I’m a Palestinian Refugee, born in Lebanon in 1950, after my parents and siblings were forced out of our family home in Haifa Palestine in 1948. I’ve been living in this blessed country US for the last 45 yrs, and I have done many lectures and speeches to Rotary, Kiwanis, women groups, High schools, Churches and basically to whoever showed interest in knowing about Palestine and Palestinians. I’ve always thought that I would change people’s mind tainted by Zionist Propaganda and Biased MSM one at a time if I have to. I’m happy to report I’ve been mostly successful, we have much to do yet, but we’re making headway and inching forward as they say…Just keep on message, after all Steadfastness is in our Palestinian DNA. I hope this New Year will bring Peace and Tranquility to my Palestinian people, and all oppressed people everywhere…We must all unite in the face of Tyranny and put a stop to Human Right Violations everywhere.
I grew up in a muslim home, in Beirut Lebanon as a Palestinian refugee, it was loving, Respectful to others and as peaceful for the most part as any home with sibling rivalry, I was the youngest of five children living in a very tiny flat, seven including my parents.
I chose not to be a religious person, it was a personal choice for me to be more of a spiritual person than anything else, even today if I’m given a choice to chose a Religion I would choose Islam, but again I chose to be a spiritual person….
Islam/Muslims are the way my mother was, she loved and respected most people, helped and fead people off the street, NONVIOLENT, and held herself to a higher standards. Islam/Muslims are nothing like what MSM say it is, and definitely not what ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra are. Everything those criminal thugs hired mercenaries do is contrary to Islam’s teaching and guidance….So please don’t listen to the haters and ignorant people describing Islam/Muslims, and not from Fox News and alike, the real truth about Islam is out there, seek it and find out for yourself before judging or miss judging Islam/Muslims…..It all boils down to one word RESPECT…..
I was born and lived in neighboring Lebanon as a Palestinian Refugee, I know a thing or two about the whole region, the main and major problem is Israel and protecting Israel at all cost, so US/Israel teaming up with the most vile and corrupt Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and UAE are out to destroy any one who is conceived to be a threat to Israel and it’s new allies, it’s that simple, Saddam was a threat, he’s gone, Qaddafi was a threat, he’s gone, Hezbollah is a threat, Israel has done everything in it’s power to get rid of Hezbollah in order to get rid of Assad and ultimately IRAN is the Biggest threat to Israel, and that is the ultimate goal. So it’s not rocket science, all one has to do is just watch what’s happening on the ground to figure out that it’s all done to protect and serve first Israel and then it’s new alliance the highly corrupt Arab regimes..
Centuries ago, Zionist leaders have been posting and planing to control the world. Zionist Israeli leaders are extremely arrogant, heartless and self righteous. With that formula they’ve devised an evil plan, in order to get what they want and need for their state of hate Zionist Israel. Israeli leaders use of bribes, blackmail, intimidation and extortion, they’ve been able to achieve their evil objectives. Israeli leaders have been treating everyone like dirt, they’ve slaughtering Palestinian men, women and children for decades and getting away with murder literally. The main reason that they’ve been able to get away with this, their web of deception is wide spread and very effective, they make sure their people are elected in every area, from local levels to the highest level in governments everywhere they can, and they’ve been very successful at it, only if Israeli leaders weren’t so devious, manipulative and evil….
So for us Peace loving individuals, and people that strive for basic human rights for everyone, with no exceptions, have the duty to expose what Zionist Israeli leaders are doing, and make known their evil deeds in every opportunity possible…
Tragic indeed, I’ve been in this blessed country for 45yrs, I’m very aware what you’re talking about, I had to endure many obstacles and prejudices in those early years, until people got to know me as a decent, productive and peaceful human being. I have done many talks/speeches for groups large and small, I’ve lectured in High schools, until Jewish/Israeli apologists/sympathizers became aware of what I was doing, and all came to a screeching halt. I have not stopped in trying to continue to do that whenever an opportunity arrises. I have decided long ago, that I will pursue this endeavor in a very peaceful way, and I will not be stopped or silenced. I do have lots of support when people know the truth and real facts about my Palestinian people and their turbulent and sad past and present, and the true nature of brutality of Zionist Israel in the way they’ve treated my people and still do….
Kamal C Hassan
The Final Solution To The Palestinian Dilemma…..
Kamal Hassan It’s not rocket science, one look at West Bank map and you will see what Zionist Israel is doing. Israeli Authorities have been isolating Palestinians from one another, now that has been achieved the goal is to isolate them from the outside world and cut them totally off. separating and buffering them from Jordan is the last act, then Israel can and will have full control of every aspect of Palestinian life, just like in Gaza, so Israel ultimate goal is to replicate the same situation as in Gaza…..Israeli leaders clearly has no bound to deceit, bullying and total control of Palestinian lives under the moat heinous and criminal Occupation ever in recorded history. The world should prevent such action by the Zionist state of Israel and not permit a true Holocaust perpetrated on them by Israel….
Sixty plus yrs ago, Israel with collaboration with western so called democracies, stole Palestinian lands, massacred several villages, wiped out over 400 other Palestinian villages and expelled over 750.000 indigenous Palestinians to live in refugee camps in misery till today, all the while UN and western powers watched. UN promised those Palestinian refugees that they’ll be allowed back in about two weeks, my parents were among those expelled to Lebanon to this day 63+ yrs ago. Over the years Palestinians have tried every method known to man, and yes very peaceful civil disobedience, and some violence methods as well, to no avail, because Israel had an agenda of ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians one way or another, and UN and rest of the world still watching. Palestinians have been living under occupation in West Bank, token freedom, 600 check points, huge wall to separate even Palestinian villages from one another, Gaza is under siege, 7000+ political prisoners with no way out. Daily violence from Israeli illegal settlers, uprooting ancient olive trees, poisoning Palestinian water wells, shooting at Palestinian children going to school and on and on. What a life to live for 63+ yrs…. Israel and US insist that Peace will only come through negotiations. The parties involved have been talking/negotiating for 40+ years now, all breakdowns have been attributed to the Palestinian side by Israel/US/Western media. The question is, who do you think is the real obstacle to Peace. Palestinians have already lost every thing, Israel on the other hand ended up controlling every thing. So who do you think is more serious about an equitable and fare settlement……You make the call.
The Spy Who Loves Us
June 10, 2011
by Phil Giraldi, Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest
US has been spied on by the very best, Israel Mossad, AIPAC Israeli lobby. Our so called best ally is our worst enemy. The enemy within is much worse than any other. Please wake up and see what the true nature of Apartheid Israel, before it’s too late, if not already is. Be informed and inform others, the more you know…..
This article is featured in a TV news report
After Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1986, the U.S. negotiated an understanding with Israel—a “gentlemen’s agreement” —stipulating that neither nation would thenceforth conduct espionage operations in the other’s territory without consent. But the agreement was a sham from the beginning.
The Israeli government didn’t even honor its commitments in the aftermath of the Pollard case, failing to return the estimated 360 cubic feet of stolen information to enable the U.S. to conduct a damage assessment. The United States, for its part, continued to recruit and run agents inside Israel throughout the 1980s and 1990s. And it was known within the intelligence and counterintelligence communities that Israel did the same in the United States.
David Szady, the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence, was so dismayed by the level of Israeli spying in the late ’90s that he called in the head of the Israeli Embassy’s Central Institute for Intelligence and Special Activities (Mossad) office and told him, “Knock it off.”
Pollard’s name was in the news again on April 22, when former U.S. Army weapons engineer Ben-Ami Kadish was arrested for passing secrets to Israel. Kadish had been an agent run by Yosef Yagur, who directed Pollard. Yagur, under cover as a science attaché at the Israeli Consulate General in New York, fled the U.S. in 1985 after Pollard was arrested, but remained in touch with Kadish.
The arrest revived suspicions that Israeli agents might still be operating inside the U.S., most particularly “Mega,” whose cover name was revealed in an NSA-intercepted conversation between two Israeli intelligence officers. “Mega” was clearly at the policymaker level, as Kadish and Pollard frequently sought files by name or number. Someone more senior in Washington appeared to be directing the Israeli handlers toward sensitive information. Whoever “Mega” was, he is still at large.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arieh Mekel sought to play down the allegations, noting, “Since 1985 there have been clear orders from prime ministers not to conduct these kinds of activities.” The media obediently reported the disclaimer under headlines such as Agence France Presse’s: “Israel says no spying on US since 1985.”
But the spokesman had not said that. He referred to “these kinds of activities,” possibly meaning the recruitment of American Jews to work as Israeli intelligence agents. Mekel’s half-hearted denial was a step removed from the Israeli government’s reaction to the 2004 investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, when then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev insisted that Israel “does not spy on the United States of America.”
It’s possible that Israel has largely demurred from recruiting American Jews as spies, but Tel Aviv’s intelligence operations in the U.S. have undeniably continued.
The magnitude of Israeli espionage is certainly known to some senior government officials and is hidden in classified files. But even evidence available in public records attests to widespread infiltration.
Spy operations run by a case officer directly involving a controlled agent are only one of many tasks delegated to an intelligence service. Other responsibilities might include tapping into communications networks, directing agents of influence in the foreign government who can enable favorable policy decisions, running covert actions that feed misleading information to the media, and arranging technology transfers that frequently rely on companies that are either fronts or co-operating with the intelligence service to obtain secret military or commercial information. Even if Israel has stopped recruiting American Jews—and that is by no means certain—it nevertheless continues to carry out many core intelligence operations in the United States.
Israel has little need to run agents of influence here as its intelligence officers, diplomats, and politicians already have unfettered access to policymakers. It has been reported that the Pentagon under Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith—both of whom have been investigated for passing classified information to Israel—took few steps to monitor Israeli visitors.
Likewise, the Israeli Embassy has excellent access to the media. When it wants to plant propaganda or place stories intended to shape opinion in a direction favorable to Israel, the Mossad generally looks to the British press. Rupert Murdoch’s Times group of newspapers and the Daily Telegraph, formerly owned by Conrad Black, have featured many articles that clearly originated with Israeli government sources. Such pieces are often picked up and replayed in the United States.
Virtually every U.S. government body concerned with security has confirmed that Israeli espionage takes place, though it is frequently not exposed because FBI officers know that investigating these crimes is frustrating and does no favors for their careers. But Israel always features prominently in the annual FBI report called “Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage.”
The 2005 report states, “Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel’s sizable armaments industry.” It adds that Israel recruits spies, uses electronic methods, and carries out computer intrusion to gain the information.
Giving U.S. Secrets to our adversaries
The focus on U.S. military secrets is not limited to information needed for the defense of Israel, as was argued when Pollard was arrested. Some of the information he stole was of such value that many high-ranking intelligence officers believe the Soviet Union agreed to the release of tens of thousands of Russian Jews for resettlement in Israel in exchange.
In early 1996, the Office of Naval Investigations concluded that Israel had transferred sensitive military technology to China. In 2000, the Israeli government attempted to sell China the sophisticated Phalcon early warning aircraft, which was based on U.S.-licensed technology. A 2005 FBI report noted that the thefts eroded U.S. military advantage, enabling foreign powers to obtain hugely expensive technologies that had taken years to develop.
In 1996, ten years after the agreement that concluded the Pollard affair, the Pentagon’s Defense Investigative Service warned defense contractors that Israel had “espionage intentions and capabilities” here and was aggressively trying to steal military and intelligence secrets. It also cited a security threat posed by individuals who have “strong ethnic ties” to Israel, stating that “Placing Israeli nationals in key industries … is a technique utilized with great success.”
The memo cited illegal transfer of proprietary information from an Illinois optics firm in 1986, after the Pollard arrest, as well as the theft of test equipment for a radar system in the mid-1980s. A storm of outrage from the Anti-Defamation League led to the Pentagon’s withdrawal of the memo, an apology that predictably blamed the language on “a low-ranking individual,” and a promise that no similar warning would be written again.
But the issue of Israeli spying would not go away.
Soon after, the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, completed an examination of espionage directed against American defense and security industries. The report described how Israeli citizens residing in the U.S. had
- stolen sensitive technology to manufacture artillery gun tubes,
- obtained classified plans for a reconnaissance system, and
- passed sensitive aerospace designs to unauthorized users.
An Israeli company was caught monitoring a Department of Defense telecommunications system to obtain classified information, while other Israeli entities targeted avionics, missile telemetry, aircraft communications, software systems, and advanced materials and coatings used in missile re-entry.
Independently, a Defense Department source confirmed the GAO report, citing “dozens of other spy cases within the U.S. Defense industry.” The GAO concluded that Israel “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally.”
Israeli “art students”
In early 2001, several federal government agencies noticed a series of intrusive approaches by Israelis who were ostensibly selling paintings. In June, the Drug Enforcement Administration made a compilation of the activities of the so-called “art students” in a classified report, which was later leaked.
The report documents 125 specific attempts by Israelis to gain entry to government offices, residences of government employees, and even Defense Department facilities between January and June 2001.
The Israelis “targeted and penetrated military bases” and were observed trying to enter federal buildings from back doors and parking garages. One detained Israeli was caught wandering around the federal building in Dallas with a detailed floor plan in hand. Many of those arrested were found to have backgrounds in “military intelligence, electronic surveillance intercept, or explosive ordnance units.”
Now, there may have been an Israeli student subculture in the U.S. selling cheap reproductions.
But it is also clear that the art-student mechanism was used by intelligence officers to provide cover for espionage. The students were organized in cells of eight to ten members that traveled in vans, which provide concealment for electronic equipment. Several of the students were able to afford expensive airline tickets to hop from plane to plane, two of them flying in one day from Hamburg to Miami, then to Chicago, and finally winding up in Toronto on tickets that cost $15,000 each.
In Miami and Chicago, they visited two government officials to try to sell their art. Another student had in his possession deposit slips for $180,000. Six students used cellphones provided by a former Israeli vice consul. Many claimed to be registered at either the University of Jerusalem or the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem, but not a single name could be connected to the student body list of Bezalel, and there is no University of Jerusalem.
It is plausible that the art students who were actually intelligence officers might have been seeking entry to DEA facilities to gain access to confidential databases. If the broader Israeli espionage effort was focused on Arabs in the United States, such information would be invaluable.
The DEA report concluded cautiously that the Israelis “might well be engaged in organized intelligence gathering.” Of the 140 art students arrested, most were deported for immigration violations. Some were just let go.
Israeli “Moving Systems”
And then there are the movers. Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, New Jersey was largely staffed by Israelis, many of whom had recently been discharged from the Israeli Defense Forces. As has been widely reported, three movers were photographed celebrating in Liberty State Park against the backdrop of the first collapsing World Trade Center tower.
The celebration came 16 minutes after the first plane struck, when no one knew that there had been a terrorist attack and the episode was assumed to be a horrible accident. The owner of the moving company, Dominik Suter, was questioned once by the FBI before fleeing to Israel. He has since refused to answer questions.
Whether the movers and the art students had jointly pieced together enough information to provide a preview of 9/11 remains hidden in intelligence files in Tel Aviv, but the proximity of both groups to 15 of the hijackers in Hollywood, Florida and to five others in northern New Jersey is suggestive.
Speculation about 9/11 aside, it is certain that Urban Moving was involved in an intelligence-collection operation against Arabs living in the United States, possibly involving electronic surveillance of phone calls and other communications.
When they were arrested, the five Israelis working for Urban Moving had multiple passports and nearly $5,000 in cash. They were held for 71 days, failed a number of polygraph exams, and were finally allowed to return to Israel after Tel Aviv admitted that they were Mossad and apologized.
Between 55 and 95 other Israelis were also arrested in the weeks following 9/11, and a number were reported to be active-duty military personnel. The FBI came under intense pressure from several congressmen and various pro-Israel groups to release the detainees.
The order to free them came from Judge Michael Mukasey, now the U.S. attorney general. An FBI investigator noted, “Leads were not fully investigated” due to pressure from “higher echelons.” According to one source, the White House may have made the final decision to terminate the inquiry.
Though the investigation could have gone much farther, the FBI identified two of the Weehawken movers as Israeli intelligence officers and confirmed that Urban Moving was a front for Mossad to “spy on local Arabs.” One CIA officer involved in the investigation concluded, “The Israelis likely had a huge spy operation.”
In May 2004, there were two incidents involving Israelis in moving vans in proximity to U.S. nuclear facilities.
One occurred in Tennessee near the Nuclear Fuel Services plant, which reprocesses nuclear waste from hospitals. The van was pursued by the local sheriff for three miles after refusing to pull over. The two fleeing Israelis, who threw a bottle containing an accelerant, had in their possession Israeli military ID’s and false U.S. documents.
In the second incident, two movers in a van tried to enter the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, which is home to eight Trident nuclear submarines, but were arrested when dogs detected drugs inside their vehicle. The men had military ID’s and false documents. There was no follow-up by the FBI even though both incidents were reported to federal authorities.
Targeting U.S. facilities abroad
There have also been reports of intensive targeting of U.S. government facilities overseas.
In late 2001, State Department security noted a series of incidents at diplomatic missions and military bases, all involving Israelis. It described many of the incidents as “bizarre.”
In one instance, French police arrested several Israelis at 2 a.m. after they were observed taking numerous photos of the U.S. embassy in Paris. As it was dark, their behavior was unusual to say the least—or perhaps not since it was revealed that the Israelis were using infrared film to detect communications equipment in the embassy.
FBI investigates Israel-AIPAC espionage
In August 2004, the media discovered an FBI investigation, begun in 1999, involving Pentagon intelligence analyst Larry Franklin. He had openly met Israeli Embassy intelligence officer Naor Gilon as well as two AIPAC officials, director Steve Rosen and chief analyst Keith Weissman.
He pleaded guilty in October 2005 to revealing classified information and is now serving a 12-year prison sentence. Rosen and Weissman are currently on trial. If the prosecution is correct, Franklin passed classified information relating to Iran to both AIPAC employees, who in turn provided the information to the Israeli Embassy. The defense has argued that such exchanges are routine in Washington, particularly between close allies such as Israel and the U.S., but that is a dubious reading of events.
Passing classified information and documents is not the same as casual political conversation over a cup of coffee. If Israel had stopped spying on the United States, Gilon should have refused to receive the information provided by Franklin. He might even have gone through official channels to report Franklin’s activity. He did neither. Nor did Rosen and Weissman object when they received information that they knew to be classified. Instead, they passed it on to the Israelis.
In June 2006, it was revealed that the Pentagon had begun to deny security clearances to American Jews who had family in Israel. Israelis seeking security approval to work for American defense contractors were also finding it increasingly difficult to obtain clearances. A Pentagon administrative judge overruled an appeal by one of the Israelis, stating, “The Israeli government is actively engaged in military and industrial espionage in the United States. An Israeli citizen working in the US who has access to proprietary information is likely to be a target of such espionage.”
Israel conducts much of its high-tech spying through its corporate presence in the United States.
It is heavily embedded in the telecommunications industry, which permits access to the exchange of information.
The Whitewater investigation revealed that President Bill Clinton warned Monica Lewinsky that their phone-sex conversations might have been recorded by a foreign government. That foreign government would have been Israel, where government and business work hand-in-hand in the high-tech sector, and many former government officials and military officers hold senior management positions. The corporations, in return, receive large contracts with the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces.
Two Israeli companies in particular—Amdocs and Comverse Infosys, both of which are headquartered in Israel—do significant business in the United States. Amdocs, which has contracts with the 25 largest telephone companies in the U.S. that together handle 90 percent of all calls made, logs all calls that go out and come in on the system.It does not record the conversations themselves, but the records provide patterns, referred to as “traffic analysis,” that can provide intelligence leads.
In 1999, the National Security Agency warned that records of calls made in the United States were winding up in Israel. Amdocs also has an apparent relationship with some of the art students who were arrested in 2001. Several were provided with bond money by an Amdocs executive.
Comverse Infosys provides wiretapping equipment to law enforcement throughout the United States and also has large contracts with the Israeli government, which reimburses up to 50 percent of the company’s research and development costs.
Because equipment used to tap phones for law enforcement is integrated into the networks that phone companies operate, it cannot be detected. Phone calls are intercepted, recorded, stored, and transmitted to investigators by Comverse, which claims that it has to be “hands on” with its equipment to maintain the system.
Many experts believe that it is relatively easy to create a so-called “back door” that permits the recording to be sent to a second party, unknown to the authorized law-enforcement recipient. And Comverse equipment has never been inspected by FBI or NSA experts to determine whether the information it collects can be leaked, reportedly because senior government managers block such inquiries.
According to a Fox News investigative report, which was later deleted from Fox’s website under pressure from various pro-Israel groups, DEA and FBI sources say that even to suggest that Israel might be spying using Comverse “is considered career suicide.”
A number of criminal investigations using Comverse equipment have apparently come to dead ends when the targets abruptly change their telecommunications methods, suggesting at a minimum that Comverse employees might be leaking sensitive information to Israeli organized crime.
Israeli espionage directed at U.S. Congress?
The chickens occasionally come home to roost. In 2002, Israeli espionage might have been directed against the U.S. Congress, which has so assidiously ignored Tel Aviv’s spying. Congressman Bob Ney, currently in prison for corruption, arranged a noncompetitive bid for the Israeli telecommunications company Foxcom Wireless to install equipment to improve cellphone reception in the Capitol and House office buildings.
Foxcom, based in Jerusalem, has been linked to imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Telecommunications security experts note that equipment that can be used to enhance or improve a signal can also be used to redirect the phone conversation to another location for recording and analysis. The possibility that someone in the Israeli Embassy might be listening to congressmen’s private phone conversations is intriguing to say the least.
Some might argue that collecting intelligence is a function of government and that espionage, even between friends, will always take place. But the intensity and persistence of Israeli spying against the United States is particularly disturbing since Israel relies so heavily on American political and military support. Other allies like Britain, France, and Germany undoubtedly have spies in Washington, but there is a line that they do not cross.
Given the stakes involved, it would be reasonable for the United States to quietly offer Israel’s leaders a choice. They can continue to receive billions of dollars in aid, or they can persist in spying against their greatest benefactor. They should not be permitted to do both.
Philip Giraldi, Executive Director of CNI, is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served 18 years in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was Chief of Base in Barcelona from 1989 to 1992, and designated as the Agency’s senior officer for Olympic Games support. Dr. Giraldi holds an MA and PhD from the University of London. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish.
Originally published in The American Conservative
Millions of American voters were offended this week by the vulgar display on Capitol Hill which witnessed the annual rite of nearly 2/3’s of Members on Congress stumbling over one another at the annual AIPAC Conference in order to ingratiate themselves with their hosts and to protect their sinecures.
Equally nauseating to many was what some on Capitol Hill are calling “Congressional Black Tuesday” when they assert Congress cheapened its status in American and foreign eyes and fouled itself by taking the role of undignified cheerleaders for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during his appearance before a joint session of Congress, an invitation normally reserved for august occasions and accomplished personages.
With 41 applause interruptions and 29 standing ovations, even with some appearing half-hearted and somewhat forced, Congress sent a message that the Legislative branch, increasingly under the control of a foreign power, and not the Executive branch, will continue to determine American policy toward Israel and the Middle East.
Some Congressional scholars, historians, and longtime observers of Congress are expressing dismay over what seems to have dramatically diminished the claimed, “World’s greatest deliberative body”.
Among those objecting to what they see as the corruption of Congress are an increasing number of the more than 18,000 Congressional staffers, many of whom work as many as 70 hours per week in their sometimes highly competitive jobs. Most Congressional staffers understand and respect the institution of Congress, know their Members politics, are aware of American interests in the Middle East and are fairly well informed on the Question of Palestine.
However, many are not happy and are beginning to rise up against what they are witnessing in their offices which is the increasing smothering of their erstwhile legislative aid roles by agents of Israel such as AIPAC. The latter are seen as increasingly preempting their roles and taking over some of their work by flooding their offices with position papers and then lobbying incessantly to see their ‘recommendations” implemented.
It is not always easy being a Congressional staffer and many have been and continue to be abused in various ways, some of which become public in an institution that values discretion and averting attention from their Members foibles. Yet working in Congress can be interesting and often rewarding work for those wanting to serve their constituents and help solve myriad problems on the local and federal level.
Congressional staff reactions to the Obama and Netanyahu AIPAC speeches and particularly the Israeli PM’s speech to Congress is strong and leads to the tentative conclusion that the effects the Arab Spring are being felt in both Houses of Congress and well as numerous support agencies such as the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress.
Many House and Senate staffers identify with those of similar age who have taken to the streets across the Middle East who are thought of as courageous, smart and reasonable. They also understand that the Arab Awakening of 2011 is an historic game changer and they are often deeply sympathetic and supportive. Perhaps because of their knowledge of the issues, they express abhorrence to the Zionist falsehoods and disinformation that comes from AIPAC offices at the bottom of Capitol Hill and some of which were repeated by Netanyahu in their workplace.
Virtually all Congressional staffers who objected to Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress expressed rejection of his following assertions as ludicrously false:
• Of 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights.”
• Throughout the millennial history of the Jewish capital, the only time that Jews, Christians and Muslims could worship freely, could have unfettered access to their holy sites, has been during Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.”
• In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers.”
• In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli prime ministers to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six-Day War.”
• We have helped the Palestinian economic growth by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people, and the results have been nothing short of remarkable.”
• The Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.”
• They (Palestinians) continue to educate their children to hate.”
• A nuclear armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”
Firstly, orders were issued that nothing was to be left to chance and they essentially succeeded but for the protesting slogans shouted by Rae Abileah before AIPAC undercover security tackled her and she ended up in the hospital, groped, injured and under arrest.
“Here is how Bibi got his “spontaneous” applause”, one and then the other explained. “AIPAC, as usual with visiting Israeli officials, edited his speech for most favorable local consumption. Marks were made at the end of intended applause lines for Bibi to highlight them verbally. Key Members such as Eric Cantor (R-VA), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Harry Reid (D-NV) were designated as floor leaders and were seated in strategic locations in the Chamber. Once Bibi began his speech the floor leaders would leap up at the indicated cue phases and begin to applaud enthusiastically. Quite naturally, others would follow either not wanting to be appear impolite or to stand out and be noticed as not showing proper support for Israel and its Prime Minister.
“In addition, AIPAC staffers who prowl congressional offices daily let it be known that videos of the Members listening to Bibi would be kept on file and insinuated that how the Member’s performed during his speech to Congress would be taken into consideration when planning this summer’s Jewish fundraising events.
One aide, who supports his bosses “moderately pro-Palestinian positions”, defended his applause for Netanyahu with these words: “Look, my guy could not just sit there and be conspicuous. Of course he resents being forced to fake support for Israel’s insane policies that he believes harms our country. Believe me many Members feel like him and many Hill staffers are disgusted by what we see. But the guy needs to keep his job to work on other issues like protecting Medicare and stopping home foreclosures. Plus not many of our constituents probably even watched him grovel on TV so it was kind of a freebie for us. What would you have done?”
A surprising number of Congressional staffers explain that they feel they are stigmatized abroad and particularly in the Middle East as being part of the Israel lobby when they are not. One staffer explained: “This sounds arrogant but we who work in Congress know this subject much better than the general American public and when you understand the history of Palestine and its takeover by Europeans and the continuing ethnic cleansing of the rightful owners of the land, how do you think we feel? We feel the same as the Palestinians refugees spread all around the World feel. We are human beings too. Arab and foreign media often lumps us with the Members of Congress whereas in reality many of us are working for change.”
One lady, whose job it is to summarize and update Arab-Israeli conflict developments for her boss who is a Senator from the Midwest explained that “sometimes AIPAC sees what I write and will contact and challenge me on my work that should be between me and my boss. Everyone knows that Members of Congress are regularly pressured and targeted by AIPAC. You should know that dozens of staffers have been fired from their jobs on the Hill during the 15 years I have been here. I may be next.” And then she added, “But until that day comes I will continue to support the Palestinian cause and work to change our foreign policy and see that it’s made in the USA and not in Tel Aviv.”
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and can be contacted c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
Netanyahu speech to congress was nothing short of nauseating and revolting to say the least. So many lies and distortions were said by the criminal Netanyahu and yet congress gave him 27 standing ovations 3 more than US president Obama got when he addressed congress. I wonder who is the real leader of this country. In any other country when some one pledge allegiance to another country it’s called treason…..
Date: Sat, 28 May 2011 01:59:19 +0000
Subject: Omar Barghouti: Obama, the Arab Spring and Irrelevance
Obama, the Arab Spring and Irrelevance
Omar Barghouti, May 24, 2011
Article Courtesy: Mondoweiss.net
In my view, so did the US, relatively speaking, but few in the US establishment are yet ready to admit that. In his speech before AIPAC on Sunday, 22 May, Mr. Obama came across, again, as more of an Israel advocate than a US president, further alienating Arab — and many other — audiences.
With Arabs crossing the barrier of fear and taking the initiative to rebuild their societies freely, on democratic principles, the last thing they need is the US government’s offer for help; having seen exactly how the US is building democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Obama will excuse Arabs for being skeptical about his offer, to put it mildly.
The Arab Spring happened despite the US administration’s decades-old staunch support for the dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere. US support for the Saudi dictatorship, arguably the most totalitarian and reactionary of all, has been critical in suppressing popular revolt and democratic reform in the oil-rich oligarchy. In Tunisia and Egypt, only after victory became a fait accompli did the US and most of Europe start paying lip service to the need for democratization and an orderly transfer of power.
To underline this point, the US has maintained its crucial backing of the Yemeni and Bahraini despotic regimes, despite brutal violations of human rights, arbitrary killings of peaceful protesters, and imprisonment of reform leaders, simply because the regimes there have proven to be able — at least temporarily — to hold back the revolts by brute force. Once the regimes start to crumble, so will US public support for them, no doubt. Realpolitik wins, at the end, while principles and a true commitment to human rights and international law — the latter being completely missing from the entire Obama speech — take a back seat, as always.
And now the US administration is offering Tunisians and Egyptians petty “debt-relief” bribes after having colluded with the tyrannical regimes there in the pillage of their respective nations’ wealth and the investment of these sums in the US and Western Europe, for the most part. Mr. Obama must think that Arabs have a very shallow memory or are somewhat slow. The sooner he realizes that he is wrong on both accounts, the more likely his administration will be able to absorb the true historic meanings and transformative repercussions of the Arab Spring and, consequently, the more just, fair, consistent and relevant US foreign policy can become.
In his policy speech on Thursday, Obama’s mere mention of the 1967 borders as a territorial basis for “negotiations” triggered a “synthetic” outrage by the Israeli government. Obama’s caveat that followed, “with agreed land swaps,” was intentionally ignored by Israeli officials’ and lobbyists’ irate attacks on Obama. As a result, Obama bent over backward in his speech before AIPAC to explain that what he really meant was that the 1967 borders will not stay the same as they must accommodate Israel’s colonies built on occupied Palestinian land over the last 44 years of occupation. By bluntly putting Israel’s interests ahead of everything else, including long established US interests in ensuring “stability” and winning hearts and minds in the region, Mr. Obama’s two speeches made those US interests even more remote. The fact that Obama’s strongest argument for ending the Israeli occupation is that it serves Israel’s interest of securing a Jewish state and circumvents the fast growing international isolation further confirms where his allegiances lie.
Judging by myriad opinion columns and media interviews on main Arab TV channels President Obama’s original policy speech largely failed to impress the Arab publics, including Palestinians, for several reasons; I shall focus on the most blatant.
First, very few Arabs today actually trust the Obama administration, particularly after its demeaning U-turn on the US demand for Israel to freeze its colonial settlements illegally built on occupied Palestinian and Syrian territory. The utter failure of the US administration to compel Israel to stop construction of those colonies — which constitute war crimes according to international law — has cost the US a severe hemorrhage of credibility in the eyes of the Arab world. If Israel will not listen to its main benefactor over such a relatively small matter, can anyone expect the US to pressure Israel to recognize the more substantial inalienable rights of the Palestinian people?
Second, the fanatic-right Israeli government with Netanyahu at its helm has, through its well endowed lobby groups, shown beyond doubt that it commands far more influence over the US Congress than Obama and his administration when it comes to setting Mideast policy. Not only was the US forced to accept the humiliation of being seen by the world as obsequiously complying with Israeli diktats by reversing long standing US policy condemning Israel’s settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace; it had to cast a veto a resolution at the UN, supported by an overwhelming majority of the world community, that reiterated this US policy staple.
Netanyahu’s latest public rebuff of Obama at their meeting on Friday did not help ameliorate the damage either. As a result, no matter what Mr. Obama says now, very few will take it seriously, knowing that Israel’s far-right government will ultimately have the upper hand in setting US policy in this part of the world.
Third, Mr. Obama’s double standard has reached a new record, as he threw around lofty terms such as “self determination,” “inclusive democracy,” “the inalienable right to freedom,” but he largely excluded the Palestinian people from the set of nations entitled to these inherent rights. He spoke of the “self-evident truth that all men are created equal,” but ignored Israel’s system of racial discrimination that the US Department of State has itself consistently condemned as constituting “institutional, legal, and societal” discrimination against the indigenous Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. In fact, this legalized discrimination fits the UN definition of apartheid.
Furthermore, while Obama spoke about his government’s support for non-violent struggle for freedom and equal rights, he again excluded Palestinian peaceful resistance against the Israeli occupation and apartheid. Non-violence is exactly what most Palestinians have been engaged in over many years, whether in the civil society-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, the mass peaceful protests against the wall and colonies, or the most recent Nakba commemoration peaceful marches that succeeded in crossing the border into the occupied Golan Heights, setting a historic precedent that is pregnant with far reaching potential.
What added insult to injury in the speech was Obama’s insistence on recognizing Israel as a “Jewish state,” which he emphasized further by calling it a “state of the Jewish people,” thus endorsing Israel’s extraterritorial definition of nationality, a clear violation of international law that fundamentally denies the non-Jewish citizens of Israel, the indigenous Palestinians, equal rights simply because of their identity. Imagine if the US President were to describe the US as a Christian nation, or a nation of Christians around the world. Why should Israel be treated as above the law of nations and allowed to maintain an ethnocentric, exclusionary regime that automatically reduces its “non-Jewish” citizens to second-class citizenship with circumscribed rights due to their ethnic or religious identity? How can any state be allowed to define itself as a state of some of its citizens, and many others who are not, but not of all its citizens? Whatever happened to Mr. Obama’s supposed commitment to equality and “inclusive democracy”?
By the same logic, international law does not condone an exclusionary, racist Islamic, Christian, Hindu or any other state that institutionalizes racial discrimination and apartheid against part of citizenry, based on their ethnic, religious or any other identity attribute.
Charting a path to a just, comprehensive, and sustainable peace in the Middle East requires that all parties abide by international law and universal human rights. So long as the US administration carries on with its massive, multi-billion dollar annual subsidy for Israel’s intransigence and to protect from international censure and sanctions Israel’s multi-tiered system of colonial oppression against the Palestinians, no glamorous oratory from Mr. Obama stands a chance to slow down the US’s descent into irrelevance in the ongoing reshaping of the modern history of this strategic region.