Reports Accuse Bill O’Reilly of False “War Zone” Claims


You probably heard the great news – after a few years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show–but the Boycott Must Go On!!

Ten years ago, Media Matters launched with a revolutionary mission: to systematically monitor the U.S. media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. We’ve been calling out right-wing lies for a decade — and we’re not done yet. Will you contribute now to help us raise $10,000 for our 10th anniversary?

Media Matters Timeline

For ten years, we’ve successfully fought back against the bad actors that poison our media with right-wing lies and smears. It’s been an amazing beginning, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

We’re in this for the long haul. Make an anniversary gift today to kickstart the next ten years of media accountability.

Dear Kevin,
You probably heard the great news – after two years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show.
Beck was targeted after he slandered President Obama by saying, “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is… This guy, I believe, is a racist.”
Activists at ColorOfChange, Media Matters, StopBeck, FoxNewsBoycott, and of course Democrats.com responded with a boycott of advertisers on Glenn Beck’s show. Ultimately over 300 advertisers pulled their ads from Beck, costing FOX over $40 million.
Advertiser boycotts work! And it’s time to boycott all FOX News advertisers:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
We’re starting our boycott of all FOX News with Proactiv, which sells acne medicine to teenagers and young adults. Why?
First, there are lots of other acne treatments. Second, young adults above all are hurt by FOX News, which promotes right-wing policies on race, education, healthcare, the environment, and war. Let’s get our future leaders to lead the fight against FOX News!
Sign the petition to Proactiv and enter the email address of every young adult over 18 you know:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Beyond President Obama, FOX regularly slanders nearly everyone: Democrats, unionized workers, the unemployed (including veterans and 99ers), environmentalists, feminists, blacks, Hiics, Jews, Muslims, progressives, scientists, and any other group it disagrees with.
FOX News broadcasts rightwing extremist slander, incitement to violence, political propaganda, and outright lies to promote its rightwing political agenda. This is not “news,” but rather a never-ending “war on news” – and it’s all documented in our petition.
Why would any decent company want to fund it? Tell Proactiv to stop advertising on FOX News:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik

GLEN BECK ADMITTED in 2007, “I Am RACIST and Barack Obama is very White” THIS MAKES Boycotting FOX NEWS needed NOW

By Kevin Stoda

Dear, American supporters of the Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) news networks.

AMERICANS are getting less tolerant of your racism and stronghold on our major media.

For example, we have noted that in his 2007 TV program from FOX (See on You-Tube), Glen Beck admitted he himself was racist. Further, Beck then, in contrast to 2009, called Barrack Obama much more white than black. (Apparently, Beck now he has other nonsense to mush men’s minds.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0tgvWxC_6A

Using a major news platform to promote racism and to tell people to disrespect a whole presidential administration through mixed truths, outright lies, and xenophobia, is not to be tolerated any more.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman asked Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP what he thought of Wal-Mart’s pull-out from advertising on the Glen Beck program on FOX.

NOTE: Goodman had simply asked , “The whole attack by Glenn Beck that drove this (resignation)? In your response from the NAACP to Van Jones, it says, ´The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.` Do you support the continued boycott of companies like Wal-Mart of Beck’s show on Fox?”

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/8/white_house_environmental_adviser_van_jones

This is a particularly important point because Glen Beck´s HATE CAMPAIGN ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION led recently to a great American policy maker, Van Jones, quitting the government this week.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/09/06/van-jones-resigns/

Mr. Jealous said, “We certainly support them (Walmart) choosing with their dollars who they’re going to support. I mean, it’s—Glenn Beck is somebody who’s told a seven-year-old girl, a seven-year-old black girl, that he would buy her a ticket back to Africa, that she needed to go back to Africa. And then he comes out, and he says that healthcare is the beginning of reparations. I mean, this guy plays the race card on a weekly basis. He does it very aggressive—you know, in a very hateful way.”

Recall, first, that Van Jones is one of the most important and thoughtful men in America—however, the FOX (Fascist Oddball Xenophobic) news network chose to support a man, like Glen Beck, rather than seeing that tens of millions of Americans need to get health care from promoters like Jones and that our America economy needs to move starting today to the kind of economy that its competitors worldwide are already doing.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/95963/what_will_the_green_economy_look_like/

Let’s quote the wisdom and influential words of Van Jones on the absolute necessity to green the American economy NOW!

“I think it’s really important to point out that we’re sort of at the end of an era of American capitalism, where we thought we could run the economy based on consumption rather than production, credit rather than creativity, borrowing rather than building, and also, most importantly, environmental destruction rather than environmental restoration.”

Jones continued, “We’re trying to make the case in this book that that era is over. We now have to move in a very different direction. And key to that will be basing the US economy not on credit cards, but based on clean energy and the clean energy revolution that would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy and put up so much carbon, building wind farms and wave farms, manufacturing wind turbines. We argue you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines, 8,000 finely machine parts in each one, twenty tons of steel in each wind tower, making wind turbines to help save the world.”

Finally, Van Jones wisely noted, “So we think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time. We think that you can actually power our way through this recession by putting people to work, but we’re going to have to start building things here and re-powering, retrofitting, retooling America, and that that’s the way forward both for the economy, for the earth and for everyday people.”

Note: These statements came from a program on DN from October of last year:

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/28/van_jones_on_the_green_collar

Van Beck has written a book of the same title, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780061650758/The_Green_Collar_Economy/index.aspx

America needs such voices as Van Jones in government leadership in America—not Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) types.

Clean up the American airwaves of all its fascism and racism, today.

http://www.pittsburghurbanmedia.com/a-petition-against-fox-conservative-host-glenn-beck.aspx

NOTE: One way to change the noise of Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) media moguls is to support alternative media organizations

http://aan.org/alternative/Aan/index

and alternative monitoring websites.

http://americas.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/64380

Another way, is to demand that local radio and TV channels put better programming on, such as Democracy Now or news sources promoted by serious progressive journalists:

http://www.tacomapjh.org/progressive_news.htm

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SEC Sanctions KBR for Illegal Non-Disclosure Agreement


National Whistleblowers Center
P.O. Box 25074
Washington, D.C. 20027
http://www.whistleblowers.org

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Mary Jane Wilmoth
Paul Lyons
(202) 342-1902
mjw@whistleblowers.org
 pl@kkc.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Alert:  SEC Sanctions KBR
for Illegal Non-Disclosure Agreement

SEC Investigation into overly restrictive non-disclosure agreements was
triggered by complaint filed by former KBR Contractor Harry Barko

Washington, D.C. , 2015.  April 1, 2015.  Today the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned defense contractor KBR for requiring its employees to sign restrictive non-disclosure agreements that prohibited employees from properly reporting fraud and misconduct to appropriate regulatory authorities.  A copy of the SEC release on this matter, and the enforcement action are attached.

The SEC investigation was triggered by a complaint filed by Kohn Kohn & Colapinto on behalf of a former KBR employee, Mr. Harry Barko.   A copy of the February 19, 2014 complaint is linked.

Mr. Barko’s attorney, Stephen M. Kohn, issued the following statement:

“This is an historic day for whistleblowers. Corporations have a history of silencing employees by forcing them to sign highly restrictive non-disclosure agreements.  Today’s action by the SEC signals the advancement of nation-wide corporate reform.  Transparency has triumphed over censorship.” 

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No Wonder so Many Students Apply for (and therefore get rejected at) Stanford


What’s the Toughest College to Get Into in the United States? Hint: Not Harvard

In the news

More news for stanford

Admissions decisions for the class of 2019 are going out, and the competition to get into a top school is fierce.

By Liz Dwyer

Staff Writer Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

full biofollow me

It looks like sky-high SAT scores, a 4.0 GPA, and stellar letters of recommendation aren’t enough to gain admission to some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities. On Tuesday night the eight schools that are part of the Ivy League posted admissions decisions, crushing the dreams of tens of thousands of high school seniors.

Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University managed to reject plenty of hyper-qualified students. But it turns out that the most selective school in the nation isn’t in the Ivy League, and it’s not on the East Coast.

Get ready for some California love because Stanford University is the toughest college to get into in the nation. Yes, harder to get into than Harvard.

A whopping 42,487 students—the most in Stanford university history—applied for a seat in the school’s class of 2019. Only 2,144 (5.05 percent) of the applicants were offered a spot as a freshman.

What’s driving all the applications? It doesn’t hurt that the school took the top spot in The Princeton Review’s annual survey of dream schools—both students and parents ranked Stanford as their number one choice. Students told The Princeton Review that along with offering top research opportunities, attending Stanford can “expand your creativity, challenge and deepen your world view, and make you a passionate and informed citizen of the world.”

Private universities with billion-dollar endowments can also afford to be more generous with financial aid than cash-strapped state schools. Stanford is “expanding financial aid by increasing the income thresholds at which parents are not expected to contribute toward educational costs,” according to a Stanford Daily article about the school’s soaring application numbers and low acceptance rate.

Indeed, “Stanford will expect no parental contribution toward tuition from parents with annual incomes below $125,000—previously $100,000—and typical assets. And there will be zero parental contribution toward tuition, room or board for parents with annual incomes below $65,000—previously $60,000—and typical assets,” according to the Stanford Daily. Any middle-class parent who is stressed about paying for college is going to read that and add Stanford to the application list.

It’s also in these schools’ best interests to get the largest applicant pool possible and then accept a minuscule number of aspiring students—being hard to get into burnishes a university’s prestige. Want to see how Stanford compares with its Ivy League competition? Here are the application numbers and acceptance rates for those schools for the 2015–2016 school year:

Harvard University: 37,305 applicants; 5.3 percent acceptance rate

Columbia University: 36,250 applicants; 6.1 percent acceptance rate

Yale University: 30,237 applicants; 6.49 percent acceptance rate

Princeton University: 27,290 applicants; 6.99 percent acceptance rate

Brown University: 30,397 applicants; 8.5 percent acceptance rate.

University of Pennsylvania: 37,267 applicants; 9.9 percent acceptance rate

Dartmouth College: 20,505 applicants; 10.3 percent acceptance rate

Cornell University: 41,907 applicants; 14.9 percent acceptance rate

from: http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/04/01/whats-toughest-college-get-united-states-hint-not-harvard?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2015-04-01

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What the Trevor Noah Backlash Says About Our Need for a Cultural Hero


I wish Trevor the Best.–kas

Given our lofty expectations of ‘The Daily Show,’ the new host was doomed from the start.

Trevor Noah on the set of ‘The Daily Show.’ (Photo: Comedy Central)

Jennifer Swann is TakePart’s culture and lifestyle reporter.

Trevor Noah couldn’t win. The 31-year-old South African comedian was doomed from the time news broke on Monday that he would replace Jon Stewart as one of America’s most revered leaders: host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

Given our lofty expectations that The Daily Show‘s new host would not only be hilarious and brilliant but would also solve television’s long-standing diversity problem, it’s no wonder Noah was met with immediate suspicion and scrutiny. As a comedian of color—much of hisstand-up revolves around his mixed upbringing by a black mother and a white father in apartheid South Africa—Noah was a welcome addition, along with Comedy Central’s recently recruited Larry Wilmore, to late night’s historically pale comedy club. Still, it wasn’t enough tosatisfy our ambitious hopes for a progressive American leader.

Americans began projecting their hopes and dreams on who might helm the available desk at The Daily Show from the moment Jon Stewart announced in February that he’d be leaving his 16-year post at one of America’s greatest institutions. During his tenure as anchor (twice the time reelected U.S. presidents spend in office) Stewart became the most trusted face of news, in spite—or precisely because—of the way he delivered it with a heavy dose of satire, paving the way for comedian-turned-newscasters Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Wilmore, all former The Daily Showcorrespondents.

Jessica Williams immediately emerged as a prime candidate to fill Stewart’s shoes, along with bids for fellow Daily Show correspondents like The Last Man on Earth actor Kristen Schaal and Samantha Bee, who just scored her own late-night talk show on TBS. What we all seemed to forget—even after Williams took to Twitter to remind us that the unanimous media nomination was nonconsensual—was that the new chair of The Daily Show was not up for a democratic vote.

Noah’s appointment left Nell Scovell, the television writer and journalist who coauthored Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, mourning the death of hope for a female host on late-night television, which she lamented in a satirical obituary on Tuesday. Many Daily Show fans saw Stewart’s exit as a prime opportunity to elect a new leader who would simultaneously provide a megaphone to all the country’s marginalized voices, figures rarely seen on white male–dominated late-night television.

When Noah was named as Stewart’s successor, Chris Rock took toTwitter to thank President Obama for creating the possibility of a black American leader. It was a tongue-in-cheek tweet, but it hinted at the degree to which the host of The Daily Show has been elevated to monumental status. It might explain why critics immediately began parsing Noah’s biography to dig up dirt, much as we often do to slam a politician whose values don’t align with our own. We went after Noah with the same fervor that conservatives went after Obama postelection, making false claims that he was not a U.S. citizen or that he was secretly a Muslim.

The most recent and widespread wave of outrage over Noah’s appointment cloaked the Internet late Monday night, when a muckraking BuzzFeed journalist scoured his Twitter history to bring to light a slew of questionable jokes. The uncovered tweets, dating as far back as 2009, when Noah was just 25—Williams’ age—contained politically incorrect barbs ridiculing Jews, gays, women, and fat people. The tweets had many questioning whether Noah should be impeached before he ever took office.

The uproar got so loud on Tuesday that Comedy Central had to step in and issue a statement, which reminded us all that Noah was not a publicly elected official. His inauguration was not up for debate, he did not have a press committee running his social media, nor did he have a campaign manager to do damage control.

“To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central,” the statement read in part. Noah chimed in via Twitter: “To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian.”

Noah was right. Our reaction to his tweets was not a measure of his ability to host The Daily Show, but a reflection of our own hopes and dreams for the person in his position. We arguably would’ve found any reason to skewer whomever Comedy Central chose to replace Stewart, no matter the person’s humor, political views, or biological attributes. In the wake ofBrian Williams’ ousting from the NBC Nightly News and increasing distrust of mainstream media, our backlash against Noah says more about our culture’s need for a cultural hero than Noah ever could have said himself.

from: http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/04/01/trevor-noah-backlash-cultural-hero?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2015-04-01

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Top 10 Pros and Cons: What are the solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?


I personally believe that a federal Israel is possible but many progressives and conservatives don’t.  George Mitchell says on this very topic the following: “Prime Minister Netanyahu, in my opinion, does not believe that President Abbas has either the will or the capacity, personal or political strength, to reach agreement, and push one through to approval and implementation. President Abbass, on the other hand, does not believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is serious about getting an agreement. When Prime Minister Netanyahu announced in June of 2009 that he favored a two-state solution, no Palestinians believed that he was telling the truth, and neither did any of the Arabs. They thought he was saying that just to accommodate the pressure from the United States. As Speaker Boehner has suggested, this is really the reverse side of that argument. So, when Prime Minister Netanyahu, on the day before the recent election, said there wouldn’t be a state, all of the Arabs reacted with, I told you so. We didn’t believe him in the first place. And then, of course, when he appeared to walk back from that on the following day, that just furthered the impression of mistrust on the part of the Palestinians and the Arabs. So, at the root cause of this, is that you have two leaders who do not believe that the other has the intent, sincerity, or capability to reach an agreement, and are therefore reluctant to take any steps that would impose a political cost on them within their societies because both societies are divided.” Here is how to argue both sides.  What do you believe? –kas

The PRO and CON statements below give a five minute introduction to the debate on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.

from: http://israelipalestinian.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000632
(Read more information about our one star to five star Theoretical Credibility System.)

  1. Two-State Solution
  2. One-State Solution
  3. Significance of Jerusalem to Jews and Muslims
  4. Palestinian Refugees’ “Right of Return”
  5. Israeli Settlements in the West Bank
  1. Terrorism
  2. Israeli Fence/Wall/Barrier
  3. Arab State Relations with Israel
  4. Hamas and the Peace Process
  5. United States as an “Honest Broker”
PRO Israel and/or CON Palestine Statements PRO Palestine and/or CON Israel Statements
1. Two-State Solution

PRO: “Well, there has emerged, over the course of the past ten years at least, a sense that the only way out of the situation in the Middle East is to establish a State of Palestine alongside Israel so that there will be an end of conflict. There is no other solution to end the conflict in reality.

There is an international consensus about it as reflected by the so-called Road Map Quartet [the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations], which is after all the whole world. You have the United States, you have Europe, you have the Russians and the United Nations, which is the whole world, and then there is the Arab League, which is twenty-two different states, and there is the previous Palestinian administration, and the Israeli administration, all of them committed to the two-state solution.”

Ziad J. Asali, MD
President and Founder of the American Task Force on Palestine
Interview with Bernard Gwertzman of the Council on Foreign Relations
June 2, 2006

CON: “The paradigm of the Two States will not bring about stability. No! . . . (The Two-State solution) is not relevant. Not relevant . . . (The Palestinian state) will undermine the State of Israel. From there, the confrontation will go on.

The State of Israel is ready to give the Palestinians an independent Palestinian state, but the Palestinians are not ready to give us an independent Jewish state . . . Every agreement you make will be the starting point of the next irredenta. The next conflict. The next war.

The establishment of a Palestinian state will lead at some stage to war. Such a war can be dangerous to the State of Israel. The idea that it is possible to set up a Palestinian state by 2008 and to achieve stability is disconnected from reality and dangerous.”

Moshe Yaalon
Lieutenant-General and former Chief-of-Staff of the Israel Defense Forces
Quoted by Uri Avnery in “The Bogyman”
gush-shalom.org
May 3, 2005

2. One-State Solution

PRO: “The next diplomatic formula that will replace the ‘two states for two peoples’ will be a civilian formula. All the people between the Jordan and the sea have the same right to equality, justice and freedom.. [T]here is a very reasonable chance that there will be only one state between the Jordan and the sea – neither ours nor theirs but a mutual one. It is likely to be a country with nationalist, racist and religious discrimination and one that is patently not democratic… But it could be something entirely different. An entity with a common basis for at least three players: an ideological right that is prepared to examine its feasibility; a left, part of which is starting to free itself of the illusions of ‘Jewish and democratic'; and a not inconsiderable part of the Palestinian intelligentsia.

The conceptual framework will be agreed upon – a democratic state that belongs to all of its citizens. The practicable substance could be fertile ground for arguments and creativity. This is an opportunity worth taking, despite our grand experience of missing every opportunity and accusing everyone else except ourselves.”

– Avrum Berg
Former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset
“Now It’s Your Turn”
New York Times
Dec. 23, 2011

CON: “Although the one-state approach proposes a united entity between the Jordan and the sea, in fact it represents King Solomon’s original proposal to cut the baby in half. In reality, one state means that Israelis and Palestinians each receive a mutilated and unsustainable version of its national dream.

 The Palestinians will never get the national self-determination they seek in a Jewish-dominated single state. Jews will achieve neither the democracy and inner harmony they seek (or ought to), nor legitimacy from the world, as long as they obstruct Palestinian rights to national self-expression in their single state – even before Jews become a minority.

Finally, this conflict is tragically likely to ignite again over ‘some damn foolish thing in the settlements’ (with apologies to Bismark). A one-state solution not only fails to prevent settlements from ripping into Palestinian land and courting violence, it legitimizes expansion – since there is no border. Sadly, we all need one.”

Dahlia Scheindlin, PhD, MTS 
Op-Ed Editor at +972 Magazine
“Is It Time to Move On to the One-State Solution?”
972mag.com
Feb. 13, 2011

3. Significance of Jerusalem to Jews and Muslims

PRO: “For the Jewish people, Jerusalem is not a city containing holy places or commemorating holy events. The city as such is holy and has, for at least two and a half millennia, served as the symbol of the historic existence of a people hunted, humiliated, massacred, but never despairing of the promise of its ultimate restoration. Jerusalem and Zion have, become ‘the local habitation and the name’ for the hope and meaning of Jewish existence, and of its continuity from the days when, according to the authors of the biblical books, God spoke of a certain place that he would choose, to the days of the return which — however improbable it might seem — was never in doubt for the Jew. Understanding the symbolic function of Jerusalem in Jewish tradition, we come to see that even the avowed secularist’s use of this symbol has a measure of legitimacy about it, unparalleled in other traditions.”

Zwi Werblowsky, PhD
Professor of Comparative Religion at Hebrew University
“Meaning of Jerusalem to Jews, Christians and Muslims,”
Israel Universities Study Group for Middle Eastern Affairs
1978

CON: “According to Islamic tradition, it was the second caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, who recognized this location [Jerusalem] as marking the site of the Prophet’s night journey. The caliph is supposed to have done so immediately after the conquest of Jerusalem, during a visit to the city whose historicity is in question, but which most scholars agree probably took place.

 The Muslim conquerors understood that this entire site had been the location of the temple first built by Solomon whose repeated destruction is described in the Qur’an, and what they found on their entry into the city was in fact the deserted platform on which the Herodian temple described by Josephus had stood until its demolition by Titus in 70 A.D. At the southern end of this platform the caliph ‘Umar ordered the erection of the first of several structures to bear the name of al-Masjid al-Aqsa, the al-Aqsa Mosque, adjacent to which his successor ‘Abd al-Malik was to build the Dome of the Rock a few decades later.”

Rashid I. Khalidi, PhD
Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University
Jerusalem in History
2000

PRO Israel and/or CON Palestine Statements PRO Palestine and/or CON Israel Statements
4. Palestinian Refugees’ “Right of Return”

PRO: “[T]he refugee problems [i.e. Jewish and Palestinian refugees] are settled in these two respective states – the question of Palestinian refugees will be resolved in the Palestinian state and not in Israel. Just as the question of Jewish refugees caused by that same Arab assault on Israel in 1948, was resolved within the Jewish state. The Arab attack, the attack of five Arab armies, with the Palestinians, on the embryonic Jewish state caused two refugee problems. About 650,000 Palestinian refugees and a somewhat larger number of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab states. Tiny Israel absorbed all the Jewish refugees and the vast Arab world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees, and neither justice nor common sense mandates that 63 years later, the Arab world or the Palestinians will come to us and say: Now, absorb the great-great-grandchildren of this part of the refugee problem that we created ourselves. The solution to the refugee problem, both in a practical sense and in the question of justice has to be addressed in the Palestinian state and not at the expense of the solitary, the one and only Jewish state.”

 — Benjamin Netanyahu, MSc 
Prime Minister of Israel
“Address to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors”
http://www.mfa.co.il
June 28, 2011

CON: “In spite of the great pains that were accompanied by uprooting the Palestinian people from their lands, they became more stubborn to return home… We will continue struggling until the principle of right of return as well as freedom and independence for the Palestinian people are achieved…

 The return of the Palestinian refugee to his or her home is a constant right that can never be debated and a solution to the refugees issue would never be fair as long as it doesn’t include all their historic rights…

 The right of return will remain sacred for every Palestinian who was forced by the Zionist war machine to leave his or her home and land in Palestine. The Palestinians won’t succumb to extortion; either we get the home and land peacefully, or we will make sacrifices until we return.”

– Mahmoud Abbas, CSc 
President of the Palestinian Authority and Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization
“Statement”
http://www.nad-plo.org
May 15, 2010

5. Israeli Settlements in the West Bank

PRO: “Israeli settlements are not an obstacle to peace… The West Bank is disputed territory. No Palestinian-Arab state ever existed in the region. Palestinian-Arab residents currently have claims to the West Bank, where they want to build a state. Israel also has legal, historic, and security claims to this land. Many argue that the West Bank remains an unallocated portion of the Palestine Mandate of 1920 because the international community never recognized a new governing authority.

 The Mandate, the last legal authority, stipulated that Jews should settle in the land. The legal rights accorded to Jews by the Mandate led many scholars to argue that the fourth Geneva convention, which sets rules about occupation of a foreign territory, does not apply to Israel and the West Bank. The 1993 Oslo Accords also do not prohibit Israelis or Palestinians from building communities in the West Bank.

Today, Israelis and Palestinian-Arabs both live in the West Bank. Their governments are trying to negotiate the future borders and decide which parts of the area will be under Israeli or PA jurisdiction. Untill these negotiations conclude, there is no new sovereign authority that replaces the Mandate or an internationally recognized border…

Ideally, Jews should have the right to settle anywhere in the world, just as other national and religious groups do. If there is true peace, the Jewish right to continue to reside in the West Bank should not be abrogated, just as Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens (mainly of Palestinian descent) will have the right to remain in Israel even if a Palestinian state is created.”

StandWithUs
“West Bank: Settlements, Communities, and Facts on the Ground”
http://www.standwithus.com
2010

CON: “Settlement expansion extinguishes hope among Palestinians that Israel is serious about peace. It destroys the credibility of Palestinian moderates who reject violence and tell their people that negotiations will deliver a viable state.

Settlements are also a liability for Israel. It is because of settlements that the route of Israel’s ‘separation barrier’ has been distorted, lengthening and contorting Israel’s lines of defense. It is because of settlements that Israeli soldiers are forced to act as police within the West Bank, rather than focusing on their real mission – defending Israel. Settlements are also a huge drain on Israel’s economy, with the government continuing to fund construction and to provide settlers a wide range of financial benefits.

Finally, settlements threaten Israel’s character as a Jewish state and a democracy. They force Israel to rule over a huge – and growing – non-Jewish, disenfranchised population, contrary to basic democratic values. They erode Israel’s image in the world as a democratic state that respects the civil rights of all people under its rule. And, if allowed to block a two-state solution, they will ultimately leave Israeli decision-makers with an impossible choice: be a democracy and give full rights to the Palestinians, at the cost of Israel’s Jewish character, or deny rights to the majority of the people under Israeli rule – which the Palestinians will soon be – validating accusations that Israel is increasingly an Apartheid-like state.”

Americans for Peace Now
“Settlements”
http://www.peacenow.org
Feb. 2011

6. Terrorism

PRO: “The solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] depends on the ability of the leaders to cope with extremists and terrorism, and we are not speaking here only of the leaders of the sides directly involved in the conflict. This is the central task of the entire world leadership, and especially of the Arab and Muslim world.”

Tzipi Livni, LLB
Member of the Israeli Knesset
“Address by FM Livni to the Annapolis Conference,”
http://www.mfa.co.il
Nov. 27, 2007

CON: “Despite the attempts to discredit martyrdom operations by the modernists, by those who seek to pacify and tame Islam, and by those who ally themselves with the infidels, it is clear that martyrdom operations are justified and lawful, according to Islam.”

Hamas
“Martyrdom Operation in Islam”
http://www.hamasinfo.net
Apr. 1, 2006

7. Israeli Fence/Wall/Barrier

PRO: “Terrorism is a deadly obstacle to peace. The fence is a defensive obstacle to terrorism. The purpose of the fence is to keep the terrorists out and, thereby, save the lives of Israel’s citizens, Jews and Arabs alike. By serving as a temporary, passive and effective barrier to terrorism, the fence will help restore calm to the region and thereby increase the chances of achieving peace. The wave of terrorism which has murdered over 1,100 Israelis since September 2000 has undermined the peace process and led to deadlock.”

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)
“Israel, the Conflict and Peace”
http://www.mfa.gov.il
Nov. 1, 2007

CON: “The combined effects of the illegal settlements and the Wall, that has been diverted illegally to protect them, have been devastating on the social, economic and cultural rights of many thousands of Palestinians. Families are divided from each other and from their neighbours, from their agricultural land and other sources of income, from their water sources and from other important infrastructure and services, including schools, health clinics and hospitals. Their new neighbours, the illegal settlers, often treat them with contempt, hostility and even physical violence. The settlers receive massive protection from Israeli security forces, but hardly any protection is being provided to the Palestinians living next door…

[Y]ou have to talk to its victims, to get a glimpse of the intensely negative impact the fragmentation of the West Bank by the Wall, settlements and checkpoints is having on human rights, peace, development and the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.”

Navi Pillay, JSD
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
“Palestinians Open Case Against Barrier,”
http://www.unrwa.org
Feb. 11, 2011

8. Arab State Relations with Israel

PRO: “It must be a peace that makes Israel a part of the neighborhood, a neighborhood that extends from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, across the breadth of the southern Mediterranean, to the coast of the Indian Ocean…

On behalf of all those who seek and strive for peace in my part of the world, I ask you now to exert that leadership once again. We ask you to join with us in an historic effort of courage and vision. We ask you to hear our call, to honor the spirit of King Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin, and help fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace today.”

–  Abdullah bin Al Hussein, II
King of Jordan
Speech before a joint session of the US Congress
Mar. 7, 2007

CON: “Israel is our enemy and does not want peace. Peace would mean that Israel would have to return the occupied territories again. Israel was built on aggression and the rejection of peace, and nothing changes.”

Bashar Al-Assad
President of the Syrian Arab Republic
Quote from meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Damascus, Syria
Apr. 2006

9. Hamas and the Peace Process

PRO: “It is clear that in light of the Hamas majority in the PLC [Palestinian Legislative Council] and the instructions to form a new government that were given to the head of Hamas, the PA [Palestinian Authority] is – in practice – becoming a terrorist authority. The State of Israel will not agree to this. Israel will not compromise with terrorism and will continue to fight it with full force. However, there is no intention of harming the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population. Israel will not hold contacts with the administration in which Hamas plays any part – small, large, or permanent.”

Ehud Olmert, LLB
Israeli Prime Minister
Remarks to the Israeli Cabinet
Feb. 19, 2006

CON: “We should give Hamas time. I’m sure that Hamas will develop, will evolve. We should not prejudge the issue. We object to whatever policies on the part of the Israeli Government right now that are cutting the right of the Palestinians to receive their dues. So it’s only a matter of time on that. We are sure that the Palestinians will recognize the requirements of the situation as they stand today: the roadmap; the need for a political peaceful settlement amongst the Israelis and the Palestinians; they need to see the two states living side by side in secure and recognized boundaries for both. So these are issues that the Palestinians and the government of Hamas, when composed, will have to face such requirements.”

Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit
Egyptian Foreign Minister
Quoted from meeting with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice in Cairo, Egypt
Feb. 21, 2006

10. United States as an “Honest Broker”

PRO: “It is critical that the United States take an active role in helping to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by playing the role of the honest broker at the negotiating table – with the trust of both sides and ability to facilitate direct talks between the parties. The U.S. is the only country that can be successful in this role because of its longstanding and special relationship with the State of Israel.”

Howard Dean, MD
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC)
Remarks at the Arab American Institute (AAI)
Oct. 18, 2003

CON: “To say that the United States is an even-handed broker is a preposterous mischaracterization. The United States is very much in Israel’s camp. All the information we have on the negotiations during the last seven years of the peace process has shown that the United States has presented the Israeli point of view in the discussions and remains a partisan of Israel.”

Edward Said, PhD
Late Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University
Culture and Resistance: Conversations with Edward W. Said
2003

PRO Israel and/or CON Palestine Statements PRO Palestine and/or CON Israel Statements

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“I think, ultimately, there has to be there has to be a discussion between the parties with the strong support to achieve the mutually beneficial objectives. Israel has a state. They don’t have security. They want it, and they deserve it. The Palestinians don’t have a state. They want one, and they deserve one. Israel is not going to get security until the Palestinians get a state, and the Palestinians are not going to get a state until the people of Israel have a reasonable and sustainable degree of security. It is in their mutually beneficial interest to reach agreement, and I think over time, that is going to become clear to the public on both sides, as well as important not to leave out of the discussion of the following that, the normalization of relations between Israel and its neighbors, it’s Gulf Arab neighbors in the region, which would be beneficial to all concerned.”–George Mitchell


“I think, ultimately, there has to be there has to be a discussion between the parties with the strong support to achieve the mutually beneficial objectives. Israel has a state. They don’t have security. They want it, and they deserve it. The Palestinians don’t have a state. They want one, and they deserve one. Israel is not going to get security until the Palestinians get a state, and the Palestinians are not going to get a state until the people of Israel have a reasonable and sustainable degree of security. It is in their mutually beneficial interest to reach agreement, and I think over time, that is going to become clear to the public on both sides, as well as important not to leave out of the discussion of the following that, the normalization of relations between Israel and its neighbors, it’s Gulf Arab neighbors in the region, which would be beneficial to all concerned.”–George Mitchell

GUESTS

George Mitchell, Former Democratic senator from Maine. He served as the U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace under President Obama from 2009 to 2011.

George Mitchell, the former senator and U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace under President Obama, joins us to discuss the escalating U.S.-Israel standoff over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign against an Iran nuclear deal and open rejection of the two-state solution. Last week, it emerged Israeli intelligence spied on the Iran talks and then fed the information to congressional Republicans. Obama and other top officials have vowed to re-evaluate their approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict following Netanyahu’s vow to prevent a Palestinian state. U.S. officials have suggested they might take steps, including no longer vetoing U.N. Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. A first test of the new U.S. approach might come in the next few weeks when France will put forward a U.N. Security Council measure aimed at encouraging peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Mitchell headed the U.S. role in the Mideast talks between 2009 and 2011. He previously served under President Bill Clinton, as the Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, where he helped broker the Belfast Peace Agreement of 1998.

from: http://www.democracynow.org/2015/3/31/former_mideast_peace_envoy_george_mitchell

AARON MATÉ: As historic talks over an Iran nuclear deal have reportedly closed ahead of the U.S. imposed deadline, the Israeli government continues to oppose a deal. Last week, it emerged that Israelis intelligence spied on the Iran talks, and then fed the information to congressional Republicans. Now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the deal’s proposed terms are even worse than he thought. Speaking on Sunday, Netanyahu appeared to invoke the “axis of evil” moniker used by president George W. Bush for Iran, Iraq and North Korea. But, Netanyahu But, Netanyahu offered a new variation on the axis members.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: [translated] I expressed out deep concern towards this deal emerging with Iran nuclear talks. This deal, as it appears to be merging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity, and this must be stopped.

AARON MATÉ: The Lausanne, in that axis, refers to the Swiss town where the nuclear talks are taking place. That apparently puts the U.S. inside of the axis that Netanyahu opposes, along with the five other world powers negotiating with Iran.

AMY GOODMAN: Netanyahu’s comment was the latest in an escalating standoff with the White House over Mideast policy. President Obama and other top officials have vowed to re-evaluate their approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict following Netanyahu’s open rejection of a two-state solution. U.S. officials have suggested they might take steps including no longer vetoing U.N. Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. Some predict a major shift in U.S. policy. A headline in The Washington Post describes it as,“Obama’s Next Earthquake.” And the first test of the new U.S. approach might come in the next few weeks. France will put forward a U.N. Security Council measure aimed at encouraging peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The measure would include parameters for negotiations, presumably based on an Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state there.

For more we go to a guest who has been deeply involved in U.S. efforts to seek a peace deal between Israel and Palestine. Senator George Mitchell served as U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace under President Obama from 2009 to 2011. He previously served under President Bill Clinton, as the Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, where he helped broker the Belfast Peace Agreement of 1998. Before that, Senator Mitchell served as Democratic Senator from Maine for 15 years, including as Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995. Welcome to Democracy Now! Let us start on this issue of proposed measures President Obama and the administration is considering possibly against Israel, particularly what might happen in the United Nations.

SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL: Well, I don’t think it is possible to know. I doubt very much that any decision finally has been made within the White House. I think it’s all under review, as the president has said. It will depend, obviously, in part on the circumstances that exist at the time any such resolution is introduced in the United Nations, what the language of the resolution is, what the reaction both within the United States and among our allies. I do think think that the president is appropriately reviewing our policies given the developments of the past few weeks, particularly the various statements of Prime Minister Netanyahu. But, I don’t think anyone should draw any final conclusion from the discussions that are now underway, particularly since we do not yet know what is going to happen with the talks with Iran, which is obviously major factor.

AARON MATÉ: Senator Mitchell, can we agree that this would be a major shift if the U.S. starts supporting or not blocking critical measures at the U.N.? I want to go first to a clip from U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power. Speaking about a year ago, she said the U.S. will continue to block Palestinian efforts in forums like the U.N.

AMBASSADOR SAMANTHA POWER: There are no shortcuts to statehood, and we have made that clear. Efforts that attempt to circumvent the peace process, the hard slog of the peace process, are only counterproductive to the peace process itself and to the ultimate objective of securing statehood, the objective that the Palestinian Authority, of course, has. So, we have contested every effort, even prior to the restart of negotiations spearheaded by Secretary Kerry. Every time the Palestinians have sought to make a move on a U.N. agency, a treaty, etc., we have opposed it.

AARON MATÉ: Power went on to say that trying to deter Palestinian action is what we do all the time and what we will continue to do. Now, that was a year ago. Now things are different, Senator Mitchell. Can you talk about why the U.S. was previously blocking resolutions such as simply criticizing the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories?

SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL: It has been, for many decades, under presidents of both parties, U.S. policy that the differences between the Israelis and Palestinians should be resolved in the direct negotiations between the parties with the support and assistance of the U.S. and other allies. And as a necessary corollary to that, U.S. policy has been that the issues should not be resolved outside of direct negotiations. And so, unilateral action by either side to bring about a change that would alter the circumstances on the ground, or that would resolve an issue unilaterally that should be resolved in negotiations were to be resisted. That is why the United States has consistently, publicly opposed Israel’s policies and actions regarding settlements, even as it has opposed, publicly, Palestinian efforts to resolve other issues outside of direct negotiations. So, American policy has been clearly consistent.

What is different now, of course, is that is all premised on the basis that there will be a direct negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians to achieve the goals that each seeks; security for Israel and its people, and a state for the Palestinian people. The reason that circumstances have changed now, is that Prime Minister Netanyahu, on the day before his election, said that there would not be a Palestinian state while he was Prime Minister. That, effectively, undermined the principle of American policy, of what our objectives would be. The next day, he appeared to walk back from that, and so there is now some question about policy in that regard, and I think that is what has led to the review that you described earlier.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to William Quandt, who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Carter and Nixon. At a recent event, he suggested the U.S. needs to impose a cost on Israel for maintaining the occupation.

WILLIAM QUANDT: What doesn’t work is just saying you know what needs to be done, but, there are no consequences if you don’t do it, and that is what we have done in the past. We used language that, if I were to try to translate it, I wouldn’t know what to say. We say, the illegitimacy of continued settlement activity, but, we don’t say that the settlements are illegal.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s a William Quandt, a former National Security Council official, saying the status quo simply doesn’t work. Your response to this, Senator George Mitchell, and also, if you could respond to the other controversy statement, to say the least, of what Netanyahu said on the day of the elections, concerned about the Arab of vote that was turning out.

SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL: Well, he has apologized for that, and so, I think that is a separate issue from the first one that you described. The fact is, of course, that both sides have, for a very long time, urged that the United States impose consequences on the other side. Both regard that as the way to resolve the issue. Palestinians and many Arabs repeatedly told me in meetings that the way to get this issue solved is for the United States to cut off all aid to Israel. They are dependant on you, they said, and if you cut off all aid, they will do what you want. The Israelis, on the other hand, make the exactly the same statement regarding aid to the Palestinians. They’re dependent on you, they told me, and if you will just cut off all aid to the Palestinians, they will do what you want. In my judgment, neither of those options is viable or would work. Israel is a democracy — a vibrant democracy. They are a proud and sovereign people. And taking punitive action, I think, would be first, inappropriate, because of our close relationship to them, and secondly, I think it would be counterproductive. I do not think it would produce the desired result. It would further isolate the relations — further separate the relations between the parties, and reduce American influence there, and I don’t think that is helpful in what we want is the objective of a peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians, and equally important, normalization of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, most of whom are also allies with the United States, and who, paradoxically, and somewhat ironically, are aligned with Israel on the issue of Iran and nuclear weapons.

There is no stronger supporter of the position that Prime Minister Netanyahu is taking on the Iran nuclear deal than the government of Saudi Arabia, for example, which disagrees with Israel on other issues. So, it’s complicated, it’s difficult. There is a powerful temptation to resort to — well, if we just do this, they will do that, and if we take this action, they will take that action. I don’t think that is the case. I think, ultimately, there has to be there has to be a discussion between the parties with the strong support to achieve the mutually beneficial objectives. Israel has a state. They don’t have security. They want it, and they deserve it. The Palestinians don’t have a state. They want one, and they deserve one. Israel is not going to get security until the Palestinians get a state, and the Palestinians are not going to get a state until the people of Israel have a reasonable and sustainable degree of security. It is in their mutually beneficial interest to reach agreement, and I think over time, that is going to become clear to the public on both sides, as well as important not to leave out of the discussion of the following that, the normalization of relations between Israel and its neighbors, it’s Gulf Arab neighbors in the region, which would be beneficial to all concerned.

AARON MATÉ: But, Senator, if we’re talking about taking punitive measures, can we agree that the two parties are not equal? They’re not occupying each other. It’s Israel that has been occupying the Palestinians for nearly 50 years. They have nuclear weapons, they are a huge power. Even during the so-called peace process, the settlements have expanded massively. So, Palestinians can say, well, look, the status quo of 50 years simply has not worked. Israel — the U.S., Israel’s largest supporter, has to change it’s policy decisively.

SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL: Well, it is true, that the parties are not equal, of course, and one reason for having outside participation in the process is to provide an independent interlocutor, someone who would assist the parties in reaching an agreement, and despite the criticism of the United States by many, there is, in fact, no other entity in the world that can perform that task other than the United States government. No other entity can create the circumstances, the conditions, the follow up that is necessary for these agreements. And so, we do have an important role to play. We can play it. We are, and will continue to be close friends, allies, and supporters of the people of Israel. That does not mean that we agree with the government of Israel on every issue, and surely, the disagreements between the U.S. and Israel in recent weeks have been very well documented and displayed for all of the world to see.

At the same time, we support a Palestinian state. President George W. Bush set that out very persuasively and comprehensively in several speeches, including one he made in Jerusalem in January, 2009. So, I think that the United States can and must play a central role in bringing about an agreement, and most importantly seeing that an agreement is a adhered to over over time, and I think that is the role we are going to play. I think they will come around to it on both sides. I don’t think that we should say it is somehow our role to take punitive action against Israel so as to try to equal the status between them and the Palestinians. That would not work, and I do not think it would achieve the desired objective.

AMY GOODMAN: Ahead of a trip to Israel this week, House Speaker John Boehner called President Obama’s recent criticism of Netanyahu reprehensible. Speaking to CNN, the house speaker also suggested it’s the fault of the Obama administration that Netanyahu has rejected Palestinian statehood.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: I think the animosity exhibited by our administration toward the prime minister of Israel is reprehensible. And I think that the pressure that they have put on him over the last four or five years has, frankly, pushed him to the point where he had to speak up. I don’t blame him at all for speaking up.

AMY GOODMAN: I would like you to respond to the house speaker, the Republican leadership siding with Netanyahu, a foreign Prime Minister, over President Obama.

SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL: Well, I don’t agree with Speaker Boehner on either of the points that he made. Of course, there is a long history, in the United States, which is an open, vibrant democracy, of people disagreeing with the president. That is what is essential to democracy, that the absence of support for government policies at any given time is not evidence of a lack of patriotism. It’s essential to our free system. On the particular issues that Speaker Boehner has just described, while I fully respect his right to express his view, I respectfully, but strongly disagree with the conclusions that he reached, that somehow it is President Obama’s fault that Prime Minister Netanyahu has made differing statements with respect to a Palestinian state.

AARON MATÉ: And Senator, should peace talks ever resume, what do you see as the major sticking points that might prove to be an obstacle to talks, and do you have any ideas for what solutions could be introduced?

SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL: Well, all of the issues are sticking points. There are no easy issues in the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. They are all important. Where the borders would be. The distribution and rights with respect to water, which is a crucial issue in that region of the world, and, of course, in other parts of the world. The status of the right of return of the Palestinians. The issue of Jerusalem — whether it should be the capital of both countries, or not. So, you have a whole range of very, very difficult issues, but in my judgment, all of which can be resolved, if there is a basis of trust between the two parties. This discussion has been long and complicated, but it hasn’t mentioned what, in my judgment, is the single most important issue, and it is the high level of mistrust between both societies and both leaders. Having had long experience in the region, having met many, many times with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his predecessors, and President Abbas and his predecessor, I think that is the single most difficult issue.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, in my opinion, does not believe that President Abbas has either the will or the capacity, personal or political strength, to reach agreement, and push one through to approval and implementation. President Abbass, on the other hand, does not believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is serious about getting an agreement. When Prime Minister Netanyahu announced in June of 2009 that he favored a two-state solution, no Palestinians believed that he was telling the truth, and neither did any of the Arabs. They thought he was saying that just to accommodate the pressure from the United States. As Speaker Boehner has suggested, this is really the reverse side of that argument.

So, when Prime Minister Netanyahu, on the day before the recent election, said there wouldn’t be a state, all of the Arabs reacted with, I told you so. We didn’t believe him in the first place. And then, of course, when he appeared to walk back from that on the following day, that just furthered the impression of mistrust on the part of the Palestinians and the Arabs. So, at the root cause of this, is that you have two leaders who do not believe that the other has the intent, sincerity, or capability to reach an agreement, and are therefore reluctant to take any steps that would impose a political cost on them within their societies because both societies are divided.

Prime minister Netanyahu just got elected. So, he represents the democratic result of a free and open election in Israel, and the strong sentiment among his party and his supporters, not ever to be — for there not ever to be a Palestinian state on the West Bank. On the other hand, there are many Israelis who favor a two state solution. On the Palestinian side, it is about 50/50. You have Fatah, the principal party of the Palestinian Authority headed by the President Abbas, who favor a two state solution, and who favor peaceful, nonviolent negotiation to get there. On the other hand, Hamas, about half, and centered primarily in Gaza, who are opposed to an Israeli state, who are opposed to — who want to retain the right to use violence to end the occupation, as they say, and so both sides are divided. And if any leader takes a — makes a concession, he gets domestic, political criticism. Well, if you not think there’s ever going to be an agreement because the other guy is not sincere, you’re not willing to take steps to move in that direction. That is at the core of this problem, and I think that is what has to be overcome.

AARON MATÉ: But, Senator, on the issue of Hamas, first of all, they were elected in 2006, so they are a legitimate government in Gaza, whether or not the U.S. or Israel like them or not, but Israel won’t deal with them. But also, on the issue of even Israeli and Palestinian statehood, hasn’t Hamas basically tacitly accepted Israel’s right to exist within its 67’ borders, because Hamas has said, we would accept a Palestinian state in the occupied territories. In doing so, you are basically saying that we recognize Israel, even if we don’t directly do it.

SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL: Well, first off, they won a parliamentary election. Their government is divided into an executive and a parliament. They didn’t win the presidency. What was at stake was the parliamentary election. President Abbas remained the democratically elected leader of the country. They, then, in a violent uprising defeated the forces of President Abbas and Fatah and evicted them from Gaza, and seized both executive and parliamentary control in Gaza, so let’s be clear about that. They didn’t win control of Gaza in an election. They won control of Gaza in a military action, which expelled the forces of the Palestinian Authority.

Secondly, Hamas has prevented has prevented any election from occurring since then. They have the interesting political approach that they criticize Abbas as being illegitimate because he hasn’t been reelected since his term expired. The reason he hasn’t been reelected is that they won’t permit an election to occur in Gaza, and there are questions about whether an election could occur in Jerusalem as well. Secondly, on the issue of the Hamas and Israel — you say tacitly. Well, if you are an Israeli and someone says, well, look, I will do this tacitly, but I won’t explicitly, you’d be suspicious, and the Israelis rightly are. That they say — Hamas doesn’t say we tacitly recognize Israel, other people say it, as you have said it. Hamas says we’re against Israel. So, I think you have to be careful about implying a belief in someone who states the opposite, and rather, I think, you should rely on their actions. And so, I have always felt that if we could get real talk going between the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis that had a serious basis for proceeding, that is the best way to draw Hamas in and get them to reverse their positions that now represent the impediment to their participation.

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As Most Countries Try to Settle into Peace Deals, Netanyahu seeks war with USA (, Switzerland) and others who he calls the New AXIS OF EVIL


  • Iran-nuclear-talks-lussanne-switzerland

    “A Matter of War & Peace”: Iran, Powers Near Preliminary Deal in face of Congress-Israel Opposition

    TOPICS

    GUESTS

    Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council. His book is a “A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran.”

    Negotiators meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, over an Iran nuclear deal are set to issue a general statement that enough progress has been made to continue in a new phase aimed at a comprehensive agreement in June. Details of the talks have been kept under wraps. The United States had imposed a Tuesday deadline for a preliminary accord in order to help stave off congressional opposition, buoyed by the efforts of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Congress has vowed to impose additional sanctions if negotiators fail to reach a preliminary agreement, and the Senate is expected to take up a measure that would give Congress final approval. We go to Lausanne for an update from Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council, who has been following the negotiations closely.

    TRANSCRIPT

    This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

    AARON MATÉ: We begin today’s show in Lausanne, Switzerland, where six days of historic talks over an Iran nuclear deal have reportedly closed. The Associated Press says negotiators will issue a general statement that enough progress has been made to continue in a new phase aimed at a comprehensive agreement in June. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said U.N. sanctions against Iran should be lifted if a nuclear deal is reached.

    MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV: I think sanctions should be suspended after the agreements are reached. They should be lifted. There are different ways; to lift them completely or first suspend them temporarily and lift them legally afterwards. But, in practice, it should mean that sanctions should be lifted, and should not interfere with legal trade and economic activity between Iran and its foreign partners.

    AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, Congress has vowed to impose additional sanctions if negotiators fail to reach a preliminary deal. Well, for more we go to Lausanne, Switzerland, where we are joined by Trita Parsi, Founder and President of the National Iranian American Council. He has been following the negotiations closely there. His book is a “A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran.” Welcome back toDemocracy Now! Can you talk about the agreement that has been worked out, Trita, just now?

    TRITA PARSI: Frankly, no one can, because the details have not been released. All we know is that AP reports that there’s going to be a statement about an understanding, and the reason for that is that the Iranians refuse to agree to two-phase agreement because of bad experience with doing that in 2009. But, if it, in reality is, a political framework, or just a mere understanding, will be revealed once we have the details which is scheduled to be released today.

    AARON MATÉ: Trita, what was Iran’s bad experience, that you mentioned, and what are you looking for to happen next?

    TRITA PARSI: Well, in 2009, on October 1, in Geneva, for the first time, the Iranians and the Americans sat down during the first year of President Obama’s term, and they discussed the principles of a swap deal. The Iranians agreed, in principle, to a swap deal and then later on, around October 20, they had a conversation about the details. At that stage, it turned out that the two sides actually had irreconcilable differences when it comes to the details. The narrative that came out of that then was that the Iranians had first agreed, and then backtracked. And it was very easy for the West to put the blame on the Iranians, which then later on became a critical component towards imposing new sanctions on Iran. That’s exactly what the Iranians are trying to avoid here. They do not want to agree to anything that is unclear at this point, and then later on when additional negotiations are taking place, find out that there is a disagreement, and then, then they get the blame for it.

    AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the significance of putting this off? I mean, what does it mean to say it’s a self-imposed deadline, and what you see as the major sticking point?

    TRITA PARSI: Well, I think it is important to keep in mind that this deadline of March 31, in reality is primarily an American deadline, because of the pressure that Congress has been putting on the president of the United States. The other actors, primarily look at June 30 as the real deadline, mindful of the fact that the interim agreement is valid for another three months. They could have walked away with nothing, and the interim agreement would still be in place. So, what that means then is that the way that Congress has been putting pressure on the U.S. team has not worked in such a way that the Iranians are pressured. Rather, the pressure is truly on the American side, and is adding time pressure on the Americans in a way that the others are not feeling. But, nevertheless, it seems they are going to be able to walk away with something that would enable the U.S. team to come back and resist the pressures from Congress. The next step then would be to continue the negotiations and work out a real framework, a real final deal with a deadline of June 30.

    AARON MATÉ: You mentioned the obstacles — or the potential obstacles from Congress. There is a measure from Senator Bob Corker that’s going to come up next month that would give Congress the ability to kill the deal, basically. Do you see that as a significant factor here — can Congress stop whatever deal would be reached?

    TRITA PARSI: Yeah, on April 14, it is scheduled to be marked up in the Senate. This is what is called an oversight bill, but in reality it contains measures that is more of an interference in the negotiations than mere oversight. For instance, the president does not have his suspension rights for sanctions for the first 60 days after a deal is struck in order for the Senate to review the deal. That is actually a direct interference because what the two sides are negotiating about right now is precisely the schedule of sanctions relief. And if they come to a conclusion on that, and then the Senate says, no, hold on, we are withdrawing your suspension rights for 60 days, that is direct interference can cause the blame of the collapse of talks to fall on the U.S. side.

    AMY GOODMAN: What has surprised you the most, Trita Parsi? You are a very close follower of relations between U.S. and Iran, and of course, other countries are involved with this as well; Russia, the foreign minister is just returning.

    TRITA PARSI: Well, I think there is something absolutely unique and historic going on here. The P5+1 have their own severe disagreements and actually conflicts, particularly between the U.S. and Russia right now, and the EU and Russia. Yet, on this issue, they have managed to keep a tremendous professional unity towards getting some form of an agreement on the nuclear issue. And it shows the importance of finding this agreement because this truly is a matter of war and peace. And that, I think, casts the opponents in the Senate, or in Israel, or elsewhere, as even more isolated because, frankly, the entire P5+1 is united towards trying to get the same deal that the president of the United States is pursuing.

    AMY GOODMAN: Trita Parsi, right now, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, has taken a delegation to meet with Netanyahu in Israel. In Lausanne, Josh Block, who is a former American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPACspokesperson, is — has the Israel Project. What pressure has Israel brought to bear here? Do you think Netanyahu is succeeding in scuttling the talks?

    TRITA PARSI: The Israelis have put on an enormous amount of pressure from the very first minute that President Obama came into office and declared that he wanted to pursue diplomacy, but I would, frankly, say that the Israelis have less influence right now than they could have had had they played their cards differently. The very, very aggressive tone of Prime Minister Netanyahu, this very clear cut attempt to try to sabotage the talks, has actually pushed Netanyahu further to the margins, and has given him less opportunities to be able to sabotage it. But, make no mistake, the Israelis are very much against the steel and are trying to do everything they can do to stop it, but there is an air of inevitability, right here in Lausanne, that something is going to come out of these talks.

    AMY GOODMAN: Trita Parsi, we want to thank you for being with us; Founder and President of the National Iranian American Council. His book is a “A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran.” He’s speaking to us from Lausanne, Switzerland, where the Iran negotiations are taking place.

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The Only Appropriate Public Event For George Bush To Attend Is His Own War Crimes Tribuna


The Only Appropriate Public Event For George Bush To Attend Is His Own War Crimes Tribunal

Bravo to Phyllis Bennis, longtime activist,  author, scholar and Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, who attended a Hofstra University Conference on the George Bush Presidency to declare – bluntly, calmly, clearly, hedging no bets – Bush a war criminal. Starting with the simple, devastating recognition that the Middle East is now more dangerous because of Bush’s illegal wars, Bennis cogently outlined why the criminality of Iraq and Afghanistan lay both in the way those wars were conducted – collective punishment, massive civilian deaths, rendition, torture – and more fundamentally in the fact they happened at all.  Grounded in the notion of American exceptionalism and sold as wars of self-defence, they were,  of course, wars of aggression – deemed at the Nuremberg trials “the supreme international  crime,” from which all other crimes stem. For that reason, Bennis said, “the legacy of George W. Bush is going to be that of a war criminal.” From a painful past, a breath of fresh, truthful air.

SEE THE FANTASTIC VIDEO OF THIS PRESENTATION HERE AT THE SOURCE FOR THIS STORY: http://www.commondreams.org/further/2015/03/29/only-appropriate-public-event-george-bush-attend-his-own-war-crimes-tribunal

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Iran nuclear talks extended; Russia says ‘key aspects’ agreed to


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Mumia Abu-Jamal with Diabetes-Related Complications


In Pennsylvania, imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has been taken to the intensive care unit of a local hospital after he was removed from prison for a medical emergency without notification to his family, friends or lawyers. Friends say they were told he was in “diabetic shock” but they have so far been unable to visit him or obtain any details. Noelle Hanrahan, producer of Prison Radio, which distributes Abu-Jamal’s commentaries from prison, spoke to Democracy Now! from the hospital.

Noelle Hanrahan: “We are standing in the ICU waiting room. We are at the nurses desk. We can see his room, we cannot see him. I am looking at phalanx of police officers. The curtain is pulled across. He has tried to access the healthcare they have for him and it has been woefully indadequate and we are deeply concerned about this. They don’t take people to outside hospital. It is not standard procedure. You have to be extraordinarily sick to be moved, period.”

Abu-Jamal’s transfer came the same day as a court hearing on a Pennsylvania law he says tramples his free speech. The law was introduced after Abu-Jamal gave a pretaped commencement address at Vermont’s Goddard College. It authorizes the censoring of prisoners’ public addresses if a judge agree the speech would cause “mental anguish” to victims.

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What do you know about Holy Week?… and the Next…?


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