Thursday, August 30, 2007

We Knew It All Along

The hate-Israel crowd has been claiming since 2003 that somehow the Israeli government (or, as Mearshimer and Walt put it, the "Israel Lobby"-- the insinuation being that they are one and the same) convinced Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to do them a favor and topple Saddam Hussein. Of course, looking at the current situation, one is tempted to think "some favor", but that's a different problem.

Now we have documentation of what should have been obvious all along-- that the Israelis were arguing AGAINST the invasion of Iraq! Why obvious? Because those who study the region knew that Iraq, while formerly dangerous, was essentially contained in its ability to make trouble while Iran, the real threat to peace in the world, was funding terror across the globe for years (the bombing of the Jewish community center and of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires were the work of Iranian terrorists, the money flowing to Hezbollah to buy the rockets used last summer came from Iran, and the terror infrastructure in Gaza answers to the Iranian mullahs). What the Israelis were rightly concerned about has come to pass-- the US is bogged down in Iraq and is both politically and militarily weakened in its efforts to confront the jihadist regime in Tehran.

As Gareth Porter reports in IPS News "Israeli officials warned the George W. Bush administration that an invasion of Iraq would be destabilising to the region and urged the United States to instead target Iran as the primary enemy, according to former administration official Lawrence Wilkerson.Wilkerson, then a member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff and later chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, recalled in an interview with IPS that the Israelis reacted immediately to indications that the Bush administration was thinking of war against Iraq. After the Israeli government picked up the first signs of that intention, Wilkerson says, "The Israelis were telling us Iraq is not the enemy -- Iran is the enemy." Wilkerson describes the Israeli message to the Bush administration in early 2002 as being, "If you are going to destabilise the balance of power, do it against the main enemy." The warning against an invasion of Iraq was "pervasive" in Israeli communications with the administration, Wilkerson recalls. It was conveyed to the administration by a wide range of Israeli sources, including political figures, intelligence and private citizens. Wilkerson notes that the main point of their communications was not that the United States should immediately attack Iran, but that "it should not be distracted by Iraq and Saddam Hussein" from a focus on the threat from Iran. " Later in the piece, Porter notes " Despite agreement between neoconservatives and Israeli officials on many issues, the dominant Israeli strategic judgment on the issue of invading Iraq diverged from that of U.S. neoconservatives because of differing political-military interests. "

InterPress is not a Jewish or right-wing site, either; as their website states "The core activity of IPS is a global news agency producing independent news and analysis about events and global processes affecting the economic, social and political development of peoples and nations, especially in the South. IPS is the news agency of Civil Society and the South, Development Issues, The Globalisation Process and of the People Excluded from It." Doesn't sound like the sort of site to go out of its way to run pro-Israel news items.

So the next time any of the wingnuts from International ANSWER or other so-called "peace" groups claim that Israel was behind the Iraq war (especially through the "neo-conservatives" in the Bush Administration), ask them for any actual statements or evidence. Then tell them to read about Laurence Wilkerson.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Responding to Bisharat

Once again, the shrill voice of the Palestinian movement is heard, this time through a column by the ever predictable George Bisharat. In essence, Mr. Bisharat indulges in the politically tainted vocabulary that happens to be stylish at the moment, and inappropriately appropriates the South African word "apartheid". "Apartheid’ is merely a politically loaded word selected specifically to demonize Israel. It also masks the role of the Palestinians in creating their own situation through diplomatic intransigence, sectarian violence and maximalism.

Mr. Bisharat attempts to cast a boycott of Israel as an innovative idea without even mentioning that the Arabs have been boycotting Israel since as early as 1921, 27 years before the establishment of Israel. The original Arab boycott forswore contact with any Jewish owned business operating in the British Mandate of Palestine, long before Israel’s independence in 1948. The Arab boycott of pre-state Israel was not motivated by any high minded ideals, just on the Arab resentment of the potential existence of a Jewish state. The Arab boycott of Israel is illegal for Americans under the 1977 amendments to the Export Administration Act (EAA)

We must accept such efforts as Mr. Bisharat’s for what they are, part of a series of propaganda attacks on Israel designed solely to cast Israel as the villain and the Palestinians as eternal helpless victims in a situation where neither is true. Mr. Bisharat’s spinning of the facts and twisting of history doesn’t change that a bit.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"In Gaza, there is no humanitarian crisis"

You probably think that the person who said this must be either A: an absolute idiot, or B: a flaming conservative.
Well, you're completely wrong. This little nugget of truth came right from Eric Westervelt, a reporter for NPR's All Things Considered. He's stationed in Gaza.
He did a story about the growing economic divide between Gaza and the West Bank, mainly caused by the Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The thing is, though the economy of Gaza is collapsing (an unfortunate byproduct of the necessary closing of the Karni crossing), there really isn't a humanitarian crisis going on. Supplies get in, they're distributed, and people are getting what they need.
Now, everybody is blaming Israel for this, because they're doing their best to stay secure. The obvious question is, if you have an extremely hostile force controlling land with access to weapons that really wants to destroy you, wouldn't you close the borders (excluding necessary provisions)? Israel is doing what is necessary to avert a humanitarian crisis on both sides of the border. To open the gates to Hamas would be just as evil as cutting off Gaza entirely. The fact of the matter is, it's not Israel, stupid. If Hamas would renounce violence and accept Israel's existence there would be no problem, and there never would have been a humanitarian crisis to speak of.
But my point was, and still is, there isn't one now.
Hell, if you don't believe me, check out the report for yourself.
Click the "Listen" button under the headline.
The quote is about 2 minutes in.