Posts Tagged ‘Mahmoud Abbas’

Israel whistles, the United States comes running. No matter what’s right

September 23, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, told a cheering UN General Assembly today, “I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for full admission to the United Nations.”

Who can disagree? The government of Israel, for one. And if the GOI objects, the American right will come right along. And so, sadly, will President Obama. Conscience takes a back seat when votes are about to be counted.

Obama’s speech to the UN was a craven surrender to the Israeli government’s demand that we oppose the Palestinian request. This is an ethical disaster, as well as a realpolitik one. It will wipe out the good will Obama earned with his earlier calls for honorable treatment of the Palestinians and his once-brave insistence on a halt to Israeli expansion into the West Bank. Forgotten, too, will be his siding with the Arab Spring, outweighed as it is among most Muslims and young people everywhere (including in Israel) by his opposition to Palestinian rights.

Obama did have support for his position. To Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama’s speech was a “badge of honor.” This is the same Netanyahu that President Clinton blamed, as recently as yesterday, for preventing a peace deal.

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman liked the speech even more, telling a news conference, “I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands.” Lieberman is widely despised in Israel as a racist for his proposal to rid Israel of its Arab citizens by “redrawing its map to ‘exchange’ part of the Arab population and create a more ‘homogenous Jewish state,’ as a solution to Israel’s Arab minority ‘problem.’ ”

Having sabotaged Israel’s own relations with Turkey over Israeli refusal to apologize for killing nine Turkish activists running the Gaza blockade, Israel is now sabotaging American relations with the entire Muslim world, which will have a hard time accepting that America preaches freedom for all, but not for occupied Palestine.

We are tarred by what we put up with: “Death to all Palestinians”? Not my view, says Netanyahu

August 29, 2010

We honor politicians who denounce members of their party or of their administration who lie, cheat, steal, or defame. Those who defend such behavior—or are silent about it—are encouraging it and eventually own it as their own. Some try to have it both ways—gently stepping away from the crime without offending the criminal. Like Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu?

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reports today that Ovadia Yosef, formerly chief rabbi of Israel, called yesterday during his weekly Shabbat sermon, for death to all Palestinians. Rabbi Yosef, spiritual leader and a founder of Israel’s leading ultra-Orthodox Shas Party—part of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing coalition with four ministers—described Palestinians as evil, bitter enemies of Israel:

“Abu Mazen [more commonly known as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] and all these evil people should perish from this world … God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.”


Nothing new for Rabbi Yosef. Haaretz also quotes a 2001 speech in which he proclaimed,

“It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

When asked for a comment yesterday, Netanyahu’s office fell despicably short of condemnation, issuing a statement, according to the Jerusalem Post, that Yosef’s comments:

“don’t represent the views of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or the Israeli government. Israel entered into negotiations out of a desire to progress with the Palestinians toward an agreement that will end the conflict and ensure peace, security, and good neighborly relations between the two nations.”


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