Shmuel Rosner, Chief U.S. Correspondent for Ha’aretz, the liberal Israeli newspaper, posted these interesting (annotated) news tidbits on a recent overview of issues affecting the American election and Americans per se. Rosner is strangely a right wing conservative by any standard in spite of his association with the leftward Ha’aretz newspaper. The links to further information are in the original article.
Rosner’s Blog

Blame the Israel Lobby for Clinton’s loss asks: Was Clinton losing the primary election because she wanted to satisfy the Israel Lobby?

Some people think she did. Here is John Judis of TNR (i.e., The New Republic, a right wing conservative rag founded by the Uber-Neocon Irving Kristol, now owned and edited by Martin Peretz and other right wing pro-Israel Likudniks):

…her refusal to apologize for the October 2002 war resolution, her vote on Kyl-Lieberman (the Iranian Republican Guard is a terrorist organization) may have stemmed from her ignoring the primary and thinking about the general election, or–as Helene Cooper suggested in The New York Times–it might have been an attempt to win support from “the pro-Israel lobby,” which strongly backed the resolution. Whatever the case, her vote was a political disaster. It confirmed the worst fears of anti-war Democrats about her foreign policy inclinations. Her rivals denounced her vote, and she had to answer for it in ads, mailings, and debates through early January. It gave Obama an enormous push at a time when he seemed to be floundering and laid the groundwork for his success in fund-raising and in the Iowa caucuses.

Needless to say, Hillary has been in a fight with John McCain, who has Lieberman in his corner, to take the most rightward position on Israel, which has pushed her into other sorts of anti-Palestinian propaganda, like the pushing legislation on the floor of the Senate to condemn “Palestinian textbooks” that allegedly teach Palestinian children terrorism. Hillary’s effort was subsequently shown to be a theatrical fiasco based on falsity.

Why Obama needs Florida Jews

If you want to know why Obama is making this extra effort with Florida Jews (The NYT made this issue its leading story this morning), take a look at the polls from Florida, where McCain is leading by more than 8 points.

Here is the Times:

Jews, of course, are just one of the many constituencies Mr. Obama must persuade: Latinos, women, working-class whites and independents are vital as well. Thanks in part to enthusiasm from younger Jews, he won 45 percent of the Jewish vote in the primaries (not counting the disputed ones in Florida and Michigan), a respectable showing against a New York senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But in recent presidential elections, Jews have drifted somewhat to the right. Because Mr. Obama is relatively new on the national stage, his résumé of Senate votes in support of Israel is short, as is his list of high-profile visits to synagogues and delis. So far, his overtures to Jews have been limited; aside from a few speeches and interviews, he has left most of it to surrogates.

And Clinton is trying to woo Florida in other ways. The people of Florida, she said, “refused to accept their assigned place as second-class citizens”.

This gambit by Clinton is simply an attempt to steal the nomination. It’s obviously not going to work, because Democratic superdelegates don’t want to commit suicide. But this episode is very revealing about Clinton’s character. I try not to make moralistic characterological judgments about politicians, because all politicians compromise their ideals in the pursuit of power. There are no angels in this business. Clinton’s gambit, however, truly is breathtaking.

Well, that’s not exactly what we are all hearing. Obama has now made the mistake of taking a right wing position on Israel, like the unification of Jerusalem, completely ignoring East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, and supporting the nullificaiton of the right of return of Palestinians (UN Resolution 194) ethnically cleansed from over 470 villages and towns in 1948, to their homes. One can hardly be more rightward on human rights and still be considered a Democrat.

Did Bush help Israel?

This is going to be an interesting debate. According to Jim Besser of the JWeek, Obama will argue that Bush was hurting Israel more than he was helping it:

Bush’s attack has convinced the Obama campaign to take a more aggressive stance on foreign policy, rather than tiptoeing around sensitive national security and foreign policy questions. This includes arguing more forcefully to Jewish voters that the war in Iraq has hurt Israel and that the Bush administration, for all its tough talk about Iran, has failed to slow that country’s nuclear program or its support for anti-Israel terrorists

“Terrorists?” Is this Hillary talking or has Obama taken up the Israeli propaganda effort to cast Palestinians as terrorists and Israel as the victim (See the documentary, Peace, Propaganda, & The Promised Land, if you have any doubts about the twisted reality that now characterizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). Hope not.

And finally,

Will Seattle divest from Israel?

South African Apartheid was eventually taken down by the efforts of American industries (not our government under Reagan, of course) and those of other western nations to divest economically from the South African government.

Seattle Divest From War and Occupation, a citizens group, is angling to get an initiative on the ballot that would mandate city pension funds to divest from businesses that profit from the Iraq War, as well as from Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. Since late March, when initiative I-97 was approved for petition circulation by the City Attorney’s Office, local Seattle Jewish groups have coalesced to beat back the nascent effort.

There are already numerous drives to divest from Israel in Canada and various European countries and the number of efforts grow each year.

At least Israelis are coming to realize that not all Americans approve of Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian people, while it continues to confiscate and colonize their lands. Indeed, when it is understood that liberal elements in American society cannot abide by this ongoing human rights injustice, which is totally contrary to American principles of freedom and self-determination, Israelis may come to understand why Israel is the primary source of anti-Americanism in the Middle East. It is anti-American. How can Americans support a regime that perpetuates an Apartheid system internally, and late age nationalist colonialism in the Palestinian territories?

It cannot. And as more and more Americans breakthrough the censorship and propaganda that characterizes reporting about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, fewer and fewer of them will continue to believe that Israel is the victim of terrorism, when it in fact perpetuates state terrorism against a people fighting for its freedom.

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