13 thoughts on “Since When is Demanding a Settlement Freeze ‘Hardline?’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. “Many of the typical Israel lobby groups are like a deer caught in the headlights when it comes to responding to the bulldozer that is the Obama administration.”

    For decades now Israel has been getting its own way because the lobby applied its pressure on the hill. Obama’s MidEast peace plan is sort of obvious now to all and sundry so if he was to back off all of a sudden what would that say about the chain of command in Washington? In my opinion, it would over-expose the lobby to the American public and do it some serious damage. I may be wrong, but that’s my thinking…

    1. His plan other than stopping settlements is not obvious to me. What’s his plan for “right of return”? Who negotiates for the Palestinians? How does he disarm Hamas?

  2. As coincidence would have it, I was reading the JTA (I get their email thingies) article a minute before checking RS and was thinking precisely the same thing.

    This is of course what Hasbara’s clever linguistic erosion has achieved: that a ‘settlement freeze’ (we should have had one of those during every single round of negotiations) is now a hardline demand! Over at Ha’aretz they even had the most comical headline about it: ‘Israel to US: Stop favoring Palestinians’. Yeah, right.

    1. “Hasbara’s clever linguistic erosion has achieved: that a ’settlement freeze’.. is now a hardline demand!”

      This is why people who seek justice for Palestine (justice…not peace) call for an immediate, unconditional, non-negotiable elimination of settlements.

      Settlements are illegal, have always been illegal, defy the UN and international law.
      So why does the “Peace Camp” play along with Hasbara in this linguistic game? When will they realize that we cannot win on their playing field: “Oh it is unrealistic to think settlements will be dismantled, so I’ll ask for them to stop building new ones.”!
      “It’s unrealistic to say that refugee camps should be torn down and people given homes, so let’s just ask that they not be bombed like ducks in a barrel.”

      As Malcolm X said – when the knife is in someone’s back, to pull it out halfway, and call that a “victory” is nonsense.

  3. I would also note that the JTA article contains the following:

    “Last month, former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams publicly confirmed the existence of an unwritten agreement that then-President George W. Bush and then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reached in 2004, stating that Israel could continue to build in large Israeli settlements in the West Bank that the Jewish state was likely to keep in any final peace deal.”

    The only US official that Israel can get to vouch for this so-called “unwritten agreement” is Elliott Abrams, convicted perjurer. I can’t figure out whether the journalists who present this argument on behalf of Israel and use Elliott Abrams as the only available US witness are merely ignorant or actively duplicitous.

    It started with Glenn Kessler, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/23/AR2009052301536.html, on May 24 and continues today with Ethan Bronner, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/world/middleeast/04israel.html.

  4. RE: “These are some tough, mean sonsobitches…”

    MY COMMENT: That’s where Rahm Emanuel might very well make the difference if he can keep them in line (despite the intense pressure from AIPAC, ZOA, etc).

    PS. Elliott Abrams = ‘evil incarnate’


    SEE ALSO:”Will Congress rise to Netanyahu’s defense on settlements?” by James Besser, 06/03/09

    (EXCERPT)…AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobby, has been hard at work generating “no pressure” sentiment on the Hill, which isn’t very hard to do – as long as members don’t have to actually go to battle with the President. But traditionally, AIPAC has been uncomfortable with the issue of settlements; this isn’t a fight they particularly want…

    ENTIRE POST – http://jewish-politics-ny.com/2009/06/03/will-congress-rise-to-netanyahus-defense-on-settlements/


    SEE ALSO: “Obama Confident In Taking On Settlements” – by James D. Besser, 06/03/09

    (EXCERPT) The Obama administration is confident it will retain strong Jewish support even as it ratchets up the pressure on Israel and offers clues that, unlike its predecessors, it means what it says about the thorny issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c39_a15983/News/International.html

  7. The Netanyahu governement has abrogated all FORMAL agreements on the peace process. The world has to like it or lump it. At the same time it has to listen to lamentations about President Obama not recognising alleged INFORMAL understandings with the former incumbent of the White House.

    Is there anything that can beat the purblindness of these Masters of Chutzpah?

  8. FROM: Jewish Voice for Peace (info@jewishvoiceforpeace.org)

    This coming June 10, we will be at the Caterpillar annual shareholder meeting for the sixth time.
    We will remind the Board of Directors that stopping the company’s sales of bulldozers to Israel is not only ethical but affordable for Caterpillar. We will remind them that not changing course will be increasingly more costly to Caterpillar: Hampshire College has already divested from CAT, and so has the Church of England; other churches are considering similar steps. Twenty Israeli peace and justice organizations have come in support of divestment from Caterpillar.

    We want you to be with us at the meeting. Please sign a letter to Caterpillar by June 9th, and we will hand-deliver it to the Board of Directors the next day. Help us bring thousands of letters of protest!

    *TO SIGN – http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/t/1849/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27360


    SEE ALSO: “House Hunting in the West Bank” by GERSHOM GORENBERG, 06/04/09

    (EXCERPT) It’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s fault. Because of his insistence on allowing for “natural growth” of West Bank settlements, I decided to go real-estate shopping. I called Amana, the settlement-building organization, and said I was interested in homes in Binyamin, the name used by settlers and Israeli officialdom for the piece of the West Bank directly north of Jerusalem….

    …At Eli, just up the road from Shilo, she offered homes in the center of the settlement and in outlying “neighborhoods.” In Hayovel, for instance, she had a house for $115,000, with a completed first floor and the outer shell for the second floor. She didn’t mention that the “neighborhood” of Hayovel is an illegal outpost, built partly on private Palestinian land. She offered me a similar house at a settlement called Ma’aleh Mikhmash. I thanked her and said I’d talk to my wife…

    …Netanyahu and his partners don’t want any of this to stop. They want settlements to keep growing, in order to block an Israeli withdrawal and a two-state solution. Obama wants a freeze as the first step toward a solution. The natural-growth argument is worse than a distraction; it’s a scam. Let the buyer beware.

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=house_hunting_in_the_west_bank

  10. Richard,

    A small clarification is in order.

    Back during Senator J.W. Fulbright’s 1963 investigation of the Israel lobby he found the JTA *was part of* the Israel lobby.

    The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was *owned* and funded by the Jewish Agency, the same organization that fronted startup funding to AIPAC’s predecessor (the AZC), AIPAC’s director (first as an employee, later by buying mass quantities of his Near East Report).

    Not sure who owns it now, but clearly there is no need to distinguish between the lobby and the JTA. They are one and the same.

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