16 thoughts on “Obama Tightens Noose Around Settlements – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Maybe Noam Sherzav (Promised Land blog) is right: “My guess is that it is only a matter of time before Obama will be compared to Hitler.”

  2. Code Pink petition asking Obama to visit Gaza during his visit to Egypt:
    http://airamerica.com/blog/2009/may/29/medea-benjamin-during-his-trip-egypt-obama-should-visit-gaza

    “While Obama prepares for his trip to the Middle East, more than 150 people—mostly Americans—are trying to enter war-torn Gaza through both the Egyptian and Israeli borders. Organized under the umbrella of the peace group CODEPINK, this is the largest group of Americans to travel to Gaza since the siege began.”

    “CODEPINK has launched an international petition (see http://www.codepinkalert.org) calling on Obama to visit Gaza and see for himself the devastation and deprivation that continues to plague the region’s 1.5 million people almost 6 months after the invasion. Just this week, Obama just tacked a new stop to his upcoming Middle Eastern visit: Saudi Arabia. If he can make room for a private dinner with the King, then surely he can find the time to go to Gaza. Isn’t it more important for Obama to visit a region where 1,300 people have recently been killed and thousands of homes, schools and mosques destroyed? Isn’t it more important for him to see how the Israelis are using the yearly $3 billion in military aid from U.S taxpayers?”

  3. Printe, where have you been? Over the past year and more the Israel über Alles crowd has already compared Obama to Hitler over and over again. Just google obama hitler (without quotes) and you’ll see. But I’m sure you’re right, they’ll now come out with an even richer version. Fortunately it’s such a total bunch of crap that they’re just “darshening to the meshorrim.” (Jewish for “preaching to the choir.”)

  4. Martin Peretz in the New Republic:

    The idea of stopping all construction in all settlements means that once again the Israelis will be ceding something in advance and for nothing in return. This is a destructive negotiating tactic and will encourage the same kind of intransigence – you give me, I take – that has marked the Palestinians in all of the talks. Telling the Israelis that they can’t build another house in all of the settlements means that no one can marry and no one can have children and no one can add a room to the house. This is not diplomacy; it is the smothering of ordinary life.
    In fact, the 2003 “Roadmap” made distinctions among settlements, envisioning that the largest would remain sovereign Israeli territory. The very largest happen to cling to Jerusalem. I wouldn’t withdraw from them in a million years. This is a matter of the security of the city, its breathing room and, yes, its centrality in Jewish history and in contemporary Jewish life. There is a price to be paid by the Palestinians for their suicidal politics over the decades. And if I were Netanyahu, I would expect also to be able to increase defensive settlements in the Jordan Valley rift as a protection against Palestinian terror flowing east to west and west to east between the kingdom and the new Palestine.

    That reasoning, that argument is where the battle is. You can hear it regurgitated along with it’s mantra “it’s not the settlements”.

    Why are you giving them the satisfaction of calling them and their opinionistas “pro-Israel”?

    1. “The very largest happen to cling to Jerusalem.”

      One suspects this should read, “The very largest quite deliberately by design cling to Jerusalem.”

  5. Thank you Tikkun. Thank you Richard Silverstein.

    You will succeed in saving many lives, in saving Judaism from Zionism. Saving the great ethical tradition and faith from a discredited model of colonialism and cruelty.

    Judaism isn’t Israel. Israel isn’t America. Because we believe in the equality of all people before the law, regardless of religion. And Israel doesn’t.

    1. Laura-almost half of the Jews of the world live in Israel, and the large majority identify with Zionism and its goals (and I would include the large majority of Haredim who don’t openly identify with Zionism as a label, but who in practice, accept its goals). In addition the large majority of Jews in the world support Israel and its Zionist identity. So who are YOU to say “Judaism isn’t Israel” and that you are “saving Judaism from Zionism”? You can invent your own religion if you want, but you have no right to redefine everybody else’s beliefs to fit your own narrow views.

  6. Peretz as quoted above:

    “The idea of stopping all construction in all settlements means that once again the Israelis will be ceding something in advance and for nothing in return. This is a destructive negotiating tactic and will encourage the same kind of intransigence – you give me, I take – that has marked the Palestinians in all of the talks.”

    One is accustomed to a lot from this crowd but still, every time I read stuff like this it nearly takes my breath away. The term “chutzpah” is too weak for it.

    I stop stealing more of your land and, damn it, I get nothing in return.

    Let us try again. The world has tacitly accepted the fact that, even within the green line, Israel has, through acts of war, already gained 23 – 24 percent more of 1947-Palestine than was allotted to it by the UN partition plan; this in spite of the fact that acquiring territory through acts of war has been against international law since the 1930’s.

    The Palestinians have also acquiesced in this basically illegal situation and now only lay claim to 22% of 1947-Palestine.

    The settlements have been explicitly declared to be illegal by the International Court of Justice. But Peretz wants Israel to be rewarded by the Palestinians for stopping to act illegally. This man is beyond belief.

  7. Peretz is basically a fascist. You strip away the thin, tawdry veil of tortured rhetoric and affected literacy and what you’re left with is a racial supremacist. It’s truly incredible and a sad indictment of our society that he is an influential Harvard professor.

    There is something particularly odious and Orwellian about Peretz, Wieseltier and the other pretend-liberals over at the New Republic. Give me a no holds barred self-described “conservative” right winger like crazy Norman Pod-head over these transparently anti-liberal “liberals” any day (well, perhaps not, Pod-head wants to enact nuclear armaggedon on Iran right now, along with whoever else gives him and Israel a wrong look). The level of hypocrisy and apparent self-delusion of Peretz and the rest of the New Republic pseudo-intellectuals is sort of mind-blowing. I’m trying to imagine what it must be like to be inside Peretz’s pickled mind, to ‘stand in his shoes’ so to speak. The idea that these New Republic Israel zealots must try so hard to convince themselves that they’re liberals (in any meaningful sense of the term)–or maybe they merely project this delusion to the eager and willing beltway Establishment–or that they have ANY, ANY remotest connection to the Enlightenment tradition, is really quite something.

    I’m not sure even good ‘ol George Orwell could have imagined them.

  8. There is nothing original in Peretz piece. These latest arguments are and have been regurgitated in one form or another. They are the marching orders ( talking points) many who think of themselves as “pro-Israel” look for. Especially annoying is the one that goes “all we do is give give give, and what do we get?”

    These arguments have to be demolished point for point- and effectively, in a way that gets through. Number one is to destroy ownership of what “pro-Israel” means- which is what I hope Obama can help do ( at the very least).

    Most annoying “pro-Israel” folks so willingly take their “talking points”. They believe them. They go unopposed in their own circles. Letting off steam here and name-calling is useless… other than feeling commiseration.

    You have to get out there and battle each point: What do you mean “all we do is give?” What has been given that has not been taken back and more stolen?

    “We won, they lost”

    “There is a price to be paid by the Palestinians for their suicidal politics over the decades.” (ie they have to pay for their resistance as we try to destroy them. Anything goes now b/c we gave them “generous offer” & it was refused)

    Regarding the comments on the Peretz piece (TNR), the most dangerous and persuasive are the ones who know history, some international law, can reason in an authoritative way while nudging that POV. Finding for the flaws ( usually of a moral nature) is a good way to sharpen the mind.

  9. Here is an interesting passage from Eric Alterman’s piece on Peretz in The American Prospect:

    “What’s more, during his reign, Peretz has also done lasting damage to the cause of American liberalism. By turning TNR into a kind of ideological police dog, Peretz enjoyed the ability — at least for a while — to play a key role in defining the borders of “responsible” liberal discourse, thereby tarring anyone who disagreed as irresponsible or untrustworthy. But he did so on the basis of a politics simultaneously so narrow and idiosyncratic — in thrall almost entirely to an Israel-centric neoconservatism — that it’s difficult to understand how the magazine’s politics might be considered liberal anymore. Ironically Peretz’s stance ultimately turned out to be not only out of step with most liberals but also most American Jews, who consistently cling to views far more dovish, both on Israel and on U.S. foreign policy generally, than those espoused in TNR.”

  10. I enjoy Alterman for the most part. Just as a writer he’s probably the best of the Nation columnists (although not quite my favorite). His analytical, level-headed take on most issues, particularly regarding the media and the beltway mindset, is illuminating. And he’s pretty good at taking on the hard-line neocon right regarding Israel. Yet he doesn’t seem able to bring himself to really look at the full horror of the Israeli Occupation, or even our American empire in general. He soft-pedals, euphemizes, equivocates, hems and haws and so on, when it comes to this stuff. It’s too bad he can’t quite face up to the unpleasant, unjustifiable reality of Israel’s behavior, the magnitude of injustice perpetrated in the Occupied territories, because overall he’s an intelligent, thoughtful commentator. And his deconstructing take-down of Peretz is great. Thanks for that.

  11. Suzanne, I understand what you’re saying and think you’re basically right in terms of the day to day grind of refuting falsehoods and arguing methodically against this unending propaganda. I was simply making some broader points about Peretz in the context of the New Republic. I suppose calling him a “fascist” is a bit inflammatory and ‘calling names’, as you say; I was actually employing it in a straightforward descriptive way. I happen to think Peretz’s bromides reveal an underlying fascist worldview. In everything he writes he demonstrates his conviction that the lives of Israeli Jews are intrinsically more important and valuable than those of their Arab neighbors–this is textbook ethnic/racial supremacism. Someone else could disagree of course. As a left-liberal I am offended by the long-standing hijacking of the term ‘liberal’ by these guys. That’s what I was getting at in my comment. If in doing so I let off some steam with colorful invective, so be it, that has its place too.

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