Israel Lobby Watch

Former Dutch Ambassador Calls for Sanctions if Israel Refuses to Comply with International Law

Some weeks ago I heard Jan Wijenberg, a retired Dutch Ambassador, speak about what the International Community could do to break with its complicity to the ongoing violations of international law and human rights by the Israeli regime. Wijenberg served over a decade as an ambassador for the Dutch government in Jemen, Tanzania and Saudi Arabia. He regularly writes to Dutch ministers and politicians to remind them of the responsibility of the Dutch government and the EU to hold Israel accountable to international law. His views are expressed in this article. 

Congress grossly misled about plight of Palestinian Christians

In a letter to the American Congress on 13 June, Open Bethlehem’s chief executive Leila Sansour, a Christian from Bethlehem, expressed her community’s shock at the gross misrepresentation of the threat facing the Christians of the Holy Land. She urged Congress to pay heed to the plight of the oldest Christian community in the world. The ill-conceived resolution accuses the Palestinians of discrimination towards their own Christian community – and does so without consulting any local churches or Christian organizations. 

Ehud Olmert, Unreasonably Reasonable?

The Palestinian ambassador Afif Safieh, since his arrival in Washington several months ago, has often used the line “We Palestinians have been unreasonably reasonable” in the approach to retrieving their land for achieving peace. Was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in his appearance before a joint session of Congress unreasonably reasonable in suggesting that negotiations could go forward because he was willing to give up some of his dream of having all of the Holy Land? Well, maybe. Yesterday’s speech by Olmert was the sixth time that an Israeli head of government has been given the honor of appearing before a joint session of Congress in the last thirty years. 

Countdown to Apartheid

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s address to both houses of Congress was perhaps the most skilled use of Newspeak since George Orwell invented the term in his novel 1984. Just as Orwell’s totalitarian propagandists proclaimed WAR IS PEACE and Israeli government signs placed at the Wall (sorry, fence) at the entrance to Bethlehem greet Palestinians with the blessing PEACE BE UNTO YOU, so Olmert declared in Washington: UNILATERAL REALIGNMENT IS PEACE

Interview with Prof. Norman Finkelstein

Well, I think, to begin with, I don’t think that anyone believes that American coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict is evenhanded. I don’t even think that journalists and editors who are responsible for that coverage believe it. The coverage in the American media of the Israel/Palestine conflict is, frankly, useless. I don’t read it at all, I’ll be perfectly honest, I stopped reading it. I don’t read the editorials, I don’t read the op-eds, and I don’t read the news columns. You learn absolutely nothing from it. 

House Passes Anti-Palestinian Legislation, Senate Fight Continues

The House of Representatives today passed a controversial bill (H.R. 4681) that would punish all Palestinians, not just members of Hamas, for electing a Hamas-led government in January’s legislative elections. The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 passed the House under suspension of the rules by a vote of 361-37 (with 9 members voting “Present”), despite nearly four months of strong opposition from the Council for the National Interest and other national organizations, including Churches for Middle East Peace, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Americans for Peace Now, and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. 

A Letter to AIPAC

During my nineteen years serving in elected office, including the past five years as a Member of Congress, never has my name and reputation been maligned or smeared as it was last week by a representative of AIPAC. Last Friday, during a call with my chief of staff, an AIPAC representative from Minnesota who has frequently lobbied me on behalf of your organization stated, “on behalf of herself, the Jewish community, AIPAC, and the voters of the Fourth District, Congresswoman McCollum’s support for terrorists will not be tolerated.” Ironically, this individual, who does not even live in my congressional district, feels free to speak for my constituents. 

Is Arab-American irrelevance our goal?

What was amazing in the response to the much-publicized recent paper written by Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer on the influence of the pro- Israel lobby on American foreign policy was not the chorus of condemnations from Israel’s supporters, but similar criticism from some on the Arab-American left. The paper, a set of fairly obvious observations about the workings of one of the most influential centers of power in Washington, combined with a few debatable claims and a couple of minor errors, should have produced little comment. 

Pro-Israel Congressional Spokesmen Rethinking Democratization

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the pro-Israel chairman of the House International Relations Committee Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, scheduled a hearing today to discuss the annual request for military and economic aid to Egypt, and those attending came away with the impression that the top Zionists of the subcommittee were changing their minds about the usefulness of promoting democracy in the Middle East. For the last several decades, the US has supported aid to Egypt as a way to promote democratization of its civil institutions. 

Israel at 58: A Failing Experiment

Since its inception, Israel has arrogantly refused to address the most crucial prerequisite of its establishment as a conventional State — accepting the Palestinians — those people that just happened to be living in that ‘empty’ land of Israel. The Palestinians, those that were forcefully expelled from their homes in 1948, 1967, and more recently in 2001, have been living in squalid refugee camps throughout the region. The Palestinians, those that did not flee Israel-proper in 1948 are today fourth class Israeli citizens. The Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem that have lived under Israeli military occupation for 40 years, to the day, will continue to haunt the international community until justice is served and the Israeli occupation is ended, in its entirety.