Hilary Cinton has made a big mistake in giving Dennis Ross a role as her advisor for the Gulf and "Southwest Asia."
The man is chairman of a foundation that is an arm of the Jewish Agency, the organizational mainspring of the world Zionist movement. The Jewish Agency and the Israeli government are so closely connected that it is hard to say where one ends and the other begins. The foundation that Ross heads is devoted to advancing the interests of the Jewish People worldwide. That is the foundation's exclusive purpose. Obviously, the Jewish Agency and it subsidiaries overseas and in the United States have every right to exist and to foster whatever interests that they choose, but should someone so closely associated with a group devoted to other than the interests of the United States as a whole have a key role in American foreign policy? Why would anyone who is not a Jew think that Ross represents his or her interests? Is it difficult to "connect the dots" in his case? Does this man have a US security clearance? In what sense is he not an agent or representative of the Jewish Agency? Why is he not registered under the "Foreign Agent Registration Act? (FARA). Just about everyone in the Islamic world believes that Ross is an Israeli agent. Someone should sue over this man's employment at the heart of US foreign policy.
According to press reports (Kessler et al) someone in the traveling party has disclosed the substance of a private meeting between Secretary Clinton and Sheikh Nahayan, the foreign minister of the UAE. I presume that it was Clinton herslf who made the disclosure. The "he" attribution in the story means nothing. Reporters often mis-identify sources as a courtesy. If anyone other than Clinton disclosed the "matter" of the meeting, then that person should be fired. Kessler. of the Washington Post writes that Clinton told Nahayan that the Obama Administration does not expect a serious and positive response from its rhetorical gesture toward Iran (open hands, etc.). Is this "leak" an attempt to spur an Iranian response or is it a manifestation of Ross's notion (mentioned by Glen Kessler) that a rejection by Iran of US overtures is to be desired so that this rejection can be used as leverage in pushing for tighter sanctions against Iran? In either case, the disclosure and the remark both point to a negative attitude towards a real opening to Iran.
This is not promising. pl
This article ‘ties in’ with the one you mentioned regarding Israel/Ross messing things up —-
Israel to present Clinton with ‘red lines’ on talks with Iran
The Israeli state wants to dictate U.S. policy on Iran. Israel will do that through their shill Dennis Ross, Clinton’s envoy/adviser for Iran.
Obama’s policy concerning the Middle East (with the notable exception of Iraq) seems to be about as confused and wrong-headed as his policy with respect to the large banks in this country.
I’m going to stick my neck out and respond immediately, if not first:
1- I agree with your synthesis, and it’s not encouraging. In a comment to your previous post, I suggested that it would be powerful to see Freeman and Ross standing behind Obama when policy concerning the Middle East is presented, but I agree that Aaron David Miller would have been a better choice… and it seems, in any case, that Ross is hiding behind Hillary…
2- I know you’re sincere, but I really dislike the reductionism of Zionism as one narrow and homogeneous global vision… though maybe you simply agree with my previous statement that the “good” in the historical movement has slowly but surely been marginalized and neutered by the “bad” in its post-independence ideologues…
3- I’d like to believe that this is all a lot of posturing and positioning in anticipation of “serious” negotiations, but Obama and others are so preoccupied with the domestic crises that he may be differing to Mrs. Clinton out of necessity…
All I will add is that I hope that George Mitchell and ADM get their four cents in sometime soon. Israel is going to have to find a path to coexistence with the Palestinians forever and with Iran as a regional power whether they openly leave the NPT or not…
Or the disclosure was a way of showing the USG is not operating in good faith. The Europeans and Russians can then discount our “efforts” because they were never serious.
Several recent news items point to the ongoing implementation by the Obama administration of a neocon devised strategy against Iran. That strategy was published in 2008 by a ‘Bipartisan Study Group’ but written by major neocon characters from the AEI. The Obama administration (and Israel) seems to follow that study up to the i-dots.
– The NYT today reported on pressure on Russia and a Missile Defense in Europe vs Iran sanctions deal ‘offered’ to Russia.
– Haaretz today published ‘Israeli demands’ for U.S. negotiations with Iran. Steve Clemons says “Israel crossed a line” with these.
Exactly these ‘Israeli demands’ just like the deal ‘offered’ to Russia were recommended in a 2008 study which Jim Lobe characterized as “Roadmap to War with Iran”
The central figure in this is Dennis Ross, who, as Pat Lang says, should register as a “Foreign Agent”.
The current process is similar to the one designed for Bush’s attack on Iraq. The PNAC papers were the plan to attack Iraq. The current papers were issued by a different “think tank” but involve some of the same people. They urge for negotiations with Iran designed to fail and followed by war. The current administration is implementing these plans.
I provide a trail here.
The Lobby: alive, well, and battening on your neck vein. Bi-partisanship at its very best.
I have no interest in Zionism other than as a clear factor in the manipulation of US policy in the ME. pl
If he were chairman of B’nai B’rith, I don’t think that would be a problem. In other words, I don’t think this is an accurate description of The Jewish Agency.
The more things changes, the more it stays the same. It was how long? 4 weeks?
well, this is going to be chronic problem for real. Israel problem will drag Iraq and Afghanistan stabilization, not to mention energy price, relationship with all major power in central asia.
Already that highly illogical “missile defense” for Iran nuke deal has become center piece gimmick substituting real solution.
1. The missile defense was touted to prevent Iran ballistic missile. (to which Russia call the BS and say, it’s a radar network that is aimed to destabilized deterrence balance) So now, the wacko in charge “officially” admits that the MD was about Russia, not Iran. But they are willing to quit freaking out Russia with Russia helping on Iran nuke issue. (ie. weasel bargaining chip that will hurt a lot of people when the game is played to its conclusion)
Russia/Iran next move. run the circle, play down the clock. Russia will inject better missile guidance, more advance radar and more nuclear technology. Essentially build up Iran conventional military capability while making sure Nuclear deterrence can be achieved in the blink of an eye if things called.
2. Every single countries in central asia now is gearing up to play the game. Subtle at first: logistic line control, diplomatic gambit, alliances, build up, port of entry, long term military movement. The problem in afghanistan is going to be painful and long. Worst case scenario, west afghanistan will drift further away from central government.
3. Pakistan is now a fubar case. (forget about loan, cheap energy, infrastructure building, trade subsidy.) At best it’s more of the same. Worst case, a big political destabilization. (Block party in FATA yo’. free opium and RPG for everybody. love bin laden)
4. Iraq. I think it will be what’s on schedule and relatively calm. (2010-2011 pull out) What plays after that will be a big question. (giant cia station, weak government, big Iran influence, chaotic DC policy.) Iraq is up for grab. A disgruntled CIA officer can take over Iraq if he wants to. It’s an open bazaar.
4. Israel. They are going to play the full set game. (inject false reports, domestic media play, continues settlement expansion, locking border, dragging foot/running in circle on peace talk… bombing, invasion, play dumb, ….sammmmmmmmmeee……thing. Thy just flip the playbook to page 1 and cycle through old tricks like nothing happens.)
5. Palestine. Gaza-Hamas stability is the things to watch. second is Abbas. he is getting old not to mention unpopular. If I were Israel, I would try to sustain this stalemate condition as long as possible. The last thing I want is west bank political change before settlements building reaches critical mass.
Hamas in Gaza won’t be able to consolidate its power for another 1-2 year, so they are not going to be able to play in west bank. West bank politics in the meantime seems very fractured. With weak Fatah on top.
6. Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. lay low, bidding their time for next big Israel attack. Things are going to get nasty on next war, since everybody expect this one.
US economy looking more and more moving toward L shape recession. Which means energy price fluctuation from any middle east conflict will be severe. Anything happens to any oil installation in the middle east and persian gulf will ripple through. But on the bright side, the world economy is so weak and cash scarce, nobody can play up the oil price easily.
basically, It’s deadlock in diplomacy front. Big time blockage.
It’s now down to ground strategy. preparing for next military skirmishes. (hamas-israel-Iran-syria-Russia) I’ll throw in china, if they have had it with the tibetan and oil price.
Israel already has a plan for coexistence with the Palestinians. The Prime Minister-designate’s new friend Avigdor Lieberman has been pretty specific about what it entails.
What was ever good about Zionism? It depended on stealing someone else’s land. How can that ever lead to anything good?
As I’ve said before, regarding this new “change you can believe in”.
Ross’s appointment was probably just an accident. He just fell between the cracks. Yea, sure.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Your new White House Middle East Kabuki theater will be starting shortly.
The lack of skepticism regarding Ross’s appointment reflects Israeli/Aipac success in conflating their interests with ours. Perhaps the only thing to correct that conflation would be a serious discussion on just what the best interests of the United States actually are, rather than assuming they are the same as Israel’s. Incidentally, notice handholding (literal) between Clinton and Livni and Peres’ pecking at Clinton’s cheek – she didn’t look to pleased – images plastered all over the Arab/Iranian press.
Ahmadinijad spoke today at the Conference of Palestine being held in Iran and mentioned the inapproriateness of appointin zionists as mediators. Ross’s appointment was received as what it was – insincerity and cynicism.
What of Mullen’s comments on Iranian possession of sufficient enfriched uranium? Shot across the bow of the zionists? I mean, why bother with more sanctions/threats if the Iranians already have the enriched uranium? Sounds like paradigm shift in negotiation.
The shiksa and the schmuck?
The Gulfies don’t need lectures on Iran. Did Ms. Clinton stop by the port area in Dubai and notice the Iranian dows as far as you can see…?
Wasn’t Kessler one of the journalists linked somehow to the Franklin case? [yes.]
The shiksa and the schmuck…
“Cheshire Puss …. Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where’ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.”
The message(s) coming out of the White House each day are becoming more and more confused, mixed and on some levels surreal.
One has to wonder, is this intended or is there an Alice in Wonderland situation going on? Does the administration, like Alice not care or more disconcertingly, can we change Alice’s response to ‘I don’t much know where’.
From the various players involved it seems Obama is looking to extend one “unclenched” hand but all the while waving the clenched fist. “Be our friend or else”.
Aaron David Miller, Sam Power and Charles Freeman on the one hand, Ross and Feltman on the other. And Clinton; Which Clinton? The long-suffering Palestinians Clinton or the I Love New York so I love Israel Clinton?
Is all this meant to keep the Iranians guessing? Is Obama trying the old Ali “dope on a rope” technique?
And that is everyones problem right now. Whether you are in Virginia, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Damascus, Dubai or Tehran, you just have no idea which way this administration is headed. And you hav eno idea if this administration even knows where its headed.
Are the doves there to placate the Iranians and the hawks the Israelis? Does one group exist as a sop to placate one of the players and if so which one?
Is Obama trying to out-smart the chess like politics of the ME and we can’t see it because our senses have been numbed by 8 years of “you’re either with us or against us”?
Damned if I can read the tea leaves just yet.
We do know that the Israeli elections (mad hatters tea party) may have made Obamas job a. easier because he can afford to be tougher with the far right or b. more difficult as they will make EVEN less concessions than the slightly less right wing Kadima.
We do know that with Pakistan (the Queen of hearts although off with his head may be more Al Qaida) falling apart at the seams and the Russians arm twisting former states to close US bases, Iran may be Obamas last hope in being able to successfuly prosecute the war in Afghansitan.
Alice finally managed to find her path; We can only wait and see if Obama finds his.
While we’re at it, let’s bring back John Bolton. Sheesh…
I understand fully why Tony Zinni stated he would stay out of politics.
‘The lack of skepticism regarding Ross’s appointment reflects Israeli/Aipac success in conflating their interests with ours. Perhaps the only thing to correct that conflation would be a serious discussion on just what the best interests of the United States actually are, rather than assuming they are the same as Israel’s.’
On this one I disagree with you. The United States has a very strong interest in a peaceful settlement in the Middle East, which means a two-state solution. The very survival of Israel depends upon such a settlement. It is always been clear that a two-state solution is incompatible with the programme to colonise the West Bank.
The problem then is not that the interests of the two countries are different, but that policymakers in neither have an accurate understanding of how to pursue their interests.
It was perhaps understandable that Dennis Ross failed to grasp the nettle of the settlements at the time of Camp David, but in seeking to blame Arafat for the failure of the negotiations there, he did both Israel and the United States an immense disservice — in the case of Israel a potentially fatal one. Palestinian leaders who could both agree to a settlement and carry their community with them do not grow on trees, and time is not on Israel’s side.
Unfortunately, as that wise man Rami Khouri notes in today’s Daily Star, Hilary Clinton has still not learned the lessons of the failure of Camp David, or grasped how much worse Israel’s position is now than it was then. As Khouri very fairly observes:
‘Camouflaging the Israeli colonization of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem under a cloak of money while the underlying colonization remains unchanged has not worked in the past and will not work today. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will discover this for herself soon enough as she enters the difficult world of Arab-Israeli politics. Her statement at the Gaza reconstruction conference Monday that the US supports the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel will remain devoid of credibility or impact if Washington continues to acquiesce silently in the Israeli colonization of Palestinian land …
‘Using billions of dollars in international aid to maintain much of the Israeli siege of Gaza while trying again to prop up the Abbas government and ignoring the role of Hamas will not move anyone closer to genuine peace or security.
‘Repeating the mistakes and biases of the past is a foolish way of approaching peacemaking. We have enough adults in the Middle East who act like animals; the last thing we need is adults in the international donor community who act like children.’
If however one wants to see the full lunacy of the fantasy world in which American and European policymakers remain entangled, one has only to look at the long interview Tony Blair, the ‘Quartet envoy’, gave to Channel Four News after his visit to Gaza.
Asked whether a political solution did not mean talking to Hamas, Blair explained that he ‘didn’t think this was the issue at this moment.’ If Hamas would not renounce violence, he went on to explain, it was ‘very hard to see how you are going to find a way forward.’ Palestinian unity, he then informed us, was an ‘essential precondition’ for a settlement. Meanwhile, he explained, /we have to work whoever the Israelis elect.’
It seems the fantasy that with enough aid the Palestinians will rally behind ‘moderates’ like Abbas and accept a peace on Israel’s terms is slow dying. Given that peace would depend upon reversing the colonisation of the West Bank, which would be massively politically difficult for any Israeli government, the only thing that could save Israel would be brutal U.S. pressure. This is what those who want Israel to survive should be calling for. But they will not, and in so doing will doom the country to destruction.
You write “the “good” in the historical movement has slowly but surely been marginalized and neutered by the “bad” in its post-independence ideologues…”
Zionism is nothing more than a extreme religious form of nationalism.
No good comes from any nationalism, Jewish or otherwise.
You wrote: “The United States has a very strong interest in a peaceful settlement in the Middle East, which means a two-state solution.”
Reluctantly I have come to the conclusion that US needs the conflict in Eastern Mediterranean to continue.
US has a very strong interest in maintaining an explosive-ridden stability but not on a settlement. As I had stated in a different threat; Israel and her nuclear arsenal are needed for scaring the hell out of all of srael’s neighbour’s that are within the range of her bombers and other delivery platforms. I am including Malta, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and assorted Arab States in that.
The aim, of course, is to sell geopolitical protection – kiss the hand of Don Americo and ask him to be your godfather. Disarm Israel & settle the Arab-Israel communal war and then there is no need for paying for protection to the Don.
In regards to two-state solution; this was never perceived by Israeli leaders to be in their strategic interest. The only reason that they mutter these words is for the benefit of soothing gullible and well-wishing foreigners such as yourself and most of the commentator’s on this forum.
Anyway, the two-state solution is dead and per your prognosis we are now marching towards another conflagration [or a series of them] – unbeknownst to all these state participants – which would destroy Israel and thus fulfill Mr. Ahmadinejad’s prognosis.
Slightly off topic, but in the news of late: Syria.
You wrote earlier about the USSOF raid on eastern Syrian and finished by saying you were going to look into it.
I am wondering if you did so and have any further conclusions you would like to share. A few months after the raid, Richard Sale cited American sources as saying that the raid was conducted with Syrian permission and/or coordination.
Is that your sense?
Thanks for any response.
I think Habakkuk’s analysis good as far is it goes, but it leads to the following question: if the one state solution is the end of Israel in the long run, why is it being pursued so relentlessly by the Israelis in power?
Clearly, they don’t think it does lead to their destruction.
If there is enough deterrence to retaliation by the Arab states, and there is, and if there is a way to continue marginalizing the Palestinians and the Arab-Israelis within a unified state, and there may be, then the way forward is relatively clear. It’s not pretty, but its clear.
Of course, there is no “peace”, other than the peace of eventual surrender by the other side… but peace was never the intention, the land was, so nothing has changed in that regard.
The role of the US remains the same: pretend to be pressuring Israel while arming it to the teeth; fight the rising Boycott movement in the western world; maintain economic pressure against any emerging Arab or Persian state, and attack those states as necessary.
A realistic view would say that the Israelis are more unified than ever in the pursuit of these ends, that is what the recent elections confirm, and that the Americans and Europeans remain willing accomplices, in spite of largely inconsequential shifts magnified by the blogs.
What specific factors, new or old, have actually changed the situation such that what is written here is no longer the case, and may rather “doom the country to destruction”?
Just a Fact Check: Is Dennis Ross with Clinton on this Middle East trip. I can’t find verification that he is. Anyone?
David H @ 10:43 am, 3/4/09:
Thank you for an intelligent and insightful comment. The following quote from it
begs the question “Where do we, the USA, go from here?”
An intelligent policy, but not one we’re likely to see unfortunately, would be to make the following clear to the Israelis:
All I can say is that I agree with your characterization of Avigdor Lieberman with all the pain that his vision would bring upon everyone involved…
… but I will add without equivocation, though perhaps you’ll consider it naive, that I do not think Obama would stand idly by if “The Purge” were actually attempted, and I am also confident that many Israelis and Americans and others around the world (whether Jewish and not) would not be indifferent or passive, either.
We could discuss the modern historical precedents for ‘Pilgrims’ traveling to ‘New Worlds’ that entailed ‘stealing some else’s land’, and I could also suggest that modern Zionism was predicated on a vision of ending a diaspora that was increasingly the subject of segregation and oppression by creating a national homeland anywhere…
… but I essentially agree with your characterization even if it seems a delusion to imagine a return to the status quo that existed before 1967… or ’48 because nobody would want the British back… or before 1918 because the Ottoman Empire is an even greater anachronism; however, I agree 100% that the unilateral establishment of permanent settlements in the West Bank and Gaza after 1967 has been a cancer upon the underlying interests of both Israelis and Palestinians to find a fair territorial and political solution.
I disagree that Zionism was originally a purely religious movement; in fact, there were and still are many secular (and even atheistic) Zionists all along the political spectrum from Left to Right, and there has always been a significant part of the religious community in Judaism that has rejected the legitimacy of the modern state of Israel (which is not to say that some have not benefited from it internally to the point of dangerous distortion)…
… but I would agree that citizenship in a modern nation-state that is bound exclusively to a narrow and compulsory ideology is almost as pernicious as the opposite.
And finally as a hat tip to the moderator, I feel obliged as an American to agree that I can imagine a time when another nation’s actions are so unilateral and detrimental to our national interests and security that all other prerogatives are secondary. No treaty or “special relationship” or ideological bond can override that fundamental precept of citizenship as I see it… and that goes for Israel as well as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, or India (to list but a few that seem pertinent these days…).
For personal reasons, if I may, I hope it does not come to this in US-Israeli relations… and as a realist I hope it is avoided because the global cost in blood and treasure would potentially be cataclysmic (and would more probably impact us all for generations…).
Here is a link to a post at Jew Sans Frontieres entitled “Why Israel Is An Apartheid State” that lays out some inconvenient truths.
I can remember from my younger days the hullabaloo that ensued when the proposition was made in the UN that Zionism was racism. The conflation of religious identity, ethnic identity, and political identity that lies at the root of Zionism as it has come to be embodied in the behavior of the Israeli state does little to nothing to put the lie to that charge. The continued apparent acceptance by the United States of the poisonous practices that flow from this flawed doctrine can only exacerbate the severity of the blowback that will continue to harass the United States. The last thing we need is “dead-enders” like Mr. Ross involved when OUR national interest is at stake.
I largely agree with David H.’s analysis on one hand, but totally disagree with the implications for US policy.
If we were to analyze the US position regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict solely on the basis of “interests,” there is no question that a peaceful and lasting settlement is what we should strive for. But, the US-Israeli relations, to shamelessly steal Col. Lang’s old description, is not an affair of interests, but an affair of heart. To be blunt, we need a peaceful settlement as much as a drunkard needs to quit drinking. It is the “obvious” and the “rational” solution, but not something that we can realistically expect US to do–at least not so easily. We need somebody to forcibly take us away from the liquor (the Zionist vision of Israel) but who will or can?
We need somebody to forcibly take us away from the liquor (the Zionist vision of Israel) but who will or can?
Posted by: kao_hsien_chih | 04 March 2009 at 07:05 PM
Only the palestinian can solve heir problem with Israel. The Palestinian has to figure out who they are, what they want and fight for it. It takes most colonized places 2-300 years for some form of nationalism consciousness to form. Sorting out ethnic bickering to figuring out who the real enemies are (it’s ignorance) and another 30-40 years from active political movement to successful arm struggle. marxism class analysis was the most useful tool around turn of the century in pointing out who is screwing who. Religion is another obvious tool (what does your God tells you who you are what to fight for?) those two are pretty standard process.
There is no way around it. The palestinian simply has to figure it out themselves even if it takes another 200 years.
Other people can play along and influence the process, greatly even, but in grand scheme of thing, it’s side show.
That may be so–but we won’t be alive in 200-300 years. Right now, what Palestinians are doing, figuratively speaking, is standing between US and the liquor cabinet. The drunkard (us) may have nothing to do with the dispute between the Palestinians and the Israelis–but, in the short term, Israelis aren’t unhappy to see the drunkard (that’s us) beating up the Palestinians on the way to the liquor cabinet.
Where do we object? What is an ordinary mortal American to do to voice an objection to this? Writing my congressman returns a form letter. Calling the congressman’s office is pointless: one time I got a 20+year old assistant who gave me a speech about the rep’s support for Israel. Emailing the MSM is fruitless. From your insider knowledge of DC, where is the best place to make a complaint known? I want to start with the FARA bit.
@David Habakkuk, who writes:
The very survival of Israel depends upon such a settlement.
Does it? Many Israelis obviously don’t think so. The survival of Israel depends solely on continued American enabling of whatever the Israeli political leadership deems fit. Does anyone here actually think that there is anything that the Israelis might do that would endanger the ‘special relationship’? De facto ethnic cleansing in Southern Lebanon through unlawful use of cluster bombs didn’t hurt, nor did the recent might makes right carnage inflicted upon Gaza. Nor would what
increasingly appears to be a move toward ethnic cleansing make a difference Again, conflation in its final form means expanding the patriotic sentiment of “My country, right or wrong…” to include the most egregious Israel actions of the past 40 years, duly documented here and elsewhere. Thus:
the only thing that could save Israel would be brutal U.S. pressure.
No doubt. But this is along the lines of ‘assume a can opener”; it’s simply not there. On the other hand, if Aipac really believed Israel’s existence was in danger, it would be.
“Someone should sue over this man’s employment at the heart of US foreign policy.”
Speaking of the Black Arts (at least according to “RHH”) here’s a hypothetical legal question for Title VII aficionados: if the USG refuses to hire an intel analyst because his methodology relies, in part, upon assumptions that arise out the Satmar tradition, then does this person have a legitimate cause of action based upon religious discrimination?
Seems to me that analysis offered by such a potential employee would confirm many of the insights of George Marshall, not to mention George Washington. And unquestionably the analytical conclusions that derive from such assumptions would reflect a greater accuracy than what we have seen at least since 1967, thus better serving US national interest. Ergo…religious discrimination is the likely reason for not hiring.
‘What specific factors, new or old, have actually changed the situation such that what is written here is no longer the case, and may rather “doom the country to destruction”?’
According to a 2007 poll, a quarter of Israelis are considering leaving — including almost half of young people. As I understand it, Olmert’s sons live in the U.S.
Moreover, not only is the figure of 4.6 children born to each Palestinian woman on average far higher than the 2.6 born to each Israeli woman — among Israelis, 7.6 children on average are born to ultra-Orthodox Jewish women.
At issue here is also a qualitative change in the nature of the state. At the Middle East Policy Forum entitled ‘Can The Two-State Solution Survive?’ in January, a questioner asked: ‘Why is it that the smartest Israelis move to the United States, while crazy Brooklyn Americans move to Israel?’ Responding, Ambassador Freeman commented that the fact that ‘many smart Israelis are moving here’ reflected ‘some of the despair among the better people in Israel with the continuing struggle and its direction’.
A self-reinforcing move towards a more ultra-nationalist, ultra-Orthodox state, with the educated elites less and less disposed to stay, does not augur well for the future, any more than does a situation where Jews become a clear minority in a Palestine all of which Israel is still trying to control.
This comes together with:
2. The passage of time.
Zionism emerged out in substantial measure out of the predicament of a non-territorial people in a multinational empire which was breaking up into national, and therefore territorial, states.
At the time, anti-Zionism was very strong among Jews. Leading members of Anglo-Jewry, notable Edwin Montagu and Claude Montefiore, were vitriolically opposed to the Balfour Declaration, in large measure because they were patriotic British citizens and feared that a Jewish state would raise the issue of ‘dual loyalty’.
The Holocaust essentially destroyed Jewish anti-Zionism. It also however created a paradoxical dual movement. A lesson commonly drawn from the disastrous outcome of the National Socialist experiment in Western countries was that ‘tribalism’ was to be repudiated. However, it was widely accepted that Jews were a special case, because the enormity of what had been done gave them legitimate grounds for fear, and legitimate grounds for feeling particular concern for fellow Jews, irrespective of whether they lived in the same country.
So ‘dual loyalty’ has been acceptable for Jews, in a way it is not for others. But as the Holocaust recedes into the past, the problems that worried Edwin Montagu resurface.
Taken together with the self-reinforcing trend towards an ultra-Orthodox, untra-nationalist Israel, the effect is to split the diaspora. Certainly, a very substantial number of Jews in Britain would have no desire whatsoever to identify with a conception of the ‘Jewish People’ represented by the Jewish Agency.
3. Military developments.
Conventional military threats loom less large, but the increasing vulnerability of Israel to rocket attack compounds the problem of demographic vulnerability, while attempts to deal with this by apocalyptic violence as in the Lebanon war and the attack on Gaza further split the diaspora.
I agree with your logic, but had in mind something more radical. The United States government should tell the Israelis that it expected, within say three months, an action plan to withdraw all the West Bank settlements, except where agreement could be reached with the Palestinians on exchanges of territory which would leave no net Israeli gain. Unless such a plan was drawn up and implementation proceeded on an agreed schedule, no further aid or diplomatic support would be forthcoming.
I am curious as to why precisely you think it is in the interests of the United States to be Don Americo, godfather of the Middle East?
The Don sells geopolitical protection and extracts a geopolitical payments.
One such geopolitical payment is the maintenance of the Southern flank of NATO – why Malta, Italy, Greece, Turkey need to remain in NATO after the end of the Cold War? [Why is there even the need for a NATO anymore? Where is the threat?]
In the Persian Gulf, you have the Don essentially being in position to literally take over the oil fields and thus destroy the economies of any number of other states – some oil producing and some not.
Suez and Bab-al Mandab are also controlled by the Don through her proxies.
All these cats can only be herded if there are threats – real or imagined.
It is precisely for this reason that all those wonderful ideas of Israel joining NATO or becoming a formal (treaty-based) US ally have gone nowhere. It is because Israel is needed as the rouge nuclear state to frighten the states of Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East into complying with US geopolitical objectives – whatever they may be.
I am not suggesting that was how US policy makers envisioned the situation to evolve back in 1948. I do not think there are that many such smart people in the world, let alone in US. US, at that time, had sensible men such as Marshall, who could at least see the endless war that the creation of the State of Israel entailed. But what could he do against a US President who wanted to play the role of Cyrus the Great – the great Hacha-manesh?
I do think that US policy makers recognized the utility of Israel as the nuclear boogeyman to US strategic position in the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean and took advantage of it sometime after 1967 War. The same way that they frightened Greece into joining NATO: “If you don’t and Turkey attacks – you are on your own.”
For 50 years Arabs have begged US to kick Israel back into line. US has not and will not for the geopolitical reasons – some of which I have tried to enumerate. In the mean time, US could “round up the usual suspects” – Jewish Lobby, AIPAC, etc. and plead impotence.
The danger that I see is that there are too many moving parts in maintaining this type of fear-based alliance system; the situation is inherently unstable and pregnant with the possibility of generalized war. In fact, since 1973, we have had the following wars: Iran-Iraq War, US-Iraq War I, US-Iraq War II, Lebanese Civil War, Yemenite Civil War, Israel-Lebanon War I, Israel-Lebanon War II, Israel-Hamas War I, Algerian Civil War and I probably have missed a couple of wars.
One state with a Palestinian majority?
Anyone who thinks this is a possiblilty is living in Dreamland.
Do we really think that the Israelis, while not wanting to give up on settlements and therefore are not interested in a two-state solution, cannot see the logical outcome and are prepared for it?
It wont happen and will be stopped from happening, by hook or by crook or by Livnis F-16’s or Liebermans pogroms.
Let me just re-state this: A one state solution that includes the Palestinians will not be allowed to happen.
I am grateful to Habakkuk for the details of his reply.
The demographics: Yes, the birthrate is higher among the Palestinians, but as Mo is trying to point out, there are ways and means to deal with this. It is the primary concern of the current Israeli government. I would argue that the conscious degradation of Palestinian life is meant to have an impact on the health and birthrate of Palestinian children, as well as to soften international acceptance of a population transfer.
You note the Israeli demographic shift to the religious right for how it affects your second point.
The Passage of Time: Here, your concern is actually the strength and cohesion of Diaspora Jews in their support of an ever more orthodox and right wing Israel. Your argument that “dual loyalty has been acceptable for Jews, in a way it is not for others” is insightful and well framed. However, while cracks are forming, (e.g. AIPAC versus J-Street), nonetheless there is enough cohesion to carry the day for Israel where it counts, to wit, within the media and in both the White House and Congress.
Military Developments: You acknowledge that the Arab states are now out of the picture (one of the primary reasons for the invasion of Iraq) and you move from a statement about Israeli vulnerability to rocket attacks and over-the-top responses to that to another reference to a fracturing Diaspora.
Essentially, you believe an awakening Diaspora and international community will not accept the enforced hardship, Bantusization and eventual transfer of both Palestinian and Israeli-Arabs which the Israeli government is working towards as “necessary” for a Jewish democratic state.
I hope your idealism is well placed.
But history will write that we saw the gutting of the United Nations on the Israeli issue. The universal values supposedly underlining human rights aren’t just superficially wounded, they are seriously hemorrhaging. America, Israel, increasingly Canada, France, and the UK, refuse to acknowledge Arabs as worthy of human rights elsewhere defended. Racism is institutionalized, spreading, and rampant. The choice not to go to Durban is a choice not to hear the case which condemns one’s confusion of principles.
If I were to argue from my worst fears, I would say that we may yet see a transference of the Arab population agreed to by Western governments calling it a “humanitarian” solution of “historical importance”.
castellio, Babak Makkinejad,
There is much to reflect on in both your responses. I will focus primarily on castellio’s — although some of the reasons why I think it is not in the interests of the United States to be ‘Don Americo’ will I hope be clear. (Others are I think implicit in BM’s own points about the potentialities for catatastrophe inherent in attempting to maintain ‘this type of fear-based alliance system.’)
It not is in fact accurate to say that my concern ‘is actually the strength and cohesion of Diaspora Jews in their support of an ever more orthodox and right wing Israel.’ I very much regret having used the word diaspora, as it tends to suggest that all Jews see themselves as part of a coherent people whose spiritual home, as it were, is in Israel.
It may be that this is how most American Jews see themselves, and that their ‘strength and cohesion’ in support of Israel can survive as that country becomes ‘ever more orthodox and right wing’. Never having lived in the United States, I am conscious of the limitations of my capacity to judge. But this is patently not the case in Britain, where Jews are very visibly — and indeed sometimes vitriolically — divided by recent developments.
There clearly are differences as well as similiarities between the United States and Britain. In trying to make sense of these, I have found some remarks by Norman Birnbaum in his 2006 Nation article ‘Is Israel Good for the Jews?’ helpful:
‘Domestically, the chief allies of American Jewry were once the liberal Protestants; the modern Catholics, whose great achievement was the Second Vatican Council; and progressive secularists. Now organized Jewry has an alliance with those who were not so long ago embittered anti-Semites. The Protestant fundamentalists think the founding of the Jewish state means that the conversion of the Jews is imminent. Suppose the fundamentalists demand that US Jewry anticipate the end of time by beginning their conversion now? Some have welcomed the Lebanon crisis as the initiation of Armageddon. In the meantime, they combat the pluralism of the public sphere, which is indispensable to enduring rights for Jews in the United States. America is in serious danger of becoming a nation defined not by citizenship but by bargains among struggling ethnic and religious communities, united in an impossible project of global domination. Will Nobel prizes and business acumen, and seventeenth-century biblical imagery of America as a New Israel, protect the Jewish minority as our imperial project disintegrates? Its end could generate the domestic deprivation and tension conducive to renewed anti-Semitism.’
One difference between the United States and Britain is that here neither Catholics nor Protestant fundamentalists are a major political force. But, as in the U.S., liberal Protestants and ‘progressive secularists’ are traditional allies of the Jews — that is, people like my family, whose lives are been closely involved with those of Jews for the past century.
Another difference is that in Britain there still is a clearly dominant ethnic group. Elements in contemporary British ‘multi-culturalism’ are somewhat bogus: highly educated white Anglo-Saxon ex-Protestants accept a few highly atypical members of minority groups who have had the same education as themselves into their social circle, and feel thoroughly virtuous in doing so. But this is patently not the case with Jews, who are an integral part of modern British elite culture, which is indeed decisively shaped by Jewish influences — and, partly because of those influences, is still largely a liberal culture.
This culture was fractured by the ‘global war on terror’. Some — non-Jews and Jews alike — embraced the neoconservative project. Others — non-Jews and Jews alike — were violently hostile. For some of us, indeed, British participation in this project was rather akin to signing on as third mate on a voyage commanded by Captain Ahab.
A natural outcome of all this is that one finds American critics of what Zionism has become, both non-Jewish and Jewish, being published in the London Review of Books, whose editor, Mary-Kay Wilmers, has been described as ‘the mater-familias of London’s liberal intelligentsia’. This was where the original Walt and Mearsheimer article on the Israeli lobby, which could not find a publisher in the United States, finally appeared; and also where the article by Henry Siegman on ‘Israel’s Lies’ which the Colonel recently posted was published.
Again, it was the veteran British Labour MP — and lifelong Zionist — Sir Gerald Kaufman who described Tzipi Livni’s defence of the attack on Gaza in the House of Commons as ‘a Nazi argument’ and said of the Israeli leaders that ‘they are not simply war criminals; they are fools.’ Referring specifically to Olmert, Livni, and Barak, Kaufman described them as bringing ‘shame on the Jewish people whose star of David they use as a flag in Gaza, but whose ethos and morals go completely against what this Israeli Government are doing.’ I do not think he wants to identify himself with the visions of the ‘Jewish People’ and its interests adopted by the ‘Jewish Agency’ with which Dennis Ross is associated, somehow.
And then there was recent story on Israeli ‘death squads’ in Gaza, in The Independent. It was written by the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent, whom a plaintive editorial in the Jerusalem Post, which complained about the paper’s ‘overarching animosity towards Israel’, described as ‘the genteel Donald Macintyre’. Actually I think Donald would be somewhat surprised to be described as ‘genteel’. He is a veteran and greatly respected political correspondent, who I had always thought of as simply a tough straight talking Scot, until I learned from a lifelong friend of his that he was also Jewish.
(See http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1236103157685 — it has a link to the original article.)
It is worth watching Sir Gerald Kaufman talking about Gaza, rather than simply reading him, in order adequately to appreciate the vitriolic anger behind what he says. The ‘ever more orthodox and right’ wing Israel is, quite literally blowing his world apart, because the continued viability of this world depended on a two-state solution. And I think he also believes, as I do, that failure to secure such a solution will doom the Zionist project.
The notion that a unified Jewish lobby can lead a unified Britain to support the kind of directions in which Israeli policy is now headed is completely divorced from reality. Not only moreover do people like Kaufman and Wilmers have no desire to go down this route: they quite patently fear, like Norman Birnbaum, that it could easily precipitate a significant revival of anti-Semitism. This is a fear which seems to me well-warranted.
(To think that what someone like Tony Blair says accurately represents the very complex cross-currents of opinion in Britain, incidentally, would be rather as though one had taken what Andropov or Chernenko said as representative of opinion in Russia in late Soviet times.)
As I say, I cannot judge American realities. It may be that emigration to the United States has eliminated those moral sensibilities that make Gerald Kaufman describe Olmert, Livni, and Barak as bringing ‘shame on the Jewish people’; and that commitment to freedom of speech and rational argument which makes Mary-Kay Wilmers publish Walt and Mearsheimer, or Henry Siegman. It may be that most American Jewish reporters will be worried about the plaintive complaints the Jerusalem Post makes about them — or that their job prospects may be blasted by telling the truth about Gaza. And it may indeed be that Birnbaum’s lucidly expressed fears will not in the foreseeable future be held by more than a tiny minority of American Jews.
But it is difficult for an old philosemite like myself to accept such bitter conclusions. I still think that in the end very many American Jews will find the Israel of Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman too much to swallow. And I also think that they may come to think it unwise for an elite minority to identify too closely with the interests of a foreign country — or to see the displacement of the ideal of citizenship by what is, frankly, tribalism.
This is hopeless. So now middle east perception of Clinton is pretty much Condi Rice Lite. Everybody simply chuckle and amuse her and knows her words doesn’t worth jack. End of story.
Everybody doing their own things and prepare for war.
Meddling with city zoning? That’s how much regard the Israelis have for US diplomacy? oboy. Well at least they know who is in charge and who owns who.
After Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this week criticized plans to extend a park across 88 buildings that house Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, newly elected Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said she was meddling in local control over zoning and the city’s economic future.
David, the voices of Gerald Kaufmann and other old-time Zionists are very much irrelevant now. Not because i don’t respect him, I have for a long time, but that he represents what is globally a small and weak constituency: Namely, Zionists who have not decided that the future of the state of Israel depends on making a choice between existence and morality.
In between the much larger groupings of “Israel right or wrong” and “Israel is wrong” their voices are easily and effectively drowned out (just read what even Haaretz readers write about him).
Much of the Arab-Israeli propoganda war is driven by myth – And much of that myth is aimed at ones own side. And since we are all eager to believe our friends and family or rather still willing to take their word on something without actually checking if its true, so will most people continue to identify with their “cause” based on this mythology.
I did some research myself not too long ago for my blog and discovered a lot of things I took for granted as fact were in fact myths – Did you know that no Arab has ever threatend to drive the “Jews into the sea”?- So as long most people don’t bother to learn the truth they will continue to swallow the “reasons” and “excuses” given them by any Israeli govt.
Thank you for your response.
I am afraid that I do not find your arguments persuasive in establishing why “it is not in the interests of the United States to be ‘Don Americo'”
Your arguments, however, is persuasive in establishing why it is not in the interest of the State of Israel and the world Jewry to be clients of US.
Israel, like Lebanon, is a small country whose citizens have to emigrate to make a living; I think the percentage of Israeli citizens who live abroad is about 24% – at a minimum. Many Israelis, with valid claims to illegally confiscated ancestral properties in Arab countries, could, under a generalized peace settlement – go back and get that property back. Many more may wish to settle among the Muslims of the Near East since there is deep cultural affinity there.
One must pity the citizens of the state of Israel for the instrumental use of Israel by the Don is in the process of eliminating any possibility of Jewish life in the world of Islam and narrowing it to a few Christian states in Europe and America states which may or may not recapitulate the massacres of the 14-th and 20-th centuries.
By the way, you may find it ironic that US government is funding the Jewish Agency to help the religious minorities in Iran to emigrate to US.
Transfer only will not solve the problem. It will escalate the confrontation into a generalized religious war between Judaism and Islam. The Muslim aim would be then nothing but total annihilation of Israel – there will not even be the possibility of a Hudna.
I caution all against even thinking about this.
In the East, the communal religious confrontation between Indian Hindus and Indian (Sunni) Muslims has been kept by leaders of India and the leaders of Muslim states (including Pakistan) from becoming a generalized war of Hinduism and Islam.
The swagger, belligerence, and brutality of Israelis over the last 40 years – tolerated and later aided by the Don – has made a Muslim-Jewish Religious War a distinct possibility.
Furhter to that story, an aide to the Mayor of Jerusalem came up with this delicious quote:
“illegal building is illegal wherever it is”
Chutzpah I believe they call it!
I am sympathetic to what you write, David.
It will be announced at some point, if it hasn’t been already, that the survival of a progressive Judaism will have to rely mostly on Jewish communities outside Israel. That fracture is real. And it seems to me that is your concern, and a worthy lament. But I do agree with Mo that the voice of Kauffman (whom I also admire) and his ilk is no longer of much determining value in the evolving situation, even though it remains a necessary and important part of cultural expression within the UK.
(The largely untold story, of course, is how the now dominant ideology of Zionism is rooted in that marriage of nationalism and social Darwinism endemic to late 19th century Europe, and that it has redefined Judaism today, finding support in conservative elements of both the Tanakh and, perhaps more importantly, the Talmud.)
I would, in this regard, simply point out that the path from Ben Gurion to Netanyahu is not full of broken lines and changing direction: it is a surprisingly straight line. To talk about Lieberman as “an exception” in Israeli history is to simply to ignore the facts. In this regard, it is interesting to watch American media, the NYT as an example, fold Lieberman into the fold of “usual” discourse, and in a way they are right, he is no “exception”.
So now we have a country with a population less than the size of Lima, Peru, less than Tehran, less than Bangkok, which is a major nuclear power with delivery systems on missiles, airplanes and subs, having fought, and continuing to fight, wars on all of its as yet undeclared borders, pursuing, over a period of sixty years, blatantly racist domestic policies and completely ignoring international legal obligations.
Only one thing will deflect the obvious march towards a greater regional war, or period of wars, and that is stopping the flow of US money into Israel.
And here is where the real analysis is desperately needed. How is American money flowing into Israel and back again? If you can define how it is flowing back again, you can begin to work on diminishing American support.
Where the Don America thesis gets it wrong is simply this: no-one is using Israel as a rogue state to hold in check the Mediterranean: but it is a cash cow and legal foil for many, not least the Russian-Israeli mafia, the American Congress, and the Military-Security complex.
If the transfer of population and its attendant policies will diminish the importance of the cash cow and legal foil for those three interest groups, then perhaps Israel can be deterred.
I drafted this before seeing your response, so have not had time to consider it.
I have been thinking about your remarks — and I always read what you write with attention.
But I think you are wrong on this one. Certainly, this country is replete with Zionists — both Jewish and gentile (like Tony Blair) who ‘have not decided that the future of Israel depends upon making a choice between existence and morality.’
But this is because very many have not faced the issues involved. Unlike Sir Gerald Kaufman, most of these Zionists — be they Jewish or Gentile — continue to believe in six impossible things before breakfast. (I could not resist picking up your reference to Lewis Carroll.)
If you do not believe me, I would simply ask you to look at the interview with Tony Blair to which I linked in a previous comment.
At the moment, a very great number of people are — like Tony Blair — in a kind of mental fog, in which they cannot get the choices facing any of us clearly.
Moreover, as my wife said when I discussed your remarks with her, ‘everyone in this country is so terrified of political correctness that they can’t afford to say what they think.’
It may be worth noting that the neoconservatives do not trust us. See for example, a piece in the Daily Telegraph by that archetypal neocon Irwin Stelzer, in which he explained to us that — as the headline put it — ‘Sarah Palin: You Brits will never get her.’ I quote:
‘The American election campaign has made life better for those of us living here and identified as non-enemies of President Bush or, even worse, one of the “neo-cons” David Cameron went all the way to Islamabad to denounce.
‘It is not that our British friends have fallen in love with George Bush, or adopted a more tolerant attitude towards those of us who think the world might be a more dangerous place if America were to retreat into reliance on the United Nations to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
‘No, it is that Brits with any interest in America, which means most of you, are so distracted by the campaign that they don’t have time to share with us their latest reason for Bush bashing, or to tell us at dinner parties that 9/11 wouldn’t have happened if the Jews hadn’t been so ghastly to the Arabs, or to accuse us of over-heating the globe.’
Neither Zionists nor anti-Zionists understand that the slavish following by the British government of American policy either on Palestine or Iran masks growing unarticulated — or half articulated — doubts and resentments. But then, I think this is also the case among Americans. Moreover, these doubts are very clearly present among many British Jews — although of course this parting of the ways is immensely more painful for them than it is for Gentiles like me.
The effect of the Zionist exploitation of the taboo on anti-Semitism is that both Zionists and anti-Zionists cannot see what is happening — slowly, but also irreversibly.
Incidentally, no one in the philosemitic British liberal circles to which I belong would ever refer to ‘the Jews’ as though these were a coherent body, with common interests and opinions — indeed, I would regard such a view as anti-Semitic. What Stelzer says reinforces my suspicion that a lot of British neoconservative fellow-travellers are closet anti-Semites.
Similarly Jew I have ever met would refer to the Gentile wife of a Jew as a ‘shiksa’, as John Podhoretz did about Philip Weiss’s wife — any more than any Gentile I know would refer to the wife or a husband as a ‘kike’ or ‘yid’.
Considering the quality of your posts on this blog its an honor to know that you give my ramblings any attention!
I’m not sure if I communicated myself well enough (probably too many double negatives)or whether you meant something different in your comment but when I said “have not decided that the future of Israel depends upon making a choice between existence and morality” I was referring Sir Gerald and not Tony Blair – And what I intended to say was that he has not, unlike the likes of Blair, decided that Israel has a carte blanche to kill wholesale just in case.
I agree with you that the UK has a large constituency, even amongst the Jewish population, that has a very wide view over the question of Israel (I have myself marched down Piccadilly arm in arm with Orthodox Jewish men on one occasion). But the constituency is silent and weak; The fear of incurring the wrath of Israel is perhaps not as great as the US but just listening to the pathetic statements made by govt. figures in the UK during the seige of Gaza was enough to convince that when it comes to the Palestinians, morality and human rights are given a wide berth by Western politicians.
And yes, the exploitation of both the taboo of anti-semitisim and the guilt of the Holocaust undermines the effect of both on the world, especially when Israel is practicing the very same policies that lead to both.
In regards to my statement about “pushing the Jews into the sea”, this is a common tale told on Zionist websites that Nasser/Arafat/pick your Arab leader has made this claim in regards to defeating Israel. In fact, it is so pervasive a myth that my own parents have mocked Arab leaders inability to stand up to Israel using that statement. When I actually chased it down it turned out that the only person to ever utter that phrase in public was Ben Gurion!
If the medium is the message (Marshall McCluan) then Ross is the wrong medium.
Just to back up the “straight line” hypothesis, here are quotes gathered in “The Salvador Option in Beirut”
by Trish Schuh. Check out the dates:
“The only prospect that holds hope for us is the carving up of Syria… It
is our task to prepare for that prospect. All else is a purposeless waste of
time.” Zionist militant Zeév Jabotinsky, From “We and Turkey” in Di Tribune,
November 30, 1915
“We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon,
Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Muslim regime is
artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian
state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan,
and Syria will fall to us.” -David Ben-Gurion, From “Ben-Gurion, A
Biography” by Michael Ben-Zohar, May 1948
“It is obvious that the above military assumptions, and the whole plan too,
depend also on the Arabs continuing to be even more divided than they are
now, and on the lack of any truly mass movement among them… Every kind of
inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten
the way to the more important aim of breaking Iraq up into denominations as
in Syria and Lebanon… Syria will fall apart.” -Oded Yinon, 1982. From “The
Zionist Plan for the Middle East”
“Regime change is, of course, our goal both in Lebanon and Syria. We wrote
long ago that there are three ways to achieve it- the dictator chooses to
change; he falls before his own unhappy people; or if he poses a threat to
the outside, the outside takes him out…” -Jewish Institute for National
Security Affairs (JINSA), From strategy paper #474 “Priorities in Lebanon &
Syria”, March 2, 2005
Palestinian Prime Minister to Resign
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian prime minister said Saturday he submitted his resignation in a move that could help usher in a power-sharing deal between Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas and his rivals in the militant group Hamas.
Salam Fayyad’s resignation was meant to be a goodwill gesture toward Hamas, but the group’s officials dismissed the announcement, saying Fayyad’s appointment and time in office has been unconstitutional.
Abbas appointed Fayyad as Prime Minister after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. The takeover effectively created two separate Palestinian administrations — an internationally backed government in the West Bank led by Abbas and technocrat Fayyad, and a blockaded government in the coastal patch of Gaza run by Hamas.
Fayyad said in a statement Saturday he hoped to pave the way for a unity government. ”This step comes in the efforts to form a national conciliation government,” he said.
If you are still reading this thread there is a great piece in the Indy today coincidentally reflecting our conversation:
The caravan has I think moved on. But I have no doubt there will be occasions to take up these questions in plenty on future threads. Some responses to what you both wrote however seem called for.
I have been thinking about the question of Zionists deciding that ‘the future of Israel depends upon making a choice between existence and morality.’ What Kaufman clearly believes is that the repudiation of morality will not secure Israel’s survival, but will actually doom it.
This remains my view. If either Israelis or their American and British supporters think that the kind of strategies to create anarchy in the Arab world described in the ‘Salvador option’ piece will ensure Israel’s ability to maintain its control over the whole of Palestine indefinitely, I think they are wrong.
Moreover, both American and British policy is changing. Again, what Rami Khouri says is to the point:
‘Well, well, what do we have going on this week? The Obama administration, after inviting the Syrian ambassador for a long chat to the State Department, then sends two senior envoys to Damascus. The US Secretary of State announces a few days later that she wants Iran invited to a meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbors to discuss conditions in that country. The following day, the British government announces it is resuming contacts with the political wing of Hizbullah in Lebanon.
‘What we have going on, I suspect, is that the two leading proponents of Western arrogance in the form of colonialism and neocolonialism – the United States and the United Kingdom – have recognized that their approach has failed, and that they are better off having normal diplomatic talks and negotiations with the three leading centers of resistance to them, namely Iran, Syria and Hizbullah. The pace of change in American policies, in particular, has been impressive since President Barack Obama took office six weeks ago, though it will take some time for the results of the current shifts to materialize.
Actually, I think Rami Khouri is being somewhat overoptimistic here. The project for a kind of unilateral American global hegemony, with Israel and Britain as junior partners, still has enormously powerful support both in the United States and here. Realistically, I think we can expect to see this reflected in a very great deal of incoherence in Obama’s policy.
But in optimistic moments I find myself thinking that at least in regard to the battle against this megalomaniac vision we can perhaps say, echoing Churchill, that while this may not be the beginning of the end, it may be the end of the beginning.
On the question of the importance of financial flows from the US to Israel and back, this is a matter whose significance I am ashamed to say had not occurred to me. It would seem to me that castellio is almost certainly right in suggesting that these flows should be a key strategic target, and identifying them is a crucial task.
What I have thought a good deal about are disinformation networks — and in particular, disinformation networks specialising in nuclear scaremongering. An important point about these is that they commonly involve a range of countries — as in the case of the forgeries purporting to show that Saddam Hussein had sought uranium from Niger. This makes me suspect that it may conceivably be worth looking, not simply at bilateral financial flows between the United States and Israel, but also at movements involving not simply those two countries, but also others. But this is simply a casual thought.