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Thursday, March 25, 2010

AIPAC 2010

AIPAC 2010 / Harsh messages wrapped in love
Wow. Look at those pictures. Are they going to kiss? So much love. The harshness had dissipated (from the settlement crisis) in the space of about 24 hours. It’s back to the same old love fest. Let the lovin’ begin. Here's my take.


Some quotes from Secretary of State Clinton at the most recent AIPAC Conference:
Netanyahu's are below hers.

"And I'm very pleased that you will be hearing from a good friend of mine, Congressman Jim Langevin, a great champion for Israel. And let's hear it for Jim."
-- ??? Let it be known throughout the land we love Israel no matter how they spit on our faces or disregard law. We are proud of that? I have to look into Langevin to see what the deal is with the odd shout out...

"Petitioning your government, expressing your views, speaking up in the arena - this is what democracy is all about."
--Lobbying for the interests of a foreign government? There are debates (with good reason) that it should be registered as an agent of a foreign government…

"And therefore, we firmly believe that when we strengthen Israel's security, we strengthen America's security."
--Even if this is true, one has to ask- are things such as the Palestinian birth rate (just one example) something you want to support Israel in combating as a security threat??? Israel has a very broad definition of security and even a very broad and generous definition of Israel for that matter, as it often includes land the international community has defined as Occupied Territory. Even if our interests are close, we need to be clear and stand firm in where we deviate and choose international law over Israel’s hearts desires.

"So from its first day, the Obama Administration has worked to promote Israel's security and long-term success."
--What is success? Everything needs decoded in this conflict. For Israel to stay Jewish primarily or stay democratic? Which is more important- peace and democracy or keeping Israel Jewish? Sometimes I’m not sure where we are on that.

“our commitment to Israel's security and Israel's future is rock solid, unwavering, enduring, and forever”
--We should never declare such a thing to anyone. This seems to strike a rather religious tone. You should only declare this sort of devotion to God. Sometimes people confuse modern Israel and God it seems. It’s sad.
Our diplomatic relations should be determined by how well our goals match up, mutual trust, mutual respect, etc; not by whatever is currently governing this relationship. In the trust and respect department, Israel is sorely lacking. I would argue we don't have goals either, but another time...

"Americans honor Israel as a homeland for a people too long oppressed and a democracy that has had to defend itself at every turn, a dream nurtured for generations and made real by men and women who refused to bow to the toughest of odds. In Israel's story, we see our own. We see, in fact, the story of all people who struggle for freedom and the right to chart their own destinies."
--Why, then, can we not see Palestinians struggle for a homeland?? This sounds like their current struggle. I guess we can't see the similarities because we share with Israel the bond of ruthless colonizer. Native Americans probably can see the Palestinian story as their own more easily than we. The bond of colonizers is apparently stronger than more noble values and peace, justice and human rights!

“desert bloom”- Yes, she used these words! Twice. This is one of the biggest lies people still believe is true in the history of the Middle East. This language refers to the big, fat, deliberate lie that the desert was uninhabited, devoid of people, structures, flora and fauna when Israel’s first terrorists turned statesmen arrived on the scene in the 40s and Israel is responsible for all that is good- all greenery, fruit trees, olive trees, industry, trade, culture, food, etc. ??? This is definitely not the case if you know anything about the history of the region.

She gives an account of meeting an IDF soldier, going to a graduation of first responders, visiting the sites of suicide bombings, seeing the faces of the Israeli victims. Though this administration has used the term Palestinian suffering, they don’t stand up and say these sorts of things in solidarity with Palestinians who want peace. Either Clinton hasn’t bothered to visit the sites and people affected by Israeli violence or Palestinian suffering is just words to them. Granted such imagery would not be well received at this engagement, I don't see her saying this anywhere. They constantly give a face to Israeli suffering, while just paying minimal lip service to the massive range of Palestinian suffering.

"Under President Obama's leadership, we have reinvigorated defense consultations, redoubled our efforts to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge, and provided nearly $3 billion in annual military assistance."
--She boasts about US military aid to Israel (even though Amnesty said Gaza-and probably other- attacks couldn’t have happened without it) ??? She should be reminding them that because of this, they owe us- at least to follow international law and our laws so we don't look like total idiots and funders of massacres for doing this!

--Finkelstein boils the Amnesty report, Fuelling Conflict down to 3 points:
1. US is the top supplier of weapons to Israel
2. Supplying weapons to Israel has proven illegal under international and US law
3. Gaza attack could not have happened were it not for US taxpayer money

"New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides want and need."
--The much publicized tough talk and rebuke. We have again backed down in the face of Israeli pressure. They clearly have learned their lesson. Israel is going to do what it wants and there's nothing we can do about it.

She almost praised Arab leaders, but fell into a comfortable and familiar refrain:

"But their rhetoric must now be backed up by action."
--In the next breath she uses “momentum” toward peace to describe Netanyhu’s actions. ??? In what alternate universe is this remotely possible? He has only nominally accepted the two state solution. Official Israeli policies show disregard for international law and human life and rights. It is with him also that she should use such inflammatory language as “rhetoric” and backing words with actions!


Some quotes from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the most recent AIPAC Conference:

"In recent decades the hatred of the Jews has reemerged with increasing force, but with an insidious twist. It is not merely directed at the Jewish people but increasingly at the Jewish state."
--Criticism of Israel = anti-Semitism. Everyone's favorite way to avoid meaningful discussion.
--Also, many people think Israel is criticized and reviled becaues it is Jewish, but it is actually hated due to the murder and poverty of the Occupation, disregard for internaitonal law, other countries' allowing them to get away with breaking internaitonal law.

"But Israel should be judged by the same standards applied to all nations, and allegations against Israel must be grounded in fact. One allegation that is not is the attempt to describe the Jews as foreign colonialists in their own homeland, one of the great lies of modern times."
--I agree with that first sentence wholeheartedly. However, Bibi believes Israel is being judged more harshly than other nations when in fact it is catching more breaks than anyone ever has. Clearly, there is a disagreement on the facts vs. myths in the Israel-US relationship as well as the Israel-Palestine relationship. The second sentence is pretty subjective and against modern law and conventional wisdom.

"The connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel cannot be denied. The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied."
--And the Palestinian connection to the land? If the land was empty upon your arrival in 1948, then who, praytell, did you fight so valiantly against?? And what are the refugees in your area refugees of??

"This is what my government has done for peace. What has the Palestinian Authority done for peace? Well, they have placed preconditions on peace talks, waged a relentless international campaign to undermine Israel's legitimacy, and promoted the notorious Goldstone report that falsely accuses Israel of war crimes. In fact, they're doing right now in the UN in the grotesquely misnamed UN Human Rights Council."
--Ahhh. The old "we've done everything; they've done nothing" refrain. Gotta love 'em for trying. Preconditions. Ask that you follow international law? Is that really too much to ask? If so, who is really the problem, here? That must have been satisfying to slip in another swing at the meticulous Goldstone report and UN. It's international law. You don't have to like it. You have to obey it, though. Unless you deal with the US. Then, you can do whatever you want- provided you can deal with our Presidents' frownie face now and again.

"Regrettably, the Palestinian Authority has also continued incitement against Israel. A few days ago, a public square near Ramallah was named after a terrorist who murdered 37 Israeli civilians, including 13 children. The Palestinian Authority did nothing to prevent it."
--I wonder how many public squares and streets and buildings are named (renamed, that is) for Israelis who have killed, massacred, or ordered such on Palestinians?? Hmmm… Not only is nothing done, they are celebrated as patriots, not the terrorists they were known as before 1948.

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