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Bibi to Support Palestinian General Assembly Bid…With Major Caveat

Haaretz reports the confusing news that the EU’s foreign minister has devised an entirely new UN sub-state category and proposes that the General Assembly approve an upgrade of Palestinian status to such a rank.  This would preclude Palestine from bringing claims before the International Criminal Court.  As you can imagine, Bibi Netanyahu loves the idea and the Palestinians hate it (though Ynetnews argues, fatuously I believe, that the Palestinians are seriously considering the proposal).

One purpose of the proposal, whether intended or not, is to divide the 27 EU member votes and thus fragment support for Palestine’s GA proposal. I doubt this will work.  In fact, Haaretz notes that a number of EU states have derided Catherine Ashton Taylor for her proposal, saying she did so on her own initiative without consulting them.  So I think this is yet another “flyer” born out of U.S.-Israel desperation that the GA vote will bring Palestine into the UN as a nonvoting member state.  This would enable it to call Israel to account for its policies in clear violation of international law including settlements, Operations Cast Lead, the first Lebanon war, the assassination of Salah Shehadeh, etc.  Obama and Netanyahu are scared shitless that the day after this vote the ICC will have to hang a symbolic shingle outside its front door saying: “Welcome Palestine: Open for Business.”

Haaretz also notes that Bibi will indeed go to the UN and address it on the same day the Palestinians will bring their proposal to the body. It seems a fool’s errand and destined to re-emphasize the isolation of Israel on this issue.  But let it not be said that Bibi is afraid of entering the lion’s den.  Though I think that discretion should be the better part of valor in cases like this; and discretion is one quality he lacks.

Haaretz also reports the astonishing news that the Ministry of Yvet (aka the ministry of foreign affairs) summoned five EU ambassadors and explicitly directed their countries to vote against Palestinian statehood in the UN:

…The Israeli officials…said: “What we expect from your countries is simply to vote against any resolution.”

Only in Israel would they tell diplomats of countries that can eat Israel for breakfast what their foreign policy must be regarding Palestine. The funny thing is that one of them, Germany, is known to be sympathetic to Israel’s position. But with chutzpah like this there’s liable to be a backlash, with Israel even losing the Holocaust-induced guilty sympathy of that nation.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Haver September 15, 2011, 11:15 PM

    Ashton is from the UK and they are trying to revive the old hierarchy of states in which dependent states were no eligible for membership in international courts.

    The UK recently informed the Secretary-General that it wanted an incomplete list of territories subject to its jurisdiction “added” to “extend” its ratification of the Rome Statute.

    Of course, the Statute had no provision for a member to withhold jurisdiction over part of the territories subject to its own jurisdiction. The obvious question was why had the Chagos Islands and other human rights trouble spots been omitted?


  • yankel September 16, 2011, 2:52 AM

    A sub-state for people ranked sub-(citizens? human?) — what an original attitude…

    Is this just a creative guilt-ridden idea of nations shamed by histories of bloody antisemitism and reckless colonialism, or a necessity to succumb (along with a humiliated American administration) to an Israeli-owned American political-system?

    • David September 16, 2011, 6:59 PM

      It is a weaseling attempt to dilute the issue and will probably be opposed if only because it is so transparent. Why shouldn’t Israel be held to the standards of other nations? But, I agree, Israel directs foreign policy in America and, now apparently, for the EU as well. Unfortunately, such insight brings to mind the irrational belief that the “Jews control everything,” a core belief of anti-Semites! I do now have to think twice, and then some, when I come up against this one. It is just one part of the fallout of the insidious and disingenuous path of Zionism at this point in history, that such beliefs have more “legs” than one would suppose…or like.

      • yankel September 17, 2011, 4:04 AM

        Israel (following the pre-state Zionist movement) has a long history of subjugating existential interests of diaspora Jews to those of the Zionist project (much like the settlers subjugate existential Zionist interests to those of their own project).

        By design or by carelessness, present day Israel is doing much to revive (if not rehabilitate) antisemitism from languishing, post-WWII, at the dustbin of history.

        By default, American Jews are seen by others as AIPAC’s foot-soldiers or, at least, its supporters or sympathisers.

        I’m afraid that in a persistent tail-wags-dog reality, where a foreign-interest lobby-group compels the American political system to toe its xenophobic line, a groundswell of antisemitism will become inevitable.

        The way I see it, dissociating themselves publicly from Israeli policies has become an existential interest of American Jews.

        • shmuel September 17, 2011, 5:51 AM

          If, as you claim here, Obama and most congressmen are afraid to take an anti-Israel line as they will not be (re-)elected, this could be for two reasons:

          1. Jews fund the election campaigns of those who support Israel, and/or:
          2. Jews are populous enough to swing the vote by virtue of their sheer numbers.

          If 1. is true, then how come the rich oil producing anti-Israel countries don’t smeer the pockets of same congressmen with even more money than the Jews can fund and help elect people they want?
          If 2.is correct then that’s democracy, and the viewpoint of the majority is what should fix policy, and the majority is simply more convinced of the pro-Israel arguements.

          Does it never occur to anyone that congressmen or potential congressmen can actually think for themselves without needing a Jew to tell him how to think? Are Americans really so shallow?

          • Haver September 17, 2011, 9:49 AM

            If 1. is true, then how come the rich oil producing anti-Israel countries don’t smeer the pockets of same congressmen with even more money than the Jews can fund and help elect people they want?

            Because the Supreme Court struck down campaign spending limits on corporations, but not foreign corporations.

            If 2.is correct then that’s democracy, and the viewpoint of the majority is what should fix policy, and the majority is simply more convinced of the pro-Israel arguements.

            There isn’t any democratic right to violate the rights of others here or anywhere else in the world. In the Namibia case, the International Court of Justice ruled that apartheid is simply the domination of another people in order to deny them their right self-determination in violation of the UN Charter. Peoples have the right to determine their own political status and statehood under the Charter and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

            The General Assembly has already affirmed that Palestinian statehood is not subject to the peace process or to any veto. See operative paragraphs 1&2 of A/RES/55/87, 21 February 2001. The Quartet Road Map contains a Phase II obligation for the members to recognize a Palestinian state and the possibility of UN membership. That was never a Phase III final status issue.

            Under the supremacy clause of the US Constitution, treaties like the UN Charter are part of the law of the land. Our courts also recognize the customary prohibition against apartheid and violations are subject to the Alien Tort Statute.

          • Scott Mohn September 17, 2011, 10:28 AM

            Shallow? Probably so.

          • Richard Silverstein September 17, 2011, 2:20 PM

            American politicians are not allowed to take campaign contributions fr foreign citizens. So that rules out Gulf oil money & the like. Plus, any politician who did so even if it was legal would be hounded from the race. There is not nearly as much Arab domestic wealth as Jewish wealth, hence Arab Americans have relatively little sway in U.S. electoral politics.

            Jews are not populous enough to swing any election except possibly in a few states like Florida in which they have large numbers. Other states like NY where many Jews live are reliably Democratic & so Jewish voters do not produce any benefit (except through campaign donations).

            Does it never occur to anyone that congressmen or potential congressmen can actually think for themselves

            If a Congress member ever actually thought for him or herself he’d be voted out of office at the next election–at least when it comes to Israel. There are a few of course who hail from safe seats or Arab constituencies who can have the courage of their convictions. But there are very few of those. Very few.

  • erog erdogan September 16, 2011, 3:00 AM
  • pabelmont September 16, 2011, 3:38 AM

    As yankel suggests, many believe that the USA (president and congress) are wage-slaves of AIPAC.

    I agree. Thus the USA’s non-partisan agreement to shoot-down Palestinian aspirations at the UN — and EU’s and others’ likely acquiescence with the still-quite-powerful USA — are all manifestations of the tail (Israeli ultra-nationalist settler culture) wagging the dog (Israel, first, and USA, second, and much of the international community of nations, third).

    The holocaust-guilt may once have had something to do with all this, but that was then and this is now.

    For 63 years the nations have been able to contemplate Israel’s refusal to honor international law and international opinion (such as UNGA-194, right of return, 1948), and many more, leading to 44 years of blatantly illegal settlements, and the pogroms of today — which compete with European anti-Semitism in bloody-mindedness if not in actual bloodiness.

    No, today, the victims of holocaust-like efforts are the Palestinians and the authors are the Israelis. And this must have erased any holocaust-guilt remaining from the 1940s.

    • yankel September 16, 2011, 3:56 AM

      You write “wage-slaves of AIPAC”.

      I’m afraid this is not exactly what I was trying to suggest.

      While wage-slaves would usually have the option of breaking free and surviving in hardship, owned-slaves have no such privilege.

      Most American political figures know too well that if marked as non-compliant by Israeli lobbyists, their very political existence is soon to be extinguished.

      • Bob Mann September 17, 2011, 8:29 AM

        This has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read on this site.

        You really believe that political figures marked “non-compliant” by Israeli lobbyists have their political existence “extinguished”?

        That is absolutely preposterous.

        Have you ever heard of, say, Dennis Kucinich?

        • David September 17, 2011, 9:12 AM

          The exceptions prove the rule. There is, at least, a perception that the Zionist lobby is huge and without restraints of any kind. The perception alone impacts political life in America. There is no other way of accounting for the almost unanimous support for far right Israeli aggressive policies in the congress. If they “think for themselves”, some proportion of the them would reach much the same the conclusions as other commentators on this blog and be guided accordingly.

          I have come to expect sober and helpful commentary from you and, yes, some comments are way too visceral here, but really don’t you think the Israel lobby is powerful, persuasive and, not incidentally, underhanded and disingenuous?

        • Scott Mohn September 17, 2011, 10:36 AM

          Unfortunately, most Americans don’t take Dennis very seriously – as evidenced by his lack of support as a Presidental candidate. But if you you really want to be President….?

        • Richard Silverstein September 17, 2011, 2:24 PM

          Dennis Kucinich runs from a safe liberal seat in OH. Which btw I think is being redistricted out of existence. Gee, I wonder why? The list of U.S. politicians who’ve been hounded from office & whose opponents were showered with Aipac-affiliated money is legion. One of them, Charles Percy, in fact died yesterday at age 91 after being hounded out of the Senate decades ago. Then there are the pols who were explicitly threatened but who run from safe liberal seats & so have withstood some of that pressure (Betty McCollum).

  • Omar September 16, 2011, 5:51 AM

    Joseph Massad has an interesting article at Al Jazeera about the statehood. He thinks Israel will win either way.


    • David September 16, 2011, 7:21 PM

      It is the responsibility of the rest of us to see to it that Israel has no cause for celebration, regardless the outcome at the UN. It is up to us to embarrass mainstream Israelis with the nature of their government and its deeds, a corrected view of the history of the region and, above all, their pariah status worldwide, even while they hold dominion over millions of others. They must come to see that “no alternative,” the excuse always proffered, is not a moral principle and contains no justice at all, certainly not for Jews and Judaism. (Personally, I believe Israel and Israelis are afflicted with a sort of historical illness, a madness to ape the cold perpetrators and not the victims for once.)

  • Scott Mohn September 16, 2011, 8:25 AM

    UN INITIATIVE: As the Palestinian Statehood initiative at the UN has evolved it has become a symbol of more than Statehood for a single people. It now stands for a broader proposition that transcends any single people or nation. It stands for the proposition that: ” We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….” Compared to this now timeless proposition and the Universal aspirations it reflects, the office of chief executive in any single nation is a mere temporary, minor ministerial post.

  • A disillusioned Israeli September 16, 2011, 1:10 PM

    You say:

    “Only in Israel would they tell diplomats of countries that can eat Israel for breakfast what their foreign policy must be regarding Palestine.”

    I believe that Israel is covertly threatening Europe with its nuclear Jericho 3 missiles. I see no other plausible reason for the recent development of a missile with a range much larger than is needed to reach Iran and the Arab countries that may get dangerous.

    The European urgency to get a ballistic missile shield quickly can be understood only in this context. It’s unlikely that Iran will attack Europe and anyway it’s very far from having the capability.

    There is open information that Israel targeted for many years population centers in South Russia. This is just one step higher in the Chutzpa ladder.

  • Donald September 16, 2011, 4:17 PM

    Apart from the AIPAC influence, I think high ranking officials in the American government (past or present) would also be opposed to the notion that Western government officials might be brought before the ICC on war crimes charges. It would set a very bad precedent from their POV.

    • Scott Mohn September 17, 2011, 10:33 AM

      Bad precedent for American government? No doubt about that.

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