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Home arrow Blog arrow April 2009 arrow April 2, 2009

April 2, 2009
April 2, 2009:Idiot Wind out of Israel, Talking Moral Failures and the Israeli Lobby's Role in America   
Related Links @ end

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Rejects Road-Map and Two State Solution

Avigdor Lieberman, the new Foreign Minister of Israel, has probably achieved m
ore in his first 24 hours in office to endanger the security of Israel than Hamas and Hezbollah have achieved in 24 years.

According to the BBC Israel's new ultra-nationalist foreign minister has said it is not bound by a US-sponsored 2007 agreement to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians. "The Annapolis conference, it has no validity," Lieberman said.

In an article headlined, "Israel FM rejects Annapolis deal" the BBC records Lieberman's outburst at the handover ceremony at the foreign ministry, prompting his predecessor Tzipi Livni to interrupt and diplomats to shift uncomfortably. At Annapolis, each side agreed to further discussions aimed at creating an independent Palestinian state. Correspondents say officials at the foreign ministry seemed taken aback at such a sudden and public repudiation of one of the main planks of Israeli diplomatic activity.

'No' to Annapolis = 'No' to Palestine

"There is one document that obligates us - and that's not the Annapolis conference, it has no validity," Mr Lieberman said. The document he was referring to was the international peace plan known as the Road Map, signed in 2003, while "the Israeli government never ratified Annapolis, nor did parliament".

Haaretz reports, "New foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday that Israel was changing its policies on the peace process and was not bound by commitments it made at a U.S.-sponsored conference to pursue creation of a Palestinian state."

Although the incoming Netanyahu government has avoided committing itself to the establishment of a Palestinian state, the Road Map endorsed by Mr Lieberman was also meant to achieve that aim.

On the Two State Solution

On the Road-Map Two State solution, Lieberman has said, "Israel needs to explain that the demand for a Palestinian state and the refugees' right of return is a cover for radical Islam's attempt to destroy the State of Israel." Middle East envoy Tony Blair earlier warned Israel that the Palestinians must have their own state to avoid a major conflagration in the region. "The alternative to a two-state solution is a one-state solution. If there is a one-state solution there is going to be a big fight," the former UK prime minister said on a visit to Brussels.

After Mr Lieberman's comments were published, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, Mike Hammer, said the Obama administration remained "committed to the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security".

On Peace with Egypt

On peace with Egypt, Lieberman said recently, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak should "go to hell", and has suggested bombing the Aswan Dam, drowning Egypt in the waters of the Nile. Warning that Egypt was liable to surprise Israel with an attack, as it did in 1973, he continued: "There are enough signs and enough assessments that Egypt is waiting for the right moment."

On War with Iran

Back in July 2007, Israel Today quoted the then Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman as saying that he received the tacit blessing of Europe and the United States for an Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.  “If we start military operations against Iran alone, then Europe and the US will support us,” Lieberman told Army Radio following a meeting earlier in the week with NATO and European Union officials.

Lieberman said the Western powers acknowledged the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat to the Jewish state, but said that ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are “going to prevent the leaders of countries in Europe and America from deciding on the use of force to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities,” even if diplomacy ultimately fails.

The message Lieberman said the NATO and EU officials conveyed to him is that Israel should “prevent the threat herself.”

In a Spiegel interview, Lieberman said "Iran is not an Israeli problem, it is a problem for the whole free world. What we have here is a clash of "different" civilizations, and Israeli is located at the front line. Bin Laden for example is not a rational person. What do you want to offer him? Money, territories? He would not accept anything in return for ending terror. The same is true of (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad... We have to take into account that the international community may not do anything and that Israel may have to act alone."

On Arabs in Israel

In the Spiegel interview Lieberman said "When Ariel Sharon developed his disengagement plan for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, I argued: On the one hand you are establishing a monolithic Palestinian state without a single Jew, while Israel maintains an Arab population of 20 percent. It cannot be that there are one and a half states for one people and only half a state for the other. The connection between the Arabs in Israel and those in a Palestinian state will destroy us for sure."

On Israeli Foreign Policy

Reuters reports some of Lieberman's opinions that may well find their way into Israeli foreign policy.

2009 - "No loyalty, no citizenship" -- Lieberman's election slogan calling for legislation to require Israelis, including Arab citizens, to swear loyalty to the Jewish state.

"What we state unequivocally is that we are completely opposed to what has been and still is the guiding principle of Israel's foreign policy: 'land for peace' ... There is either 'peace for peace' or the exchange of territory and populations."

(Referring to his proposal to trade Arab-populated parts of Israel to a Palestinian state in exchange for Israel annexing Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank)

"You have to be generous to your friends and cruel to your enemies. We are simply a society of wimps."

2008 - "Time and time again our leaders go to Egypt to meet (President Hosni) Mubarak and he has never agreed to make an official visit here as president. If he wants to talk to us, he should come here. If he doesn't want to come here, he can go to hell."

2007 - (To an Israeli Arab fellow member of parliament:) "You are an ally in the Knesset of terrorists. I hope that Hamas will take care of you and all the rest once and for all. Don't worry, your day will come."

"If Israel has to deal with the Iranian threat by itself, it can do so."

2006 - Speaking of Israeli Arab legislators who support the Palestinian cause: "The fate of the collaborators in the Knesset will be identical to that of those who collaborated with the Nazis. Collaborators, as well as criminals, were executed after the Nuremberg trials at the end of the World War Two. I hope that will be the fate of collaborators in this house."

2001 - "Mubarak continues to act against us and to travel for consultations with Saddam Hussein. If he carries out his threat and puts forces into the Sinai, it would be an example of a (crossing) of the red line to which we would have to respond strongly, including by bombing the Aswan Dam."

A moral failure

Mar. 2, 2009

In the election held two weeks ago, the Israel Beiteinu (Israel is our Home) Party, led by Avigdor Lieberman, became the third largest in the country - just one of the results of an election which proved that the Israeli electorate has moved far to the right. Right-wing parties now constitute a clear majority in the Knesset.

For those of us who are Arab-Palestinian citizens in Israel, the results of the election highlighted even more sharply the precarious status of our community, today comprising one- fifth of the population of Israel.

Israel Beiteinu's vision statement contends that the "solution" to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the "exchange of territory and populations, with the goal of the separation of the Jewish and Arab nations, respectively." The vision statement also advocates the proposal of a new citizenship law which would make citizenship contingent upon one's "declaration of loyalty to the State of Israel as a Jewish state," and that Israel is "a Jewish state, as opposed to a state for the Jewish people or for all its citizens."

In fact, Israel Beiteinu's campaign in the election was built primarily on these separatist principles, using the slogans, "No loyalty, no citizenship" and "Only Lieberman understands Arabic" - statements which portray the Arab population of Israel as inferior citizens and an alien fifth column.

Taken together, Israel Beiteinu's policies are clearly racist, anti-Arab, and include undertones of nascent fascism.

WHAT IS an Arab citizen of Israel to make of the fact that these positions actually aided Israel Beiteinu in notably expanding its base of support? According to Lieberman and his party's formulation, we have political obligations (to a country that specifically excludes us), but not rights (such as continuing to hold citizenship in the country in which we were born).

Under Lieberman's Plan, the city in which I live, Umm el-Fahm, would be "exchanged" for areas beyond the Green Line. Besides the fact that this plan would annex occupied territory in the West Bank to Israel, an act that in and of itself violates international law, it would also contravene numerous international laws protecting indigenous and national minorities.

The context of the plan is obvious: It is meant to weaken the collective existence of the Arab community in Israel. It would separate Arab citizens from our historical, social, and economic ties to our homeland, including the cities of Nazareth, Haifa and Jerusalem. Families would be torn apart. Arab-owned land would be confiscated.

PERHAPS EVEN more disturbing than Israel Beiteinu's rise in the polls, however, is the acceptance of its rise by the other major political parties and the public. For those now involved in the delicate dance of putting together a coalition, none have entertained the notion of not entering a government with Lieberman and his party. In fact, Lieberman is viewed as holding the key to forming a government, and therefore will in all likelihood receive one of the most important ministerial portfolios.

Thus the virulently anti-Arab and racist principles of Israel Beiteinu are moving into the mainstream of Israeli society. (Or, perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that the election is simply a reflection of a shift that has already occurred.)

In contrast, when Jorg Haider of Austria, whose party was largely recognized as ultra- nationalist and anti-Semitic, joined a coalition government in 2000, Austria faced international isolation, including by Israel, for months. No doubt, were the word "Arab" in Israel Beiteinu's platform replaced with "Jew," it would be immediately and widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

Unfortunately, both inside Israel and around the world, no similar condemnation of Lieberman and his party seems to be forthcoming.

LIEBERMAN'S PARTY builds its central platform around the disenfranchisement of the rights of the native population. Under the UN International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, passed in 2007, as an indigenous community and as a national minority, the Arab citizens of Israel are entitled to certain specific rights, including protection against forced transfer or violation of any indigenous peoples' rights, forced assimilation or integration, or propaganda designed to promote racial or ethnic discrimination (Article 8.2), and states should cooperate in good faith with indigenous peoples and get prior consent prior to any project that affects their land or territories (Article 32.2).

Israel Beiteinu, and all the parties willing to enter a government with it, are clearly proposing policies against international law.

Yet, the rise of Lieberman's party is not merely a legal failure, but a moral one as well. The reality is that this phenomenon did not arise suddenly, out of nowhere. For decades, successive Israeli governments have implemented discriminatory legislation and policies regarding the Arab citizens, excluding them from the centers of power in government institutions and in the general public sphere alike. Systemic discrimination in allocation of public resource has ranked the Arab community in the lowest socioeconomic echelons of Israeli society.

However, in the last few years a new consciousness has emerged from within the Arab population, based on the universal notion that no one will accept second-class citizenship. A near-consensus among our community calls for creating a new legal and political framework in Israel based upon true equality, partnership and mutuality on an individual and collective level.

Any new government in Israel will face a stark choice. Will it continue down a path of ethnic discrimination and ultra-nationalism, or will it move toward substantive equality and full democracy? For the latter to be achieved, not only must the Arab minority citizens believe in equality and democracy, but Israel's Jewish citizens must do so as well.

In democracies, it's the state that must be loyal to its minority citizens.

The writer teaches minority rights at Haifa University and is the general director of Dirasat: Arab Center for Law and Policy , based in Nazareth.

Copyright 1995- 2009 The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition  

Finally, Talking the Israeli Lobby's Role in America

Khaleej Times
1 April 2009

It finally seems acceptable, even within polite circles, to discuss the role of the Israeli Lobby on US foreign policy. AIPAC's recent success in deposing the almost National Security Chief Chas Freeman stimulated much free thought worldwide.

Freeman made it clear that he blamed certain "unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country whose aim is to prevent any other view other than its own from being aired."

Freeman further stated, "The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonour and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth."

John Mearsheimer, in a recent article published in the London Review of Books, speculates that the reason for the slander campaign against Freeman lies in a past statement from 2005:

"As long as the United States continues unconditionally to provide the subsidies and political protection that make the Israeli occupation and the high-handed and self-defeating policies it engenders possible, there is little, if any, reason to hope that anything resembling the former peace process can be resurrected."

Most Americans would prefer to keep their lights on than to personally finance Israel's existence. We know about American Jews' 79 per cent support for Israel's bombing of Gaza. Yet why do Christian Americans not simply say, "We don't want to pay for this"?

Joachim Martillo of Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel observes, "No comparable transnational political network has ever existed that has so successfully created a web of control to silence, to frame, to manage, and to dominate political discussion and 
discourse at the local, national and 
international level."

The survival of Israel depends on squeezing Americans to cover the operations loss of the State of Israel even when the US economy is suffering from a major financial catastrophe. Israel advocates not only dog national and international organisations but in fact, their true power is revealed in their total control of local political discussions.

Ernesto Cienfuegos of La Voz de Aztlan reported that "the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles published a hateful and extremely biased article against one of the few radio programmes that speak on behalf of Chicanos in Southern California. The aim of these attacks is to silence any criticism of Israel and of the American Jewish Lobby, which now dictates many of the US government's domestic and international policies."

The actions of local Jewish organisations from one city to another are strikingly similar. For example, in Seattle, Washington and Somerville, Massachusetts, Jews aggressively harassed citizens who were collecting signatures for ballot questions, which asked the voters whether or not they would like to use City funds to pay for Israel's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

In 1776, Americans fought the Revolutionary War against taxation without representation but the crimes of the British Empire against the American colonies do not even come close to 
the crimes of Israel. So why does nobody speak up?In truth, many brave and thoughtful individuals across the country do speak up but they are frustrated in their attempts to get people to care about this important moral issue by a coordinated attempt to derail honest discussion by organisations such as the World Union of Jewish Students, which issued a Hasbarah Handbook for students.The handbook has a section called "How to score points while avoiding debate" which stresses that "point scoring is a method of communication that prioritises making certain points favourable to the speaker, and attacking opponents of the speaker by trying to undermine their positions."

This method was successfully employed in Atlanta, Georgia at Emory University by a group called Emory Students for Israel, who verbally harassed the school's pro-Palestine group, and defaced their announcement.

Emory University received dozens of letters denouncing the hate speech. Mosques, business owners, human rights advocates, and concerned residents of the area called upon the Emory Administration to take a firm stance against racism and discrimination. Although the police report implicated the president of Emory Students for Israel as well as two other members, the perpetrators have neither received a visit from the police nor been reprimanded by the university. This treatment contrasts sharply with the situation faced by pro-Palestine activists. At Harvard University, an activist who interrupted an Israeli Defense Force Commander during a lecture was reported to the police and threatened with imprisonment. The "free speech" double standard is more than obvious. Why won't Emory do the right thing?

It might be useful to press the point that the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel at Emory may violate the university's tax exempt status as it discriminates against non-Zionist students and produces propaganda instead of academic scholarship.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based writer on Jewish Affairs in US politics

March 22, 2009: A Judicial Document and more on Freeman and The Lobby


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Love them anyway.

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