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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beginnings of comon sense in Washington?


http://jta.org/news/article/2009/02/12/1002975/ackerman-slams-settlemen

Ackerman slams settlements, Israeli attitudes

Settler "pogroms," settlement building and Israeli intransigence are joined with Palestinian terrorism in a "downward spiral," a top U.S. Jewish congressman said.

In the Bush era, this would be tantamount to treason. Shall we dare to dream that common sense is seeping into Washington. I have noticed in the past 5 or so years more recognition in the public that Palestinians may have rights and Israel may not always be right. Ten years ago, such assertions would get blank stares or a barrage of accusations of anti-Semitism. Who knows maybe the next generation of Congressmen will be as able to speak publicly of (supporting) Palestinian rights and suffering as freely as we speak of Jewish Israeli rights and suffering. Dare to dream. Well, I guess technically now they can speak freely- they just won't have the slightest hope for re-election. It is true that any resolution that's not heavily pro-Israel definitely will not pass in the current House or Senate.

Anyway, it's nice to see someone who's considered more mainstream than say Kucinich or McKinney speaking up. And from New York no less. I must say I'm surprised.

In addition to Ackerman, Obama has used certain encouraging key words as "humanitarian situation" and "blockade" and Clinton used the words "Palestinian suffering". These words or other allusions to the Palestinian perspective or humanity were off limits in the Bush administration. Kinda ridiculous to consider oneself a mediator (an effective one) if you have put blinders on such that you can only see one side's rights, suffering, struggle, legitimacy, humanity.

Obama is daring to use words that were off limits to Bush administration officials, though I doubt any real differences in policy will occur. Maybe he would have risked a real look at both sides if there was no financial crisis. Or maybe not.



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