(Saudi) Money can’t buy you love … or success

 Posted by Alex 


First, here is a collection of opinions pieces following President Bush' trip to the Middle East.

Mamoun Fandi, opinion writer in Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Alawsat, wrote:

" … the solution is possible and easy between Syria and Israel. How nice it would be if one or more Arab leaders, with whom US President George Bush will meet during his forthcoming tour in the region, make quick arrangements now to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to meet with them in the presence of President Bush in Egypt or Abu Dhabi, for example. " …

"Those who are familiar with the secrets of Bush's visit to the region say that the main purpose of his tour is to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia because of its importance in the Arab and Islamic Worlds and because of its significance in the world at a time when the oil price has touched $100 per barrel. This is in addition to the special relationshipå between President Bush and King Abdullah. President Bush has constantly praised King Abdullah as a man who honors his word and as a highly credible leader. If this is so, why the Arabs cannot exploit this relationship, which is based on mutual confidence between King Abdullah and President Bush, to promote their interests? What is needed is Arab coordination with Saudi Arabia and Syria to take advantage of this meeting to serve as the basis for solving the pending Arab issues. " …

"On the Syrian track, there will be no embarrassment at this historical juncture to arrange for a visit by President Al-Assad to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or the UAE to coordinate positions about the Golan, Lebanon, and Iraq. The meeting of the Saudi foreign minister with his Syrian counterpart in Cairo recently could be understood as part of this coordination. Perhaps there was a deal for accepting a Syrian strategic role in Lebanon in return for the Golan and in return for Syria's disengagement from Iran that could lead to stability in Iraq and Lebanon."

Few days later, Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz' senior Arab affairs expert, wrote a piece titled "The Arabs should stop whining" in which Zvi wondered why the Arabs do no take Fandi's serious proposal:

 "Today, when the plane carrying U.S. President George W. Bush departs from glittering Dubai and lands in Riyadh, the substantive part of his visit to the Middle East will commence. If there is one place where discussion will get to the point without too much vision, dreams and fanfare – it's Riyadh. If there is a capital where things that are agreed to are also carried out – it's Riyadh.

Riyadh is a familial place where the Bush family, both father and son, has personal interests, and where they speak in terms that are clear to everyone: like money, property, investments and also security. If a solution can be found to the Palestinian problem, the Iraqi conundrum, the crisis in Lebanon and the relations with Iran – it will begin and end in this place. This is the country that drew pan-Arab hegemony to it; it is the one that dictates the basic rules, the red lines and the policies of compromise of the states in the Middle East. From a country that trudged along behind the Arab consensus, which is determined for the most part in Cairo and sometimes in Damascus, Saudi Arabia has been transformed into the initiator of policy.

It is toward Saudi Arabia that the Egyptian intellectual and researcher, Mamoun Fandy, directed his incisive article: "The Cards are in the Hands of the Arabs." The article appeared in the daily Asharq Al-Awsat, which is controlled by a Saudi prince who rules a large media empire in the Middle East. If the ties between Saudi Arabia and the United States are so close and warm, why are the Arabs unable to take advantage of this to further their interests, Fandy asks."

The White House added a Middle East Blog to its official website. The blog included highlights of the president's daily activities during his Mideast trip. This blog had a map of the Middle East as part of its graphic banner. It looked like this:

If anyone was confused regarding the opinions of Fandy and Bar'el, the White House map of the Middle East was clear. Forget the classic Middle East that we all knew in the past, according to this administration, the Middle East has been reduced to Israel and Saudi Arabia… the rest are irrelevant.

That is why during this trip Syria was boycotted and publicly criticized (this time for its interference in Lebanon). They forgot to inform the President that the avant-garde approach to expressing disappointment with the Syrians in 2008 is to focus on Syria's failure to interfere in Lebanon.

Qatar was also boycotted – unofficially perhaps, but since the much smaller Bahrain was visited by the president, but not Qatar … Qatar WAS boycotted – Qatar is not interfering in Lebanon or being "confrontational" like Syria, but the Qataris deserved to be boycotted because they did not join the Saudis, Jordanians and other "Arab moderates" in making life difficult for Bashar Assad the past five years.

The largest Arab country, Egypt, barely made it! … President Bush spent three hours in Egypt, not in Cairo but in the remote resort of Sharm elSheikh… away from the mostly unfriendly eighty million Egyptians.

When President Carter spent three days in Cairo (March 7th-10th 1979) he stood for hours in Sadat's convertible Cadillac smiling and waving to an endless lineup of Egyptians who wanted to see him and express their gratitude to him.

My family lived in Egypt at the time and at age thirteen I was one of those standing in the street hoping to get a glimpse of the visiting American president … Thanks to my "I LOVE New York" 70's style T-shirt, I did get a special wave then an OK sign from the president.

This time, President Bush did not want to get anywhere close to real Arab crowds (with the exception of the ones hand picked by his hosts). He did not want to know how much most of them dislike him. There was a demonstration in Cairo organized by a number of different Egyptian opposition groups in which a typical poster said "Kick out Bush the murderer"

Dubai officials felt that given President Bush's "popularity", nothing short of emptying the streets of their busy city can be sufficient to secure President Bush's passage. For the first time in decades, Dubai looked like a ghost town for the whole day. Estimated cost of shutting down Dubai for the president's visit: 120m USD of direct losses up to 1 Bn USD if you include indirect losses

Yet, President Bush' "popularity" did manage to impress the editor of Asharq al-Awsat, Mr. Tariq Alhomayed, who was somehow very confident in his ability to score a point against the Syrians as follows:

"American President George Bush danced the al Ardha* dance in Bahrain, enjoyed a comfortable stay in Israel, greeted the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas with kisses and was warmly welcomed in Kuwait. He also gave a critical speech about Iran in Abu Dhabi in the presence of hundreds of citizens and officials, and the US president is due to receive further hospitality during his stay as a guest in Riyadh's al Janadriya Farm after which he will be hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak." …. "As for the warm reception that Bush received, the president is obliged to send a letter to both Syria and Iran saying, "Dear enemies, thanks to you; the threat that you pose over the region has led to warm hospitality!"

In addition, today Mr. Alhomayed who seems to be encouraged by President Bush's unprecedented support for Saudi Arabia, delivered new warnings to Syria:

"There must be an announcement to declare moving the Arab Summit from Damascus. This needs to be followed by a strict political position against Syria that should be escalated even on an economic level – should it refuse to desist in interfering in the affairs of independent Arab states. Additionally, its [Syria's] close ties with Ahmadinejad must be reviewed so that there may be a price paid for it."

One wonders if Mr. Alhomayed had the chance to read the results of a recent poll which found only 12 percent of Saudis view Bush positively _ lower than Iran's president or even al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden _ and more think warmly toward Iran than America.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney should be alarmed by those numbers. Selling the Saudis twenty billion dollars of American arms after fabricating a well-timed confrontation with the Iranians in the Persian Gulf, convincing Saudi emirs to spend billions to help bailout American banks, dancing al Ardha with members of the Saudi royal family, and impressing the cigar-smoking young editor of the Saudi owned Asharq alAwsat is not how you deal with the chaos you created in the Middle East, and it is not how you can win the hearts and minds of the Arab people in the twenty first century.


I suggest the following schedule for the next American presidential visit to the Middle East: Two days in Egypt, two days in Israel/Palestine, two days in Saudi Arabia, and Two days in Syria.


Comments (147)

why-discuss said:

That whole trip was a Disney arabic fairy tale for US consumption: Bush’s manhood display: he holds the sword with men dancing (I wonder why he did not dress in dishdasha),
Bush’s adopting local traditions: Lots of kissing
Bush’s good heart: He begs us to believe him that he is truly optimistic about a country for the palestinians.
Bush cozyness with royalties: He is drinking arabic coffee with the saudi King.
Bush family values: He is sitting on a wooden bench watching little girls dancing. Sure some of his US supporters had tears in their eyes.
I wonder why Bush did not offer a texan hat to the king as a gratification for his support of the weapons industry in the US and his effort to pump more oil.

January 17th, 2008, 10:41 am


Qifa Nabki said:


Magnificent roundup and commentary.

January 17th, 2008, 11:50 am


Yazan said:

interesting roundup.

January 17th, 2008, 12:07 pm


idaf said:


You make excellent points.. as usual!

As for the economic losses in Dubai from Bush visit, the local press has estimated it everything between 120m USD of direct losses up to 1 Bn USD if you include indirect losses: http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/01/15/10182078.html

I actually spent 10 seconds searching for you in the Sadat-Carter photo.. did you have a 70s haircut? 🙂

On a separate note, Russian govt. approves bill to settle Syria’s $3.6 Bln debt: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080117/97162306.html

January 17th, 2008, 12:11 pm


Shual said:

[Russian govt. approves…]

“The answer is unbridled war on terror.”

[FM Tzipi Livni, Moskau, today]

January 17th, 2008, 1:29 pm


Ghassan said:

And the Asad dictator and his mafia regime will not last forever!!! I rather be rich and enjoying my life than to be poor, oppressed and scared of AlMukhabarat in my own country that the dictator inherited from his father.

January 17th, 2008, 1:37 pm


abraham said:

The world’s foremost war criminal met with a gang of pedophiles in the Arabian peninsula.

And the world yawned.

January 17th, 2008, 2:07 pm


Observer said:

Nice review from the Guardian
I think the cartoon today is also worth looking at

January 17th, 2008, 2:47 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

As we say in the middle east, the dogs bark but the caravan trudges on. There are people in the middle east that are for economic development and there are people in the middle east that want “honor” and to “stop American hegemony” (never quite knew what that is) and are therefore willing to kiss up to dictators like Asad and the Iranian Mullahs.

You can say what you want about Bush, but he is gone in a year. You can say what you want about the Saudis and Gulf Arabs but at least they provided economic prosperity to their citizens.

And when are Asad and Mubarak going? And what have Asad and Mubarak done for their citizens in the last 10 years? Nothing. Another lost Syrian and Egyptian generation and tons of people living with less than $2 per day. Oh, and it is all America’s fault. Yeah right.

Until each Arab holds his own government ACCOUNTABLE for its own deeds instead of blaming the world, the Arab world will continue to be a joke. Fix your own house and then worry about America and its press and its economy and whatever.

A very smart man once said: It does not matter what the gentiles say, what matters is what the Jews do.

Let me paraphrase him: It does not matter what the Arabs or anyone says, what matters is what the Arabs do. So get off your fat asses and stop playing the victims. Build the economy and institutions of democracy in your countries without looking for excuses and blaming others.

January 17th, 2008, 3:02 pm


Nour said:


You obviously know nothing about Saudi Arabia and its many impoverished citizens. The fact that there are billions of dollars flowing into the country due to nothing but oil exports is not much to boast about, as a large percentage of Saudis do not have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of this national income. Likewise, the Gulf Arab states, such as the UAE are notorious for their utter mistreatment and oppression of foreign laborers, who are paid less than $200 per month and who are responsible for making these places look like the glamorous spots they appear to be today. But I guess brutal oppression of a population doesn’t matter to you, as long as a country has oil to provide to the west. In that case, say what you will about Saddam Hussein, but he built a strong economy in Iraq and provided for his people, which included the creation of the most advanced health care system in the middle east.

January 17th, 2008, 3:44 pm


Observer said:

Good reading today. I hope AIG can ask his goverment to account for the torture prison in Khiam that the IAF tried very hard to destroy so as to blot the shame of its years of occupation
The Message to Bush: Remove Your Crusader Outpost!
The Bombing at Qarantina

Qarantina, Lebanon

That word again, Qarantina.

Qarantina was the site of yesterday’s message to the Bush administration where a 33 lb bomb killed three and wounded 21. The explosion destroyed the bomb resistant titanium reinforced US four wheel drive SUV which Embassy security agents liked to use to give their girlfriends rides and make fast food pickups for Embassy staff. This day it was being used for an Embassy errand, a drop off at Beirut’s airport. Qarantina, forever etched in the black annals of Palestinian history is the area of east Beirut near the Port where on April 13, 1976 Phalange forces killed 26 Palestinian bus riders. A grisly crime, followed by another massacre of Palestinians months later in nearby Tal al-Zattar Refugee Camp which began on August 12, 1976 and according to scholar Helena Cobban killed 1,500 Palestinians in one day, and eventually as many as 3,000 according to other reports. Qarantina and Talal-Zattar. Some historians argue that these events ignited Lebanon’s 15 year and Civil War which killed and injured 152,000 and from which Lebanon has never recovered.

Some Lebanese geographical place names, like Qurantina and Tel al-Zatter return to the world’s attention from time to time. Another is Qana, site of the April 18, 1993 Israeli massacre of more than 106 Lebanese and wounding of nearly 400, and Qana again, July 25, 2006 site of the massacre and maiming of dozens more.

Yet another is Khiam, the Israel created and closely monitored detention Center, near the blueline, and so often in the news due to its torture and murder chambers and infamous utility poles where prisoners were routinely handcuffed naked in freezing temperatures and left for days and mockingly given electric wire shocks to keep them, sometimes unsuccessfully, from freezing. During the July 2006 War, Israel carpet bombed Khiam, futilely trying, like the killer in Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell Tale Heart, to erase its two decade old crime scene, which following Israel’s May 24, 2000 expulsion from Lebanon was turned into a grim ‘museum’ by its liberators.

Ironically, for all the tons of US bombs Israel used against the former prison at Khiam, the metal torture box where a recalcitrant prisoner would be squeezed inside an oven or freezer, depending on the season, and a deranged sadist would then beat on the metal walls with a hammer inducing hearing loss and psychological disorientation and well as dislocated joints. Ironically, the Khiam torture box and the torture pole, no doubt both Israeli July 2006 bombing targets, remained undamaged during the intensive assault-erect today amidst the rubble, a monument and testament to Lebanese defiance and resistance.

Quaratina’s blast late yesterday afternoon was heard by this observer as he was weaving in and out of Beirut traffic on his motorcycle pleased that he had a good way to get home without sitting in traffic half the evening. These days in Lebanon when one hears of bomb blast the first word that comes to mind is who. Who was the target? Who were the perpetrators?

The organizers of the bombing of the Embassy car on its way back to the American Embassy at suburban Aukar, north of Beirut, are unlikely to be identified anytime soon, just as none of the past 21 bombings over the past 30 months in Beirut have been solved.

But this bombing seems different somehow.

It is doubtful that it was a failed attempt to assassinate Ambassador Feltman. Had they targeted him it is likely the Ambassador would be dead.

Murderous as it turned out to be for those killed and wounded, and while all terrorist acts are fundamentally designed as means of communication, the Qarantina blast, using 33 lbs. of high explosive is meant to tell the Bush administration something. Specifically that the Bush Administration is widely viewed in Lebanon and the Middle East, and increasingly in America itself, as a criminal and terrorist regime, and that it must depart Lebanon post haste.

The Qarantina blast is advising Bush and Rice to expedite US Ambassador Feltman’s long delayed and overdue departure and send a helicopter if necessary to get him to Cyprus for a plane back to Washington. Don’t even use Lebanon’s airport.

The message is also that if Bush and/or Israel act on their plans to attack Iran or Lebanon or Syria, the Embassy should be closed sooner rather than destroyed later. Few in Lebanon doubt that if Israel or the Bush administration bomb Iran that the American University of Beirut, bombed in 1991, and other US Rumsfeldian ‘ legitimate targets of opportunity’ will be attacked.

Security guards at AUB’s four main entrances, Main Gate, Dorm Gate, Medical Gate and Sea Gate are on heightened alert this morning, List of targets found in suspected Salafist offices routinely list the Embassy, AUB and American businesses.

Despite Ms. Rice’s tough talk from a Saudi Palace that: “The United States will, of course, not be deterred in its efforts to help the Lebanese people, to help the democratic forces in Lebanon resist interference in their affairs,” the Embassy closure may be imminent with a possible reopening with the new US administration.

For many in Lebanon, the American Embassy under the Bush administration has become an Israel Embassy in the way that John Bolton became a second Israeli UN Ambassador. Once an Embassy joins one side in an internal conflict as it did in 1982 it loses its diplomatic status and under international law can be targeted as if a participant in hostilities against the Country.

What little credibility the Bush administration had, was lost when it intensified the US record of facilitating Israel’s destruction of Lebanon, a string of five wars armed and funded, largely unknowingly, by American taxpayers and without their consent during 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996 and 2006. The Bush performance this week in occupied Palestine erases any doubt about it objectivity.

Few in Lebanon, Palestine, or the wider Middle East take Bush for anything more than a dangerous zealot in the service of Israel, not America. Bush’s midlife crisis exhibited by his dancing around with a sword in Saudia returns him full circle to his alcohol fuelled toga fraternity parties.

The Arabs, indeed the world, including the Zionist handlers realize that Bush and Rice are on a futile fantasy tour and will achieve nothing to resolve the question of Palestine, the central cause of the conflict in the Middle East. Which of course is the whole idea.

Any rationale that the American Embassy is dong legitimate work for American citizens here and should remain in Lebanon was severely weakened during the July 2006 war, when Embassy staff stiffed US citizens and left them stranded and in mortal danger in Tyre. This occurred when the Embassy cancelled a rescue Ship because of Israeli attacks near the Port of Tyre, and ordered Embassy staff not to take the US citizen telephone calls because it might “tie up our lines”. “Just drive to Beirut for Christ’s sake” ‘asc # 1’ (American Service Center employee number on”US Embassy consular staff can’t use real name anymore for their own security) advised some American citizens who did manage to get through by phone, apparently oblivious to the fact that Israel was bombing any vehicle that moved south of the Litani River with weapons paid for by the same frantic and desperate US citizens. Anger is still intense in Lebanon and the States over these callous breaches of diplomatic responsibility and national duty.

Added to this is the practice of Consular staff illegally confiscating and refusing to return passports of US citizens who have been critical of US Middle East policy. While the Embassy entreats US citizens to leave Lebanon these days it prevents some from doing so and places them in possible danger. A US Federal Court lawsuit is soon to be filed in Washington DC regarding one such case.

The Bush administration’s intense and continuing interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs rendered it guiltier of doing what it claims others are doing. Many of Lebanon’s political leaders have asked it to stop. It ignores these calls and sends instead a parade of Welch Club adherents on almost weekly visits with more orders, commands, and threats.

Bush would do well to close up shop here thereby protecting American interests and let the new administration offer an Ambassador to Lebanon. And next time hopefully based on the standards laid down at the 1815 Congress of Vienna when diplomatic immunity was offered for plenipotentiaries from nations who presented letters of credence and pledged to refrain from using their posts to undermine the sovereignty of the country which accredited and received them. This action would serve American citizens as well as the people of the Middle East.

The next administration can open a new phase of honest relations with Lebanon by a whole series of friendly and needed acts, including but not limited to these:


Order the delivery to UNIFIL of the Israeli firing logs to limit the continuing loss of life from the US ordnance fired into Lebanon under penalty of freezing US aid;


Permanently ban all shipments of cluster munitions to Israel;


Offer Lebanon a Marshall Plan for reconstruction projects necessitated by 30 years of Israeli bombardment with American weapons;


Demand and enforce, if necessary, Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanese territory including Shebaa Farms and the village of Ghajar.


End American interference and support for certain factions and extend respect and dialogue with Lebanon’s opposition which in fact represents a significant majority of its Lebanon’s citizens


Help more than 12% of Lebanon’s population, i.e. the Palestinian refugees. return to their land and homes in Palestine by forcing, if necessary, the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 242;


Remove the Lebanese Resistance from the silly US ‘terrorism list” which makes a mockery of American ideals of the right to resist occupation and American commitments for respecting the choices of voters in elections from other countries as we ask them to respect ours.

These acts by the next US administration will go a long way in restoring the loss of respect our country has suffered from the current Cheney-Bush-Israel lobby cabal. And it may well prevent American expulsion from the region.

January 17th, 2008, 3:54 pm


idaf said:


What a twisted argument and shameful spin!

Who mentioned anything about the “Gulf Arabs” here?! So now the Saudis are the champions of economic prosperity and a model that can counter Mubarak and Assad?! You should recheck the poverty rate, crime rate, unemployment, democracy and of course “women empowerment” in the richest country in the Arab world!

In case you did not notice, Qatar (the country with the highest per capita GDP in the world) and one the better “Gulf Arabs” on the democratic front (along with Bahrain and Kuwait) was “punished” by Bush. This was for 2 reasons, simply as a good will gesture to the Saudis, not to jeopardize any arms deal with them. And because Qatar is not obedient enough on the Syria/Iran front as the rest of the “moderate” Arabs (Bush will not forgive the Qataris for inviting Ahmedi-Nejad as a keynote speaker in the GCC summit few months ago or buying the record number of Airbus airplanes instead of Boeings earlier this year). Basically, the Qataris are doing what you are suggesting; they are talking less and doing more to counter the “US/Saudi” anti-Iran war drive. They are bringing the “Gulf Arabs” closer to Iran on the economic and diplomatic front for the prosperity of their country and region. They are selecting their business deals based on their national interests, and are not buying arms just to rub the US administration the right way.

Your argument does not stand.. those Arabs who are “saying” and those who are “doing” are all “dictatorships”. The US/Israel agenda is to support the obedient dictators (Saudi, Egypt, UAE etc.) regardless if they are “saying” (Saudi, Egypt) or “doing” (UAE), while attacking or ignoring the less obedient dictators, regardless if they are “saying” (Syria) or “doing” (Qatar) what their national interest dictates. This US policy only makes it harder for those who are “doing” but are not obedient enough and do not want conflict in their neighborhood (Qatar).

January 17th, 2008, 3:55 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Where would Qatar be without the protection of the Americans? And let us not forget the Al Udeid Air Base which is conveniently located in Qatar. For all practical purposes, Qatar is an American protectorate and completely in the Amercian pocket. The US defends it from its larger neigbours. Bush did not go to Qatar because there was no need and no diplomatic capital to be gained. Viewing the Qataris as doing anything contrary to American interests is naive. The Air Bus example is way off. Jet Blue is an American company and has only air bus planes and United and other American companies have a ton of them.

Yes, you are right that all Arab governments are dictatorships except in Iraq where their is a work in progress and it is not clear what will emerge. I support ALL countries becoming democracies. But let’s do a real comparison: Which governemnt, the Saudi or the Syrian has taken better care of its people in the last 30-40-60 years? Do you have the statistics? Let’s discuss this concretely. Which regime was better to its people?

And if you noticed, the Israeli agenda is to be indifferent to any Arab regime that does not harm Israeli interests and to be hostile towards anyone who supports Hamas and Hizbullah. It is not a matter of obedience. What can be simpler than that?

My argument still stands. If you don’t hold your government accountable, you will be in the same shithole you are in today. Mubarak and Asad need to be held accountable by their own people. There is no other way forward and blaming Israel or the US is foolish.

January 17th, 2008, 4:19 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

France will have a military base in Abu Dhabi.I do not understand why France needs such base,nor I understand why AbuDhabi needs such a base,may be this will bring blond female soldiers to Abu Dhabi.
USA will sell military weapons to KSA worth $20 billion,who are they going to fight?,or are these weapons will rust unused?this is waste of money,this money can help the palastinians ,iraqee,lebanon Sudan.
I did not mention Syria since Syria is very rich , they have Assad as their best wealth.

January 17th, 2008, 4:23 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

Amr Moussa is back in Lebanon.

I love Naharnet’s minute-by-minute coverage of what he is doing, as though he were on a spacewalk, or defusing a ticking time bomb. In fact, he’s doing nothing more than having meetings(!)

10:15 Arab League chief Amr Moussa meeting General Michel Aoun in Rabieh.

10:55 Moussa leaves Aoun residence stating “positive” results.

11:25 Moussa stuck in traffic on way to Berri offices. Says that he has “hope” for the latest round of negotiations.

11:45 Moussa still in traffic. Says he is “not trying to be optimistic or pessimistic.”

12:05 Moussa stops for a shawarma at Barbar. Says that it tasted “very good.”

12:25 Moussa arrives at Speaker Nabih Berri’s offices, but Berri has gone out for lunch. Moussa says that he “is determined to find a solution to Lebanon’s crisis, despite this unforseen obstacle.”

1:30 Moussa arrives at MP Saad Hariri’s palace in Qoreitem for coffee and discussion of the issues. Hariri offers him some pepto-bismol for his heartburn because of the shawarma, stating “You should not get shawarma from Barbar. Get it from Bliss House. They also have good ice cream.”

2:15 A meeting is currently underway at Bliss House, between Amr Moussa, ex-President Amin Gemayel, and Michel Aoun.

At times like these, shall we laugh or shall we cry?

January 17th, 2008, 4:30 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

اختراع مدفع رؤية يكشف ما وراء الجدران

January 17th, 2008, 4:47 pm


Alex said:


At times like these we should worry. But the Naharnet’s minute by minute thing deserves a smile for sure : )


No need to complicate things. It is simple: If you were a girl, would you marry a man based on how much he has in his bank account only? .. well, if you did, like President Bush committed to the Saudis exclusively, your man might not have enough of the qualities required for a successful marriage … not enough brains, not enough muscles, not enough education, not enough wisdom …

One of the administration’s big mistakes, and the subject of my post here that you are ignoring, was to listen to the Saudis only from the Arab side.

You can’t sidestep Egypt or Syria.


Thanks for the link, I will update the article with it now. I was hoping you will provide that link : )

I had really thick hair at the time, yes : ) … but I was not standing in that picture. Where I stood was a less populated area .. I was almost alone near a traffic light where they needed to slow down, and stop, so I got a good minute of waving and smiling with president Carter… 2 meters away … the good old days when a visiting American President could stand in a convertible for hours in the streets of Cairo.

January 17th, 2008, 5:02 pm


Mazen said:


A very good post and argument. Alhomayed has always been cheap, there’s nothing new about that. Real leadership and achievement is never cheap.

January 17th, 2008, 5:14 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

What exactly do Asad and Mubarak have?
They are not beautiful or smart or educated and in addition are poor.

So I don’t get your comparison. No Arab leader is “attractive” but Asad and Mubarak are among the least attractive. They are leading their countries to oblivion and into the Muslim Brotherhood’s waiting hands.

January 17th, 2008, 6:04 pm


T said:

Fantastic news roundup w/ photos you wont see alot of places! Many thanks.
Ironic that a Saudi is bailing out Citi after being dissed in the press. Saudis still underwriting the wars… Citi has recently begun capping ATM withdrawals and wire transfers. Whats next? Runs on the bank?
We’re about to see what the Freedom Agenda has cost America. Like they say “Freedom isnt Free”.
2008 to be a banner year.

January 17th, 2008, 6:08 pm


Alex said:


You want the personal comparison?

Assad is a London educated doctor. He speaks English and French, he knows how to do a Google search. He reads blogs, he has an iPod (remember?)

King Abdullah … not even a high school degree? Speaks Arabic only. Although I like many of his decisions and policies, i am not against the Saudi King in general… few things.

But comparing “Syria” or “Egypt” to Saudi Arabia … I’ll leave it up to you to do some research about the history of Syria and Egypt … maybe you can see beyond money.

January 17th, 2008, 6:26 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

The only comparison that is relevant is this: What have Asad and Mubarak done for the average Syrian and or Egyptian that is better than what the Sauds have done for the average Saudi?

That is how you measure “attractiveness” of a regime. How well is serves its own people. All the rest is hogwash. What has history got to do with it? Let’s look at the statistics published by the UN. Let’s look at development over the last 10-20-30-40-60 years. That is what needs to be compared. Based on these statistics, Syria and Egypt lag behind Saudi Arabia.

January 17th, 2008, 6:37 pm


Atassi said:

We may all agree that the American policy in the eyes of the Arabs has failed. But for the Israeli and Neo-con, it has achieved many of its objective and agendas……
In other notion, I would even speculate that the regional dictators has been granted another lifeline as a product of those failed polices with the impression of receiving a blessing to go on for much longer , otherwise, Assad, Mubarak and many other dictators like them would have been long gone into the history dumpster .. …

January 17th, 2008, 6:38 pm


Alex said:


I go back to my previous example, if money is the only thing that counts for you, then sure, you would be in love with the Saudis.

Let me put it this way: ask a sample of ten western reporters where they would rather live: Damascus or Riyadh … Guess where most (if not all) of them will prefer to live.

January 17th, 2008, 6:50 pm


norman said:


Canada puts U.S., Israel on torture watchlist
By David Ljunggren | January 17, 2008

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s foreign ministry has put the United States and Israel on a watch list of countries where prisoners risk being tortured and also classifies some U.S. interrogation techniques as torture, according to a document obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

The revelation is likely to embarrass the minority Conservative government, which is a staunch ally of both the United States and Israel.

The document — part of a training course on torture awareness given to diplomats — mentions the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where a Canadian man is being held.

The man, Omar Khadr, is the only Canadian in Guantanamo. His defenders said the document made a mockery of Ottawa’s claims that Khadr was not being mistreated.

Under “definition of torture” the document lists U.S. interrogation techniques such as forced nudity, isolation, sleep deprivation and blindfolding prisoners.

A spokesman for Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier tried to distance Ottawa from the document.

“The training manual is not a policy document and does not reflect the views or policies of this government,” he said.

The document was provided to Amnesty International as part of a court case it has launched against Ottawa over the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan.

Khadr has been in Guantanamo Bay for five years. He is accused of killing a U.S. soldier during a clash in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was 15.

Right groups say Khadr should be repatriated to Canada, an idea that Prime Minister Stephen Harper rejects on the grounds that the man faces serious charges.

“At some point in the course of Omar Khadr’s detention the Canadian government developed the suspicion he was being tortured and abused,” said William Kuebler, Khadr’s U.S. lawyer.

“Yet it has not acted to obtain his release from Guantanamo Bay and protect his rights, unlike every other Western country that has had its nationals detained in Guantanamo Bay,” he told CTV television.

Other countries on the watch list include Syria, China, Iran, Afghanistan, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

A spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy said she was looking into the report. No one was immediately available for comment at the Israeli embassy.

The torture awareness course started after Ottawa was strongly criticized for the way it handled the case of Canadian engineer Maher Arar, who was deported from the United States to Syria in 2002.

Arar says he was tortured repeatedly during the year he spent in Damascus prisons. An inquiry into the case revealed that Canadian diplomats had not received any formal training into detecting whether detainees had been abused.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

January 17th, 2008, 6:58 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Look at the UN development reports.
Syria is ranked 108 and Egypt 112.
Saudi Arabia is ranked 61. The difference is hugely in favor of Saudi Arabia. Ask 100 Syrians if they would rather prefer to be Saudi citizens and what do you think their response will be?

Money is one aspect of how developed a country is. How well it helps its citizens achieve their potential and their dreams. In this, the Saudis are doing a much much better job than Asad and Mubarak.

January 17th, 2008, 7:01 pm


ausamaa said:


You forget to add in your comparison something that both of those Arab leaders do not have: the criminal insensitivity of subjegating and oppressing another population through one of the toughest forms of military occupation. And the fact that both are not habitually blackmailing US policy makers into subsidising and supporting their military oppression of other people as the Isralie leaders have been doing for decades. That will make it a more “relevant” comparison for AIG to understand.

January 17th, 2008, 7:01 pm


Alex said:


I see. So a secular Jew like you would prefer to live in Saudi Arabia not in Cairo or Damascus if you had to chose.

If you ask a 100 Syrians if they would like to be Saudis? … I don’t think you understand Syrians. Some will be happy to go to KSA, the majority will prefer to continue living in Syria.

January 17th, 2008, 7:14 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Really? Asad and Mubarak are opressing their own people which is a much larger crime. They are both dismal failures and the average Syrian and Egyptian youngster cannot wait to get out of those countries and go West or to the Gulf because Asad and Mubarak do not give any hope to their people and cannot supply well paying jobs or a good education.

These are the facts. Go ahead and deny them.

January 17th, 2008, 7:14 pm


Alex said:

Habibi AIG,

Let me explain to you how your “facts” are flawed:

Syrian women = half the population
Syrian minorities = 30% of the population

They both would be better off NOT living in Saudi Arabia.

Then you have Syrians who love Syria

Syrians who are sick of the “Arab moderates”

January 17th, 2008, 7:18 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

I would prefer to live in none of those places. What is so bad by the way in living in one of the foreign enclaves in Riyadh? They are not any different than the US or Europe.

Damascus would be at the bottom of my list since I would not want to live where Meshal the serial murderer roams free.

January 17th, 2008, 7:18 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Yes the women and the minorites would prefer to go West rather than to Saudi. So what, the point is still that Asad is not taking care of his people as well as the Saudis have. All the statistics show that. You should be criticizing Asad not the Sauds.

January 17th, 2008, 7:21 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Oh and by the way, if Asad and Mubarak are so confident that they represent Arab opinion, let them conduct free elections in their countries. They represent nothing but their oppressive regimes. It is such a simple test.

January 17th, 2008, 7:24 pm


offended said:

Name me one place in the Middle East where Bush has brought a tad improvement on the arena of peace and prosperity?

As far as I am concerned, you can keep barking your twisted argument at any caravan trudging toward any giving direction and you won’t make a difference.

January 17th, 2008, 7:49 pm


offended said:

Alex, excellent summation 🙂

I beg you to take a look at this picture of Bush toiling himself in tough negotiations with young Emaraties (taken in Dubai):


January 17th, 2008, 7:56 pm


Observer said:

There is a lot of oppression going around:
each ruler does oppress his people and manipulate the press and the education system. I would not want to be a woman in KSA. I would say that the oil revenues do make a huge difference in the outcome and the method of oppression. One oppresses by buying the population off and the other uses violence and emergency rule to remain in power.

None of these states achieved modernity as for the stellar Israel, I think it has moved fully into an apartheid regime in practice and it has committed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity since its existence. Just count the number of times unanimous UN resolutions and General Assembly resolutions went unheaded or vetoed due to the intervention of the US.

Begin once said that the KSA is not a country it is a family and he was and is still right. The same goes for all the other emirates. Now, many of their current leaders understood that they had to deliver for their people and they are and within two generations of significant litracy of the female population, participatory goverment occurs naturally. In what form is dependent on many factors but participatory it is.

Being democratically elected does not confer on you international legitimacy in all areas. Shamir was a terrorist, ben Gurion when he joined France and Britain in attacking Egypt committed a war crime, the invasion of Iraq is a war crime as it was not sanctioned by the UNSC and was not a defensive war.

Many of the actions that happened in the ME were of neocon design and were meant to give utter supremacy to Israel and the US but the outcome did not turn out to be as rosy. It may still, and believe you me, there are many an Arab leader drunk with the prospect of being in power and in charge (even if it is in charge of a garbage dump ) to collaborate with such an enterprise.

Where on earth does one call for the state to be recognized based on religious/cultural background thereby either excluding a significant proportion of the population from full citizenship or forcing them to convert/adopt the cultural epithet except in Israel. Can you imagine if someone said that you have to be Catholic to be French with the broad understanding that it is both a cultural and a religious affiliation?

In 1780 as I said before, the Jewish communities in Europe and around the world were governed by Rabbinical laws and courts and the modern state abolishe the system and liberated the Jews from archaic and oppressive rule. Israel Shahak argues that Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel is an attempt to re create the system whereby Jews go back to live in a closed and exclusivist state. He also argues that the spectre of persecution keeps the diaspora in such a state as to inhibit full integration, intermarriage in host countries. It is only in this context that one understands the insistence of Olmert on Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. It is the ultimate declaration of apartheid and the absolute refusal to evolve democratically to take into account different demographics. This is why Avigdor Lieberman left the coalition as he admantly refuses to allow Palestinians of 1948 to remain in Israel and he considers Olmert as betraying Israel and Judaism by allowing them to stay.

January 17th, 2008, 8:04 pm


EHSANI2 said:


Your argument is simply idiotic (sorry but I could not come up with a better word)

How can you compare Syria and Saudi Arabia?

The latter is home to the world’s largest oil reserves.

It is home to a King who has to distribute at least some of the Oil revenues to his populace to keep them away from questioning his ownership of the resources under ground.

It is a largely tribal and homogenous society.

The U.S technically protects the King’s rule.

It has no borders with Israel and its land has not been occupied by it.

How can one compare the above set of circumstances to Syria?

Cut it out.

January 17th, 2008, 8:05 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

20% of Israel’s citizens are not Jews which makes all your argument moot.

And you are dreaming, Israel is recognized as a Jewish state by most countries in the world that have embassies in Israel. This includes Russia and China and India who have excellent relations with Israel.

The Jews have defined themselves as a nation. It is our basic right. Get over it.
Hopefully, the Palestinians will have a country of their own soon.

January 17th, 2008, 9:02 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:


Your excuses are lame ones. Israel is in exact the same situation as Syria and it is ranked much higher than Saudi Arabia in the UN development reports. Why would borders with Israel or the loss of the Golan stop development?

The difference is the choices the governments in Syria made versus those of the Israeli government. The end result is that Israel is a modern country and the average Israeli is 6 to 7 times richer than the average Syrian. It is the choices the Asads made that brought Syria to its current situation. Blaming Israel or the US is pathetic.

January 17th, 2008, 9:09 pm


Observer said:

here is some excellent reading especially for AIG IG AP

January 17th, 2008, 9:21 pm


EHSANI2 said:

I was commenting about your silly comparison between Saudi and Syria.

I have been critical of Syria’s economic policies. The socialist experiment failed and was a regrettable choice that the country embraced since the 1960’s. There is no question that this mistake has cost the country dearly in terms of economic development and lagging standards of living.

As I wrote recently, the current leadership seems to have realized this. It is “slowly” departing from its socialist principals. As it does, the country will do better. I wish the movement was at a more dramatic speed. The leadership is cautious and it will follow a similar pace as when it comes to its new economic policy.

January 17th, 2008, 9:24 pm


Alex said:


Your position is too vague and it lacks clarity,

Please repeat after AIG:

“Assad is a despicable murderer”

January 17th, 2008, 9:34 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

First of all Ehsani’s position is very clear. He, unlike you, does not blame the US or Israel for Syria’s position.

Second, Asad is a despicable murderer. He has assasinated tens of Lebanese and untold number of Syrians.

January 17th, 2008, 10:01 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

The comparison between Saudi and Syria is not ridiculous. Yes, Saudi has much more oil. But its amount of natural resources is something that each government needs to take into account when deciding on its strategy forward. Syria should have realized that since it does not have natural resources, in order to develop it needs either good ties with the west or a feasible China like model.

But in fact, the Asads chose to pursue a strategt that doesn’t make sense and they have to carry the blame.

January 17th, 2008, 10:18 pm


Atassi said:

Were expecting Bush to ever visit or meet with the head of the Syrian baath regime? or any of their apologists clique .. Seriously; have you!!

January 17th, 2008, 10:25 pm


Alex said:


Forget what I was expecting (nothing).

Look at what Mamoun Fandi was proposing instead of what I suggested in my “hoax”:

If Assad can accept Saudi Arabia’s special and unique leadership role, then the Saudis can indeed arrange a meeting between President Bush, Assad and even Prime minister Olmert.

Then Zvi Bar’el wrote: “Mamoun fandi speaks for the Saudi King .. why don’t you listen to him?”

I had an exchange with Zvi Bar’el yesterday and he really believes the proposal was serious.

So … ?

January 17th, 2008, 10:35 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

bush position is anti Islamic anti arab, he met his best friends who are the same.

January 17th, 2008, 11:01 pm


Atassi said:

I don’t believe so Alex, realistically, Assad will not be able to offer anything that appeals to Bush as a must have. We all know Assad can’t deliver\ will not Hizboallah in a plate to the Israeli, Not worth it for him at “this time”.

January 17th, 2008, 11:04 pm


Alex said:

I agree Atassi.

Assad will not be rushed into a quick deal and he will not “deliver” on a partial deal. Nonetheless, President Bush should have looked at visited Damascus and talking for few hours with the Syrians instead of asking others to send them warnings.

January 17th, 2008, 11:27 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

The Europeans now also say that the site Israel attacked was a nuclear one:


January 18th, 2008, 12:01 am


norman said:

Syria is better off depending on itself , be a friend to countries that support her goals of return of the Golan and a non hostile Lebanon and a fair deal for the Palestinians and being an example to Arab countries , she can do that by improving the economy Infrastructure , education and health care so all other Arab countries would want to join her and establish the United states of Arabia as was established the United state of America , Syria has a mission to bring greatness to the Arabs.

January 18th, 2008, 12:28 am


trustquest said:

Thursday, January 17, 2008
AIG, looks like have been paid by the opposition, or he is doing them great favor. AIG, I think you have an advantage point over Alex and Ehsani in the debate of comparison between KSA and Syria. With reservation to your position regarding Israel policy and how it helped the totalitarians regimes, your position is in match to many Syrian oppositions, whom are ineffective but their numbers are large, not a minority as some on this blog tries to describe them.

A recent article by Mazen K.: http://www.dctcrs.org/s3297.htm in Arabic proves your point as he emphasize the rule of the totalitarians regime as a hamper for the development of their countries as it happened in the last 60 years and it seems that current time is not any different, even if they changed their economic policy 180 degree. The totalitarian regimes ideologies were just a façade to keep them in power and it has no other agenda as history told us. The second important point which should not be overlooked here is, that Alex and Ehsani ideologies are not in match with the current Assad regime ideology, both sides know that and both ( regime and his supporters) each playing on his instrument for his purpose. In my opinion, if the regime has no need for them they will be thrown in prison, just like any other citizen who disagrees with the regime. Anyone who disagree with their policy is a criminal and should be imprisoned and we know that those who are now in prison are not like Vanunu releasing nuclear secret, they are just independent thinkers want to voice their opinions.

January 18th, 2008, 2:22 am


Rev Michel Nahas said:


Sorry, but if you pump an ecess of 30 billion dollars a year, not counting German Reparations Funds, and the tythe that every Jew in the world has to send to Israel (I’ve witnessed those funds collected at Synagogues throughout Brazil, in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s , before I moved to Europe), My country, as tiny and insignificant as it might be, would be WAY better than Israel is today!

I don’t know how the American people put up with this ” Representation Without Taxation” that AIPAC and others impose on the American People!

Just remember, AIG, You cannot fool all the people all the time!

Americans will wake up one day!

Rev. Michel Nahas
Quebec, Canada

January 18th, 2008, 3:01 am


T said:

Now if a gentile spoke like this in certain free western nations he’d be jailed, as in those dictatorships we all say we despise (while cherry picking certain of their behaviors to exercise against ‘hate-speaking’ citizens.)

Feel the power
By Joseph Aaron
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com |
I just can’t help it.

This kind of thing gives me a big thrill. And a big chill.

It’s not that often that you find the entire state of Jewish life today encapsulated in one place. So when you do, it’s worth taking note of and learning from.

The place of which I speak is the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine. Vanity Fair is one of the most fascinating magazines around, one that every issue features an amazingly eclectic collection of articles, from the very serious to the completely frivolous.

Indeed, while the October issue features such stories as “How $9 billion in cash vanished in Iraq;” “Inside Bush’s bunker;” “How the Media Gored Al Gore in 2000;” and more, the cover features Nicole Kidman wearing a sailor cap and opening her shirt to reveal her nautical necklace and her brassiere.

Vanity Fair is nothing if not on the cutting edge of where society is and is going. Vanity Fair is definitely not a Jewish publication.

And yet, in this one issue, it tells us more about the Jewish world as it is today than any lecture or book or class out there.

It does that in two ways.

The first is its annual list of what it calls The New Establishment, the 100 most powerful, most influential people in American society.

What is absolutely amazing, stunning about the list is how many Jews there are on it. Jews make up about 2.5 percent of the U.S. population so there should be two or three Jews on the list.

Guess again, bubeleh.

The list of the Vanity Fair 100 includes, get ready, 51, yes 51 Jews.


I say 51 because that’s how many I’m sure are Jewish. There may be others on the list who are Jewish but who I don’t know are Jewish and whose names are not obviously Jewish.

But let’s say I got them all. That means that more than half the names on the list of the 100 people who are the most vital to this society are Jewish. And this is a list that includes Apple’s Steve Jobs and Oprah and Bill Clinton and Warren Buffett, to name a few of the few non-Jews on the list.

That is absolutely nothing short of astounding.

Talk about us being accepted into this society, talk about us having power in this society, talk about anti-Semitism being a thing of the past, talk about Jews no longer needing to be afraid to be visible and influential.

And it doesn’t stop there.

The magazine also has a separate list of what it calls The Next Establishment, younger people it believes destined to make the big list some year soon.

Of the 26 names on that list, 15 are Jews. That I’m sure of. 15 of 26. More than half.

And it doesn’t stop there.

The magazine also has a separate list of what it calls The Pit-Stop Club, those who have made The New Establishment list in the past but who didn’t make it this year but are fairly certain to make a comeback in a future year.

Of the nine names on this list, eight are Jews. Eight out of nine. Don Imus is the only non-Jew on the list.

I mean, it’s just unbelievable.

This is a big country with lots and lots of very talented, highly educated, tremendously motivated people. And no one has its finger on the pulse of the people who make this country what it is more than Vanity Fair.

And when it came time to pick the 100 who most move and shake things in America, more than half-more than half-are Jews. And on the list of those who will one day be on that list, more than half-more than half-are Jews. Not to mention that almost 100 percent of those who were on the list and are poised to make a comeback are Jews.

Tells you so much about the place of Jews in this country, about the amazing people Jews are.

That’s something we should never take for granted, something we should always be blown away by, feel very, very good about.

Instead, however, the Jewish world is so much about kvetching and worrying.

When will we learn to fight fights that matter. When will we learn not everything needs to be made a big deal of. Not everything we don’t like is a threat, indeed some of the things we don’t like only become a nuisance because we make a big deal out of it.

We are powerful, very powerful. We play a major, pivotal role in the life of this country. And yet we are always acting like scared little mice on the verge of annihilation.

And if you think how we are doesn’t have consequences, please look at something else in this Vanity Fair issue, something that also tells us much about Jewish life today.

There is an article in the magazine called “Talk of the Town.” It tells the story of the intense rivalry between two of the most powerful men on Wall Street, Henry Kravis and Stephen Schwarzman.

Both, as you may have guessed, are Jews. Both are at the very top of the private equity world, which is where the financial action is these days. Both control tens of billions of dollars worth of assets.

The first thing that struck me about the story is what jerks both are, each trying to top the other, destroy the other, outdo the other. Not to mention the abominable way that each treats their employees. Each acts in ways that are not very much in keeping with the teachings and values of Judaism.

That’s sad, but that’s not what got to me. What got to me is how much these two do, how much these two give, to all kinds of good causes-libraries and museums and hospitals and universities and on and on, all mentioned by name in the article. You read and see how much energy each puts into his charitable work, how much money each donates to charitable causes. Doing so, it is very clear, for the social status and clout it brings.

What is also clear is that it seems neither is involved in or gives to Jewish causes, at least not in any significant way.

That too tells you a lot about Jewish life today.

For they are not alone. The fact is that, as survey after survey has shown, most very wealthy Jews in this country do not give to Jewish causes. Certainly not the tens of million dollars they so eagerly give to a university or a museum.

The question is why they feel so little allegiance to their own community, their own people, why they so much look elsewhere to devote their resources and their energies.

I think it’s because we have made Judaism such an unpleasant place.

Judaism has so many powerful people among us, as the Vanity Fair 100 list shows. We are such a part of this society, have such impact on this society and yet we’re always unhappy, always feel victimized, always kvetch about this and that. It’s always another Holocaust around the corner, there’s always the next Hitler on the scene, Israel is always embattled, we’re always worried, always scared, always sure the end is near.

Well, who the hell wants to join that little party?

Because we so squander all the good that has come our way, too many of us are simply opting to go their own way, to be part of things that don’t involve guilt and neuroticism.

More than half those on the Vanity Fair 100 are Jews. And yet we don’t feel powerful, indeed, the very fact of the list makes us even more nervous than we were before.

Instead of being pleased and taking pride, we fret that it’s not so good to be so visible, bad that the gentiles see how much influence we have. And so we take even an occasion for joys and make it one for oys.

Is it any wonder then that if we always make out that Jewish life, despite all evidence to the contrary, is a scary and dreary place, that those who have made it, want nothing to do with it?

Joseph Aaron is Editor of The Chicago Jewish News

January 18th, 2008, 3:11 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

You are of course mistaken. First, the American aid is about $3 billion per year and it comes to about $400 per Israeli. Given that the Israeli GDP per capita is about $30,000, without it Israelis will just be a little bit poorer and you can clearly see it makes no significant difference.

Yes Jews abroad help Israel but of course there is no mandatory tythe. The amounts Jews send is negligible compared to taxes collected by the Israeli government.

The bottom line is that the average Israeli was on the same level as the average Syrian in 48 but now the average Israeli is 6 times richer. The only reason is because Israel was founded as a liberal democracy and did not hinder the potential of its citizens like Syria’s dictatorships did.

Denial does not help solve problems. And don’t take my criticism personally. It is not the average Syrian’s fault. It is the Syrian regime’s fault that has prioritized staying in power above the welfare of the Syrians.

January 18th, 2008, 4:52 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

What exactly in the article do you think that a gentile would be put in jail for saying?

I suggest you read the article again. It is a self critical article about the state of Judaism in the US and it makes good points. Jews are always afraid that their success may cause problems in the diaspora and lead to some “pogrom”. Yes, this is not reasonable in the US but 2,000 years of history left their mark on the collective psyche of the Jews. That is what is so great about Israel and another reason Israel is so important to Jews. Jews do not have this fear in Israel.

January 18th, 2008, 4:59 am


T said:

Its sayable because a Jew says it. If anyone else did, they would be called antisemites who accuse Jews of being in a power/gov conspiracy etc. There would be some reference to Protocols thrown at them -esp as per the powerful Wall Street bankers bit in the piece–

Speaking of Wall St. Is anyone here taking note? You can smell the panic. Credit card debt is close to 1 trillion and w/ the derivatives thrown in this could escalate into the trillions (including the war debt). Pouring more liquidity in is useless. It is a SOLVENCY crisis. And the tax base jobs have moved to China. Even the FBI had to cut back on their illegal spying when their phones were disconnected because they couldnt pay the bills.

Is it true AIG, that Israel wants its future American aid packages paid to them in euros??????????????????????

Well I think I better get off Syriacomment now and move over to an Economics blog. Its more dire.

January 18th, 2008, 6:00 am


ausamaa said:

“That is what is so great about Israel”

And “that” is what exactly????

The WHOLE WORLD must be missing noting “that thing”!

January 18th, 2008, 8:48 am


ausamaa said:

الشاحنات السورية التي تحمل المساعدات للشعب الاردني الشقيق … معبر ثالث يضاف قريبا جدا

عمان – عرب تايمز

أعلن الأردن أمس تخطيطه إقامة منفذ حدودي بري جديد مع سوريا يربط دمشق بمنطقة السويداء ليكون المنفذ الثالث بعد الرمثا/درعا، وجابر/نصيب وذلك حتى يتم تخفيف الضغط عن معبر الرمثا الذي تعبره الاف الشحنات السورية ناقلة المؤن والقمح واللحوم والمياه العذبة الى الشعب الاردني الشقيق الذي تشتم صحفه الرسمية سوريا كل يوم

وقال وزير النقل الأردني علاء البطاينة – قرايب الامير حسن – في اجتماعات اللجنتين العموميتين للشركتين الأردنية – السورية للنقل البري والسورية – الأردنية للملاحة البحرية التي بدأت في عمان أمس برئاسته ونظيره السوري يعرب بدران أن إقامة المنافذ الحدودية تؤول صلاحياتها الى وزارة الداخلية، وبالتالي هناك دراسة جدوى من تنفيذه وأفاد بأن هناك توجها لإقامة ربط سككي مع سوريا عبر منفذ نصيب. وكشفت مصادر أردنية ان المنفذ المنوي إقامته عبر طريق أوتستراد أربعة مسارب يربط محافظة السويداء بالحدود الأردنية، من شأنه تقصير المسافة وتسهيل عملية انسياب البضائع لاسيما وان السويداء منطقة مصدرة للخضار والفواكه وفيها ميناء بري ايضا

وكان الملك عبدالله قد زار سوريا قبل فترة وقال للرئيس بشار طنيب عليك … متنا جوع وسقعة وعطش يا قرابة .. ولم يصطحب الملك معه وزير اعلامه السابق صالح قلاب لانه مشغول بكتابة مقالات في جريدة الراي الاردنية الرسمية والشرق الاوسط السعودية ضد سوريا

January 18th, 2008, 9:39 am


Akbar Palace said:


Kudos to you for your patience responding to the professional cry-babies and finger-pointers.

We are here in the background reading your posts with a wide smile.

Keep up the good work, I’m sure you have more important things to do.

I am here to congratulate you and our people for creating and maintaining the most beautiful country in the Middle East. No one country is perfect, but for the attention she gets, she’s done a heck of a job.

Happy 60th Birthday!

January 18th, 2008, 12:08 pm


Observer said:

If Israel is a Jewish state, then where do the 20% of the population that are not Jewish stand? Are they to be forced into Judaism? Are they allowed to form a political party that questions the very nature of this religiosity based state?

If Asad is a murderer, what is Olmert? He ordered South Lebanon carpeted with cluster bombs and refuses to this day to give the maps of the millions of mines sown in South Lebanon during the 80″s and 90″s and refuses to give the targeting coordinates to the UN so that they can start clearing the cluster munitions.

What about Sharon who headed unit 101 and was responsible for the raid that massacared Jordanina women and children? Is he hiding behind the democratically elected sharade?

There are honest Jewish voices such as Marcel Libman, Uri Avnery, Israel Shahak, Gilad Atzmon, and Ilan Pape who have recognized that there are elements in the Jewish community that have developed an exclusivist self centered political ideology that puts supremacy of the Jews over others and effectively uses the politics of the Holocaust to silence opponents and fellow Jews.

This is one reason I believe that Islamist ideology is so frightening to the leaders of Israel as they see a reflection of their thoughts. This is why commentators sympathetic to Israel have quoted quickly the word Islamofascism and this why the extremist version of Wahhabism is immediately attacked correctly as being xenophobic.

Ugliness and immoral behavior has been with us from the dawn of history. Scriptures that call for the destruction of the other are in many ideologies both religious and secular

Joshua blowing the horns and destoying Jericho with calls to bash the heads of infants, disembowl pregnant women, and enslave the population. Baruch Goldstein in Hebron was inspired by such rethoric and was celebrated as hero. Begin was also inspired by Biblical stories when he invaded Lebanon, and Ben Gurion as I wrote before told the Knesset in 56 that the war against Egypt was to restore the Kingdom of Solomon from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Saint Augustine has provided for the concept of just war and from his writing interpretation led to slaughter of not only Jews but fellow Christians.

OBL in his Jihad against Crusaders and Jews has also identified the “other” as worhty of slaughter.

CIA financing of the Laos and Burma opium and heroin trade to finance its operations with the Contras is another example of crass immoral practices.

Gulbudin Hekmatyar “Mullah Heroin” with his seven Heroin processing plants on the border with Afghanistan with CIA help and blessing to finance the war against the Soviets.

How many addicted teen agers all over the world did it take to finane such actions. As a US citizen I am ashamed of some of the actions that my country does and would like to stop the aid to Israel and the military cooperation and the economic cooperation and the sharing of scientific know how with oppressive regimes.

In the same vein of Westerners accusing the Arabs of whining all the time about how they are victims of conspiracies real and imagined, I respond by asking the West to stop cozying to sleezy dictators and oppressors and thiefs be they in Libya, UAE, Syria, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Israel, or KSA.

Finally, it is really telling that responses to my post and questions to our illustrious dissenters are never really answered;
“Isarel is recognized as a Jewish state by the world” is such one dodging the issue.

Define the borders of Israel for me: Avigdor Lieberman has just left the coalition because he does not recognize that the West Bank could be given up and he does not recognize non Jews as citizens. In other countries such extremist views are at least reported and commented on except in the case of Israel: God forbid that we point out that there are Jewish fanatics just as they are fanatics of all other stripes.

January 18th, 2008, 3:06 pm


ANNIE said:

Zionism and its Jewish victims

Invitation à lire
Ella Shohat, Le sionisme du point de vue de ses victimes juives. Les juifs orientaux en Israël,
La Fabrique, Paris, 2006, 124 pages, 8 euros.

Des citoyens au rabais
Juifs séfarades en Israël
( Michel Warschawski )

Qui sont les victimes du sionisme ? Les Palestiniens évidemment. Mais sont-ils les seules victimes de ce mouvement colonial ? A cette question, Ella Shohat répond clairement par la négative, en affirmant que le sionisme a aussi produit ses victimes juives (1). Universitaire d’origine israélienne, Shohat enseigne depuis de nombreuses années à New York. En Israël, à l’exception de cercles très minoritaires, elle a, depuis toujours, été complètement ostracisée par le monde universitaire et intellectuel.
Sans constituer une autobiographie, l’essai de Shohat raconte aussi son histoire à elle – femme, juive arabe, et de surcroît antisioniste –, ainsi que celle de ces nombreux Israéliens qui, nés dans la culture arabe, n’ont jamais pu, pour cette raison, être reconnus comme de véritables membres de la communauté nationale israélienne, à plus forte raison de ses élites.
Le mouvement sioniste est né, au début du XXe siècle en Europe, comme une tentative de réponse à l’antisémitisme. Ses idéologues et ses pionniers ont tous été les enfants de la culture européenne, coloniale et moderniste, y compris de son racisme envers tout ce qui n’était pas européen. Désirant faire émigrer les communautés juives du monde arabe – par besoin d’une main-d’œuvre habituée aux travaux difficiles et pas beaucoup plus chère que la main-d’œuvre arabe indigène, ou pour réaliser le rêve d’un « retour » des communautés juives vers leur patrie historique –, les dirigeants sionistes n’ont jamais su considérer ceux qu’ils nommaient leurs « frères des communautés orientales » comme de véritables égaux.
Certaines des communautés juives les plus anciennes du monde, tels les Juifs d’Irak ou du Yémen, ont été véritablement manipulées pour venir renforcer le jeune Etat, la direction sioniste n’hésitant pas à utiliser des méthodes terroristes pour faire fuir les Juifs de leurs pays, comme dans le cas de la communauté juive irakienne dont est issue Shohat.
Si certains dirigeants sionistes n’ont jamais caché leur racisme antiséfarade, la majorité d’entre eux avaient plutôt un regard paternaliste, promettant une place égale aux nouveaux immigrants juifs arabes, après une période de socialisation et d’adaptation à la modernité, ashkénaze comme il s’entend. Victimes d’un déracinement qu’ils ne désiraient pas, les Juifs arabes immigrés en Israël sont, pour l’auteur, des réfugiés. Certes privilégiés par rapport aux réfugiés palestiniens, mais réfugiés quand même, et victimes d’une discrimination structurelle et d’un racisme plus ou moins déclaré.
Cet essai a été publié, en anglais, dans la revue new-yorkaise Social Text, en 1988, au moment où, en Israël, la seconde génération de ces victimes juives du sionisme commençait à remettre en question l’hégémonie ashkénaze, d’abord dans le champ politique puis dans le champ culturel. Pourtant, ce n’est qu’en 2001 qu’il a été traduit et publié en hébreu… par le Centre d’information alternative – une organisation de la gauche radicale – et la jeune maison d’édition Kedem, spécialisée dans la publication d’auteurs juifs arabes. C’est-à-dire encore dans la périphérie de l’hégémonie culturelle israélienne.
Pourtant, au moment où ce texte fondateur est enfin publié en Israël, il n’est plus totalement isolé. Des écrivains comme Sami Shalom Chetrit, des chercheurs comme Yehuda Shenhav, des cinéastes comme David Ben Chetrit (2) sont enfin reconnus à leur juste valeur et commencent à trouver leur place. Ils portent tous un regard extrêmement critique sur les fondements racistes de la société israélienne, et, pour la plupart, remettent en question le sionisme aussi pour ce qu’il a commis à l’encontre de ses victimes palestiniennes.

Michel Warschawski
Journaliste, animateur du Centre d’information alternative (Israël).


(1) Ella Shohat, Le sionisme du point de vue de ses victimes juives. Les juifs orientaux en Israël, La Fabrique, Paris, 2006, 124 pages, 8 euros.
(2) Dont le dernier film, Dear Father, consacré aux officiers et soldats objecteurs de conscience, a été présenté en avant-première à Paris, début novembre 2006.

January 18th, 2008, 3:41 pm


ANNIE said:

When Bush came to Brussels it was the same thing, an empty town. Contrast this with the crowds surrounding Bashar in Syria. OK, there might be a few rows of muhabarat but still the people get a chance to see him.

January 18th, 2008, 3:46 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Observer you ask:
If Israel is a Jewish state, then where do the 20% of the population that are not Jewish stand? Are they to be forced into Judaism? Are they allowed to form a political party that questions the very nature of this religiosity based state?

The minority in Israel stand like any minority in any democratic country. They are not forced into anything and in fact have political parties represented in the Knesset that work against Israel being defined as a Jewish state. And in fact the Israeli Arabs have more rights and are 6-7 times richer on average than the average Syrian.

As usual you fail to grasp that Jews are a nation. I am an atheist Jew. The Jewish religion is just the customs of the Jewish tribe. Israel is the state of the Jewish nation. Zionism is a secular movement founded by a secular Jew, Theodore Herzl and supported by socialist/communist Jews from Eastern Europe and mostly secular Jews from Western Europe and the US. Ben-Gurion was secular to the bone. If you fail to understand that the Jews are a nation and not a bunch of people with the same religion, you fail to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict.

January 18th, 2008, 4:05 pm


Shual said:

[I don’t like those french communists.]

Annie, maybe an english-translation is helpful: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13284

“We” had some intresting discussion about that text caused by this text: http://www.alternativenews.org/blogs/michael-warschawski/a-panther-indeed-saadia-marziano-20071225.html and a large part of young sephardic jews I talked to have a completely different view.

January 18th, 2008, 4:08 pm


Shual said:

“Israeli Arabs have more rights and are 6-7 times richer on average than the average Syrian.”

🙂 Funny, AIG

Syria BIP [I think] $US 1445 x 6 = US$ 8670
Israel BIP $US 30 000 = Israeli Jews are 4.26 times richer on average than the average Iraeli Arab. And they have more rigths.

What exactly do you want to tell us with that?

January 18th, 2008, 4:19 pm


Alex said:

Akbar said:

“I am here to congratulate you and our people for creating and maintaining the most beautiful country in the Middle East. No one country is perfect, but for the attention she gets, she’s done a heck of a job”

Akbar my friend,

I’m happy that YOU (since you said “we”) are always “reading in the background” … SYRIAcomment.

We are flattered for all the “attention” Syria has been getting. Thank you and AIG for caring about Syria all those years.

January 18th, 2008, 4:35 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

The american economy is collapsing, due to the cost of war,$300 billion a year, to save it it is imperative to start pulling troops out.
Bush appeared,he looked tired,sleepy, may be drugged.

January 18th, 2008, 4:57 pm


ausamaa said:

Akbar Palace says to Another Israeli Guy:

“We are here in the background reading your posts with a wide smile”

Akbar, please keep smiling, stay there, and try to convince Another Israeli Guy to do the same… If you both do that, even the Israeli-Zionist cause will benifit. Its ugliness would be kept in the shade at least.


January 18th, 2008, 5:03 pm


Observer said:

What does money have to do with it? India is more democratic and yet 500 million live with one dollar per day. I fail to understand the money issue in this post.

I do not believe that you can question the Jewish state in Israel for if you do you will not be able to exercise that right as we see what happened to Azmi Bishara.

I do understand that Zionism has turned Jewishness not Judaism into a concept of a nation. But how can you be a member of this nation if you were not of Jewish extraction and background/

If Israel is a Jewish state how cannot it not be exclusive to Jews at some level such as serving in the highest echelons of the military or becoming prime minister or getting funds for schools etc.

What are the borders of the state of Israel?

If Israel is a Jewish state and has 20% of its population not Jewish in terms of background and shared values, why does Israel not have a constitution or a constitutional like court where the concept of citizenship is debated and minority rights are enhanced?

Someone once said correctly that democracy is not one man one vote once. I think the same happened in Israel, one minority, one set of rules for them, once and forever.

Finally, I wrote before that my tax dollars unfortunately and despie my constant request to examine the issue are still going to Israel and I would like very much like Ron Paul to have a clear cut severance of this toxic alliance that we have with the policies of Israel. We can be friends with all peoples around the world and deal with their goverments but it is not in our interest to be allied with the Olmerts and Abdallahs and the like of the world at the expense of our and their people.

AP on the other hand is the typical supremacist as he once said just like Avigdor Lieberman said: there are no Jews living in Palestinian houses and on Palestinian lands.

Well, every seven years all the land is nominally sold to a Goy with the provision that it will be sold back to the Jews so as to fulfill the Talmudic injunction of leaving all land fallow every seven years.

It is stipulated that the owner of the land cannot truly possess it.

It is also a fact that 40% of the officer corps in the IDF is now made up of graduates of Yeshivas some of whom are not different than the graduates of certain Madrassahs that demonize the other and permit their slaughter. Little Israeli children were invited in 2006 to write insults and epithets on the bombs being hurled on South Lebanon: if this is not Judeofascism?

January 18th, 2008, 5:07 pm


ausamaa said:

What message will Amro Mousa deliver to Damascus? The Arab “moderates” and King Abdulla are now loosing patience with you President Assad?

And what do you think Amro Mousa will hear from “friegthened Damascus??

Something like : Amr, for God’s sake, things have changed as you know, stop jocking and go tell the Saudies (and Bush) that they better tell Saado and Ja’ja to accept what the Opposition is offering now before they raise the ceiling of their demands higher and higher and your friends lose all?? And if Saado does not listen to you, take back his Saudi Passport!

Why is he going to Damascus anyway when the Opposition has decided that Aoun is their representative with the clear message being: dont count on Syria to pressure us since Aoun -our collective representative- is not Syria’s man.

Do the “moderate” Arabs think that they can be more “threatning” than Bush and Sarkowho? Or more “rewarding” for that matter?

Why can they not acknowledge that their politics is no match for Syria’s moves? Syria pulled out so fast from Lebanon to stiffle 1559 in its craddlel; we are not in Lebanon no more, so dont count on us disarming Hizbullah and the Palestianis. And the Syrian move worked! The new move is Aoun being designated the collective representative of the Opposition, so, dont expect Syria to be capable of applying the needed pressures on the Opposition. Each Syrian step is at least two steps ahead of its adversaries. Have they not learned that the rash Cowboys and the ailing Camels can not outfox the Syrian Fox?

January 18th, 2008, 5:26 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Shual –

According to the CIA Factbook (2006 estimates), AIG is correct:

Syria: Population: 19 million; GDP: 78 B; GDP/captia: $4100

Zionist “Chosen, Democratic, Racist” Entity:

Population: 6.5 million; GDP: 170 B; GDP/captia: $26,800

My Zionist calculator arrives at 6.5

Alex –

I’m happy that YOU (since you said “we”) are always “reading in the background” … SYRIAcomment.

You are most welcome and thank you for allowing me to contribute. Learning is a 2-way street.

Majed says:

The american economy is collapsing, due to the cost of war,$300 billion a year

Yippee! Proof terrorism and Arab despotism works! I knew I was wrong!

January 18th, 2008, 5:46 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Boy are you wrong. Bishara’s party is alive and well and saying the same things in the Knesset Bisahra was saying for years. Bisahra was accused of helping Hizballah. Now, that is treason. But he and many other Arabs members of the Knesset continually call for redefinition of Israel.

How can you become a Japanese without being from that tradition and background? It is difficult. That does not mean Japan is not a democratic country and that minorites in it are devoid of rights. You obviously have a problem understanding what a nation state is. How do you become Polish or Hungarian or Turkish? You can get an Israeli or Japanese or Polish etc. citizenship but until you assimilate and tie your future to the future of the nation you are not a part of the nation.

Minorities can be represented at any level in democratic states. There is no law against Israel having an Arab prime minsiter. It is not the law that is the problem, it is the fact that he needs to be elected by a Jewish majority. For the very same reason it is highly unlikely that a Jew will ever be elected a prime minister of an Arab country once they become democratic.

The Jews are the majority in Israel not the minority. And yes, in states the founding fathers get to set the principles on which the nation is founded. See the US and France for example. If a minority does not like the state laws it has every right to try changing it democratically. Israel was founded as a result of a war between Jews and Arabs after the Arabs rejected the UN partition plan.

The borders of Israel are VERY well defined. The blue line in the north and the armstice line of 67, both verified by the UN. The green line with the west bank is the border there and the border with Egypt is the result of the camp david accords. What do you mean the borders are not defined?

January 18th, 2008, 6:07 pm


T said:

Is AIG a committee? Thanks for confirming my earliest hunch regarding “him/them”. AP quotes the CIA to support his views? The same CIA who Israel claims has no credibility via the NIE. Just keep cherrypicking whatever info suits you.

Speaking of treason… When the top US diplomat at the UN’s proudest achievement is not what he has done for HIS OWN country, but rather for another- Israel- and he counts himself as “Israel’s other Ambassador at the UN” (more than representing his own country’s interests) THAT is treason. As is Jonathan Pollard, Larry Franklin and Scooter Libby.

The Saudis, Kuwaitis, the ‘arab terrorists’- indeed the world have all thrown in cash to bail out the American economy.
Where is our ‘greatest friend in the region’ when we are down and out? How about refunding us some of those billions and billions we’ve donated your way over the decades?
AIG, Inc-
Friendship, like free speech, is a two way street as you yourselves wrote in an earlier post.

January 18th, 2008, 6:24 pm


Rev Michel Nahas said:

Dear AIG,

Thank you for your (always polite) response to my post. Taking the risk to be repetitive AGAIN, I’ll tell you what disturbs me:

I am a Christian minister, a sexologist, and a civil engineers as well; for this reason you can label me as a Jewish friendly, Muslim friendly, and Christian critic, since I conquered this right by being a part of that community, and all my 4 grandparents came to Brazil from Homs, before Syria was independent.

My concern about the American influence in Israel, and vice versa, is that Israelis who are genuinely interested in Peace, won’t have it, because the US needs Israel and the fight (Defense industry, my nutty “Evangelical” brothers and sisters who hold a complete unbiblical and inorthodox view that Christians are only an apendix on revelation history. I won’t bother you with Christian heresies, like pre-milenism and dispensasionalism.

The fact is that Syria is the only meaningful economic partner in the middleast who could profit from a “real” partnership with Israel: A kind of France/Germany partnership. In Syria (and as a Christian I’m sad to say that) there is WAY more religious freedom than in Israel, and the government is way more Secular than in Israel too. Just reed the reports on human rights coming out of the State department. At least in Syria, you can build if you are non-muslim, contrary to Israel, if you are non-Jewish (more pronouncedly inj Jerusalem.).

All this hammering of Assad, and his regime, is taking Syria inot the Religious Fundamentalist side, and all the beauty of the ONLY religious neutral government in the Middle East, thanks to the Assad clan affiliation with a minority shiite sect, is going to go away, and the “nice” folks from Muslim Brotherhood will take over. Why? Why does the US and Israel want that? I just can’t get it.

Please Stop with this Democracy non-sense. In South America, for example, the last undemocratic regime to fall (Chile), is the most developped economy. Why? Exactly because there are people in the world who are just not prepared to make choices, period! Democracy in some environments, brings evem more corruption (and we South Americans understand a big deal about it), just because when there is a longer term regime, there are fewer people to steal. The new ones in government will always want to “do what my predecessors did”, bu this time in 4 years, instead of 20 or 30.

But back to the subject: imagine this scenario.

Syria signs a peace agreement with Israel, where Israel returns the whole of the Golan. Both countries de-miulitarize the border zone. The US provides a Marshal Plan type of arrangement to Syria, srael stop spending tons of money destined to border warfare (I admit, the Palestinian problem won’t go away,), Syria expells Hisbollah, Hamas, IJ, rent the wineries, sky resorts, etc in the Golan to Israeli enterpreneurships, bi-national joint ventures, and collect taxes from these areas. Trade starts, Syria ceases to be seen as a pariah in the world, the whole mediterranean rim becomes peaceful, the oil from central asia and even Irak, and the golf can flow through Syria to the mediterranean, i.e., Iran can close Hormuz, that id really won’t matter to the west.

Syria grows, turns into a western country (as the majority of the population are really inclined to be anyways), Lebanon takes care of itself, Israel has to deal with Palestinians alone, but this time weakened by lack of regional support. Syria won’t need Iran support, Israel won’t need defensible borders because won’t have border enemies. Religious plurality is assured, in Syria, Isrsaeli tourists, everything is fine.

But AIG, without returning the Golan, and without a non-Sunny in power, it just won’t happen!

Why not?

January 18th, 2008, 7:13 pm


Seeking the Truth said:

I’m having a hard time being convinced that Zionism is a secular movement. Simply put, had there been no Judiasm (a relegion), there would have been no Zionism/Israel. In other words, Zionism invoked Judiasm, to justify the creation of a state/nation for people based solely on their religion and theological heritage.

January 18th, 2008, 7:19 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

You ask a good question. The answer is as follows. Secular Western Jews like Theodore Herzl (the founder of Zionism) did at first view Judaism as just another religion and not a nation. They thought a Jew could be just as French as a Catholic for example. But Herzl changed his mind when he covered the Dreyfus trial. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_affair )

It proved to him and to many other Jews in Europe that the Jews could never be assimilated into Europe and that the Europeans see them as a different nation (genetically and culturally). You see, Dreyfus was completely secular but this did not change anything. The French did not treat his Judaism as a religion, but as a race or nation.

The holocaust validated this notion that Jews are a race or a nation when many Christians were sent to die because they had Jewish blood and were considered Jewish because one of their ancestors was Jewish.

Thus over several decades as a response mostly to European antisemitism, the Jewish nation was born because the Jewish people began to identify themsleves as a nation. So zionism was a secular movement because it was the reaction of secular Jews to their inability to assimilate into Western Europe.

January 18th, 2008, 8:16 pm


T said:


Are you avoiding my question to you on treason? Can you redefine it, not in terms of Bishara but in US-Israel terms? Would AIPAC qualify?

This is not a ‘polite’ issue- these unsavory topics rarely are- but there are millions of us in the USA who would like to know. (Not just me the messenger). And it affects us enormously, as well as Syria’s relations with us.
And polite or no, the issue cuts to the heart of the concept of democracy you so espouse.
Not to mention national sovereignty.

January 18th, 2008, 8:24 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:


First of all, many Israelis would support the plan you suggest. I am not one of them though because I think you cannot force peace on people. How do we really know if the Syrians want a peace deal with Israel or it is something that Asad is forcing down their throats like the peace Israel has with Egypt which most Egyptians don’t support?

By the way, the peace plan you are proposing is not something even Alex supports. He wants the support for Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran to stay in place.

In my opinon Asad does not want peace. He wants negotiations only in order to get himself out of isolation. But that is another matter.

As for the Muslim Brotherhood I agree with you that unless Asad starts serious reforms they will eventually get into power. It is not something I wish for but I view it as inevitable if Asad does not reform Syria.

January 18th, 2008, 8:32 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Why don’t you post exactly Bolton said and then we can discuss it?

How is AIPAC treason? If it is, ALL the leading candidates for president both democratic and republican are traitors since they spoke at AIPAC meetings very supportively. Are you claiming Obamah is a traitor for example?

PS Just to be clear, I am one person not a committee

January 18th, 2008, 8:40 pm


idaf said:

Back to the subject of the post by Alex:

Faith, Freedom and Bling in the Middle East
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia

As a Saudi soldier with a gold sword high-stepped in front of him, President Bush walked slowly beside King Abdullah through the shivery gray mist enveloping the kingdom, following the red carpet leading from Air Force One to the airport terminal.

When the two stepped onto the escalator, the president tenderly reached for the king’s hand, in case the older man needed help. He certainly does need help, but not the kind he is prepared to accept.

It took Mr. Bush almost his entire presidency to embrace diplomacy, but now that he’s in the thick of it, or perhaps the thin of it — given his speed-dating approach to statesmanship — he is kissing and holding hands with kings, princes, emirs, sheiks and presidents all over the Arab world and is trying to persuade them that he is not in a monogamous relationship with the Jews.

His message boiled down to: Iran bad, Israel good, Iraq doing better.

Blessed is the peacemaker who comes bearing a $30 billion package of military aid for Israel and a $20 billion package of Humvees and guided bombs for the Arabs.

Like the slick Hollywood guy in “Annie Hall” who has a notion that he wants to turn into a concept and then develop into an idea, W. has resumed his mantra of having a vision that turns into freedom that could develop into global democracy.

W.’s peace train quickly gave way to the warpath, however, with Mr. Bush devoting a good chunk of time to the unfinished war in Iraq and the possibility of a war with Iran.

In meetings with leaders, he privately pooh-poohed the National Intelligence Estimate asserting that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. On Fox News, he openly broke with intelligence analysts, telling Greta Van Susteren about Iran: “I believe they want a weapon, and I believe that they’re trying to gain the know-how as to how to make a weapon under the guise of a civilian nuclear program.”

Less than a week after the president arrived in the Middle East, three violent eruptions — an Israeli raid killing at least 18 Palestinians, 13 of whom were militants; an American Embassy car bombing in Beirut; and a luxury hotel suicide-bombing in Kabul — underscored how Sisyphean a task he has set for himself.

“This is one of the results of the Bush visit,” said Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader, as he went to a Gaza hospital to see the body of his son, a militant killed in the battle. “He encouraged the Israelis to kill our people.”

Arab TV offered an uncomfortable juxtaposition: Al Arabiya running the wretched saga of Gaza children suffering from a lack of food and medicine during the Israeli blockade, blending into the wretched excess scenes of W. being festooned with rapper-level bling from royal hosts flush with gazillions from gouging us on oil.

W.’s 11th-hour bid to save his legacy from being a shattered Iraq — even as the Iraqi defense minister admitted that American troops would be needed to help with internal security until at least 2012 and border defense until at least 2018 — recalled MTV’s “Cribs.”

At a dinner last night in the king’s tentlike retreat, where the 8-foot flat-screen TV in the middle of the room flashed Arab news, the president and his advisers Elliott Abrams and Josh Bolten went native, lounging in floor-length, fur-lined robes, as if they were Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif.

In Abu Dhabi, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan gave the president — dubbed “the Wolf of the Desert” by a Kuwaiti poet — a gigantic necklace made of gold, diamonds, rubies and emeralds, so gaudy and cumbersome that even the Secret Service agent carrying it seemed nonplussed. Here in Saudi Arabia, the king draped W. with an emerald-and-ruby necklace that could have come from Ali Baba’s cave.

Time’s Massimo Calabresi described the Kuwaiti emir’s residence where W. dined Friday as “crass class”: “Loud paintings of harems and the ruling Sabah clan hang near Louis XVI enameled clocks and candlesticks in the long hallways.”

In Abu Dhabi, the president made a less-than-rousing speech about democracy while staying in the less-than-democratic Emirates Palace hotel’s basketball-court-size Ruler’s Suite — an honor reserved for royalty and W. and denied to Elton John, who is coming later this month to play the Palace.

The president’s grandiose room included a ballroom, in case Mr. Bush wanted to practice the tribal sword dancing he has been rather sheepishly doing with some of his hosts, something between Zorba and Zorro. The $3 billion, seven-star, 84,114-square-foot pink marble hotel — said to be the most expensive ever built — would make Trump blush. It glistens with 64,000 square feet of 22-carat gold leaf, 1,000 chandeliers, 20,000 roses changed every day, 200 fountains, a dome higher than St. Peter’s, an archway larger than the Arc de Triomphe, a beach with white sand shipped in from Algeria and a private heliport. The rooms, scattered with rose petals, range from $1,598 to $12,251.

Puddle jumping through Arabia, the president saw his share of falcons in little leather hoods — presumably not a Gitmo reference — and Arabian stallions, including one retired stud from Texas — presumably not a W. reference. But there was a distinct dearth of wives and dissidents.

It does not bode well for the president’s ability to push the Israelis and Palestinians that he has done so little to push Musharraf on catching Osama, despite our $10 billion endowment, or the Saudis on women’s rights and human rights, even with the $20 billion arms package.

At a press conference last night, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, was asked what the president and king had discussed about human rights.

“About what?” the prince repeated flatly.

“Human rights,” Condi prompted.

“Human rights?” the stately prince pondered, before shimmying out of the question.

Though W. has made the issue of the progress of women in the Middle East a central part of “the freedom agenda” — he had a roundtable over the weekend with Kuwaiti women on democracy and development — he doesn’t seem bothered that 17 years after his father protected the Saudis when Saddam invaded Kuwait, Saudi women still can’t drive or publicly display hair or skin and still get beheaded and lashed because of archaic laws. Neither does the female secretary of state of the United States.

“It’s not allowed for ladies to use the gym,” the Marriott desk clerk told me, an American woman in an American franchise traveling with an American president.

W. was strangely upbeat throughout the trip — “Dates put you in a good mood, right?” he joked to reporters yesterday, specifying that he meant the fruit — even though back home the Republican candidates were running from him and clinging to Reagan.

The Saudi big shots I talked to were intrigued that W. is now more in the sway of Condi than Bombs Away Cheney. They admire his intention about making peace, even though they’re skeptical that he has the time or competence to do it; and they’re sure that the Israelis need more of a shove than a nudge.

They are also dubious about his attempts to demonize and isolate Iran.

“We don’t need America to dictate our enemies to us, especially when it’s our neighbor,” said an insider at the Saudi royal court. The Saudis invited the Iranian president, I’m-a-Dinner-Jacket, to their hajj pilgrimage last month.

Saudis and Palestinians grumbled that they find it hard to listen to the president’s high-flown paeans to democracy when he only acknowledges his brand of democracy. When Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood won elections, W. sought to undermine them. The results of the elections were certainly troubling, but is democratization supposed to be about outcomes?

They also think W.’s plan cancels itself out. The Israelis don’t have to stop settlements if rockets are coming in from Gaza, and Abbas, the Palestinian president, can’t stop rockets from going out of an area he does not control.

The president who described himself at Galilee as “a pilgrim” makes peace sound as easy as three faiths sharing, when history has shown that the hardest thing on earth is three faiths sharing.

Asked by ABC’s Terry Moran what he was thinking when he stood on the site where Jesus performed miracles at the Sea of Galilee, W. replied: “I reflected on the story in the New Testament about the calm and the rough seas, because it was on those very seas that the Lord was in the boat with the disciples, and they were worried about the waves and the wind, and the sea calmed. That’s what I reflected on: the calm you can find in putting your faith in a higher power.”

Clearly, the man believes in miracles.

January 18th, 2008, 8:41 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:


I forgot to say, but it is an irony that the justification of the Jews as a nation does not come from the Jewish religion but from the way Europeans treated Jews.
The argument was not:
1) We have the same religion therefore we are a nation

Rather it was:
2) The europeans treat even atheists among us as Jews therefore Judaism is more than a religion, it is a nation

There was no theological or religious justification for the Jewish nation. What happened was that the actions of the Europeans convinced the secular Jews that they are a nation. The justification were the historical events of the 19th century. Only much later did some religious Jews join the Zionsit bandwagon, and as you know many religious Jews are still very much anti-Zionists. And only after 67 did the Messianic type Jewish Zionism of the settlers take hold (“God promised us the land”). That is unfortunate but they represent a very small percentage of Zionists.

January 18th, 2008, 8:55 pm


T said:


As you well know, Bolton has often said his proudest career achievement was the repeal of the UN Res that equates Zionism w/ a form of racism. NOT an action he took on behalf of his own country. This was a pattern, not a lone vote.

Back to Pollard, Larry Franklin, Scooter Libby and indeed the OSP crew- Wolfowitz, Feith etc. Are they traitors to USA?

And yes- any candidate that puts AIPAC/Israel interests above that of the USA is a traitor.

January 18th, 2008, 9:00 pm


Observer said:

AIG if you are an atheist then on what basis do you claim the right to own the land in Israel/Palestine?
The partition violated the charter of the UN as it forbids partitions.
The partition plan gave 51% of the land to 20% of the population in 48
The Balfour declaration gave something that Britain did not own to a third party
If it is God’s promise then you cannot be an atheist
If it is based on Jewish religion then it is not a national identity that is supra ethnic such as the Italian American or the African Americans who are Americans first and of their background culture.
It is impossible for a citizen of Israel to be Jewish without conversion. Even the highest Rabbinical authorities have not declared who constitutes a Jew. Even the Ethiopians that were brought to Israel had to re convert to be considered full citizens.
What would happen if in 20 years the 20% minority becomes 40% of the population and their political parties become king makers of any other coalition?

The borders of the state of Israel have never been officially declared that is why Begin called the West Bank Judea and Samaria and Lieberman does not consider them to be Palestinian, just like AP does not think that Palestinians have been robbed of their lands and houses. He considers them to be usurperers of the land.

I saw and heard many Israelis and European jews friends and colleagus of mine tell me with a straight face that they consider significant parts of Syria and Lebanon and Egypt to be part of Israel and that it is a matter of time before the old kingdom is restored.

I do not have anything against the Jews, I have a problem with anyone that uses exclusivist fanatic ideology to practice apartheid or demonize the other or to deny them equality of opportunity and justice and that goes for fundamentalist protestant christian evangelicals, fanatic muslims, and jewish ultranationalists.

I can tell AIG that the same argument was made about the Arab nation in cases where the minority was not Arab. In Iraq with the Kurds, in Algeria with the Berbers, and one can also go furhter and include the Basques of Spain, the Bretons of France, the Corse in France. The national identity to have a nation state has to be supra national to the local ethnic political entities and has to be freely accepted as an idea of belonging just as the roman citizenry was inclusive of the diverse populations.

I do understand very well what a nation state is for I live proudly in the one that has its moto E Pluribus Unum :from the multitude one. In your case you live in a jewish nation state but as a jew you are perfectly comfortable accepting the diversity of all jewish components be they sephradic african ashkenazi. The problem is that you do not really have a place for the “other” the Saygets in your society.

Israel in some sense is a recreation of the Jewish community governed by Rabbinical law that existed in Europe before 1780 and insisting on the Jewish exclusivity of the state is a reminder of that state. If Israel were to insist on the jewish heritage as one of many in ISrael then it can claim that its citizens are all equal. Until then, it remains an exclusivist entity for the majority jewish people.

January 18th, 2008, 9:25 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Your arguments are not coherent and full of falsehoods. Just two examples, of course it is possible for a non-Jew to become an Israeli citizen. The Ethiopians were Israelis immediately when they arrived, full citizens. To be accepted by the ortthdox community some of them agreed to conversion.

January 18th, 2008, 9:38 pm


Akbar Palace said:

T –

If you’re looking for traitors, here’s one you may have missed.


January 18th, 2008, 9:45 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

It seems that Suleiman may be what’s holding things up…

Snakes and ladders
NOW Staff, January 18, 2008

If we are to believe Sleiman Franjieh that General Michel Sleiman did indeed show his cards too early, alienating his erstwhile supporters in the opposition, then it appears that the presidential race is once again wide open. Not unlike meeting the final, very long snake just before the end of a game of snakes and ladders, Lebanon’s future has tumbled back to square one…

January 18th, 2008, 10:16 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

If you have a case that any person you mentioned is a traitor, go with it to the police. Or are you assuming that Americans in general are stupid and cannot recognize traitors?

January 18th, 2008, 10:40 pm


Alex said:

Here is a man who pretends to be all kinds of things and who changes his skin as often as necessary … to help Israel, not the United states.


And, no AIG … 95% of the American media is not able or willing or confident enough to make a documentary that exposes this fake republican/liberal/conservative/independent/democrat/pro Iraq war/Pro Iran warAmerican politician.

He is consistent in one thing … serving Israel’s interests, the way he sees them … and he is stupid too, because he is not even serving Israel’s interests with his likudist line.

January 18th, 2008, 11:19 pm


T said:

I never said American people are stupid. Those are YOUR words AP. I said “American politicians”. And I should have said corrupt. Use American’s own tax dollars to Israel to purchase US government for Israeli benefit. Clever. And when someone raises conflict of interest issues, dual-loyalty etc. shut them up by flinging-“antisemite”. Clever too, but reaping diminishing returns.

Pro-Israel PAC Contributions to 2006 Congressional Candidates
State Office District Candidate Party Status Contributions Career Total Committees
Alabama S Sessions, Jeff R I 2,000 196,825 AS, B
H 2 Everett, Terry R I 6,500 22,500 AS, I
H 7 Davis, Artur D I 2,000 80,067 B
Alaska S Stevens, Ted R I 4,000 73,200 A(D)
Arizona S Kyl, Jon* R I 84,500 163,025
S McCain, John R I 1,000 162,500 AS, C
Arkansas H 3 Delay, Robert R C 5,000 10,000
California S Feinstein, Dianne* D I 31,500 146,342 A(D), I
H 5 Matsui, Doris D I 3,000 6,050
H 5 Matsui, Robert D N 1,550 10,700
H 8 Pelosi, Nancy D I 0 63,450 I
H 12 Lantos, Tom D I 2,500 112,750 IR
H 24 Gallegly, Elton R I 1,500 45,250 I, IR
H 25 McKeon, Howard R I 2,500 4,500 AS
H 27 Sherman, Brad D I 5,500 48,830 IR
H 28 Berman, Howard D I 3,500 67,050 IR(NE)
H 29 Schiff, Adam D I 6,500 35,417 IR(NE)
H 30 Waxman, Henry D I 1,000 36,832
H 36 Harman, Jane D I 6,500 93,771 I
California H 39 De La Torre, Hector D N 1,000 1,000
H 44 Calvert, Ken R I 2,000 2,000 AS
H 47 Sanchez, Loretta D I 5,500 45,700 AS
H 50 Busby, Francine P. D 0 1,000 1,000
H 51 Filner, Bob D I 3,000 85,014
Colorado H 3 Salazar, John D I 6,600 14,600
Connecticut S Lieberman, Joseph* D I 49,500 286,258 AS
H 2 Simmons, Robert R I 1,000 19,500 AS
H 4 Shays, Christopher R I 2,000 12,850
Delaware S Carper, Thomas* D I 14,000 30,500
S Biden, Joseph, Jr. D I 0 101,007 FR
Florida S Nelson, Bill* R I 53,500 90,860 AS, B, FR
S Martinez, Mel R I 10,000 43,500 FR
H 6 Stearns, Clifford R I 6,000 9,500
H 9 Bilirakis, Michael R I 10 20,116
H 17 Meek, Kendrick D I 6,500 13,500 AS
H 18 Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana R I 9,500 93,990 IR
H 19 Wexler, Robert D I 1,000 12,500 IR
H 20 Wasserman Schultz, Debbie D I 2,500 6,500
H 22 Shaw, E. Clay, Jr. R I 21,005 72,505 W
Georgia H 2 Bishop, Sanford D. Jr. D I 500 500 A
H 5 Lewis, John D I 1,000 71,250 W
H 6 Price, Thomas R I 500 1,000
H 7 Linder, John R I 500 20,150 W
H 8 Marshall, Jim D I 5,000 7,000 AS
H 12 Barrow, John D I 8,100 16,600
Illinois S Durbin, Richard D I 1,500 329,171 A(D, FO)
H 2 Jackson, Jesse, Jr. D I 4,500 10,500 A(FO)
H 5 Emanuel, Rahm D I 8,500 22,000 W
H 6 Roskam, Peter R O 4,000 4,000
H 8 Bean, Melissa D I 19,680 29,680
H 10 Kirk, Mark R I 66,064 119,382 A(FO)
H 11 Weller, Jerry R I 2,500 33,900 IR, W
H 14 Hastert, J. Dennis R I 16,200 97,050 House Speaker
H 15 Johnson, Timothy R I -1,000 7,000
Indiana S Lugar, Richard* R I 32,250 75,450
H 5 Burton, Dan R I 1,000 73,000 IR
H 6 Pence, Mike R I 11,000 22,250 IR(NE)
H 8 Ellsworth, Brad D C 6,000 6,000
Iowa H 3 Boswell, Leonard D I 3,100 23,675 I
Kansas H 3 Moore, Dennis D I 3,600 42,776 B
Kentucky S McConnell, Mitch R I 9,010 377,685 A(FO)
H 4 Davis, Geoffrey R I 1,000 9,500 AS
Louisiana S Vitter, David R I 2,000 33,000
H 1 Jindal, Bobby R I 2,000 8,500
H 3 Melancon, Charles D I 100 18,100
H 4 McCrery, James, III R I 2,000 39,500 W
H 6 Baker, Richard R I 1,000 36,350
H 7 Mount, Willie Landry D N -5,000 13,000
Maine S Snowe, Olympia J.* R I 2,000 73,000 I
S Collins, Susan M. R I 1,000 54,500 AS
H 2 Michaud, Michael D I 500 6,750
Maryland S Cardin, Benjamin L.#* D O 17,500 43,950 W
S Steele, Michael* R O 5,000 5,000
H 5 Hoyer, Steny D I 28,500 120,775 A
Massachusetts S Kennedy, Edward* D I 12,000 79,120 AS
Michigan S Stabenow, Debbie* D I 55,296 96,106 B
H 12 Levin, Sander D I 3,000 119,227 W
Minnesota S Kennedy, Mark*# R O 1,000 3,250
S Klobuchar, Amy* D O 1,000 1,000
S Coleman, Norm R I 3,000 38,980 FR
H 2 Kline, John P. R I 10,000 10,000 AS
H 7 Peterson, Collin C. DFL I 100 100
H 8 Oberstar, James L. DFL I 2,000 2,000
Mississippi S Lott, Trent* R I 13,000 80,200 I
Missouri S Talent, James* R I 36,010 53,510 AS
S McCaskill, Claire* D C 1,000 1,000
H 3 Carnahan, Russ D I 2,500 8,000
H 4 Skelton, Ike D I 1,000 69,450 AS
Montana S Burns, Conrad* R I 29,500 194,510 A(D)
S Baucus, Max D I 2,000 319,348
Nebraska S Nelson, E. Benjamin* D I 46,500 77,260 AS
Nevada S Ensign, John* R I 9,500 21,700 AS, B
H 1 Berkley, Shelley D I 36,750 243,705 IR(NE)
New Jersey S Menendez, Robert*# D I 24,500 68,983 B
H 1 Andrews, Robert D I 3,000 41,750 AS
H 3 Saxton, H. James R I 1,000 72,900 AS
H 5 Garrett, E. Scott R I 5,000 19,700 B
H 6 Pallone, Frank, Jr. D I 5,000 60,550
H 7 Ferguson, Mike R I 500 10,000
H 9 Rothman, Steven D I 9,000 56,503 A(FO)
H 11 Frelinghuysen, Rodney R I 4,100 10,350 A(D)
New Mexico S Bingaman, Jeff* D I 1,000 262,425
New York S Clinton, Hillary Rodham* D I 37,118 56,118 AS
H 2 Israel, Steve D I 5,100 28,100 AS
H 7 Crowley, Joseph D I 10,500 62,657 IR(NE)
H 8 Nadler, Jerrold D I 1,000 21,000
H 9 Weiner, Anthony D I 2,000 17,000
H 14 Maloney, Carolyn D I 2,000 24,000
H 17 Engel, Eliot D I 22,000 163,918 IR
H 18 Lowey, Nita D I 1,000 112,238 A(FO)
H 25 Maffei, Daniel D C 5,000 5,000
H 26 Reynolds, Thomas R I 2,000 4,000 W
H 27 Higgins, Brian D I 4,600 9,600
North Carolina H 10 McHenry, Patrick R I 9,000 9.500 B
H 11 Shuler, Joseph Heath D C 1,000 1,000
North Dakota S Conrad, Kent* D I 52,600 254,539 B
Ohio S DeWine, Mike* R I 31,000 54,500 A(FO), I
S Brown, Sherrod*# D C 2,000 32,750 IR
H 7 Hobson, David R I 3,500 11,000 A(D)
Oklahoma S Inhofe, James M. R I 2,000 89,800 AS
H 2 Boren, David D I 6,500 7,500 AS
H 5 Bode, Denise R O 1,500 1,500
Pennsylvania S Santorum, Rick* R I 46,950 94,700
S Casey, Bob* D C 10,000 10,000
H 6 Gerlach, Jim R I 5,500 8,450
H 6 Murphy, Lois D C 1,000 9,000
H 8 Fitzpatrick, Michael R I 2,000 8,000
H 13 Schwartz, Allyson D I 2,500 23,650 B
Rhode Island S Chafee, Lincoln* R I 1,500 16,500 FR(NE)
Rhode Island S Laffey, Stephen* R C 5,000 5,000
Rhode Island S Reed, Jack D I 1,000 107,350 AS
South Carolina H 5 Spratt, John M. Jr. D I 2,500 17,400 AS, B
H 6 Clyburn, James E. D I 500 4,600 A
South Dakota S Johnson, Tim D I 5,000 166,837 A(FO), B
H At-L. Herseth, StephanieÝ D I 2,100 28,500
Tennessee S Ford, Harold, Jr.*# D O 4,500 14,500 B
H 3 Wamp, Zach R I 2,000 4,000 A
H 6 Gordon, Barton D I 1,000 57,900
Texas H 2 Poe, Ted R I 5,000 5,000 FR
H 10 McCaul, Michael R I 2,000 2,000 FR
H 17 Edwards, Chet D I 5,100 40,700 A, B
H 22 DeLay, Tom R N 26,000 112,050
H 22 Lampson, Nicholas D C 3,000 30,506
H 28 Cuellar, Henry D I 500 2,500 B
H 32 Frost, Martin D N 1,000 190,014
H 32 Sessions, Pete R I 1,000 4,750 B
Utah S Hatch, Orrin G.* R I 1,000 51,700 I
H 1 Bishop, Robert R I 1,000 4,500 AS
H 2 Matheson, James D I 2,100 37,100
H 3 Cannon, Christopher B. R I 500 1,500
Virginia S Allen, George* R I 19,000 29,400 FR
H 1 Davis, Jo Ann R I 1,000 3,750 AS, FR, I
H 7 Cantor, Eric R I 26,500 112,230 W
Washington S Cantwell, Maria* D I 2,844 2,844
H 2 Larsen, Richard D I 3,000 15,000 AS
Wisconsin H 7 Obey, David R. D I 1,000 150,100 A(FO), B
Wyoming S Thomas, Craig* R I 11,000 24,500

PRESIDENT Lieberman, Joseph D C $7,000 286,258


TOTAL for 2005-2006 Election Cycle

TOTAL 1978-2004 Funds to Congressional Candidates

TOTAL No. of Recipient Candidates, 1978-2004
$ 1,358,537




January 18th, 2008, 11:23 pm


T said:

And the above buys the following. Feel the Power, I guess… It even brings in Syria:

DS: Let me tell you the problem with the $10 billion in loan guarantees, right? We only have the first year. We have authorization from Congress, but it’s at the discretion of the president every year thereafter, so if Bush is there, he could say, you know, use it as a club, you know. ‘If you don’t give up Syria, I won’t give you the money. If you don’t give up the Golan Heights.’ It’s at the discretion of the president. And that’s why we need a friendly president and we have Bill Clinton’s ear. I talked to Bill Clinton.

HK: And Bill Clinton has made a commitment that if he’s elected . . . ?

DS: He’s going to be very good for us.
AIG- from Bill to Hill isnt that far away—

December/January 1992/93, Page 13-16
Special Report WRMEA

The Complete Unexpurgated AIPAC Tape

(Following is a transcript of the Oct. 22, 1992 conversation with President David Steiner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) recorded without his knowledge by New York businessman Haim (Harry) Katz. Its existence was first revealed to the Washington Times and its release triggered Steiner’s resignation.

David Steiner: Haim.

Harry Katz: Hello, how are you?

DS: Where are you located?

HK: I’m located in Queens, New York.

DS: Queens.. .Far Rockaway?

HK: Belle Harbor.

DS: Belle Harbor. I’m trying to get this list together. Would you ever get into the city?

HK: Sure, I do. Sure, you come frequently?

DS: Well I come in from time to time. I have an office there, at AIPAC in the city. You know, I want you to understand . . . where did you get my name and phone number?

HK: Oh, I, um, I called AIPAC. . .

DS: Yeah.

HK: And ahh. . .I know you’re the president of AIPAC…

DS: You should understand that, the political information that I gave you, those are personal choices . . .

HK: Sure, I understand.

DS: AIPAC does not rate or endorse candidates, does not solicit money. . .

HK: Yeah, look.

DS: I want you to understand that the choices I would give you are personal choices.

HK: I understand.

DS: I wonder if before . . . I want to get together with you next week.

HK: Next week would be fine.

DS: But in the meantime, I wonder if I can have one of my people get together with you and talk to you about it . . . They’ll want to meet you and know who you are and all this. I have a.. . maybe if I can have Seth Buchwald call you, my New York director.

HK: That would be terrific.

DS: And we have a guy out there, Joel Schnur. And, are you orthodox?

HK: Ah, yes.

DS: Okay, Joel is orthodox too. I am not.

HK: You’re reform or?

DS: I’m reform.

HK: Okay, let me just say. . .

DS: I was raised orthodox but I’m reform.

HK: Okay, let me just tell you that, I’ll just hold you a minute. I’ll be happy to meet with them, I know, I’ve heard the names, I’d be happy to meet with them, as a matter of fact I could, when I’m in Manhattan…Are you ever in Manhattan?

DS: Sure, today I’m going to be there, but I can’t. I’m meeting with the ambassador.

HK: Okay, I’ll just ask you very very quickly. You know, like, in New York, you know, this is your own personal opinion, like in New York we have Abrams against D’Amato.

DS: Well, let me tell you what my personal position is. Okay?

HK: Yeah.

DS: From a Jewish point of view, I believe in political loyalty.

HK: Right.

DS: And if someone has been good for Israel, no matter who, if my brother would run against them, I would support them because they’d been good to Israel because that’s an important message to people.

HK: Right.

DS: What I’m going to be doing for you. . .

HK: Now D’Amato, has he been good for Israel?

DS: You couldn’t have a better . . . listen I think Abrams would be good too, but that’s not the message.

HK: Yeah.

DS: Ah…

HK: So the message, so the message is that ah…I agree with you all the way, that if somebody’s been good for Israel, I’ll take D’Amato. But you have no complaints with D’Amato?

DS: I have no complaints with D’Amato.

HK: Uh huh, so and ah, you know, let me tell you, Abrams might be, might be too liberal. I don’t know if Abrams supported, let’s say the ah, the war against Iraq.

DS: Yeah, I don’t know, and ah, I don’t know. But all I know is if I have a guy who is there and he’s doing it, then I don’t want to change, you know?

HK: Right. Let me ask you this very quickly and then I will. . .

DS: I’m going to have Seth call you because in the meantime I’m going to be preparing this list, what I’m doing is, I’ve asked my friends in the various campaigns, I’ve made about 30 calls, what I’m trying to put together who needs it the most, you know? Because you could dissipate a million dollars, but the point is to put it where it’s going to do the most, I know Bob Kasten, who’s been an outstanding friend and needs it I know. . .

HK: Excuse my ignorance. Bob Kasten is what state?

DS: From Wisconsin. . .

HK: Okay, is he Jewish?

DS: . . .He’s for loan guarantees, he happens to be a Republican.

HK: Okay, and but, he’s good? He’s. . .

DS: You couldn’t have better.

HK: Is Kasten, Kasten’s been very, very good and he’s in trouble?

DS: He’s in big trouble. Les Aspin, who’s the Chairman of the Military Appropriations, a Democrat also from Wisconsin is really [unintelligible].

HK: You mean, Les Aspin is in trouble?

DS: In big trouble.

HK: I can’t believe it. I mean, I don’t, I don’t follow . . .

DS: Well see, what happened was, you know ah, when you get to know me, I’ll put you on my list and I’ll be sending all these things. A wealthy businessman decided to run, using all his own money. Aspin, ’cause they sit on the finance committee for Aspin. . .

HK: Right.

DS: . ..programmed the last two weeks of, well the last month of the campaign, for TV. This guy came in two months early and we didn’t have the money budgeted, so we’re out scratching around to raise money for him. So we, heck, I told him, I said that I’d go, I’ll sign on the bank on a loan for you, you know, that’s how important it is.

HK: Unbelievable. You know I read, I won’t hold you long, but I’d just tell you this. . .

DS: That’s okay.

HK: . . .I’ll just tell you this, I read the New York Post, and I don’t even read the papers too much, I don’t follow politics . . . are you ready for this?

DS: Yeah.

HK: Get ready for this. I read in the papers this morning, I think it was the (NY) Post, Barbara Boxer, in California. . .

DS: Yeah.

HK: . ..do you know who she is?

DS: I know who…

HK: She’s originally from, ah. . . New York I think. . .

DS: A friend of yours?

HK: No, no, no. She’s not a friend of mine, but she, ah, I think she’s in trouble.

DS: Yeah, that’s ah, in that race we’re okay either way, ’cause Bruce Herschensohn, who she’s running against, is Jewish, and he’s very strong on our issues.

HK: Okay, but Herschensohn.. .

DS: Herschensohn’s a very conservative Republican.

HK: You know, he’s come out of nowhere. He was like 30 points behind.. .

DS: Right.

HK: He’s come out of nowhere with it.

DS: Because the truth of the matter is, she didn’t always vote for foreign aid. We had a big meeting, I had a program in L.A. I had all four senatorial candidates there, and he ripped her apart. She has always voted against foreign and.

HK: What about the one, in ah, the one in. . . um, what’s his name? I read it in the paper, it’s just a shocker, politics is a crazy game. The black woman in Chicago. . .

DS: Carol Moseley Braun?

HK: She was going to win by 50 points. . .

DS: Oh it’s down, she took the money, it’s a big problem.

HK: It’s a big problem with her. . .

DS: And we have a problem with another good friend. You know Daniel Inouye, from Hawaii he’s one of our best friends. It was Kasten-Inouye on the loan guarantees, Kasten-Inouye and Leahy.. .

HK: I heard, I saw it on, I know Inouye’s in trouble because of, he sexually harassed his hairdresser. . .

DS: We commissioned a poll and got some people, and I’ve got to raise $27,000 to pay for the poll . . . so I have, so what I’m trying to do is make a priority list, because I don’t know how far you want to go. . . how old are your kids by the way? . . . You had three children that could write checks, do they have their own checking accounts?

HK: Yes.

DS: Oh, so that’s not going to be. . .

HK: How old do they have to be?

DS: They can’t be one year old.

HK: I mean, could they be 18, 17?

DS: Sure, no problem, so they could make, nobody’s going to bother you, but if you had infants, a four-year-old, let’s say, it’s not a contest.

HK: Let me tell you, I was planning, I was planning to, to . . . Inouye, by the way, is in real trouble? He’s been there forever. . .

DS: Yeah! Well, we might lose him. There’s been such a sea change, such trouble this year, I can’t believe all our friends that are in trouble. Because there’s an anti-incumbency mood, and foreign aid has not been popular. You know what I got for, I met with [U.S. Secretary of State] Jim Baker and I cut a deal with him. I got, besides the $3 billion, you know they’re looking for the Jewish votes, and I’ll tell him whatever he wants to hear. . .

HK: Right.

DS: Besides the $10 billion in loan guarantees which was a fabulous thing, $3 billion in foreign, in military aid, and I got almost a billion dollars in other goodies that people don’t even know about.

HK: Such as?

DS: $700 million in military draw-down, from equipment that the United States Army’s going to give to Israel; $200 million the U.S. government is going to preposition materials in Israel, which Israel can draw upon; put them in the global warning protection system; so when if there’s a missile fired, they’ll get the same advanced notification that the U.S., is notified, joint military exercises—I’ve got a whole shopping list of things.

HK: So this is from Baker?

DS: From Baker and from the Pentagon.

HK: So, not so, not.. .

DS: Why did he do it, you know, why did he do it? Last year I was a bum. This year I said look Jim, we’re going to fight on the F-l5s. Israel doesn’t want to fight, I said, but some people on it are going to come up on the floor of the Senate and the House and they’re going to fight. If you’ll do this, I think I can hold them back. But you’ve got to do it right away. They didn’t want to fight. I said, “You don’t want a fight before the election. It’s going to hurt Bush. We don’t want a fight before the election. We don’t want to fight at all. Why can’t we work something out?” So we cut a deal. You can’t repeat this.

HK: You’re right. But you met with Baker. . .

DS: Personally.

HK: Personally. Because you know, he’s the one who cursed, who cursed the Jews.

DS: Of course, do you think I’m ever going to forgive him for that?

HK: Unbelievable. I said…

DS: Do you think I could ever forgive Bush for what he did September 12th a year ago? What he said about the Jews for lobbying in Washington?

HK: Do you think that Baker has a legitimate concern for the Jews? From what I hear, do you think he’s anti-Semitic?

DS: I wouldn’t go so far as to say that. He’s a pragmatic businessman, he’s a very tough lawyer. He does whatever it takes.

HK: And that’s why.. .

DS: If we didn’t have an election this year, you would get [unintelligible] from him.

HK: Let me ask you a quick question. Just a quick question here. You know Perot, you know, I’m telling you this is scary. I don’t know what you think of Perot, but if Perot hadn’t backed out, I watched the debates. I thought Perot did marvelous in the debates.

DS: He doesn’t know how to govern. He’s not going to make it. And there was an incident where his daughter was going out with a Jewish professor at school and he said, “I wouldn’t have my daughter marry a Jew.”

HK: So Perot, they say that if Perot hadn’t backed out in July, and if he would have gotten himself a good running mate, you know . . .

DS: He wouldn’t win, but it would go to the House of Representatives. The Democrats would win in the House of Representatives.

HK: So if it goes to the House, the Democrats would win for sure.

DS: For sure.

HK: Okay let me ask you, last question and then I’ll be happy to meet with your New York people. . .

DS: You know, you sound like my kind of guy. How old are you?

HK: Forty-two.

DS: You’re a kid.

HK: I’m not a kid, I’m 42. . .

DS: I’m 63, you’re a kid.

HK: I wish I was…

DS: We’ll have to get you involved. I like you, we have a lot to talk about, about real estate, you know, I have so many great activities going on at AIPAC, you ought to think about coming to some of these things. I’ll have a dinner this fall. I’ll have 18-20 senators there. I run programs in Washington. We just had a, I had at Ted Kennedy’s house last month kosher dinner. I brought foremost caterers down. I had 60 people on the couch for dinner. Last year, I did it in Al Gore’s house.

HK: Right.

DS: Those are the things you should be getting involved in and knowing what’s going on. . .

HK: Let me just ask you about Clinton. I want to tell you, you may not believe this, but I think that if Perot. . .

DS: Yeah, he would’ve given us a hard time. What’s the name of your company, what do you do business as?

HK: We do business as HK, Inc.

DS: HK, Inc.?

HK: Right.

DS: Do you have a street address?

HK: Sure. 621 Beach 129th Street, Belle Harbor, Queens, New York, 11694.

DS: Yeah, because on my computer you only show a post office box. This is your house? You work out of your house?

HK: Yeah, out of an office in the house. . . Look, Mr. Steiner…

DS: David. My father’s Mr. Steiner.

HK: David, let me just ask you about Clinton. Honestly, what do you feel about Clinton?

DS: Well, I’ve known Bill Clinton for seven eight years. I think he’s got to be a lot better than George Bush. . . we have a lot of people in there. But he doesn’t need money, he really doesn’t need money. I’m a trustee of the Democratic National Committee. We collected $63 million for him so far.

HK: Who’s collected $63 million?

DS: The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign have raised $63 million.

HK: So they’ve already raised $63 million, so they don’t need money.

DS: No, we need money, like we got a guy, Byron Dorgan, in North Dakota, who’s going to be very good for us and we need money to make sure that he gets in. We’ve got people like that, because [unintelligible], whatever you give them would be a tickle on the elephant’s behind. But when you give $5,000 or $10,000 to Bob Kasten, that’s very meaningful.

HK: Let me ask you, I understand what you’re saying. Clinton, when Clinton first started running a year ago, did he need money at that time?

DS: Yes he did.

HK: I mean, did you help him out, ’cause that’s the time. . .

DS: I personally am not allowed, as president of AIPAC, to get involved in the presidential campaign, because I have to deal with whoever wins. You know, I’ve got to go see Bush if he’s there, but I helped him, we raised over a million dollars for him in New Jersey.

HK: For Clinton?

DS: For Clinton.

HK: And this was when, in the beginning?

DS: In the beginning, yes. After he won, before the convention.

HK: This is before the convention?

DS: Oh sure.

HK: Okay, let me ask you, you know, T

DS: We’ve also raised for other guys who are running too, because they’re friends. Harkin, the senator, you know you have to be with everybody.

HK: Let me ask you, [talks about getting cheated in business by Gentiles]. Let me ask you, Clinton, if he becomes, I mean what will he do for Israel, better than Bush, if he becomes, I know Bush gave you a hard time, this and that. ..

DS: I’II tell you, I have friends on the Clinton campaign, close associates. Gore is very committed to us.

HK: Right. Clinton if he, have you spoken to him?

DS: I’ve known Bill for seven, eight years from the National Governors Association. I know him on a personal basis. I have friends. One of my friends is Hillary Clinton’s scheduler, one of my officer’s daughters works there. We gave two employees from AIPAC leave of absences to work on the campaign. I mean, we have a dozen people in that campaign, in the headquarters.

HK: You mean in Little Rock?

DS: In Little Rock, and they’re all going to get big jobs. We have friends. I also work with a think tank, the Washington Institute. I have Michael Mandelbaum and Martin Indyk being foreign policy advisers. Steve Speigel—we’ve got friends—this is my business.

HK: I understand, David.

DS: It’s very complicated and the more you get into it, you’ll love it. You sound like a smart guy.

HK: I’m a smart guy, but I have a, maybe because I’m more orthodox than you are, I’ve had bad experiences with Gentiles. Let me ask you, you know what “tachlis” means?

DS: Yeah, sure.

HK: From a practical point of view, if Clinton wins the presidency, and I’m sure he will, I hope so at least, what will be the benefits to Israel better than Bush? From a very practical point . . . I mean, you just told me that Bush gave you everything you wanted. . .

DS: Only, not everything, at the end, when we didn’t want the F-15s, that’s a terrible thing.

HK: Selling the F-15s? If Clinton is elected. . .

DS: Let me tell you the problem with the $10 billion in loan guarantees, right? We only have the first year. We have authorization from Congress, but it’s at the discretion of the president every year thereafter, so if Bush is there, he could say, you know, use it as a club, you know. ‘If you don’t give up Syria, I won’t give you the money. If you don’t give up the Golan Heights.’ It’s at the discretion of the president. And that’s why we need a friendly president and we have Bill Clinton’s ear. I talked to Bill Clinton.

HK: And Bill Clinton has made a commitment that if he’s elected . . . ?

DS: He’s going to be very good for us.

HK: And he’ll go ahead with the loan guarantees?

DS: We didn’t talk about that specifically, listen, I didn’t ask him that, but I have full confidence that we’re going to have a much better situation. He’s got Jewish friends. A girl who worked for me at AIPAC stood up for them at their wedding. Hillary lived with her. I mean we have those relationships. We have never had that with Bush. Susan Thomases, who’s in there, worked with me on the Bradley campaign. We worked together for 13 years. She’s In there with the family. They stay with her when they come to New York. One of my officers, Monte Friedkin, is one of the biggest fund-raisers for them. I mean, I have people like that all over the country.

HK: So, I mean from a practical point of view. . .

DS: He’s going to be with us.

HK: I don’t say, this business, you say, Bush only went ahead with the loan guarantees for one year.

DS: We only have. It’s mandatory they give us the $2 billion for one year. After that it’s subject to the discretion of the president.

HK: You mean the other $8 billion?

DS: That’s correct. On an annualized basis.

HK: Also, I heard that. . .

DS: They don’t have to give it to us.

HK: But if Clinton is elected. . .

DS:… feel reasonably certain we’re gonna get It.

HK: He’s made that commitment?

DS: Well, he said he’s going to help us. He’s got something in his heart for the Jews, he has Jewish friends. Bush has no Jewish friends.

HK: Right.

DS: Reagan had something . . . meshuga, but at least he had a commitment. He knew Jews from the film industry, he was one of the best guys for us. He had an emotional thing for the Jews. Bush doesn’t have it. That’s what it is really, if you have a feeling for our people, for what we believe in. Bush is, there’s a man with no principles. Absolutely no principles.

HK: I heard something about, but I never really understood it, with the scoring. One of my friends told me there’s a difference in the scoring, but I don’t understand. . .

DS: Scoring is like points that you pay.

HK: So let’s say, if Bush is elected on the loans . . .

DS: No, we’ve got the scoring arranged, it’s four and a half percent. It’s all done.

HK: That’s all done, even with Bush?

DS: Even with Bush. I’ve got that worked out.

HK: So that’s all done.

DS: It’s in the bill. It’s all passed. He signed the bill. It’s a matter of law.

HK: So it’s already four and a half percent?

DS: We could’ve had it less, but then we couldn’t. . .

HK: And Clinton, if he was president, he would give…?

DS: He could not change it, you cannot change it.

HK: No, but I’m saying, if he was president now, before the bill was signed, he would’ve given you the four and a half percent. . .

DS: I would’ve gotten less.

HK: I’m sorry?

DS: I would’ve gotten it cheaper.

HK: How much? Even two percent?

DS: Yeah, we thought we were going to get two percent. But Rabin gave it away.

HK: You mean Rabin didn’t bargain as good as he could have?

DS: That’s right.

HK: Unbelievable. So, if Clinton is elected, that will be the best. ..

DS: I think that will be the best we could do.

HK: You know, I just want to tell you one last thing. Do you have parents that come from Europe?

DS: Yeah, of course, from Glolitzano, near Krakow. ,

HK: You’re kidding, your parents are from Krakow?

DS: Near Krakow.

HK: Guess what?

DS: You too?

HK: My parents are from Krakow.

DS: Well, we’re not from Krakow, but from near Krakow. My mother’s from Rudnick, my father from Gruns, near Tano. Do you know where Tano is?

HK: Yes. Let me tell you. . .

DS .. don’t have many left. Everybody got

HK: Let me tell you. The same with me. Let me tell you, my parents were the only ones who came out. Let me tell you, my. . .

DS: You’re a Holocaust survivor?

HK: Yeah, no, not me, my parents.

DS: That’s some experience, I’ve got two cousins, I’ve got one in Israel and one in France that came out of Mauthausen, I’ll tell you, and everybody else dead on my father’s side, in Russia. I just brought six of them from Koshkent to Israel last year.

HK: Right. Let me tell you that, you know what my father always says? My father was a rich man in Poland, and he says, he says, “Economic power is very good. You have to have money, but if you just have economic power and you don’t have political power. . .”

DS: “You’ve got nothing.”

HK: You’ve got nothing.

DS: If we had AIPAC in the ’30s and ’40s, we would have saved millions of Jews. We would have the political power. But Jews were afraid to open their mouths. They didn’t know how.

HK: AIPAC started after WWII?

DS: Oh, sure.

HK And if you would have had AIPAC in the

DS: I feel we would’ve saved a lot of Jews. HK: And Franklin Roosevelt, he could’ve done a lot better?

DS: Sure, he could. The Jews never opened their mouths. They were afraid. We’re not afraid. They can curse me out, I don’t care if they hate me, just as long as I get what we need for our people.

HK: So if you had a little lamp, a wishing lamp and you could wish for either Bush, Clinton or Perot. . .

DS: Clinton.

HK: Clinton all the way? And in terms of Israel having political power, between the three candidates, the one who will give us the most political power?

DS: Clinton is the best guy for us.

HK: He’s the best one.

DS: I hope you’re serious about what you told me.

HK: I am, I’ll tell you this [tells a long anecdote about David Souter promising to oppose abortion as a nominee and then reversing himself on the Supreme Court]. So I wish we had a Jewish candidate for president.

DS: I don’t think the country’s ready.

HK: If the country was ready, is there any Jewish candidate…?

DS:I wouldn’t venture to say anything.

HK: You know who? I don’t know him, I’ve never met him, Joe Lieberman.

DS: Oh, I’m very friendly with Joe. I’m having dinner with him Monday night.

HK: Let me tell you, I think Joe Lieberman would have, uh, would have, if he wasn’t Jewish, that’s the only problem he has. He’s highly respected.

DS: I’d like to see him on the Supreme Court.

HK: If Clinton is elected, has he told you who he’s going to put on the Supreme Court?

DS: We’re talking now. We don’t have no commitments yet. We’re just negotiating. We’re more interested right now, in the secretary of state and the secretary of National Security Agency. That’s more important to us.

HK: If Clinton is elected, who do you think will be secretary of state?

DS: We don’t know yet, we’re negotiating.

HK: Who are you hoping for?

DS: I’ve got a list. But I really can’t go through it. I’m not allowed to talk about it.

HK: But you figure, God willing, if Clinton’s elected . . .

DS: We’ll have access.

HK: You’ll have access and you’ll have a good input into who’s secretary of state.

DS: I do believe so.

HK: And the other position is. . .

DS: National security adviser.

HK: Those are the two critical positions.

DS: Right.

HK: Gotcha. Well, David, thanks for talking with me.

W: And we’re going to get together next week. I hope you’ll have your checkbook ready.

HK: Will do.

DS: Okay, thanks.

HK: And let me ask you about the real estate. . . [more talk about irrelevant issues

January 18th, 2008, 11:30 pm


Alex said:


It can go either way … they are getting close to the brink, but so far I am happy that the Lebanese already demonstrated more than once their refusal to jump … this is not the first time things looked bad the past few years. Yet, your leaders manage somehow to cool it down again.

Today Michel Aoun appeared on one of he Lebanese TV channels showing a document that the late Rafiq Hariri wrote in which he is saying that there is no way to escape absorbing Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees and giving them Lebanese nationality … so the best thing to do is to go on borrowing huge amounts of money because when Lebanon agrees eventually to take the Palestinians, as part of a regional settlement, Lebanon can ask for erasing its debt, no matter how big it is.

January 18th, 2008, 11:35 pm


Shual said:

Akbar Palace, I checked it.

BIP: 2006: 29,3 Billion US-Dollar
Purchasing Power Parity: 78,0 Billion US-Dollar***
BIP: 140,3 Billion US-Dollar
Purchasing Power Parity: 170,0 Billion US-Dollar

That BIP-means: If 1,4 Million Israeli Arabs are 6 times “richer” than Syrians 19,3 Million Syrians per capita they achieve a BIP/capita of 9.110 US$, or in PPP/capita: 11 060US$. That means 5.7 Million jewish Israelis achieve 22.380 US$/capita and PPP 27115 US$. Or in PPP: Jewish Israelis are 6.7 times richer than Syrians, but Israeli Arabs only 2.7 times.

And that can be true. On the other hand: The Syrian problem is the “workers figure”. Like in Israel in the 90ties we need a “peace-boost” to create more jobs and more foreign investment. [Israel 37% – Syria 28.5% workers] If you change the three problems [and there are much more] you can estimate a PPP-BIP/Capita in ten years of 8.500 US$. Anyway, the Syrians will be back for a very long time against the Israelis.

***I still don’t know what the comparison should tell us. The comparison casts a shadow over Israeli politics, cause a very strong branch of global players wants to use the investments in … Israel to jump into Arab Low-Wage labor-markets like Westbank and Syria and Jordan, but as long Israel designs the foreign-policy of an island that simultaneously absords all investment… the region has to wait.

January 18th, 2008, 11:52 pm


offended said:

AIG, you still haven’t answered my Q.

– Name me one place in the Middle East where George W Bush had helped to improve ‘peace and prosperity’ during his 8 years tenure?

January 18th, 2008, 11:56 pm


Shual said:

“Name me one place in the Middle East where George W Bush had helped to improve ‘peace and prosperity’ during his 8 years tenure?”

Some Hotels in Herzliya. All those neocons at the countless conferences boosted the local tourism-scene and their several hundreds of “security”-personell made the hotels very peaceful.

January 19th, 2008, 12:10 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Lieberman has been in the senate for years and is loved in Conneticut because he gets things done for them, not Israel. The Jews are a tiny minority in Conneticut so you are saying that all the others are stupid when they vote for him time after time and don’t know what he does?
Not only that, Kerry chose him to be the VP!!! Is Kerry a neo-con or an idiot? Is all the democratic party a bunch of idiots?

You have claimed strange things before but this is beyond ridiculous.

January 19th, 2008, 12:39 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Can’t you do simple math? All using PPP:
There are 7 million Israelis, Jews and Arabs and they are about equal in GDP per capita: $24,000

The average Syrian: $4,000

The average Israeli and the average Arab Israeli are 6 times richer than the average Syrian.

Get it?

Most of the investment in Israel is high tech or real estate in Israel. That has no effect whatsoever on the Arab countries for better or worse.

January 19th, 2008, 12:46 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

“Name me one place in the Middle East where George W Bush had helped to improve ‘peace and prosperity’ during his 8 years tenure?”

That is easy, the Kurd provinces of Iraq. I would even say, peace, prosperity and democracy.

Now, show me one place the Asads brought peace and prosperity.

January 19th, 2008, 12:49 am


Alex said:


Liberman gets reelected mostly becasue

1) MOST well known senators get reelected (unless they get caught in a financial or sexual scandal)

2) AIPAC loves him.

Kerry selected him because he thought that AIPAC will put its resources behind him that way.

You know “free speech”? … your Netanyahu tactics are a sample of why the American people do not know better about this fake American, Mr. Liberman… on CNN, if some “Alex” tried to make the argument that I am making here, then Paula Zahn will quickly start shaking her head and making faces to signal to her viewers that this Alex is making claims that are “beyond ridiculous”.

And it works… on CNN, Alex does not get a second chance … as soon as any blunt remark is made, there is always a mini-Netanyahu (the anchor, or a visitor) sitting there to tell the viewers that this is outrageous.

January 19th, 2008, 12:50 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

If you think it is the money that buys the “power”, then the Arabs have much more of it than the Jews. So just create a PAC of your own and give money, now that you “know the secret”.

It isn’t the money. From the review of the Israeli Lobby book in the NY times:
“Israel is not simply one country among many, for example, just as Britain is not. Americans feel strong ties of history, religion, culture and, yes, sentiment, that the authors recognize, but only in an airy, abstract way.”

Read the whole review:

Just as some Syrians and some Lebanese feel there is a special connection between Syria and Lebanon, most Israelis and most Americans feel there is a special connection between the US and Israel. These are the facts of life.

January 19th, 2008, 1:03 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Because what you are saying is outrageous and an outright lie.
Lieberman gets elected because people in Conneticut love him. There are many cases that Senators get voted out and it happened a lot to republicans in the 2006 elections.

Kerry choose Lieberman because he thought that way he would get more votes, not more money.

You have created an imaginary universe in your brain and think all the US media is not free because no one would listen to your crazy stories especially the one that the democrats would knowingly run a traitor to the US as their VP because of AIPAC.

January 19th, 2008, 1:12 am


Alex said:

I love it when the Netanyahu in you shows up more vividly…. “Outrageous” .. “outright lie” … “People in Connecticut LOVE Liberman” (they love…a politician?) … “You have created an imaginary universe in your brain” … “no one would listen to your CRAZY stories”

AIG … this is not CNN … try as much as you want to imitate Netanyahu … it won’t change the fact Liberman is (not a traitor) but much more loyal to Israel than to the United States … just like the rest of the lovely group who pushed us to the Iraq war through lies (WMD’s) and are pushing us to a bigger war with Iran through more lies.

Don’t worry, AIG … this is not CNN, no one is listening or reading. You don’t have to reply to me. You still have CNN and Fox, and many others … AIPAC is still in control.

Have a good weekend.

January 19th, 2008, 1:23 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

And by the way Alex, the tactic of calling somebody whose opinion you don’t like a “traitor” is right from the playbook of the Arab dictators. Every position that Lieberman took was adopted by many Americans and his position is not unique in anything. Check his voting record in the Senate. If he is a traitor then so is most of the US senate.

Are you beginnig to see how ridiculous your position is?

January 19th, 2008, 1:25 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

So most Republican presidential candidates are more loyal to Israel than to the US including McCain, Romeny, Huckabee, Thompson and Giulianni? There are saying exactly what Lieberman is saying.

Do you really believe this?????????????????

January 19th, 2008, 1:29 am


Shual said:

“All using PPP”

1) Maybe in New Jersey
2) Syria is not on the Ecomonists “BigMac”-Index, so Economist-readers have to use PPP, [or their brain], thats correct.
3) The evaluation of the currency has to be the second step. Or you have to clean your comparison of [economic] aid.;

dear AIG.

January 19th, 2008, 2:02 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Ok, without PPP:
Israel GDP per capita: $20,000
Syria GDP per capita: $1,530

The average Israeli and Arab Israeli is 13 times richer than the average Syrian if PPP is not used.
Take your pick. This is all simple math.

January 19th, 2008, 2:20 am


T said:


Again- your response on Lieberman lacks full disclosure. He was voted out by his constituents in Conn and then ran as an Independent in what was a very controversial and manipulative maneuver that enraged many in Connecticut who had legitimately voted him out of office. Using an inverse Cynthia McKinney strategy, but this time installing, not expelling a congressman in AIPAC’s favor.

Regarding your claim of using ‘traitor’ as a tactic to stop unwanted opinion:
It was YOU sir, that introduced ‘treason’ and traitor into this blog discussion on your post re: Bishara. Not me. The discussion has become heated because for once the same claim was flung back in your direction and you dont like it. (The Arabs usually just sit still and take it.)

Furthermore we’re not dealing with some tactic to prevent opinion but outlaw behavior of the most serious sort. And that is why some of those mentioned ARE in prison.
Now we need to work on the others- esp Libby’s circle in the OSP and their handlers in the Likkud/AIPAC. In a true democracy, there would already have been a full investigation into this outrage.

CNN would never have you on to begin with. FOX might, but only to showcase you as the “terror” side of the debate and to serve as the foil for some demagogue like O’Reilly. You would be the Islamofascist meat that gets a grilling.

I broach these issues because they are one element crucial to why there never seems to be any resolution to the Syria crisis.

January 19th, 2008, 3:02 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Lieberman lost the democratic primary but won the general election that represents ALL of Conneticut which are the constituents, not only the registered democrats. And he has won the election there 4 times. You seem to think that voters in Conneticut are idiots and do what AIPAC or someone tells them and that they can’t think for themselves who would best represent them in Washington.

Bishara’s party and other members of Knesset are saying exactly what he says and I did not call them traitors. They are in Israel and still saying the same things. Azmi was suspected of giving targets to Hizballah during the war. That is treason. And I mentioned it because that is the reason he ran away from Israel, not because of freedom of speech issues as you allege. No one was attempting to shut him up.

January 19th, 2008, 3:18 am


T said:

And the AIPAC/Likkud crowd is still fully active here and thriving and doing the same illegal things. Larry Franklin, Libby and Pollard were convicted (not just ‘suspected’ and then forced to flee like Bishara) of spying at the highest levels for a foreign government and of serving their interests at the expense of their home land, America. This too is treason.

You still havent addressed my question on Pollard. And for the Pres of the US to lunch w/ Eitan, the handler of Pollard, a convicted traitor, is itself illustrative of what I am saying. Completely outrageous! That he is a lame drunk President does not excuse it.

January 19th, 2008, 3:27 am


Nour said:


You never cease to entertain us with the silliness of your posts. People in Connecticut do not vote for Lieberman because they “LOVE” him. Most American citizens simply vote for the name they most recognize and it is usually the media that guides and directs their vote. Do you seriously believe that citizens of Connecticut can recall the voting record of Mr. Lieberman, and how it has affected their state? Moreover, were another senator to take over, do you realistically claim that live in Connecticut would change even one iota?

Senator Joseph Lieberman is much more loyal to Israel, than he is to the US, plain and simple. And yes, all the names you mentioned are also more loyal to Israel, not because they feel a bond to the Jewish state, but rather because they believe that their political careers would receive an immediate boost when they display loyalty to Israel. I don’t see US politicians so extensively expressing their friendliness to any other country. Why do you suppose that is? And to compare between the Lebanese/Syrians on the one hand, who are historically one people with a shared culture, geography, and social traditions, and the Americans/Israelis on the other hand, who have no historical, cultural, or geographic connection whatsoever is beyond ludicrous.

January 19th, 2008, 3:31 am


T said:

One more thing- all the GOP candidates you mention verify my point. They are all stridently Israel-compliant. The only one who is not is Ron Paul and we see what has befallen him…

On the Dem side, the weakest in Israel-compliance is Obama and with the aid of the Israel-compliant media has been smeared as a furtive Muslim and Islamic fundamentalist etc. They wouldnt dare use the race card on him nowadays but in the USA the Islamofascist slur is A-OK!

January 19th, 2008, 3:34 am


Alex said:

T, how reliable is this conversation?

I mean, this part is quite interesting if true.

DS: I’II tell you, I have friends on the Clinton campaign, close associates. Gore is very committed to us.

HK: Right. Clinton if he, have you spoken to him?

DS: I’ve known Bill for seven, eight years from the National Governors Association. I know him on a personal basis. I have friends. One of my friends is Hillary Clinton’s scheduler, one of my officer’s daughters works there. We gave two employees from AIPAC leave of absences to work on the campaign. I mean, we have a dozen people in that campaign, in the headquarters.

HK: You mean in Little Rock?

DS: In Little Rock, and they’re all going to get big jobs. We have friends. I also work with a think tank, the Washington Institute. I have Michael Mandelbaum and Martin Indyk being foreign policy advisers. Steve Speigel—we’ve got friends—this is my business.

HK: I understand, David.

DS: It’s very complicated and the more you get into it, you’ll love it. You sound like a smart guy.

HK: I’m a smart guy, but I have a, maybe because I’m more orthodox than you are, I’ve had bad experiences with Gentiles. Let me ask you, you know what “tachlis” means?

DS: Yeah, sure.

HK: From a practical point of view, if Clinton wins the presidency, and I’m sure he will, I hope so at least, what will be the benefits to Israel better than Bush? From a very practical point . . . I mean, you just told me that Bush gave you everything you wanted. . .

DS: Only, not everything, at the end, when we didn’t want the F-15s, that’s a terrible thing.

HK: Selling the F-15s? If Clinton is elected. . .

DS: Let me tell you the problem with the $10 billion in loan guarantees, right? We only have the first year. We have authorization from Congress, but it’s at the discretion of the president every year thereafter, so if Bush is there, he could say, you know, use it as a club, you know. ‘If you don’t give up Syria, I won’t give you the money. If you don’t give up the Golan Heights.’ It’s at the discretion of the president. And that’s why we need a friendly president and we have Bill Clinton’s ear. I talked to Bill Clinton.

HK: And Bill Clinton has made a commitment that if he’s elected . . . ?

DS: He’s going to be very good for us.

January 19th, 2008, 3:40 am


T said:


Well it was picked up by the Wash Times, a conservative paper. The recording was notorious and contested, but as far as I know was proven accurate. NYT may have run something on it as well. But then how credible is the NYT??????????

WRMEA was not sued or forced to issue a retraction. And they are as credible as the HRW or NYT etc.

But I personally have not heard the tape myself if that is what you are asking. (It was in the ’92 campaign, not now. It made a short, sharp splash then was hastily “disappeared”). Most of the press avoided it like the plague, not because it wasnt authentic, but because they were afraid it was. Like anything in this country that is too pointed about Israel.

January 19th, 2008, 3:56 am


Alex said:

I understand.

I had to start by questioning its authenticity before I commented on the part I pasted above, otherwise AIG would come back asking me”you actually believe this hilarious story”?????????

It seems to be authentic. It shows that AIPAC were not allowing the return of the Golan since then.

January 19th, 2008, 4:58 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Well, we have a fundamental disagreement. Some posters think that the reason the US supports Israel is because Americans do not think or are stupid or that AIPAC manipulates all politics in the US and because the US media is super biased.

Look, the Republicans and Democrats support Israel because that is what republicans and democrats want their elected representatives to do. You think Israel vets the candidates instead of accepting the obvious which is that the representatives support Israel because they believe it is a popular view and it is also their natural tendency. There is a special connection between the American and Israeli people and politicians pander to that. That is the reason AIPAC is successful.

In 1948 already, way before AIPAC, most Americans supported a Jewish state and this forced Truman to support it (against the foreign office) because he thought that otherwise he would lose the upcoming elections to Dewey.

January 19th, 2008, 5:23 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

And what is the problem with AIPAC’s position being that already in 92? I don’t find that strange at all. And history proved that Clinton ignored AIPAC and tried to broker a deal anyway.

January 19th, 2008, 5:25 am


T said:


Only you have said Americans are stupid. And American politicians vote for Israel because they are bought and paid for by AIPAC/AJC etc. Or they are Jewish themselves and fight for Israel over the USA, like Lieberman.


I have spoken to one of this NGO’s founders in the past. He claimed all material was heavily vetted for their own legal protection. The tape also proves the control of a foreign agent over our Presidency, who gets elected, and that a foreign government controls our ME policy.

Update on the afore mentioned Ron Paul, the solo Presidential candidate not in Israel’s back pocket:

He is now being called a terrorist on national TV.

January 19th, 2008, 5:26 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

To understand better the realtionship between Israel and the US, the following book is quite illuminating:

There is a sepcial bond between the two countries that is very deep both at the grass roots level and the leadership level.

January 19th, 2008, 5:33 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

If Americans vote as you say for people that value their interests less than those of Israel for decades, does this not imply that they are stupid?

Why did people from Conneticut vote Lieberman into office 4 times (24 years), if he is more loyal to Israel than to them?????????

PS perhaps you did not read Alex’s post in which he said that Lieberman was more loyal to Israel than the US.

January 19th, 2008, 5:37 am


T said:

Money, not love, conquers all.

What about Pollard?

January 19th, 2008, 5:40 am


Alex said:


You are the only one who is calling the American people stupid.

America is the greatest country on earth, there is no MIT except in America.

But the majority of the American people do not have the time to spend two hours per day on Syria comment to be able to hear both sides of the debate … so they end up accepting the professional looking CNN which is sufficiently neutral not to look obviously pro Israel.

I don’t need to get into the detail, but I have the simplest example: During the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, CNN reporter from northern Israel typically started the news segment this way: “2 wounded Israelis and 12 dead in Lebanon”

As for AIPAC’s position … I have no problem with them being friends of Israel … but my problem with them is that they are Likudists … they are destructive, they are selfish, they are often against peace in the Middle East… they are bad for Syria, for the Palestinians, for Israel and they are especially bad for for America… they manipulate America for their own agenda.

When the gun lobby manipulates America, maybe 15 students get killed by a gun carrying teenager in some school in Texas. When AIPAC manipulates America … thousands of American soldiers die in Iraq and tens of thousands might die if AIPAC succeeds in starting the war against Iran… and that’s why I don’t think very highly of Mr. Lieberman and his types.

That’s my opinion, you don’t have to rate it. I know your opinion and I won’t rate it either.

January 19th, 2008, 5:42 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Pollard should be in jail, and he is. So what exactly is the problem with Pollard?

As for money, the Arabs have much more than Jews and Israelis. Really, the WHOLE AIPAC yearly budget is 60 million dollars. That is it. Even Syria can fund a competing lobby with more money, let alone the gulf Arabs. You are putting your head in the sand if you think the issue is money.

January 19th, 2008, 5:45 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

You are again saying that Americans are stupid because:
1) They have a biased media and they don’t know it.
2) You know what their interests are better than the majority of them
3) They always chose candidates that listen to AIPAC which is bad for America
4) They are easily manipulated by a lobby group in washington

Anyway you frame it, your argument assumes Americans are either incompetent in getting real news or are feeble minded and easily manipulated by lobbyists. Which is of course false. Americans have seen both sides of the issue and have made up their minds.

January 19th, 2008, 5:52 am


Shual said:

“The average Israeli and Arab Israeli is 13 times richer than the average Syrian if PPP is not used.”

Dear AIG,
in Israel the richest 10% produce about 28% of the BIP. For the AVERAGE Israeli and Israeli Arab theres only 15625 left. But what is an average Israeli? The rule is that an average Ashkenazi earns 100% more than an average Arab Israeli [and still 50% more then a sephardic jew].

And thats why my estimation of 9110 per capita of an average Israeli Arab is extremely likely [and fascinating, beautiful and extraordinary, too].

January 19th, 2008, 5:55 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

You are a strange one. In Syria most of the wealth is concentrated with people tied to the regime. If you do the same calculation (if you had the statistics) for the average Syrian then again my numbers would be right or even more skewed towards the Israeli Arabs.

And where did you get the rule that an Ashkenazi earns twice as much on average than an Arab??? Or 50% more than a Sepharadi? What about the 20%+ or so that are from mixed marriages??? I’d really like to see these statistics.

Your estimate is certainly low for the average Israeli Arab.

January 19th, 2008, 6:06 am


Shual said:

“In Syria most of the wealth is concentrated with people tied to the regime.”
Aha. Not because of the race. Intresting, dear AIG.

“If you do the same calculation (if you had the statistics) for the average Syrian then again my numbers would be right or even more skewed towards the Israeli Arabs.”
What numbers? 13 times? 6 times? [I told you that the 6 can be rigth, so what is your question?]

“Your estimate is certainly low for the average Israeli Arab.”
No. Its not mine. “Das arabische pro-Kopf Einkommen liegt im Durchschnitt bei 44% des jüdischen.” Thats for example from here: http://www.diw.de/english

January 19th, 2008, 6:18 am


Alex said:


I have no idea if my local Montreal paper is biased when they cover sports news … because I do not know much about sports!

That does not make me stupid… we all make decisions regarding what we read and what we watch…. sadly, a majority of Americans who elected President Bush in 2004 did not understand at that time how much this administration messed up the Middle East.

You tube is full of some of the worst examples of those who have no clue about international relations. Here is one, here is another.

Luckily, by now, things are much better. Becasue the war in Iraq forced many Americans to take a closer look at the conflicts in the MIdde East. They have a better understanding of the simpler challenges, but I am sure they still have no idea what are the real questions in Syria’s case .. Syria is always much more complicated, and the Likudists at AIPAC have an easy time distorting the Syria related debates in America.

January 19th, 2008, 6:28 am


ausamaa said:

Ok, Israelies are richer by far, its the Land of Milk and Honey after all.

Correction, the land of STOLEN Milk and Honey…!!

The stolen Milk comes from the Occupied Palestinan, Syrian and Lebanese lands, the stolen Honey comes from the billions of dollars of Official US Aid and from the “protection” money paid by the American and Eroupean Tax Payers.

Would this clear things up a little?

January 19th, 2008, 6:32 am


T said:

Many more should be in jail- Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle, Lieberman, David Wurmser, Bill Kristol, Judith Miller, Norm Podhoretz, Michael Ledeen, Elliott Abrams, WINEP & AIPAC kingpins etc…

I am an American and I swear allegiance to America. I am not interested in any “priviledged relationships” with other countries. Esp when the priviledge is all on Israel’s side. When Saudis get 20 billion $$$ of weaponry from us, they pay for it. Israel gets it all for free via their sayanim agents in Congress. Or they steal it and sell it to our Chinese competitors. And its covered up by the Israeli-compliant media.

You are right AIG- Americans are not stupid. Busy, negligent and wrong priorities? yes. But they are waking up. And then my friend, you and your ‘OSP nation’ are in for trouble. The million Iraqi dead, the wars and the debt and the betrayal and the treason will not be forgiven.

January 19th, 2008, 7:42 am


Shual said:


I don’t think that the “only one-way”-picture is correct. The EU-defense industry, especially germany that should not deliver into “conflict-areas” by law, always give something to get something. Germany does not help Israel to finance new german submarines for nothing***. But what they demand for the assistance is their own decision, but its not “for free”. If you argue against proliferation, you have to name them all in the West, cause all participate and all have something from it.

“When Saudis get 20 billion $$$ of weaponry from us, they pay for it.” Its not that simple. And I’m not only talking about the “secret commission rates” of 10% or 15% for members of the royal Saudi family. The defense industry always tries to INVEST into local companies. Like Rolls Royce – BMW is not only intrested in delivering the EJ200 jet-engine for the Saudi Eurofigther-“Typhoon”.* The most of the connections [Britain buys RR, sells it to VW and VW sells it to BMW, incl. EU-aid, taxes, “quite” financers, aso.] can not be evaluated, cause “States” do not show macroeconomic reports about the real money flow. If you have luck, you can find some investigations about details, but the global markets are intransparent and there too much money out there, so nobody is able to give you the correct answer what the Saudis really pay for JDAMs.

* “The latest figures show that BMW Group is the fastest growing luxury car manufacturer in the Middle East. This would not be possible without the support of our partners in the region who are an integral part of BMW Group’s strategy to dominate the luxury car market.” [Günther Seemann, Managing Director, BMW Group Middle East at the announcement of the construction of the new Mohammed Yousuf Naghi Motors Inc.-building in Jeddah, est. at SR40 million in March 2006.] +++ Support of our “partners”.

*** The Saudi partners may be very lucky that the new Israeli partner of BMW [and of them] is Dan Halutz, former war-criminal and now the best car-dealer you can find on earth. And if BMW needs a little Israeli help in the development of a small item of a weapon that will be selled into Saudi-Arabia … we will not read that in the newspapers.

January 19th, 2008, 2:18 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

T and Alex,
You do not want a special relationship with Israel. That is your right, but the fact of the matter is that there is a special relationship that most Americans want and this relationship has been going on for decades. Since you claim there is a special relationship between LEbanon and Syria why do you find another special relationship surprising?

Again you want to put in jail people who you do not agree with. That is not how democracy works. Instead of trying to put the people you list in jail, how about making a better argument than they?

But here again you do not blame the weakness of your own argument but the fact that the Syrian issue is complicated and therefore the “Likudniks” can for decades confuse US adminstrations. How lame. Americans are sophisticated enough and knowledgeable enough to understand the different points of view, those presented by AIPAC and by people like you. Then, they make up their own mind.

For example, Pelosi and others visited Asad and heard things directly from him even though AIPAC was very much against her visit and other visits. Your position is understood in Washington by many people but they have formed the opinion that Asad cannot be trusted based on direct talks with him and his actions in Lebanon and elsewhere.

You have to accept the fact that your argument is just very weak and that the problem is not that people are not listening to it. They are, but it is not convincing.

But go on, blame the media and the people arguing against you instead of examining your own weak argument. Isn’t that what Asad does anyway? He is never to blame for anything. It is all those around him that must change. And what are you waiting for, build your own AIPAC and change things if you think that would help.

January 19th, 2008, 4:38 pm


T said:

You are correct- but I am not zeroing in here on proliferation issues at large. I am referring now to “that special US-Israeli relationship” whereby Israel gets billions in free aid, then billions more in tax breaks to develope stuff, lets say, like the Lavi, and then turns around and competes w/ US defense makers to sell it to China or on the world market. Or their spying on Ameicans, such as theft of Promis software and then using it against us. Two of many examples of how the US gets royally screwed in this deal. (pardon my very impolite, blunt description). Its “special” all right. And the vast numbers of Americans have no idea this scam is going on.

On to other matters- remember I referred to more bank runs a few days back? Its spreading out now beyond Citi-
From The Guardian, Jan 18:
“One of Britain’s biggest property funds was forced to shut its doors to withdrawals yesterday after the slump in commercial prices triggered panic selling by small investors.

The move prompted fears of a Northern Rock-style run on billions of pounds invested in once high-flying funds which many savers have seen as a safe haven for their pensions.”

And the concentric circles are widening out to non-subprime holders, those w/ good credit; the next tier up of home mortgage holders about to be evicted.

January 19th, 2008, 4:42 pm


Alex said:


you always try to prove me wrong by taking my statements to an extreme. When you do, then you can easily bring an exception to prove they were wrong.

Did I say that AIPAC controls and fools ALL US politicians? … did I say that AIPAC is ALWAYS acting against America’s interests? … did I say that America should not have special relationship with Israel?

Do you know that despite everything, the Syrians have been establishing good relations with quite a few Jewish American organizations and leaders?

If you want to answer my arguments, please copy one paragraph at a time and answer it… and pay attention if I did not use the word “all” … there is a reason why I do not.

January 19th, 2008, 5:11 pm


T said:

Incitement to murder for a foreign entity-
(PS Disclose who the “we” is)

Podhoretz: We Should Still Bomb Iran
Friday, January 18, 2008 3:45 PM

By: Newsmax Staff

President Bush should disregard the National Intelligence Estimate’s recent downplaying of the Iranian threat and destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities — or else nuclear war will be “inescapable,” declares neocon commentator Norman Podhoretz.

Podhoretz, editor-at-large of Commentary, writes in the February issue that he first stated a year ago that Bush would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office.

But then came December’s release of a report from the NIE, which alleged that Iran had halted its nuclear-weapons program in 2003 — while acknowledging that the program could be restarted at any time.

In spite of “efforts to demonstrate that the new NIE did not prove that Iran had given up its pursuit of nuclear weapons, just about everyone in the world immediately concluded otherwise, and further concluded that this meant the military option was off the table,” Podhoretz writes.

Podhoretz, author of the new book “World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism,” recounts a conversation he had with a member of America’s foreign-policy establishment.

“He took the position that there was really no need to stop [the Iranians] in the first place, since even if they had the bomb they could be deterred from using it, just as effectively as the Soviets and Chinese had been deterred during the cold war…

“In response, I argued that deterrence could not be relied upon with a regime ruled by Islamofascist revolutionaries who not only were ready to die for their beliefs, but cared less about protecting their people than about the spread of their ideology and their power.”

With the NIE seemingly making it “politically impossible” for Bush to attack Iran, Podhoretz says the U.S. could choose to “outsource” the job to Israel.

If the mullahs in Iran obtained nuclear weapons, a nuclear exchange with Israel would become “inevitable,” Podhoretz opines, and could even force Israel to attack key Arab neighbors to prevent them from capitalizing on the destruction wrought by the Iranian attack.

The resulting horrors would “be far greater than even the direst consequences that might follow from bombing Iran before it reaches the point of no return” and obtains the bomb, Podhoretz observes.

But he believes Israel, despite its military strength, would find it difficult to adequately destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities — so “it is the United States that will have to do the preventing, to do it by means of a bombing campaign, and … to do it soon.”

Unless we do, he concludes, “we had all better pray that there will be enough time for the next president to discharge the responsibility that Bush will have been forced to pass on, and that this successor will also have the clarity and the courage to discharge it.

“If not — God help us all — the stage will have been set for the outbreak of a nuclear war that will become as inescapable then as it is avoidable now.”

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

January 19th, 2008, 7:07 pm


Seeking the Truth said:

For the sake of accuracy, Kerry named Edwards his running mate in 2004, and Gore picked Lieberman in 2000.

January 19th, 2008, 7:15 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Yes, my mistake, but the arguments are the same. Lieberman “the traitor” was chosen as a VP of the democratic party.

January 19th, 2008, 8:53 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Simple question, is the Democratic party fooled by AIPAC?
More specifically let’s start with some prominent democrats:
Is Nancy Pelosi fooled?
Is Al Gore fooled?
Is Clinton fooled?

Let me remind you that Pelosi and Clinton have face time with Hafez and Bashar.

If they are not fooled, why are they so pro-Israel? Are these three traitors in your opinion?

January 19th, 2008, 9:50 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex and T,
Are 6,000 academics including 20 Nobel prize winners fooled by AIPAC and don’t realize what a “scam” Israel is running?


January 19th, 2008, 10:28 pm


Alex said:


Define “pro-Israel” please. I just told you that I am not against special relations between Israel and the United States.

Clinton wants to finish the peace treaty between Syria and Israel (in 30 minutes too) … so, I don’t know why you assume I have a problem with him being fooled by AIPAC.

Most American politicians are pro Israel … some are pro Israel to a more advanced degree … they are willing to hurt the United States in order to help Israel.

Let me suggest that you watch the 11 parts of this debate … they covered everything you want to ask or say.


January 19th, 2008, 11:04 pm


T said:


Whether the academic is for or against being exploited by the said foreign nation varies. But one thing doesnt- all 6000 academics know that to speak out against Israel will finish off their careers ala Norm Finkelstein.
That is a very powerful disincentive. See the recent piece on him in NY Mag re “I’ll never get another job again.”

Feel the Power?

January 19th, 2008, 11:30 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Edward Said spoke against Israel constantly and it never stopped his career. He taught at one of the most “Jewish” Universities in the US. Finkelstein is a fraud. Unlike Said that did serious research.

Yes I feel the power, the power to freely discuss ideas based on their merit.

January 20th, 2008, 2:05 am


Shual said:

T, an update

“Israeli troops detain another Lebanese shepherd”
“Israeli forces on Friday briefly detained a Lebanese man in the border area of Ghajar after he allegedly crossed the Blue Line separating the two countries, a UN spokeswoman and security officials told AFP. “Early afternoon, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was informed by the Israeli Army that they detained one person in the general area of Ghajar village on the Israeli side of the Blue Line,” said spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane. “According to the Israeli Army, the individual had crossed over from the Lebanese side.””

“The United States of America on Saturday described the Israeli attacks on Lebanese Shepherds that have left 2 people under the risk of beeing tortured as prisoners as “legal self-defence” against ‘brutal terrorists’ that want to launch attacks against the next visit of Condoleeza Rice in Jerusalem. The spokesperson of the US State Department Shaun McCormack said, “There have been Israeli military operations which fall in the category of legal self-defence, and they [Israel] have the full right of self-defence.” Meanwhile, he called on the Israeli authorities to avoid killing Lebanese Shepherds “as much as possible. “When Israel practices self-defence, we encourage them to do their best to avoid harming shepherds, the same as our armed forces do,” he added.

January 20th, 2008, 3:59 am


T said:

I had lunch on the outskirts of ghajar last summer on the banks of the wazzani. A few feet away was the wire fence over which was israel. There was no way to get inside the town that we could manage, but if one lived there already it would be possible from inside out of course. There is fluidity on the line.

In 2006, a settler family crossed into Lebanon and wandered into the closed military zone on the border road near Kibbutz Hanita with a Hezbollah outpost nearby.

Can you imagine if Hezbollah had opened fire in the name of self-defence? I never hear the right of self-defence applied to Arabs in the ME (except US surrogates). Only Israelis.

That is the alchemy of language. If you dont like an opinion- censor it as bad research/fraud. If you want to torture, package it as self-defence. Manipulate, and call it truth. And when you Feel the Power, you can enshrine it as law and pronounce it righteous. You may even be able to sue the tortured for the cost of the electricity used in the cattle prod, and turn a profit.

I suppose they tortured the sheep as well?

The PETA people should be called in. They are fierce! And they might be the most impartial adjudicators possible at this point. (I still humbly suggest everyone on the blog reread Animal Farm)

January 20th, 2008, 5:34 am


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Finkelstein has not one article in a peer reviewed journal.
And how was he censored? He published several books full of nonsense. Nobody is stopping him from publishing. But just as he has a right to publish, I have a right to say it is nonsense. You know what, let’s make a deal. Why doesn’t Asad let the Neo-Cons publish their books in Syria and then he can say they are non-sense? Then you and he can feel the power. People in the US reject your ideas not because they are not listening but because they do not have merit.

The shepard crossed the line by mistake was detained and questioned and promptly was allowed to go back once it was clear he made a mistake and had no bad intentions. Get a grip of yourself. You are making mountains out of mole hills.

January 20th, 2008, 5:57 am


T said:

Americans dont like treason, and they dont like being swindled- esp by those who they have coddled and supported- often at their own expense.

Those sheep were tortured, and led to slaughter. Any cover up is just more sheepspin.

January 20th, 2008, 7:10 am


T said:

you said:

“People in the US reject your ideas not because they are not listening but because they do not have merit.”

Here is an update on nuclear intelligence issues w/ responses by some of us American Sheeple-

From The Sunday London Times
January 20, 2008

FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft
The FBI has been accused of covering up a file detailing government dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets.
THE FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets.

The assertion follows allegations made in The Sunday Times two weeks ago by Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower, who worked on the agency’s investigation of the network.

Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office.

She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.

Edmonds believes the crucial file is being deliberately covered up by the FBI because its contents are explosive. She accuses the agency of an “outright lie”.

“I can tell you that that file and the operations it refers to did exist from 1996 to February 2002. The file refers to the counterintelligence programme that the Department of Justice has declared to be a state secret to protect sensitive diplomatic relations,” she said.

The freedom of information request had not been initiated by Edmonds. It was made quite separately by an American human rights group called the Liberty Coalition, acting on a tip-off it received from an anonymous correspondent.

The letter says: “You may wish to request pertinent audio tapes and documents under FOIA from the Department of Justice, FBI-HQ and the FBI Washington field office.”

It then makes a series of allegations about the contents of the file – many of which corroborate the information that Edmonds later made public.

Edmonds had told this newspaper that members of the Turkish political and diplomatic community in the US had been actively acquiring nuclear secrets. They often acted as a conduit, she said, for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they attracted less suspicion.

She claimed corrupt government officials helped the network, and venues such as the American-Turkish Council (ATC) in Washington were used as drop-off points.

The anonymous letter names a high-level government official who was allegedly secretly recorded speaking to an official at the Turkish embassy between August and December 2001.

It claims the government official warned a Turkish member of the network that they should not deal with a company called Brewster Jennings because it was a CIA front company investigating the nuclear black market. The official’s warning came two years before Brewster Jennings was publicly outed when one of its staff, Valerie Plame, was revealed to be a CIA agent in a case that became a cause célèbre in the US.

The letter also makes reference to wiretaps of Turkish “targets” talking to ISI intelligence agents at the Pakistani embassy in Washington and recordings of “operatives” at the ATC.

Edmonds is the subject of a number of state secret gags preventing her from talking further about the investigation she witnessed.

“I cannot discuss the details considering the gag orders,” she said, “but I reported all these activities to the US Congress, the inspector general of the justice department and the 9/11 commission. I told them all about what was contained in this case file number, which the FBI is now denying exists.

“This gag was invoked not to protect sensitive diplomatic relations but criminal activities involving US officials who were endangering US national security.”

Have your say

I spent a week with Sibel Edmonds in Washington DC in May, 2007. She is gorgeous, very smart, and a person who I would be proud to have in my employ.

As an American dedicated to honesty and integrity, I can shout, “congratulations, Sibel; shame on the US Government”.

Please, Hollywood, give this woman $10 million to appear as herself in the movie.

Betsy Combier
Editor, Parentadvocates.org

Betsy Combier, New York City, New York

Thanks so much for this story. Hopefully it will get the attention it deserves. It’s way too quiet on this story in the states. Evidently, the press in the US’s claim they are the fourth estate is greatly exaggerated.

Michael Monk, Raleigh, N.C., USA

Thanks for covering this story. The corporate media in the US won’t touch this story. We don’t really have a free press here. It’s a shame I have to read international newspapers to find out what’s going on in the world. Help!

Erin, Overland Park, Kansas, USA

Thank you very much for reporting this important story. It is vital that all of the information regarding this case is made public. I applaud your paper for doing what’s right.

K Sturm, Merrillville, IN, USA

Thank you for this story! Our media here in the US sucks. They are just about all owned by Republican corporate interests and are not picking this up at all. I am so glad you are following this story, AND Sybil Edmonds story.

Judy Chambers, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania / USA

Thank you very much for printing this story. I have been following the Sibe Edmonds case for a while now . I’m an American , and , I cannot believe our media has decided to stay mum on this . We activists on the internet are doing all we can to wake the American public up to what our corrupt government has been up to . Thanks Again ……………………………Barbara Nergstrom

Barbara Bergstrom, Astoria, Oregon, USA

January 20th, 2008, 7:55 am


Shual said:

I have not much time, sorry. But I can give you a very nice money-example…. [sources, Maan, reuters]

Today, the Palestinian Minister of Planning and Labor, Samir Abdullahm, told Maan that he will follow the recommendations of the IMF in the use of the donors that were promised in Paris in December. He strictly follows the recommendation that 70% of the money will be used to cover the PA’s budget deficit.

The IMF said in front of Paris that 70% of US$5.6b is needed to cover the budget deficit = US$3,92b. Now the sum is at US$7.7b = 50.9% is needed. But Abdullahm wants to use US$5,39b.

There are things on earth that will never change. Fatah and corruption is one of them. But! We KNEW it before, we KNOW it now, but we have to wait another 6 or 8 years that one of those famous IMF-reports “investigate” that about US$1,47b went wrong in 2008 – 2010. “Where ist Arafats money? How much is Arafats money?” Part II.

January 21st, 2008, 1:14 am


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