Commenter Profile

U.S. Should Stop Subsidizing Bad Israeli Economic And Occupation Policies – Doug Bandow/Forbes

March 8, 2016 2:38 pm

This may have something to do with it:

Israel, US in new row hours ahead of Biden visit

Jerusalem (AFP) - The rocky relationship between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a fresh hit Tuesday over a declined White House invitation hours before Vice President Joe Biden's arrival.

Netanyahu's decision not to accept an invitation for talks with Obama in Washington later this month "surprised" the White House, which first learned of it through news reports.

The Israeli premier's office defended the decision by saying Netanyahu did not want to interfere in US presidential primary elections currently taking place.

Obama and Netanyahu have had a rocky personal relationship, worsened by the Israeli premier's forceful opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, including in a speech to the US Congress.

But the two have sought to set aside their disagreements in recent months and work out a new 10-year defence aid package for Israel as well as demonstrate that the ties between the two traditional allies remain strong.

Biden is due to arrive in Tel Aviv later on Tuesday and hold talks with Netanyahu on Wednesday. He is also scheduled to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

A previous visit by Biden in 2010 was marred by the announcement of a major Israeli settlement project in annexed east Jerusalem.

The announcement drew a public scolding from Biden and it soured relations with Washington for months.

His visit this time comes with Obama having acknowledged that there will be no comprehensive agreement between Israelis and Palestinians before he leaves office in January 2017.

The White House has said that Biden will not be pursuing any major new peace initiatives during his visit, even though a wave of violence since October has killed more than 200 people.

- Worry among Israelis? -

Talks are expected to include discussions on a new, 10-year defence aid package for Israel, currently worth some $3.1 billion annually in addition to spending on projects such as missile defence, illustrating the importance of Israel's relationship with the United States.

Biden and Netanyahu also plan to talk about the fight against the Islamic State group.

But while Obama has resigned himself to not achieving any major breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there have been suggestions he may seek to somehow kickstart peace efforts at a complete standstill for two years.

That has included speculation that the United States could break with traditional practice and support a UN resolution related to resolving the conflict, which Israel strongly opposes.

The Wall Street Journal quoted senior US officials on Monday saying the White House is working on plans for reviving peace talks and for a possible resolution, which could be outlined at Obama's final appearance at the UN General Assembly in the autumn.

The United States has traditionally vetoed resolutions at the UN Security Council opposed by Israel.

"They are worried in Jerusalem that between the time of the election in November and the time that the actual president begins his term of office in January ... President Obama might do certain things that the PM won't like," Jonathan Rynhold of Israel's Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies told AFP.

At the same time, some analysts say they do not expect the United States to demand concessions from Israel toward Palestinians in connection with the new defence aid pact being negotiated.

A former Israeli ambassador to the US and ex-adviser to Netanyahu said completing the deal was in the interest of both countries due to the evolving threats to them in the Middle East.

It was important for both to have "a projection to the common enemies of Israel and the United States of a very strong -- militarily strong – Israel," said Zalman Shoval.

"And therefore, I think these two things will not be linked.”

- Palestinians expect 'nothing' -

Biden's visit is part of a tour of the Middle East.

On Monday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, he said Washington was going to have to "squeeze the heart out of" the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq to wipe it out.

However, he also ruled out a military solution to end Syria's conflict and called for a political transition.

His comments came with President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its opponents set to resume UN-sponsored peace talks next week in Geneva as a fragile ceasefire holds in Syria.

After his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Biden will travel to Jordan.

Senior Palestinian official Ahmed Majdalani said he was expecting nothing from Biden's visit.

"Mr. Biden is only coming to the region in the context of his plans regarding the fight against terrorism in Syria, not for us," he told AFP.


March 8, 2016 2:09 pm

Hard to say what caused this. It could be something as immature as Netanyahu being petulant and wanting to demonstrate who the boss is in this relationship - for domestic consumption. I hope that this ends up being another huge controversy akin to his Iran deal performance. I am willing to bet that the MSM won't cover this much.

March 8, 2016 2:04 pm

This is indeed a surprising post in Forbes! I didn't see any comments on the original article - I was expecting a horde of hasbara droids to converge on it. Maybe Justin Raimondo is correct and there has been a huge breakthrough in the US w.r.t. Israel:


Words of Palestine’s national poet on San Francisco buses – The Electronic Intifada

March 6, 2016 6:52 pm

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Abraham Lincoln

MW has been a JVP charade for a long time. I stopped frequenting that site once it became obvious to me that it was just a Jewish Gatekeeper site. The pseudo anti-Israel comments are from those who will want to point to these as their defense when the day of reckoning comes and Americans turn against their zionist overlords and they are called on to account for their part in our misery. 


Republican Debate – Michigan/March 3rd, 2016

March 4, 2016 10:53 pm


Senator Sessions to Provide Strategic Counsel to Mr. Trump on Foreign Policy and Homeland Security


(New York, NY) March 3rd, 2016 – Today Donald J. Trump announced Senator Jeff Sessions, who has advised the GOP frontrunner on issues such as trade and immigration and endorsed Mr. Trump on Sunday in Alabama, will serve as Chairman of Mr. Trump’s National Security Advisory Committee. Senator Sessions has been on the Armed Services Committee for almost 20 years and is Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. 

Mr. Trump stated, “It is an honor to have Jeff as a member of the team. I have such great respect for him and I look forward to working with him on the issues most important to Americans.” 

Senator Sessions added, "I am grateful for the opportunity to recommend and facilitate discussions among exceptional and experienced American military and diplomatic leaders to share insight and advice with Donald Trump, regardless of their political views. Mr. Trump and the American people know our country needs a clear-eyed foreign policy rooted in the national interest. We need to understand the limits of our ability to intervene successfully in other nations. It is time for a healthy dose of foreign policy realism. In the Middle East, this means forming partnerships based on shared interests, not merely overthrowing regimes in the dangerous attempt to plant democracies. We must also combat the refugee crisis by creating regional safe zones, rather than depopulating the region by migration. The only path to long-term stability and resolution of this humanitarian crisis for the United States and our European allies is to work towards the safe return of migrants to their home countries, as Mr. Trump has noted. This strategy will also protect our own national security.” 

Sessions continued, “A national-interest foreign policy, combined with a military second to none, stands in contrast to interventionist ideas that could enmesh us further in the region's chaos. After over a decade of war and conflict, this country has a host of smart, experienced, and proven leaders. That wisdom must be sought. These meetings will be the beginning of a process that Mr. Trump has called for and which he believes must result in a clear and realistic bipartisan global strategy that will guide our nation for years to come.” 

Mr. Trump will continue to announce members of his National Security Advisory Committee and other advisors on key issues over the next few weeks.


March 4, 2016 7:26 pm


The N.Y. tycoon is decimating the three legs of blanket Republican support for Israel: Evangelicals, Jews and interventionist hawks. 

Chemi Shalev, Haaretz

In their Super Tuesday speeches, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio tried to use an Israel hammer to bash Donald Trump. Cruz sneeringly lambasted him for saying he would remain “neutral” while Rubio trounced Trump for trying to stay “impartial”, as his audience booed accordingly. And Trump? Trump was racking up victories, amassing delegates and laughing all the way to the top of the Republican presidential field. 

In this way, the New York billionaire is decimating the conventional wisdom, one of many, that in 2016, total and unconditional support for Israel is a prerequisite for any aspiring GOP candidate wishing to run for president; that such a pledge of allegiance to Israel, in general, and to Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular, is a threshold requirement for gaining the support of Evangelicals, who set the tone during primary season; and that the flow of sympathy for Israel from liberal Democrats to conservative Republicans is inevitable, perhaps even desirable, and in any case unstoppable.

But exactly a year after Netanyahu took this logic to its extreme and stood on the podium of Congress as Leader of the Republican opposition to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, the conception is falling apart. The notion that the Republican Party is a monolithic bastion of support that will withstand the test of time is evaporating. The belief that any Republican president who will follow Obama will be better for Israel is eroding with each passing day. Faced with the Trump phenomenon, Netanyahu’s Fortress GOP strategy is collapsing like a house of cards. 

And it doesn’t really make that much difference whether Trump is a “phony” who is pulling the wool over the GOP’s innocent eyes, as former presidential contender Mitt Romney asserted in his astonishingly harsh speech on Thursday, or whether Trump has simply exposed the dark subterranean streams of jingoism and prejudice and resentment of Jews that were there all along. If Trump is the Republican candidate, never mind if he’s elected president, Israel’s place in American politics and possibly around the world will be put in question. But if Romney’s scary portrayal of Trump is even half true, that should be the least of our worries.

In the outgoing dogmatic GOP, Trump’s equivocations would have earned him a place in the all-time rogues gallery of Enemies of the Jewish People, somewhere between Obama and Father Coughlin. Today, Evangelicals shrug them off and continue to vote for Trump, as they did this week in Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. 

Every time Cruz and Rubio try to hit Trump over the head with an Israel club and nothing happens, it is Israel’s weakness that is exposed. Every time Trump wins a party primary without challenge from his supporters, another nail is driven into the coffin of the unshakeable alliance between Israel and America’s deep right.

And it’s not as if Trump is really anti-Israel; hardly. Like in most other complex policy issues on which he has spoken, Trump is mainly incoherent, improvising as he goes along, shooting from the lip, saying one thing one day and the opposite the next. He is “totally a friend” of Israel, Obama is “the most horrible president ever” for Israel, and the Iran deal is a joke. But Trump refuses to acknowledge United Jerusalem, wants to remain “neutral” so that he can broker a peace deal with the Palestinians, which is a challenge worthy of a master dealmaker like him. If he fails, he’s already made clear, Israel will be to blame. 

Trump not only diverts the Republican leadership from uniform automatic support for Netanyahu, he is destroying the internal coalition that was the lynchpin of the party’s strong pro-Israel stance. Evangelical support for Trump has already sparked an internal rupture, which has some experts declaring the death of America’s Religious Right. Evangelical leaders and many of their supporters in the media are heartbroken that so many Believers are flocking after the thrice married, dirty-talking reality star. They are less perturbed by his deviation from the strict pro-Israel party line, however, and more by the sinful ways for which he has not asked forgiveness.

If Trump becomes their candidate, the GOP will lose its most hawkish, most neoconservative and most pro-Israel secular elements as well. They are repelled not only by his indecipherable positions on Israel but also by his harsh criticism of George Bush and the Iraq War, his undisguised adulation of dictators for Vladimir Putin to Bashar Assad, his all round belligerence and his neo-isolationist vision of making America great again within its hermetically sealed walls. “As president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world” according to public letter signed by 50 GOP national security stalwarts, many of them known for their pro-Israel positions. “We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.” 

The third leg of the GOP’s pro-Israel array that Trump is eviscerating are the Jews. Although Sheldon Adelson’s ongoing silence has caused some people to suspect he will end up supporting Trump, other big time Jewish donors, including hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, have placed their money on his currently losing rivals. And the Republican hope that 2016 will finally see the long awaited migration of Jews disappointed by Obama to the GOP is dashed once again. Trump hardly stands a chance of garnering 30% of the Jewish vote, as Romney did in 2012, never mind the 40% that Rubio might reasonably be expected to receive. He’s more likely to revert the GOP’s Jewish vote in the direction of the 11% that George Bush Sr. got in 1992, or the 10% that Barry Goldwater received in 1964.

But the Jews won’t be fleeing Trump because of his policies towards Israel or because he refuses to repeat Cruz and Rubio’s inane pledge to tear the Iranian nuclear deal apart on their first day in office. The Jews won’t abandon Trump because he’s married for the third time, or because he went bankrupt four times, or because he uses dirty words whenever he can. They certainly won’t desert Trump because of his positions on abortion, health care or separation of church and state, which are more aligned with theirs than Cruz’s, Rubio’s or Kasich’s. 

The Jews will run away from Trump because he scares them. Because his demagoguery is ominous, his willingness to slash and burn anyone standing in his way is disturbing, his tendency to incite his supporters against other ethnic groups from rapist Mexicans to terrorist Muslims, is a source of deep anxiety. Beneath the great wave of popular support for Trump one can make out with increasing clarity the dark undercurrents of rage and resentment and xenophobia that is often seen morphing into White supremacism and abhorrence of African Americans and then, on the outskirts, bad old hatred of the Jews. The allusions to Germany in the 1930’s are absurd, no doubt, but nonetheless surfacing with ever-increasing frequency.

Trump’s dithering resistance to a clear and unequivocal condemnation of David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan set the alarm bells ringing. Add to that the disturbing incidents in which African Americans are brutally manhandled at Trump events, in some cases by American Nazis who laud Trump for “resisting Jewish money.” Grotesquely, that was the connection made this week between Duke, who hates Jews and blacks, and Louis Farrakhan, who loathes Jews and whites. 

The Trump phenomenon reinforces the long held claim that part of the alliance of shared values between Israel and the American extreme right is based on a warped and racist view of Israel as a forward post of white civilization against the darker barbarians at the gate. Israelis who have cast themselves as Republicans have taken scant interest in the domestic side of the GOP, with which some of them might even agree. Many of them will continue to view Trump as a desirable heir to Muslim Obama and alternative to a radical Hillary Clinton. Others will console themselves with the thought that once elected, Trump will become another man. Still others will yearn for his victory, if only to confound Netanyahu and satisfy their own Schadenfreude.

But most people, possibly in Israel and definitely around the world, will prudently pray for the GOP to get rid of Trump, and failing that, for Clinton or Bernie Sanders to defeat him in November. At the same time, they would do well to undo Netanyahu’s frivolous decision to put all of Israel’s eggs in the GOP basket, which is unraveling in front of our very eyes.


It’s Time to Abandon the Pursuit for Great Leaders – Stephen M. Walt/Foreign Policy

March 4, 2016 5:06 pm

And while you are at it. shut down the Federal Reserve and get rid of all the International bankers akin to what Iceland has done. A loan jubilee from the usury system that creates money out of thin air and then lends it to us with interest would instantly make the economy boom and free all the debt slaves to pursue life and liberty. 

March 6, 2016 7:03 pm

The most crucial thing IS regaining control (wiping out the corruption)–which is where 99% of all the problems come from—not  just the Israel one.

I think that if you look at the root of these other corruptions, they too, have their origin in zio-instigated shenanigans. The MIC, Wall Street, Banks, Corporate Globalization, MSM, Privileged Institutions of Learning, Hollywood, Monsanto, …,  are all strongly supported by zio forces that uses the US as its workhorse and foot-soldier, here and abroad. From the day JFK was killed, we have rapidly lost our republic.


March 6, 2016 7:06 pm

Iran would be so much a superior ally for us than Israel and the KSA. If only Americans knew...


March 4, 2016 5:26 pm

This is a win-win situation. If they manage to stop the Donald, it will incite a riot. If they fail to stop him, their power just vanished. Either way, they lose.

Hezbollah Claims a ‘Nuclear Option’ in Tense Standoff with Israel – Neri Zilber/The Daily Beast

March 6, 2016 10:00 pm

I hope that Nasrallah doesn't become the victim of another Mossad assassination plot. Good leaders are hard to replace.

Elite liberal arts school won’t fire a professor who reportedly claimed ‘Zionist Jews’ were behind 9/11 – Abby Jackson/Business Insider

March 4, 2016 5:39 pm

American200Ipso facto–The question of who done has always been ‘who benefited?’

Ay - there's the rub. The media has always avoided talking about 'cui bono' for obvious reasons - the answer is invariably: Israel.

JFK, RFK, 9/11, 7/11, Charlie Hebdo, Iraq, Libya, ...

The answer is never the USA.


March 4, 2016 5:47 pm

And if you think the mobsters were Sicilian, you have another think coming. Watch this (ignore the messenger and evaluate the message on its own merit):


Israel Kills Girls

March 4, 2016 8:05 pm



It is rare for a newspaper column to read as a “how to” manual. But in this case, I have no choice – frustration has reached an all-time high.

We know that if Israel laid down its arms it would be destroyed, while if Hamas would drop its arms, and the Palestinian Authority would stop the incitement, there would be peace in Israel. We know that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, and the only country in the region that provides equal rights for all people regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.

And yet, despite this, data presented to me at a recent meeting with one of the top polling companies in the United States shows that we are failing to convey this reality.

In the poll conducted just two weeks ago, only 39 percent of US college students said that they believe that Israel is a civilized, Western country; only 31% of them believe Israel is a democratic country; and as a result of not telling our story properly, a mere 28% of college students believe that the United States should side with Israel in the current conflict.

This is an all-time low.

But it gets worse: 21% believe that the US should side with the Palestinians! Furthermore, among a category of people labeled as “opinion elite” in the US, 38% believe that Israel is a racist country, 48% say that Israel is responsible for human rights abuses, and 45% believe Israel is practicing apartheid on Palestinian land.

Only 67% of those “opinion elite” in the US believe that Israel wants peace with its neighbors. (In Canada that number drops to 43% and in the United Kingdom it’s 36%); 46% believe that Israeli “occupation” results in more terrorism in the US; and 19% believe that boycotts against Israel are justified.

And finally, given all of the above, it is not surprising to learn that 17% of Jewish college students refuse to advocate for Israel.

We have to face facts: current hasbara tactics are not working, and we must be mature and sophisticated enough to accept a new approach.

That same pollster checked to see what makes people supportive of a country. So far we have been bombarding the world touting Israel’s groundbreaking technology. We have tried to win support by promoting the Start-up Nation with its drip irrigation, solar energy and cellular phone technology, and Waze.

But that isn’t working, and the data make clear why: only 7% are drawn to support a country because it is “modern,” a mere 6% are impressed if a country is “innovative,” and a country which is “creative” means something special to just 4%.

Clearly, our message to the world in our effort to fight delegitimization should not focus on Israeli technology and innovation.

All of the polling data – and, frankly, common sense – indicate that our message cannot be “We are right, they are wrong,” or, “We are good and they are bad,” no matter how strongly we believe this to be the case.

So, what do people want to hear about another country? Here again the data is clear: 60% are willing to support a country that “protects human rights,” 42% will rally behind a country that stands for “freedom,” 32% want to see that a country is democratic, and 30% want to know that a country promotes equality.

We must learn from this and speak the language which can penetrate the hearts and minds of those who are not on our side, and who are prone to fall for the boycott approach.

What is that specific language? The same pollster found that certain phrases and sentences must be used over and over again in our effort to gain support, or, at at the very least, to even the playing field:

1) We must stop talking about “anti-Semitism” and focus on “anti-Israel.”

2) We must emphasize that we are “eager” for dialogue at all times.

3) We must be clear that our struggle is with the Palestinian leadership and not with the Palestinian people.

4) We must repeat that the issue is “human rights for everyone,” a “future without violence” in the region, and that we advocate “mutual respect.”

Once we speak that language, according to the research, we can then focus on the following themes which resonate among those who are currently sympathetic to the Palestinian cause:

1) Accountability and corruption.

Where did all the money go? Billions of dollars from the international community have been sent to the Hamas leadership in Gaza, money that they used to fund terrorist attacks against innocent civilians and to construct terrorist tunnels into Israel, instead of to build schools and hospitals.

2) Hatred is not natural. It is taught.

Palestinian children are being educated that killing Jews fulfills religious teachings; Palestinian children are taught to see violence against Israelis as heroic. (I must emphasize that the polling data indicate that we should focus on these specific aspects of Palestinian incitement, and not on schools and public squares being named after terrorists, or that Jews are called “barbaric monkeys” and “evil” in the Palestinian media.) 3) We must repeatedly quote the Hamas Charter, and specifically these lines: a) “The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.” b) “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.” c) “Peace initiatives, so-called peaceful solutions and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”

Weaving this all together, our overall message should be clear: “For far too long, Palestinians have been trapped in a cycle of violence and despair. Their schools have been taught to teach violence.

Their leaders have been quick to preach violence. We do not blame the people of Gaza for their feelings of grief, anger and desperation. We blame the Hamas leadership which sows the seeds of hate, and tells innocent civilians to live as human shields while hiding in tunnels paid for by the international community.”

Two final effective and critical sentences:

1) “Children should be taught to live and love, not to die.”

2) “Our rockets protect our children.

Their children protect their rockets.”

Finally, aside from this precise messaging about the overall conflict, we must confront the issue of boycotts head-on, using the following two points which the polls demonstrate have the greatest impact:

1) The BDS movement does not explicitly recognize Israel’s right to exist.

2) The BDS movement encourages Iran’s terrorist surrogates such as Hamas and Hezbollah to continue to work toward the destruction of Israel.

Once we make these points, the language that works best to combat suggestions of boycotts reads:

1) “Peace is paved with diplomacy and discussion, not isolation.”

2) “We seek cooperation, not continued conflict.”

3) “Solutions come from engagement, not silence.”

4) “We need real solutions for a lasting peace, not more of the divisive rhetoric. Let’s work together to create understanding, respect and peace.”

5) “Boycotts divide people, and that’s part of the problem – not a solution.”

6) “Boycott, divestment and sanctions diminish the prospect for peace because they blame only one side. We need a meaningful commitment on both sides.”

We are at war. The other side is efficient and stays on message, and we need to do the same. It is my hope that all those involved in Israel advocacy and public diplomacy will adhere to the messages which the polling data begs us to follow. If we do, I have no doubt that we will win the public diplomacy war and generate widespread support for our beloved Israel.

The author served in the 19th Knesset with the Yesh Atid party. He is currently the director of the Department of Zionist Operations for the World Zionist Organization.

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