 14th government and believe that a compromise president for Lebanon, even at the price of amending the constitution, is better than enduring with no president at all. Israel does not feel that it can make a deal with the divided Palestinians and prefers to see what headway is possible with Syria, which is a state and has a leader who is in control, can deliver, and says he wants a deal. 

[I will be in Chicago over the weekend, giving a talk Sunday at 12:30 at the Syrian-American Congress with Samir 'Aita. It will be held at the South West Marriot Hotel in Burr Ridge.]

Comments (231)

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201. offended said:

Glad to be comment # 201

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December 4th, 2007, 4:47 am


202. Alex said:


Thanks for trying to explain EACH ONE … none of them were repulsive in your opinion.

I want you to imagine the opposite now;

(The Jews) would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”– Syrian President Bashar Assad in a speech to Hizbollah Fighters

Then Alex would explain to you that the above was not antisemitic … Bashar is describing a way to fight the Jews.

“The Jews are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”…. — Nasrallah

Then “Why Discuss” would tell you that this is not Antisemitic at all … Nasrallah was simply saying that giving up in the negotiations will only lead to the Jews asking for more. He is not making a racist statement.. you should not feel that saying “the Jews are like crocodiles” is in anyway hinting to the popular impression that Jews are greedy.

Honestly AIG … how would you have liked it if I defended and explained ALL the above statements f they were directed against the Jews by one of the two Assads?

You were so offended by a book by a half senile Tlass and you were more offended that we were not joining you in being outraged at Tlass. I tried to explain to you that as a Christian I also can complan about Tlass if I was really sensitive .. but you ignored that part and continued to express how hurt you are for being Tlass’s victim.

There was one and only one statement from Bashar and Hafez combined that sounded Antisemitic … when Bashar received the pope and said “the same people who killed Jesus are today killing Palestinian children” … I told you about this statement and I said that it was a big mistake.

If I wanted to explain it, like you did for all the racist comments by all your leaders, I could have easily said something like “Bashar was saddened at the daily photos on the news of Palestinian children killed by Israeli solders who were violently stopping the Intifada”

If you want the Arabs not to hate you after they communicate with you… put yourself in their shoes before you talk.

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December 4th, 2007, 4:56 am


203. offended said:

Whoever is having you on his payroll, must be deeply disappointed by your performance.

If I were you, actually, if any other gentleman was in your place, I/he wouldn’t show up in this forum after Alex’s comment.

Alex, I know you haven’t done this to score points or anything, but I must admit; it was a nice job !

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December 4th, 2007, 4:57 am


204. ausamaa said:

Don’t count on that. They have to stick around to distract and to muddy the waters. Not that the waters are pure and crystal clear, but, the muddier the better for them.

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December 4th, 2007, 5:20 am


205. Bashmann said:


This Bayanouni’s interview sounds pretty good to me!
I’m not sure what you mean when you say “can the NSF be trusted”.
Why do you think they can’t be??

Not that I’m a fan of the MB’s. As I indicated before, the MB’s wide support and appeal among the Arab/Muslim countries is a fact Arab ruler’s can’t ignore. Unfortunately, they enjoy the widest popular support among any other political group, therefore inclusivness is the only reasonable policy with them. The key is to moderate them. I’m skeptic like yourself when it comes to the MB, but I still believe with enough secularists standing up in the ME we can manage to have the upper hand on them.


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December 4th, 2007, 6:03 am


206. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Did I say that “we will throw the Jews into the sea” is racist?
No, it is a statement of war. We will crush them like grasshoppers means that we will win big. It is bravado and trash talk but not racism. Racism is when you make a generalization about a whole group:
1) Arabs are terrorists
2) Jews like money
3) Syrians aren’t ready for democracy

Nasrallah has said many times that Israel will disappear and be crushed and so have people on this forum. Did I point out that this was antisemitism? No, because it is trash talk and not racism. We are at war after all, and when it happens, both sides will try to crush the other.

And any reasonable person knows that Barack meant exactly what I said. Barack is not a racist and his words should be understood in context. He was talking about making concessions in negotiations.

I am not offended by what Tlas said. YOU should be offended that someone so high in the regime is a blatant racist. You should be offended that Abu-Satar calls Jews sons of apes and pigs.

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December 4th, 2007, 6:03 am


207. Alex said:


When elections start … the MB, and the more fundamentalist elements of the MB can score big … many people can be swayed easily when you scare them by telling them “if you don’t vote for God’s party, you are not a true Muslim” … it works. Look at chain letters … I still get everyday tons of chain letters by email from some of my smartest and most secular friends … one has a picture of Saint Paul .. the other one has some sura from the Quran … many people get scared with religion.

I am against allowing any religious party to run for elections. The brotherhood can form a new party that has a secular name and a mix of brotherhood/secular members … then they might be an acceptable political player… when Syria is ready for that process.

We also need to cam down the Middle East. Elections today, while everyone is still angry at the Americans and Israelis for their treatment of Arabs and Muslims in Iraq and Palestine will produce another Hamas and another Ahmadinejad… those two won the two most recent real elections. Don’t forget that Ahmadinejad beat the relatively moderate Billionaine and Ayatolah .. Rafsanjani.


I understand that some of those statements re not antisemitic (Anti Arabs) … but I was showing you how they can easily be used by me or others in this blog to block you from making any comment … we would simply repeat those statements and ask you to express your anger at them almost everyday.

As for Tlass and Abu Satar … I don’t know who this Abu Satar is, but Tlass … I know why he makes those statements (against Jews and Christians) … he is a womanizer … secular … and I think a drinker. He wants to look like a good and religious man. Thats why he thought that those statements are useful.

That’s why I won’t take those statements seriously… think of them as some of the older Baath members who still claim they will liberate all of Palestine.

The grand mufti of Syria, who does not need to pretend he is a good man, has many statements that clearly show his, and Syria’s respect for Judaism.

You asked before: why doesn’t Bashar punish Tlass?? .. imagine Bashar punishing his father’s defense minister for 30 years … how do you think people would react if Bashar did that? given that at the time Mr. Sharon was killing Arabs every day … People woud think that Bashar is so weak and that he is kissing the feet of Israelis so that they would allow him to stay president.

Does Olmert punish the racist minister in his own government?

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December 4th, 2007, 6:38 am


208. offended said:

Bayanouni said,
In fact, we do not distinguish between the opposition inside and outside the country.

You are wrong Ali, because while you are able to live in Europe holding conferences and interviews, while you theorize, opine and make ‘progress’ at your own convenience, the very few opposition figures inside are languishing in prisons.

Some of those NSF leaders don’t know that they still have to earn credibility from the people to be able to play politics on the Syrian arena.

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December 4th, 2007, 7:06 am


209. ausamaa said:

So now that the Lebanon Campagin is over, and that the Dair Azzor nuclear buncker is forgotten, and as it is becoming clear that Iran will not be attacked, and that the Brammertz thing is on the back burner; It then time for the MB and AL BAYNONI of al other things… as if the guy really means anything qualitatively or quantitively..

Chao all…

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December 4th, 2007, 9:58 am


210. Akbar Palace said:

Alex states:

Does Olmert punish the racist minister in his own government?

The knesset years ago past laws that prohibit the inclusion of racist political parties into government. This is how Kach was thrown out of government.

More than that, the Israeli/Hebrew media takes pretty good care not to print anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment in newspapers or air them on TV.

So with all due respect and your excuses notwithstanding, the Arab and Muslim media has a loooooooooog way to go if they’re really interested in peace.

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December 4th, 2007, 12:20 pm


211. norman said:

Web-exclusive comment

Syria and the art of the deal

Special to Globe and Mail Update

December 4, 2007 at 12:37 AM EST

Almost every conversation I have had with friends and colleagues over the past few weeks on overall issues in the Middle East — Lebanon, the implications of Annapolis, Iraq, Iran and Palestine — has invariably led to a discussion about Syria and a slightly dizzying combination of hypothetical scenarios of its role in the region. The latest milestone on Syria’s road back from its marginalization in recent years was its invitation to, and presence at, the Annapolis meeting.

Typically, the Syrians played hard to get, demanded that the occupied Golan Heights and overall Arab-Israeli peacemaking (not just bilateral Palestinian-Israeli issues) be included on the agenda, and, when these goals were achieved, sent a deputy foreign minister rather than the foreign minister that all other parties sent. The signal sent was vintage Syrian diplomacy: We are willing to play ball, but we also want to play a role in writing the rules of the game, and not merely respond to U.S.-Israeli summonses, dictates and threats.

The Syria’s transformation — from an isolated gangster state in the eyes of many two years ago, to a cog in any Middle Eastern conversation or diplomatic endeavour today — is a reflection of Syria’s policies, but also of the interconnected nature of the region’s many conflicts and tensions. Whether one likes or dislikes Syrian policies — there are valid reasons for both — Damascus is now a player in every single major contentious issue and active conflict in the region, including: Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, the war on terror, Russia’s continuing re-entry into the Middle East and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Its close working ties and medium-intensity alliances with Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, in particular, give it strategic leverage vis-à-vis Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Iran.

How Syria plays its cards will determine whether it carves out for itself a major role in the region and propels itself onto the path of sustainable national development, or messes up badly and descends into a suicidal spiral of self-destructive militarism and rejectionism. That Syria was invited to the American party at Annapolis, and attended, is a strong sign that it prefers to engage with the West and reap the benefits of such a move — primarily regime continuity and stability — rather than perpetually play the role of isolated spoiler, Iran’s only Arab state ally and U.S.-designated state supporter of terrorism. Unlike most other Arab governments, it has been prepared to resist and defy American and other Western pressures and threats, including low-key unilateral U.S. sanctions, while repositioning itself in the region to give itself assets and cards to play.

Related Articles
From the archives

Syria comes in from the cold
President Bashar Assad has completed his initial years of learning and consolidating power after succeeding his father seven years ago, and appears to have started playing some of the cards and assets he has accumulated, especially in Iraq and Arab-Israeli peacemaking. On both counts, Syria has legitimate national security concerns, and much to gain from successful diplomacy that lets it manoeuvre into a win-win position of its own self-interest with the strategic goals of the United States, other Western powers, major Arab states and Israel. The era of smashing heads may soon be replaced with a time to make deals.

We will see a more significant focus on the prospects for Syrian-Israeli negotiations when the proposed follow-up to Annapolis convenes in Moscow in early 2008. The big question that comes up in every conversation about Syria these days remains intriguingly unanswered: Would Damascus abandon or significantly play down its alliances with Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah in exchange for a fair peace with Israel, an end to threats by the United States, normalization with the West and major economic development?

Many Lebanese are concerned that Syria wants to regain its dominance over Lebanon through its allies and proxies, and might get Western approval for this in any big regional bargain. Another looming issue is the fate of the United Nations-mandated investigation and tribunal on the assassinations of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others in Lebanon since 2005. Many Lebanese are worried that the U.S.-led West would downgrade the tribunal’s penetration into the upper echelons of the Syrian regime — if the evidence points that way, as many suspect it does — in exchange for Syrian co-operation on other issues where it can deliver, especially Iraq, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The art and beauty of the negotiated commercial or political deal in Mideast history has always been twofold: the bargaining process itself, and the outcome that must satisfy all sides. Syria, the United States, Lebanon, Israel, Iran, Palestine, Israel, Saudi Arabia, France, Russia and a few others have now embarked on one of the biggest deal-making enterprises in modern Middle East history. To understand and enjoy this spectacle, keep in mind that making a deal in the ancient bazaars of the Middle East — and Damascus has the oldest one around — includes a combination of showmanship, brinksmanship, threats, enticements, resistance, realism, pragmatism, and, above all, patience to wait out the other side.

Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut, is editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star.

Recommend this article? 15 votes

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December 4th, 2007, 2:02 pm


212. IsraeliGuy said:

Dear Alex (and blog members),

Racism is a bad thing regardless whether it’s aimed towards Jews, Muslims, Christians or any other religion or ethnic group.

Yes, both Israeli politicians and religious figures have made some nasty racist comments and remarks throughout the years and I condemn these remarks.

Alex, I’m really curious about the list that you provided.

I’m afraid I don’t have the time resources to investigate each and every one of them, but I will try to look for information about at least some of them, both on the English and the Hebrew web.

If I’ll have interesting findings, I’ll post them here.

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December 4th, 2007, 2:17 pm


213. Observer said:

It is a pity that IG AIG and AP have successfully turned this blog into a discussion about the umbilicus of the world; Yahweh’s very own preferred and chosen people. This has been the case since the tribes moved to Canaan from Ur. I agree with Ehsani that I will no longer comment back as there is really no dialogue with these people; ” le dialogue des sourds”.
Now the best news is that Olmert is asking for more sanctions on Iran and Barak is essentially refusing to accept the NIE report from Washington. This means that if a strike is to be on Iran it will have to be an Israeli one. THis may be what Cheney wants as he would love to have any justification to hit back. Regime change is not off the agenda as the US is positioning itself to control every oil reserve and all oil routes by force. I would say the Iraq invasion was the first shot in the China-Russia US war of the 21st century. Iran however keeps pulling the rug from undereath Bush and company as it charmed its way at the GCC conference and is surely proposing the replacment of the US as the guarantor of stability in the region. Showing the Arabs that it can stabilize Iraq was a master stroke to dampen their fears of a Shia hegemony. This century in the ME will be marked by the effects of the Iranian revolution that will reverberate for a 100 years. Remember when Chou En Lai was aksed in 1958 about his thoughts of the effect of the French revolution his response was ” it is too early to tell”.
What we have in the world today is the beginning of the redrawing of the maps around the world to undo the colonialist legacy on the ground. The Iraq invasion accelerated the process. What we see in Europe today is the recreation of the Holy Roman Empire (without the Holy) in the form of the EU. The Empire fell to the dictates of the formation of the Nation state and we are witnessing the reverse. Example in point the near breakup of Belgium, the separatits in Catalonia, Basque, and Sicily to name a few and the Lombarid league in Italy. What we are seeing in the GCC meeting is the same baby steps to integrate further and to move slowly into a loose federation. The autocrats in the region have an opportunity and that is to do what Juan Carlos of Spain did after Franco and that is to rise above their petty squabbles and see the big picture and move their countries into the natural alliances that the people of the region share deeply.

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December 4th, 2007, 2:18 pm


214. IsraeliGuy said:

Dear Alex,

The quote that really aroused my curiosity, was Menachem Begin’s one.
Begin was not a racist.

In fact, he was a 180 degree opposite from a racist.
That’s why this quote that you brought seemed very weird to me.

I see that you’re basing this quote on Amnon Kapeliouk’s article from June 25, 1982, titled “Begin and the ‘Beasts’”.

Here’s what Wikipedia tells us about the article writer, Kapeliouk:

“Amnon Kapeliouk is a noted (and controversial) Israeli journalist.

Kapeliouk has attained recognition for his reportage on the Sabra and Shatila massacres, and in his famous (and disputed) attribution of the words “beasts walking on two legs” as being applied to Palestians generally by Menachim Begin in a speech to the Knesset.[1]. (Other sources have said that Begin meant to apply the words only to Palestinian terrorists.)”.

Ok, so we see where this phrase, which is all over the web by now, is coming from.
Now let’s see if it’s true or not.

Here’s the precise quote, from Begin’s speech – word for word.
The background: constant Katyusha attacks on Israelis from Lebanon, the assassination attempt of an Israeli ambassador and the start of the 1st Lebanon war:

Begin said in his speech in the Knesset:

“I want to declare to all nations: The children of Israel will happily go to school and joyfully return home, just like the children in Washington, in Moscow and in Peking; in Paris and in Rome; in Oslo, in Stockholm and in Copenhagen.

The fate of a million and half a million Jewish children has been different from all the children of the world throughout the generations.

No more.
We will defend our children.

If the hand of any two-footed animal is raised against them, that hand will be cut off, and our children will grow up in joy in the homes of their parents.”

Here’s the entire speech:

That’s the precise quote and as you can see, not only that Begin is not referring to ‘the Palestinians’, he’s not even referring to Palestinian terrorists.

He’s saying that ANY two-footed animal who will raise his hand on Israeli children (regardless of religion, ethnicity, etc) – his hand will be cut off.

I’m afraid the quote you brought is a fabrication and I find Begin’s remark totally legitimate.

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December 4th, 2007, 3:12 pm


215. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

There is a big difference between saying nothing and promoting the Tlas book until it was a best seller in Syria. Who was buying this book? Why was it so successful in Syria? Could it have been successful without tacit government approval? I don’t think so.

As for Abu-Satar, he is a deputy minister, part of the regime.
For an extensive view of contemporary Syrian antisemitism see:

The clips are interesting. What do you make of them? Are they representative of common Syrian thinking or not?

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December 4th, 2007, 3:31 pm


216. IsraeliGuy said:

Dear Alex,

This ‘investigation’ process takes a lot of time, but lets examine another quote.
I searched for information about David Ben Gurion’s quote: “We must expel Arabs and take their places”.

As we can see, you base your quote on Oxford University Press.
I searched their site, but found no reference to this quote.

Then, I went to David Ben-Gurion’s Wikiquote page:

Here’s THE REAL SOURCED quote: “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places”.

It’s from a letter to his son Amos (5 October 1937), as quoted in ‘Fabricating Israeli History: The ‘New Historians’ (2000) by Efraim Karsh

Wikiquote tells us that “this was extensively quoted as “[We] must expel Arabs and take their places” after appearing in this form in The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 (1987) by Benny Morris, p. 25.”

Again, you’ve got a (mis)quote which has been proved to be a total fabrication and a lie.

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December 4th, 2007, 4:06 pm


217. norman said:

واشنطن ترفع حظر تصدير التكنولوجيا العالية الى سورية..

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December 4th, 2007, 4:10 pm


218. IsraeliGuy said:

Dear Alex,

Let’s go to the quote of Golda Meir that you brought.
Here’s ‘your’ quote:

“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.”

Now… let’s read the FULL quote, in its context:

“There were no such thing as Palestinians.
When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state?

It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan.
It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”

Alex, the full quote is far less ‘sensational’ or even racist and it includes a realistic description of the Palestinians.

They were not an independent country (ever) and back then they didn’t have a Palestinian national identity, as they have today.

When you read the full quote of what Golda Meir actually said, the reader understands that when she says “They did not exist” she means “They did not exist as an independent country or as a cohesive national Palestinian movement”.

Do you agree that there is a significant difference between the very partial and the full text?

The quote is not a total fabrication, but since it’s VERY partial, it’s both misleading and manipulative.

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December 4th, 2007, 4:54 pm


219. Alex said:


As I said, I am not drawing the same conclusions from each of those quotes.

I remember Prime minister Begin. If I were an Israeli I would have been an admirer. He was a very decent man and a strong leader.

And I know Mr. Barak is ok too.

But I wish I could have anything good to say about Mr. Shamir … his whole life was full of racism and violence against Arabs.

In the PBS documentary (50 years) he said (on camera) that he only accepted to join the Madrid conference to sabotage it …


Now you are upset because you made an assumption .. that the regime is …promoting the Tlass book??

Do you KNOW that the regime promoted the book?

Do you think the regime liked Tlass’s book? .. that book had many crazy stories … like Tlas speaking about the girls he met in Vietnam … if anything, this book was an embarrassment for the regime. But no one is going to insult Tlass after his 30 years as defense minister. Tlass is the man you will see in a restaurant sitting with two pretty young women. He is not the ideologue of choice of the regime.

Anyway. this topic is over. From now on, I will start removing any additional comments by anyone. I remind you that if in the future you feel there is anything racist that I should edit or remove, send me an email. No comments here.

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December 4th, 2007, 5:38 pm


220. IsraeliGuy said:

Dear Alex,

Let’s examine 2 more quotes that you brought from Golda Meir.

Here’s the first quote:

“Any one who speaks in favor of bringing the Arab refugees back must also say how he expects to take the responsibility for it, if he is interested in the state of Israel. It is better that things are stated clearly and plainly: We shall not let this happen.”

This is not a ‘unique’ Golda position.

Every single Israeli prime minister held the exact same position.
Other than Israeli Arab MKs, all Israeli politicians hold the exact same position.

Even far left Israeli figures, such as Dr. Yossi Beilin (and the other Meretz party members) say that no Israeli government can or will ever agree to that.

Probably 99% of the Israeli Jewish public holds the same position.
So the bottom line… I don’t see how this Golda quote is ‘racist’.

Now to the 2nd quote:

“This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.”

Again, I can’t see how this quote can be considered as a racist one.
Anybody who believes in the bible is a racist?
What about the Quran and the New Testament – or does this equation apply only to Jews?

By the way, did you know that 82% of Americans believe in God?
Are they racists?

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December 4th, 2007, 5:55 pm


221. Alex said:


I have seen a longer list of controversial statements by Israeli leaders. I picked a few from that list that sounded racist … and a couple, as you mentioned, that are not racist, but controversial.

Why did I do that? … time : )

I was multitasking.

But .. there is enough racist, violent, or demeaning statements in the remaining ones … the cockroaches and grasshoppers …

The point I wanted to make is obvious.

There are too many racists and fanatics in the Middle East … we should not accept any such comments from either side … and we should not try to defend our side all the time while being exceptionally sensitive to the other side’s racism.

As for the “promise by god” … what do you do if assuming Muslims also claim that God gave them Jerusalem? … why don’t we Christians claim the parts of Palestine where Jesus was born and raised? … why don’t we accept the factual statement that Bashar made in the presence of the Pope that “the same peole who killed Jesus are killng Palestinian children today”?

What if some new religion comes out in the future … its people ar the most powerful… their holy book tells them that the whole Middle EAst is their’s … would they be justified in acquiring the whole area? including Israel?

I am pro-religion … a strong believer in god. But religion needs to stay at home … Religion is dangerous when states are based on one religion at the expense of another … the heavy religious components in Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia… in addition to the current American administration’s ideological campaign in the Middle East have been destructive …

You know that the zionist Christians, Israel’s current friends, want to convert you to Christianity?

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December 4th, 2007, 6:33 pm


222. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

why don’t we accept the factual statement that Bashar made in the presence of the Pope that “the same peole who killed Jesus are killng Palestinian children today”?

What is factual about this statement?

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December 4th, 2007, 6:50 pm


223. Alex said:

It i as factual as “God promised us this land of Israel” … you know that many Christians believe that “Jews killed Jesus”.

My position on both, and on any religion based claims and wars and disagreements, is clear above.

This is what you get when your own religious beliefs are mixed with politics and national aspirations.

And you have on Memri many others from the other side…

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December 4th, 2007, 7:11 pm


224. IsraeliGuy said:


Let’s continue our journey among the racist Israeli quotes that you brought.

The next gem is: “We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?’ Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said ‘Drive them out!”– Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

Ok, so now we’re entering the science of interpretation that one person gave to another one’s hand waving.

Did Ben Gurion actually say ‘Drive them out!” ?
Maybe he meant “I don’t care” or “it’s not important right now” – who can tell for sure?

But why lose a golden opportunity for a racist Ben Gurion quote?
And hey, it even includes a stunning exclamation mark… Wow, impressive.

Let’s not let the fact that Ben Gurion never actually said the words “Drive them out!”, ruin this hall of fame quote.

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December 4th, 2007, 8:22 pm


225. Alex said:


I think now you started to be over defensive … While I agreed completely about the Begin quote, this one probably meant “drive them out”… even if he did not use those exact words.

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December 4th, 2007, 8:34 pm


226. IsraeliGuy said:

Ok Alex, what words did he use?

By the way, you said: “I want you to go through the above list of Israeli quotes .. ALL of them … explain which ones are false, which ones are out of contxt (and how?) .. and which ones are sick.”

I’m just doing what you asked for.

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December 4th, 2007, 8:47 pm


227. Alex said:


By starting you analysis of this quote with “the next gem”, you are highly confident that he did NOT mean it the way it was interpreted …

Why do you have this high confidence? … in general …did he believe in keeping the Palestinians in their homes and not driving them out?

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December 4th, 2007, 9:16 pm


228. IsraeliGuy said:


On the contrary – I’m not confident at all.
In fact, I have no way of knowing what his hand waving actually meant and neither can anybody else.

You may interpret it one way or another, but it’s not something Ben Gurion have actually said.

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December 4th, 2007, 9:26 pm


229. IsraeliGuy said:


Moving on to your next quote.

“[Israel will] create in the course of the next 10 or 20 years conditions which would attract natural and voluntary migration of the refugees from the Gaza Strip and the west Bank to Jordan. To achieve this we have to come to agreement with King Hussein and not with Yasser Arafat.”– Yitzhak Rabin (a “Prince of Peace” by Clinton’s standards), explaining his method of ethnically cleansing the occupied land without stirring a world outcry. (Quoted in David Shipler in the New York Times, 04/04/1983 citing Meir Cohen’s remarks to the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committee on March 16.)

Ok, let’s see what we’ve got here.

I see that this quote was taken from a David Shipler’s article who cited Meir Cohen’s remarks to the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committee on March 16.

I didn’t understand what it has to do with Yitzhak Rabin, since Cohen and Rabin are 2 different people.
I tried to search for a credible source that will solve the mystery and didn’t find any.

Something looks weird here.

Anyway, the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committee’s website has an archive with the meetings protocols.
Unfortunately, the archive lets you dig for protocols between 1999-2007 and not prior to this date range.

I wrote an email to the committee, asking for a copy of the full protocol of the March 16th meeting.

As soon as I’ll get it, I’ll be able to get the full and accurate quote and respond to it.

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December 4th, 2007, 9:42 pm


230. Alex said:


It’s great that you have a website for the Knesset’s different committees.

Until now, Begin’s quote is out of the above list … not the other one though … Ben Gurion’s actions were coherent with the “drive them out” interpretation of the above quote.

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December 4th, 2007, 10:04 pm


231. Enlightened said:

Bashmann I posted that original article on the MB, Alex had to release it. got caught in the spam filter.


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December 4th, 2007, 11:17 pm


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