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The Peacemaker

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Posted on Jul 30, 2008
Obama and Abbas
AP photo / Muhammed Muheisen

Barack Obama walks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, following a meeting at Abbas’ headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

By Bill Boyarsky

Sen. Barack Obama’s visit to Israel last week no doubt displeased the outspoken hawkish minority in the American Jewish community who want the Palestinians to be crushed. But it may have helped him with the more moderate majority of that community, where he must pick up support.

There are more than 6 million Jews in the United States—slightly more than 2 percent of the population. But their electoral importance exceeds their numbers, especially for Obama. That’s because such a high percentage of Jews vote and most are Democrats. And there are enough of them clustered in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania to help determine who will carry those three key states in November.

Obama’s Israel visit, during his Afghanistan-to-London tour, was tremendously important to him in his effort to find his way through the thicket of Jewish politics and policy that largely revolves around attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

A minority of American Jews, the extreme hawks, reject negotiations with the Palestinians or with the neighboring Arab state of Syria. They want a huge increase in Israeli settlements and don’t care what happens to the Palestinians displaced by them. Other American Jews favor a two-state solution, as does Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. And finally, some Jews, a minority, don’t consider the matter especially important.

These points of views are argued with great intensity in the Jewish community. Trying to deal with all of them can drive a candidate, not to mention a journalist, mad.

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So far, it’s uphill for Obama. A poll taken recently for the liberal Jewish political organization J Street showed 58 percent of American Jews would vote for him (and 4 per cent were leaning in his direction). That’s about what a Gallup poll showed in April, before Obama clinched the nomination. And it’s considerably less than the 80 percent of the vote given to Al Gore and Bill Clinton and the 71 percent to John Kerry.

Since his campaign began, Obama has been the target of an underground e-mail smear campaign. Generally, the smears seek to link Obama with the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan through the senator’s former minister. They also peddle the now familiar lie that the Christian Obama was or still is a Muslim.

The only customers for the smears are die-hards who wouldn’t vote for Obama under any circumstances. Smears aside, his biggest challenge among Jews is the same one he faces elsewhere: He remains an unknown quantity. That’s what he addressed as he traveled from Iraq to London last week, trying to convince the electorate back in the United States that he has the intelligence, maturity and judgment needed for the presidency.

Former Rep. Mel Levine of Los Angeles, an Obama campaigner and Jewish community leader, said he thought Obama’s meetings with Israeli leaders were “a grand slam home run. ...He met with a broad cross section and they all commented favorably.”

“People were impressed with his depth of knowledge and grasp of subtlety and nuance,” Levine said.

In general, Obama favors the Israelis and Palestinians working things out themselves.

He had been praised by American Jewish hard-liners when he told the hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference earlier this year that if he becomes president, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” But that offended Jews who want Jerusalem to remain Israel’s capital but also favor a capital of a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem.

In an interview during his Israel visit with David Horovitz, editor of the conservative Jerusalem Post, Obama tried to straighten that out. He said, “I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. But I think that how Israel and the Palestinians resolve the issue ... needs to be left up to the two parties.”

On the settlements, Obama rejected hawkish demands for a peace agreement that extends Israel’s borders slightly beyond the territory won in the 1967 war—the so-called ‘67-plus proposals.

“Look, I think that both sides ... are going to have to make some calculations,” he said. “Israel may seek ‘67-plus and justify it in terms of the buffer they need for security purposes. They’ve got to consider whether getting that buffer is worth the antagonism of the other party. The Palestinians are going to have to make a calculation: Are we going to fight for every inch of that ‘67 border or, given the fact that 40 years have now passed and new realities have taken place on the ground, do we take a deal that may not perfectly align with the ‘67 boundaries? My sense is that both sides recognize there’s going to have to be some give. ...”

That’s a reasonable and smart approach. It’s the one that will lead to peace in the area, which is essential to peace in the Middle East. Obama’s one-day stop in Israel lays the foundation for him winning the broad Jewish support he needs to win what increasingly looks like a close election.


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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, August 1, 2008 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

I for one can “read between the lines” of Obama’s speeches about Israel. Those who take his statements before AIPAC at face value are naive at best. I believe his deep strategy is to reassure the American Jewish community of his commitment to Israel’s security so that after he is elected, when he does begin to do the tough negotiating necessary for the Palestinians to have justice and human rights, they will support him as their mostly progressive ideals prompt them to do, rather than oppose him out of fear for Israel’s security.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2008 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

Re:By Robert, August 1 at 1:34 pm

Robert, I think this too bears repeating, with some minor elaboration:

•  “NEGOTIATION with Israel still going on since 1967. In the meantime, Israel has been busy working day & night with the help of our U.S. taxpayer’s money/funds with no end in site, to confiscate Palestinian land, bulldoze their homes, shoot & kill their children, block their roads, cut & control their water resources…annexation of East Jerusalem(126 square miles)...building hundreds of “illegal settlements” & paved roads for “Jews Only” ...BTW, negotiation on-going…Hmmm!!!

Implementations of UN Resolutions are the most feasible route to quickly bring peace to that area. Hardcore Zionists & many Israelis won’t like it! “

~~~

Robert, I get your point.
I think we (or most of us at least) know perfectly well that there is *NO* ‘on-going negotiation, nor have there been any attempts at in for at least 8 years. Just a few weeks ago, I was either listening or reading (can’t remember which now) on the issue of Israel’s alleged commitment to reducing the number of check points in the West Bank. They claimed have removed/shut down “X” number, (I use that number because I don’t remember the actual figure, and it isn’t important to the point). A group of West Bank Arabs/refugees did count immediately after this claim was made, and discovered that there was actually ONE MORE open, than before the supposed ‘closing down’ of the several. In other words, just another common deceit of the Israeli forces. It’s standard operating procedure there. And of course we know that.
I’m as convinced as you that an ENFORCEMENT of the earlier resolutions would be the BEGINNING of a more permanent agreement, but there still needs to be updated details, even to that. In other words, not unlike a reassessment of the ground here in California after an earthquake, there are already infrastructure changes that continue to happen, that make a 2-state solution less and less likely. It can be likened to any aviator using old charts to navigate a flight plan. (one of my favorite analogies, just because I’m familiar with it.) In other words, CONDITIONS change, and while the fundamentals of the resolutions are still perfectly valid, they become lost, first in the changing details, and more importantly in the fact that NONE of it has been enforced up to now anyway. Even more importantly, none of these resolutions can be enforced as long as the West continues to control the UN. So the changes have to happen on our end as well, in order for the UN to do it’s job. Israel couldn’t get away with this stuff if it were overwhelmingly supported by the West’s influence on and in the UN. The UN was as effectively highjacked by the same Coup that highjacked the rest of us!

Speaking of which, I received several articles from Nabih Ammari (if you remember him) a few weeks ago. I’ve not yet had time to write back to thank him, and talk a bit about the pieces. Here’s an excerpt from one though, entitled “Straight-Speaking Under Secretary-General Pascoe Detailed and Damning”, by Ian Williams:

•  “It is almost an axiom of Middle Eastern politics that, except for American politicians, Israeli politicians and their behavior will eventually exasperate anyone, no matter how sympathetic they were to start with. Ban I Moon, who for the first sic months or so of his secretary-generalship did not utter a word of condemnation, has now begun to realize just how unsupportable Israeli tactics are.”

This is a United Nations Report from last year, contained in the December 2007 edition of The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. I’ll see if I can find a link, since he sent me hard copies.
For now, I’m going to write back to him while it’s on my mind. But my larger point is that I believe Obama has a serious re-vamp in mind, that would allow the UN to actually do their job. More later.

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By Tony Wicher, August 1, 2008 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

By particle61, July 31 at 2:42 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

with dems like these, who needs republicans
—————————————————————————-
particle,

With “progressives” like you, who needs reactionaries?

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By Tony Wicher, August 1, 2008 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges, August 1 at 8:52 am #

You know, it’s very true that there are a lot of conflicted Jews. Their genuine attachment to Israel conflicts with their genuine belief in peace and human rights. Those who have tried hardest to resolve this conflict are people like Lerner and Avnery, and the possibility for Obama to align with the Jewish peace movement is great.

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By Ed Harges, August 1, 2008 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

re: By Robert, August 1 at 1:34 pm:

Thanks, Robert.

This section of Avnery’s essay is particularly well worth repeating:

A fact that should be remembered in any discussion about Jerusalem: there is no resemblance between the Jerusalem of the Bible and the “Jerusalem” of the current Israeli map. The object of the yearning of the exiles who wept by the rivers of Babylon was the real Jerusalem - more or less within the boundaries of the Old City, whose center is the Temple Mount. One square kilometer, that’s all.

The redefined municipality of Jerusalem after the 1967 annexation comprises a vast area, some 126 square kilometers, from Bethlehem in the south to Ramallah in the north. This area has been clothed with the name of “Jerusalem” in order to bestow a religious-national-historic aura to what was nothing but an act of land-grabbing and settlement.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2008 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

By thebeerdoctor, August 1 at 8:59 am

•  “…Have you ever noticed that neither party wants to abolish the electoral college?”

No, beerdoc, I’ve ‘noticed’ the opposite. US citizens discuss this on a regular basis. Obviously, it has not come to fruition. Maybe you could join in some of the efforts to move it along. The last time I heard a ‘notable’ “party’ member address this, it was Hillary Clinton, just after the neo-con thug Coup of 2000. Claimed she was gonna ‘do something’. That was the one and only time I heard it from her or any other ‘notable’. When are you gonna figure out that often times, when you want something done, you have to do it yourself? Bitching only goes so far. It’s good for a warm-up maybe, but it becomes a liability without follow-thru.

•  “…The dark side of Americanism, as Max calls it, is found throughout the pages of A People’s History Of The United States…”

Indeed it is beerdoc. Indeed it is. You can find it even more recently than that in the daily adventures of Cheney et al. Have you paid any attention to what the esteemed author of The People’s History has to say about CURRENT history and politics? Maybe you should check. Just google Howard Zinn, or check the archives at Truthout, or drop him a line. He clearly does *not* maintain the pessimism that you do though, so you may not find the comfort in the misery that you seek.

•  “..and this election does not represent the so called change we’ve been waiting for, far from it.”

Speak for yourself beerdoc, since you’ve already established that you’re waiting on somebody other than yourself to make the change that YOU are waiting for. I’ve never known reality to work that way.

So, if this election doesn’t represent the change that YOU’VE been looking for, than you can sit on the couch and drink beer and pontificate about how this isn’t the change you want, making it clear that you’re pretty much OK with the way things are. Anybody else would do something other than bitch..such as to involve themselves in some measure of actually DIRECTING the course of the change that they DO want.

The old cliché definitely still holds for so many of your ilk beerdoc. If you’re not part of the solution, then you are the majority of the problem.

And nobody is dismissing you or anyone else for ‘questioning’ these candidates. It’s just that you’re not doing any serious ‘questioning’. You’re just bitching about stuff that bugs YOU, or doesn’t otherwise fit in with your surreal outlook. And to make it even worse, you have yet to offer any reality based alternatives to those conditions that you find so unacceptable. In fact, the only thing YOU can do is your best to cripple anyone who actually DOES try to find some solutions.

You may call it ‘questioning’ but that’s a really transparent excuse for Bitter Bone Marrow. Let’s face it, you don’t want change, because you wouldn’t have anything to bitch about. That’s why you won’t do anything proactive to bring such a thing about. If you actually did, you’d have to accept the reality that it might not work out, or that there might be some failure in part of the plan. Cowards are afraid to fail, or otherwise stick out their necks, or go out on a limb. Far more satisfying to criticize those who do..safer too.

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By yellowbird2525, August 1, 2008 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

quite frankly with the state our Gov has been in for years now it is TIME to talk as the walrus said of many things: #1: 67% or more of the people of the USA do NOT want either party presented to us as President elects; didn’t want the other ones who didn’t make it to the elect either; per both reps & dems there really is no difference between the 2 parties (even Ron Paul) said this: SO: that leaves DICTATORSHIP under the “disquise” of democracy; which is supposedly run by the WILL of the people by elected officials in a place in Washington DC & has never been done for years; Woodrow Wilson lamented in WW1 that America was no longer a home of the FREE nor even of majority votes; but rather under the rules & dictates of a few dominant men; THAT has not changed (women being included with men); Iraqi’s overjoyed at 1st to see us, now claim it is dictatorship far worse than Hussain ever was & they wish he were alive again & back cuz while he was bad, what is set up same as in USA with SAME corp’s is hundreds of times worse than under Hussain; Bush replied we prefer to be called dysfunctional not dictatorship; (so as better to fool the people) he he he; & promptly brought over the Pope to say “what a great guy am I”; STOP being either Dem or Rep; STOP THE INSANITY! it is a GAME politicians who were breastfed on deceit, and their bedtime story was “how to get anyone anywhere to believe anything”; LISTEN to what the Isreali protester said: “WE are not going to be bought”; as reported on Yahoo news; that is because our “supposedly” broke country has been running around the world lavishly given great sums of money to the heads of states who have them put in offshore accounts cuz they are told “they are the political powerful elites” that can never be prosecuted for any wrong doing; isn’t it amazing that SOME countries STILL have honesty, integrity, and HONOR enough NOT to buy into this BS being given out by USA? Unite Americans! no longer 2 parties, let’s be one, and STOP being slaves to Corp’s who bought & paid for our Gov & their actions long ago! ($2.99 gas guarenteed for 36 months?)???? psychic I suppose? or deliberately overgouging the American public & others for THEIR PERSONAL GREED as stated by the Pres of the Shell oil company; Personal greed over social need; SLAVES folks is what we is; even paying Corp’s taxes now; didn’t think all that “prices rising” on electricity etc was due to costs did you? no no no: all going to pay for the democratic & republic election expenses; along with all the other $1 & $2 & additional costs added in;  slavery has NEVER been abolished here in USA sad to say;

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By ML Fisher, August 1, 2008 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a Jew, I can’t see how any Jew can vote for Barack Obama.

Mr. Obama attended Reverend Wrong’s church for about 20 years, therefore, Mr. Obama either:
1. Agrees with Reverend Wrong and Louis Farrakhan and is a closet Jew hater and America hater,
2. He sacrificed his children to Reverend Wrong’s “alter of hate” for political reasons making him the sleaziest of all politicians (some change!), or
3. He has a single digit IQ and it took him 20 years to figure out what Reverend Wrong is all about.
Which one is it?
I have offered a challenge to anyone who can come up with another reason why Obama attended Reverend Wrong’s church for 20 years besides #1, #2 or #3. No one has met that challenge yet. Can you?

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, August 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

“If I Forget Thee, Umm Touba…”
What’s Driving the Jerusalem Attacks

By URI AVNERY

“In one of the most beautiful songs in the Bible, the poet vows: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, / Let my right hand forget her cunning. / If I do not remember thee, / Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; / If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy!” (Psalms 137:5)

For some reason, the poet did not write: “If I forget thee, O Umm Touba!” nor “If I forget thee, O Sur Baher!” nor “If I forget thee, O Jabal Mukaber!” nor even “If I forget thee, O Ein Karem!”

A fact that should be remembered in any discussion about Jerusalem: there is no resemblance between the Jerusalem of the Bible and the “Jerusalem” of the current Israeli map. The object of the yearning of the exiles who wept by the rivers of Babylon was the real Jerusalem - more or less within the boundaries of the Old City, whose center is the Temple Mount. One square kilometer, that’s all.

The redefined municipality of Jerusalem after the 1967 annexation comprises a vast area, some 126 square kilometers, from Bethlehem in the south to Ramallah in the north. This area has been clothed with the name of “Jerusalem” in order to bestow a religious-national-historic aura to what was nothing but an act of land-grabbing and settlement.

The planners of this map, including the late General Rehavam Ze’evi, nicknamed “Gandhi”, the most far-right officer in the Israeli army, had a simple purpose: to annex to Jerusalem as many areas as possible that were free of Arabs, in order to set up Jewish settlements there. They were haunted by the demographic phantom that is still terrorizing us today: they aimed to expand the Jewish and to reduce the Arab population - in Jerusalem and throughout the country.

In order to achieve this, the planners were compelled to add some nearby Arab villages. Not only the Arab neighborhoods near the Old City, like the Mount of Olives, Silwan and Ras-al-Amud, but also villages located at some distance - such as Umm Touba, Sur Baher and Jabal Mukaber in the east, Beit Hanina and Kafr Aka in the north, Sharafat and Beit Safafa in the south.

The demographic phantom that haunted “Gandhi” then is now pursuing us through the streets of Jerusalem, riding a deadly bulldozer.

* * * 

UNTIL THE 1949 war, Jerusalem was indeed a mixed city. Jewish and Arab neighborhoods were interwoven.

The demographic map of Jerusalem became engraved in my memory during a personal experience. A year or so before the war, some of us, young men and women of the Bama’avak group in Tel-Aviv, decided to make a trip to Hebron. At the time, only very few Jews went to the southern town, which was known as a nationalist and religious Muslim stronghold.

We took the Arab bus from Jerusalem and went to the town, walked around its alleyways, bought the blue glass for which Hebron is famous, visited the Gush Etzion kibbutzim on the way and returned to Jerusalem. But in the meantime something had happened: one of the “dissident” underground organizations had carried out an especially serious attack (I think it was the bombing of the officers’ club in Jerusalem) and the British had imposed a general curfew on all Jewish neighborhoods throughout the country.”
~~~~~~~~~~~

NEGOTIATION with Israel still going on since 1967. In the meantime, Israel has been busy working day & night with the help of our U.S. taxpayer’s money/funds with no end in site, to confiscate Palestinian land, bulldoze their homes, shoot & kill their children, block their roads, cut & control their water resources…annexation of East Jerusalem(126 square miles)...building hundreds of “illegal settlements” & paved roads for “Jews Only” ...BTW, negotiation on-going…Hmmm!!!

Implementations of UN Resolutions are the most feasible route to quickly bring peace to that area. Hardcore Zionists & many Israelis won’t like it!

http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery07262008.html

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By cyrena, August 1, 2008 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, August 1 at 11:42 am #

•  “Why do so many people here refuse to accept the concept of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians? …..What the HELL is so wrong with both parties coming to a negotiated peace between them????”

I can’t explain it ITW, because the reality is that this is the only way, *if* we’re talking about something they CAN in fact ‘live with’ since that is the ultimate bottom line, and we know they will only keep dying without such a negotiated settlement.
I *do* understand why many insist on earlier agreements, because it’s not like there aren’t tons of these agreements already in the box. The problem is that they’ve not been honored, so that means they didn’t work, and times and circumstances have changed. The physical and bureaucratic infrastructure has changed, as has the social infrastructure. If there is to be an agreement, it must be negotiated in terms of the realities of the day, with the people who are alive and living in the space NOW, with an eye toward their individual and collective survivals in the long term.

That said, WHATEVER the parties come up with will have to be monitored (and I mean REALLY monitored) by a neutral world community. Monitored from afar, but monitored none-the-less. This is in part, why previous agreements have failed. There can be little denying that the UN has been mostly controlled by the West, and they’ve failed to do their part in maintaining these mandates.

At the end of the day, NEGOTIATED agreements DO work, if they are enforced, and the negotiator in any such agreement must remain neutral. That various and sundry people who are NOT involved in the dispute choose to weigh-in on their perception of ‘neutrality’ is a waste of time and energy, since their views are not from the inside, but rather from the outside.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2008 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

Beerdoc writes in part:

“...and they will rationalize all the right wing garbage he says… from lecturing black men about the responsibilities of fatherhood,...”

~~~~

And, I don’t call this ‘rationalization’. I call it lessons for survival. “lecturing” black men (or any color men) OR women about the responsibilities of parenthood isn’t ‘right’ wing, unless you’re talking about right v. wrong! Creating children in a capitalist society when one is unwilling and/or unable to care for them is simply stupid, and creates the very mass dysfunction that we see in the world today.

There isn’t the slightest thing acceptable about 16 or 17 year old fathers killing their 3 month infant daughters as happens frequently enough, in places like Flint, MI, and the rest of the country.

So, Obama can ‘lecture’ these men all he wants to, since obviously nobody else is gonna do it. The establishment would far prefer to simply lock them up. Lots of money in that as well.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2008 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

For the Marjorie Cohen piece, try this one

http://www.truthout.org/article/end-occupation-iraq-and-afghanistan

It will provide a link to the current article that I believe you’re referencing here, as well as a way to link to all of her work.

I’ve come to the conclusion (but ONLY about a year ago) that the invasion of Afghanistan was as illegal as the invasion of Iraq, *even though* the US did it under the umbrella of NATO.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 1, 2008 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Why do so many people here refuse to accept the concept of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians?

In fact, I’ll out on a limb: It doesn’t MATTER what 242 says if the two parties concerned work out an agreement they both can live with (and “live” here isn’t a figurative term).

Ranting and raving about Israeli injustices, or Palestinian injustices BECOMES IRRELEVANT if they can settle it between themselves.

If you cannot accept that, preferring to insist that NO MATTER WHAT they agree on,  Israel either should be destroyed or forced back to the 1967 borders, and hang on to that insistence DESPITE the actions of the Palestinians to actually negotiate and create peace, then you are a bigot and an anti-semite, just as much a bigot as an ultra-orthodox right-winger who wants to see every Palestinian evicted from every piece of land that’s part of “Biblical” Judea.

What the HELL is so wrong with both parties coming to a negotiated peace between them????

I’d say explain that, but I know you cannot.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, August 1, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

sorry robert, the link below goes to another topic. I give up. But my instructions (also below) on how to find it, do in fact work. Sorry for the trouble.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 1, 2008 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

re:re:re: robert

Pardon me, but I hope this link works.
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/93471

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By thebeerdoctor, August 1, 2008 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

re:re: robert

sorry the link below doesn’t quite work. Go ahead and click it on and then click on home on the left side of the page, and there you will find, Majorie Cohn’s article on the illegal war in Afghanistan.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 1, 2008 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

re: robert

After reading your thoughtful post, I thought this link may be of interest to you:
http://www.alternet.org/audits/934731/afghanistan:_the_other_illegal_war/

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By KPinSEA, August 1, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

Do I have confidence that Obama will get us speedily out of Iraq and avoid equally disastrous foreign adventures?

No ... he’s a President, they step into the briar patch with abandon regardless of party affiliation or campaign promises.

You know when Iraq and misadventures end?  When the people demand it.  Nam didn’t end because Nixon became a dove, it ended because the peace marches were no longer just kids with long hair, they were composed of angry moms and dads demanding the end of senselessly wasting their children’s lives.

“I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.”

That was said by a general, and a President—Eisenhower.  And that’s the only way this stops ... that we demand it.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, August 1, 2008 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

UN Resolutions Against Israel:

Just two main UN Resolutions from over 65 against Israel. The U.S. attacked Iraq for not complying with UN Resolution(s). Israel is NOT going to withdraw from the 1967 Occupied Territories unless the U.S. & the European countries insist that Israel comply with UN Resolutions 242 & 338 implementations. BTW, the U.S. voted for UN Resolution 242.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

UN # 242 - 22 Nov 1967   Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include: withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; and termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.


UN # 338 - 22 Oct 1973   Calls for an immediate cease-fire and termination of all military activity. Calls upon the parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts….

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By thebeerdoctor, August 1, 2008 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

I would like to clear up a few things here. First, I never said I was voting for Nader, that is what Chris Hedges told Brian Lamb on the Q&A;interview. Second, this business about voting for a saint, that assertion is ridiculous. Anyone who spends the amount of time researching politics and political history as I do, knows there is nothing spiritual in making this particular sausage. Its all blood money and power, and equivocating about something your candidate promotes that is disagreeable, by suggesting it is just “overheated rhetoric” to appeal to his base… well, where does the fantasy stop?
Max Shields analogy to President Woodrow Wilson is worth considering, a fake peace candidate is not new to American politics. The dark side of Americanism, as Max calls it, is found throughout the pages of A People’s History Of The United States, and this election does not represent the so called change we’ve been waiting for, far from it. So it is sad to dismiss the folks on this thread who question either of these candidates… not because of flag pins or whether their hands are over their hearts during The Pledge… but because they want to see a change in direction in this country, from the rotten aims of empire, to a democratic republic with designs on no one.
Voting, in the American system, is over rated. How else can you explain the AIPAC grovel, where ever last one of them perform in front of? I hear it said that it is because that 2% of the electorate is concentrated in important electoral college states. Have you ever noticed that neither party wants to abolish the electoral college? Even after the 2000 and 2004 election robberies, the democrats are happy as the day as long with the present “system.”
So fret over the pageant called the Presidential election. But if there is ever going to be real reform, it begins with One Person-One Vote. Now that is change I can believe in.

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By Ed Harges, August 1, 2008 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

re: By Tony Wicher, August 1 at 8:09 am:

I’m only saying the difference is sometimes overstated. I’m not saying the difference doesn’t exist. I think many “liberal” Jews in fact espouse internally contradictory positions and attitudes. The neocons try to resolve the contradiction between Jewish nationalism and traditional Jewish liberalism by more or less jettisoning the liberal tradition. But a lot of other Jews simply try to ignore the belligerent implications of some of their opinions, continuing to believe themselves liberal and antiwar. For example, most American Jews support the complete Israeli takeover of Jerusalem. This position simply cannot be squared with their supposed liberalism.

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By Tony Wicher, August 1, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

By Ed Harges, August 1 at 6:39 am #


Here’s more evidence that some Jewish liberals are trying to fool themselves, imagining that they are more different from the neoconservatives than they really are:

Joe Klein at Time magazine has gotten in trouble recently for writing about how the “Jewish neoconservatives” (his phrase) like Joe Lieberman led the campaign for a US invasion of Iraq, and that they did so for the benefit of Israel and no other reason. And he’s pointing out that these are the same people now driving us into an even more disastrous war against Iran, also solely for Israel’s benefit.

He’s right, of course, but he’s also suffering from selective amnesia. He has claimed in a recent Atlantic interview that he himself did not support the US invasion of Iraq. He’s trying to say it was just those “other Jews”, those neocons whose views are so very different from the majority of American Jews, liberals like Joe Klein.

But in fact, Joe Klein DID support the Iraq war. He may not be a true neoconservative, but he previously signed onto a lot of their thinking, a fact which he now wishes to forget. And he adopted their views and talking points for the same reason: he believed this policy would benefit Israel.
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Ed,

Hm, I wonder if you can be reasonable on this subject?

Jews have historically voted 75-80% Democratic. For historical reasons there is a very strong identification between many if not most Jewish Americans and Israel. Continued American support for Israel is very important to them. Some of these are Jewish nationalists for whom Jewish power and Jewish self-defense are more important than human rights. These are the hard-core Zionists. On the other hand, many Jews are anti-war and very strong believers in human rights. These folks would like to find a way to support both Israel and the human rights of Palestinians. These are such people as Rabbi Michael Lerner of the Network or Spiritual Progressives or peace activist Uri Avnery. Then there are some who don’t believe that a Jewish state is compatible with univeral democratic principles and recommend transformation of Israel into a multicultural democracy, the “One Democratic State” solution. These are Jews such as Tony Karon of “The Rootless Cosmopolitan” (http://www.tonykaron.com). I myself favor this approach.

Strong Jewish nationalists have been moving over to the Republican party. I think Obama should let them go while attempting to hold onto the less nationalistic, progressive Jews. This will create a split in the Jewish community which I think is very desireable, because they will not be seen as a monolithic block of “Israel Firsters”, more loyal to Israel than the U.S., as anti-Semites are always saying. Let the “Israel Firsters” join the oil imperialists and weapons makers and neocons over in the Republican party. The way to hang onto the rest of the Jewish vote at this time is for Obama and the Democratic Party to align itself with people like Lerner and Avnery.

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By Tony Wicher, August 1, 2008 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

Re KPinSEA, August 1 at 7:15 am #


beerdoctor, et al., I’ll tell you why Obama’s policy stands that differ from mine won’t have me voting Nader.

Because I’m not voting for perfection, I’m voting for who comes *closer* to my positions on policy.  You want change, a throwaway vote on an ego-nut like Nader won’t achieve it.  You only get that change by getting third-party candidates into office in your city, your county, your state, and ultimately your U.S. Congress.

In the meantime, while choosing a President, I have to ask myself “Who will appoint Supreme Court justices I’m more comfortable with?  Who is more likely to at least listen to progressive issues brought out of Congress?”

I’m voting for President, not Saint ... I’m all in favor of fighting the long, hard fight to reform the stale two-party porkfest that Congress has become, but a throwaway vote that helps put McSame in office, that just doesn’t do it for me.
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KPinSEA,

Nice post. This is sheer common sense.

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By Max Shields, August 1, 2008 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

By KPinSEA, August 1 at 7:15 am #


All due respect, I know I’m not, and I suspect most others here are not voting for a “saint”.

That’s a strawman argument. Deal with the issues presented first, if you want to address those who have posted rather than making up your own narrative (which are the general status quo talking point of lesser evil).

As far as fighting the fight to change the party, knock yourself out. It’s like gravity, it don’t work that way, never has nor will. But you’re surely welcome to go for it.

The energy for change needs to be away from this duopoly and a deeper look at how we can transform what we’ve become into an equal world partner and one with an economy that’s in harmony with that notion. Much of that, I think, needs to start local and bridge outward. In otherwords, NOT top down.

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By KPinSEA, August 1, 2008 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

beerdoctor, et al., I’ll tell you why Obama’s policy stands that differ from mine won’t have me voting Nader.

Because I’m not voting for perfection, I’m voting for who comes *closer* to my positions on policy.  You want change, a throwaway vote on an ego-nut like Nader won’t achieve it.  You only get that change by getting third-party candidates into office in your city, your county, your state, and ultimately your U.S. Congress.

In the meantime, while choosing a President, I have to ask myself “Who will appoint Supreme Court justices I’m more comfortable with?  Who is more likely to at least listen to progressive issues brought out of Congress?”

I’m voting for President, not Saint ... I’m all in favor of fighting the long, hard fight to reform the stale two-party porkfest that Congress has become, but a throwaway vote that helps put McSame in office, that just doesn’t do it for me.

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By Max Shields, August 1, 2008 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

My point is that necons (despite their monocure) play both sides of the partisan fence and grew out of the Dem party not the Repug party. They are buried in the Clinton admin (think Dennis Ross for starters). where they may be more aligned to AIPAC and not William Kristol. The net result is basically the same. But to be sure, neocons float around in a number of thinktanks with lots of funding and deep connections to power within both parties. And again, their roots in the US political system are with the Dem party, though they’ve found a home in the Reagan and GWB admins. more recently.

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By Max Shields, August 1, 2008 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor
“The Obama train is determined to give the Illinois Senator power, and they will rationalize all the right wing garbage he says… from lecturing black men about the responsibilities of fatherhood, to increasing the military budget for greater lethality, to taking the war on terror to their terrorist home turf (Afghanistan, Pakistan)… and it will be explained to us peasants that he is a nuanced leader, a constitutional lawyer and scholar. And if that don’t do it: he is a very smart guy.
It was one of the Berrigan brothers who said that if voting made any difference they would have made it illegal. But if you do vote, vote with your conscience. The evil of two lessers is just not good enough.”

Nicely said.

It’s interesting how history repeats. In the early 20th Century, a professor and president of Princton became POTUS. He ran on a non-interventionist/anti-war platform to keep the US out of the most horrific and meaningless war to that time - WWI. That prez was none other than Dem “progressive” Woodrow Wilson. In the run up to that war the constititution was totally foresaken, people of German heretige were routinely round and lynched, newspapers and letter were confiscated. The US Postal Service literally shut down the Progressive and Socialist parties through the latter action authorized by the administration. Eugene Debbs was thrown in prison FOR YEARS along with many many other US citizens for nothing more than being against entry into WWI.

Woodrow Wilson provided the philosphical underpinnings for what we call neocons today, many of whom have deep ties to the Dem Party - think Scoop Jackson. Wilson was that great “scholar” who turned out to be a militarist with an agenda for US dominance on the world stage. Military interventionism cloaked in the superior notion of American Manifest Destiny, principled on the Monroe Doctrine has been our underlying foreign policy, regardless of Dems or Repugs ever since.

It is an evil dark side of Americanism. McCain and Obama have come through that system and are foisted through mass media propaganda as faux choices. Wilson was the great scholar and progressive who dismantled democracy as it had been prior to his election (it may have been his second term). No, GWB has done NOTHING that has not a precedence in both the Dem and Repug regimes. Even torture is part and parcel of US foreign policy, frequently carried out by US trained proxies.

This system rots to the core. This election is about war and empire and its continuation. And whether its a youngish brown man or and oldish white man, the story is exactly the same.

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By Ed Harges, August 1, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Here’s more evidence that some Jewish liberals are trying to fool themselves, imagining that they are more different from the neoconservatives than they really are:

Joe Klein at Time magazine has gotten in trouble recently for writing about how the “Jewish neoconservatives” (his phrase) like Joe Lieberman led the campaign for a US invasion of Iraq, and that they did so for the benefit of Israel and no other reason. And he’s pointing out that these are the same people now driving us into an even more disastrous war against Iran, also solely for Israel’s benefit.

He’s right, of course, but he’s also suffering from selective amnesia. He has claimed in a recent Atlantic interview that he himself did not support the US invasion of Iraq. He’s trying to say it was just those “other Jews”, those neocons whose views are so very different from the majority of American Jews, liberals like Joe Klein.

But in fact, Joe Klein DID support the Iraq war. He may not be a true neoconservative, but he previously signed onto a lot of their thinking, a fact which he now wishes to forget. And he adopted their views and talking points for the same reason: he believed this policy would benefit Israel.

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By Ed Harges, August 1, 2008 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Since the neocons are now so widely despised, it has become fashionable among Jewish liberals to emphasize that the views of most American Jews are more liberal than those of the neoconservatives.

Well, their not really as different as sometimes claimed.

When it comes to Israel/Palestine, American Jews are much closer than liberals in general to the views of the neocons. For example, the majority of American Jews support the total Israeli takeover of Jerusalem.

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By AS, August 1, 2008 at 6:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

On July 24, 2008 op-ed columnist for the New York Times, Mr. NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, wrote a column titled “Tough Love for Israel?;” it elicited more than six hundred comments.

I believe that my comment to Mr. Kristof’s column is also applicable to the today’s column written by Mr Boyarsky, and for that reason, I am repeating it here:

Mr. Kristof says that “…Barack Obama gave ritual affirmations of his support for Israeli policy, but what Israel needs from America isn’t more love, but tougher love.”
For better or worse, Mr. Obama has also been said to be “one of the most talented politicians in recent memory…” As such, Mr. Obama could not possibly be expected to ignore the fact that “The Washington Post once estimated that Democratic Presidential Candidates depend on (pro-Israel) American supporters to supply as much as 60% of money raised from private sources…”
Hence, according to the 2007 “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” book (page 156), authored by JJ Mearsheimer & SM Walt,  “If you are a (US presidential) candidate and you get the pro-Israel label from AIPAC, the money will start coming in from contributors all over the country…”

Unfortunately, huge amounts of money, rather than “tougher love” for any issue, is needed to win the presidential election in the USA, and Mr. Obama apparently knows that. AS

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By thebeerdoctor, August 1, 2008 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

re: Max Shields

Max, you know that our beloved cyrena is so far in the tank with the O train, she will use any verbal wiggle she can find to justify the smart guy candidate. It is just her agenda. I have complained about her insults, which I suppose is an expression of frustration, because sometimes it appears to her that she is taking on the entire world! From one humble truthdigger to another, peace.

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By Max Shields, August 1, 2008 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

“Actually Max, it IS like HELL in Darfur, if any place can be even worse than the West Bank, let me assure you that Darfur absolutely IS a genuine mass slaughter genocide, ON-GOING, which the current administration has chosen to completely ignore.”


The daily killing of Palestinians over decades makes it clearly one of the most treacherous acts against humanity since the Second World War.

Sudan is a complex mix of water/land access conflict and civil war which is substantially different than what is happening by one state (Israel) to the imprisonment through a msssive wall of over a million people. There is no attempt to eliminate a give tribe or people (which is the legal (not in legal terms) definition). The UN has made that very clear.

Calling what is happening in Darfur is clearly for propaganda purposes and has been the term pushed by the Israel/US regimes. The killing in the Congo is by far more serve and would/should be considered a genocide. But why doesn’t the US care about that? Dig, cyrena.

Since the US is in Iraq where over a million have been killed due to US invasion and occupation I think we’ve got the blood on our hands (btw Darfur doesn’t come close to the deaths in Iraq, not to mention millions of refugees created; and that doesn’t count Afghanistan, Obama’s “good war” that he’ll escalate).

Israel has been one of the prime advocates for intervening into Darfur. Should ask yourself why the US and Israel, the two most complicit warmongers in the region/world, think Darfur is where the problem is when the blood and destruction is coming from both of these states on civilian peoples on a daily basis.

That’s my point.

So, you can glibly talk about how this is more than that all you want. But that’s all it is, talk.

Until you’ve actually shown that you’ve done some homework, I’ll disregard responding to your posts which are riddled with insult and ignorance.

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By Outraged, August 1, 2008 at 3:03 am Link to this comment

Re: beerdoctor

Well put. I concur.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 1, 2008 at 2:52 am Link to this comment

Since I am avoiding the mud puddle (hey, haven’t we all been through this movie before?) I will only say, from reading these posts that there is a group of thoughtful folks who are not only disturbed by Senator Obama’s positions on many issues, but also feel that the people and organizations who jumped aboard his campaign train have abandoned their core values and principles, for the sake of political expediency. This is why Chris Hedges told Brian Lamb that he would vote for Ralph Nader, because he could not support anyone who is not calling for an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq. This is the moral position that so many who claim to be progressive now ridicule in their zeal for their candidate. It seems there is little time or patience for those who truly question authority. The Obama train is determined to give the Illinois Senator power, and they will rationalize all the right wing garbage he says… from lecturing black men about the responsibilities of fatherhood, to increasing the military budget for greater lethality, to taking the war on terror to their terrorist home turf (Afghanistan, Pakistan)... and it will be explained to us peasants that he is a nuanced leader, a constitutional lawyer and scholar. And if that don’t do it: he is a very smart guy.
It was one of the Berrigan brothers who said that if voting made any difference they would have made it illegal. But if you do vote, vote with your conscience. The evil of two lessers is just not good enough.

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By Outraged, August 1, 2008 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

Re: Cyrena

Your comment: “I’ve read the speech, and as perceptually distasteful as it may be”

> Yes.. It was “distasteful”, although PERSONALLY, I find it more than “distasteful”.  In this regard, I do have to question your use of the word “PERCEPTIONALLY”, especially when added to the word “distasteful”, say what you will, but I for one cannot distinquish between “perceptionally distasteful” and simply “distasteful”, although if you can, I guess that’s your perogative.

Your comment: ” He didn’t take the ‘opportunity’ in speaking to this group of AMERICAN Jews, to give them a tongue lashing about the behavior of their fellow Jews in Israel, regarding the 60 year-old despicable treatment of the Palestinians.

> Exactly, he didn’t.  Yet, WE KNOW this is not the majority of Jews in America who feel this way about the situation.  What was it….?  2%, or 4% or what was that….?  Is it that MOST do not agree, yet they too are being sidelined with this superflous “speak” and position.


Your comment: “That would have accomplished, exactly…WHAT?”

It would have told ALL of America, and in fact the WORLD, that Obama hears them and cares about the issues that concern the MAJORITY.

Your comment: “Like I said, I think Obama is an enigma, and that his plan is simply not one that a whole lot of folks can absorb.”

> I do not see ANYONE as an ENIGMA.  Irregardless, I feel content that I “absorb” most things for what they are.  I don’t always get everything right, but I’m confident that my integrity will be realized “in the end”.


Your comment: “Be that as it may, he DID deliver this speech, (it wasn’t a clone) so he has to own it, and that’s that.”

>Yes, it is.

Your comment: “So, I’m used to being criticized for taking a path or a technique that ‘seems’ to be the wrong direction to others.”

> Touche’

I’ll quit.  I could go on, but I prefer not to go tit for tat.  If you feel strongly in your assertation of the situation, you should proceed.  But I assess the situation very differently, and will proceed in the course I too, see best.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2008 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

Outraged,

Your comment here:

•  “I can agree that the U.S. has put itself in this position, however that doesn’t mean that one has to keep going on and on and on with it.  Yet, this is the position Obama has taken.  Such as these from his speech to AIPAC..

I’ve read the speech, and as perceptually distasteful as it may be to many, I don’t personally believe that this is ‘the position Obama has taken’. Fact of the matter is, I don’t think most folks KNOW the position that Obama has taken.

And, while we could discuss from now until the end of time, what he ‘SHOULD’ have said..he didn’t. He didn’t take the ‘opportunity’ in speaking to this group of AMERICAN Jews, to give them a tongue lashing about the behavior of their fellow Jews in Israel, regarding the 60 year-old despicable treatment of the Palestinians.

This is *not* a departure from Barack Obama the professor of constitutional and civil rights law, who generally posed provocative issues to force people to think for themselves, through critical issues. It’s CLEARLY not a departure for any US politician who needs to get the job, before he can accomplish anything.

Based on THOSE realities, it probably was NOT the time that he ‘should’ have lectured that particular crowd, about the evil behaviors of their brethren.

That would have accomplished, exactly…WHAT?

I also don’t believe that Obama wrote that speech, since I’m familiar with his oratorical style, and the general theme of his content. It’s basically pretty consistent, and yes…very professorial. This was definitely NOT his regular stuff.

Be that as it may, he DID deliver this speech, (it wasn’t a clone) so he has to own it, and that’s that.

The speech doesn’t change your own basic points, and I’m convinced that Obama shares YOUR position, (which is similar to my own long held opinions on the conflict) far more than the position that you’ve perceived. Like I said, I think Obama is an enigma, and that his plan is simply not one that a whole lot of folks can absorb. He also keeps his hand very close to his vest, at least in terms of what he can or cannot reasonably accomplish, at any given point in the sequence.

Maybe I cut him more slack than I would with others, (though I like to think not) based on my own personal experiences at being consistently misunderstood or otherwise criticized while I’m trying to get something done that requires some patience, and an acceptance of the fact that my own ‘power’ is limited by conditions of reality, unless I can find a way to utilize those very conditions of reality (and the consequences) to achieve the preferable result.

So, I’m used to being criticized for taking a path or a technique that ‘seems’ to be the wrong direction to others. And generally, I don’t have time to explain what I’m doing, when I’m doing it. In some cases, it wouldn’t make any difference if I did try to explain it, and in other cases, it would really blow the entire effort if I did. In an equal number of cases, even *I’m* not so certain how it’s all gonna work out. But as a general rule, I trust my own judgment, at least as much or more as the next John or Jane Doe.

For now, I trust the basic path that I think Obama is on, if ONLY because I believe in the old adage that ‘a leopard never changes it’s spots’ and I’ve taken the time to familiarize myself with Obama’s fundamental ideologies, at least as far back as they are clearly evident.

Oh, I DO have some concerns about his planned operation for Afghanistan, despite the fact that he has always held that we should have finished that operation when it was begun, rather than outsourcing it to the Pakistanis, who are complicit in the very thing that he wants to eliminate. Even ZBig has voiced some concerns, maybe because he screwed up before. But I’m confident that Obama will listen to advice from multiple sources, and at the end of the day, make it his own decision, since he clearly has his own mind.

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By Outraged, July 31, 2008 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

ITW:

Your comment: “Did any of you bigot even READ what Obama said, much less read between the lines???? “As President I will have the US will support a moderate, negotiated settlement that gives each side something but neither side everything.  As long as that is happening we will be hands-off. I will NOT support a domination and dictation by one side or the other, nor will I support unfair dealings.” Obama couldn’t have said the plainer.”

> Yes, actually ITW, I read “between the lines” and those in glaring black and white.  The quotes directed to Cyrena are just as valid here.  I’m hoping you weren’t calling me a bigot, since I am not.  I do not look at Israel as a “jewish thing” anymore than I look at America as a “christian nation”.

The issue is not a “religious issue” anyway, that’s the excuse that is used to qualify the stealing of Palestinian land by Israel.

There is one simple FACT that is consistently ignored concerning this WHOLE ISSUE, and that is that, ALL of these people ARE human beings BEFORE they are jewish, muslim, or christian.  And until that simple reality is addressed, I could give a rat’s ass about anyone’s religious platitudes. THEY MEAN NOTHING, if you don’t FIRST know how to act like a civil human being. And stealing, lying and harming others certainly shows no adherence to what you profess.

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By Outraged, July 31, 2008 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment

Re: Cyrena

Your comment: “Can we pretty much just accept that Obama is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t, because the US has long ago put itself in the untenable position of Peace Maker, despite the fact that very few US leaders have actually put much genuine effort into resolving it?”

I can agree that the U.S. has put itself in this position, however that doesn’t mean that one has to keep going on and on and on with it.  Yet, this is the position Obama has taken.  Such as these from his speech to AIPAC:

“And I know that when I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends. Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow and forever….”

“...the bond between Israel and the United States is rooted in more than our shared national interests — it’s rooted in the shared values and shared stories of our people. And as president, I will work with you to ensure that this bond is strengthened….”

“....I have been proud to be a part of a strong, bipartisan consensus that has stood by Israel in the face of all threats. That is a commitment that both John McCain and I share, because support for Israel in this country goes beyond party. But part of our commitment must be speaking up when Israel’s security is at risk, and I don’t think any of us can be satisfied that America’s recent foreign policy has made Israel more secure…..”(apparently, we haven’t DONE NEARLY ENOUGH for Israel)

“...Israel’s quest for peace with its neighbors has stalled, despite the heavy burdens borne by the Israeli people.” (what might those be, I wonder)

“...That starts with ensuring Israel’s qualitative military advantage. I will ensure that Israel can defend itself from any threat — from Gaza to Tehran. Defense cooperation between the United States and Israel is a model of success, and must be deepened. As president, I will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade — investments to Israel’s security that will not be tied to any other nation…”

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91150432

> I could go on.  Obama should have condemned the treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israelis.  It is shameful.  I realize there are bad on both sides, what country doesn’t have its share of, to use a neocon phrase, “bad apples”.  But Obama’s UNMITIGATED SUPPORT for one side over the other certainly does not show a negotiating spirit OF ANY KIND.  Yet, before he cinched the nomination, most likely to hold his base, he sang a different tune.  And THAT to the level he has taken it, makes an enormous difference.

I don’t purport that ANYONE could just walk in and SOLVE the issue.  But endorsing, supporting financially and ARMING one side is certainly NOT the way to show your NEUTRALITY..!

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By cyrena, July 31, 2008 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

By Max Shields, July 31 at 12:24 pm

•  “..It’s like the cry to jump into Darfur - never mind the genocide in the West Bank, the real problem is over there in Sudan. Yea like hell!”

Actually Max, it IS like HELL in Darfur, if any place can be even worse than the West Bank, let me assure you that Darfur absolutely IS a genuine mass slaughter genocide, ON-GOING, which the current administration has chosen to completely ignore.

That said, I’ve long ago come to the conclusion that YOU could give less than a rat’s ass about what atrocities are taking place in the West Bank, or Gaza, (where things are even worse for Palestinians than the West Bank) because you’ve only highjacked this particular cause as part of your overall hate campaign against Obama. In fact, were he to lose his mind and become fanatically in favor of the Palestinians and aggressive toward Israel, you’d switch your own side.

~~~

By Outraged, July 31 at 10:33 am #
Obama’a comment: “But I think that how Israel and the Palestinians resolve the issue ... needs to be left up to the two parties.”
•  “Sure..and I’d agree EXCEPT, Israel is stealing land that is NOT THEIRS, literally running Palestinians out of their own homes. Have corraled the Palestinians into this “outdoor prison” as it’s been called. On top of that, the Palestinians don’t have the nukes and firepower that Israel does.  So when each side arrives at the “negotiation table” one side KNOWS it’s a scam. “
You’re certainly correct in your assessment here Outraged, and I’d say that after 40 years, anybody who is gonna know this, (or cares enough to familiarize themselves with it) already KNOWS it. So, are you suggesting that Obama is under some obligation to hold a different position than the one that would prefer to see the two parties work it out themselves?
Can we pretty much just accept that Obama is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t, because the US has long ago put itself in the untenable position of Peace Maker, despite the fact that very few US leaders have actually put much genuine effort into resolving it? Some accuse Bill Clinton of being “The Lawyer for the Israelis”. Yet, I’ve heard multiple Arab Americans and other Arabs of the Middle East tell me that his input made all the difference in the world. They are Egyptians, Jordanians, and Lebanese. There are probably an equal number of Egyptians, Jordanians, and Lebanese who feel quite the opposite.
And then, there’s US! Yep…that would be those 300 plus Americans, many of whom share these very serious concerns about the Israel/Palestine conflict, who ALSO care just as much, (maybe more if we can be allowed that) about the issues concerning us here at home. I’m one who does not plan to elect a president based only upon his foreign policy, and I’m perfectly fine with Obama maintaining the position that allows for these parties to resolve their OWN CONFLICT, as long as the US is not providing continued ideological or other support to what is well established in that conflict as the greater power…Israel.
Does even a tiny fraction of the history of the US in the Middle East not prove how meddling in the affairs of others is disastrous? Does not the WORLD body have some responsibility for providing some assistance in that conflict? Does it HAVE to always be US, and oftentimes to the detriment of our own?

This is old shit, and as I’ve mentioned on other posts, there IS no ‘right position’ for Obama in this, aside from the one that he’s already taken, because those who will NOT VOTE FOR HIM ANYWAY, will use this as an excuse, regardless of which side (Israel or Palestine) they are on.

Overwhelmingly, most of those posters have made their reading of what Obama says, very, very, selective.

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By cyrena, July 31, 2008 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

This is perfect. My guess is that I’m not the only reader, and average American citizen with no emotionally *personal* ties to the Israel/Palestine conflict, who none-the-less continues to maintain a sincere interest in having the conflict resolved. For those of us in that ideological space, this presents a clear-cut view of the reality of how this conflict affects THE REST OF THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE, and puts it in proper (or at least realistic) perspective.

One of those realities is that while only a mere 2% of the population, the Jewish American Community DOES exercise their vote, and they DO happen to be mostly democrats. (the neo-Con/AIPAC crowd is probably NOT overwhelmingly democrat, but those would be some interesting statistics to check)  Those are the realities whether we like it or not.

That’s why THIS is of critical importance, in reference to Obama’s chance to lead ALL of us (that 300 million plus citizenry of the US) back from the brink of the fatal crash/burn.

•  “..“People were impressed with his depth of knowledge and grasp of subtlety and nuance,” Levine said.”

Well, so am I. (impressed with these same talents that Sen Obama has displayed, and long before he was a senator or a candidate for president). But, there is no doubt another population/community of the US electorate who is as furious with him as are the die-hards that Bill Boyarsky mentions here:

•  “…A minority of American Jews, the extreme hawks, reject negotiations with the Palestinians or with the neighboring Arab state of Syria. They want a huge increase in Israeli settlements and don’t care what happens to the Palestinians displaced by them…”

And yes, I DO believe them to be a minority, along with the neo-Cons, not all of whom are even Jews.

HOWEVER,  there is the same ‘extreme’ mentality among a minority of Palestinian and/or other Arab Americans, who have decided that Obama has become their nemesis, because his grasp of subtlety and nuance has been *perceived*  or more likely MIS-perceived by them as a personal betrayal on the part of Obama, in addressing THEIR side of the conflict.

In fact, this far more neutral and reality based piece by Mr. Boyarsky makes for an excellent prompt to indicate the portion of the Palestinian American community who feel this betrayal, as expressed in a piece by Ali Abunimah posted at huffpo.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-abunimah/what-obama-missed-in-the_b_114617.html

So, while Mr. Abunimah uses the above post to criticize Obama for what he claims he ‘missed’ during his recent visit. I would suggest that Mr. Abunimah ‘misses’ the political realities of the US electorate. Specifically, he misses that the majority of the US voting population is either totally unaware of, or unconcerned with, this conflict.

That said, this is still a major criticism that has been hijacked by many who have no *genuine* interest in seeing that conflict resolved, , but who ARE extraordinarily motivated, to smear and/or otherwise blackball Barack Obama. (no pun intended). 

Meantime, there continues to be the rather remarkable paradox of the criticism that comes from both the die-hard Jewish American element, who blame Obama or otherwise attempt to ‘smear’ him for his long term association with the Palestinian and Arab community, and that same Community of Arabs and Palestinians who are now condemning him for what they perceive as some ‘favoritism’ toward the Jewish American community and Israel.

With *these* folks, the guy catches it from both ends. The reality is that even combined, they simply do not speak for the entire US population. And at the end of the day, we’ll have to decide what is best for the US population.

My own opinion makes that a given, leaving Obama as the only sane choice.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 31, 2008 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Same old shit from the same old deaf Jew-haters including on nazi bold enough to call himself “Naz”.  Did any of you bigot even READ what Obama said, much less read between the lines???? “As President I will have the US will support a moderate, negotiated settlement that gives each side something but neither side everything.  As long as that is happening we will be hands-off. I will NOT support a
domination and dictation by one side or the other, nor will I support unfair dealings.”  Obama couldn’t have said the plainer.

Obama is also showing the US and the world what it will be like to have, again, a President who understands Foreign Relations and diplomacy…Remember when he was running for office George W. Bush didn’t have a f***ing clue who Parvis Mushariff was?


I’m just waiting for you all to start chanting “Nuke Israel, Nuke Israel!”

As if that would solve ANYTHING in the Middle East.  If Israel wasn’t there they’d still all be at each other’s throats.  That’s the way it’s been for a couple of thousand years.

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By Genghis, July 31, 2008 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Boyarsky was an editor and columnist for the LA Times, the boss paper of LA. He is also a Zionist It is perfectly natural that he would sanitize Obama’s militarism and Israeli oppression. 

But it was Truthdig that made it a feature article.  It is consequently promoting the Zionism and militarism under a pseudo-progressive cover.  This is how the pseudo-progressive truth managers of newsletters pull the progressive consensus to the right.

Obama is currently triangulating the whole election, pretending to be for Change in rbetoric while promoting policies for war and an police state in practice.  He is obviously going to serve a third term of Bush, continuing Bushite policies under a progressive rhetoric.  And he is being supported by right wing progressives to do so.

Unless progressives combat these practices and free themselves of this kind of rightist denial, an ideological worldview will not emerge that can unite the progressive population.

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By Naz, July 31, 2008 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

This is the power of money at work. If you have enough money, you can be crazier than a loon but others, people in the highest of places, will grovel at your feet. Israel is a place where a rattlesnake wouldn’t choose to live, yet since Jews have so much money, they can commit genocide in order to live there and those in high places in the United States will help them.

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By particle61, July 31, 2008 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

with dems like these, who needs republicans?

hooray for clear thinking commenters here on this page-

I am struck by the level of abject bullsh*t that Obama, his starstruck obamatons, and so-called journalists (like boyarsky-who trashed their scruples and professionalism when they choose to become cheerleaders instead of reporters—see olbermann for an example of a disgusting pro-bama shill) buy into and purvey as we move forward toward an obama white house (with no investigations into bush crimes, no rescissions of the criminal presidential powers grabbed by the executive over the past years and “giving” Jerusalem to Israel)—

question- when will barry-o bomb Iran??

can’t wait for the change to come…

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By Max Shields, July 31, 2008 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

By Gehghis, July 31 at 9:24 am #

“This is a good example of the bullshit mainstream progressives feed into the progressive truth consensus to drive it to the rigtht.  Obama’s obeisence ot AIPAC and the Israel lobby is featured here as a ‘moderate’ stance and an attack on the Ziocons.”

Absolutely right. Makes you wonder about this author.

It’s like the cry to jump into Darfur - never mind the genocide in the West Bank, the real problem is over there in Sudan. Yea like hell!

But it reflects the whole Obamarama crap. It’s the deceipt and fraud that makes Obama despicable. And his spin doctors like the one who wrote this article is a perfect example….4 years of this????

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, July 31, 2008 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Obama’a comment: “But I think that how Israel and the Palestinians resolve the issue ... needs to be left up to the two parties.”

Sure..and I’d agree EXCEPT, Israel is stealing land that is NOT THEIRS, literally running Palestinians out of their own homes. Have corraled the Palestinians into this “outdoor prison” as it’s been called. On top of that, the Palestinians don’t have the nukes and firepower that Israel does.  So when each side arrives at the “negotiation table” one side KNOWS it’s a scam.

It’s still the same ol’ BS.  If Israel doesn’t get its way they immediately call foul and retaliate by witholding fuel and food from the Palestinians.  Israel thinks fair means an 80/20 split.

Anyone who has followed this issue even superficially IS STRUCK by the crimes of Israel whereas the Palestinians are concerned. 

Given the actually situation, to me Obama’s comment lends credibility to Israel’s “side” as if they aren’t engaging in outright murder.  By painting the picture that each side has to “bargain” and “give and take” is pandering to Israel.  What would this be for the Palestinians “a deal with the devil”....?

The intentions of Israel are blantantly obvious.  They simply intend to starve the Palestinians out then steal their land, they could care less how many Palestinians die.

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By Gehghis, July 31, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a good example of the bullshit mainstream progressives feed into the progressive truth consensus to drive it to the rigtht.  Obama’s obeisence ot AIPAC and the Israel lobby is featured here as a ‘moderate’ stance and an attack on the Ziocons. 

Just as Dem leaders operative and largely secretly support Bushite polices and puclically proclain they are progressives, so the progressive truth cosnensus is polluted with conservative policies uder the guise of ‘realism.’

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By P. T., July 31, 2008 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Obama talked about the wrong wall.  The Berlin Wall is down.

He needed to talk about the illegal wall through the West Bank.  If Israel wants to build a wall, it has the right.  But it has to be built on its legal border.  Obama never mentioned the matter.

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By webbedouin, July 31, 2008 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

One would think that if sucking up to the Zionists, Likud & AIPAC would result in peace, it would have happened years ago.  Perhaps another direction might be in order.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, July 31, 2008 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

I am not going to go into this mud puddle again. I will only say that if 2% of the population can have that much influence because of the electoral college, I advocate a one person-one vote election process that abolishes the electoral college completely.

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By Marc Schlee, July 31, 2008 at 3:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More Kool-Aid, Mr. Obama?

FREE AMERICA

DIRECT DEMOCRACY

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