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  • Would Israel's Netanyahu really Drag US into war with Iran?
    • Like many other visitors of this site, I have watched Bibi's formulaic shrill Iran/nukes hysterics at the UN podium still being rebroadcast continuously and mined for bumper stickers by the well paid accompanists of the Likud Orkestra, ad nauseum.

      A refreshingly brusque no nonsense take on this charade of an international public discourse comes from the Independent's middle east veteran journo Robert Fisk

      US cowardice will let Israel’s isolated right off the hook
      The Likudists suddenly find that the whole world wants peace in the Middle East rather than war

      Robert Fisk
      Tuesday 01 October 2013
      link to

      These are hard times for the Israeli right. Used to bullying the US – and especially its present, shallow leader – the Likudists suddenly find that the whole world wants peace in the Middle East rather than war. Brits and Americans didn’t want to go to war in Syria. Now, with the pleasant smile of President Rouhani gracing their television screens, fully accepting the facts of the Jewish Holocaust – unlike his deranged and infantile predecessor – the Americans (75 per cent, if we are to believe the polls) don’t want to go to war with Iran either.

      Having, live on television, forced President Obama to grovel to him on his last trip to the White House – Benjamin Netanyahu brusquely told him to forget UN Security Resolution 242, which calls for a withdrawal of Israeli forces from lands occupied after the 1967 war – the Israeli Prime Minister did a little grovelling himself on Monday. He no longer called for a total end to all Iranian nuclear activities. Now it was only Iran’s “military nuclear programme” which must be shut down.

      And, of course, like Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction programme” which President George W Bush had to invent when the weapons themselves turned out to be an invention, we still don’t know if Mr Netanyahu’s version of Iran’s “military nuclear programme” actually exists.

      What we do know is that when Mr Rouhani started saying all the things we had been demanding that Iran should say for years, Israel went bananas. Mr Netanyahu condemned him before he had even said a word. “A wolf in sheep’s clothing.” “An anti-Semite.” Even when Mr Rouhani spoke of peace and an end to nuclear suspicions, Israel’s “Strategic Affairs” Minister – whatever that means – said time had run out for future negotiations. Yuval Steinitz claimed that “if the Iranians continue to run [their nuclear programme], in another half a year they will have bomb capability”.

      Mr Netanyahu’s own office joined in the smear campaign.

      “One must not be fooled by the Iranian President’s fraudulent words,” one of Mr Netanyahu’s men sneered. “The Iranians are spinning in the media so that the centrifuges can keep on spinning.”

      The Rouhani speech was “a honey trap”. Mr Netanyahu himself said Mr Rouhani’s address to the UN, a speech of immense importance after 34 years of total divorce between Iran and the US, was “cynical” and “totally hypocritical”.

      Israel Hayom, the Likudist freesheet, dredged up – yet again – the old pre-Second World War appeasement argument that the Israeli right have been reheating for well over 30 years. “A Munich wind blows in the west,” the paper said.

      Perhaps it had its effect. If he was not so frightened of Israel – as most US administrations are – President Obama might actually have shaken hands with Mr Rouhani last week; though Mr Rouhani himself might have preferred not to touch the hand of the “Great Satan” too soon. Instead, President Obama settled for a miserable phone call and proved that he knew how to say goodbye in Farsi. Pathetic is the word for it.

      In the past, Arab delegates would storm out of the UN General Assembly when Israelis took the stand. When the crazed President Ahmadinejad spoke, Western nations and the Israelis stormed out. But when Mr Rouhani came to speak, Western nations crowded into the chamber to hear him. But Israel stormed out.

      “A stupid gesture,” according to that wise old Israeli sage, writer and philosopher Uri Avnery. “As rational and effective as a little boy’s tantrum when his favourite toy is taken away. Stupid because it painted Israel as a spoiler, at a time when the entire world is seized by an attack of optimism after the recent events in Damascus and Tehran. Stupid, because it proclaims the fact that Israel is at present totally isolated.”

      Mr Avnery’s contention is Israel wanted two wars, the first against Syria, the second against Iran.

      As he wrote last week, when Congress hesitated to strike Damascus, “the hounds of hell were let loose. Aipac (the largest Likudist pro-Israeli lobby group in the US) sent its parliamentary rottweillers to Capitol Hill to tear to pieces any senator or congressman who objected”.

      Yet at the White House on Monday, the Israeli Prime Minister had calmed down. I doubt if it will last. Israel, I suspect, will do everything it can to cut down Mr Rouhani’s overtures, whatever American public opinion might say.

      For there was President Obama at Monday’s meeting, praising Mr Netanyahu for his support for a two-state solution. And what did President Obama actually say? That there was “a limited amount of time to achieve that goal”.

      So why was there only a “limited amount of time”? Not a single scribe asked the poor fellow.

      There is, of course, only a “limited amount of time” – in my view, no time at all – to achieve this illusory goal because the Netanyahu government is thieving, against all international law, yet more Palestinian Arab land for Jews and Jews only, at a faster rate than ever, to prevent just such a Palestinian state ever existing.

      The Israeli right are well aware of this. And when President Obama can’t even explain this weird “limited amount of time”, the Israelis know that he is still a groveller. This is what real “appeasement” is all about. Fear.

      And even if President Obama had the courage to say boo to a goose in his final term in office, you can be sure that Madame Clinton – to quote Sir Thomas More – doesn’t have the spittle for it. For she wants to be the next appeaser-president.

      The Likudists have isolated Israel from the world just now but be sure American cowardice will let them off the hook.

  • Let the Palestinians have their “Kaf-Tet Be’November” (Sternfeld)
    • Breaking news- Aussie Parliament forces Prime Minister to abstain in upcoming Palestine UN status vote. Bibi's gov't furious
      Backbench revolt forces PM to drop Israel support

      Phillip Coorey
      Sydney Morning Herald
      Published: November 28, 2012
      link to

      JULIA GILLARD has been forced to withdraw Australia's support for Israel in an upcoming United Nations vote after being opposed by the vast majority of her cabinet and warned she would be rolled by the caucus.

      As a result, Australia will abstain from a vote in the United Nations General Assembly on a resolution to give Palestine observer status in the UN, rather than join the United States and Israel in voting against the resolution as Ms Gillard had wanted.

      In a direct rebuff of her leadership, Ms Gillard was opposed by all but two of her cabinet ministers - Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy, both of the Victorian Right - during a heated meeting on Monday night.

      She was then warned by factional bosses she faced a defeat by her own backbench when the caucus met on Tuesday morning.

      The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, who met Ms Gillard before cabinet, drove the push to oppose the Prime Minister.

      The former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans briefed Labor MPs on Monday, warning they would be on the wrong side of history if they stood with the US and Israel against the rest of the world.

      Ms Gillard had wanted to vote no while the Left faction, which is pro-Palestinian, wanted to vote for the resolution.

      The Right faction, which would usually support Ms Gillard, backed an abstention, in part due to the views of its members that the government was too pro-Israel, and also because many MPs in western Sydney, who are already fearful of losing their seats, are coming under pressure from constituents with a Middle East background.

      Senior sources have told Fairfax Media that in cabinet on Monday night, at least 10 ministers, regardless of factional allegiance and regardless of whether they were supporters of Kevin Rudd or Ms Gillard, implored the Prime Minister to change her view.

      At one stage there was a heated exchange between the Environment Minister, Tony Burke, and Senator Conroy, the Communications Minister.

      One source said Ms Gillard was told the cabinet would support whatever final decision she took because it was bound to support the leader but the same could not be said of the caucus.

      ''If you want to do it, the cabinet will back you but the caucus won't,'' a source quoted one minister as telling the Prime Minister.

      After the meeting, Ms Gillard received separate delegations from the Left and the Right factions.

      There was to be a motion put to the caucus by the ACT backbencher Andrew Leigh calling for Australia to back Palestine in the UN vote.

      The Left was going to support it. Normally, the Right would have voted against it and defeated it. But the Right conveners, including Joel Fitzgibbon, are understood to have told Ms Gillard the Right was not going to bind its members on the vote and she would lose heavily. Members of the NSW Right and others would support the motion.

      ''She had no choice after that,'' said one MP.

      Ms Gillard told the caucus meeting that her personal view was to vote no because she believed the UN vote, which will pass easily with the overwhelming support of UN member states, would hurt the peace process because the US has threatened to withdraw funding for the Palestinian Authority.

      But she conceded that after sounding out ministers and MPs, Australia should abstain.

      The Israeli government is understood to be furious but an embassy spokesperson declined to comment.

      The opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman, Julie Bishop, said the decision to abstain was disappointing because the Coalition backed a no vote as ''the path to peace and reconciliation''.

  • Romney's Major Flip-Flops in the Third Debate
    • While both candidates continued posturing about Mid East Peace solutions, ineffectually, this article appeared in Sydney Morning Herald yesterday,a day after the poll results went public in Israel,(Haaretz) but still not covered by US outlets.

      Apartheid is not really apartheid if you don't use the word out loud-

      Israelis back discrimination against Arabs: poll
      Ruth Pollard
      Middle East Correspondent
      Sydney Morning Herald
      Published: October 24, 2012 - 10:04AM

      link to

      JERUSALEM: Most Jewish citizens of Israel support discrimination against Palestinians, a new poll has found, with 69 per cent advocating preference for Jews over Arabs in government jobs and 74 per cent in favour of segregated roads in the West Bank.

      Three months before Israel's elections, which the right-wing Likud party of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is expected to win comfortably, the separatist sentiments highlight growing concerns that peace talks have stalled irretrievably and a two-state solution is no longer viable.

      More than two-thirds of the 503 Jewish citizens questioned by the polling company Dialog said they would oppose voting rights for the 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank if it was annexed to Israel.

      And 42 per cent indicated they did not want to live in the same building as Arabs or have their children in the same class as Arab children, the poll found.

      When specifically questioned on the thorny issue of whether there is apartheid in Israel, 58 per cent said there was – of those, 39 per cent said apartheid existed "in some respects" and 19 per cent said it existed "in many respects". Thirty-one per cent believed there was no apartheid.

      The findings support what many Palestinians living in Israel say they experience – a system of entrenched unfairness in which everything from government jobs to education, health services and even garbage collection is affected.

      "There is a very intricate, pervasive system of discrimination against Palestinians in Israel," said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation executive committee. "I blame the ongoing occupation, the lack of accountability and the extremely hostie policies and rhetoric of Netanyahu and his coalition."

      For the most part the survey, commissioned by a private foundation, the Yisraela Goldblum Fund, revealed what past polling had suggested – that Israelis "accept the policies of separation", said Dahlia Scheindlin, a public opinion analyst and academic based in Tel Aviv.

      "The only thing shocking about the poll was people's response to the term 'apartheid' . . . research I have done over the years indicates in general Israelis support certain kinds of discriminatory behaviour but they reject the term apartheid," Ms Scheindlin said.

      An Israeli Democracy Institute 2010 index measured similar sentiments – it found most respondents (55 per cent) believed greater resources should be allocated to Jewish rather than Arab communities.

      As with the institute's survey, the Dialog poll reveals clear differences among the different religious and secular communities in Israel.

      "The greatest anti-Palestinian trends are among the Ultra-Orthodox community," the poll found. "Eighty-four per cent of them are against civil rights for Palestinians, 83 per cent for separation on roads [and] 53 per cent of annexing areas of the settlements." Echoing Dr Ashrawi's concerns, poll analysis provided by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund found: "Anti-Arab racism and support for apartheid are fed by the stalling of negotiations to solve the conflict with the Palestinians over statehood, with settlement construction a major factor." There are now more than half a million Jewish settlers living across the 1967 borders in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and settlement expansion continues unabated, despite US and European Union pressure on Israel to suspend construction.

      On Tuesday, as the poll results were made public, Mr Netanyahu visited one of the largest settlements, Gilo, which is considered illegal under international law.

      Established in East Jerusalem in 1971, Gilo is home to more than 32,000 Israelis and Israel announced plans last week to expand the settlement with 800 new apartments.

      "United Jerusalem is Israel's eternal capital. We have full rights to build in it," Mr Netanyahu said. "We have built in Jerusalem, we are building in Jerusalem and we will continue to build in Jerusalem."

      This story was found at: link to

  • How an Israeli Strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel
    • The unstated 11th negative consequence to the people and state of Israel, if their current ruling clique were to bomb Iran despite our strategic objections, would be the damage to their final and sole alliance with the US. With allies like Bibi and Avigdor, picking our fights for us on a regular basis, who needs foes?

  • Can Obama Prevail against a Romney-Netanyahu Ticket? - Robertson
    • Fact checking the Likud Orkestra..... here's an Ira Chernus take on the NYT shilling for a forced march on Teheran

      NYT Hypes Israeli Attack on Iran
      by Ira Chernus
      Common Dreams
      January 30, 2012
      link to

      It’s an impressive piece of art: the cover of this week’s New York Times Magazine. “ISRAEL VS. IRAN,” spelled out in charred black lettering, with flame and smoke still rising from “IRAN,” as if the great war were already over. Below those large lurid letters is the little subtitle: “When Will It Erupt?” -- not “if,” but “when,” as if it were inevitable. Though the article itself is titled “Will Israel Attack Iran?”, author Ronen Bergman, military analyst for Israel’s largest newspaper, leaves no doubt of his answer: “Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012.”

      Bergman does cite some compelling arguments against an Israeli strike from former heads of Mossad (Israel’s CIA). And he makes it clear that no attack can prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons if it wants them. Everyone agrees on that. The argument is only about whether an attack would delay the Iranian program by a few years or just a few months.

      Nevertheless, his article stacks the deck in favor of supposedly persuasive reasons for Israel to act. It’s almost a hymn of praise to what one Jewish Israeli scholar has called Iranophobia, an irrational fear promoted by the Jewish state because "Israel needs an existential threat." Why? To sustain the myth that shapes its national identity: the myth of Israel’s insecurity.

      That myth comes out clearly in Bergman’s conclusion: Israel will attack Iran because of a “peculiar Israeli mixture of fear -- rooted in the sense that Israel is dependent on the tacit support of other nations to survive -- and tenacity, the fierce conviction, right or wrong, that only the Israelis can ultimately defend themselves.”

      Fear of what? Defend against whom? It doesn’t really matter. Israeli political life has always been built on the premise that Israel’s very existence is threatened by some new Hitler bent on destroying the Jewish people. How can Israel prove that Jews can defend themselves if there’s no anti-semitic “evildoer” to fight against?

      So here is Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, talking to Bergman about Iran’s “desire to destroy Israel.” Proof? Who needs it? It’s taken for granted.

      In fact, in accurate translations of anti-Israel diatribes from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there’s no mention of destroying or even harming Jews, nor any threat of war. There’s only a clear call for a one-state solution: replacing a distinctly Jewish state, which privileges its Jewish citizens and imposes military occupation on Palestinians, with a single political entity from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

      Guess who else called for exactly the same resolution to the conflict: the most renowned Jewish thinker of the 20th century, Martin Buber. Plenty of Israeli Jews keep Buber’s vision alive today, offering cogent (though debatable) arguments that a one-state solution would be in the best interests of Jews as well as Palestinians.

      Yet Ronen Bergman and the editors of the New York Times Magazine see no need for their readers to encounter these facts.

      Nor do they see any need to mention the most important fact of all, the one most flagrantly missing from Bergman’s long article: No matter what Iran’s leaders might desire, it’s beyond belief that they would ever launch a single nuke against Israel. They know full well that it would be national suicide. Israel has at least 100 nukes, and 200 or more by many estimates, all ready to be used in a counterattack.

      Which makes it hard not to laugh when Bergman reports Ehud Barak’s other arguments for attacking Iran. Even if Iran doesn’t intend to kill all the Jews, “the moment Iran goes nuclear, other countries in the region will feel compelled to do the same.” That’s the foolish “stop a Middle East nuclear arms race” argument we hear so often coming out of Washington, too -- as if Israel had not already started the Middle East nuclear arms race decades ago.

      And how can a supposedly serious journalist like Bergman solemnly repeat the latest popular argument of the Iranophobes: A nuclear-armed Iran (in Barak’s words) “offers an entirely different kind of protection to its proxies,” Hezbollah and Hamas. That “would definitely restrict our range of operations” in any war against those so-called “proxies.”

      As if Iran would even consider committing national suicide to serve the interests of any Lebanese or Palestinian factions.

      Yet the myth of “poor little Israel, surrounded by fanatic enemies bent on destroying it” is so pervasive here in the U.S., most readers might easily take this Iranophobic article at face value, forgetting the absurd premises underlying all arguments that Israel “must” attack Iran.

      What American readers think is key here. Most Israelis do believe that (as Bergman puts it) Israel needs “the support of other nations to survive.” It’s a crucial piece of their myth of insecurity. And the only nation that really supports them any more is the U.S. So Israel won’t attack Iran without a green light from Washington.

      Bergman glibly asserts that there’s some “unspoken understanding that America should agree, at least tacitly, to Israeli military actions.” For years, though, a torrent of reports from Washington have all agreed that both the White House and the Pentagon, under both the Bush and Obama administrations, would refuse to support an Israeli attack on Iran. The consequences for the U.S. are too drastic to even consider it. Why should that change now?

      Bergman’s article ignores the obvious answer, the most crucial missing piece in his picture: Barack Obama wants to get re-elected nine months from now. Despite what the headlines tell us, he doesn’t really have to worry about pleasing hawkish Jewish opinion. Most American Jews want him to work harder for peaceful settlements in the Middle East.

      What Obama does have to worry about is Republicans using words like these (which Bergman tucks into his article as if he were paid by the GOP): “The Obama administration has abandoned any aggressive strategy that would ensure the prevention of a nuclear Iran and is merely playing a game of words to appease them.” Only a dyed-in-the-wool Iranophobe would believe the charge that Obama is an “appeaser,” but we are already hearing it from his would-be opponents.

      Obama also has to worry about fantasies like the one Bergman offers (apparently in all seriousness) of Iranian operatives smuggling nukes into Texas. Republicans will happily spread that story, too.

      All of this could be laughed off as absurdity if the American conversation about Israel were based on reality. Israel, the Middle East’s only nuclear power now and for the foreseeable future, is perfectly safe from Iranian attack. Indeed, Israel is safe from any attack, as the strength of its (largely U.S.-funded) military and the history of its war success proves.

      But as long as the myth of Israel’s insecurity pervades American political life, an incumbent desperate to get re-elected just might feel forced to let the Israelis attack Iran. The only thing that would stand in the way is a better informed American electorate. Apparently that’s not what the New York Times Magazine sees as its mission.

  • Washington Actions on Palestine don't Differ from Gingrich's Words
    • Not only is Newt Gingrich's version of "history" make believe but his purported religious faith is screwed on backwards.

      In an interview with The Jewish Channel released on Friday, Dec. 9, 2011
      Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said

      “I believe that the Jewish people have a right to a state,”
      “Remember, there was no Palestine existing as a state. Part of the Ottoman Empire.

      And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs … and they had a chance to go many places"

      see Newt live here

      link to

      No such country as Palestine, nor a Palestinian people????

      --- that would be news to Eusebius, the author of the only surviving account of the first 300 years of Christianity.

      Eusebius was born in Caesaria, Palestine in 260 AD, and served as Bishop of Ceasaria, Palestine from 313 until his death in 339.

      In Book 2, Ch. 3 of his magnum opus- The History of the Church* (written between 224-225 in Palestine ), Eusebius describes

      in the quote below the very first Gentile conversion to the new faith (prior to 37 AD) taking place in Palestine following the death of Jesus in

      Jerusalem during the reign of Tiberius, the Roman Emperor.

      "The divine grace was now being poured on the other nations too.

      First, at Palestinian Caesaria, Cornelius with his entire household, through divine revelation

      and the agency of Peter,embraced the Christian faith. He was followed by many other Gentiles

      at Antioch, who had heard the preaching of those dispersed by the persecution of Stephen's time." (Page 40)

      The History of the Church*


      Penguin Classics

      translated by G.A.Williamson


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