Posted by Joshua on Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
Obama has renewed sanctions on Syria for another year. This was expected. In fact, Ian Black of the Guardian makes the point that relations between Syria and the US will remain bad for a long time to come. It can be expected that the US president will renew them every year because Syria remains at war with Israel and supports both Hizbullah and Hamas.
In short, the US is asking that Syria cede to Israel the Golan Heights, which it occupied in 1967. When Israel seized the Heights, it forced some 100,000 Syrian inhabitants to evacuate their homes and abandon their villages. Farms were turned over to Israeli colonists, who have, not surprisingly, done well on the rich Syrian land that gets plenty of water. Israel annexed the Golan in 1981, which the UN condemned in resolution 497.
Although Washington recognizes these acts as illegal, neither Clinton nor Obama has mentioned that Israel is obliged to give up the Golan. They do not mention that the Golan issue is at the root of Syria’s support for resistance organizations and they do not link the two. Syrians can only conclude that Washington’s true policy is to help Israel keep the Golan for eternity. Otherwise the US would not place sanctions on Syria while refusing to condemn Israel. In fact, Washington is negotiating the sale of F35s to Israel. These are Americas new and most improved fighter planes.
Patrick Seale points out the inverted logic of Hilary Clinton’s latest diatribe against Syria and her insistence that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable. He writes:
To any independent observer, the statements by Mrs. Clinton and Ehud Barak are an extraordinary inversion of the situation on the ground. It is not Israel which faces “real and growing threats,” but rather its neighbours, who live in constant fear of renewed attack from an incomparably stronger and better armed Israel.
Lebanon has not yet recovered from Israel’s devastating assault of 2006, which killed some 1,500 civilians, while Gaza — under cruel siege and denied building materials for reconstruction — still lives in the rubble caused by Israel’s invasion of December-January 2008-2009, which killed another 1,500 people, and wounded thousands more. As for Iran, it faces a constant — and publicly stated — threat of attack on its nuclear sites.
Quite apart from Israel’s nuclear arsenal of some 200 warheads, some of them deliverable by its Dolphin class submarines, the American-supplied Israeli Air Force is by far the most powerful in the region, able to attack targets up to 1,500 miles away with air-to-ground missiles and “bunker-buster” GBU-28 bombs.
As is well-known, the United States has pledged to maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over any combination of Arab states, and never to acknowledge Israel’s nuclear military capability in any public statement.
The inescapable conclusion one must draw from Mrs. Clinton’s remarks is that Israel’s neighbours have no right to defend themselves, but must meekly submit to Israel’s repeated blows and to its overall military hegemony.
Here is the official White House statement about the dangers Syria poses to US security. In congress, Obama explained that “the Syrian government had made “some progress” in suppressing the infiltration of foreign fighters into Iraq. But he added that Syria’s “continuing support for terrorist organizations and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.”
In a small conciliatory gesture, The US removed its customary opposition to Syria’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization. It had twice blocked Syria from becoming a WTO member since 2001. Netanyahu could have blocked Syria’s accession to observer status, but decided not to as this would have made Israel the sole country to oppose Syria.
How Contiguous is Contiguous?
On Jan 10, 2008, George Bush is called for a contiguous Palestine. This turn of phrase is now being used by Obama. But how contiguous is contiguous? Dan Kurtzer and Scott Lasensky, in their book, Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace, explain that “contiguity” is not always continguous:
[since the 1990s] Washington has reinforced rather than ameliorated some of the most fundamental asymmetries between Israel and the Palestinians… The U.S. did not push back when Israel redefined contiguity of territory to mean transportation linkages between Palestinian areas instead of territorial linkages.
Sharon would often speak about “transportational contiguity.” What he meant is if you can drive from here to there, we’ll call it contiguous, even if you have to go underground through a tunnel (whose both ends are controlled by Israel) or up in the air over a bridge (whose both ends are controlled by Israel) . This is definition of contiguity is important as more and more land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is developed for Jewish only roads and settlements.
World View – the new radio show that I co-host on our local NPR affiliate has posted its first show. This week we discuss the likelihood of war between Israel and Hizbullah, US policy in Afghanistan, and we interview David Sanger, the New York Times correspondent on National Security issues. He talks about Iran, Korea and nuclear arms. We ask him if Iran can be contained or if it must be stopped. Listen, here.
News Round Up
U.S.-Israel Ties Remain Intact
MAY 4, 2010
A serious accusation, one rarely heard previously, was leveled against the Obama administration on Monday. The charge: It is too vigorously defending Israel.
Patrick Seale, a prominent British writer on Middle East affairs, published an article declaring that the administration “is beginning to adopt the vociferously pro-Israeli, anti-Arab rhetoric of its predecessor—the neocon-dominated administration of former President George W. Bush.” He cited a speech last week by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which she “used unusually strong language” to warn Syria and Iran that “America’s commitment to Israel’s security was unshakable.”
Hyperbole aside, Mr. Seale’s assertion points to an important but little-noted reality. The very public feuding between the Obama administration and Israel over the Palestinian peace process has gotten lots of attention, as has the strained relationship between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But beyond those headlines, the two countries actually have undertaken a broad effort at military and strategic cooperation—including supplying Israel with sophisticated American military equipment—to counter threats from Iran and Hezbollah fighters armed by Syria.
While there may be public feuding between the Obama administration and Israel over the peace process, the two countries have also begun a high level of military and intelligence cooperation in other areas, WSJ’s Jerry Seib explains.
In a week when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is at the United Nations to talk at a nuclear nonproliferation conference—an ironic appearance given that most of the world worries he’s seeking to proliferate—the level of security cooperation between Israel and the U.S. is of more than passing interest.
Israel believes Iran and Syria are creating a here-and-now threat by supplying Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip with rockets and, possibly, missiles. But, of course, for Israel the real long-term threat lies in Iran’s potential development of nuclear arms.
In the face of those dangers, the crucial question is simply: What are the U.S. and Israel doing about them?
Actually, they’re cooperating more than most people think. It’s important to note that this cooperation isn’t designed to facilitate an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Actually, it’s more the opposite. By making Israel feel its has, on its own and in conjunction with the U.S., the defenses needed to either deter or defend against Iran, the Obama administration undoubtedly hopes to reduce Israel’s inclination to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran, which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen, for one, has openly fretted might be ineffective and destabilizing.
Beyond that, making it clear that there is a robust American-Israeli security relationship is one way of preventing miscalculations by the Middle East’s more dangerous characters.
If Iran, Syria, Hezbollah or their extremist friends think U.S.-Israeli relations are so strained that Washington is backing away from its commitment to defend Israel, the perception of a newly vulnerable Israel might well invite attacks that could spin out of control.
That’s one reason why both Secretary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have gone out of their way in the last two weeks to publicly restate America’s commitment to Israeli security.
And in fact, officials from both countries say that military and security cooperation has weathered the political storms of recent months, and in some areas actually thrived. An advanced American radar system, for example, has been deployed to Israel’s Negev Desert, whence it can help the burgeoning Israeli missile-defense network.
A large military exercise last fall, code-named Juniper Cobra, was used to practice linking up that radar with American defense systems. The U.S. is funding the development of an advanced Israeli long-range, high-altitude system for knocking out ballistic missiles of the kind that might come from Iran. Israel is discussing purchasing the new American F-35 fighter jet, now nearing completion.
At the heart of much of this joint work is the relationship between Mr. Gates and his counterpart, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Both men are veteran political survivors and hard-eyed realists, and their ties seem to have grown stronger even as political strains between the White House and Prime Minister Netanyahu have increased. The two defense chiefs met last week and emerged uttering strikingly similar statements of warning to Israel’s enemies.
U.S. officials also say there is a high level of intelligence sharing. One outgrowth appears to be a significant effort to detect and then stop arms shipments going from Iran to Syria, and potentially on to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.
Last fall, for example, U.S. forces stopped and inspected a ship called the Hansa India, which was carrying shipping containers that originated in Iran and were headed for Syria. …
It simply means that, as in all matters Middle Eastern, the situation isn’t entirely as it appears on the surface.
What Comes After Mideast Talks Draw a Blank?
By Tony Karon in Time
After months of arm-wrestling over terms and conditions, the Obama Administration has finally gotten its Israeli-Palestinian “proximity” back on track. …The new talks will be launched without any pageantry, however, because there’s very little optimism on any side of substantial progress toward an agreement. More likely, the various parties are mulling over what to do once it is established that no breakthrough is likely….
The Netanyahu coalition with parties even more hawkish than his own is unlikely to accept the terms of any plausible final-status agreement. And Israeli analysts warn that the large presence of settlers and their supporters in the officer corps of the Israeli Defense Force makes any attempt at large-scale evacuation of settlements — which settlers have vowed to resist — a high-risk option for any Israeli government…..
Ties between Israel and Jordan are at an all-time low and very tense. In the past year, King Abdullah has been making ever more frequent statements concerning the deteriorating situation of the Middle East and the risk of war. He has also been a harsh critic of the Israeli government as well as of Netanyahu’s policies.
Only last week the king warned, referring to construction in East Jerusalem, that Israel was playing with fire and mentioned that according to Israel’s peace accord with Jordan, the latter had rights to Jerusalem’s holy sites. He said that all options were on the table when it came to protecting he holy sites as well as Jordan’s interests in the city….
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet today with Egyptian President Mubarak at his Sharm el-Sheikh residence…
Netanyahu will ask Mubarak to withdraw the Egyptian proposal that the Middle East be made a nuclear free zone — a proposal that is expected to come up in the nuclear summit in New York that begins today. The two will also discuss the expected renewal of the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians on Wednesday.
Tonight special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is to arrive in Israel for the expected talks. The talks are to be conducted in rounds between Jerusalem and Israel under Mitchell’s mediation. On the Israeli side, the prime minister himself is to meet with Mitchell, along with his emissary Attorney Yitzhak Molcho. Sources in the Prime Minister’s Bureau have said that the negotiating team will be “limited and compartmentalized,” and will include only Netanyahu and Molcho, with other advisors of the prime minister joining as necessary.
Related recent developments
1. Abdullah delivers withering criticism of Israeli polices in April 6 2010 Wall Street Journal interview.
2. J Street leadership meets Abdullah in Amman on May 1 2010.
3. Major General (Res.) Uri Saguy chronicles the results of Lauder’s efforts at brokering talks between Netanyahu and Assad in the ’90s.
Syria to establish first renewable energy project
2010-05-0, (Xinhua via COMTEX)
— Syrian CHAM Holding Group and the world largest wind energy company VESETAS signed an agreement to develop the first wind energy project in Syria, the Syrian Arab News Agency SANA reported on Monday. The agreement, which was signed Sunday, aims to provide abilities and skills to construct and operate wind farms with generation capacity of 50-100 MW at two sites to the south Damascus.
The project, which costs around 300 million U.S. dollars, will be funded by a group of Syrian and Arab investors, in addition to local and international financial foundations. The wind farm is to be developed by CHAM Holding Group, which was founded in 1996 and invests in various domains including the infrastructure and industry. However, the project will be technologically supported by VESTAS with its headquartered in Denmark. Mahmoud al- Khoshman, CHAM Holding Group’s Chief Executive Officer, pointed out that Syria contains a considerable wind energy potential in a variety of locations, promising to offer clean energy to meet the increasing electricity demand in Syria in an environmental-friendly manner, SANA said….
Poll: Majority of Israel’s Jews back gag on rights groups
More than half of respondents agree that ‘there is too much freedom of expression’ in Israel.
By Or Kashti Tags: Israel news
More than half of Jewish Israelis think human rights organizations that expose immoral behavior by Israel should not be allowed to operate freely, and think there is too much freedom of expression here, a recent survey found.
The survey, commissioned by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University, will be presented Wednesday at a conference on the limits of freedom of expression.
The pollsters surveyed 500 Jewish Israelis who can be considered a representative sample of the adult Jewish population.
They found that 57.6 percent of the respondents agreed that human rights organizations that expose immoral conduct by Israel should not be allowed to operate freely.
Slightly more than half agreed that “there is too much freedom of expression” in Israel.
The poll also found that most of the respondents favor punishing Israeli citizens who support sanctioning or boycotting the country, and support punishing journalists who report news that reflects badly on the actions of the defense establishment.
Another 82 percent of respondents said they back stiff penalties for people who leak illegally obtained information exposing immoral conduct by the defense establishment.
“Israelis have a distorted perception of democracy,” said Daniel Bar-Tal, a professor at the university’s school of education, and one of the conference’s organizers. “The public recognizes the importance of democratic values, but when they need to be applied, it turns out most people are almost anti-democratic.”
CBS News: Political Satire Rocks the Boat in Syria
by George Baghdadi, 2010-04-30
A sharp political comedy is taking the Syrian capital by storm by pushing the envelop of acceptable government criticism to a point seldom scene on the stage in Arab countries.
The play, entitled “Academic Corruption,” mocks dirty politics, Syrian officials and Arab leaders alike.
All four months’ performances of the play have sold out at the rickety Ramita Theater in downtown Damascus. Such politically inflammatory speech is rarely heard by the capital city’s five million inhabitants, or their countrymen across Syria.
It’s not the first satire by 51-year-old actor and director Humam Hout, who has been on stage in the country for more than two decades, but it is without question his most daring.
The curtain rises on act one to reveal a ceremony for dozens of graduates from the “University of Corruption”.
“The bribe is not a shame – the one who doesn’t take a bribe is an ass. This is the time for the intelligent people,” boasts the narrator.
Jibes like this, aimed clearly at the nation’s leaders and others in the region, had only been heard as whispers for years. But such a joke, or a misplaced word, will no longer land them in jail.
The play, performed by a mix of amateurs and professionals, catalogs corruption through the story of the inhabitants of a poor alley thrown into scandal after a building falls over, killing 47 people and wounding hundreds more.
Abu Jamal, a resident who has just lost his house in the collapse, approaches a TV correspondent. “I will tell you everything about all the thieves in the country, because my heart is filled with anger,” he tells the reporter before a military intelligence agent strides in with a pistol in his hand.
Jamal changes his tone.
“I seize the opportunity of the collapse of this building… to extend my thanks to the comrade and all the people in charge,” he says before lavishing grand praise on the performance of the government. ….
Israel Land Fund group intends to expand Jewish East Jerusalem
By ABE SELIG, 03/05/2010
Despite immense international pressure to halt Jewish construction in east Jerusalem and in all areas over the Green Line, Israel Land Fund founder Aryeh King on Sunday presented a plan that would see nearly 200,000 new housing units created there.
Speaking at a conference at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center to discuss future development initiatives in the capital, King described a plan that would use privately owned land and property belonging to the Jewish National Fund to provide roughly 187,000 new homes in east Jerusalem, E-1 (between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim) and a chain of territory extending from Ramallah to Bethlehem.
“If Jerusalem doesn’t expand, and expand eastward, it will become the Gaza Strip,” King said.
Using a blown-up map of the city and its surrounding areas, King showed the audience where hundreds of dunams of land outside the northern Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood could contain roughly 12,000 new housing units.
Around the southern Gilo neighborhood, King said, “there is enough similar land to build 60,000 units.”
“There are 800 dunams [80 hectares] in E-1, owned by a wealthy, Jewish philanthropist, that could prove room enough for 100,000 housing units,” King said. “The potential is enormous.”…
Maariv: Italian support for Israel wavering
Didi Remez translates| May 4, 2010
Eli Bardenstein, Maariv, May 4 2010 [page 7]
Is Israel about to lose its best friend — maybe its only friend — in western Europe, Italy?
Political officials in Jerusalem say that Rome recently relayed a message that it would not be able to continue to defend sweepingly Israel’s construction policy in the territories and in Jerusalem at international forums, as it has until now. This was stated in talks that Israeli diplomats held in Berlin, Paris and Rome. This is because Italy feels that its unreserved support for Israel has turned it into an “ugly duckling” in the view of its fellow EU members and, as a result, it is gradually becoming isolated and irrelevant in the Europe community.
For example, every time that Italy wants to raise a subject that is pro-Israel, important countries of the European Union in western Europe do not join in, and only countries like the Czech Republic and Poland, which are less important, do. In other cases, Italy is unable to influence the wording of proposals relating to Israel because it is viewed as pro-Israel from the outset. Italian officials are also concerned that continued absolute support for Israel will damage its relations with the Arab and Muslim world.
The change in the Italian position is part of a change for the worse that is taking place in many countries of the EU, which are stepping up the pressure on Israel to make progress in the peace process and to completely stop construction in the settlements. This emerges from reports received in Jerusalem……That said, it should be noted that despite Italy’s difficulty in automatically supporting Israel, just recently — in the course of a reception that the Israeli embassy in Rome held for Independence Day — Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi publicly repeated his demand for including Israel in the EU.
Nuclear Gamesmanship: Clinton vs. Ahmadinejad
Tony Karon in Time Magazine
….The U.S. narrative on the Iranian nuclear threat portrays it as a menace against which all the moderate countries of the Middle East are united. But the Egyptians are bluntly pointing out that Iran can’t be confronted while turning a blind eye to Israel. “We don’t think that there should be first-class countries that are acquiring nuclear weapons and second-class countries that are not in possession of nuclear weapons in the Middle East,” Egypt’s U.N. Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said last week. “We say that in order to be able to deal with the Iranian issue, you have to address the nuclear capabilities of Israel.” The Egyptians, on whose support the U.S. depends for isolating Iran, want both Israel and Iran brought into an NPT-led regional conference on a nuclear-free Middle East next year, and are demanding that the U.S. sign up to the effort to make both compliant with a regime of transparency and disarmament.
When pressed, Obama Administration officials say that Israel should sign on to the NPT, although Washington has never pressed the issue. (It can’t very well advocate for Israel to be exempted from the laws it says should apply to all.) On the Egyptian proposal, the U.S. position as articulated last Friday by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher is that “the best chance we have to achieve a WMD-free zone in the Middle East is to reach an agreement on a lasting and just peace in the Middle East.” But that could be read by many in the region as tacit endorsement of Israel maintaining nuclear weapons, which would, in the regional argument, work in Iran’s favor.
The conference will run for most of this month, and is unlikely to produce any major breakthroughs. But the first-day scorecard in the U.S.-Iran showdown produced no clear winner — and that, in and of itself, could qualify as big news…..
Weissglas in Yediot: By fighting with US over settlements, Israel is risking pressure on nuclear policy
Didi Remez | May 4, 2010
Bitter or sour
Op-ed, Dov Weissglas, Yediot, May 4 2010s
A lot has been said and written that the growing sourness in Israel-US relations—the main cause of which is the dispute on the matter of settlement in Judea and Samaria and in East Jerusalem—is liable to erode vital areas of Israel’s security.The bumpy road that the US administration was forced to walk to bring about the beginning of any sort of peace process focused entirely on the issue of freezing construction and settlement. The somewhat mocking consent to “proximity talks” may fall apart even before the talks begin because of the matter of settlement. This insistence on settlement caused Israel, precisely at a time of being tested, to face an angry and bitter administration.
When running a country, a government must distinguish between the main issue and the secondary issues, between the important and the less important. The current US administration never downplayed, from the moment of its establishment, its intent to reexamine subjects that for many years had been perceived as fundamental values in US domestic and foreign policy. It does this both in domestic American matters as well as matters of foreign policy and regional and international security.
The US administration almost goes out of its way to appease the Muslim and Arab world, less than 10 years after the Twin Towers tragedy and the warfare against fanatic Islamist forces. It is reexamining American nuclear and military policy, both in the US and in western Europe — which has always and forever been perceived as a part of the world whose security the US guarantees. It is also examining the American security arrangements vis-à-vis Russia, which at the time, in its relationship with the US, reached the brink of a third world war.
Such an administration is not to be “annoyed” unnecessarily. And since it appears that in the near future the administration may focus its attention to fundamental questions regarding Israel’s security — such as the continuation of nuclear ambiguity— you do not provoke it, not even for settlement matters.
The interest that the Obama administration has begun to show in a Middle East that is “clean” of nuclear weapons imposes on the Israeli government a supreme obligation to ensure a considerate and supportive administration, as much as possible. A “clean” Middle East should hardly trouble the Arab states, since there is no danger to their existence. It should not trouble Iran, which ignores the current administration, but it should greatly trouble Israel, for whom nuclear ambiguity is one of the most important components of its ability to deter those who seek to destroy it, and a basic condition for its security in an animosity-filled region.
The review committee of the member states of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — a treaty that Israel, as long as the region around it does not recognize its existence, must not join — is a suitable opportunity for the administration to begin to wonder aloud—with varying degrees of intent to act—about rethinking traditional US policy toward Israeli ambiguity. Obliging Israel to joint the treaty and to accept international supervision would prevent ambiguity and ensure certainty that Israel indeed will not have the nuclear military means that are necessary for its self defense, those means whose existence we don’t know of, but as residents of the wild Middle East, we hope and pray that we do have, and a lot of them, in our warehouses.
It was recently reported that the matter was examined by the US administration together with the Egyptians. If there is anything — even a little — to these reports, Israel should be very worried. When such a vital Israeli security interest is liable to soon be placed on the American discussion table, it would be a terrible mistake to continue to quarrel with an already angry administration on settlement matters — weighty as they may be.
In an article in the Syrian daily Al-Watan, which is close to the Syrian regime, the paper’s editor, Waddah ‘Abd Rabbo, wondered why the Arab countries and Iran should not obtain nuclear weapons as deterrence against Israel…..
“Why Shouldn’t an Arab Country, or Iran, Obtain Nuclear Weapons as Long as Israel Possesses Such Weapons?”
“…Despite the call by Syria and other countries to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, I wonder, and I think that this question has become legitimate: Why shouldn’t an Arab country, or Iran, obtain nuclear weapons as long as Israel possesses such weapons, takes pride in doing so, and ignores every call, Arab and non-Arab, for the elimination of WMDs?
“In other words, who threatens security and stability in our region? Isn’t it Israel, which occupies lands, kills dozens of Palestinians every day, and threatens to send Syria back to the Stone Age and to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure?
“In the face of all the threats and the danger that Israel poses to all the Arabs, aren’t the threatened Arab countries entitled, and [in fact] obligated, to obtain nuclear weapons to deter Israel from taking its aggressive steps?”
“All the Countries in the Region Are Going to Need [Nuclear Technology]”
“The West has tried for decades to prevent the Arabs from obtaining [nuclear] ‘know-how’ on the pretext that it could threaten Israel’s security, and prevented them from obtaining advanced weapons on the same pretext…..
Rabbi Lerner’s Home Attacked by Right-Wing Zionists
Berkeley, Ca. May 3, 2010
Release dare: May 4, 2010
Berkeley police today confirmed that the attack on Rabbi Lerner’s home late Sunday June 2nd or early morning Sunday July 3rd was in fact a crime and was being investigated.
The attackers used a powerful form of glue to attach posters to his door and around the property of his home attacking Lerner personally, and attacking liberals and progressives as being supporters of terrorism and “Islamo-fascism.” They posted a printed bumper sticker saying “fight terror–support Israel” next to a carcature of Judge Goldstone whose UN report on Israel’s human rights violations in its attack on Gaza last year has been denounced as anti-Semitic and pro-terror by right wingers in Israel and the U.S.. The caricature has Goldstone talking about his being kept from his grandson’s bar mitzvah, and the caricature of Rabbi Lerner responds by saying “any enemy of Israel is a friend of mine.”
This attack and vandalism follows on a week filled with Lerner and Tikkun staff receiving hate mail, prompted apparently by Tikkun’s announcement that in case the South African Zionists had succeeded in preventing Judge Goldstone from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah, as they threatened several weeks ago, that Rabbi Lerner would gladly hold the bar mitzvah in the SF Bay Area instead, and following Tikkun’s announcement that in light of Goldstone’s courageous willingness to stand up for human rights in Israel….
Joshua Holland, a senior writer for AlterNet, ties the vandalism at Michael Lerner’s house to the Jeff Goldbergesque charge that criticizing Israel is indistinguishable from calling for genocide. Also See Richard Silverstein on this. He points out that: