News Round Up (March 18 2008)

Alon Liel: Syria talks could resume within months of US elections
Ha'aretz, Israel – Mar 17, 2008
Liel, chairman of the Israel-Syria Peace Society lobby group and former director of Israel's Foreign Ministry, said that in meetings with Republicans close to presumptive presidential nominee Sen. John McCain and with strategists for Democratic hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, he saw new openness toward Syria.

"I was just in Washington for a week and I had about 12 meetings in Congress, with Democrats and with Republicans, and I think that there is a majority in the American decision-making machine, certainly in the new teams, for talks with Syria," Liel told The Associated Press.

Israel, Syria and the failure of Annapolis: by Gideon Lichfield, Jerusalem correspondent of The Economist.
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Randa Takieddine      Al-Hayat     – 16/03/08//
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April Glaspie served as number two in the US embassy with Ambassadors Paganelliin and Bill Eagleton. She left Damascus in 1985. From 85 to 88 she was in Washington, responsible for Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. She served in Bagdad as of 1988.

Al Hayat:  Did President Hafez Assad talk to you about Lebanon?

A.G:  President Assad did not talk to me; I was number two in the embassy.  I met him so many times I was with my ambassador or with a Senator or Secretary of State.

Al Hayat: How was his thinking about Lebanon was it that Lebanon is a province of Syria?

A.G:  Hafez Assad was so smart in many ways I remember him once saying: "Do no think I am foolish enough to believe that I can create an air force (I think he chose air force because it would be the part of military he knew most since he came from it) that can compete with the Israelis within a generation.  Why?  Because it is not sophisticated fast planes that made good air forces, it is pilots who had the advantage of having a splendid education from the time they were children.  Not just brief technical education, he was right wasn't he?  But I wish I could have asked him a question I never understood by doing  the Iranians the favor of allowing them to export their revolution to Lebanon from the Iranian embassy in Damascus, it seemed to me and to anybody who was watching that what was going on in the Bekaa and in the South the weaponry that must have been going in, the independence of a  group of people that in the end would be very difficult to control and which you could not control by cutting off their grenade because they had already so many buried that they could fight for years, seemed to me a very dangerous thing for Syria , it was an Islamic revolution and remember what happened to Syria when the "Ikhwan" tried to take over in the North . I could never understand why he could be so certain that this could not turn around and bite Syria on the heel because he cannot control Hezbollah.

Al Hayat: Was he convinced that Lebanon is part of Syria or he needed Lebanon for his agenda in the region?

A.G:  He was much too clever to give us such an insight. He would never say this.  It would be the kind of thing Saddam and Iraqis would say about Kuwait that it was part of Iraq historically.  Assad was much too subtle to say or imply anything like that.

AL Hayat; But he refused embassies between both countries?

A.G:  Absolutely, but I just don't know what he thought.  If you were very old fashioned you could argue about whether or not he believed in Baas ideology, if he did there should not be any Syrian embassy anywhere.

Al Hayat: How would you compare Saddam and his people and aides to Hafez Assad and his aides?

A.G:  Completely different, everybody around President Assad respected his power.  Assad was much too subtle and smart to want people to say yes to him all the time.

Al Hayat:  What about the "Moukhabarat" system in both countries? How do you compare?

A.G:  A little more subtle in Damascus.  For example my life as a diplomat in Syria was as free as it would have been in Beirut, no doubt people were watching us and knew where we were but no Syrian would think twice about inviting me to their house; I was surrounded by people who had been to AUB.In  Bagdad, no Iraqi was allowed to invite a foreign diplomat to his house.  And if a foreign including Arab diplomat wanted to invite any Iraqi, any, to their house you had to make a formal request to the Foreign Ministry including the invitation card and the Foreign Ministry would decide any invitation card  would be sent.  I never entered an Iraqi house except once and that was for a cultural event.

Al Hayat: You attended meetings as number two with Assad and with Saddam two Baas leaders who hated each other  what would you say of both?

A.G:  Assad was the Eastern Mediterranean, a Levantine; he could be extremely charming which is interesting coming from a very disadvantaged background as he was in every way.  He had a great deal of self confidence, he was charming, he could have been a Beirut hostess, he could be genuinely amusing, he always spoke Arabic although I knew from his pilot training he must know some English.  We once had Senator Tower visiting him in his office. There was President Assad and Senator Tower and me only in his office; Senator Tower smoked, there was a big bowl of cigarettes and the Senator ran out of cigarettes.  Assad pushed the bowl towards him and they were all Syrian cigarettes and of course the Senator did not know, so Assad said suddenly in English a very complex sentence with lots of subordinate clauses:  "I am sorry I do not have any American or English cigarettes which I know you would have preferred".  Had I known you smoke I certainly would have, and my jaw dropped so surprised I was although I was supposed to keep a straight face, he looked at me and laughed out loud and said in Arabic: "Senator she dropped her pencil so I shocked her".  He really laughed and we did as well.  Saddam when you were with him there was this huge tension in the air because everybody in the room from his own staff was afraid of him and I never heard him make a joke but if he would have, everybody would have laughed.  It was a completely different aura.  In Iraq, it was much more frightening for example:  It never occurred to me for example if I were in the North of Syria that I should avoid getting out of my car to buy some plums.  The Syrians could not care less.  I did that in Kurdistan once, it was very foolish of me because we all knew that you could not talk to any Iraqi, they got taken away and interrogated but I was in a little Kurdish village.

I put my head out of the window of my car and asked if there was any honey because Kurds are very famous for their white honey.  He said no there isn't, I drove away and I looked back.  They were following me with a car.

Elections in Iran Meet the winner 
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is bolstered
Mar 17th 2008
THE parliament returned by Iranians in nationwide voting on Friday March 14th appears at first glance to be a replica of the outgoing one. Conservatives who claim stricter adherence to the 1979 Islamic revolution’s ideals, and adopt a more combative tone with the outside world, retained a majority almost as crushing as the one they gained in the last parliamentary election, in 2004. A claimed 60% of the electorate turned out for the vote, allowing Iran’s unelected supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to declare that his people had foiled an enemy plot to foment voter apathy. But as with many aspects of life in the Islamic Republic, the election result is more nuanced than it may seem.

Commentary: Demonocracy, not democracy
By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, UPI Editor at Large
Date: Monday, March 17, 2008

 WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) — Washington's Pakistan kibitzers will soon rue the day they squeezed President Pervez Musharraf to restore democracy. "Demonocracy" is what has now emerged, or an unholy alliance of longtime America-haters, including the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal coalition of six politico-religious extremist parties that lost the Feb. 18 elections, plus a gaggle of former generals and admirals against Musharraf, and friends and admirers of A.Q. Khan, the man who ran a nuclear Wal-Mart for the benefit of America's enemies (North Korea and Iran).

More ominous still is the acquiescence of Pakistan's two principal "moderate" leaders.

 Acting as behind-the-scenes catalysts are two prominent America-haters, Gen. Aslam Beg, former army chief of staff (1988-91), and Gen. Hamid Gul, former Inter-Services Intelligence chief (1989-91). In his regular "geopolitical" column, Beg recently advised Iran "to attempt to degrade the defense systems of Israel, harass it through the Hamas government of Gaza and the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon," or the same policy Pakistan once adopted toward India in Kashmir through terrorist groups and extremist factions.

Geagea to Rai Aam: Syrian wager on new US administration is wrong” (Thanks Mideastwire.com)

On March 17, the independent Al-Rai al-Aam daily carried the following interview with the leader of the Lebanese Forces and one of the poles of the March 14 movement, Samir Geagea:

“…Q: “American sources said that you have focused on the Palestinian issue during your meetings with American officials. Why was that?

A: “I believe that the region will not rest before a solution is reached to the Palestinian issue. It is the real passageway toward solving the issues of the Middle East. On the other hand, there is no solution on the horizon until now. The only solution ever reached was the one between former Israeli PM Ehud Barak and the late PA head Yasser Arafat in 2000. This solution should be taken and a few missing details should be added to it so that we see the emergence of a Palestinian state. This way, we would have seen the end of a major problem which is currently complicating all other problems in the Middle East.

Q: “Do you believe that what happened and what is currently happening in the Gaza Strip is affecting the Lebanese issue?

A: “Certainly. Each event entails negative repercussions in the Middle East as a whole, and therefore in Lebanon. Had it not been for the events in Gaza, maybe the Arab summit would not be held in Damascus. The Syrians today are using the Gaza issue as a pretext and are hiding behind it to get all the Arab states to partake in the summit. And this is just an example.

Q: “It was said you presented action papers to the American officials. What was in them?

A: “I presented papers in which I put forward our opinion regarding all the issues on the table, such as the Lebanese identity of the Shab’a Farms and the rejection of Palestinian nationalization in Lebanon. This opinion represents our viewpoint in the Lebanese Forces, one which is similar to that of the March 14 alliance.

Q: “You have met with the advisors of the American candidates and a number of them suggested engaging in dialogue with Damascus in case their candidates were to be elected. What have you heard from them?

A: “Any dialogue with Syria, Iran, Turkey or Israel will not affect Lebanon. Engaging in dialogue with Syria – if it were to happen – and the attempt to reach something with Syria is one thing, and the protection of Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence and the freedom of its people is a completely different thing…

Q: “Do you mean that the March 14 alliance is not afraid of an American-Syrian dialogue?

A: “I have an opinion and I related it to the American officials. Any dialogue with the current Syrian regime will be useless. Look at the history of dialogue with them. However, in the future, the Americans might want to engage in a new dialogue and we would have no problem with that, since Lebanon is an issue in itself and is not affected by anything.

Q: “It is said that the Syrian regime is using this time and is betting on the arrival of a new administration that would show more openness toward it.

A: “The Syrians’ wager on a new administration is wrong and out of place. A new administration might come and open dialogue channels with Syria. However, it will reach the same result. Do you remember the Baker-Hamilton report following which US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to Damascus? How long did the American openness last afterwards? One visit and it was over because nothing can be reached with the Syrians… Moreover, French President Nicholas Sarkozy also wanted to try. A few weeks later, his aides told him that nothing could be reached with the Syrian regime. Why? Because the international stance towards Lebanon has become clear and this is very important to us. This is a grain for Lebanon whether within the American administration or the international community…

"IRAQI REFUGEES: Improve UN Outreach in Syria" by Refugees International Download a .pdf of this information here.
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Iraqis Make Up Largest Group of Asylum-Seekers to EU
Deutsche Welle, Germany:

In 2007, 338,000 total asylum applications were filed in 43 industrialized countries — 10 percent more than in 2006, when a 20-year low was registered. The rise was largely attributed to the ongoing crisis in Iraq.

Iraqis topped the list of applicants for the second year in a row, accounting for over 10 percent of the total with 45,200 applications in 2007. Among the top five countries of origin were Russia (18,800 applications), China (17,100), Serbia (15,400) and Pakistan (14,300). Half of all asylum applications came from Asia. "It is important to bear in mind that Iraqi asylum-seekers in industrialized countries represent only 1 percent of the estimated 4.5 million Iraqis uprooted by the conflict," the UNHCR report said.

(XIN) Syria says 2 billions U.S. dollars sent back by expatriates in 2007
2008-03-17 14:00 (New York)

DAMASCUS, Mar 17, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX) — Syrian Minister of Expatriates Butheina Sha'aban said on Monday that the Syrian expatriates transferred almost 2 billion U.S. dollars back to the homeland in 2007, the official SANA news agency reported.

Sha'aban made the remarks at a seminar at the National Institute for Public Administration titled "the role and relations of Syrian expatriates with their motherland". The expatriates serve as a tributary to all economic, trade and development sectors in Syria, the minister noted.

Sha'aban added that the legislation issued over the past few years have helped attract the expatriates and their sons and build economic, trade and scientific
ties with them.

Comments (98)


Alex said:

You think April Glaspie was allowed to say any nice word about President Hafez Assad when she was at the Damascus embassy? … no.

American officials can not say anything positive about the Syrians .. they have to always demonize them… as if anything positive ever came out of this brilliant tactic.

And… I was sure Hafez spoke English. But it was easier for him to pretend he didn’t so that he can have time to think while the translator was translating.

March 19th, 2008, 12:19 am

 

Naji said:

Merkel, embarassing herself… and everybody else…!!

“Merkel condemns Qassams but ignores Israel’s wrongdoing
By Tom Segev, Haaretz Correspondent
Last update – 01:38 19/03/2008

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier left Israel only hours before Chancellor Angela Merkel took to the Knesset podium Tuesday afternoon. The Germans meticulously calculated that the entourage of ministers accompanying Merkel might make her seem imperious, as though she were a ruler surrounded by subjects.

Indeed, there was something imperious about the inclusion of so many ministers in Merkel’s delegation. The Germans already have held joint government sessions with other governments, such as France and Poland. No foreign government has held a session in Jerusalem since the British mandate.

Prior to her arrival, Merkel made an effort to call Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. But her joint session with Olmert’s government was a show of complete and unequivocal support for its policies. Threatening Israel’s existence is akin to threatening Germany’s, Merkel said during her visit. Even U.S. politicians never have made such a statement.

During her Knesset speech, Merkel spoke extensively about the Holocaust and her country’s friendship with Israel; these were heart-warming, yet predictable, remarks. It is often said the two countries have a special relationship. Beforehand, such a remark always related to the Holocaust, which loomed large; nowadays, it refers to the two countries’ affinity in almost every field, including security, cultural and economic ties.
One cannot imagine Israel’s cultural scene without the millions invested by Germany.

MK Avishay Braverman (Labor), formerly the president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said Tuesday that at times, Germany aided his institution more than the Israeli government did.

With that in mind, it seems curious that the two countries failed to sign a cultural ties agreement during Merkel’s trip, but the deal was not thwarted because of emotional residues. Rather, what prevented it were perfectly prosaic issues: The Germans asked that the Goethe Institute receive tax breaks, which Israel rejected.

Anyone unaware of where Merkel was speaking (Jerusalem) would never have known it is a city where a third of its citizens have been living under occupation for more than 40 years, a city divided by a wall reminiscent of the Berlin Wall. Merkel spoke of the need for “painful concessions” from both sides in the name of peace. Olmert has used this term as well.

She rightfully described the Qassam rocket fire on Sderot as a crime, but did not say a word about repeated human rights abuses in the West Bank, the bombing of residential areas in Gaza or the settlements. Olmert was caught on camera telling Merkel that all the construction workers building a house in front of his residence are Arabs, and the chancellor gave a concerned nod in return.

Had she been more balanced, Merkel might have made life in Israel and the occupied territories less intolerable. Perhaps she made an error. Either way, her unrestrained support for Israeli policy is a result of her biography. As she said Tuesday, she came from East Germany, which used to ignore its part in Nazi crimes and act as though it were West Germany’s fault alone.

After German unification, Merkel discovered that the moral and political responsibility for the genocide of the Jews rested equally on all Germans. Most West Germans already had grown accustomed to that knowledge. One of her insiders equated her stance on Israel to that of a convert embracing a new set of beliefs. But either way, Merkel’s stance does not represent Germany’s or Israel’s public discourse.”

March 19th, 2008, 4:22 am

 

Naji said:

Meanwhile, …

Report: Israeli Jews increasingly racist towards Arabs
By Avirama Golan, Haaretz Correspondent
Last update – 05:19 19/03/2008

Israel’s Jewish community increasingly supports the delegitimization, discrimination and even deportation of Arabs, found a report on racism in Israel, set to be released Wednesday.

The report, to be presented at a press conference in Nazareth by Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel, states that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has clearly impacted public opinion, and warns that ideas such as population exchange and racial segregation are gaining ground. It also warns that several Jewish politicians are gaining influence based on a platform of racial hatred.

Mossawa is supported by the Human Rights Program of the European Commission and the United Nations Democracy Foundation.

The report, written by Mossawa director Jafar Farah and others, mainly examines racism against Arabs in Israel, using criteria taken from the anti-Semitism reports in Europe.

The report covers Arabs killed by the security forces and by Jewish citizens, anti-Arab incitement by leading Jewish public figures, workforce discrimination by private Jewish organizations, the barring of Arabs from public places, and the destruction of Arab property. The report particularly highlights what it calls the government’s helplessness in the face of the problem.

The report lists Arab citizens killed by police, soldiers, security guards and Jewish civilians over the past seven years. It notes that only one Jewish citizen, of Ethiopian origin, was killed under similar circumstances during this period. Indictments were issued in only seven cases, the report states. In two cases, the assailants were found not guilty, and the State Prosecutor appealed the verdict in one of these cases. In another case, the indictment was dropped because the shooter was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.

Most cases of Arab citizens injured by Jews were not fully investigated, and the attackers were not indicted in most cases, according to the report.

However, the report says Arab violence against Jews led to immediate police action, including collective punishment in villages like Jisr al-Zarqa this month.

The report also highlights employment discrimination against Arabs, and accuses the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry of foot-dragging in enforcing the workplace anti-discrimination law.

Citing lawsuits and verdicts of recent years, the report states Arabs are subject to racial profiling at Israel’s airports. “Problematic passenger” forms, filled out by security guards and bearing the names of Arab passengers, were found in Israel Airports Authority files. Similar cases occured at train stations and on trains, the report stated.

The report also addresses discriminatory legislation, mentioning no less than 10 bills contravening the Basic Law on the Knesset that were passed by the Knesset presidium over the period the report covers.

A new element of the 2008 report is that it also addresses refugees from Africa, foreign workers, Jews of Ethiopian, Russian and Mizrachi origin, and the ultra-Orthodox.

March 19th, 2008, 4:28 am

 

why-discuss said:

Remember who is April Glaspie! For many she is partly responsible for the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam that started the mess in the region.
“It was argued that Glaspie’s statements that “We have no opinion on your Arab — Arab conflicts” and that “the Kuwait issue is not associated with America” were interpreted by Saddam as giving free rein to handle his disputes with Kuwait as he saw fit. It was also argued that Saddam would not have invaded Kuwait had he been given an explicit warning that such an invasion would be met with force by the United States” (wikipedia)

March 19th, 2008, 7:13 am

 

Saroukh said:

Hi All,

Am a new poster but not new to the site. It is very nice to view counterbalance blogs emanating out of Lebanon that discuss Syria. I am not an impartial observer as I have lived under occupation in Beirut, and beaten quite a few times for absolutely no reason. That said I hold no hostilities against my Syrian brethren, or its army now that it is no longer in my country.

Now to the point at hand. April Glaspie interview. What a sorry interview. Who is better Saddam or Hafez? That is just about the silliest question I have ever heard. That’s like asking what’s better Irani or Saudi islamists?

That said I do agree with her that Hafez was much more subtle than Saddam, and likely much more intelligent. Don’t get me wrong, both cruel dictators. One outsmarted the other and got what he wanted by backstabbing a fellow baathist. I don’t know the history of the split in baathism between Syria and Iraq, but I am sure you would all agree that it was uncool of Hafez to side with the great Satan against a fellow Arab.

Your thoughts?

March 19th, 2008, 8:45 am

 

TheOtherPointOfVieW said:

Great! now blame the US for Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait! Typical lack “by many” of accepting responsibility and self-criticism.
And as far as “American officials can not say anything positive about the Syrians.. they have to always demonize them” notice that no American official is demonizing Kaddafi any more. Evil actions and positions beget demonization. “as if anything positive ever came out of this brilliant tactic” It’s not a tactic, it’s a strategy; it’s long term. It works: Nazis, Communism, Taliban, Saddam, Kaddafi. Reform or be defeated.

March 19th, 2008, 8:47 am

 

why-discuss said:

TOPOV

Yes, Saudi arabia is an angel and Saddam became demonized not when he was gazing the kurds or killing the Shias or invading Iran ( with almost a millions killed) but ONLY when he threatened the oil needed by the US. The US demonizes only countries that do not serve their interests, that’s all…
While the US did not push Saddam to invade Kuwait, April Glaspie did (foolishly) give to Saddam the impression that the US would not intervene in ‘arab’ matters, whether you want it or not , it was a crucial parameter in Saddam’s decision to go ahead.

March 19th, 2008, 9:32 am

 

TheOtherPointOfVieW said:

Why-discuss, ok, this was a foolish extrapolation by Saddam. There’s no telling what would have happened if the offensive was limited to territory sufficient to reclaim the access to the oil fields that Saddam felt the Kuwaitis were illegally robbing him of.

Instead, he orders his army to plow its way through the whole country committing horrors and massacres along the way. Then he annexes the country as an Iraqi province. Big difference.

He is rebuked by almost ALL the arab countries. They work with the US to reverse the occupation.

The US is clearly biased, in where it takes action and positions, by its interests, and yes, oil is high up on the priority echelon. This is not absolute however, and there are thresholds that do prompt the US into action. Don’t forget the US role in the former Yugoslavia conflict. There is no oil there. It’s a mixed bag. There is plenty of criticism to level at US policy. However it is not always one-sided. And it gets vetted through the American electorate, democratically, and continues to strive to make corrections. Most importantly, we do not seek to put blame elsewhere. We act. When we’re right we celebrate. When we screw up most of us admit it. On balance, those who don’t, get eventually voted out or voted down. Eventually.

March 19th, 2008, 11:23 am

 

why-discuss said:

Yes, they are voted down after the death of millions of people in Iraq and Palestine and the creation of internal divisions and hatred that would last for decades.
Like Israel, the US considers it is absolved of all its crimes because it a ‘democracy’ . I am sorry , a democracy that cares only about its own geopolitical and economical interests is betraying the whole concept of a democracy, it becomes a colonizing power, like “democratic” Great Britain of the 19th century or ‘democratic” Germany of the 2oth century.
Because of its power, the US has a moral responsibility too but this seems to be lost in the greed and the obsession to provide for its electorate the best treatment to the detriment of the other less developped countries just to get re-elected.
The manipulation and misinformation of the regular american to make him believe what it is convenient he/she believes has reached peaks in the US. A good example is the fact that most americans thought Saddam Hossein and Al Qaeda were good friends… and I am sure many still believe that. Filtering the information, abusing the naivety of the regular american are evil methods. I just cannot accept that and this shows me that unless the US regain some moral ethics, it is a country that cannot be admired and that would decay.

March 19th, 2008, 1:14 pm

 

Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

You raise the issue of hypocrisy, and of course it is very much there. And here, I tend to agree with TOPOV, that the U.S., and when you think about it, really everyone else, is interest-driven. Our world, as is our region, is ruled not by righteous leaders, but rather interest-driven ones. There have always been, and will always be, double standards, hypocrisy, change of face, preferential treatment, etc.

Your correctly point to the fact that Saddam was good enough for the U.S. while gassing the Kurds, but not when threatening their oil supply. That Saudi Arabia is hailed by America, despite its ongoing human rights abuse, while Syria is deemed a corrupt devil that belongs to the mighty Axis of Evil. But in a way, all of us are like that. Look at Israel – should we make peace with the Syrian regime of today? I say “absolutely”. But many would argue that in a sense, we’re strengthening a suppressive regime by so doing. And my answer would be that we cannot choose our partners, and if we wait for them to behave the way we want them to, we may miss the boat. Like Alon Liel said, windows of opportunity in our region not only rarely open up, but they also close. If we don’t seize them when they appear, we may have to endure many more years of such a regime supporting other, more dangerous, enemies. And until Syria becomes a democracy, and wishes to make peace with Israel, we may see much more pain and suffering than is necessary. So are we being hypocritical, and immoral, and unprincipled? Absolutely. But we ARE serving our interests, and that’s the way the world runs. Maybe one day, when there really is peace throughout the world, then we can all become righteous. Right now, we can’t.

March 19th, 2008, 1:15 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Shai

Why do you accept hypocrisy and crimes under the veil of democracy and you reject dictatorships like the one in Syria? Censorship in Syria or Iran is similar to the US media manipulation. Yet because the US is a ‘democracy’ and hypocrite enough to hide its dirty games, no one, except some decried journalists is able to criticize it and force it to change its games.
Syria has not caused the death of millions of Iraqis, in the contrary they have hosted them when western countries have rejected them. Syria has emprisonned famous personnalities that were calling for the destruction of the regime. Guantanamo is full of these. Yet shy criticism has had no effect on the US to close this prison that shames the country.
Syria is a haven of security for normal citizen while the whole area is dangerous. Ultimately the syrian regime will evolve but not at the pace that the US wants the wole area to change and not in the direction that the US wants it to evolve.
Saudi Arabia is a much worse dictatorship, does the US and the western countries inmpose sanction on it? In the contrary they crawl in front of the saudi king, begging for more oil and more weapons to buy.The western countries have no credibility anymore in the region. Let them become consistent in their principles then they can talk about Syria Human Rights abuse and all these absurd statements, otherwise they better shut up.

March 19th, 2008, 1:34 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Evil actions and positions beget demonization. “as if anything positive ever came out of this brilliant tactic” It’s not a tactic, it’s a strategy; it’s long term. It works: Nazis, Communism, Taliban, Saddam, Kaddafi. Reform or be defeated.

Obey or be defeated is actually a better describing term TheOtherPointOfVieW. Lets not forget the tens of dictators USA has installed to get free or low cost access to numerous countries natural resources.

Saddam was certainly not a nice “character” (egual to Ariel Sharon in many ways), but he was also the modernizer of Iraq. He gave women rights and possibilities, created a good education system, build universities and towns etc. Most importantly he could deliver electricity to Iraqis. Something the mighty USA has completely failed to do. 🙂

Saddam made one BIG mistake. He let USA and its Arab allies (= dictators) to speak himself to war against Iran. The gases (technology) Saddam is said to have used against Kurds were TheOtherPointOfVieW do you know from where? Though some rather credible sources (CIA) say that the gases were spread by Iranians. And their gases, do you TheOtherPointOfVieW know came from where?

Instead, he orders his army to plow its way through the whole country committing horrors and massacres along the way. Then he annexes the country as an Iraqi province. Big difference.

Hilarious. What did Bush and USA? Invaded a whole big country committing unseen horrors and massacres along the way. Then he annexes the country as an production platform for his buddies. What is the difference?

TheOtherPointOfVieW where are the promised WMD’s, where are the links between Saddam and Al Qaida? Amusingly the report of the links between Saddam and Al Qaida (= NO LINKS) was just “censured” (= not delivered to the public). Actually Saddam had “better” excuses to “liberate” as Bush did.

Do you remember the story how Saddam’s men did throw early born babies out of hospitals’ windows in Kuwait? Check that story, it is hilarious. A masterpiece of US propaganda. Sadly they got caught with lying. Well not the first time…

March 19th, 2008, 1:42 pm

 

TheOtherPointOfVieW said:

Simohurtta: many valid points; many mistakes made by the U.S. No one can deny them. What I argue for is a holistic look across the years, decades. On balance, the principles and the system work more often than not. There are also important differences: while there were blunders due to 9/11-generated blindness in pushing for the invasion of Iraq, the US has no ambition to be a permanent occupier nor to annex it.

Why-discuss: “Filtering the information, abusing the naivety of the regular american are evil methods.” You are, of course, right! (surprised?). However, what I have argued for from the beginning of posting here is that there is the opportunity in the US to make the counter-case. What I advocated — perhaps in too direct a way for which some took offense — is that the “other party,” and here I used the term “the Arabs,” not perojatively but to genuinely indicate that Arab countries are to a large extent those who have the most at stake as well as the most resources, what I advocated is the necessity to make the case within the US, using US media, in a persuasive manner that talks to the logic of American people. I have similarly faulted the American administration for failing to communicate effectively with the Arab population. Objections to my call usually end up using the excuse of AIPAC and such, but here is where I don’t agree. The field is open. There is freedom of expression in the US. It should be used to make the case. Not with anger, not with emotion, both of which end up clouding the effectiveness of the message, but with the most impactful facts and persuasion that change minds in the US.

March 19th, 2008, 2:50 pm

 

Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

Why do you assume I accept hypocrisy in democratic nations and reject the regime in Syria? I never said I reject the regime, in fact, the opposite. I said I accept negotiating, and making peace, with this exact regime. I am not the one to determine the fate of your nation. I cannot, and should not, influence the course of democracy and/or individual freedoms in Syria. Just as I wouldn’t expect you to do the same for my people in Israel. I respect the Syrian people too much to think that they need my help. You can decide your future far better than I can. Although I agree that in Western societies the media is very often manipulated and manipulates, I certainly cannot fathom any similarities to state-controlled media in regimes such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, or even Syria. I can’t imagine the media in your country “crucifying” your leader, like ours has been doing to Olmert in Israel for quite some time now. But again, I am not trying to pass judgement. Your people are smart enough to know how and what to do for a better future. At the very least, I commend your leader for courageously leading the “peace camp” in this region, by offering to end the Syrian-Israeli conflict, by making peace with us. I cannot ask any more of Syria for now, than that. When our two nations begin to seriously talk about peace, other issues will arise, and will be dealt with. Now is not the time to finger-point at each other’s faulty political systems, now is the time to take advantage of the opportunity.

March 19th, 2008, 4:10 pm

 

Alex said:

TheOtherPointOfVieW said:

“Evil actions and positions beget demonization. “as if anything positive ever came out of this brilliant tactic” It’s not a tactic, it’s a strategy; it’s long term. It works: Nazis, Communism, Taliban, Saddam, Kaddafi. Reform or be defeated.”

OK … so we agree that “reform or be defeated” is not really the reason for the United States’ P.R. theatrics with the Syrians… otherwise, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Jordan would have gone through the same pressure to reform. Besides, America, is sadly not exactly the “good” side in the Middle East the past few years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq5_vG3cYGM

What is it then? … obey or be defeated?

For how long will the Middle East have to suffer in order for the occasional ignorant group of American leaders to understand that this “strategy” does not work with Syria?

Let me explain why it is not a long-term strategy, as yo suggested.

Carter, Bush Sr., Nixon, Clinton … all traveled to meet with Hafez Assad.

It was only these two presidents that decided to torture the Middle East for 8 years each while they listened to their wonderful advisers (Eliot Abrams, Rumsfeld, Cheney …) who convinced them that they should not talk to Syria.

First President
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuE621j50Z0

Second President.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdmULsIEyEI

You understand now why only a couple of presidents decided that it is a great “strategy” to not talk to Syria for 8 years?

March 19th, 2008, 5:13 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

McCain pledges allegiance to Israel, vows to eliminate Hezbollah
Wednesday, 19 March, 2008 @ 5:08 PM

Visiting U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Wednesday signaled vigorous support for Israel during a fact-finding mission widely seen as a bid to polish his credentials as a statesman.

The Arizona senator warned that Israel’s armed foes threatened not only the Jewish state but also U.S. interests and everything the West holds dear.

[read the rest]

March 19th, 2008, 5:29 pm

 

Alex said:

QN

McCain’s positions are nothing new. Converting Hizbollah into a political organization (with a new name?) is compatible with McCain’s promise to “eliminate” HA.

And his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not imply he will formally move the American embassy to Jerusalem BEFORE a settlement wit the PAlestinias is reached where part of east Jerusaem becomes the capital of Palestine as well.

March 19th, 2008, 5:35 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Alex

Sounds like you’ve been getting McCain’s talking points. 🙂

But I would ask AP if he’d prefer to see Hizbullah ‘eliminated’ via transformation into a political organization, or eliminated the old-fashioned way.

My guess is he’d prefer the latter, as would AIPAC, and McCain might not have much of a choice.

March 19th, 2008, 5:43 pm

 

TheOtherPointOfVieW said:

Alex, I admire your sense of humor (videos #2 and #3). We can all laugh at these. As far as video #1, these actions are despicable and should be prosecuted if the soldiers can be identified – nothing less than court marshall. Shameful, studpid, cruel. The US citizens were also treated to the even worse revelations of the Abu-Ghraib abuse. No one is hiding from these crimes. As I said before, there are mistakes as well as crimes.

The 2 Presidents you refer to have a style of taking rigid positions. It worked for Reagan in setting the stage to the defeat of communism. Of course there were mistakes along the way, but I doubt many question the consequential outcome. Bush II was defined by 9/11 and then was guided by the kind of advisers he chose. Mistakes again. However, is there any question that if Syria were to show real flexibility, cooperation, and withdraw its proven support and facilitation of subversive actions by groups such as Hamas, HA, and Iraqi insurgents, that in this case, regardless of what biased advisors might want, the policy direction will irreversibly shift toward cooperation with Syria? It takes 2 to tango. The current US administration is not a good dancer; it will take extra effort on Syria’s part to make the dance work, not to mention gracefully.

In any case, my fundamental point always goes back to making the case to the US public. It can be done. It has not and is not being done. At least not effectively. There is plenty of room to tilt the balance in that arena. That has always been my message here, even if it was not always expressed in a way that resonated or was readily understood.

March 19th, 2008, 5:47 pm

 

TheOtherPointOfVieW said:

Point of clarification:

When I say “Reform or be defeated” I’m not referring to how a country runs its internal affairs but to its negative actions or impacts. In the examples I gave:
Nazis expansionism, elitism, and racism
Communism’s expansionism
Taliban’s sheltering and defense of Bin Laden = declarer of war on the U.S. and responsible for 9/11, etc..
It’s NOT “obey or be defeated.” It’s “Change your ways in the parts that cause subversion and end up hurting us or our interests in an unfair way … or be defeated”
And yes, there is selfishness and cynicism in this. C’est la vie. Better tell it as its than hypocritically sugar-coating it to soothe our conscience.

March 19th, 2008, 5:57 pm

 

why-discuss said:

TOPOV
“There is freedom of expression in the US. It should be used to make the case.”
As long as the mass media is manipulated by oligarche and lobbies with a specific agenda, a “free expression” which can only reach intellectuals and some politically oriented people is similar to censorship.

March 19th, 2008, 6:35 pm

 

Naji said:

TOPOV,
…but, as Hannah Arendt once famously remarked, ” All hopes to the contrary notwithstanding, it seems as though the one argument the Arabs are incapable of understanding is force.”
😉

March 19th, 2008, 6:37 pm

 

Alex said:

TheOtherPointOfVieW,

It is precicely Reagan’s good strategy with the Soviet Union that made his admirer (GWB) want to stick to the same strategy with Syria.

But Syria is not an enemy of the United States… and it is not a communist regime that is hated by all its people. You can tell from the interview of April Glaspie that she actually liked Hafez Assad a lot, and She enjoyed a free and fun few years living in Syria …

Same impression you get from reading clinton, Baker, and Kissinger. They all liked Hafez Assad .. they complained that he was a tough negotiator, but they did not feel they were negotiating with an enemy of the United States. he was closer to a difficult friend.

Syria is not Saddam’s Iraq and it is not the communist USSR… so, the strategy used to deal with Stalin’s USSR is not necessary and not effective with Syria.

Syria was the only Arab country to tell the Americans that Iraq will be a major disaster … all of America’s Arab “Allies” expected an American victory in few weeks or few months.

Syria told President Clinton and late prime minister Rabin that Oslo was not good enough … it will fail.

Syria told the Untied States and its Arab Allies that it is dangerous to build up Saddam Hussein in 1980 … that it is better to apologize for the mistakes in backing Iran’s Shah and try to becomes friends with Iran.

Syria helped the United States (Bush Sr. and Baker) to make the liberation of Kuwait a success.

Syria stopped the Lebanese civil war.

Syria tried hard to reach out to this administration. Colin Powell admitted last year (after he retired) that it was not true that when he met with Bashar Assad that Syria did not want to cooperate .. he said the Syrians suggested many areas where they can help the United States. It was back in Washington that they wanted to change the regime instead… the “advisers” wanted a regime change, not help and cooperation with Syria.

But … Syria is a proud country that can not accept insults and control from any superpower … the Russians who understood Syria well, never tried to dictate anything to Hafez Assad. It worked great for them for decades. And it worked well for Baker and Bush Sr. and Clinton.

We have enough data to show that when the Untied States is ready to commit to a constructive engagement with Syria for years (not for week, a la Sarkozy) … the United State benefits. Nixon, Bush Sr. and Clinton did much better in the Middle East than Reagan and GWB… so it is not about American selfish interests.

Not talking to Syria is bad for America’s interests in the Middle East.

March 19th, 2008, 6:54 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Shai

“I can’t imagine the media in your country “crucifying” your leader, like ours has been doing to Olmert in Israel for quite some time now”

What counts are the positive and encouraging results. Crucifying Olmert does not seem to have changed much of the situation with the palestinians. Maybe the Israelis feel some kind of emotionnal relief at doing it, but ultimately it changes nothing. In Lebanon they claim there is freedom of expression and it is used widely by politicians to accuse and insult each others and it is leading nowhere. “Free expression” that brings no tangible positive results only fool us to to believe we are free. Unfortunately I have not seen impacts like Zola’s “I accuse’ about Dreyfus in the modern media because the modern media are mostly manipulated by money and special interests. In the contrary we have seem the infamous Judy Miller in the ‘free’ NY times pushing for the Iraq war, and the Danish who have no find better cartoons to draw that ones that make fun of the prophet and the arabs.
Sorry, thank you for that freedom of expression… It can be worse than censorship as it claims to carry a truth ‘free’ while it is filled with lies.

March 19th, 2008, 7:00 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

here are also important differences: while there were blunders due to 9/11-generated blindness in pushing for the invasion of Iraq, the US has no ambition to be a permanent occupier nor to annex it.

TheOtherPointOfVieW are you kidding. In a previous thread you said 1.OIL 2. OIL 3. OIL. USA wants to control Iraqis oil reserves and pay the absolute minimum for them for that oil. That is an indisputable fact. USA is pressuring Iraqi parliament to make an oil law which is extremely stupid for Iraqis, but extremely profitable for “companies”.

Of course USA wants permanent control of Iraq. With minimum amount of troops possible, but with strategical bases. And most importantly with a government which OBEYS. US government (present or future) does not care are the Iraqis democratically ruled or not. The “democracy excuse” is only for internal propaganda purposes.

TheOtherPointOfVieW what would happen if by same miracle there would be a popular uprising in Saudi Arabia and the new democratic government would be rather anti-American. And it would prefer trade relations with Russians and Chinese more than with USA. You can be sure that US would make a deal even with bin Laden (their old “business” partner) to get the back the control Saudi oil and abandon “democracy”.

Ann Lewis, Hillary’s senior adviser just said:
The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel. It is not up to us to pick and choose from among the political parties.”

TheOtherPointOfVieW is USA still an independent country? Or even a democracy? Why should the US president risk his nations well-being because an agressive religiously extreme country packed with nukes? Funny that you blame Syria and Iran for remote controlling Hamas and Hizbollah, when Israel is controlling USA. And that is even openly said by senior adviser of a potential future president.

March 19th, 2008, 7:22 pm

 

wizart said:

Simo:)

Great question.

God bless Finland!

Human rights in Finland

Finland endeavors to promote human rights everywhere in the world.

Human rights are high on the foreign and security policy agenda and Finland takes an active and consistent part in their promotion in each of the foreign and security policy sub-sections The European Union is a key channel of influence and action of Finland’s human rights policy. The EU has committed to promoting respect for human rights worldwide. During its Presidency of the EU in the latter half of 2006, Finland tried to advance the coherence of the Union’s human rights policy and the development of the Union’s fundamental rights sector.

In its human rights policy, Finland has undertaken to pursue openness in the dialogue and cooperation carried out bilaterally and in the EU. In the UN, Finland endeavors to find ways to bridge gaps between opposing parties and to improve human rights situations through dialogue. However, dialogue cannot be an absolute value as such, ruling out any criticism of drawbacks. Openness and related pubic discussion form an integral part of the international promotion of human rights.

Even if human rights are universal, they do not in practice materialize equally.

Finland tries to focus especially on the promotion of the rights of women, children, minorities, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities, because they are more easily discriminated. It is of utmost importance that the different groups can take part in decision-making that concerns themselves at all levels from policy formulation to the pursuit of policies at international forums.

March 19th, 2008, 7:29 pm

 

Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

While seemingly addressing specific modern-day instances of “freedom of speech”, including those of the media in Israel, or other Western nations, you are actually pointing to an ancient philosophical realm which discussed the “ideal society”. As Plato saw it, some 2400 years ago, such a society would be headed by kings, who would be philosophers, and would know how to best rule their people. They would be elected by the people, but once achieving power, would have absolute power, including of course the dissemination of information within their society. For all practical purposes, that’s your case of state-controlled media.

Now one thing is for sure, I’m not going to debate you, in this forum, on philosophy. There are clearly problems with having a media that is easily manipulated, that manipulates, and that feeds us sensationalism more than fact. But there are also problems with a media that is controlled by one body, and that “feeds” you something one person had decided you should hear. Or, only his version, not anyone else’s. The lack of multiplicity of ideas is problematic, as it provides us with little possibility to make up our own mind. In essence, we are literally “fed” only one opinion. But I agree with you, what good is a media that crucifies an existing leader, and yet the people do little with this information, and enable that leader to continue leading. But that says no less about the people themselves than it does about their media. Don’t forget, it is Israelis who are deciding to let Olmert stay in power (for now), and not to kick him out, especially after the Vinograd Report was published a few months ago. At the same time, public opinion polls show Olmert and Barak at all time lows, as opposed to Netanyahu, who has been clearly on the rise. So time will tell…

March 19th, 2008, 7:37 pm

 

Shai said:

Simohurrta,

How do you say “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in Finnish?

You know, this piece of work has been translated into hundreds of languages, literally, and is updated each year, adding relevant chapters based on events that took place recently. Which version are you reading? It must be the updated one, if it already includes the wise words of Hillary’s personal advisor. She is, after all, a serious person, like you, right?

I thank you for continuing to help bridge the gaps between Jews and Arabs on this forum, with your well-chosen words.

March 19th, 2008, 7:51 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Simohurrta,

How do you say “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in Finnish?

Are you a jerk Shai? Ann Lewis is Clinton’s senior adviser. She is not a fictional character. You can easily find the source of what she said. Actually the original source is WP. Blame Ann not me. 🙂

I have never read the piece you mention. And it is extremely stupid to portray me as an anti-Semitist using the “intellectual” method you used. To make the situation equal. Are you a religious Zionist demanding Ersatz Israel from Nile to Euphrates? Do you have a long beard and funny little hat? As you see it is easy to answer to insults by insults. I have trained with many AIG’s. So lets stop this insulting here.

You Israelis are a funny “race”. Even the most civilized from you, to which I include you, are mostly completely unable to see the situation in proportions. Israel is not the victim or under any real threat. Israel is the dominate aggressor and occupier in the region. Israel is the one with nukes and treating people so that it makes Chinese in Tibet look civilized. Arabs do not have nukes or the military technology you have. And Palestinians have every reason to resist. Even Barak has admitted if he would have been born a Palestinian he would be a militant.

You (Israel) can build real bridges only by giving fast Palestinians their fair share of the “promised land” and demilitarize your extremely dangerous army. As you Shai can read from the polls the Israeli public is getting rather racist and less peace seeking. The only real fear for Israel is Israel it self.

Remember Shai the TV pictures when the young girls and orthodox Jews wrote “greeting” messages to artillery ammunitions less than two years ago. Sadly that is the way many Israelis want to build bridges. One man writing “soft” bridge building messages in this blog doesn’t change much the reality on the ground. There are much more AIG’s than Shais in Knesset. Sad but true.

March 19th, 2008, 8:50 pm

 

Shai said:

Simohurrta,

“You Israelis are a funny ‘race’…” Nah, that’s not an Anti-semitic comment, that’s a Pro-semitic comment. My friend, you have yet to understand that when you mix your innate hatred of Israelis with racist-sounding words, you’ve got the kind of lethal combination, that of course will alienate 100% of Jews and Israelis from you, but will in fact also add so much fuel to the already existing fire, that no one around will want to even contemplate making peace with us nuke-packing Zionists. Then again, maybe that’s your hope. Because if it’s not, you’re doing one hell of a shitty job proving otherwise.

I never once pretended like Israel is the “good guy” here. I never once said I also believed we were the victim. I only stated that most Israelis do, whether it makes sense to you, or not. It is an emotional issue, not a rational one. And only time, and peace, will cause it to change, not your belligerent “lux et veritas”. I have encountered many a commentators/readers here in this forum, many who have disagreed with me on almost every issue. But none were as hateful and damaging as you. None had such innate disrespect for anything an Israeli (a Zionist) might dare say on this forum. Although Sadat, and Hussein, and Arafat, and Assad (father and son) probably understood the Arab-Israeli conflict at least as well as you do (maybe just a tiny bit better), you of all people are doing everything humanly possible to cause us not to make peace. They, for some bizarre reason, did the opposite. How do you explain that? Were they so immoral? And are YOU the torch-holder of morality in the Middle East now? Can you see yourself ever sitting in a negotiating room with anyone? Is there ANYTHING positive you can say, about Israelis or Zionists? Can you give even ONE reason to all the Arabs in this forum, why they should make peace with us?

March 19th, 2008, 9:22 pm

 

Alex said:

SimoHurtta and Shai

You are both nice people, and you both want a fair peaceful settlement that benefits everyone in the Middle East.

Shai, I understand how you perceive Simo .. but he had to tolerate over a year of Akbar and AIG calling him an anti-semite for every small criticism of Israel… this constant abuse made him less interested in sounding diplomatic with any Israeli, even a very reasonable one like you.

I hope your presence here will continue to create a more pleasant atmosphere to help us have more meaningful discussions.

As for the quote from Clinton’s senior adviser … by itself it is not alarming. But the fact that all the American candidates feel obliged to say the right things or else AIPAC will punish them (to the best of their ability) is .. not good. Not good for Israel before being not good for the Palestinians… APAC is guaranteeing that America will rarely criticize Israel. NAd since Israel does not care for anyone else, but America, then … Israel does not get to be criticized from anyone that matters … and that kind of situation can not be good for any person or any nation.

March 19th, 2008, 9:33 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Naji,
You say: Hannah Arendt once famously remarked, ” All hopes to the contrary notwithstanding, it seems as though the one argument the Arabs are incapable of understanding is force.”

Boy was she wrong. The Ottomans ruled the Arabs for 400 years by force. Then the French and English and now a few oligarchies are using force to oppress the Arab people in every Arab country. I would say that force works well in the Arab world. Take a specific example, wasn’t the Hamma massacre an extremely effective use of force?

March 19th, 2008, 9:41 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
What you don’t understand is that the US and Israeli strategy regarding Syria has been working well. Why is Syria so weak economically and militarily? Why does Israel still hold the Golan? Why hasn’t any Asad fired a shot in the Golan since 73?

Syria has consistently pursued bad strategies and as a result, even though in 48 Israel and Syria were the same, now the average Israeli is 6-7 times richer than the average Syrian.

March 19th, 2008, 9:48 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

You know that I’m the last person to whip out the “Anti-semite” card. But there’s a limit also to my patience with hearing and reading this kind of rhetoric. I can hear almost anything, if it said respectfully, not using racial slur. Plus, I tend to react better when someone isn’t spraying me with a verbal accusation machine gun. I’d much rather discuss, than put on my bullet-proof vest and have to defend and attack. I thought Syria Comment was a discussion forum, not an armory.

As for Hillary’s advisor’s comments, and for that matter AIPAC. Of course it is worrying. In my mind, neither are good for Israel. When the Jewish lobbying groups consistently side with Israel, we have everything to lose. But even though I don’t like it, I can understand why the potential candidates are sounding as if they’re playing to AIPAC’s tunes. It is, after all, a very influential political action group (committee). So is the NRA, which means that when gun-control issues come up, you can bet most candidates will find that creative way of sounding either clearly pro, or not so much anti. That is, until after the elections. Then, it’s back to normal. I don’t recall George Bush the father, or James Baker, being particularly pro-Israel, or pro-AIPAC, when it came to halting settlements in the West Bank. The same should occur in every presidency, and it can. But to suggest that the Jews control America (not “contribute”, but “control”) does sound like taken directly out of the Protocols. To suggest that Israel controls America, is just plain hallucinatory. If anything, we see today just how much the American administration is controlling Israel, and unfortunately causing us to miss out on a Syrian opportunity as we speak.

Maybe some here believe that Olmert is actually forcing Bush to tell Olmert “Don’t make peace with Syria!”

March 19th, 2008, 9:48 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
Whenever I called Sim an antisemite I gave an exact explanation why. And it wasn’t because he was criticizing Israel on some small point. The fact of the matter is that Sim is a raving antisemite and you are not willing to acknowledge this.

Part of the problem in the middle east is that people like you do not recognize antisemitism when they see it. Maybe our explanations will help. This is just as an important step to peace as anything else.

March 19th, 2008, 10:10 pm

 

Alex said:

AnotherIsraeliGuy said: Edit

Alex,
What you don’t understand is that the US and Israeli strategy regarding Syria has been working well. Why is Syria so weak economically and militarily? Why does Israel still hold the Golan? Why hasn’t any Asad fired a shot in the Golan since 73?

AIG,

America’s strategy has been working well??

I did not know that America’s national interests and America’s objectives are:

1) A Syria that is weak economically and militarily.
2) Israel keeping the lands it stole by force against all UN resolutions.
3) pushing Assad to start hostilities on the Golan Heights.

If this is the case then America is indeed an evil country.

But I happen to know what America wants … it is not to weaken a country called Syria economically … it is to have more friends in the Middle East.

The best road to friendship with the Syrian people starts by making a U-turn … everything Eliot and Friends advised is destructive and is foolish. They are working against America’s best interests.

March 19th, 2008, 10:17 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

At the risk of sounding an “expert” on America, I would bet historians 20-30 years from now would claim these were the worst 8 years for America’s national and international interests. I would also bet that Elliot Abrams knows this… By the way, you know what’s the best way of making someone do a U-turn? Put up a “Detour” sign… Which is what Israel and Syria should do – create a detour ourselves, and force America (the new administration) to come our way.

March 19th, 2008, 10:24 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
Look at the results of the last 60 years. Israel has worked with the US, Syria has not. The situation of the the average Israeli citizen has improved much more than that of the average Syrian citizen.

And yes, the US strategy is working well. The US is not evil for wanting its allies to be safe and its enemies (yes Syria is an enemy) to succeed less.

Let me turn the argument around to you: The best way for Syria to make friends with the US is to stop its destructive and foolish strategy of supporting terrorism and destabilizing its neigbors. Syria is working against its interests and is paying the price.

Unfortunately, for you, Syria and its regime are constant and all other things need to change. The world does not work that way. Syria has to change, not the US. And if Syria does not change, its citizens will suffer, but of course, Asad could care less.

March 19th, 2008, 10:26 pm

 

Shai said:

AIG,

Before I go to bed… I believe the Syrians know full well that Israel is not just going to give back the Golan, in return for an Israeli embassy in Damascus. But that unless major policy changes are made, especially the military support and/or alliances aspects, no withdrawal will ever take place. And yet, Syria wants to talk peace, now. Can we honestly wait for Syria to become a democracy, before we go talk to her? Can’t we accept that we may well have to sign peace treaties with regimes that are not “exactly” to our liking? Just as they may have to sign a treaty with us, while we are still occupying the West Bank, and choking Gaza, and maintaining a “fairly-powerful” arsenal at our disposal?

March 19th, 2008, 10:33 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

When you started here, you called many people antisemite … including me occasionally (“bordering on antisemitism”). If I did not have administrative privileges here you would have continued to be the rudest and most abusive person to ever visit this blog. It is YOU who does not get it … you managed to make everyone here ask me to ban you… and most of them are pleasant and tolerant people who rarely asked me to ban others.

I KNOW from emails with SimoHurtta that he is not an antisemite. He wants a solution that makes Israelis and Arabs live in peace next to each other.

He is the typical Northern European that hates Israel’s killing of civilians every week. If you want to silence him and others in CNN, it does not mean that he and the others like him will start to fall in love with Israel. Instead you will have rising hate towards Israel.

As long as Akbar keeps linking Memri videos that portray Arabs and Muslims as savage criminals, then you can not be too sensitive to SimoHurtta’s choise of words. I will not be selectively sensitive to one side’s wishes.

Having said that, I agree that SimoHurtta sometimes (like above) goes further than what I think is constructive criticism. I agreed with his argument about Clinton’s adviser, but I prefer not mentioning “the chosen people” or any other expression that can be interpreted as being anti-semitic when we discuss politics.

AIG,

Alon’s interview in Asharq Alawsat is the most impressive demonstration of knowing what to say and what to do in order to get closer to peace with your enemy … Alon did not use his time to score PR points against Syria (and I’m sure he has things to criticize), instead he proved that he understand Syria’s position and in a symbolic way, he helped Syria in that interview.

Some of you have no idea how effective these gestures are. Every Syrian who read that interview reacted by saying something along “There are some really decent Israelis”. While almost every Syrian who reads YOU here reacts as “You know what Alex, you are wasting your time trying to have peace with “these people” .. they are arrogant and selfish”

If you want to fight antisemitism … imitate Alon and Shai instead of lecturing everyone here that he does not know how antisemitic he/she is.

March 19th, 2008, 10:40 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in Finnish?

Why can’t you Shai answer orderly and always pretend to the one who is victim of insults. You brought up “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” without no intellectual explanation how it links to my point in the previous comment. You began the “insulting”. That proves my point of how you IGs always begin to use the anti-Semitism card when you have no rational counter answers.

I used the term “race” so that AIGs do not accuse me using the word Jews. AIG and I have debated are Jews an nation or race. AIG claims they are, my opinion is that the “nation” is based on the religion more than a normal nation. By the way is Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman) a Jew when he is a Christian as I remember reading. Is it anti-Semitic to ask such a question?

As said numerous times before the Middle East problems simplified have two sides Israeli/Jewish side and the Arabs side. People see the situation differently. You see your self (=Israel)as a victim and under threat. I see your country as an dangerous unpredictable aggressor and its behaviour towards Palestinians shameful. Simple as that.

March 19th, 2008, 10:41 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Shai,
Can we really afford to legitimize all Arab dictatorships and leave the Arabs without any hope? Isn’t it bad enough that we are supporting Mubarak that has done nothing for the average Egyptian and only made things worse for him? Nothing can stop demography, and the middle east is going to blow up sooner than later UNLESS there are REAL reforms and hope. And that means democracy. Listen to Bashmann.

And yes we can wait. All the indications are that Syria is very scared of a war and will not be drawn into one. If bombing the nuclear facility in September did not lead to a response, what will?

March 19th, 2008, 10:45 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Did you ever find an English translation of Alon’s interview? You can see another interview he had two days ago (in Hebrew, with English subtitles though), here in Israel, at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOmBkiDXRew

March 19th, 2008, 10:46 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
I am not here to do PR. I am here to have a real debate that does not obscure the issues. I really don’t care what your readers think about me or Israelis. If they really wanted to form a true opinion, they would visit Israel and find out.

[removed by admin]

March 19th, 2008, 10:56 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

[comments removed by admin]

AIG,

email me if you want to discuss it.

March 19th, 2008, 11:02 pm

 

Shai said:

Simo,

Like in one of the previous threads, you are again talking to the wrong guy. How many times do I need to spell it out to you “I do NOT think we’re the victim”!!! But when I hear you say something like “Israel is controlling USA”, I can’t help but think of the Protocols, which say exactly this. You have to understand, Simo, that the Protocols were and are spread in almost every bookstore in the Middle East. Many an Arabs have grown up hearing stuff from this work. It has brought upon Israel, and the Jews, terrible hatred, suspicion, and distrust. So when I hear this sentence coming out of you, of all people, it worries me because it contributes directly to that dangerous fire of hatred already in so many people’s hearts and minds in our region. That is why I brought up the Protocols.

I don’t know what arguments you and AIG had in the past, and I don’t particularly care about them. But when you say something like “You Israelis are a funny ‘race’…”, to me, that sounds VERY much like a racist statement. I don’t know you except through the few exchanges we had here on Syria Comment. On every single one, I found the way you treated me to be with the utmost disrespect, and quite honestly, hatred. You may not hate Israelis innately, but to me you sound like one. You may truly wish for a just peace for both peoples, but to me, you sound like you don’t. I haven’t been privy to your emails with Alex, I only see what you write here. If you’re not everything that I see, then either I need different glasses, or you need to carefully choose your wording, and tone down your rhetoric. I’m willing to engage anyone here, as long as they are respectful of me, and not spraying me with verbal accusations. Remember, I’m not here for the exercise, I’m here to bridge gaps, so that we can have peace one day, soon.

March 19th, 2008, 11:02 pm

 

Alex said:

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Look at the results of the last 60 years. Israel has worked with the US, Syria has not.

yes Syria is an enemy [to the US]

Well …

1) Syria worked with the US every time the US wanted to work with Syria without asking for Syrian “concessions” that jeopardize Syria’s national interests in return for Syria’s help.

The First Iraq war .. the war that liberated Kuwait was not going to be a success if Hafez Assad did not give his blessing and if he did not advice the Americans NOT to go all the way to Baghdad. After today’s situation in Iraq we now know how valuable Syria’s help was.

Syria saved the Lebanese Christians in 1976 .. that was “working with the United States” as everyone knows.

Syria worked with Nixon, Clinton and bush Sr… those presidents who understood how the Middle East works.

2) Syria is NOT an enemy to the United States. You in AIPAC and camera.org can keep trying to convince the Americans that Israel’s enemies are enemies of America .. and I guess we will continue to undo your wonderful work… and hte most effective way to do so is to make Syria a friend of Israel, not an enemy.

Good luck.

March 19th, 2008, 11:09 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
People look at facts and therefore anyone that claims that Syria is an enemy of the US does not need luck:
1) During the cold war Syria was an ally of the Soviet Union and an enemy of the US.
2) Currently, Syria is an enemy because it supports terrorism as most Democrats and Republicans agree. It supports terrorism in Iraq and it supports terrorism in Israel. It is a fact obvious to everyone that Mugniyeh was in Syria. A terrorist wanted in 42 countries was a guest of Syria.

As for the first Gulf war, Baker and Bush overestimated the requirement that Syria join the coalition and made the fatal mistake of giving Lebanon to Syria. That was a huge mistake for which the US is still paying the price. It makes it difficult for many Lebanese to trust the US and they have a point.

March 19th, 2008, 11:27 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

But when I hear you say something like “Israel is controlling USA”, I can’t help but think of the Protocols, which say exactly this.

Shai it was that Ann lady who said:
“The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel.”

Getting the control comparison from this quote is hardly far fetched anti-Semitism. Anyone with some knowledge with US and Israeli politics knows how tightly the countries are bound together politically. Even in matters that certainly do not benefit USA or Americans interests and are against common moral sense.

If you approve how Palestinians are mistreated, you also have approve what is happening in Tibet. Tibetans in Tibet have at least the Chinese citizenship.That is more than the poor Palestinians do have.

The international agreement for peace in Middle East is simple. You go back to the 1967 borders and let the Palestinians have their state. That builds more bridges than hundred thousand Shais writing “soft” messages when the ethnic cleansing and murdering is continuing on daily basis. Sadly Israel has no intention to do that peace effort what the majority of the world is demanding. Instead the land grabbing and stealing is continuing. Is it anti-Semtic to say that Israeli (minus Israeli Arabs) are stealing the lands of Palestinians. Is it anti-Semitic to say that Israel has nukes and the majority of Europeans see Israel as the greatest danger to world peace.

March 19th, 2008, 11:38 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

1) When Syria was an ally of the Soviets, the American diplomat in Damascus quoted in the interview above was meeting with Hafez Assad and enjoying his sense of humor… Nixon, Kissinger, Bush Sr. Baker, Clnton, and others WORKED with Syria and had agreements with Syria.

What you are referring to is for public consumption.

2) It is YOUR opinion that Baker is an idiot and Abrams is smart … the American people should thatnk you and your similar types who tricked them into starting the second Iraq war … and into killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who will never forget and never fogive. The cost of that Iraq war is not only the 3 trillions that we are starting to hear about now, the cost s sadly more .. all the enemies you made America have will be a cost one way or another if there is no U-Turn in American foreign policy in the Middle EAst.

You can continue to advice America that Baker is an idiot, and Bush Sr. over estimated the value of Syria’s advice … sure .. push America to start another 3 trillion dollar war with Iran and Syria … why not! … it is not coming from your pocket.

March 19th, 2008, 11:40 pm

 

TheOtherPointOfVieW said:

Alex,

You should send your comment http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=634#comment-126994 a an Op-Ed to the New York Times. Maybe edit it a bit more for more context and completion, etc.
Why is it that there are no reports and opinions like this in the US press ?

I don’t accept the argument of Why-Discuss:
“As long as the mass media is manipulated by oligarche and lobbies with a specific agenda, a “free expression” which can only reach intellectuals and some politically oriented people is similar to censorship.”

Lobbies are powerful. Fine. Create a lobby for the Arab causes. Finance it well. Fight on this front with the weapons that work on this front. Why always find excuses to pretend you’re hopeless ?? why ??
It will be hard to believe by many here that I am in fact on your side in the sense of hungering for seeing equally competent press coverage and lobbying done by your side. Only then can the American people develop a fair judgment. The difference is that I lay the responsibility for fighting for such coverage with you (not anyone personally here but the overall Arab community of countries, government, etc.) just as “Israel” is effective.

March 19th, 2008, 11:41 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
1) The Syrians were a stated enemy of the US during the cold war. There was a US embassy in Moscow and a Soviet one in Washington. That does not mean they were not enemies. The same goes for Syria. It recevied billions in aid and weapons from the Russians in order to counter American influence in the middle east.

2) The majority in Iraq are happy that the US has liberated them from Saddam. Ask most Shias and Kurds whether they prefer the situation now to what it was under Saddam and they will answer you that they prefer the situation now. And without Syria’s “advice”, this would have been done much earlier. It is no wonder that one dictator gives advise to leave another dictator in power.

3) The majority of Lebanese will tell you that Baker and Bush Sr. made a huge mistake. It is an excellent example of how short term interests mistakenly trump real long term interests and the price to pay is huge.

March 19th, 2008, 11:51 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

Maybe I should simply accept your argument that those 3 trillions were worth it for the American people whose economy will have to deal with it… maybe the million dead Iraqis were a price worth paying … maybe baker and BBush Sr. and Clinton and Carter are not as experienced as you and Abrams in what is good for America in the long run.

I will leave you with pictures of the “enemies” meeting and agreeing on many good things that you can read about in Baker’s book, Carter’s book, Clinton’s book and Kissinger’s books.

And … These are the only two who did not want to talk to Syria from day 1

March 20th, 2008, 12:01 am

 

TheOtherPointOfVieW said:

SimoHurtta said:
“TheOtherPointOfVieW are you kidding. In a previous thread you said 1.OIL 2. OIL 3. OIL. USA wants to control Iraqis oil reserves and pay the absolute minimum for them for that oil. That is an indisputable fact. USA is pressuring Iraqi parliament to make an oil law which is extremely stupid for Iraqis, but extremely profitable for “companies”.’

Not true. The US wants no more fair access to Oil in Iraq than it does in Saudi Arabia. KSA controls its oils, controls the prices, trades fairly with the US. No more is sought from Iraq. What is sought to be prevented is the usurpation of the free trade that would maintain such free access. There is no question that the Iraqi people, through their democratically elected government, will (as well they should) set the conditions for how their natural resources are used. When I said “Oil, Oil, Oil” I implied – candidly and correctly – that the US was drawn into this conflict because of the additional driver of wanting to ensure fair access to Oil (as opposed to other areas of the world [Africa for example] where the moral imprerative alone doesn’t always more the US into action – as perhaps it should).

March 20th, 2008, 12:13 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
The Soviets and Americans met countless of times. They were still enemies.

Why don’t you ask the Lebanese if what Baker and Bush did was good for the US or not?

As for the loss of life, Saddam was killing hundreds of thousands, were you for removing him? Why don’t we ask the Iraqis if the price was worth it? They are really the only ones that can give a true answer.

March 20th, 2008, 12:13 am

 

Alex said:

AIG

Why don’t you give “the Lebanese” (i.e. M14’s group, or half the Lebanese) a blank check for another 3 trillion dollars from the US treasury?

As for “the loss of life” … how would you like it if those million dead were Iraqi Jews for example? would you still treat it as a necessary thing for hte long run?

March 20th, 2008, 12:22 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

It is about 70% of the Lebanese. You forget that especially the Aoun supporters would tell you that Baker and Bush made a huge mistake.

Why don’t we let the Iraqis decide if the sacrifice was worth it or not? They know best and they made the sacrifice.

In the 48 war Israel lost 1% of its population (5,000 people). That would be equivalent to the US losing 3 million. And yes it was worth it.

March 20th, 2008, 1:25 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex –

Thank you for all of those lovely pictures from the Assad family album.

There should be a caption underneath them stating:

Shaking hands and sitting in chairs never decreased state-sponsored terror and never brought peace.

(which is why the current administration didn’t even bother)

March 20th, 2008, 1:47 am

 

Alex said:

Yes AIG .. when you have 70% of the Lebanese then you will have early elections approved by Hariri, Jumblat and Seniora.

They are less than 50%

But sure .. 70% as you wish … you want to “help them” get rid of the Syrian Baathist regime like Jumblatt wants you to? … you are ready for another 3 trillion dollars to spend?

And be careful when you start with your “It was worth it” … let’s go back an compare apples to apples … if Iraq was still full of Iraqis Jews … would you have been that easy going with the loss of a million of them in order to “help” the 70% of Iraqis who wanted to get rid of Saddam?

You don’t have to answer this question.

Akbar,

“Sitting in chairs and shaking hands” brought the Syrian Israeli 1974 ceasefire agreement which is “successful” .. it also brought the agreement with Rabin (until your extremists killed him to prevent “success”), and it brought the successful first Iraq war, and it brought the agreement between Syria and the United States to ask Syria to stop the Lebanese civil war and to save the Lebanese Christians … some of the same Lebanese that AIG is happy to count on his side today.

The lesson from that “family album” is learned by those who are open to learn useful lessons … many in Washington are eager to speak to Syria again… to bring peace and to work together to change what needs to be changed in order to better fight terrorism and violence in general.

It was not targeted at you, don’t worry. You can continue to be as negative as you can.

March 20th, 2008, 3:35 am

 

Shai said:

Simo,

I sometimes think you just want to preach something, anything, to anyone. Why are you directing your words at me? Did I ever say we should not give the Palestinians back their land? NO, I said the opposite. Did I ever say not to withdraw to the 1967 lines? NO, I said the opposite. Giving the Palestinians Israeli citizenship (like Tibetans holding Chinese) is the last thing the Palestinians need, or Israelis. Palestinians should have Palestinian citizenship, in their own nation called Palestine.

Is it antisemitic to say we have nukes? No. Is it antisemitic to say that Israelis are stealing Palestinian lands? No. Is it antisemitic to say “You Israelis are a funny ‘race’…”? YES, SimoHurrta, it is!!! You want us Israelis to take responsibility for our actions? How about you taking responsibility for your words? Is THAT a possibility? Or are your accusations higher than that? Is there ANYTHING you know how to do besides ACCUSE, and ask “Is it antisemitic to say this… and is it antisemitic to say that…”?

And lastly, it wasn’t Hillary’s advisor that said “Israel controls USA”, it was you. You can’t even tell anymore between your own interpretations, and what someone else said. And I thank you for belittling a hundred thousand Shais sending “soft” messages. But I can tell you one thing – if there were a hundred thousand SimoHurttas, sending “soft” messages of the type you do, there would be NO PEACE between Jews and Arabs. Because no one (on my side) would be willing to listen to you for even half the time it took me to type this response. You do not know HOW to speak. You think you know WHAT to say. The way you talk to one side in this conflict is so disrespectful, that you’ve already lost any sense of comparison. To you, we are ALL the same. And when someone thinks that all Jews are the same, that DOES sound very close to antisemitism, no matter how much you’d love to say to yourself otherwise. Your words speak far louder than your wisdom, perhaps others here have hinted this to you in the past… and you may have forgotten.

Good luck to you. I’ve given up hope. Alex, you can keep your “he’s a good guy” to yourself… not interested.

March 20th, 2008, 4:38 am

 

wizart said:

Shai,

The term “anti-semitism” is a propaganda tool as noted below.

A contradictory political ploy

Dr. Norman Finkelstein writes that anger at “Israel’s brutal occupation has undoubtedly slipped over to an anger against Jews generally,” which he describes as “lamentable” but “hardly cause for wonder.”

Norman Finkelstein argues that organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League have brought forward charges of new antisemitism at various intervals since the 1970s, “not to fight antisemitism but rather to exploit the historical suffering of Jews in order to immunize Israel against criticism”. He writes that most evidence purporting to show a new antisemitism has been taken from organizations that are linked in some way to Israel, or that have “a material stake in inflating the findings of anti-Semitism,” and that some antisemitic incidents reported in recent years either did not occur or were misidentified. As an example of the misuse of the term “antisemitism,” he cites the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia’s 2003 report, which included displays of the Palestinian flag, support for the PLO, and allegations of Israeli apartheid in its list of antisemitic activities and beliefs.

He writes that what is called the new antisemitism consists of three components: (i) “exaggeration and fabrication”; (ii) “mislabeling legitimate criticism of Israeli policy”; and (iii) “the unjustified yet predictable spillover from criticism of Israel to Jews generally.” He argues that Israel’s apologists have denied a causal relationship between Israeli policies and hostility toward Jews, since “if Israeli policies, and widespread Jewish support for them, evoke hostility toward Jews, it means that Israel and its Jewish supporters might themselves be causing anti-Semitism; and it might be doing so because Israel and its Jewish supporters are in the wrong”.

Finkelstein asks why, given that the wars in Vietnam and Iraq contributed to anti-Americanism, and the aggression of Nazi Germany gave rise to anti-Teutonic sentiment, it surprises us that an occupation by a self-declared Jewish state should cause antipathy towards Jews. The only surprise, he argues, is that the antipathy does not run deeper, given that mainstream Jewish organizations offer uncritical support to Israel; that Israel defines itself juridically as the sovereign state of the Jewish people; and that Jews themselves sometimes argue that to distinguish between Israel and world Jewry is itself an example of antisemitism. He cites Phyllis Chesler who argues, on the one hand, that “anyone who does not distinguish between Jews and the Jewish state is an anti-Semite,” but on the other that “Israel is our heart and soul … we are family.” Gabriel Schoenfeld, the editor of Commentary magazine, writes that “Iranian anti-Semitic propagandists make a point of erasing all distinctions among Israel, Zionism and the Jews,” while Hillel Halkin argues that “Israel is the state of the Jews … To defame Israel is to defame the Jews.” It would seem to be antisemitic, Finkelstein concludes, “both to identify and not to identify Israel with Jews.”

—————————————————————
Simo was defending the human rights of Palestinians who are semite so he can’t be anti-semite. (Arabs and Jews are both semites!)
—————————————————————

March 20th, 2008, 9:04 am

 

Shai said:

Wizart,

Let’s go back to talking about humor. Although certainly admirable that you’re such a consistent defender of Simo, I don’t think you’re very successful at convincing me that he’s a nice, respectful guy in disguise. He’s not.

March 20th, 2008, 9:18 am

 

wizart said:

Shai,

Do you have any evidence that first it’s a he not a she? 🙂

2ed do you have any evidence that he/she is in disguise?

3ed what makes you think that either he/she or I are trying to convince you of anything? we’re simply faceless internet users debating different ideas and points of view so I’m not sure why you take the discussion so seriously personally if you know what I mean.

I imagine Simo to be a human rights advocate from a country and a region known for championing peace initiatives and living peacefully and successfully, etc.

Anyway, have you ever been to the cool http://www.adc.org convention? they usually serve the best Falafel and Kaba b there is and people come out alive with no reported incidents of food poisoning so far. 🙂

March 20th, 2008, 9:47 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Sim said:

You Israelis are a funny “race”.

Alex excuses:

Shai, I understand how you perceive Simo .. but he had to tolerate over a year of Akbar and AIG calling him an anti-semite for every small criticism of Israel…

My comment:

That’s all Sim does is criticize Israel. And not all of his tiresome criticisms are “small”. Even Zenobia had criticism of BOTH Arabs AND Israel.

Alex contiinues:

But the fact that all the American candidates feel obliged to say the right things or else AIPAC will punish them (to the best of their ability)…

Alex –

Per your “fact”, please list how AIPAC “punishes” those critical of Israel.

How did AIPAC “punish” Ron Paul? How did AIPAC punish the esteemed Barack Obama and his advisor Zbigniew Brzezinksi? Methinks Alex, you are a load of misinformation. AIPAC’s “punishment” is their non-support. And that hurts in a country that generally supports Israel.

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001559.php

Alex continues his misinformation campaign:

APAC is guaranteeing that America will rarely criticize Israel.

No, anti-Israelis are guaranteeing their own failure to reach higher office.

Shai –

I’ve followed your responses to Sim, and although we rarely agree, I took notice of your responses and I appreciate them.

Yashar Koakh, Habib.

March 20th, 2008, 11:32 am

 

wizart said:

AP

Your strategy of denial and misinformation is straight out of the tool box of AIPAC. “They dare to speak out” is what you can read!

Findley Speaks Out

By Jeffrey Leach

The author of this book, Paul Findley, was a Congressman from Illinois for some 22 years. This puts him in the unique position to criticize his target. That target is the pro-Israel lobby, specifically AIPAC (The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee). Findley believes that many politicians have lost elections due to the influence of this group. Findley himself thinks they played a role in his own defeat in the early 1980’s. Why would AIPAC use lobbying clout to defeat politicians? Because some of these figures dared to question the intimate relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

The book is extremely well written and organized, although there are no numbers in the text to match the endnotes at the back of the book. At first, I snickered at some of the accusations Findley makes. After all, shouldn’t a criticism of AIPAC be extended to ALL political action groups? Wouldn’t it be just as easy to point out that this is a symptom of a larger problem, that of outside influence in politics? What quickly becomes apparent is that AIPAC uses threats and intimidation to cow any voices that speak out against what Israel is doing to the Palestinians. Those who can’t be dealt with immediately are publicly branded as anti-Semites or Jew haters. Some are even compared to Nazi war criminals. The people Findley discusses are hardly goose-stepping thugs. They are people who are concerned that Israel is using American weapons to kill innocent civilians. Some oppose the Israeli theft of Palestinian land, or Israeli spying within U.S. institutions. Almost all of these people begin to receive letters, threatening phone calls and other heavy-handed tactics designed to shut them up.

Findley shows how the pro-Israel lobby intimidates government officials, educators, restaurant owners and journalists into toeing the Israel line while denying the Arab position on any matter. Even presidents have felt the pressure from Israel’s lobby. Reagan renewed the shipment of cluster bombs to the Israelis even after it was known that Israel used them on Palestinians in the past and would probably do so again in the future. Although not mentioned in the book, even Clinton felt the pressure. He came close to pardoning Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy, until the heads of the FBI and CIA threatened to resign if he did so. Findley talks about Pollard in the book, and the tale is staggering to behold. Pollard continues to receive pay from the Israelis, even though he is in prison. Documents stolen by Pollard were never returned by Israel, and many of these papers ended up in the hands of the Soviet Union, endangering U.S. lives and security. Israel also refused to hand over Pollard’s handlers. These Israeli agents ended up with lucrative positions back in Israel.

Probably the most disturbing account in this book is that of the USS Liberty. The Liberty was a U.S. warship that was viciously attacked by Israeli planes and gunboats in 1967. Despite flying a U.S. flag in a stiff breeze and clearly marked numbers and names on the hull, the Liberty was strafed, torpedoed and napalmed by Israel. The toll was staggering: 34 dead and 171 injured. The U.S. government not only delayed sending a rescue mission to the imperiled ship until well after the attack, they covered up the entire incident. Documents were destroyed or hidden and letters to the families of the dead failed to take into account what really happened to their loved ones. A book written about the attack by James Ennes was blackballed. Even if this attack was a mistake, and Findley presents plenty of evidence to the contrary, covering it up is a crime tantamount to treason.

There is plenty of evidence in this book to make any thinking person stand up and take note. To criticize Israeli policy is not anti-Semitism. Not one of the people in this book ever tried to deny Israel the right to exist as a state. They merely wanted Israel held accountable for its behavior towards the Palestinians. As can be expected, Findley has suffered insults and slurs for his beliefs. Read this book.

March 20th, 2008, 12:19 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Shai I sometimes think that you have the tendency to preach about peace and good relations almost without any substance. You speak about peace but I have not seen any real plan how to solve the core problems.

The amount of my comments in this blog is only a fragment of yours. So don’t accuse me for preaching. I normally tell my opinion and in few cases I answer to the different views. You on the contrary are “vocal” all the time. What is the substance of comments like did you get my email?

Is it antisemitic to say “You Israelis are a funny ‘race’…”? YES, SimoHurrta, it is!!!

I am very confused. I used the word race in brackets, as you can clearly see, so that nobody could accuse me for anti-Semitism. I did not deliberately use the word Jew. When I or others speak about the “Jewish Nation” in general, what is the right term. You IGs always say that Jews are a nation or a tribe. You use constantly the terms Syrians, Arabs, Americans etc perfectly well knowing that in these “groups” have many different opinions.

Speaking or writing of Israel is difficult. How should I describe the nation in general. Israelis is not right because the “untermenschen” in your “democracy”, Israeli Arabs, have a very different opinion of the situation than the Jewish majority. So if I would like to describe the Jewish majority what is the right term? If I use the term Jews I am attacked, if I use circumlocutions like “race” in brackets, I am attacked. Well, well…

The way you talk to one side in this conflict is so disrespectful, that you’ve already lost any sense of comparison. To you, we are ALL the same. And when someone thinks that all Jews are the same, that DOES sound very close to antisemitism, no matter how much you’d love to say to yourself otherwise.

Should I speak with respect about Israeli nukes, land theft, religious discrimination, religious extremism etc. Sorry I do not know how to do that. Israeli nukes, Israeli religious extremism, Israeli apartheid, Israeli serious human rights violations are facts which even you can’t deny. Naturally you can wipe these essential things from your own “reality” by not speaking about them. But do not demand others to do that. Of course I know that there are different opinions among Jews and in Israel. Like there are in all societies. But what the country and its government do is what matters, not writing long stories how some few oppose the actions.

If I write Americans invaded Iraq everyone knows that I do not mean every individual American did it. If I write American war propaganda said …, everyone knows that I do not mean every singe newspaper story in USA. You X people demand Germany and Germans to carry a collective guilt and responsibility of the things done during WW2 perfectly well knowing that only a extremely tiny minority of Germans did those things. I see that equally there is a collective responsibility and collective quilt with the things done towards the Palestinians.

The fact Shai there is no peace between Jews and Arabs. Do you blame me for that? If you Shai read the comments in Israeli English internet newspapers you can easily notice the language and tone. I would be in Finland in prison (well at least get big fines) if I would use such racist language in a public newspapers internet site that in Israel is so common.

PS.
Shai why did the Israeli warship go on Lebanon’s areal waters on Monday? To build trust? Certainly you personally oppose such provocative moves, but what does that opposition matter?

March 20th, 2008, 1:14 pm

 

Shai said:

Wizart,

I’d much rather talk to you about food, or humor, or anything else that would get us a tiny closer to peace, than to war.

Tell your he/she friend SimoHurtta that he is a very confused, embittered, and disrespectful person, if he cannot distinguish between Shai, a naval warship, and a funny “race”. I certainly have no intention talking to such a person.

March 20th, 2008, 1:42 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Wizart,
You are rehashing conspiracy theories.
Answer a simple question if you can:
Why is the Israel lobby strong?

Is it money? No, the whole of the AIPAC budget is 60 million dollars. The Arabs could easily provide much more, even Syria itself. So what is it that makes the lobby heard?

March 20th, 2008, 2:00 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Some news of the peace building Israel

Rabbi: Don’t hire, rent homes to Arabs

Other leading religious Zionist rabbis, such as Rabbi Eliezer Melamed of Har Bracha and Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Eilon Moreh, have also called to ban all Arab labor.

By Arabs the Chief Rabbi means both Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. Hmmm what if a Finnish bishop would say do not rent apartments to Jews or Muslims. He would be kicked out of the office. But in Israel it seems not to be the case. Why?

This is funny
Dershowitz: ‘Int’l Court doesn’t give just rulings’

Harvard University human rights expert Alan Dershowitz advised Israel on Wednesday not to appear before the UN International Court of Justice, charging that the judges took orders from their governments and did not administer justice.

Well, well human rights activist. The reporter has humour or the term human rights linked with Dershowitz means something else we others understand with human rights. Undoubtedly Dershowitz is an activist. Maybe even an experts of the Jewish peoples’ human rights. Is a guy who supports / accepts torture a human rights activist?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/alan-dershowitz-should-we-fight-terror-with-torture-406412.html

Some other headers:
* Israel, US stage 4-day military training exercise
* McCain in Holy Land; Evangelicals satisfied
* US warns Palestinian Americans of delays in Israel

State Department says Israeli authorities may question US Palestinians on arrival in Jewish state, require them to obtain PA travel documents. US Arab groups: Bush administration saying in effect that Arab Americans are second-class citizens.

ETC

Building trust and good relations in reality. If we speak about the process towards peace in Middle East also these news from Israeli side are important. At least as important than news from the other side.

I’d much rather talk to you about food, or humor, or anything else that would get us a tiny closer to peace, than to war.

Indeed …

March 20th, 2008, 2:02 pm

 

Alex said:

ok Shai and SimoHurtta : )

1) SH you can use perhaps non-Arab Israelis, or Israeli Jews?
I don’t think Shai or many others understand the background of how AIG or AP specified what you can or can not say when you refer to Israeli Jews. It would look bad for someone who read for the first time (funny “race”).

2) Shai … Don’t be discouraged. I get a lighter version because of my “support for a regime that puts its opponents in jail and kills Lebanese politicians and intervenes in its neighbors’ affairs …etc”

Hopefully one day we will have an Israel that does not kill Palestinians, and political freedoms in Syrian … and world peace too.

Now to Mr. Akbar,

Read WIZART’s comment above…

And yes, Simo always criticizes Israel, like BAhmann always criticizes the Syrian regime and you love it and you think he is doing th right thing.

The Syrian regime does not kill Palestinians every week … the Syrian regime is trying really hard to have peace in th Middle East, the Syrian regime left Lebanon promptly after a UN resolution asked Syria to withdraw from Lebanon … Israel is the biggest violater of human rights, of UN resolutions …

So if you encourage Bachmann to go on ALWAYS criticizing the Syrian regime, then enjoy SimoHurtta’s always criticizing Israel.

March 20th, 2008, 2:37 pm

 

Alex said:

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Wizart,
You are rehashing conspiracy theories.
Answer a simple question if you can:
Why is the Israel lobby strong?

Is it money? No, the whole of the AIPAC budget is 60 million dollars. The Arabs could easily provide much more, even Syria itself. So what is it that makes the lobby heard?

The answer comes from John Mearsheimer. I asked him this same question and he told me that the difference is that AIPAC is made of AMERICANS … American Jews are Americans who have the right to start their own lobby group. Saudis and Syrians are not going to build a foreign lobby that can be anywhere as effective as an American lobby.

You can ask “Why don’t Arab Americans do the same”? … because they are not really one group with one objective … Syrian Americans and Kuwaiti Americans and Moroccan Americans have different interests.

March 20th, 2008, 2:41 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
How more wrong could Mearsheimer be? After all at least 75% of Jews vote democrat and are leftist and do not agree with the Likud line that AIPAC is pushing. Are the Jews according to you, “one group with one objective”? Is that why their lobby is succesful?

March 20th, 2008, 2:53 pm

 

wizart said:

AIG

Why is organized crime so strong and paramount in many countries?
Why do millions of people keep smoking cancer producing cigarets?

I’m not on Aipac’s payroll and don’t know the secret inner-working of career lobbyists and the clandestine behind the seen maneuvering that they have perfected over the years. You want to assure us it’s all kosher although with all your confidence I pretty much disagree with the ways and means of this entity which you think serves America out of all countries. Campaign finance reform is essential for America to stem the influence of foreign loyalists despite their nationalities.

March 20th, 2008, 3:22 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Wizart,
So basically your view is that AIPAC is a secretive and clandenstine operation that is probably not kosher and is composed of traitors.

Is that the best you can do? Is that what your analysis is based on?

March 20th, 2008, 3:28 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
And by the way, why can’t all Arabs unite around the Palestinian cause? Most Arabs, no matter their nationality agree to that, no? So why is there not a strong lobby supporting the Palestinian cause?

March 20th, 2008, 3:38 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

You can’t compare “Arabs” to Jews … Arabs do not feel their existence is threatened like Jews do… their numbers (hundreds of millions) give them some comfort.

You can compare Jews to Armenians perhaps.

Also .. most Arabs who came to the US are the type who hate politics. They escaped the Middle East to escape political conflicts, not to engage in political organizations.

But back to AIPAC and Camera.org… Why are we complicating things?

Her it is again .. watch it .. it is presented by reputable Jewish professors and it shows you exactly how you threaten those who dare to criticize Israel:

Part I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCL6WdnuNp4

Part II

March 20th, 2008, 3:44 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
So, is AIPAC successful because most Jews are afraid for their existence? Even though at least 75% of them are democrats and left leaning they upport AIPAC because of this?

I see you are back to the conspiracy theories about AIPAC “scares” and “threatens” people. But this does not answer the question, it only pushes it one level down. Why do the Americans accept organizations that “threaten” them? Why is AIPAC tolerated if it is abusive?

March 20th, 2008, 3:55 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

I’ll take your lighter version. The other one is unbearable and unacceptable, if any type of civil discourse is intended. If the idea is to just dump off anger at someone, then count me out. Perhaps it should be reminded, every now and then, that I too harbor certain frustrations, and ill-feelings, towards some of my neighbors in this region. If I felt it would add anything, I’d have pages full of hatred to “contribute” in this forum. But first, I believe you and Joshua created this medium not only to enable people to express their anger, but in fact to also reach out to one another, so as to begin the laborious effort of reversing some of those innate (and often justified) feelings. And yes, even if via words alone, not action, as each one of us can hardly show for his/her day-to-day contribution to peace outside of cyberspace. And, second, I really don’t see how dumping my frustrations on anyone here, Jew, non-Jews, Arab, non-Arab, will advance any of my goals. At best, I could feel some temporary relief in having gotten some things “off my chest”. But at worst, I could add so much fuel to the fire, and cause so many people here to hate me further, and to give up on Israelis altogether, that I find it completely contrary to my interests.

So yes, I much prefer so-called “soft” messages to my fellow Arab neighbors, than “rough” messages either online, or offline. We are, at the moment, living in super-sensitive times. While crimes are being committed, and millions of people are suffering, our region is walking a thin and unstable line, which could snap almost anytime. And if it does, we may all suffer far worse than we imagine. Fighting this doomsday scenario is something that people like Alon Liel do each and every day of their lives, on the ground, not in cyberspace. But for some of us, who are a bit less fortunate, we can still make some difference, even if the tiniest, by reaching out to one another. You know that others here, myself included, do more than just talk online. It will be a real shame if the experience here will serve any purpose other than an inspiration that peace is possible, and that a lot of good people out there are ready for it.

I know that through Syria Comment, I have learned tremendously from engaging with your commentators and readers. I am much wiser today, than I was a mere two months ago, about the Israeli-Arab conflict. I’ve been able to look at the suffering of the Palestinians through your lens, not only mine, thanks to people here that were willing to talk to me, and open up. But I always learned more, when approached in a respectful manner. When engaged in such a way as to enable movement forward, not only backward. I cannot, and will not, listen to mere hatred spewed at me directly, or worse, at my people, without some line of hope attached at the end. Without a hint that reconciliation is the goal, not only justice. It is not easy to be in my shoes here, as I am by definition the “bad guy”. I hear more negative criticism than positive, and that’s understandable. But there are ways of delivering criticism, and ways not to. Most people here, fortunately, know how to do it well. And that is why I’m still here, Alex.

March 20th, 2008, 3:57 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

The following website was browsed by Osama bin-Landen:

http://www.w3.center-site-net.com/sarit-hadadeng/index.html

March 20th, 2008, 4:00 pm

 

wizart said:

AIG,

Perhaps we can apply for internships at their headquarters to see how they do things. Perhaps someone would write a book explaining how they work congressmen and the process they use to help them be elected 🙂

How do they spend $60 million a year and how do we verify this info?

I presume you can provide us with kosher answers and nobody will be able to copy your business model because there’s a special relationship that cannot possibly or rationally be duplicated?

March 20th, 2008, 4:06 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Wizart,
The first step is that you admit you have no idea why AIPAC is successful yet you feel free to criticize it and think it is not kosher. Let’s take it from there.

March 20th, 2008, 4:18 pm

 

wizart said:

AIG,

It’s not about me or you so if you disagree it’s your turn to explain.
If you don’t then what Paul Findley wrote is right on the mark and perhaps you should admit and raise an alarm about it to be kosher.

March 20th, 2008, 4:33 pm

 

wizart said:

Prostitutes financed by Jack Abramoff and linked to AIPAC and former Israeli prime minister serviced House, Senate members, media hosts, top military, other feds

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough allegedly cooperating with probe regarding Abramoff indictments—considering whether to report sex-ring scandal on “Scarborough Country”

U.S. intelligence: Sen. Leader William Frist and reporter Robert Novak alleged as regular clients

by Tom Flocco

Washington—May 5, 2006—TomFlocco.com—A long-time top-level government agency official joined a national security expert in confirming grand jury testimony last month, revealing that male and female heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and child prostitutes provided sexual services to numerous congressmen, senators, national media hosts and other federal officials who were compromised and made susceptible to blackmail at three Washington hotels.

“The whole Republican Party was for sale—the House, Senate and the White House,” said a well-respected federal agency official with impeccable credentials who declined to be named but who is familiar with testimony and sources close to the grand jury probing Jack Abramoff.

Patrick Fitzgerald

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s grand jury heard several agents testify in April that the “Watergate, Ritz-Carlton and Sheraton Hotels in Washington, DC were used to compromise legislators and news-people with prostitution services, the financing of which is directly linked to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Marc Rich and Abramoff,” said national security expert Thomas Heneghan.

There are no corporate media reports as to which White House officials participated in the hotel sex ring activities with House and Senate members; however, Heneghan said U.S. Senate Leader and 2008 presidential candidate William Frist (D-TN) was alleged to be a frequent visitor to the hotels according to U.S. intelligence agents.

Frist is reportedly a close friend of alleged Bush 43 male consort and former Knoxville, Tennessee mayor Victor Ashe according to federal agents.

Heneghan also alleged additional prostitute customers as British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former CNN host-reporter Robert Novak, both of whom were introduced into the sex-ring by GOP reporter and male prostitute Jeff Gannon, who visited the Bush White House living quarters 200 times without the assignations being recorded in visitor logs.

Jack Abramoff

The genesis of the Valerie Plame CIA leak allegedly took place during one of Novak’s visits with an Abramoff hooker at one of the hotels according to the sources.

The corruption and crimes surrounding the indicted Republican lobbyist were widespread and far-reaching enough to cause Fitzgerald to impanel a separate grand jury, often referred to by intelligence officials as the “Franklin grand jury,” which is hearing testimony and examining Abramoff linked evidence tied to the Iraq War, September 11 and related issues.

Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin was arrested for leaking classified U.S. government information to AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman who reportedly leaked information to Israel concerning a controversial proposal by Department of Defense hardliners to destabilize Iran.

The federal source wishing to remain anonymous said that additional government officials are currently testifying this month before the Franklin grand jury about Abramoff, the GOP-linked prostitution ring and its ties to AIPAC.

“Photographs of politicians in compromising positions have reportedly already been used as blackmail to silence politicians who would speak the truth about the 2000 election fraud in Florida, 9-11, Iraq/yellowcake/WMD and how Jack Abramoff and Netanyahu were the pimps for the operation,” said Heneghan.

President Bush has emphatically denied that he personally knows Abramoff, despite CIA documents indicating the indicted lobbyist visited the White House 200 times during the first ten months of the Bush presidency—often enough for a personal visit on every business day of each month, according to wide news reports.

Despite the daily White House visits, Bush said “I’ve never sat down with him and had a discussion with the guy,” adding, “I’m also mindful that we live in a world in which those pictures will be used for pure political purposes,” attempting to justify his unwillingness at first to release photos with Abramoff.

Fitzgerald is reportedly convinced that the Bush administration wanted Valerie Plame-Wilson’s identity as a CIA official leaked because her intelligence team had identified Israeli Mossad operatives inside Iran who were to receive weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to be delivered through Turkey and planted in Iraq to further the president’s case for war, said the intelligence expert.

“The financing for these whorehouses is linked directly to AIPAC, Benjamin Netanyahu, Marc Rich and Jack Abramoff; and the money trail ties back to American International Group (AIG), Hank Greenberg and Doug Alexander—former British Minister of E-Commerce,” said Heneghan.

MSNBC host and former congressman Joe Scarborough, subject of a recent TomFlocco.com story, “is now cooperating with federal investigators in the Abramoff matter which has led the probe to the doorsteps of the AIPAC whorehouses now operating in Washington, DC,” said Heneghan.

The intelligence expert told us “Scarborough told federal investigators that he now believes his female staff member was murdered in his congressional office to silence her regarding knowledge of Alexander, Sembler, Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush and the Florida election 2000 coup d’ etat.”

March 20th, 2008, 5:10 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Wizart,
What Findley writes is nonsense and has been debunked many times. The fact is that not one major media outlet in the US has taken him seriously. Even your idols, Walt and Measeheimer have said many times that there is nothing illegal about the “lobby” or AIPAC. You have to explain how both Democrats and Republicans would allow a small lobby to continue to “threaten” and “scare” them for many years. How the NY times that is not afraid of anybody can be cowered by the “lobby”. Because you cannot accept the simple answer, you have to fall back on baseless conspiracy stories. Just face the simple fact, what AIPAC says resonates with the American public just as what the NRA says resonates with the public.

And please explain, how the story you quote by Tom Flocco is relevant?

March 20th, 2008, 5:30 pm

 

wizart said:

AIG,

Sex is used for blackmailing politicians by threatening to release embarrassing photos to the media. How do you like your photo with a prostitute to be delivered to the NY times unless you vote certain ways?

I hope you’re not insulting the intelligence of readers of this block!

March 20th, 2008, 5:49 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Wizart,
So AIPAC blackmailed politicians? Is this what you are arguing? If this is what you are claiming then come out and say it.

Did AIPAC also blackmail Spitzer and cause his downfall?

If any of this stuff had any credibility, it would have been a headlines in all media in the US. By the way, does AIPAC also blackmail Obama?

March 20th, 2008, 5:58 pm

 

wizart said:

AIG,

Are you saying anything in the media which doesn’t depict AIPAC as a model for straight shooting is a hogwash? If that’s so then come out and say it!.. so far you’re only challenging me to confront the obvious with no proof from you to show otherwise.

is AIPAC like some holly creature to you untouched by corruption?

March 20th, 2008, 6:04 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Wizart,
AIPAC is just as good and just as bad as any other lobby, for example the NRA. Are you claiming otherwise?

Show me a credible example that AIPAC is blackmialing politicians and I will change my mind. So far all you can quote are people that believe that 9/11 was an inside job.

March 20th, 2008, 6:17 pm

 

wizart said:

AIG,

I don’t blame you for evading the hard questions and deflecting the criticism back to me as if I was in charge of defending AIPAC despite all the implicating reports over the many years which is conveniently ignored by you and understandably discounted by “mainstream” US media.

If you want the Arabs and Muslims to use AIPAC’s ways and means in terms of using the kinds of sexual tools they use I think you’ll be disappointed. They will not sink this low no matter how justified.

Happy Hannukah (9 months too early!)

March 20th, 2008, 6:30 pm

 

offended said:

Welcome back AIG!
How was it there in the Caribbeans?

March 20th, 2008, 7:00 pm

 

Shai said:

Offended,

How does the media out there in the Gulf (not of Mexico) cover all the mixed messages that are running around between Damascus and Jerusalem in recent days? And what are they saying about this upcoming “Peace Conference” in Moscow?

March 20th, 2008, 7:12 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Wizart,
Hard questions? Has there been a lobby under more media scrutiny than AIPAC? Nothing sticks, except in your conspiracy oriented mind. Why isn’t the “mainstream” media picking this up if you are correct?

March 20th, 2008, 7:17 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai

As you correctly noted, most people here differentiate between you and others (like you know who). “bad guy” you are not.

I totally understand you, even though my similar position is considerably lighter. But I do have three types that go after me … “Syrian opposition”, Lebanese M14 supporters, and Israelis who are scared of peace with Syria. Mr. AIG for example who refuses to understand that I explained a million types to him that I do not want him to describe me as a conspiracy theory lover when he fails to have a convincing response to one of my comments.

AIG … one last time, which will be followed by a two week ban: next time you try your tricks of portraying me as some idiot who believes in conspiracy theories, take two weeks off.

I explained more thatn once my position on AIPAC, which is almost identical to that of Mearsheimer:

1) I am not against all their efforts … I am against their attempts to silence critics of Israel. But I have no problems with their work in making Israel and the United States the closest and best allies. It is simple .. when they are doing good things, I wish them luck and success.

2) I am not saying they always succeed in silencing critics. But they very often do.

3) The way they supported the war on Iraq that cased a million dead Iraqis and cost the Untied States 3 trillion dollars is … criminal. Probably most of them are not bad people, they just want to help Israel. But they are not very wise people … and that makes them quite dangerous occasionally… like when they attempt to block efforts to make peace between Syria and Israel these days.

You are free to disagree with me as much as you want, but I will not accept your attempts to discredit me as some lunatic who believes Israel did 9/11.

March 20th, 2008, 7:26 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Thank you. I fear all generalizations are dangerous, and all too often destructive. I sent you some mail earlier… have a look when you get a chance.

March 20th, 2008, 7:35 pm

 

wizart said:

AIG,

Character assassination is not a defense. Aux contrary.

AIPAC is in cahoot with the “mainstream” media just as they are in cahoot with congress. If they can influence hundreds of congressmen as described by Findley, is it not self evident they can influence the half-dozen or so mainstream media outlets to turn a blind eye?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out, this is not some conspiracy tale. It’s well documented by experienced congressmen!

Book excerpts from a courageous United States Congressman, Paul
Findley, who served from 1960-1982:

Page 1 — Early Naiveté

I had already begun to doubt the wisdom of United States policy in the Middle East when I first joined the subcommittee. For the most part, I kept these doubts private, but not because I feared the political consequences. In fact I naively assumed I could question our policy anywhere without getting into trouble. I did not realize how deeply the roots of Israeli interests had penetrated
U.S. institutions.

Page 17 — Personal Friend Could Not Ignore the Lobby

No event, before or since, disclosed to me so forcefully the hidden
leverage of the Israeli lobby on the U.S. political scene. This great, kind, generous Jewish elder statesman, a personal friend for twenty years, could not ignore the lobby and say a public good word for my candidacy. I report this episode because, when a great man like Arthur Burns feels he must keep his views private, lesser men and women who would speak out face an enormous challenge.

Page 19 — Bob Hope Backs Out

The “panic” even spread to Hollywood. Bob Hope, who never wavered
under enemy fire on war fronts in World War II and Korea and withstood heavy criticism for his support of President Nixon’s Vietnam policies, encountered a new and more devastating line of fire when he agreed to appear at a fund-raising event
for me in Springfield. …

… Coast-to-coast pressure quickly brought a change. Don Norton
recalls an urgent telephone message he received from Hope’s manager:

Grant told me that Hope was getting tremendous pressure from Jews and non-Jews all over the country. He said it’s gone to the point where Hope’s lawyer of 35 years, who is Jewish, has threatened to quit. The pressure was beyond belief, like nothing they had ever experienced before, and Bob Hope just couldn’t come.

Page 20 — Lobby Pressures Gerald Ford

Lobby pressure also intruded when former President Gerald R. Ford
agreed to appear in my behalf, this time in Alton, Illinois.

The first sign of trouble was a call From Palm Springs in which
Ford’s secretary reported that the former president had to cancel his date because his staff had mistakenly booked him to speak at a meeting of the Michigan Bar Association the same day. There was no other time that Ford could help me, the caller said, before election day. To determine if some accommodation was
possible, my assistant, Bob Wichser, called the Michigan Bar Association, only to learn there was no conflict — no event was scheduled.

Page 22 — Puzzlement At Attitude of Pro-Israel Activists

After my twenty-two years in Congress, losing was, of course, a
disappointment. But my main reaction was wonderment. I was puzzled by the behavior of the Pro-Israel activists. Why did they go to such trouble to eliminate me from Congress? Why did people from all over the country who did not know me personally and very likely knew little of my record dig so deeply in their own pockets — many of them contributing $1,000 to my opponents? What sustained this commitment for a four-year period?

Page 23 — Make an Example

… Surely they realized that I posed no serious threat. Could
Israel’s supporters not tolerate even one lonely voice of dissent?

Or was the lobby’s purpose to make an example of me in the
Elizabethan manner? (According to legend, Queen Elizabeth occasionally hanged an admiral, just as an example to the others.) Was I chosen for a trip to the political gallows
to discourage other Congressmen from speaking out?

Pages 25, 26 — AIPAC Means Power

Almost without exception, House and Senate members do its bidding,
because most of them consider AIPAC to be the direct Capitol Hill
representative of a political force that can make or break their chances at election time.

Whether based on fact or fancy, the perception is what counts: AIPAC mean power — raw, intimidating power. Its promotional literature regularly cites a tribute published in the New York Times: “The most powerful, best-run and effective foreign policy interest group in Washington.” A former
Congressman, Paul N. “Pete” McCloskey puts it more directly: Congress is “terrorized” by AIPAC. Other Congressmen have not been so candid on the public record, but many House and Senate members privately agree.

Page 26, 27 — Lobby Group ‘Extension of Israeli Government’

In practice, the lobby groups function as an informal extension of the Israeli government. This was illustrated when AIPAC helped draft the official statement defending Israel’s 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, then issued it the same hour as Israel’s embassy.

No major Jewish organization ever publicly takes issue with positions and policies adopted by Israel. Thomas A. Dine, executive director of AIPAC, spoke warmly of President Reagan’s peace plan when it was announced in September 1982, but as soon as Israel rejected the plan, Dine fell silent.

Page 27 — Even the President Turns to AIPAC

Over the years the pro-Israel lobby has thoroughly penetrated this
nation’s governmental system, and the organization that has made the deepest impact is AIPAC, to whom even the president of the United States turns when he has a vexing political problem related to the Arab-Israeli dispute.

Page 36 — Effectiveness of AIPAC

Paul Weyrich, who worked as a Senate aide before becoming a political analyst, details the effectiveness of AIPAC:

It’s a remarkable system they have. If you vote with them, or make a public statement they like, they get the word out fast through their own publications and through editors around the country who are sympathetic to their cause.

Of course it works in reverse as well. if you say something they
don’t like, you can be denounced or censured through the same network. That kind of pressure is bound to affect Senators’ thinking, especially if they are wavering or need support.

Page 37 — ‘Our Access is Amazing’

… Encountered in a Capitol corridor one day, an AIPAC lobbyist said, “Tomorrow I will try to see five members of the House. I called this morning and confirmed every appointment, and I have no doubt I will get in promptly.” Two days later, even he seemed somewhat awed by AIPAC’s clout. He reported, “I made all five. I went right in to see each of them. There was no waiting.
Our access is amazing.”

Page 49 AIPAC Relentless

But what distresses me is the inability of American policy-makers,
because of the influence of AIPAC, to distinguish between our national interest and Israel’s national interest. When these converge — wonderful! But they don’t always converge.

March 20th, 2008, 8:18 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

[removed by admin]

stop calling others ridiculous.

March 20th, 2008, 8:53 pm

 

why-discuss said:

If Kurds or Armenians were as smart and determined as the jews, they would have got back their rights. AIPAC and the US media control show just how intelligent the jews are. Yet, Israel remains a controversial, unusual and vulnerable country. It needs and cultivate, in ways that sometimes reprehensible, all the support it can obtain from powerful countries just to be able to survive and consolidate its existence. The problem is that all these efforts seem to backfire and instead of bringing long-desired security to a people that have been ostracized for centuries by the Christian West, it is bringing even more controversy, hatred and rejection now from their natural allies and semitic brothers, the arabs. Who can convince these well running machines like AIPAC and other jewish lobbies that they should change their strategy? Even if Israelis want to make a U turn, they still need to convince their benefactors, the US and the jewish lobbies. The interdependency of Israel, the US administration and the jewish lobbies make any change in Israel’s strategies an almost impossible task.

March 24th, 2008, 7:45 am

 

wizart said:

The illusions of peace will continue as long as UN resolutions are not enforced or reinterpreted when they don’t suit the Israeli side as in resolution 242. Absent of a well balanced U.N we will continue to live with laws of the jungle. Oil prices must rise much higher as a gallon of water at retail still costs more than oil.

* Peace proposals of Count Folke Bernadotte (1947-1948)
* UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967)
o Land for peace (1967)
* Jarring Mission (1967-1971)
* Rogers Plan (1969)
* UN Security Council Resolution 338 (October 22, 1973)
* Peace Now (1978- )
* Reagan Plan (Sept. 1, 1982)
* Oslo Accords (1993)
* Wye River Memorandum (October 23, 1998)
* Camp David 2000 Summit (2000)
* Taba summit (January, 2001)
* Elon Peace Plan (2002)
* Arab Peace Initiative (March 28, 2002)
* The People’s Voice (July 27, 2002)
* Road Map for Peace (April 30, 2003)
* Isratine (May 8, 2003)
* Geneva Accord (October 20, 2003)
* The People’s Voice
* Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005 (February 8, 2005)
* 2006 Franco-Italian-Spanish Middle East Peace Plan
* Binational solution
* Two-state solution

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

* Paris Peace Conference, 1919
* Faisal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)
* 1949 Armistice Agreements
* Camp David Accords (1978)
* Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (1979)

Reagan Plan (Sept.1, 1982)

* May 17 Agreement (1983), a failed attempt of peace between Lebanon and Israel
* Madrid Conference of 1991
* Oslo Accords (1993)
* Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (1994)
* Camp David 2000 Summit
* Geneva Accord 2003
* Peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
* Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
* International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict

March 24th, 2008, 8:57 am

 

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