M.J. Rosenberg’s just published weekly column on the brouhaha around Nancy Pelosi’s meeting with Syria’s Bashir Assad should go some way to silencing the shameful criticism emanating from the likes of Dick Cheney and the Washington Post (what does it tell you about the latter when it’s cuddling beneath the sheets with the likes of him?). Pelosi had the temerity of trying to advance a frozen peace process between Israel and Syria and frozen relations between Syria and the U.S. in the interest of lessening the bloodshed in the Mideast. For that she is lambasted by those brilliant minds who brought you the current carnage in Iraq. Here’s the Post’s niggling and M.J.’s riposte:
Pelosi is being skewered for, in the words of the Washington Post’s editors, “substituting her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican President.”
The Post accuses Pelosi of “try[ing] to introduce a new U.S. diplomatic initiative in the Middle East.”
Heaven forfend! Things are going so swimmingly in the Middle East that the last thing anyone needs is for the 3rd highest official in the United States trying to resuscitate diplomacy.
And I do so enjoy hearing the “last unindicted Republican House leader” John Boehner’s inane comment on Pelosi’s trip:
Republican House leader, John Boehner, admitted that there was nothing wrong with legislators in general visiting Syria. “It’s one thing for other members to go,” Boehner said, “but you have to ask yourself, ‘Why is Pelosi going?”
You see, any old dumbass House member like Boehner can go to Syria. It’s only Pelosi whose motives should be questioned. Because she’s just the Speaker and, you know, the Speaker can’t have any agenda political or otherwise. She should, I suppose, just sit back in her regal Speaker’s Office like Cleopatra and await the world’s coming to her.
M.J. also notes the tempest in a teacup stirred up by Israel’s cutting the legs out from under Pelosi on the matter of whether or not she carried a peace message form Olmert to Assad:
The Israeli government added to the Pelosi controversy by saying that Pelosi did not carry any private messages from Jerusalem to Damascus. But the Israelis have been using intermediaries to convey information to the Syrians for a long time. It is inconceivable that the highest ranking American in memory to visit Damascus would visit Israel, en route to Syria, and not be asked to convey a message to President Assad from Prime Minister Olmert.
One can only hope that she was carrying messages from Israel. Why wouldn’t the Israelis seize that opportunity?
Pelosi’s visit strengthened America’s position in the region, and likely helped Israel on prisoners, on Hezbollah, and in its effort to avoid another war like last summer’s. It was a gutsy move by the new Speaker and one that deserves commendation, not criticism from those who are committed to the whole litany of failed policies of recent years. One would think that some of these pundits would look at the sheer carnage they delivered in Iraq – the 3200 American dead and the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians – and be shamed into shutting up
Out of decency and civility perhaps, M.J. didn’t delve into the matter, as I have, of whether or not Olmert deliberately undercut Pelosi in order to curry favor with his buddies George and Dick. It seems that Ehud now has to call DC and ask permission to go to the bathroom in his own Jerusalem PM’s office. Sometimes the word comes back from Ragin’ Dick: “Uh, not now Ehud hold it in a bit longer and then when Nancy makes a splash in Damascus that’s when you take your dump.”
And doing what M.J. does best, he placed Pelosi’s peacemaking efforts in the context of one of the biggest blunders and lost opportunities in Israel’s history:
I like to hearken back to the great missed opportunity of 1971. That was when Prime Minister Golda Meir rebuffed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s call on Israel to pull back from the Suez Canal. Sadat said that in exchange for a pullback of just a few miles – which would enable Egypt to re-open the canal — he would begin negotiating a peace agreement with Israel.
This week Yediot Achronot revealed new information about the missed opportunity. Zeev Tzahor reports that then-American Secretary of State, William Rogers, was so disturbed by Golda’s rejection that he enlisted Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, to try to persuade her to, at least, seriously consider the offer.
Let the Yediot columnist, Zeev Tzahor, tell the rest of the story:
“The 85-year-old Ben-Gurion was retired… His relations with Golda were poor, and he was not particularly eager to speak with her. Rogers implored him. The Egyptian initiative is a one-time opportunity, he said, but Golda has taken a dismissive, supercilious view of it. She admires you, maybe she’ll heed your advice. Ben-Gurion acquiesced, and asked his aides to put him in touch with Golda in Jerusalem.
“The brief conversation between them was acerbic. The people present in the room heard Ben-Gurion repeat why she ought to begin negotiations with Egypt…. While the people present in the room could not hear what Golda was saying on the other side of the line, it was clear to them that she was not interested in promoting the Egyptian initiative.
“Ben-Gurion lost his patience, lambasted Golda and said she was leading Israel to catastrophe, and terminated the conversation. For some reason, he placed the receiver down on the table and not in its cradle. The people present in the room heard Golda calling, “Ben-Gurion, Ben-Gurion,” but he refused to pick up the telephone again. He just kept repeating, “war is going to break out soon, war is coming.”
It did. Israel lost nearly 3000 men. Ben Gurion died a few weeks later. Israel ended up relinquishing not just the west bank of the Suez Canal, as Sadat had demanded but every last inch of the Sinai peninsula.
Until this week, I had never heard that Secretary of State William Rogers tried so hard to help Israel avert catastrophe. All I recalled about him was that the pro-Israel community despised him because he was thought to have applied pressure on Israel.
Little did I know that the pressure was in the form of the wise counsel of David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the Jewish state.
I hope Pelosi is not daunted by the criticism emanating from all the usual suspects. Her delegation’s visit to the Middle East advanced America’s interests and Israel’s too. As they like to say in that region: the dogs bark but the caravan moves on.
Imagine belittling an American political leader trying to actually LEAD by furthering efforts to promote peace between Israel and Syria. If Cheney or Olmert only did their own jobs they wouldn’t need Pelosi trying to do it for them.
M.J. also notes that the Wall Street Journal has gone completely loony-tunes and propses that Pelosi be charged with a federal crime for her Syria visit. Please God, circulate this link widely and let the world know that the neocons have completely taken leave of their senses.
Walter Ballin says
As someone who opposes the U.S.’s unconditional support for Israel, I am highly pleased by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and her visit with it’s leader Bashar Assad. Pelosi’s meeting with Assad is very significant, as the Democrats evolving position regarding the Middle East is for dialouge with the leaders of Syria and Iran. The next Democratic President, especially if it’s someone other than Hillary Clinton, will make it a top priority to settle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and will open up relations with the leaders of Syria and Iran. Pelosi is laying the groundwork.
samuel burke says
ehud olmert first denied this message and then cheney chimed in to support the flayiling speaker pelosi is getting from the varied sources, i dont expect the attacks to stop as the neocons and their minions now have blood in the water…http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/101049.html
As someone who also opposes the u.s.’s unconditional support for Israel, i am highly pleased to see israel become the focus of more problems for any american politician. Now i only wish speaker pelosi would step up and speak up and point to israels intransigence on peace matters to be the reason the u.s is so hated by the muslim nations, who see our unconditional support for this apartheid state called israe, as the force that drives their hatred for america, tying the two nations together (israel and america) into the great satan and little satan they so love to hate.
i can only hope and pray for this problem called unconditional support for israel be brought the the attention of mainstream america and hit them dead smack in the face. Unfortunately the repercussions of this revelation coming to mainstream americas attention may cause other problems, but frankly i am sick and tired of seeing all that is done by these americans with dual allegiance, it does seem that this great nation( the united states) is being manipulated by this force which opresses and forces it’s will on us.
how can such a small minority cause so many problems in just one nation? i wonder if this is only history repeating itself.
Richard Silverstein says
When I hear phrases like “dual allegiance” and “a small minority causing so many problems in just one nation” I get my hackles up. This borders on classic anti-Semitic phraseology. Since I know you to be generally in sync with many of my views perhaps you’re not aware just how touchy these sorts of phrases are. I support Israel while being an American citizen & supporting my country’s interests. I have no dual allegiance & don’t like the term.
As for the small minoirty perhaps you meant AIPAC & its supporters rather than all Jews. At least I hope that’s what you meant.
Walter Ballin says
Now speaking on behalf of myself, I will say that AIPAC and its supporters in fact do have a duel allegiance. Actually that’s putting it mildly, as they only care about the U.S. giving unconditional support to Israel. They don’t care about our interests in this country, and that includes Jews other than themselves. They don’t care about people in the rest of the world either.
However, AIPAC and its supporters aren’t the only ones responsible for our government’s irresponsible policies in the Middle East. There are corporate interests that benefit from this policy. Apache which supplies the helicopter gunships, Caterpillar which supplies the bulldozer tanks that mow down Palestinians homes, the remainder of the military-industrial complex, and the oil corporations all benefit from our government’s policy towards the Israelis and Palestinians and want this to continue. Unfortunately, Israel has become an outpost in the Middle East for these American corporations.
Jeanne Capozzoli says
In response to Samuel Burke, I want to remind everyone that the fundamentalist Christians have been a powerful force in support of the Israeli occupation and settlements that is the well-spring of Muslim hostility to the US. The possession by Israel of all the ancient lands of the Jews is necessary for the second coming of Jesus according Robertson, Hagee, Falwell etc. These “peace loving Christians” were also a powerful force supporting the Bush invasion of Iraq. I, too, have been worried sick about the influence of the Israeli Lobby on our foreign policy in the Middle East. But the fundamentalist Christians which number between 40-80 million (Jerry Falwell says 80 milliion) are a powerful and politically active part of the Israeli Lobby.
samuel burke says
Absolutely richard, my reference is to the powers of aipac and the newspapers and neocons that enforce this blind allegience to israel. i date a jewish girl who has no idea of any of what is being done in the name of israel, i could actually use the word oblivious in describing the ammount of awareness that she and her friends have about aipac or israels influence and intimidation over the us government (congress and senate), and who knows how far and deep this influence delves, the wolfowitz, feith pentagon inside job they pulled on the cia is an example of further intrusion into the halls of power by this cabal .
i realize that jews automatically get their “hackles up” as you say, when they hear of any jew, or israel being blamed, and see it as anti semitic conspiratorial shenanigans, but aipac and most of these groups (neocons, newspapers that push their agenda) are jewish (they are the visible jew) and pretend to speak for jews in america. i believe most jews in america are like the girl i date, and have no idea whatsoever, how aipac and their minions are changing the way a jew is viewed in america. As has been pointed out before by Hoenlein, christians in america will end up supporting israel as a nation more zealously than jews, they (israel through aipac and their minions) have cultivated the christian relationship for a very strategic reason, mainly, the blind, religiously inspired, support of israels interests in america. Europe is a post christian continent, europes churches are mostly empty, and they are much more critical of israel than america is at the present time.
i stand by my belief that the tide is turning, right now jews are being viewed very differently in academia and among the intelligensia around america, further on down the road i believe what hoenlein and dershowitz similarly described as the “poisoning of the water” in reference to the changing attitudes they see taking place in america. It is precisely now that the christians will be worked up into a religious frenzy in support for israel and all they stand for and do, unfortunately this is happening at the expense of the new devil “the muslims”. Interesting to note that i am beginning to see messianic jews being invited as speakers in christian congregations, and what do they preach? the nation of israel and the end time scenario, which must of necessity mean support for israel, in opposition to muslims who seek to destroy her. In messianic congregations that i have attended the main speaker is a man by the name of Bill koenig, the thrust of his message is that whenever the u.s follows a policy that forces israel to give up land for peace a disaster happens in america, i.e hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes….etc, he tries to divide the christians along the lines between those who support israel and those who believe israels time in prophesy is now past, and when i say he tries to divide, i mean he tries to make anyone who believes the other christian position that says that the church replaces israel as the israel of God, very unconfortable to the point of making them sound as haters and unpatriotic as americans. dont take my word for this…his site is watch.org and here is his mission statement…
“Provide readers, by means of a 365-day, year-round news service, with “front lines” information from the White House relevant to Israel and its role in the unfolding global drama.
Educate readers, through truthful, discerning, and frequent commentary, about the significance of current events affecting Israel and our world either directly or indirectly.”
we shall all be able to see how it plays out, cause i believe this train has left the station.