For the second time in just a month, a British academic institution has been intimidated by an orchestrated Zionist lobby.
Yesterday we learned that Southampton University has decided to withdraw its permission to hold the academic conference on International Law and the State of Israel. The decision was taken on the grounds of “health and safety” with the university claiming it did not have enough resources to mitigate the “risks.”
This comes just one month after the Royal Northern College Of Music cancelled a concert of mine for similar safety reasons. Like Southampton University, the RNCM was bullied by a violent pro-Israel group and it took us only a few hours to learn that the spokesperson for the pro-Israeli body was an infamous crook as well as a football hooligan (see here).
This raises the immediate question: Is it possible that like the Palestinians, British academia is now also subject to Zionist terror?
The vile campaign against the Southampton Conference was led by the Board Of Deputies of British Jews, a body that claims to represent Jews in Britain. So far, not one single British Jewish body has stood up for the conference and for elementary academic freedom nor has a single Jewish institution criticised the Board of Deputies’ campaign against British academic institutes. I guess that the meaning of it is as simple as it is devastating: We now see a clear conflict between the Jewish community and those precious British values of tolerance and academic freedom.
Recently, Jewish community leaders have been concerned by the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain. In this connection, I would use this opportunity to remind them that Jewish institutional bullying of British academic institutes does not reflect well on British Jewry. In fact it has a most disastrous effect.
So, as we witness this devastating continuum between Gaza and Britain we once again come to realise that the plight of the Palestinians is not an isolated event in contemporary world affairs or history.
Brits are also now subject to Zionist terror and the meaning of it is simple: Now, more than ever we are all Palestinians.
As the deadline looms for the P5+1 nations to achieve a framework for a nuclear deal with Iran, the steady drumbeat of hostile coverage directed at Iran in the media increases. Jim White at Empty Wheel, in two good posts, noted a tendentious Washington Post op-ed by Ray Tayekh, Michael Hayden, and Ollie Heinonen, along with a separate piece by perennial NY Times Iran doomsayer, David Sanger.
Regarding the Post op-ed, everyone knows about Michael Hayden’s role as a holdover spook from the Bush administration, who ran both the NSA and CIA during that period. He also is a partner in the Chertoff Group, founded by Bush’s Homeland Security czar, Michael Chertoff.
Ray Tayekh, though he served in the Obama administration for a time and is Iranian-American, has chosen to throw in his lot with the Iranophobes. According to Nima Shirazi, he is a founding member of the Iran Strategy Task Force, whose avowed mission was to pressure the Obama administration to adopt a tougher approach to Iran. ISTF includes the neocon Freedom House as its co-founding sponsor, and individual members like Josh Block of The Israel Project and Rob Satloff of WINEP. Tayekh is also a member of another Iran committee founded by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, one of the leading hawkish, pro-Israel security outfits in DC.
Ollie Heinonen’s main claim to fame is his post as ex-deputy director of the IAEA. This international organization tasked with monitoring nuclear proliferation around the globe has had a love-hate relationship with Iran. Some of its personnel [associates], including exceedingly pro-Israel analysts like David Albright, have sometimes espoused talking points that could’ve been written for them by the Mossad. Though the IAEA’s reports are usually carefully couched in language that isn’t nearly as provocative or propagandistic. Curiously, some IAEA reports are based on supposedly anonymous intelligence offered to them by unnamed intelligence agencies. Upon closer examination, the information seems tailor-made to advance Israeli interests in scaring the world about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Many observers see the hand of the Mossad in such intelligence leaks. Heinonen is one of those I was speaking about above.
In their Post op-ed, none of these important ideological affiliations were noted. The only credits offered were for their most white bread involvements with groups like the Council on Foreign Policy (Tayekh), IAEA (Heinonen), and Bush administration (Hayden). Just as doctors now must disclose their financial arrangements with drug companies when they publish research in journals, so op-ed writers and newspapers should acknowledge all associations having strong ideological tendencies (whether they are right or left-wing). This allows readers to judge for themselves how much credibility to attach to the writers views.
In his post-IAEA career, Heinonen adopted an exceedingly hawkish profile. One of his key roles has been as a board member of the notorious United Against a Nuclear Iran. This is an anti-Iran lobbying group largely funded by Sheldon Adelson, who’s advocated bombing Iran. UANI’s mission has been to exploit anonymous intelligence data provided to it by unnamed sources which pressure corporations and business executives not to engage in commercial dealings with Iran. Except that UANI has run its operations a bit like Joe McCarthy. It often resorts to blackmail and extortion in its dealings with alleged offenders.
One such person it confronted, Victor Restis, called UANI’s bluff. He responded to threats by not only denying any dealings with Iran, he sued for defamation. Among his claims was that UANI co-founder and Bush operative, Mark Wallace, is also the CEO of an investment firm founded by Thomas Kaplan. Kaplan’s wife is a major investor in a shipping company that competes with Mr. Restis. There was an intimation that UANI’s efforts against Restis were either a shakedown, or a way to hurt his business to the benefit of Kaplan’s wife’s company.
Restis’ case had sailed through federal courts until the Obama administration, fearing the exposure of CIA-Mossad collusion along with deliberate leaks of secret intelligence material to UANI, stopped the case dead in its tracks. Noah Feldman notes the political peculiarities of this case and why it posed such a nest of vipers to the Obama administration.
White notes that in Sanger’s NYT piece he relies on two of three above-mentioned Horsemen of the Anti-Iran Apocalypse, Tayekh and Heinonen, with that other independent nuclear proliferation expert, John Boehner, thrown in for good measure. The House Speaker is jetting his way as we speak to the Holy Land to commune with another Iran nuclear expert, Bibi Netanyahu. The latter, by the way, has been entirely frozen out of the nuclear talks by a suspicious Obama administration, which has noted Israeli espionage against U.S. diplomats negotiating with the Iranians.
This passage in Empty Wheel is especially pungent and noteworthy:
It is impossible for me to escape the conclusion that Olli Heinonen and Ray Takeyh are part of an organized propaganda campaign aimed at disrupting the P5+1 talks and preventing an agreement. This propaganda is eagerly published by a compliant press, with the New York Times, Washington Post and AP among the most recent examples I have noted.
I have little doubt that all of these analysts and journalists mentioned above are being inundated with reports and talking points by Israeli figures: some transparent like Israeli diplomats and some less so. Israeli intelligence appraisals (probably emanating directly from the prime minister himself, since his spymasters tend to be much less hawkish on Iran than he is) are finding their way into their inboxes as well, I am certain.
My association with Shamai Leibowitz allowed me to expose a precursor of this anti-Iran effort in this perception management operation. In one case I wrote about, Israel’s deputy ambassador, Jeremy Issacharoff actually ghost-wrote a Boston Herald op-ed for local Jewish communal leader, Jeff Robbins. He also happened to be a partner in Cameron Kerry’s (John Kerry’s brother) powerful Boston law firm. The Boston Kerry is a key supporter of AIPAC and the Israel Lobby.
You can be damn sure all the hasbara wheels are turning morning, noon, and night in an effort to blunt any narrative the Obama administration might offer to promote a nuclear deal. If the current talks fail, the hasbarafia will cheer. If they succeed, the pressure will only mount against the agreement.
Adelson protege, Shmuley Boteach, published yet another NY Times full-page ad exhorting Obama not to be Neville Chamberlain, but rather Winston Churchill in standing up to Iran. Presumably, Boteach and Adelson have in mind marching like the WWII prime minister to war against another existential Nazi-like foe of humanity, Iran. The choice of Churchill is a loaded one, of course. It’s Bibi Netanyahu’s inspiration. Someone he quotes regularly when he wants to add gravitas and historical cachet to his speeches. Since Churchill has almost no resonance in a contemporary context, my strong suspicion is that Churchill was a hero of Netanyahu’s father, the noted historian Ben Zion Netanyahu (ne Milikowski).
It seems to have slipped the minds of Boteach and Netanyahu that Churchill led the world through the most lethal war in the history of humanity. Is this the historical model that the world wishes to hold up for itself in the present era? Do we want to fight the Battle of Gog and Magog again? Or do we choose different models? The answer, of course, is that Churchill was a hero [sic] for a different era, one that is not relevant to today. Unless of course, you seek or anticipate world conflagration, which most of the rest of us don’t.
Finally, Time Magazine has published a truly puerile piece of anti-Iran propaganda by Rabbi David Wolpe, the leader of a wealthy westside Los Angeles synagogue. Wolpe’s piece trots out the hoary old anti-Iran trope, Purim:
Purim recalls the efforts of a Persian anti-Semite to kill the Jews. Sound familiar?
This is a time to remind ourselves of the power of irrationality. Perhaps many Americans, as exemplified by the Barack Obama administration, do not understand a certain darkness in the soul. Let me explain.
No, rabbi, I think we get the point. Wolpe trots out another smear based on fakery, the “wipe Israel off the map” meme. He takes his argument through various twists and turns leading to the ultimate grail of pro-Israel hasbara: anti-Semitism. In this passage, he implicitly accuses Iran’s leaders of holding the most noxious views:
That same person will also believe, in the face of all evidence, that Jews control the banks, or that the Mossad brought down the towers on 9/11, or that the Holocaust was a fraud, or that every depredation and misfortune that that person, or their people, has suffered is somehow the fault of the Jews. And if only the world would be rid of Israel, then the Sunni and Shiite would lie together as the biblical lion and lamb.
It doesn’t seem to matter either to Wolpe or Time’s editors that none of Iran’s leaders, and especially not Pres. Rouhani, believe any of these things. It seems the good rabbi is hoping readers will forget that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hasn’t been Iran’s president for a few years now.
Next, Wolpe wins the daily double of Holocaust hysteria, yoking Auschwitz with Hiroshima:
An Iranian bomb combines the two great taboos of the 20th century, Auschwitz and Hiroshima. It is a nuclear bomb in service of destroying the Jewish people.
He didn’t originate this concept. I first read it from Shimon Peres who called an Iranian bomb a “flying Holocaust.” In Wolpe’s usage, he builds his argument on a number of empty fallacies. First, Iran doesn’t have a bomb nor has it expressed any interest in getting one. Second, Iran’s current leaders have never expressed any intent to drop a nuclear weapon on Israel nor to exterminate Israel or the Jewish people. Third, there is a terrible conflation of Israel and Jews, a lazy, hazy trope Wolpe adopts. Israel is not the Jewish people and the Jewish people is not Israel.
Further, Wolpe of course ignores the rank hatred spewed against Iran by Israeli leaders like Netanyahu and Wolpe himself. Hawkish intellectuals like Benny Morris and Joshua Muravchik have both advocated bombing Iran, even with nuclear weapons, on the op-ed pages of the NY Times and Los Angeles Times. There is no lack of firebrands on both sides of this argument, a fact that neither one should forget.
He concludes his diatribe with this shocker:
We are about to strike a deal with people who harbor an implacable hatred. Iran may seek leverage for all sorts of… hegemonic goals as well. As long as the current regime holds power, however, there is one unwavering, non-negotiable goal. And unlike the sunshine of reason, deep hatreds are patient.
In his essay, Wolpe has exposed one thing very powerfully: his deep, irrational hatred of Iran. His rant is devoid of truth or accuracy. It has no basis in fact or in the historical record. It is precisely this sort of seething hostility which will lead us down the path to war. It is precisely this sort of frothing at the mouth that must be countered at every opportunity. I wrote about another American rabbi, Daniel Weiner, who shares the same almost homicidal animus toward Iran. In fact, I got into a public shouting match with him over it.
What is it about some rabbis that makes them hate mullahs so much? Perhaps there is a shared zeal, a shared willingness to breathe fire into one’s religious community. Rabbis may see things in Iran’s mullahs they don’t like in themselves or their own rabbinic colleagues. I view such hysteria, whether from rabbis or mullahs, with great trepidation and distrust.
Israel’s leaders and their willing collaborators among Diaspora leaders may want to march toward Armageddon. But we must not allow it.
Zionist colonisers destroy the tools for self-sufficiency of Palestinians in Gaza
Gaza, Occupied Palestine – Months after the last massive Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, thanks to the social and independent media, everyone has read news and seen pictures of the attacks from the Zionist regime against residential buildings, United Nations shelter-schools, hospitals, ambulances, mosques, churches and thousands of family homes.
However, little has been said about the almost complete destruction of Gaza’s industry and economy. As the Israeli Minister of Interior Eli Yishai said, the objective of the last operation was to “send Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all of its infrastructure.” One of the more terrible blows committed towards this end has been the total destruction of the Beit Hanoun industrial area.
The factories in this industrial area provided work for 25% to 30% of Gaza’s population. Among the destroyed factories are those for paper, construction materials, clothing, medical equipment, plastic products, food and livestock products.
The agricultural industry has also been wounded by Israel’s summer attacks on Gaza. The owner of the Afanah Company showed us the pictures of his 800 cows killed by Israeli attacks during the last war on Gaza. Each cow was going to feed 7 families during the Eid holiday. Besides losing all his cows, Israel also destroyed the four fridges of the company, which contained 400 tons of meat.
Abu Fakhri Abu Ghais, from Beit Hanoun, explained how during the last massacre Israel killed his 17 sheep, and all his sons’ sheep, they destroyed all his farming equipment, worth over 15,000 US dollars. Israeli forces also destroyed the pumps for extracting the groundwater and the 20 tons of reserve of wheat seeds that Abu Fakhri had stored for the current year. The occupation also demolished the cabling that brought electricity to his village, Abu Safiya. He and his family now live in a tent without water or electricity, as his home was also destroyed.
He and his family now live in a tent without water or electricity, as his home was also destroyed. Given the blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip, the struggling government of Hamas informed him that they don’t know when they’ll be able to restore the power supply, as they do not have available wire that is long enough.
In a Bedouin village located at the North of Beit Lahia, Hassan Sharadkha invited the author and his companions for a cup of tea in the wood cabin that he has built next to the rubble of his home. He showed us the pictures of everything he lost during the last summer at the hands of the Zionist occupation forces: 32 dunums of fruit and olive trees, 27 sheep and their stable, 2 cows, a 200 chicken farm, a horse, the water pump and the car he had just bought.
His older son, an electric engineer, was made unemployed because the solar panel company he worked for has also been bombed.
These attacks – against factories, farms, farming equipment and homes – were not by chance or accidental. These attacks demonstrate once again that the target of the genocidal Israeli colonialism is the Palestinian people itself, and that the war that Israel has been waging the last 66 years, under cover of Europe and the US, is against a nation, Palestine, that they seek to wipe off the map.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) (3/25/15) headlined: ‘Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks with the US’. The article goes on to detail the way in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the confidential information to sabotage the talks, including ‘playing them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy’.
The WSJ report of this incident tries to play down the serious implications of Israel’s espionage by claiming that Israeli spying on US diplomatic negotiations is ‘normal even among allies’; that ‘both sides do it’; that the US ‘tolerates’ Israeli spying; that the ‘Israelis have not directly spied on the US’ but use sympathetic US agents . . . and several other excuses for Israel’s behavior.
After having revealed Tel Aviv’s espionage – the WSJ dismisses the sabotage. Worse still, it makes no attempt to investigate who, among the highly-placed US government officials with direct access to the negotiations, has been spying for Israel. This essay attempts to address this question by identifying the most likely suspects.
We will proceed by describing the seriousness of the crime by noting the centrality of the US-Iran negotiations for US global politics and the enormous damage, which has resulted from Israel’s securing secret documents, reports and proceedings of the talks and having a highly placed agent among the US diplomats.
The Significance of the, US-Iran Negotiations
The negotiations between the major powers (P5+1), composed of the five UN Security Council members plus Germany, led by the US, with Iran have proceeded for over two years. Israel is not part of the negotiating process-formally but indirectly its presence is substantial. For Washington the stakes are very high: securing a nuclear agreement with Iran in which Teheran submits to constant and pervasive ‘inspections’, and dismantles a substantial part of its nuclear program, certainly weakens Iran’s regional prestige and increases US influence in the region. Secondly, through the initial agreement, it is likely that Washington will move forward to deepen joint political activity with Iran in neighboring countries. Thirdly, Washington will use the agreement to isolate Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Yemen, from Iranian financial, military and diplomatic support. Fourthly, US multi-national oil corporations could gain access to the Iranian oil fields and exporters could access a huge consumer market of 70 million Iranian citizens. Fifthly, the agreement would lessen the danger that Israel would initiate a major war, which the Zionist power configuration in the US could quickly convert into a disastrous US regional war. Given the fact that the US-Afghan war has lasted 14 years, and counting, and cost over $1 trillion dollars, and that the Iraq invasion has far exceeded those costs and intensified over the past year, a US nuclear agreement with Iran would avoid a catastrophic, prolonged war designed to enhance Israeli dominance in the Middle East.
Israel’s Interest in Sabotaging the 5 + 1 Nuclear Negotiations
Israel knows that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program (as does Washington). The US government uses this as a pretext to secure political concessions from Iran, to degrade its regional influence, and to secure their support in policing the Middle East. In contrast, Israel seeks to destroy Iran’s capacity to support the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle.
Netanyahu and his Zionist supporters, in and out of the US government, seek to induce the US to increase economic sanctions in order to strangle the Iranian economy, to foment internal unrest and to set US-Iranian relations on a path toward a military confrontation.
Netanyahu launched a multi-prong attack on the negotiations. During the AIPAC meeting in March 2015 he ‘dictated the line’ to 10,000 fanatical Zionist followers. He made Iran and US negotiations the central focus of activity for the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, their billionaire donors and Washington operatives. Netanyahu told them that they must concentrate on degrading Iran, on turning Congress into a bastion for undermining any agreement reached via diplomatic negotiations.
Central to Netanyahu’s strategy is securing first hand, up to date, information (intelligence) on the negotiations, identifying the concessions which Iran is willing to make, the demands which they consider extreme and unlikely to accept, the points which might lead to a break-up of the negotiations and the position of the P5 + 1 participants which are closest to Israel. Netanyahu’s closest supporter is the Zionized-regime of French President Hollande and in particular Laurent Fabius, his Foreign Minister.
The sequence is as follows: American and Israeli spies, operating within the US government, pass intelligence to Netanyahu who sends directives to AIPAC which writes up resolutions for US Congress people which then transmit it through the mass media to the US public and to the White House which raises the issues, in part, to the negotiators the P 5 plus 1.
The question of timing is central, as the negotiations approach their deadline and the possibility of an agreement is advancing. The spies and sources, both among the US officials and among the European diplomats (mostly the French) involved in the negotiations, must intensify their undercover work for Israel.
Israeli Espionage Network in Washington: The Prime Suspects
The success or failure of Washington’s nuclear negotiations and the sustainability of any agreement depends on overcoming Netanyahu’s formidable army of supporters in the US Congress and his corporate allies in the mass media. The single most decisive aspect of the negotiations is maintaining the secrecy of the proceedings, especially with regard to the compromises that are inevitable in any historic agreement – especially Iran’s compromises. If Netanyahu has real-time intelligence, he can devise effective counter-moves to sabotage the agreement before it is announced.
While a score of Zionist-influenced think tanks and hundreds of full-time AIPAC functionaries have incredible ‘access’ to US officials, especially those involved in Middle East policy-making, the timeliness of information/ intelligence that Netanyahu needs can only be obtained from officials who are directly or closely involved in the current negotiations with Iran.
The likely criteria for identifying such agents among US diplomatic officials include (1) a long-standing history of strong pro-Israel activity and anti-Iranian animus; (2) extensive interactions and involvement with Israeli intelligence and foreign ministry officials; (3) deep involvement in devising and implementing sanctions policies against Iran; and (4) immediate access to or, better still, direct participation in the negotiating group.
Numerous officials fit one or two of the criteria. However if we consider all four, we can identify a narrow circle of five officials, who have the history, contacts and access to secret negotiations, which make them prime candidates for spying for Israel. They are:
Michael Froman, top US trade negotiator
Jack Lew, US Secretary of Treasury
Penny Pritzker, US Secretary of Commerce
David Cohen, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of Political Affairs and Chief US negotiator in the nuclear talks with Iran.
While all five have been ardent supporters of Israel before and during their time in the Obama administration, only two could have direct, real time access to the negotiations.
David Cohen, has been extremely active pushing for sanctions against Iran and has a lot to lose if sanctions are lifted or weakened. Like his predecessor, Stuart Levy, he has been closely associated with AIPAC, which was instrumental in creating his post in Treasury and in orienting its activities toward prosecuting banks and multi-nationals, which directly or indirectly trade with Iran. Cohen, although not directly involved in the negotiations, could easily access their deliberations since they affect his field of work. He also has very ‘fluid’ relations with Israeli officials engaged in intelligence, finance and foreign affairs. He has excellent relations with Netanyahu and supports AIPAC’s agenda. While he could serve as an Israeli informant and certainly does exchange intelligence, he does not have the real time details of the proceedings, because he is not a member of the negotiating team.
Only Wendy Sherman fits all the criteria. Sherman, as head of the US negotiating group, has access to all the details of daily discussions, proposals and concessions by the US and Iranian negotiators. Moreover, Sherman is in a position to translate Netanyahu’s demands on Iran into key agenda items and proposals. Sherman is a lifelong zealous Zionist and according to one sympathetic writer, is ‘widely considered one of Israel’s most supportive high level friends’. Sherman’s reputation on the negotiating team has been that of a ‘hard negotiator’. Sherman was one of the key authors of the ‘Joint Plan of Action, which was designed to extract the maximum concessions from Iran while making the fewest changes in US policy.
In a speech on October 23, 2014, designed to reassure Israel-Firsters in Washington, Sherman boasted: ‘In return for limited sanctions relief, Iran has halted the expansion of its overall enrichment capacity, put a cap on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride, stopped the production of uranium enriched to 20%, agreed not to make further advances at the Arak heavy water reactor, opened the door to unprecedented daily access for international inspectors to the facilities at Natanz and Fordow’. Sherman has secured US colonial oversight over the entire Iranian uranium program – which the CIA and the entire US intelligence consortium have repeatedly declared is not a ‘weapons program’!
Sherman shares Netanyahu’s visceral racist ideological contempt for the Iranians. She publicly told a US Senate Committee that, “we know deception is part of their (Iranians) DNA”. This was clearly a crude remark designed to provoke the Iranian government and undermine the negotiations before they began!
If the ideological affinities and hatred of Iran point to Wendy Sherman as the Israel’s ‘mole’ in the State Department, her strategic position as head of the negotiating committee immediately provides her with the secret details that Israel needs to sabotage Obama’s approach to Iran and to organize opposition in the US. The WSJ article underscores Sherman’s role as an agent of Tel Aviv: ‘Mr. Netanyahu and his top advisers received confidential update on the Geneva talks from Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and other US officials who knew at the time that Israeli intelligence was working to fill the gap.’ Washington eventually curtailed the ‘briefings.’ But there is no evidence that Sherman ceased her activities on Netanyahu’s behalf. It’s likely she continues to provide timely intelligence to her Israeli counterparts.
Israel is pursuing a complex strategy: 1. Opposing the negotiations outright; 2. Organizing political forces in Congress to impose new sanctions to undermine the negotiations; 3. Securing sympathetic US officials on the negotiating team to spy and report the proceedings to Israel and 4. Helping Israel by making the most extreme demands on Iran, offering the least concessions in order to force a breakdown of the negotiations.
In other words, Israel pursues a complex division of labor: Netanyahu sets the rejectionist hardline. US Zionists transmit that policy into Congressional opposition. Top officials in the State Department provide intelligence for the hard ‘outsider’ campaign and work within the negotiating framework to subvert the proceedings. As the chief negotiator, Sherman plays multiple roles on behalf of Israel, only one of which involves the immediate transfer of highly sensitive intelligence. Sherman has ensured that most of Netanyahu’s demands are incorporated into the US negotiating agenda in a win-win format. If Iran rejects them, the US will effectively break-off negotiations, blame Iran and impose even harsher sanctions; if Iran accepts the demands, its peaceful nuclear program will be destroyed and it will be even more vulnerable to an Israeli and/or US military attack with all its military installations infiltrated and monitored by the US controlled International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA).
While Netanyahu bellows against the idea of negotiations with Iran, and opposes any process lifting sanctions, the realistic agenda of the Israeli Foreign Office is to: 1. Prolong the sanctions, 2. Minimize any immediate relief, 3. Include clauses which would give the US any pretext for unilaterally revoking sanctions without any consultation; 4. Minimize the amount and level of enriched uranium Iran could retain within the country; 5. Dismantle most of Iran’s centrifuges and impose severe limitations on scientific research and development; and 6. Stop operation of Iran’s multi-billion dollar new fortified nuclear power facility at Fordow.
While Sherman cannot outright terminate the negotiations she is doing everything in her power to either force a breakdown or thoroughly humiliate the Iranians.
The failure of the Obama regime to go after its own State Department officials acting as agents for Israel; its refusal to confront long-term aggressive espionage designed to undermine its relations in the Middle East; its tolerance of Israel’s direct interference via its ‘fraternal organizations’ of the US legislative process; and its refusal to identify, arrest, prosecute and sentence high-level spies within the Cabinet have severely compromised the sovereignty of the United States. It is Israel’s intervention in the US, not ISIS, Iran, Houthis, Venezuela, Syria, Russia or China, that poses an immediate and direct threat to US national security. Increasing Jewish colonialist expansion in Palestine; the flaunting of its vast stockpile of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; operating its powerful network of political agents and spies in high US offices are a direct, immediate threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and the United States.
The activities of US Zionists as spies and shock troops for Israel’s effort to destroy Iran and undermine US diplomacy, pose a long-term threat to all Jews in America. Sooner or later, Israel’s deep penetration of US power centers and its manipulation of elected American officials, will lead to a prolonged, bloody, destructive war. And it can be expected that the greater US public will seek out those responsible and demand they be held to account. Under the impact of the devastation of war, who can be sure that the American public will be able to distinguish between loyal Jewish-Americans and highly placed Zionists acting on Israel’s behalf ? For that reason it is incumbent that peace-loving American Jews get on their feet and clearly and forthrightly denounce the Zionist minority, which claims to speak for them.
All those Zionist ‘wise-guys’ of both genders, who think they have been so clever using their high office to serve Israel, are fooling themselves. More and more citizens are becoming aware that Israel’s espionage, its dictates to the US Congress and its manipulation of Executive powers are harming America. At the present, highly placed Zionist officials hold sway over the Obama Cabinet, but in the future they may find themselves facing charges of being agents of a foreign power, and a threat to US national security. They may find themselves sharing a cell block with Jonathan Pollard!
The University of Southampton has withdrawn permission for a conference next month on Israel and international law, citing “health and safety” concerns.
The university has been under significant pressure from pro-Israel lobby groups in the UK to cancel the conference, despite legal obligations to protect free speech.
Conference organisers confirmed Tuesday morning with “extreme astonishment and sadness” that Southampton authorities have pulled the plug on the gathering.
We were told that the decision was taken on the grounds of health and safety: a number of groups may be demonstrating for or against the conference which could present risks to the safety of the participants, students and staff. The University claims that it does not have enough resources to mitigate the risks, despite a clear statement from the Police confirming that they are able to deal with the protest and ensure the security of the event.
In their statement, organisers say that they are “extremely dissatisfied with the risk assessment conducted by the University”, where “high risks remained high even when seemingly effective mitigating measures were put in place.”
Organisers claim that the “security argument” has been used “to rationalise a decision to cancel the conference that has been taken under public pressure of the Israeli Lobby”, calling it a “sad decision for freedom of speech.”
Conference organisers say that they will now “explore legal emergency measures to prevent the University from cancelling the conference, to reverse its decision and to properly collaborate with the police so that the demonstrations can be managed.”
It’s Way Overdue!
When Republican Presidential contender Senator Ted Cruz announced his intention to run before a packed audience at Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia, the one line in his speech that drew the most applause was “Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.” I do not know if those who were cheering were really aware of what Cruz was saying, but the preposition “with” committing President Cruz to some kind of ad hoc equal partnership with a foreign government was both unseemly and ultimately un-American. A President of the United States should be prepared and expected to advance only American interests.
There is no ambiguity in Cruz. As keynote speaker for a conference held last September by the newly formed In Defense of Christians group, he demonstrated that even in front of Middle Eastern Christians it was necessary to play the Israel card, bringing Jewish “persecution” into the discussion before walking off stage. Just before exiting, he said, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless.”
A day after Cruz and Liberty it was Jeb Bush’s turn. He repudiated James Baker, his father’s secretary of state, after Baker had mildly criticized Netanyahu’s rejection of a possible Palestinian state, with Bush’s press spokesman asserting “Governor Bush’s support for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu is unwavering.” In a follow-up op-ed last Wednesday, Bush cemented his credentials as a worthy heir to his brother George in terms of intellectual vacuity by opposing nuclear negotiations with Iran before asserting “The Obama administration treats announcements of new apartment buildings in Jerusalem like acts of aggression.” Jeb is apparently unaware that there are half a million settlers on the West Bank on stolen Palestinian land.
Every Republican presidential wannabe makes an obligatory trip to Israel to kiss Netanyahu’s ring. And the neoconservative claque is meanwhile crowing about Bibi, calling him the “leader of the free world.” One blogger quipped “Has it got to the point that the GOP should cut through all the red tape and simply nominate Benjamin Netanyahu as their 2016 candidate?”
The most recent GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney went so far as to pledge himself to take Israel’s advice before doing anything in the Middle East. Cruz, like Romney, has made very clear his willingness to be guided by Israel and it appears that Bush 3 will do more of the same. As will every other leading Republican, including Rand Paul who recently defended critics who claimed that he was applauding too slowly during the Netanyahu speech, saying “I gave the prime minister 50 standing ovations, I co-sponsored bringing him here.”
Marco Rubio another presidential aspirant, has already declared that if he is elected president, he would be willing to defy America’s European allies if necessary to revoke any deal with Iran he might inherit. Rubio’s foreign policy advisers feature Dan Senor, Elliot Abrams, Robert Kagan and Eric Edelman.
Selling out to Israeli interests has become de rigueur for Republican politicians and presidential hopefuls as well as for a heck of a lot of Democrats as well. Former Bill Clinton U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson recently commented that Israel is “our anchor in the Mideast. Our beachfront is Israel. They’re our strongest ally” while Senator Chuck Schumer, who is poised to become Senate Minority Leader, has declared “One of my roles, very important in the United States senate, is to be a shomer – to be the shomer Yisrael (guardian for Israel). And I will continue to be that with every bone in my body …”
The description of Israel as a close ally is not true, of course. Though Israel is persistently referred to as America’s greatest friend by the chattering class it is not legally or practically an ally at all and never has been. And then there is the recent revelation that Israel not only spied on American officials negotiating with Iran but also used the information obtained with members of Congress to undercut the talks. It is quite possible that Netanyahu was getting his intelligence from someone inside the United States delegation, raising a perhaps more troubling issue about the loyalty of some senior officials. It also suggests that at least some Congressmen received briefings from the Israeli government that included classified information obtained from the U.S. negotiating team and did nothing about it.
That revelation of spying came on top of Benjamin Netanyahu’s apparent strategic decision to deal only with American leaders whom he likes and who like him in return. His 2012 endorsement of Romney preceded an unrelenting two year campaign excoriating the Obama Administration for its “weakness” regarding Iran. There have been two speeches by Netanyahu before Congress piling on more of the same but the coup de grace came when a desperate Netanyahu seeking reelection explicitly rejected the U.S. backed negotiations seeking to create a peaceful settlement for the Israel-Palestine problem. And then Netanyahu, confident that he can get away with anything without consequence, threw into the hopper a racist rant encouraging right wing support at the polls in Israel by creating fears over Israeli Arabs who might want to vote.
Senator John McCain inevitably accused President Obama of having a tantrum and told him “to get over it” after the White House expressed some concern regarding the extreme right wing Israeli election result. And now that the elections are over, it is reported that Israeli intelligence officers who exposed some of Netanyahu’s lies will be purged after the new government is formed. The GOP majority in Congress meanwhile has already rewarded Bibi for his enlightened statesmanship by giving him 50 ovations, thanking him for making the American Secretary of State and President look ridiculous. Forty-seven Senators subsequently signed a letter to the Iranian leadership warning that they would repudiate any nuclear agreement entered into by President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner will be traveling to Israel this week, presumably to personally thank Netanyahu for his understanding and continued support.
And meanwhile Washington continues to reward Israel with more than $3 billion per year in direct assistance plus billions more in tax exempt “charitable contributions” from American citizens, some of which goes to build illegal settlements. It continues to provide Israel with political cover at the United Nations; supplies it with weapons, some of which have been used in contravention of American law; and it regularly defers to Israeli concerns about the political situation in the Middle East.
As a reward for Washington’s largesse, Israel’s many enemies have made the United States a terrorist target. And then there is what the White House and Justice Department (DOJ) do not do. Israel is the number one “friendly” country in terms of the level of espionage directed against the United States but the federal government chooses not prosecute the hundreds of Israelis and Americans caught spying. The DOJ has even blocked any inquiries by concerned citizens into the details of Israeli espionage using mechanisms like the Freedom of Information Act.
One might well come to the conclusion that the American people are not very well served by all of this nonsense. Israel has sometimes been called the “fifty-first state” but it is worse than that as it pays no taxes, is never held accountable for anything, damages U.S. interests and is a net beneficiary at all levels. And all of Netanyahu’s subterfuge has taken place against a backdrop of repeated U.S. pledges of support for Israel coupled with fulsome assertions by policy makers that America “has Israel’s back” if there is any conflict in the region, a virtual commitment that Washington will join in any war that Tel Aviv initiates.
As Israel has done and continues to do grave damage to the United States through its actions, it is past time for an amicable divorce, to enable the dog to again wag its tail, as it were. It is quite possible to wish Israel and the Israeli people well without having to become an accomplice in war crimes. As there is more than sufficient justification to change the existing injurious special relationship, I would propose a new Declaration of Independence, this time not directed at King George III but at King Bibi Netanyahu and his associates in government.
As a prologue to the injuries suffered by the United States, I cannot put it any better than did America’s Founders: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation:”
- Washington wishes Israel and all other countries in the Middle East well and hopes that they will prosper, but from now on Israel, having abused its privileged position, must be treated just like any other country, with the depth of the bilateral relationship dictated by actual American interests.
- American taxpayer contributions to Israel’s high tech first world economy are both unnecessary and unwarranted and will cease.
- Diplomatic protection of Israel at the United Nations and in other international bodies damages American interests and will only be considered when Israeli and U.S. interests coincide.
- Israeli has violated U.S. laws regarding the use of American provided military equipment for defensive purposes only. Future sales of equipment will be reviewed and American military equipment prepositioned in Israel will also be removed.
- Because it is a violation of Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution American intelligence agencies will no longer share raw data obtained illegally on American citizens with Israel.
- Because funding the occupation of the West Bank is illegal, any private donations to Israel will only be considered charitable when it can be demonstrated that the recipients are actually eligible for that tax status.
- As it is in Washington’s interest to do so, the United States will be free to negotiate with Iran, Syria and all other countries in the Middle East. The United States will specifically respect the national integrity and sovereignty of all nations in the region, i.e. there will be no more threats that a “military option” is on the table.
- As there is a clear conflict of interest, trips to Israel funded by private foundations and lobbies to acquaint Congressmen, military officers, and other elected officials with the Israeli point of view will be considered gifts and subject to appropriate regulation and taxation.
- Israeli lobbying groups to include AIPAC, WINEP and JINSA have done great damage to the interests of the United States and will be required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.
- How Israel conducts its domestic governance is its own business, but the United States will oppose the continuation of legal and administrative infringements on the fundamental rights of ethnic and religious minorities in any and all countries, including those that regard themselves as democratic, to include Israel’s treatment of its Arab minority.
- As it is in the United States interest to do so, Washington will support in international fora the creation of a sovereign and functional Palestinian state to include full recognition by Washington, understanding that the persistence of the Palestinian problem has been both an incubator of and recruiting poster for terrorism worldwide.
- Stealing American high technology and government secrets has done grave damage. Israelis and Americans caught spying against the United States will be arrested, charged and prosecuted under applicable statutes. There will be no exceptions.
I am convinced that a new Declaration of Independence will be good both for the United States and for Israel. The U.S. can remove the issue of Israel from its fractious political discourse and will at last be free of a major distortion in its ability to conduct foreign and security policy based on America’s own interests. Israel, which is militarily dominant in its region, can begin to think seriously of how to coexist with its neighbors rather than bomb them into submission. A reset for both countries would be healthy as well as the right thing to do.
If two major newspapers in, say, Russia published major articles openly advocating the unprovoked bombing of a country, say, Israel, the U.S. government and news media would be aflame with denunciations about “aggression,” “criminality,” “madness,” and “behavior not fitting the Twenty-first Century.”
But when the newspapers are American – the New York Times and the Washington Post – and the target country is Iran, no one in the U.S. government and media bats an eye. These inflammatory articles – these incitements to murder and violation of international law – are considered just normal discussion in the Land of Exceptionalism.
On Thursday, the New York Times printed an op-ed that urged the bombing of Iran as an alternative to reaching a diplomatic agreement that would sharply curtail Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it was used only for peaceful purposes. The Post published a similar “we-must-bomb-Iran” op-ed two weeks ago.
The Times’ article by John Bolton, a neocon scholar from the American Enterprise Institute, was entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” It followed the Post’s op-ed by Joshua Muravchik, formerly at AEI and now a fellow at the neocon-dominated School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins. [For more on that piece, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Neocon Admits Plan to Bomb Iran.”]
Both articles called on the United States to mount a sustained bombing campaign against Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities and to promote “regime change” in Tehran. Ironically, these “scholars” rationalized their calls for unprovoked aggression against Iran under the theory that Iran is an aggressive state, although Iran has not invaded another country for centuries.
Bolton, who served as President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations, based his call for war on the possibility that if Iran did develop a nuclear bomb – which Iran denies seeking and which the U.S. intelligence community agrees Iran is not building – such a hypothetical event could touch off an arms race in the Middle East.
Curiously, Bolton acknowledged that Israel already has developed an undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal outside international controls, but he didn’t call for bombing Israel. He wrote blithely that “Ironically perhaps, Israel’s nuclear weapons have not triggered an arms race. Other states in the region understood — even if they couldn’t admit it publicly — that Israel’s nukes were intended as a deterrent, not as an offensive measure.”
How Bolton manages to read the minds of Israel’s neighbors who have been at the receiving end of Israeli invasions and other cross-border attacks is not explained. Nor does he address the possibility that Israel’s possession of some 200 nuclear bombs might be at the back of the minds of Iran’s leaders if they do press ahead for a nuclear weapon.
Nor does Bolton explain his assumption that if Iran were to build one or two bombs that it would use them aggressively, rather than hold them as a deterrent. He simply asserts: “Iran is a different story. Extensive progress in uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing reveal its ambitions.”
Pulling Back on Refinement
But is that correct? In its refinement of uranium, Iran has not progressed toward the level required for a nuclear weapon since its 2013 interim agreement with the global powers known as “the p-5 plus one” – for the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. Instead, Iran has dialed back the level of refinement to below 5 percent (what’s needed for generating electricity) from its earlier level of 20 percent (needed for medical research) — compared with the 90-plus percent purity to build a nuclear weapon.
In other words, rather than challenging the “red line” of uranium refinement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew during a United Nations speech in 2012, the Iranians have gone in the opposite direction – and they have agreed to continue those constraints if a permanent agreement is reached with the p-5-plus-1.
However, instead of supporting such an agreement, American neocons – echoing Israeli hardliners – are demanding war, followed by U.S. subversion of Iran’s government through the financing of an internal opposition for a coup or a “colored revolution.”
Bolton wrote: “An attack need not destroy all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, but by breaking key links in the nuclear-fuel cycle, it could set back its program by three to five years. The United States could do a thorough job of destruction, but Israel alone can do what’s necessary. Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.”
But one should remember that neocon schemes – drawn up at their think tanks and laid out on op-ed pages – don’t always unfold as planned. Since the 1990s, the neocons have maintained a list of countries considered troublesome for Israel and thus targeted for “regime change,” including Iraq, Syria and Iran. In 2003, the neocons got their chance to invade Iraq, but the easy victory that they predicted didn’t exactly pan out.
Still, the neocons never revise their hit list. They just keep coming up with more plans that, in total, have thrown much of the Middle East, northern Africa and now Ukraine into bloodshed and chaos. In effect, the neocons have joined Israel in its de facto alliance with Saudi Arabia for a Sunni sectarian conflict against the Shiites and their allies. Much like the Saudis, Israeli officials rant against the so-called “Shiite crescent” from Tehran through Baghdad and Damascus to Beirut. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Congress Cheers Netanyahu’s Hatred of Iran.”]
Since Iran is considered the most powerful Shiite nation and is allied with Syria, which is governed by Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, both countries have remained in the neocons’ crosshairs. But the neocons don’t actually pull the trigger themselves. Their main role is to provide the emotional and political arguments to get the American people to hand over their tax money and their children to fight these wars.
The neocons are so confident in their skills at manipulating the U.S. decision-making process that some have gone so far as to suggest Americans should side with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in Syria or the even more brutal Islamic State, because those groups love killing Shiites and thus are considered the most effective fighters against Iran’s allies. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Secret Saudi Ties to Terrorism.”]
The New York Times’ star neocon columnist Thomas L. Friedman ventured to the edge of madness as he floated the idea of the U.S. arming the head-chopping Islamic State, writing this month: “Now I despise ISIS as much as anyone, but let me just toss out a different question: Should we be arming ISIS?”
I realize the New York Times and Washington Post are protected by the First Amendment and can theoretically publish whatever they want. But the truth is that the newspapers are extremely restrictive in what they print. Their op-ed pages are not just free-for-alls for all sorts of opinions.
For instance, neither newspaper would publish a story that urged the United States to launch a bombing campaign to destroy Israel’s actual nuclear arsenal as a step toward creating a nuclear-free Middle East. That would be considered outside responsible thought and reasonable debate.
However, when it comes to advocating a bombing campaign against Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, the two newspapers are quite happy to publish such advocacy. The Times doesn’t even blush when one of its most celebrated columnists mulls over the idea of sending weapons to the terrorists in ISIS – all presumably because Israel has identified “the Shiite crescent” as its current chief enemy and the Islamic State is on the other side.
But beyond the hypocrisy and, arguably, the criminality of these propaganda pieces, there is also the neocon record of miscalculation. Remember how the invasion of Iraq was supposed to end with Iraqis tossing rose petals at the American soldiers instead of planting “improvised explosive devices” – and how the new Iraq was to become a model pluralistic democracy?
Well, why does one assume that the same geniuses who were so wrong about Iraq will end up being right about Iran? What if the bombing and the subversion don’t lead to nirvana in Iran? Isn’t it just as likely, if not more so, that Iran would react to this aggression by deciding that it needed nuclear bombs to deter further aggression and to protect its sovereignty and its people?
In other words, might the scheming by Bolton and Muravchik — as published by the New York Times and the Washington Post — produce exactly the result that they say they want to prevent? But don’t worry. If the neocons’ new schemes don’t pan out, they’ll just come up with more.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
Anas Qdeh, 21, had no idea that waving the Palestinian flag and flashing the V sign is a crime for which he will be shot by the Israeli Occupation forces (IOF) which fired explosive bullets directly at his legs while he was with scores of citizens about 10 meters away from the security fence separating Khan Younis from 1948 occupied lands.
We will never give up on our land
Qdeh told the PIC reporter: “On Friday March 20, I headed to our land east of al-Sanati in Greater Abasan where many youths gather every Friday to stress that this is our land and that we will never give up on it even if Israel isolated it.
The IOF imposed a buffer zone adjacent to the security fence along the borderline with the Gaza Strip stretching for distances ranging from 300-700 meters deep into the Strip and shoots whoever enters it.
Qdeh clarified the circumstances of his injury saying: “One of my friends wanted to take a picture of me waving the Palestinian flag with the V sign while we were in our land which the IOF is preventing us from reaching in Greater Abasan east of Khan Younis. However, the IOF soldiers started shooting at us and I was hit with an explosive bullet.”
The bullet hit one of the youth’s legs, and the shrapnel scattered to hit his other leg and his cousin Fawzi Qdeh who was nearby. Anas lied on the ground profusely bleeding before he was rushed to hospital to be urgently treated.
His cousin Fawzi Qdeh, 23, said with a smile drawn on his face that a piece of shrapnel is still lodged in his left shoulder and doctors told him that it is difficult to extract it at this stage.
He clarified that he was rearing his goats in al-Santai lush fields, and when he saw the youths gathering and chanting he joined them to see what was going on and to take photos.
Every Friday, scores of Palestinians spontaneously gather near the security fence waving flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans.
RAMALLAH – Israeli forces briefly detained the governor of the Ramallah and al-Bireh district, Laila Ghannam, at the entrance of Nabi Saleh village in the northern Ramallah district on Saturday.
Soldiers reportedly threatened the governor of “direct targeting” if she continues to participate in the weekly march organized by the popular committee against settlements and the separation wall in Nabi Saleh.
Ghannam said “we will not be frightened of detention even if we are directly targeted; we will take part in the weekly march and will not be prevented from exercising our rights on our land.”
Ghannam was detained in a similar incident in February last year while travelling from Jericho to Ramallah.
She said then that her detention was a political message from the Israeli government to PA leaders that Israel wants to impose its authority in every way possible.
Earlier this month, a local activist committee reported that 11 Palestinians were injured during the weekly march when Israeli forces shot one Palestinian with live fire and beat ten others.
Three activists were also reportedly detained by Israeli forces during the march.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice called on Israel to stop construction of the separation wall within the occupied West Bank.
When completed, 85 percent of the wall will run inside the West Bank.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
Photo of Nabi Saleh girl injured by Israeli occupation forces during weekly demonstration on March 21, 2015, by International Solidarity Movement.
BETHLEHEM – Israeli forces conducted military training exercises in the Ramallah district earlier this week, according to Israeli media.
The Israeli force’s Territorial Brigade allegedly raided the town of Birzeit, just outside the central West Bank city of Ramallah, in what was reported by Israeli news source Haaretz as “preparation for a possible escalation on the ground.”
The forces engaged in a variety of potential scenarios including confronting violent mass demonstrations, shooting attacks, and use of live fire by members of Palestinian security forces.
While Haaretz reported the exercise was planned with the intention to cause “relatively little disruption to the routine of Palestinian life,” the account included a training exercise in the home of a Birzeit University college student, whose house was searched during the night while he stood in his pajamas with an Israeli soldier.
An Israeli army spokeswoman did not have any immediate information about the training, but told Ma’an she would look into recent military training activity in the area.
Birzeit is in Area A, falling under full control of the Palestinian Authority. Israeli forces repeatedly enter Area A despite their obligation by the Oslo Accords not to do so, most often in military raids launched on a near nightly basis to detain Palestinians.
Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din reported that Israeli forces have upheld the practice of using populated Palestinian areas for Israeli military drills since at least 2007.
The group filed a complaint against the Israeli Military Advocate General’s Corps in 2013, arguing that such military exercises “sow fear and panic and violate the security and dignity of the residents,” particularly because exercises are often not announced to Palestinian locals in advance, and thus it is not always clear to nearby residents that these are mere drills.
Legal Advisor for the West Bank declared in February 2014 that military training exercises were no longer authorized to be held in Palestinian villages without giving prior notification to the civilian population, however the rights group continues to criticize the practice.
The US obsession with manipulating security narratives for political purposes has recently been manifested in Obama’s Executive Order dated 9 March, 2015 in which he declared Venezuela to be “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”. Alleged threats by socialist governments against the US have been regurgitated throughout the decades – a trend which, although within a different context, has also been absorbed within Israel’s colonial narrative against Palestinians.
While the political scenario is different, both Venezuela and Palestine have faced the application of human rights discourse in an attempt to divert attention away from resistance struggles. As Venezuela battles the US-funded opposition and violence against the Bolivarian Revolution established by Hugo Chavez, Palestine is relegated to oblivion through the US’s and Israel’s collective efforts to raise security concerns above the reality of colonial surveillance and the usurpation of territory.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed US foreign policy with regard to Israel and Netanyahu’s refusal to consider a hypothetical Palestinian state. The article quoted US President Barack Obama as stating that: “We [the US] can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen at least in the next several years.”
Once again, Obama hailed the two-state “solution” as “the best path forward for Israel’s security, for Palestinian aspirations and for regional stability.” Prioritising Israel’s security was also amalgamated into the prospect of a possible nuclear deal with Iran: “I have confidence that if there’s an agreement, it’s going to be a good agreement that’s good for American security, and Israel’s security and the region’s security.”
Despite the alleged political differences between Obama and Netanyahu that have been cited in mainstream media, the agreement to consolidate Israel’s colonial presence in the region remains evident. The issue of “security” as narrated by both Israel and the US remains a global issue, while Palestinians struggle to make their own articulations of independence and resistance heard as their narrative is suffocated by the prioritisation of Israel’s alleged concerns; not to mention the PA’s willingness to collaborate in this endeavour.
Whatever differences might emerge between Obama and Netanyahu, it is clear that US support for a diminished Palestinian state will not veer away from the farcical Oslo Accords. Hence Obama’s insistence upon supporting an illusion of statehood that is based upon flawed notions of Palestinian independence and the further colonial entrenchment of Israel.
According to Haaretz, UN Middle East Envoy Robert Serry urged the Security Council to work upon a framework that would address Israel’s settlement expansion, as it “may kill the very possibility of reaching peace on the paradigm of two states for two peoples.”
The paradigm, however, is already flawed. Without decolonisation, Palestinians will be unable to achieve their self-determination and independence – issues that the international community is unwilling to collaborate upon due to intrinsic complicity in aiding Israel’s oppressive policies against Palestinians. It should be remembered that the PA’s repetitive efforts in presenting draft resolutions based upon compromise have been rejected by the UN Security Council. Therefore, it is unlikely that – beyond fuelling further futile rhetoric – the two-state hypothesis will serve any purpose other than providing a constant clause for Israel’s perpetual lament regarding “security concerns”.
The United States has to make an “extraordinary climb-down” on the issue of sanctions in order to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran over its nuclear energy program, an American investigative journalist says.
Gareth Porter, a historian, journalist, author and policy analyst specializing in US national security policy, made the remarks in his article, titled “Sanctions and the Fate of the Nuclear Talks,” published on Friday by Middle East Eye, an online news portal covering events in the Middle East.
“The Obama administration won’t get the signed agreement that it is seeking with the quantitative limits to which Iran has agreed if a detailed agreement on lifting sanctions is not reached as well,” said the author of the Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.
“And that won’t happen unless the P5+1 makes an extraordinary climb-down from its starting position on the issue,” he added.
Iran and the P5+1 – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – are engaged in intense negotiations to work out a comprehensive agreement aimed at ending the longstanding dispute over the Islamic Republic’s civilian nuclear work as a July 1 deadline draws closer.
Sources close to the Iranian negotiating team say the main stumbling block to resolving the Western dispute over Iran’s nuclear issue is the timetable for the lifting of anti-Iran sanctions.
Iran and the US have reported progress in the negotiations but have said that they are not rushing to reach the deal just for the sake of beating the self-imposed end-March deadline for a framework agreement.
Porter said that the fate of the talks hangs on closing the gap between the two sides on removing sanctions imposed against Iran.
He stated that the issues related to Iran’s civilian nuclear program have now been more or less resolved, but the issue of sanctions relief is still very much there.
Porter wrote that “all the evidence indicates that the two sides have not advanced beyond where they were last November, when they were very far apart.”
He said that the Obama administration wrongly believes that Iran is negotiating with the P5+1 because sanctions are seriously hurting its economy.
Porter wrote that Washington “fails to grasp the depth of Iranian commitment to removing the sanctions as a matter of national pride as well as to be able to achieve a higher level of economic development.”
He said the “myopic perspective” of the US and its allies is part of the problem, adding that they “intend to maintain the ‘sanctions architecture’ in place for many years after the implementation of the agreement has begun.”
In adopting such a policy, the investigative journalist said, “the Obama administration is following precisely the course outlined by Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), the neoconservative think tank whose outputs align completely with Israeli interests.”
Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
He revealed that Dubowitz designed the anti-Iran sanctions which were approved by Congress in late 2011 and he “strongly influenced the administration’s sanctions policy for the entire Joint Plan of Action period.”