Posts Tagged ‘New York’

"The damage caused by Netanyahu is worse than the threat of a nuclear Iran…"

May 24th, 2010 Comments off

Eldar/ Haaretz/ here

In an overtly self-deprecating comment last week during a meeting with Jewish congressmen, U.S. President Barack Obama said he had stepped on a few mines as he took his first steps in the Middle East. The delegation left the White House assuaged, feeling perhaps that a president who has been hurt by mines would be wary of much bigger bombs. It appears that the Obama administration has realized that it will not succeed where its predecessors have failed. If no peace with the Arabs emerges from the president’s initiative, why should he fight with the Jews? When Republicans are threatening to take over the House of Representatives in six months, it’s not so bad if the Israeli occupation continues for another 43 years.

Obama’s efforts to woo Jewish politicians are like our secular politicians who make a pilgrimage to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. The meeting with the congressmen was preceded by one with Elie Wiesel – his dinner with the president after the Nobel peace laureate called on the administration to remove Jerusalem from the negotiations. Also, two senior members of the National Security Council at the White House were sent to calm the leadership of the Anti-Defamation League. And White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel held private talks with a group of concerned rabbis. All went home pleased; they were promised that Obama would not pressure Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to give back land. In simpler words: They don’t want peace; there is no need for it.

It’s possible that Obama’s withdrawal from his vision of peace (“when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims …. It is time for these settlements to stop …. T he continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security,” Cairo address, June 4, 2009 ) will open the purses of a handful of Jewish donors to his party. However, it’s not at all certain that a business-as-usual approach toward a right-wing government in Israel will improve Obama’s lot among Jewish voters . The vast majority of them are not interested in the ethnic origin of their congressmen. Very few know the names of the Jewish congressmen who are being presented to them by Obama and his aides.

In his flight out of the Middle Eastern minefield, the U.S. president stepped on a homemade mine. He failed to address the steady weakening of the link between the Jewish community in the United States and the Jewish community in Israel. The vast majority (78 percent ) of Jewish voters voted for Obama and Democratic candidates for Congress. Peter Beinart, who comes from an Orthodox Jewish family, describes in the New York Review of Books the growing alienation of American Jews from the Zionist idea. These are mostly the young ones.

Obama’s Jewish camp is not buying the message of the poor weakling that the right wing is selling with some success in the local market. A Jewish student at Princeton feels greater affinity to his Muslim classmates than to Effi Eitam, Netanyahu’s public-relations messenger to U.S. university campuses who is calling for the eviction of Arab MKs from the Knesset. A Jewish lawyer in Los Angeles doesn’t see which justice serves as the basis for throwing a Palestinian family, refugees from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Katamon, out of their home in Sheikh Jarrah, only to put in their place settlers from the extreme right. The Jewish lecturer in Boston finds it hard to explain to his children why Israelis prevented his colleague, Prof. Noam Chomsky, from speaking at Bir Zeit University.

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Unfortunately, Obama’s mine is our bomb; over the years, U.S. Jewry has become one of the Zionist movement’s most strategic assets. This influential community’s link to the historic homeland and its influence on centers of power in the United States is one of the cornerstones of Israel’s deterrence. The damage caused by the Netanyahu government to this core support of American Jews is no better than the threat of a nuclear Iran.

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Criminal Israel’s plans to sell the ‘bomb’ to criminal Apartheid South Africa

May 24th, 2010 Comments off
The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres and P W Botha
‘Scuddy’ Shimon “Annabelle’s-of-London” Peres’ signature….
Are you surprised? Do you think ‘savage state’ repented? Do you think the Americans arebehind these ‘revelations’? Haaretz/ here

“Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.

The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa‘s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”….

The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa’s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East. They will also undermine Israel’s attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a “responsible” power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.

The MO of a “responsible” power in Qana, South Lebanon

South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.

met in Zurich. By then the Jericho project had the codename Chalet. The top secret minutes of the meeting record that: “Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available.” … The “three sizes” are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons…” (more/ here)

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Links for May 16-23 2010

May 23rd, 2010 Comments off

I’m halfway through a trip to New York and Rabat, with not much time to blog. Yesterday I got around to putting up a bunch of links for the past week, although I’m sure there’s a lot I missed. Here are they are…

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Iran, Brazil, Turkey and the US

May 19th, 2010 Comments off

Yesterday morning I was at the UN building in New York, with a small group of journalists meeting Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. One of the issues that came up was Iran — in fact the buzz at the UN generally speaking is that Iran is the main topic of conversation at high-level meetings and the G-summits, no matter what’s officially on the agenda. Ki-Moon had just received news that the US had just gotten a tentative agreement over a new package of sanctions on Iran and shared it with us, although he didn’t have much to say about it apart some vague statement that the best way of addressing the Iran issue was through dialogue.

Shortly before Hillary Clinton announced the consensus over a new sanctions resolution, which is going to the UN Security Council soon, Brazil and Turkey had successfully inked a deal with Iran. The deal would have Tehran turn over about half of its nuclear fuel stockpile for a period of a year, a similar deal that the US had earlier said it would be amenable to. So the announcement on new sanctions came as a big f-you to not only Iran, but also Brazil and Turkey, as Gary Sick writes:

Only hours before Clinton’s announcement, the foreign minister of Turkey held his own press conference. Obviously unaware of what was about to happen, he described in some detail not only the tortuous negotiation process with Iran, but his perception that he was acting directly on behalf of the United States.
According to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he had been in “constant contact” with Clinton herself and with national security adviser James Jones, while his prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had face-to-face encouragement from President Obama in December and April.
The objective of Turkey and Brazil was to persuade Iran to accept the terms of an agreement the United States had itself promoted only six months ago as a confidence-building measure and the precursor to more substantive talks. There were twelve visits back and forth between the Turk and his Iranian counterpart, some 40 phone conversations, and eighteen grueling hours of personal negotiations leading up to the presentation of the signed agreement on Monday.

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The Wall Street Journal on the ‘war’ that could have been….

May 18th, 2010 Comments off

(hoping that Israel can still pull a fast punch… I bet the WSJ will be atn Israel’s side when all hell breaks loose … from the safety & comfort of the New York offices) …WSJ/ here

“… The deal will, however, make it nearly impossible to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program short of military action. The U.N. is certainly a dead end. After 16 months of his extended hand and after downplaying support for Iran’s democratic opposition, Mr. Obama now faces an Iran much closer to a bomb and less diplomatically isolated than when President Bush left office.

Israel will have to seriously consider its military options. Such a confrontation is far more likely thanks to the diplomatic double-cross of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil’s Lula, and especially to a U.S. President whose diplomacy has succeeded mainly in persuading the world’s rogues that he lacks the determination to stop their destructive ambitions.”

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Links for May 10-15 2010

May 15th, 2010 Comments off

I’m in New York for the next few days, and Morocco after that for a week, and expect blogging to be very light. Still, I promise a long post on the renewal of the emergency law this week and wider issues, including US-Egypt relations. I am writing this from a very interesting conference at CUNY on the future of Egypt (Hassan Nafaa is speaking right now), which is an occasion to remind you to follow me on Twitter (see sidebar) for updates and links that are not in the links posts.

Here are the links and I want to highlight the first one:

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Did Cairo Catch Weapons JFK Missed?

May 13th, 2010 Comments off

An Egyptian-American passenger has been detained at Cairo airport after arriving on an Egypt Air flight from New York with “six metal boxes containing two 9mm pistols, 250 bullets, two swords, and 11 daggers.”

The firearms were in checked luggage, but the TSA is saying they were not declared, according to The New York Times. The NYT article seems to suggest that the TSA screening does not check for firearms (which unlike explosives can’t harm the flight if in the cargo hold), but not declaring them would still be a violation. It’s also a rather risky thing to take into a Middle Eastern airport, even if the TSA at JFK let them through.

Oh, and: two swords and 11 daggers?

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Pork, piety and the nature of reality

May 12th, 2010 Comments off

Pork rinds, known in the American South and the English North as crackling, are a delicious beer snack consisting essentially of the roasted skin of pigs. In the video below, the Muslim owners of deli in New York receives a consignment of the snack and ponders and whether or not they should sell it. A particularly interesting point is that the pork rinds appear not to contain any pork (indeed most ¢99 renditions of pork rinds consist of salt and flavorings imprinted on a soy wafer). Before this ontological conundrum can be resolved, the package of pork rinds is recalled… and taken to the Jewish deli across the road.

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Nuclear talks spark Iran-US clash

May 4th, 2010 Comments off

The US secretary of state and Iran’s president trade accusations at a nuclear non-proliferation conference in New York.
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New Talks on Nuclear-Free Zone?

May 3rd, 2010 Comments off

An AFP report over the weekend claims that the US and Egypt have been talking about reviving plans for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, on the eve of the UN’s non-proliferation conference (the one that is bringing Ahmadinejad to New York).

Egypt has long supported the idea of a regional nuclear-free zone, and the concerns over Iran have revived the idea, though the fly in the ointment remains what it has always been: the Israeli nuclear deterrent. Since Israel has never acknowledged having nuclear weapons (but has never signed the NPT either), its generally recognized but unofficial nuclear stockpiles make it unlikely Israel will agree to making the region a nuclear-free zone, at least absent a stable peace with all its neighbors, which looks more remote than it once did.

So this may be as fruitless an effort as earlier ones have been; it would require Israel to disarm its nuclear forces, and it’s hard to picture that happening, especially given the present cool relations between Netanyahu and the US.

Still, there is the very real danger that an Iranian weapon will spark proliferation in the region, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, perhaps Syria and Turkey thinking of acquiring deterrents, and then instead of a nuclear-free zone you run the risk of a nuclear free-fire zone.

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