AIPAC

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It is hard to understand what official justification could be given for shutting down the office of the Palestinian government’s representatives in Washington in the wake of the enhanced UN status of their country. Why must elevated international status for Palestine necessitate diminished status in the US!

Reform Jews at odds with AIPAC over penalizing Palestinians for UN move

AIPAC backed congressional bids to shut PLO office in Washington, while Reforms have urged Obama not to retaliate against the Palestinians.

By Nabil Sha’ath

Two major American Jewish groups are at odds over the prospect of penalties for the Palestinians in the wake of their enhanced United Nations status.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee in recent weeks has backed two congressional bids to at least shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in the wake of the November 29 United Nations General Assembly’s overwhelming vote that granted Palestinians non-member observer state status.

Conversely, the Reform movement has emphatically urged President Obama not to retaliate against the Palestinians, JTA has learned. The Reform movement also has resolved to oppose the shuttering of the PLO office. 

For the full report: www.haaretz.com……

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Father Roy writes: The article pasted below was published in ‘The Times of Israel’.  Please see my highlights. Congress wants to “at least double” what the President is proposing to fund the replenishment of Israel’s military.  Another bill proposes separate funding for Iron Dome.  The folks at AIPAC are singing:  “Happy days are here again…” 

Meanwhile, at the grassroots level, a large and growing number of voters and taxpayers are voicing disapproval of what Congress is asking.  And we’re also disapproving of the fact that the US Congre$$ i$ in AIPAC’$ “pocket”.  For confirmation, see:  www.aipac.org…

Those of us who disapprove can have a say in the matter.  We can Contact the White House anytime we choose … and … we can “weigh in” by letting the President know what we think.  Internationals can write, also, of course.   Peace, Roy 

source: www.timesofisrael.com…

Congress seeks to increase US funding of anti-missile cooperation with Israel

In wake of Pillar of Defense success, Iron Dome spending may balloon from $210 million to $680 million

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Congress wants to at least double the Obama administration’s funding request for anti-missile cooperation with Israel.

Obama asked Congress for $99.9 million in 2013 for “Israel co-operative programs,” which include programs like the long-range Arrow anti-missile system and the short-range David’s Sling.

The US House of Representatives version of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed earlier this year, recommended adding $168 million to that request, and the Senate recommended adding $100 million in its own National Defense Authorization Act, passed last week.

A letter sent Wednesday by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) to the top senators on the Armed Services Committee urges them to agree to the higher House increase in the bicameral conference talks that finalize the act.

“As witnessed by the recent attacks on Israel from Gaza, the continued joint efforts of the United States and Israel in missile defense systems is critical to protecting this close US ally and American interests in that region,” the letter said. “The technology yields results that both of our militaries will utilize in our respective defense systems. US funding is fully matched by that of Israel.”

The bill separately authorizes new funding for Iron Dome, the short-range anti-missile system Israel used to deflect most rockets targeting populated areas that were launched from the Gaza Strip during its recent conflict with Hamas.

The Senate recommends $420 million for Iron Dome, double the $210 million the Obama administration is expected to request, and the House recommended $680 million. Those amounts also will be reconciled in conference committee.

Funding for cooperation on missile programs like Arrow and David’s Sling is not considered assistance because it benefits US as well as Israeli defense development. Iron Dome, however, is proprietary to Israel.

All these monies would be in addition to the $3.1 billion Israel receives annually in defense assistance.

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Father Roy writes: My Allies and I are helping to give Jim Wall’s latest essay the widest possible circulation on the Internet.   Peace, Roy

Should the US Go to War for Israel?

by James M. Wall

http://wallwritings.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/bibiletters.jpg

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the annual AIPAC conference earlier this week. He also held a private meeting with US President Barack Obama.

In his AIPAC speech, Netanyahu evoked the Holocaust as the source of Israel’s special privileged status that permits Netanyahu to do whatever he decides to do to “control Israel’s fate”.

That, of course, includes bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Netanyahu drew a parallel between the exchange of letters between the US War department and the World Jewish Congress in 1944. The Wall Street Journaldescribed the scene at the AIPAC conference:

Netanyahu got out copies of two letters he said he keeps in his desk, between the World Jewish Congress and the War Department in 1944, when the WJC called on the United States to bomb the extermination camp at Auschwitz, and the War Department refused.

The refusal included the argument that attacking the camp might unleash even more “vindictive” behavior. “Think about that,” Netanyahu said. “Even more vindictive than the Holocaust!”

During his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu elaborated further:

“Israel must reserve the right to defend itself. After all, that’s the very purpose of the Jewish state, to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny. That’s why my supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains master of its fate.”

To continue reading, click here

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Dan Stone writes: This is the latest neo-con, Senate war-monger trick to sucker us into another attack on a small country that poses no real threat to the u.s., or even israel. These “American Terrorists in Congress” are on steroids due to the lack of sufficient opposition to them over the past decade. Yet we, the people, remain the only ones who can stop them, if we can give up our “enemies-everywhere” paranoia with which they have infected us.

Image001

Senator Joe Lieberman

Does AIPAC want war?

by Robert Naiman, Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy

Last Modified: Feb 19, 2012

If a bill pushed by Lieberman passes, it could give the US “political authorisation for military force” against Iran.

_____________

Washington, DC – For all it has done to promote confrontation between the United States and Iran, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has worked to avoid the public perception that AIPAC is openly promoting war. In AIPAC’s public documents, the emphasis has always been on tougher sanctions. (If you make sanctions “tough” enough – an effective embargo – that is an act of war, but it is still at one remove from saying that the US should start bombing.)

But a new Senate effort to move the goalposts of US policy to declare it “unacceptable” for Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability – not a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one – gives AIPAC the opportunity to make a choice which all can observe. If the Lieberman resolution becomes an “ask” for AIPAC lobbyists at the March AIPAC policy conference, then the world will know: AIPAC is lobbying Congress for war with Iran.

US intelligence suggests no Iranian nukes

Sponsors of the Lieberman resolution deny that it is an “authorisation for military force”, and in a legal, technical sense, they are absolutely correct: it is not a legal authorisation for military force. But it is an attempt to enact a political authorisation for military force. It is an attempt to pressure the administration politically to move forward the tripwire for war, to a place indistinguishable from the status quo that exists today. If successful, this political move would make it impossible for the administration to pursue meaningful diplomatic engagement with Iran, shutting down the most plausible alternative to war.

The first “resolved” paragraph of the Lieberman resolution affirms that it is a “vital national interest” of the United States to prevent Iran from acquiring a “nuclear weapons capability”.

The phrase “vital national interest” is a “term of art”. It means something that the US should be willing to go to war for. Recall the debate over whether the US military intervention in Libya was a “vital national interest” of the United States (which Defence Secretary Robert Gates said it wasn’t.) It was a debate over whether the bar was met to justify the United States going to war.

The resolution seeks to establish it as US policy that a nuclear weapons capability – not acquisition of a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one – is a “red line” for the United States. If the US were to announce to Iran that achieving “nuclear weapons capability” is a red line for the US, the US would be saying that it is ready to attack Iran with military force in order to try to prevent Iran from crossing this “line” to achieve “nuclear weapons capability”.

And this is reportedly being openly discussed by the bill’s sponsors.

Senators from both parties said Thursday that a diplomatic solution was still the goal and they believed the sanctions on Iran were working, but that a containment strategy was less preferable than a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if all else fails.

So, what the Senators are reportedly saying is that if “all else fails” – that is, if diplomacy and sanctions appear to be “failing” to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability – according to these Senators, that’s what “failure” would be – then they want war. That’s not a legal “authorisation of force”, but it is a political one.

And it is not a political authorisation of force in some far-off future. It is a political authorisation of force today.

“Nuclear weapons capability” is a fuzzy term with no legal definition. But Joe Lieberman, a principal author of the bill, has said what he thinks this term means:

“To me, nuclear weapons capability means that they are capable of breaking out and producing a nuclear weapon – in other words, that they have all the components necessary to do that,” Lieberman said. “It’s a standard that is higher than saying ‘The red line is when they actually have nuclear weapons’.”

But many experts think that Iran already has the “components” necessary for “breaking out”.

“To me, nuclear weapons capability means that they are capable of breaking out and producing a nuclear weapon – in other words, that they have all the components necessary to do that.”

– Senator Joseph Lieberman

On Thursday, Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies was quoted saying that the November report from the International Atomic Energy Agency “basically laid out the fact that Iran now has every element of technology needed to make a fission weapon”.

On January 24, Helene Cooper reported in the New York Times:

Several American and European officials say privately that the most attainable outcome for the West could be for Iran to maintain the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon while stopping short of doing so.

This suggests two things. One, these US and European officials believe that Iran already has “the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon”; two, these US and European officials believe that inducing Iran not to use this knowledge and technology to build a nuclear weapon is the best outcome that the West can achieve.

If the experts and Western officials who believe that Iran already has “the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon” are right, then what that says is that Iran has already crossed the “red line” of the Lieberman bill. And therefore, the supporters of the Lieberman bill are saying that they are ready for war today. Or they are ready for war any time that they decide to join the experts and officials who say that Iran has already crossed the Lieberman “red line”, which of course is something that the Lieberman supporters can do anytime they want.

It’s as if someone wearing a bag over their head says, “I’m ready for war whenever I see light”. All they have to do to see light is take the bag off their head, so they are saying that they are ready for war whenever it is convenient for them to say that they are.

Anyone who supports the Lieberman bill is declaring themselves for war. If AIPAC makes the Lieberman bill an “ask” for its March policy conference, then at least we’ll be done with the pretence that AIPAC is doing anything besides trying to get the US into another Middle East war.

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Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy.

Source: Al Jazeera

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Father Roy writes: There’s an article pasted below which is self-explanatory:  “Does AIPAC Want War?”  All the recent news is connected to the issue of Iran:  U.S. to Israel: Don’t attack Iran.  Every time President Obama disagrees with Bibi, his propaganda machine takes a new tac:   U.S. Jewish author releases alarming account of anti-Semitism in Germany.  More and more Germans are asking “Haven’t we suffered enough?  Have we not paid sufficient retribution?”  Well, a Jewish author in the USA doesn’t think so.  Peers, here’s a story we all need to follow closely: U.N. Nuclear Inspectors Return to Tehran – NYTimes.com….  We’ll notice conflicting reports.  It’s important that we follow this story because tensions in Jerusalem are at a “boiling point”.

Does AIPAC Want War?

If a bill pushed by Lieberman passes, it could give the US “political authorisation for military force” against Iran.

By Robert Naiman

February 19, 2012 “Al Jazeera” — Washington, DC – For all it has done to promote confrontation between the United States and Iran, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has worked to avoid the public perception that AIPAC is openly promoting war. In AIPAC’s public documents, the emphasis has always been on tougher sanctions. (If you make sanctions “tough” enough – an effective embargo – that is an act of war, but it is still at one remove from saying that the US should start bombing.)

But a new Senate effort to move the goalposts of US policy to declare it “unacceptable” for Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability – not a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one – gives AIPAC the opportunity to make a choice which all can observe. If the Lieberman resolution becomes an ask for AIPAC lobbyists at the March AIPAC policy conference, then the world will know: AIPAC is lobbying Congress for war with Iran.

Sponsors of the Lieberman resolution deny that it is an “authorisation for military force”, and in a legal, technical sense, they are absolutely correct: it is not a legal authorisation for military force. But it is an attempt to enact a political authorisation for military force. It is an attempt to pressure the administration politically to move forward the tripwire for war, to a place indistinguishable from the status quo that exists today. If successful, this political move would make it impossible for the administration to pursue meaningful diplomatic engagement with Iran, shutting down the most plausible alternative to war.

The first “resolved” paragraph of the Lieberman resolution affirms that it is a “vital national interest” of the United States to prevent Iran from acquiring a “nuclear weapons capability“.

The phrase “vital national interest” is a “term of art”. It means something that the US should be willing to go to war for. Recall the debate over whether the US military intervention in Libya was a “vital national interest” of the United States (which Defence Secretary Robert Gates said it wasn’t.) It was a debate over whether the bar was met to justify the United States going to war.

The resolution seeks to establish it as US policy that a nuclear weapons capability – not acquisition of a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one – is a “red line” for the United States. If the US were to announce to Iran that achieving “nuclear weapons capability” is a red line for the US, the US would be saying that it is ready to attack Iran with military force in order to try to prevent Iran from crossing this “line” to achieve “nuclear weapons capability”.

And this is reportedly being openly discussed by the bill’s sponsors.

Senators from both parties said Thursday that a diplomatic solution was still the goal and they believed the sanctions on Iran were working, but that a containment strategy was less preferable than a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if all else fails.

So, what the Senators are reportedly saying is that if “all else fails” – that is, if diplomacy and sanctions appear to be “failing” to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability – according to these Senators, that’s what “failure” would be – then they want war. That’s not a legal “authorisation of force”, but it is a political one.

And it is not a political authorisation of force in some far-off future. It is a political authorisation of force today.

“Nuclear weapons capability” is a fuzzy term with no legal definition. But Joe Lieberman, a principal author of the bill, has said what he thinks this term means:

“To me, nuclear weapons capability means that they are capable of breaking out and producing a nuclear weapon – in other words, that they have all the components necessary to do that,” Lieberman said. “It’s a standard that is higher than saying ‘The red line is when they actually have nuclear weapons’.”

But many experts think that Iran already has the “components” necessary for “breaking out”.

On Thursday, Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies was quoted saying that the November report from the International Atomic Energy Agency “basically laid out the fact that Iran now has every element of technology needed to make a fission weapon”

On January 24, Helene Cooper reported in the New York Times:

Several American and European officials say privately that the most attainable outcome for the West could be for Iran to maintain the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon while stopping short of doing so.

This suggests two things. One, these US and European officials believe that Iran already has “the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon”; two, these US and European officials believe that inducing Iran not to use this knowledge and technology to build a nuclear weapon is the best outcome that the West can achieve.

If the experts and Western officials who believe that Iran already has “the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon” are right, then what that says is that Iran has already crossed the “red line” of the Lieberman bill. And therefore, the supporters of the Lieberman bill are saying that they are ready for war today. Or they are ready for war any time that they decide to join the experts and officials who say that Iran has already crossed the Lieberman “red line”, which of course is something that the Lieberman supporters can do anytime they want.

It’s as if someone wearing a bag over their head says, “I’m ready for war whenever I see light”. All they have to do to see light is take the bag off their head, so they are saying that they are ready for war whenever it is convenient for them to say that they are.

Anyone who supports the Lieberman bill is declaring themselves for war. If AIPAC makes the Lieberman bill an ask for its March policy conference, then at least we’ll be done with the pretence that AIPAC is doing anything besides trying to get the US into another Middle East war.

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy.

Link to original article: Robert Naiman: Does AIPAC Want War? Lieberman “Capability” Red Line May Tip AI