Mar 27, 2011

The Latest from Mondoweiss for 03/27/2011


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Here are the headlines from Mondoweiss for 03/27/2011:

What is your question for Benjamin Netanyahu?
Mar 26, 2011 10:58 am | Adam Horowitz

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be holding an interview of sorts over YouTube where he will be taking questions submitted by viewers. YouTube is currently accepting questions and there is a vote to determine which ones will be asked during the interview.

Currently, here are the four most popular questions:

If you're really interested in peace with Palestinians, why do you make sure that Jewish settlements continue being built, essentially taking over land that could become part of a Palestinian state?
Jim Watkins

Mr. prime minister, when will you stop building Israeli settlements on palestinian land, and leave our occupied land?
Karim S
Mansura, Louisiana

Mr. Prime Minister, why has your country so blatantly violated international law by settling hundreds of thousands of civilians in an occupied territory? Why did you announce last week that you were going to build new settlements?

And, seeing that this is You Tube, you can also submit questions by video:


You can view all the questions, and submit your own, here.

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Marqusee: democracy development and great power intervention are at odds
Mar 26, 2011 09:57 am | Philip Weiss

Anti-Zionist Mike Marqusee at his site, "Thoughts on Libya and Liberal Interventionism:"

The "urgency" of the response to Gaddaffi is in marked contrast to the infinite patience extended to Israel. No one proposed a No Fly Zone when Israeli aircraft were pummelling Gaza. Nor did they when the Sri Lankan government killed some 20,000 civilians in its final assault on the LTTE. In Burma condemnation has never been matched by the merest hint of military action, while millions have perished in a war in the Congo financed and armed by western corporations Had the Egyptian army jumped the other way and repressed the uprising, would western powers have treated them as they"re treating the Gaddafi regime? Not a chance. And then there's the flip-flop over Gaddafi himself, from pariah to partner and back again in record time. "So what?" some will respond. If the western powers are hypocritical and selective, that doesn't mean that in this instance they're wrong...

Liberal interventionists treat great powers as neutral agents, disinterested entities that can be inserted into a situation for a limited purpose and time, like a surgeon's knife. In reality, however, these powers have clear and compelling interests – in Libya as elsewhere – and their deployment of military force will be guided by those interests. In action, western troops are accountable not to the people they're supposed to be protecting but to a chain of command that ends in Washington, London and Paris.

The unleashing of the great military powers undermines the universalism the liberal interventionists claim to honour: outcomes are determined by concentrations of wealth and power remote from the scene of suffering. If we're to build any kind of just, sustainable world order, then we must (at the least) restrain and restrict great powers, not license them to act where and when it's convenient for them.

The incompatibility between democratic development and great power intervention may seem obvious but it seems to escape the liberal interventionists. Their approach is ahistorical, as if somehow the entire record of western imperialism could be suddenly overturned, self-interest magically transformed into humanitarian interest. In the name of pluralism they endorse a uni-polar world, governed perpetually by a few great powers. In the name of universalism, they support an exercise of power that has always been and must continue to be selective in the extreme when it comes to human rights.

Characteristically, the liberal interventionists omit from their equations the realities of unequal power. Their approach to crisis is managerialist. Problems will be solved by the implementation from above of sound policies. They see the masses as passive recipients of democracy, not the creators of it. Those who believe democracy can be imposed by military assault have surely missed some of the basic stuff of democracy itself, not to mention the powerful lessons of Tahrir Square. For them military intervention is an act of noblesse oblige – but like all such acts, it re-enforces the subordinate status of the alleged beneficiary; it reminds them who's boss.

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Star of 'Cleopatra' was… a Zionist
Mar 26, 2011 09:47 am | Philip Weiss

The Zionist Organization of America says that the late Elizabeth Taylor was an "ardent Zionist." Much of her ardor seems to have been circa the 50s-0s. Egypt wouldn't let the makers of "Cleopatra" film in Egypt. From the Jewish Journal:

In 1975, she was one of 60 prominent women to sign a statement to then-U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim condemning the U.N. General Assembly's infamous Zionism-is-Racism resolution. Taylor offered herself as a hostage when 104 hostages aboard an Air France airbus were hijacked by PLO terrorists and held at Uganda's Entebbe Airport, from which they rescued in a spectacular Israeli commando mission on July 4, 1976, America's 200th birthday.

Taylor frequently visited Israel and met with its leadership, including Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1983..

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, "Elizabeth Taylor was not only a wonderful actress but a wonderful Zionist.

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'LRB' report suggests even Tunisian revolutionaries fear global punishment if they take up Palestinian cause
Mar 26, 2011 09:14 am | Philip Weiss

How large a force is support for Israel in American culture and, beyond that, in global political life? How much of life does this question divide? That is a big question.

When Arabs talk about this issue, Tom Friedman dismisses them as conspiracists. I don't. I think that support for Israel is a large factor in American culture and politics, but I just don't know how big, and I try and be concrete about what iron filings are following the magnet. Earlier today I posted a piece saying that Elizabeth Taylor was an ardent Zionist-- not a bad career move, though it meant that Egypt wouldn't allow the film "Cleopatra" to be shot there in the early 60s. (A little like Kate Winslet doing a Holocaust movie and getting an Oscar. Or Natalie Portman working for Dershowitz at Harvard and helping him on his book The Case for Israel; seems to have worked out for her.) Yesterday I said that the body count for American support for Israel included Bobby Kennedy.

At LRB, Jonathan Steele has an excellent, uplifting report from the Tunisian revolution including many stories of the people's political sophistication. (Here is the link, though sorry only subscribers can read the whole thing...) It includes this interesting analysis of the reluctance of the leading party, the Nahda, or Islamist party, to push any kind of fundamentalist agenda:

There were two things Tunisians, including Nahda supporters, would not sacrifice [Ari Larayedh, a member of the Nahda executive] said: to live by the rules of modernity, and to remain faithful to their Arab identity and the values of Islam. There is a reason for Nahda's caution. Although Tunisia is not a front-line state in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, outside powers are watching it closely: 'If Nahda beomes the main force that controls the political game, this could add new problems rather than solve old ones. Tunisia cannot afford any extra pressure on people's lifelines, given our fragile economy, weak trading position and huge debts.'

Fascinating. So one arc of binding energy in the Arab world continues to be globalized support for Israel. And it affects even the revolutionaries.

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Steve Walt says he would do it all over again
Mar 26, 2011 08:38 am | Philip Weiss

Steve Walt reflects on the publication of the Israel lobby paper 5 years ago. He says that he and co-author Mearsheimer managed to raise awareness and open up an important conversation, or helped to do so, along with Israel's intransigence; that J Street and JVP are the very sort of new groups they were pushing to see emerge; and that they failed in their main objective, to influence White House policy for the better. (Though I'd inject, if they had succeeded, people would be saying, Walt and Mearsheimer were wrong, see there is no Israel lobby; and Obama's failure has vindicated the scholars). And this:

The result, unfortunately, is that a two-state solution that would secure Israel's long-term future is farther away than ever, and America's image in the region -- which showed signs of improvement at the time of Obama's 2009 Cairo speech -- remains parlous. And we are now witnessing a series of political upheavals in the Arab world that are likely to create governments that are far more sensitive to public sentiment than their predecessors were, even if they fall short of being perfect democracies. These new governments will pay more attention to the "Arab street," where the Palestinian issue resonates in powerful ways. This situation will raise the costs of the "special relationship" even more, which makes America's failure to achieve a two-state solution over the past 20 years -- a failure for which the lobby bears considerable (though not all) responsibility -- especially tragic.

Finally, I am sometimes asked whether I have any regrets about writing the article or the book. My answer is clear: absolutely not. As I told a Harvard official back in 2006, it was a "life-altering" event in the sense that it almost certainly closed some doors that might otherwise have been open to me. But writing the book and engaging in serious public debate about Israeli policy, the "special relationship," and the lobby also taught me a lot about politics and introduced me to a new community of scholars, policy analysts, and journalists from whom I've learned an enormous amount and who have become valued colleagues. I would do it again without hesitation, and I would not alter any of our central arguments.

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"...when you have laws against questioning the Holocaust narrative, you are screaming at the other person to stop thinking!!!" ---Michael Santomauro, March 23, 2011

Being happy–is it good for the Jews? "Before Professor Dershowitz accused me of being an anti-Semite (news to me), I was a happy person. Since then, I'm still a happy person". –Michael Santomauro

An anti-Semite condemns people for being Jews, I am not an anti-Semite.--Michael Santomauro

Most of us are mentally trapped to think Jewish. Actually, it is safe to say that virtually every mainstream publication or or other type of media organ is "nothing more than a screen to present chosen views." The great battle over the last century has been a battle for the mind of the Western peoples, i.e., non-Jewish Euros. The chosen won it by acquiring control over essentially the complete mainstream news, information, education and entertainment media of every type, and using that control to infuse and disseminate their message, agenda and worldview, their way of thinking, or rather the way they want us to think. Since at least the 1960s this campaign has been effectively complete. Since then they have shaped and controlled the minds of all but a seeming few of us in varying degree with almost no opposition or competition from any alternative worldview. So now most of us are mentally trapped in the box the chosen have made for us, which we have lived in all our lives. Only a few have managed to avoid it or escape it, or to even sometimes see outside of it, and so actually "think outside of the (Jewish) box." --Michael Santomauro

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