| Quislings Out: Palestinian lost opportunities!

Palestinian lost opportunities ~ Jamal KanjRedress Information & Analysis.

Unlike stealing land for Jews-only homes, joining UN organizations – a symbol of international harmony – could not be counterproductive to peace negotiations.

Just over a week ago Palestine had a chance to cast its first vote at the UN General Assembly, appointing a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas first submitted the UN membership application on 23 September 2011. The vote was delayed for a year, providing time for the Obama administration to persuade Israel to cease construction of the illegal Jews-only colonies on occupied Palestinian land.

On 29 November 2012, and after a year lost, the international community overwhelmingly granted seat number 194 to Palestine as a non-member observer state at the UN General Assembly. But what did that mean? For the last year it meant naught.

The Palestinian leadership was forced to backpedal, agreeing last summer to negotiate over the “pie” while Israel continues gulping it.

By now the negotiation has reached almost halfway mark and the talks haven’t moved an iota under the guidance of the US appointed former AIPAC’s employee.

The US even acceded to Israeli conditions, limiting American participation to less than an observer and appointing Israel firster Martin Indyk as the US special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Indyk was deputy research director for the strongest foreign lobby, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in the 1980s, and was the first ever US ambassador to have his security clearance suspended while serving in Tel Aviv. According to American mediators, the Palestinians promised to freeze efforts to join UN organizations, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), during the nine months negotiation schedule. By now the negotiation has reached almost halfway mark and the talks haven’t moved an iota under the guidance of the US appointed former AIPAC’s employee.

As part of the deal, Israel agreed to release around 100 Palestinian prisoners. To secure continued Palestinian participation in this futile exercise, Israel decided to release the prisoners in four or five groups. Each release has been pre-empted by an announcement of more illegal Jews-only homes.

Israel is holding the prisoners hostage to force Palestinians to stay the course for the nine months sham public relation exercise, thereby gaining more time to build Jews-only colonies and making it that much more difficult to reach an amicable outcome at the negotiation table.

To paraphrase Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, the Palestinian leadership has never lost an opportunity to lose an opportunity to hold Israel accountable for its flagrant violations of international law.

Since its ascendance to the new status a year ago, the government of Palestine has not taken full advantage of its membership, instead contenting itself with meaningless, timid international condemnations of Israel’s intransigence.

To paraphrase Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, the Palestinian leadership has never lost an opportunity to lose an opportunity to hold Israel accountable for its flagrant violations of international law.

A case in point: earlier this month an independent Swiss laboratory identified Polonium-210 as the cause of Yasser Arafat’s death and, whereas Israel was a country with the motive and the proven capability to produce the radioactive substance, since Palestine was not a member in the world court, the Swiss findings were dead on arrival.

In 2009 the Palestinian Authority failed to pursue a UN Human Rights Council investigation – the Goldstone report  which accused Israel of war crimes for targeting civilians in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009. In 2004, ICJ found Israel’s separation wall and associated regime unlawful. This is a ruling that remained locked in the court’s cabinets.

The Palestinian leadership has been very successful at condemning Israel and investigating its crimes, but chronically fails to take advantage of its diplomatic gains, eviscerating international findings of any value.

There is no guarantee that Palestine’s application membership of the ICJ would not face strong opposition, but waiting for another futile US/Israeli public relation exercise before joining the court is a great political blunder.

Unlike stealing land for Jews-only homes, joining UN organizations – a symbol of international harmony – could not be counterproductive to peace negotiations.

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| Strawman: Former UK foreign minister hits back at Israeli “anti-Semitism” smear!

Former UK foreign minister hits back at Israeli “anti-Semitism” smear ~

Asa Winstanley, electronicIntifada.net, BLOGS » LOBBY WATCH.

Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said today there was “no justification whatever” for Israeli reports he had made anti-Semitic comments last week.

Several Israeli news sources reported the claims of former Knesset member Einat Wilf on her Facebook page that Straw had talked of “ ‘unlimited’ funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee] in the US.”

Her claim made it into Israeli paper Haaretzyesterday, spun with the headline: “Ex-UK FM: Jewish money biggest obstacle to Mideast peace.”

In a statement emailed to The Electronic Intifada by a spokesperson, Straw said:

“There have been reports that [Wilf] claimed I had embarked upon an “anti-Semitic rant,” I note that she did not use that term in her Facebook posting, although she is reported as saying that my remarks, “reflect prejudice of the worst kind.

In any event there is no justification whatever for such claims, arising from my remarks at this seminar, or on any other occasion.

I am not remotely anti-Semitic. Quite the reverse. I have all my life strongly supported the State of Israel, and its right to live in peace and security.”

Straw’s statement

In the statement, Straw said that at the meeting on Tuesday he had “pointed out that Prime Minister Netanyahu was a player in domestic US politics, on the Republican side, and that under US political funding rules (or their absence) huge sums were spent by AIPAC in support of some elected politicians (or candidates), and against others.”

Straw contrasted this with “the rules in the UK, where spending is tightly controlled” saying that he talked about AIPAC in his memoir, which “quoted from the critical study … by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.”

He also had condemned illegal Israeli settlements: “I said that this amounted to ‘theft’ of Palestinians’ land … the EU needed to take a tougher stand on this (and on the related issue of goods exported from the Occupied Territories by Israelis).”

Straw also addressed Germany’ position on settlements:

one of the difficulties in gaining EU agreement for this [tougher stand] has, in the past, been the attitude of Germany, who for understandable reasons have been reluctant to be out of line with the government of Israel. That said, I think I noted that the EU’s attitude had changed, and there are now restrictions imposed by the EU on goods from the settlements.

Straw’s statement concludes:

None of this is “anti-Semitic.” There are plenty of people in Israel who take a similar view to me – not least (as I do) because they believe that the current approach of the government of Israel will weaken the position of the state of Israel in the medium and long-term.

Einat Wilf

The comments in question were made in a meeting room in the British Parliament on 22 October, at a roundtable organized by the Global Diplomatic Forum which Straw and Wilf both addressed. The Palestinian Authority’s ambassador in London Manuel Hassassianalso shared the platform.

A spokesperson for the Forum told me today that Parliamentary rules meant that no video or audio recording of the event was taken. She said that the Froum would publish its usual report on the event by Wednesday (although it would not be a verbatim transcript).

Einat Wilf is a former member of parliament for Israel’s Labor party, and for its right-wing “Independence” faction (split from Labor by suspected war criminal Ehud Barak until it failed to contest the last elections).

She is also on the board of NGO Monitor, a propaganda group well-known for its anti-Palestinian advocacy.

Since leaving the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) Wilf has focused on Israeli propaganda efforts overseas. While she was still an MK she told The Jerusalem Post that she saw such efforts as a “battle”:

the arena is no longer the Sinai Desert or international terrorism, but has moved to international forums: courts and the new media … we have not gone sufficiently on the offense in terms of agenda … we don’t come up with our own initiatives.

Was this accusation Wilf’s idea of such a PR “initiative”?

She backed up her Facebook accusation against Straw on her website and in comments to Ynetnews.com yesterday. In the same article, she also made an anti-Palestinian comment:

We’re used to hearing groundless accusations from Palestinian envoys but I thought British diplomats, including former ones, were still capable of a measure of rational thought.

Out of the Haartez, Ynet, The Times of Israel and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (whoseinitial report some of the others drew on), none appear to have bothered to approach Straw for comment.

Jack Straw.

(Wikipedia)

Weak EU

Straw’s fairly timid comments against Israeli settlements fits a growing pattern of European Union political figures making incredibly mild comments against limited aspects of Israel’s occupation policies and still being jumped on by Israeli propagandists like Wilf.

It is no surprise that Wilf does not like it when the the very real influence of AIPAC is raised in public fora. According to Haaretz, Wilf has worked very closely with AIPAC in the past, specifically as part of her campaign against the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Jack Straw was the UK’s foreign secretary under former prime minister and suspected war criminal Tony Blair, including during the infamous illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. That claimed the lives of over a million people in the invasion and associated civil war.

The consequences of that war are still being felt by Iraqis on an almost daily basis. A new deadly wave of sectarian bombings killed 55 Iraqis this weekend.

After a long and successful career in the Labor party, Straw recently announced that he would step down as a member of Parliament at the next election.

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Zio Mafia

| Barbara Boxer + AIPAC seek to codify Israel’s ‘right’ to discriminate against Americans!

Barbara Boxer, AIPAC seek to codify Israel’s right to discriminate against Americans ~ guardian.co.uk.

A bill introduced by the California Democrat would uniquely exempt Israel from long-standing requirements imposed on all other nations.

Barbara Boxer,  the chair of the Senate environment and public works committee

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer introduces an Aipac-favored bill that would allow Israel, uniquely among all countries, to discriminate against Americans of Arab descent Photograph: Joe Marquette/EPA

(updated below – Update II)

In order for the US to permit citizens of a foreign country to enter the US without a visa, that country must agree to certain conditions. Chief among them is reciprocity: that country must allow Americans to enter without a visa as well. There are 37 countries which have been permitted entrance into America’s “visa wavier” program, and all of them – all 37 – reciprocate by allowing American citizens to enter their country without a visa.

The American-Israeli Political Action Committee (Aipac) is now pushing legislation that would allow Israel to enter this program, so that Israelis can enter the US without a visa. But as JTA’s Ron Kampeas reports, there is one serious impediment: Israel has a practice of routinely refusing to allow Americans of Arab ethnicity or Muslim backgrounds to enter their country or the occupied territories it controls; it also bars those who are critical of Israeli actions or supportive of Palestinian rights. Israel refuses to relinquish this discriminatory practice of exclusion toward Americans, even as it seeks to enter the US’s visa-free program for the benefit of Israeli citizens.

As a result, at the behest of Aipac, Democrat Barbara Boxer, joined by Republican Roy Blunt, has introduced a bill that would provide for Israel’s membership in the program while vesting it with a right that no other country in this program has: namely, the right to exclude selected Americans from this visa-free right of entrance. In other words, the bill sponsored by these American senators would exempt Israel from a requirement that applies to every other nation on the planet, for no reason other than to allow the Israeli government to engage in racial, ethnic and religious discrimination against US citizens. As Lara Friedman explained when the Senate bill was first introduced, it “takes the extraordinary step of seeking to change the current US law to create a special and unique exception for Israel in US immigration law.” In sum, it is as pure and blatant an example of prioritizing the interests of the Israeli government over the rights of US citizens as one can imagine, and it’s being pushed by Aipac and a cast of bipartisan senators.

Israel’s religious- and ethnicity-based entrance exclusions of American citizens are so well-documented and pervasive that even the US State Department provides an official warning about it in its official travel advisory for Israel, noting:

Some US citizens holding Israeli nationality, possessing a Palestinian identity card, or of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank.”

Friedman notes that the bill is specifically designed to protect “Israel’s regular and arbitrary denial of entry to US citizens . . . in particular US citizens of Arab descent or US citizens viewed as sympathetic to the Palestinians”. As the former Director of the US Office of B’Tselem, Mitchell Plitnick, explained this week, concern over Israel’s discriminatory exclusions was heightened byIsrael’s refusal this January to allow an American teacher of Palestinian descent, Nour Joudah, to enter Israel to teach English in the West Bank despite her holding a valid visa. As Plitnick noted, “Israel, undoubtedly, is concerned that a reciprocal agreement would compromise its ability to bar not only Palestinian-Americans, but also pro-Palestinian activists, from entering the country.”

To accommodate this desire to discriminate, Boxer, Blunt and Aipac are now attempting to create a special exemption for Israel from the requirement to which all other countries are bound, and by which the US will be bound vis-a-vis Israelis. More amazingly, the only purpose of this exemption from these US senators would be to allow Israel to discriminate against the citizens of the country these senators are supposed to represent. As Mike Coogan of the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation wrote in the Hill this week, “given that Israel views the mere existence of Palestinians as a threat, the [Boxer/Aipac bill] would essentially codify Israel’s discrimination against Palestinian-, Muslim-, and Arab-Americans into US law.” Indeed, Aipac is not even attempting to pretend this exemption has a non-discriminatory purpose. He further explained:

According to off the record accounts, AIPAC officials told members of Congress that there would need to be flexibility on this legal requirement to accommodate Israel’s ongoing discrimination against Arab- and Muslim-Americans who attempt to travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

So brazen is this bill in the special favors it showers on Israel at the expense of American citizens that even normally loyal factions in Congress are balking. As Kampeas reported:

‘It’s stunning that you would give a green light to another country to violate the civil liberties of Americans traveling abroad,’ said a staffer for one leading pro-Israel lawmaker in the US House of Representatives.

Stunning indeed, but unfortunately far from surprising. Coogan similarly reported:

“Numerous public reports and off-the-record accounts from legislators and staff signaled that the brazenness and late release of the Israel lobby’s legislative demands blindsided both individual members and various committees. Provisions appeared tone deaf and legally problematic, even among Israel’s strongest supporters. . . .

“Behind closed doors, members of Congress and legal counsel alike balked at the idea that Israel be allowed in the program but remain exempt from the reciprocity requirement. Attorneys for both individual members and committees privately advised that complying with the request would be a flagrant violation of certain US laws barring discrimination, and would undermine the US government’s call for the equal protection of all its citizens traveling abroad.”

Apparently, none of that is a concern for Barbara Boxer, Roy Blunt or Aipac. Protecting the equal rights of their own country’s citizens quite obviously has little significance when weighed against the supreme mandate to serve the interests of the Israeli government. That’s not hyperbole: how else can this bill be fairly described?

The bill, formally named the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013, now has a total of 18 co-sponsors. That includes 9 Democrats and 9 Republicans, perfectly symbolizing how bipartisan is loyalty to Aipac on Capitol Hill. Besides Boxer, the bill’s chief sponsor, that list of co-sponsors includes such progressive favorites as Ron Wyden, Amy Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal, and Benjamin Cardin, as well as reflexive right-wing GOP Israel supporters such as John Cornyn and Saxby Chambliss. Perhaps most disgracefully, one of the co-sponsors is Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, whose state boasts a large Arab-American and Muslim-American population: exactly the people who would be targeted by this discrimination from a foreign government which she is seeking to legalize.

Coogan notes that, even with 18 co-sponsors in the Senate, the bill has attracted an unusually low level of support for an Aipac bill, which typically passes quickly and without much resistance. Plitnick says that “it certainly seems like AIPAC reached a little too far with this bill” and notes that Coogan’s reporting suggests “this is a sign that AIPAC’s grip on Congress might be weakening”. This all follows an article in the Forward suggesting that Aipac’s possible attempts to have Israeli aid uniquely protected from the budget cuts mandated by “sequestration” could “deprive aid to Israel of its broader support in the foreign aid community” by creating resentment in Congress and in the country generally.

Indeed, as AIPAC itself notes in touting Boxer’s Senate bill, it includes numerous other provisions to further bolster Israel’s special status vis-a-vis US policy. The bill begins by reciting the standard narrative favored by the Israeli government: “the Government of Iran continues to pose a grave threat to the region and the world at large with its reckless uranium enrichment program and defiance of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.” At a time when American citizens are facing severe budget cuts, the bill vows “to continue to provide Israel with robust security assistance”. The bill accomplishes its pro-discrimination goal by mandating Israel’s entrance into the visa-free program provided that Israel “has made every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all United States citizens'”. That is the special exemption that no other country in the program is permitted: Israel, alone in the world, is not required to reciprocate for US citizens but merely will make “every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all United States citizens.”

Despite the unusually tepid reaction in Congress, this fight is far from over. Aipac rarely if ever loses when it comes to bills they want Congress to enact. As Coogan notes, “even without a large number of co-sponsors, it could pass under unanimous consent or other rules used by members of Congress to stymie debate or give the impression that legislation has more support than is really the case.”

Aipac and its supporters have long expressed righteous outrage at suggestions that they prioritize Israeli interests over US interests and those of American citizens. Yet it is hard to imagine a clearer or purer example of exactly that behavior than this pernicious bill. If you’re a US politician finding yourself working to allow a foreign government to discriminate against your own fellow citizens – by vesting that foreign country with a right that no other country (including your own) has – then you’re essentially broadcasting to the world that the interests of that foreign government take precedence over your own and over the equal rights of your own fellow citizens.

UPDATE

Somewhat ironically, as Kampeas notes, what long kept Israel out of the US’s visa-free program were “concerns in Congress’ Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees that granting visa-free access to Israel’s Arab minority could pose a security risk to the United States.” So what had previously prevented this deal was that the US was long driven by the same discriminatory mindset that is now driving Israel: we want to keep Arabs out of our country! Notably, the Boxer/Aipac bill accommodates only the Israeli concern about Arabs in their country, but not the identical US concern, as they provide this discriminatory exemption right only to Israel but not to their own country.

UPDATE II

To illustrate how central the concept of reciprocity is in foreign relations (and to seize the opportunity to highlight a story I love so very much): on Friday, the US announced it was banning 18 Russian officials from entering the US due to human rights violations; today, Russia, in response, announced a list of 18 US officials banned from entering Russia due to their participation in the US torture regime, including David Addington, John Yoo, and two former commanding generals at Guantanamo. The Russians did not hide the fact that they were driven by one consideration only: the principle of reciprocity.

In 2004, the US began photographing and fingerprinting upon entry to the country the citizens of various countries, including Brazil; in response, aBrazilian court ordered the Brazilian government to begin photographing and fingerprinting US citizens entering Brazil. I recall quite well that a separate line was then created at all Brazilian airports under a huge sign that read: “for US citizens”, where all arriving Americans waited in a long line. It’s likely that the Brazilian government – which had no real interest in fingerprinting people – threw the fingerprints and photographs away. They did it for one reason: reciprocity.

This is the crucial, central principle which Barbara Boxer, Aipac and friends are discarding in order to benefit Israel. And what’s most amazing is that they are discarding it not to the benefit of their own country and its citizens, but rather to their disadvantage, in order to benefit a foreign country. What they are saying, in effect, is that they want to waive reciprocity so that Israeli citizens can be treated better than US citizens in relations between the two countries. It is hard to overstate just how extraordinary that is.

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DISCRIMINATION

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| Possible new CIA Director already compromised? Jane Harman + Israeli spying!

Possible New CIA Director Already Compromised? Jane Harman and Israeli Spying ~ Alison Weir, CounterPunchIF AMERICANS KNEW.

It is astounding to find that one of the handful of prospects being floated to become CIA director following the fall of General David Petraeus is a person reportedly implicated in a 2005 Israeli spy scandal.

CNNPolitico, and others have all listed former Congresswoman Jane Harman as a potential new CIA head. Oddly, however, none have mentioned reports in 2006 and again in 2009 that an NSA wiretap in 2005 had picked up Harman promising a suspected Israeli agent that she would aid people indicted for espionage on behalf of Israel.

According to reports, Harman allegedly told the Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two top officials for the powerful Israel lobby organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

In return, the suspected Israeli agent (who may have been a dual-citizen American) reportedly pledged to help lobby for Harman to become chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Harman was already the ranking Democrat on the committee.

Jane Harman speaks to Phoenix Aipac event

Jane Harman speaks to Phoenix Aipac event

At the end of the conversation, Harman reportedly said: “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

The two AIPAC officials had been indicted for illegally obtaining classified documents about Iran and passing these on to Israel. They also gave them to prominent Washington Post journalist Glenn Kessler, whose speaker bio lists three topics: “Global Affairs, Jewish Interest, Middle East Issues.” Kessler has“The Fact Checker” column at the Washington Post.

One of the indicted AIPAC officials has since defended himself by stating that his actions were routine for AIPAC – that AIPAC staffers regularly obtain and hand on classified U.S. information to Israel and others.

AIPAC, worried at public exposure caused by the indictments, fired the two men. Subsequentlawsuits over their firing provided considerable information, from sleazy details about AIPAC high officials to the fact that dozens of AIPAC donors had provided monetary assistance to the two men, despite evidence that they had leaked classified U.S. documents to a foreign country.

Mega-donor Haim Saban and Jane Harman

Mega-donor Haim Saban and Jane Harman

Among these donors were Slim-Fast billionaire Daniel Abraham, philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, and Haim Saban, an Israeli-American who is one of the major donors to Democratic candidates. Saban, who is close to Harman, says his “greatest concern is to protect Israel.” (His wife was recently nominated to be US ambassador to the UN.)

Harman, who frequently speaks at AIPAC events, is widely known for her strong advocacy for Israel and of Middle East wars on behalf of it.

She backed the attack on Iraq and now similarly maintains that Iran is a threat to Americans, despite the fact that Iraqquickly turned into a tragic, unnecessary, and disastrously costlydebacle; that Iraq had none of the weapons of mass destruction that had been claimed; and that current claims against Iran are similarly tenuous.

The Jewish Forward calls her a “pro-Israel stalwart,” and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)reports, “Harman is beloved by the pro-Israel lobby and is a sure-bet appearance at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference.”

According to Open Secrets, Harman was one of the top recipients of pro-Israel campaigndonations.

JTA reported that her departure from Congress in 2011, “earned her an unusually effusive statement of regret from AIPAC director Howard Kohr.”

Like AIPAC, Harman currently pushes the alleged need, often promoted by flawed mediareports, for the U.S. to address what she claims is Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, despite the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies continue to find that Iran is actually not developing them. (She also neglects to mention that Israel has a stockpile of nuclear weapons and has refused to sign the nonproliferation treaty).Jane Harmon with former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon

Jane Harmon with former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon

In her nine terms in Congress, Harman focused on military and security affairs andserved on all the major security committees: six years on Armed Services, eight years on Intelligence, and four on Homeland Security.

Harman, who was married to billionaire Sidney Harman, owner of Newsweek, until his death last year, was listed as the second-richest member in congress.

Harman resigned from Congress in 20011 to head up the Washington DC Woodrow Wilson Center, part of theSmithsonian. The Wilson Center is listed as the 16th most powerful think tank in the world.

Like Harman, the longtime chair of the Wilson Center, Joseph B. Gildenhorn, is extremely close to Israel. He endowed theInstitute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland and may at one point have been an AIPAC board member. Wilson Co-chair Sander R. Gerber has been an AIPAC board member for many years.

In explaining her decision to leave Congress in order to direct the Wilson Center, Harman said: “Serving at its helm provides unique opportunities to involve the House and Senate, top experts and world leaders in ‘great debates’ about the most pressing foreign and domestic policy matters.”

While Congressional Quarterlys Roll Call contains an article in which Harman denies the espionage-related reports, the publication seems to have taken down the report to which Harman was responding and to which numerous other articleslink: “Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC,” by Jeff Stein, Congressional Quarterly, April 19, 2009. (It’s unclear whether the removal of Stein’s article is related to the fact that three months after the story broke, Congressional Quarterly was bought by the Economist Group.)

In the report, investigative journalist Jeff Stein provided additional details about the incident and explained that whether or not Harman delivered on her promise (she did not attain her desired chairmanship), the making of the promise was sufficient to constitute, in legal terms, a “completed crime.”

Despite considerable outcry and calls for a Justice Department investigation, Harman eluded prosecution, the expected full investigation of the powerful southern California Democrat never happened, and Harman’s allegedly subversive actions seem to have dropped from sight.

While former Petraeus deputy (and currently acting director) Michael J. Morell seems to be the current frontrunner for CIA head, Harman and others are reported to still be in the running. Also, Morell could prove to be a temporary choice to prevent a lapse in leadership while the long-term director is chosen.

If Harman does becomes CIA director, her appointment would no doubt be greeted with glee by the Israeli government. Whether or not Harman made treasonous promises to an Israeli agent, there is no doubt that she is a committed advocate for the Israeli regime.

Americans, on the other hand, might have less reason for joy.

* * *

For more information on the incident, see TPMSalonTimeStephen Walt, the New York TimesAntiwar.com and C&L.

For more information on the AIPAC case, see the investigative work by Grant Smith at the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy – IRmep.

For more information on the pro-Israel lobby, see Introduction to the Israel Lobby by the Council for the National Interest.

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American OstrichC

| The Lavon Affair: Israel, false flags and the Mother of war-mongering!

Lavon Affair

The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named Operation Susannah, conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation,[1] a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence for plans to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned targets. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, “unspecified malcontents” or “local nationalists” with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to retain its occupying troops in Egypt’s Suez Canal zone.[2] The operation caused no casualties, except for those members of the cell who committed suicide after being captured.

The operation ultimately became known as the Lavon Affair after the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon was forced to resign as a consequence of the incident. Before Lavon’s resignation, the incident had been euphemistically referred to in Israel as the “Unfortunate Affair” or “The Bad Business” (Hebrew: העסק הביש‎, HaEsek HaBish). After Israel publicly denied any involvement in the incident for 51 years, the surviving agents were officially honored in 2005 by being awarded certificates of appreciation by Israeli President Moshe Katzav.[3]

Contents

| Must read PDF: US political statements shilling for Israel and endorsing Gaza massacres [AIPAC purchased, no doubt]!

 

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has said the people of Gaza are being treated “like animals” and has called for “ending of the siege of Gaza—the starving of one and a half million people of the necessities of life.”

The world’s leading authority on Gaza, Sara Roy of Harvard University, has said that the consequence of the siege “is undeniably one of mass suffering, created largely by Israel, but with the active complicity of the international community, especially the U.S. and European Union.”

The law is clear.
The conscience of humankind is shocked.
Yet, the siege of Gaza continues.
It is time for the people to act!
Apartheid died when Mandela was released, FREE PALESTINE !!!
END THE BLOCKADE!
Peace Now – not apartheid!

| AIPAC De-Fanged? Israel is not Calling the Shots in this US Election!

AIPAC De-Fanged? Israel is not Calling the Shots in this US Election

 ~ thiscantbehappening.

Netanyahu blinked.

That’s the takeaway from the goofy address (complete with Spy vs. Spy style cartoon bomb held up to the audience) by the right-wing, Cheltenham, PA-raised, MIT-educated Israeli prime minister to the United Nations General Assembly Thursday.

Prior to that address, Netanyahu had been virtually campaigning for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, hinting repeatedly on US television interviews of a pre-election attack by Israel on Iran’s nuclear fuel-making facilities, criticizing incumbent US President Barack Obama, and demanding that Obama and the US draw a “red line” on how far Iran could go in refining nuclear fuel before it would be considered essential for the US to join Israel in destroying Iran’s military infrastructure.

It was the most blatant attempt by a foreign leader to interfere in a US election in memory, but it was a bust.

American Jews have historically supported the Democratic Party by wide margins, and despite Netanyahu’s threats and bluster, and President Obama’s smack-down — a refusal of Netanyahu’s request for a meeting during his trip to the US –that support has barely budged. In fact, a number of leading Jewish Democrats, including powerful Congressmen Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), publicly told the Israeli leader to back off and stay out of US politics. In endorsing Obama’s refusal to meet with Netanyahu, Rep. Frank said, ”The Israelis have to consider American public opinion. America’s not ready to go to war until it’s absolutely necessary.” He added, “I think it’s a mistake from Israel’s standpoint if they give the impression they’re trying to push us into going to war. I don’t think any pressure’s going to work.”

As I wrote last week, even the Jewish Daily Forward, a respected journal of Jewish news and opinion published in New York City, warned Netanyahu that he had overstepped in pushing the US to go to war, and was risking Israel’s special relationship with the US.

Analysts are now suggesting that Netanyahu has backed off or been called off, even complimenting President Obama and giving him a valentine — an endorsement before election day of sorts–saying in his UN address, “I very much appreciate the president’s position, as does everyone in my country.”

Israeli PM Netanyahu and his cartoonish effort to swing the election in the US have bombed

Israeli PM Netanyahu and his cartoonish effort to swing the election in the US have bombed

 

This was a reference to Obama’s rather tame if ambiguous warning to Iran in his own UN address that the US would “do what we must” to ensure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear bomb.

Since Iran insists that it is not trying to develop a nuclear bomb, and since Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khameini, has declared that building and stockpiling such weapons would be “a big sin,” there should be no need for the US to do anything, then. (Although, even if Iran were to develop a bomb, because of threats of attack from Israel, which has some 300 of them stockpiled, it would not be a legal justification for the US — or Israel — to attack. Far from posing an imminent existential threat to either country, given both or their massive nuclear stockpiles, it would merely establish what has existed between the big nuclear powers for decades — a relatively stable “balance of terror” known as Mutually Assured Destruction.)

The important point though, for the US, for Israel, and for Iran, as well as for the world at large, is that a combination of over-reach by Netanyahu, a bumbling and inept Republican presidential candidate and campaign, and a widespread weariness among most Americans with this country’s more than a decade of pointless, losing wars in the Middle East, have combined to seriously and perhaps terminally blunt the influence of the right-wing pro-Israel lobby in the US, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

For decades, AIPAC backing, or at least “clearance,” was viewed as crucial by virtually any candidate, Democratic or Republican, running for national office in the US. Presidential candidates would alll make a pilgrimage to AIPAC’s convention — conveniently timed to occur just at the end of the primary season each presidential election year — at which they would swear undying support for Israel, often asserting that Israel’s and America’s policies were “one and the same.” And for decades those policies were largely the same.

But times are changing. The Cold War, a time when much of the Middle East was either leaning towards the Soviet Union, or was adeptly playing the USSR off against the US, is over, so having Israel as a military ally is no longer necessary. Israel, meanwhile, has no oil, and is becoming increasingly right-wing and irridentist with respect to the growing Palestinian population under its control. Then too, in the wake of the Arab Spring, with the people in long-repressive Arab nations rising up against or growing restive about the repressive regimes they have lived under for generations, Israel’s own growing repression and oppression of the Palestinians in the West Bank, in Gaza and even inside Israel’s 1967 borders, is making traditional unquestioning US support for Tel Aviv increasingly a diplomatic liability.

With Obama’s re-election looking increasingly likely, and with even a Democratic recapture of the House of Representatives looking at least possible, there is a chance that AIPAC will finally be defanged. By tying themselves too closely to the war-mongering, Muslim-bashing Republicans and their standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, who has gone all out for the support of ardent pro-Iran war Jews, and by allowing Prime Minister Netanyahu to barge into the presidential race and to show a preference for Romney over the sitting president, AIPAC basically put its power on the line this election. If Romney and the Republicans were to win this November, AIPAC would become more powerful than ever, but if he loses, and if the Republicans lose, or even lose serious ground in the House and Senate, the mighty lobby will be exposed as a paper tiger.

Like a weakened labor union threatening a strike in a dispute with the management of a global corporation, AIPAC’s power has always rested in its threat to destroy any politician who didn’t unquestioningly back Israel. AIPAC has always had the ability to pour money into an opponent’s campaign and to crush a candidate who did not swear to unquestioningly support Israel, but it’s not clear that money and pro-Israel propaganda can accomplish that any longer. Corporate managements sometimes learn, when they are forced to confront a strike, that they can defeat workers with a weak union by waiting them out, hiring scabs, or just closing a plant down. Similarly, if Obama and the Democrats discover that despite refusing to cave in to Israeli demands or AIPAC threats, they can still be elected, while those favored by AIPAC and Israeli leaders like Netanyahu go down to defeat, AIPAC will no longer be able to intimidate US political figures in the future.

No doubt there will be those who suspect darkly that President Obama has struck some behind-the-scenes deal with Netanyahu to attack Iran after the election, but I do not believe this is the case. As in Israel, the leading generals and intelligence officials in the US oppose a war against Iran, with most of the US intelligence agencies even continuing to insist that there is no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. And with the US economy showing signs of slipping into even worse economic decline, the last thing Obama would want at the start of his second and final term of office would be a war that would send oil prices through the stratosphere and send the global economy into a deep depression. Besides, the US can’t afford another war — especially one that would certainly dwarf the Iraq and Afghan conflicts in terms of both blood and money.

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| Scamming US taxpayers: Israel’s nuclear weapons render it ineligible for US aid!

AIPAC-Drafted US Aid to Israel IllegalAntiwar

Israel’s nuclear weapons render it ineligible for US aid.

The Israel lobby’s biggest and longest-running Washington boondoggles are the massive annual weapons and economic packages to Israel. Tightly coordinated campaign contributors (both individuals and political action committees) and the Israeli government’s own quiet demands manifest themselves within AIPAC-drafted foreign aid legislation. The U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 forces Americans to fork hard-earned tax dollars over to Israel’s coffers on the pretext that it is in eminent danger. Yet declassified documents reveal that even the current prime minister once worked inside the state’s clandestine nuclear arms smuggling rings. Transferring foreign aid to the Middle East’s sole nuclear weapons state — which can obviously take care of itself — is not just unseemly and unnecessary. It is illegal.

AIPAC’s publicly available tax return [.pdf] reveals it has now become as seamlessly linked to its foreign principal as its parent organization — the American Zionist Council — was when it was finally ordered by the Kennedy administration to openly register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962. AIPAC spent $1,541,572 maintaining its Jerusalem office. The office, led by Wendy Senor Singer, is described as the official location for daily meetings with senior Israeli government officials. It is also used to coordinate the visits of supplicant U.S. politicians with funding from a mysterious captive charity of no employees claiming to be an educational organization [.pdf]. The Israeli government’s desires are seamlessly transcribed into legislation at AIPAC’s headquarters in Washington — raising the perennial question why AIPAC is not registering as Israel’s foreign agent.

In relation to the sheer volume of American taxpayer dollars it transfers to Israel, on paper AIPAC is a rather thinly-funded and top-heavy organization. In its latest schedule of contributors, filed in late April and just obtained by special request from the IRS, AIPAC reported that only 1,949 individual contributors provided 61% of its $64 million in total contributions and grants.* The top-tier donors each gave on average $20,206, with the top donor chipping in an impressive $6,610,181. Although contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations like AIPAC are not tax-deductible, corporations and partnerships can write off contributions as a business expense. One AIPAC donor, an attorney in New York City whose confidential data the IRS didn’t successfully scrub, presumably paid AIPAC with funds from his law partnership, which AIPAC listed as the contributor’s address.

AIPAC claims in mandatory disclosures filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives over the same time period that it spent approximately 4% of its total budget on actual lobbying. AIPAC’s core lobbying mission hasn’t changed much since AIPAC’s founder left his Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs post in New York in 1951. Isaiah Kenen’s mission was to obtain U.S.-taxpayer-funded weapons and aid by lobbying from a Jewish Agency funded front group of “concerned Americans” rather than working openly as Israel’s officially registered foreign agent. In Kenen’s day, Israel first obtained massive amounts of surplus WWII conventional weapons simply by stealing or purchasing [.pdf] them to be scrapped and instead smuggling them from the United States in violation of the Arms Export Control and Neutrality Acts. The smuggling networks were established and funded by small numbers of wealthy Zionists who were curiously immune from criminal prosecution. When less enfranchised citizens later demanded warranted prosecutions, the Justice Department simply ignored them, establishing a policy that has held fast to the present day.

The AIPAC-sponsored U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, signed into law by President Obama on July 27, 2012, makes unprecedented demands on U.S. taxpayers and diplomats. It mandates American economic largess to Israel via high technology, agriculture, medicine, health, pharmaceutical, and energy transfers. It demands funding for Israel Aerospace Industries (a corporation only recently linked to Israeli espionage activities against the U.S.) missile-defense programs and air-refueling tankers and munitions Israel could use to unilaterally set off a wider war with Iran. Israel even won a detour of used weapons from U.S. forces departing Iraq. The aid law extends already generous loan guarantees to Israel.

However, the package also requires the U.S. president to issue to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and House Committee on Foreign Affairs a report on the status of Israel’s “qualitative military edge” by Jan. 23, 2013. It is finally time for some hard truths. An honest presidential response to this AIPAC-mandated reporting rider would wipe clean all current and future U.S.-taxpayer-funded obligations to Israel. A truthful presidential assessment would finally tell the American people the following: “Israel has deployed a clandestine nuclear arsenal with some components and materials stolen from the United States. Our foreign aid laws therefore make Israel ineligible for further taxpayer dollars.”

Such a truthful declaration would turn the tables on AIPAC and its small group of donors now pushing Americans to steal from themselves by systematically violating the Symington and Glenn amendments to U.S. foreign aid laws. Ending aid would disentangle unwitting Americans from Israel’s unending conflicts, illegal settlements, systematized abuse of Palestinians, and clandestine nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

*As reported in 2011, in previous years AIPAC filed contributor schedules with the IRS that improperly listed only two donor entries. After numerous complaints were made to the IRS, AIPAC has apparently been forced to again file proper schedules listing every contributor donating more than $5,000.

Read more by Grant Smith

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