The arguments for a punitive strike against Syria often slide seamlessly into arguments about displaying American power to Iran – or not. The main propellers of this slide are, not surprisingly, AIPAC – whom Obama needs to get Congressional approval – and the Israeli government.
It is impossible to sum up briefly the achievements of Professor Noam Chomsky, one of the best-known public intellectuals of our age. Here we post his Edward Said memorial lecture, given from his long history of critiques of modern imperialism. Its theme is the contempt shown by the powerful – as in the ignoring of Palestinian rights in the Oslo Accords – the deliberate policies of humiliation and how the insistence on dignity is the hall mark of those who resist.
When president meets prime minister this week, the president will have the upper hand. Obvious? But Bibi no longer drives the US’s MidEast policy because, says Jeffrey Goldberg, the Jewish state has lost its founding purpose – the right to self-determination. And that is because it no longer has the nuclear edge over Iran.
Since the Emir of Qatar’s visit to Gaza last week, comment has continued on how, where and why Hamas is changing its stance and its alliances. Hugh Naylor says that Hamas’ new alignment with Sunni Muslim countries has broken the anti-Israel, anti-western ‘resistance’ alliance, to which Hamas was affiliated, of Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israeli citizen Antonio Ungar, lacking a vote in the American presidential election which will really determine his future, knows he wouldn’t vote for either if he wanted real change for Israel/Palestine. But while Obama-speech merely leads to disappointment, Romney appears set on a pact with mass destruction.
Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli foreign minister, wonders at the energy Netanyahu is putting into waving a warning flag about Iran. He considers one aim is to divert attention from the Palestinians – which he could do something about – while trying to tempt the USA into attacking Iran – which is certainly not in the Americans’ interest, or capability, and is certainly winning Netanyahu no friends.
In the judgment of former CIA operative Philip Giraldi, the Israeli regime is guilty of crimes against its own people, the American government, American civilians and above all Palestinians. His country’s massive political and financial support for Israel does not serve America’s own interests. It is time the USA had a policy which did he writes here.
Egypt’s President Morsi is pressing ahead with his own military and diplomatic path by sending troops into the turbulent Sinai and defying the US/Israel policy of isolating Iran as a pariah nation. He has also decided to attend the non-aligned nations’ summit in Tehran next week. Richard Silverstein reads the new Egyptian script . 2nd, a brief news item from MEMO says that Morsi has receved no complaint from Israel about sending tanks to Sinai.
Nobody knows what millionaire CEO and Republican candidate Mitt Romney stands for – except everything President Obama doesn’t. Obviously that includes Israeli military aggression. So from a drizzly performance in the UK he has gone to a sunny reception in Israel, where he hopes his bellicose remarks will win him Jewish votes back home.
President Vladimir Putin visited Israel and the West Bank on Monday and Tuesday. He was warmly received by both governments who see him as able to move parts other leaders can’t reach. He gave nothing away in public on Iran and Syria, but let it be known that he praised Mahmoud Abbas for taking a ‘responsible’ position. NY Times and AP.
Most notable about this poll for the BBC World Service is how differently media outlets report it beginning with a crude interpretation from Palestine Chronicle. We produce the original chart from pollster Globescan. The countries with the most positive rating are Japan, Germany,Canada and UK; least positive Israel, N.Korea, Pakistan, Iran.
There is a crisis of political authority in Israel. Two former security chiefs – Yuval Diskin, Shin Bet, and Meir Dagan, Mossad, have both publicly attacked the Netanyahu government, accusing it of messianic tendencies, ignoring Palestinians, and stupidity in the desire to attack Iran. This became critical when no-one in the government seemed able to deal with their points. Opinion pieces Haaretz and J Post, news from NY Times and commentary, Tikun Olam and Patrick Seale.
All forms of government – from monarchies and dynastic republics through formal democracy and theocracy to dictatorships – have felt threatened by the Arab uprisings in the multi-ethnic, multi-faith Middle East. Tony Klug maps the positions – but is stopped short by the toxic effects of the refusal to make progress on the Palestinians’ situation.
At J Street’s annual conference this week, Amos Oz spoke of the need for compromise given the diversity of views on Israel and Zionism and warned against the demand to unite behind AIPAC’s aggressive banner (Ynet, 1). J Street’s members emphasised that their opposition to war with Iran and support for a peace agreement put them more in touch with the majority of American Jews (NY Times, 2).
Different reasons have been given for the Israeli attack on Gaza on March 9th, which left 23 Palestinians dead but no Israelis from the return rocket barrage. Here Neve Gordon suggests the most likely is that the Israeli government used it to send a message to Iran: we can attack you with impunity as any return assault from you will wither in the air.
This year, President Obama (Hope) and PM Netanyahu (Doom) looked each other in the eye, assured each other of mutual support, together went to AIPAC and tactfully ignored the Palestinians. Iran can take credit for this magical improvement in their relationship reports Chris McGreal.
In contrast to the loud and belligerent words from Netanhyahu about Iran, the actions of Iran’s ally, the Syrian government, have been met with silence from Israel. Roxanne Horesh reports on what the generals ane security experts are saying at this year’s annual Herzliyah conference.
Since he retired as Mossad chief, Meir Dagan has often argued against a military attack on Iran, denied that Israel was under threat and said that Israel’s coalition rule – with the magnified voice of small (far-right) groups – leads to bad government. This week he launched his new movement Yesh Sicui. Will he be treated as a loose cannon or a leader for the high discontent with the government that Netanyahu heads?
Hezbollah (or Hizbullah) has added its voice to the hubbub around and about Syria stating it would come to the aid of the Syrian government in the event of any attack from outside.Based in Lebanon, the Shi’ite Hezbollah has long received support from the Shi’ite rulers of Iran and Syria (most Syrians are Sunni). The divisions intersect with military threats to and from Israel. Reports from Naharnet and the Guardian.
The winter issue of Palestine-Israel Journal is devoted to the ‘Arab Spring’. In his essay for the collection, posted here, Tony Klug looks at the different trajectories taken by elements of Arab political life after the containing despotism broke, and, in particular, at the dangers of paranoia, patriotism and lack of flexibility driving policies in Iran, Israel and Palestine.