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Faysal’s Letter No. 110: American Presidents and Middle East Conflict (Part X)

  Who Ridiculed Bush’s “War on Terror” Political Mantra?
Bush’s “War on Terror” mantra was even challenged by David Miliband, the British foreign minister. In an opinion piece in the British Daily The Guardian issue of January 15, 2009, Miliband stressed that the West has to rethink about this slogan because it may have caused “more harm than good” when confronting the scourge of terrorism.
He pointed out the expression used by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks on the US was "misleading and mistaken.” He wrote, "The idea of a 'war on terror' gave the impression of a unified, transnational enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. The reality is that the motivations and identities of terrorist groups are disparate.''
On the same day he delivered a speech on the same topic in the Indian City of Mumbai and demanded the closure of the Guantanamo Bay and the launch of new era of "democratic opportunity rather than fear and oppression".
He stressed, “"Democracies must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not subordinating it.''
When Bush Revealed The Intimate American/Israeli Intelligence Relationship?
It was in January 2011, when Bush sent a special letter to outgoing Mossad Director Meir Dagan. This special letter was dispatched through former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Israeli reporter Itamar Eichner stated, Some 1,000 security officials and members of Israel’s political echelon gathered at Tel Aviv University on evening to bid farewell to outgoing Mossad Director Meir Dagan. But the most significant and moving greeting was received from a person who did not attend the event: Former US President George W. Bush.
Bush sent Dagan a personal letter following a conversation with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. About earlier, during a visit to the United States, Olmert telephoned Bush and informed him that Dagan was about to complete his term as Israel's Mossad chief.
The cooperation between the Israeli and American intelligence services reached new peaks during Olmert's term as prime minister. At the time, Olmert personally introduced Dagan to Bush and used the Mossad chief as his personal emissary to Washington on security and intelligence issues.
According to different reports, the former prime minister sent the Mossad chief to present to the US president information collected on a Syrian nuclear reactor.
After hearing about Dagan's retirement, Bush decided to write a personal letter as a special gesture to the former Mossad director. In the letter, Bush “congratulated Dagan on his ‘wonderful career’ and said it was honor for him to work together with the Mossad chief in advancing security issues and laying the foundation for a peaceful world. “
  Why Bush’s Knesset Speech On Israel’s 60th Anniversary Disheartened Arabs
A Palestinian political commentator pointed out on May 16, 2008, that Bush pledged allegiance to Israel in his Knesset address. He wrote, “In a place where the element of shock is hardly recognizable anymore, US President George W. Bush was able to bring it back to life. On May 15, as part of a three-day visit to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations, the US President addressed the Knesset and came out sounding more Catholic than the Pope.
Bush gushed about his country’s commitment to Israel saying the US is ‘proud to be Israel’s closest ally and best friend,’ lauding Israel’s leaders as having ‘forged a free and modern society based on the love of liberty, a passion for justice and a respect for human dignity.’
The speech was filled with similar praises, with Bush promising Israel America’s full support in fighting what he termed ‘terrorists.’
‘Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you, ‘ he assured Knesset members who applauded him repeatedly…..
At the same time President Bush was addressing the Knesset, Palestinians were commemorating Al Nakba, the Catastrophe that befell the Palestinians in 1948. Rallies, demonstrations and protests were held in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, inside Israel and in various countries to remind the world that the refugee problem is still unsolved and that the nation of Israel was created as a result of the expulsion of another. “
Osama Al Sharif, a veteran journalist and political commentator based in Amman, commented on Bush’s visit to Israel, “President George W. Bush was not about to spoil Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations by talking about such irritating things like the continuing plight of the Palestinians, ending occupation and implementing international law. In his view, neither the occasion nor the venue, the Knesset, was suitable to mention such issues. Instead, the US president went into an emotional oration that praised the state of Israel and its democracy while confirming America’s unfettered support of guarding its security against the threats of terrorists and other enemies both foreign and domestic.
It was an honest and straightforward speech because it summed up the speaker’s convictions, vision and comprehension of contemporary affairs. Israeli leaders were jubilant not because of what Bush has said, but because of what he had failed to say.
The Arabs and the Palestinians in particular were left fuming. ……
And then Bush delivered another speech, this time at the opening of the World Economic Forum at Sharm El-Sheikh. This time he preached about reform, democracy and the benevolence of the United States. And when he talked about his famous vision of delivering a state to the Palestinians he shrouded his promise with audacious hope that no one knew its source and authenticity.
Again the Arabs were left fuming and puffing. Bush appeared to be floating in his own twilight zone, cut off from reality and buffered against the pleas and advice of his moderate allies in the region.
The Bush presidency had come full circle after eight years in power. It had no strategy for peace in the Middle East and it ended up with none. It talked about democracy and reform in the region but offered two poor examples of how both can be gifted from the outside in Iraq and Afghanistan. It started with a poor understanding of the most complex geopolitical hotspots, and proved to the world that it had learned nothing from the fiascos it helped create….
The problem with the Bush administration has been its inability to evolve politically in a fast-changing world. It has always been an ideological dinosaur driven by far-right principles and beliefs of political and military unilateralism, religious dogmatism and avarice capitalism. Its record on supporting democracy, human rights and personal freedoms is dismal and its message on such issues reflects political convenience rather than innate devotion.
On supporting Israel the Bush administration has indeed been more than devoted. In the aftermath of 9/11, Israel, under Ariel Sharon, successfully merged its anti-Arafat, anti-Hamas and anti-resistance campaign into the larger mantra of America’s war on terrorism. The twining of the two crusades, Israel vs. Palestinian national resistance and Hezbollah, and the US chasing Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and by extension Syria and Iran, blurred all lines and relegated the urgency of launching the peace process.
Both states adopted the same tactics and strategies in their onslaughts from pre-emptive attacks to exaggerated use of military power against civilians. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib pale in comparison to what is happening to tens of thousands of Palestinian activists in Israeli jails.
The content of the Bush speech before the Israeli Knesset should not have shocked Arabs and Muslims to such an extent. It should, on the other hand, shock many Americans and a good number of Israelis who stand against their country’s policy in the occupied territories and would prefer to reach a just and lasting peace with their neighbors….….
In fact, Israel’s bona fide independence credentials look a bit dented after the emotional presidential address. At 60, Israel appears more like the semi-autonomous US territory of Puerto Rico than the independent Jewish homeland envisioned by the Zionists.”
George S. Hishmeh , a Washington- based columnist noted, “The US President George W. Bush has just returned from his five-day Middle East trip without any feathers in his hat, primarily because of his tunnel vision regarding the war-or-peace issues in that region.
More so, his lackluster pronouncements in his waning days at the White House were by and large inarticulate, narrowly focused and out-of-line.
He hurt people in the region as much as he has disappointed, if not, embarrassed his fellow Americans, including the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama. ….
At the Knesset, Bush went overboard in praising Israel, much as the country merits praise for some of its achievements but hardly a word about its condemnable political record.
There was not a single line about the 40-year-occupation of the Palestinian territories, continued expansion of Israeli colonies, the 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the siege of the Gaza Strip and the denial of American-Palestinians from visiting their birthplaces…..
It is unbelievable that Bush, after spending seven years in office, should remain unaware of the crux of the Palestinian-Israeli problem. ‘It's the occupation .…
Akiva Eldar of Haaretz pointed out that has been ‘the third time in the past half year that the US president shows the Palestinians and the entire Arab World that they are wasting their time by trying to end the occupation by peaceful means ... The occupation has been progressing, while the vision of two states has been receding‘.
Abbas might as well pack up and go home! “
Another political pundit lamented that, “Bush’s speech to the Knesset was noted for its controversial one-sidedness, though it was not condemned, despite the fact that it amounted to a denial of the Palestinian people’s existence. The address was like a 101 in Zionist propaganda (and this is not a comprehensive list):
The Jewish people’s ‘return’ to the Promised Land – ‘[Israel’s independence] was the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham and Moses and David – a homeland for the chosen people Eretz Yisrael’
Israel has ‘worked tirelessly for peace.’
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East – ‘You have welcomed immigrants from the four corners of the Earth*. You have forged a free and modern society based on the love of liberty, a passion for justice, and a respect for human dignity.’
*Though ironically, not if they are Arab and actually from Palestine.
Israel made the desert bloom and has constantly had to fight for its life against a hoard of horrible Arabs (two myths in one here) – ‘And when waves of refugees arrived here in the desert with nothing, surrounded by hostile armies, it was almost unimaginable that Israel would grow into one of the freest and most successful nations on the earth.
For good measure, Bush also repeated the Israeli nationalist mantra that ‘Masada shall never fall again,’ and praised Ariel Sharon as ‘one of Israel’s greatest leaders‘, ‘a warrior for the ages, a man of peace’ and ‘a friend.’ Here then was the heart of a president some have felt able to trust the peace process with, the ‘honest broker’ who is able to gently chide the Israelis into making painful compromises. ‘……
What made this speech particularly disturbing was that it was delivered on Nakba Day, the day when Palestinians remember the ethnic cleansing and dispossession that began in 1948 and has continued ever since. Pointedly, while the international media did a surprisingly good job in many cases of discussing the Nakba, the UN Secretary General was jumped on when his spokesperson used the term in a briefing, since it is ‘unacceptable to Israel’ and ‘part of the Palestinian propaganda.’”
  President Barack Obama
What Was Obama’s View On The Conflict When Running For The Senate In 2000?
Arabs recalled that during his unsuccessful election campaign to become a Congressman in 2000, he had spoken about being a more open-minded candidate when dealing with the conflict. Obama had criticized President Bill Clinton administration since he, like the Palestinians and Arabs, felt that it was unconditionally supporting Israeli policies and even the occupation. Then he called on the administration to take an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
When Candidate Obama Ingratiated Himself To Pro-Israeli Lobby?
During his speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference held in Washington June 2008, he was applauded for his total support of Israeli views. He stressed "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided," and claimed that Israel was seeking peace, when it is in reality a state of occupation and racism working on everything that eliminates peace. His imbalanced remark about Israel’s "sacrifices" for peace was distorting the facts when he disregarded Saudi Arabia Peace Initiative in which all of the Arab countries would recognize Israel in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories. The Israelis rejected it out of hand, just as they reject Arab efforts to have the Middle East a nuclear-free zone Obama reiterated that America and Israel share common interests and values when in reality harms US interests. He repeatedly indicated to the AIPAC conference that he was a true friend of the Jewish State and that America’s ties with Israel is eternal and that nothing can destroyed it. He stressed that he was speaking from his heart as a true friend of Israel and felt that he was among friends in AIPAC.
Obama’s campaign advisor was quick to realize the AIPAC’s fauxpas speech when a day later he clarified the senator’s position. He indicated that the Senator believes "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with." Also the advisor wisely placated Christian and Muslim feelings when he added, "Two principles should apply to any outcome," which the adviser gave as: "Jerusalem remains Israel's capital and it's not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967."
On June 5, 2008, Uri Avenry  pointed out on how influential AIPAC is in determining American policy in the Middle East. He reminded the public, “ After months of a tough and bitter race, a merciless struggle, Barack Obama has defeated his formidable opponent, Hillary Clinton. He has wrought a miracle: for the first time in history a black person has become a credible candidate for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world.
And what was the first thing he did after his astounding victory? He ran to the conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and made a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning.
That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked.
IT WAS a triumphalist conference. Even this powerful organization had never seen anything like it. 7000 Jewish functionaries from all over the United States came together to accept the obeisance of the entire Washington elite, which came to kowtow at their feet. All the three presidential hopefuls made speeches, trying to outdo each other in flattery. 300 Senators and Members of Congress crowded the hallways. Everybody who wants to be elected or reelected to any office, indeed everybody who has any political ambitions at all, came to see and be seen.
The Washington of AIPAC is like the Constantinople of the Byzantine emperors in its heyday.
The world looked on and was filled with wonderment. The Israeli media were ecstatic. In all the world's capitals the events were followed closely and conclusions were drawn. …. The most extreme conclusions of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were confirmed in their entirety. On the eve of their visit to Israel, this coming Thursday, the Israel Lobby stood at the center of political life in the US and the world at large.
WHY, ACTUALLY? Why do the candidates for the American presidency believe that the Israel lobby is so absolutely essential to their being elected?
The Jewish votes are important, of course, especially in several swing states which may decide the outcome. But African-Americans have more votes, and so do the Hispanics. Obama has brought to the political scene millions of new young voters. Numerically, the Arab-Muslim community in the US is also not an insignificant factor.
Some say that Jewish money speaks. The Jews are rich. Perhaps they donate more than others for political causes. But the myth about all-powerful Jewish money has an anti-Semitic ring. After all, other lobbies, and most decidedly the huge multinational corporations, have given considerable sums of money to Obama (as well as to his opponents). And Obama himself has proudly announced that hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens have sent him small donations, which have amounted to tens of millions.
True, it has been proven that the Jewish lobby can almost always block the election of a senator or a member of Congress who does not dance - and do so with fervor - to the Israeli tune. In some exemplary cases (which were indeed meant to be seen as examples) the lobby has defeated popular politicians by lending its political and financial clout to the election campaign of a practically unknown rival.
But in a presidential race?
THE TRANSPARENT fawning of Obama on the Israel lobby stands out more than similar efforts by the other candidates.
Why? Because his dizzying success in the primaries was entirely due to his promise to bring about a change, to put an end to the rotten practices of Washington and to replace the old cynics with a young, brave person who does not compromise his principles.
And lo and behold, the very first thing he does after securing the nomination of his party is to compromise his principles. And how!
The outstanding thing that distinguishes him from both Hillary Clinton and John McCain is his uncompromising opposition to the war in Iraq from the very first moment. That was courageous. That was unpopular. That was totally opposed to the Israel lobby, all of whose branches were fervidly pushing George Bush to start the war that freed Israel from a hostile regime.
And here comes Obama to crawl in the dust at the feet of AIPAC and go out of his way to justify a policy that completely negates his own ideas.
OK he promises to safeguard Israel's security at any cost. That is usual. OK he threatens darkly against Iran, even though he promised to meet their leaders and settle all problems peacefully. OK he promised to bring back our three captured soldiers (believing, mistakenly, that all three are held by Hizbullah - an error that shows, by the way, how sketchy is his knowledge of our affairs.)
But his declaration about Jerusalem breaks all bounds. It is no exaggeration to call it scandalous.
NO PALESTINIAN, no Arab, no Muslim will make peace with Israel if the Haram-al-Sharif compound (also called the Temple Mount), one of the three holiest places of Islam and the most outstanding symbol of Palestinian nationalism, is not transferred to Palestinian sovereignty. That is one of the core issues of the conflict.
On that very issue, the Camp David conference of 2000 broke up, even though the then Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, was willing to divide Jerusalem in some manner.
Along comes Obama and retrieves from the junkyard the outworn slogan ‘Undivided Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel for all Eternity.’. Since Camp David, all Israeli governments have understood that this mantra constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to any peace process. It has disappeared - quietly, almost secretly - from the arsenal of official slogans. Only the Israeli (and American-Jewish) Right sticks to it, and for the same reason: to smother at birth any chance for a peace that would necessitate the dismantling of the settlements.
In prior US presidential races, the pandering candidates thought that it was enough to promise that the US embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. After being elected, not one of the candidates ever did anything about this promise. All were persuaded by the State Department that it would harm basic American interests.
Obama went much further. Quite possibly, this was only lip service and he was telling himself: OK, I must say this in order to get elected. After that, God is great.
But even so the fact cannot be ignored: the fear of AIPAC is so terrible, that even this candidate, who promises change in all matters, does not dare. In this matter he accepts the worst old-style Washington routine. He is prepared to sacrifice the most basic American interests. After all, the US has a vital interest in achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace that will allow it to find ways to the hearts of the Arab masses from Iraq to Morocco. Obama has harmed his image in the Muslim world and mortgaged his future - if and when he is elected president. …..Of one thing I am certain: Obama's declarations at the AIPAC conference are very, very bad for peace. And what is bad for peace is bad for Israel, bad for the world and bad for the Palestinian people.
If he sticks to them, once elected, he will be obliged to say, as far as peace between the two peoples of this country is concerned: ‘No, I can't.’”
An American political pundit lamented, “Hence the fear of politicians involves the campaign contributions of pro-Israel political action committees (PACs). Last week WREMA reported that more than 20 of these PACs have contributed $1.1 million to Washington politicians in the 2007-08 election cycle. That amount is dwarfed by what the three presidential candidates have raised for their campaigns.
Since Israel now has a relatively prosperous per capita national income comparable to Cyprus or Slovenia, direct US economic aid to Israel has been replaced gradually by military aid. Since money is fungible, that would make little real economic difference to Israel as its government pays its high military bills. In fact, Congress allows Israel to use 26 percent of the aid it receives to buy arms outside the US, thereby helping build up its own weapons industry. ‘We are thus shooting ourselves [the US weapons industry] in the foot,’ charges Janet McMahon, managing editor of WREMA.
Professor Walt warned, ‘Giving any country unconditional backing encourages irresponsible behavior. It could lead to an apartheid state, or as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert put it, Israel facing ‘a South African-style struggle.’
In Jerusalem yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced a new $30 billion US defense package to preserve Israel’s regional military superiority.
‘In my last meeting with the president of the United States, we agreed that the aid would stand at $30 billion over the next 10 years, meaning over $3 billion a year, starting next year,’ Olmert told reporters. …..
‘Other than the increase in aid, we received an explicit and detailed commitment to guarantee Israel’s qualitative advantage over Arab states,’ said Olmert, whose approval ratings have sunk to single digits amid continuing anger at his government’s handling of the war against Hezbollah At a time of record US deficits and cuts in domestic health programs for poor children and educational services, the vote to give Israel an additional $30 billion dollars passed with virtually no opposition or even discussion.”
  Why Obama’s AIPAC Speech Disheartened Arabs
The June 2008 speech in AIPAC conference disheartened Arabs who believed he as a presidential candidate would bring in a balanced approach to the conflict and that his previous political records would encourage him to take a more evenhanded perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They recalled that during his unsuccessful election campaign to become a Congressman in 2000, he had spoken about being a more open-minded candidate when dealing with the conflict. Obama had criticized President Bill Clinton administration since he, like the Palestinians and Arabs, felt that it was unconditionally supporting Israeli policies and even the occupation. Then he called on the administration to take an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Although he spoke in the AIPAC’s speech about Hamas and Hezbollah with less harsh words, he echoed Israeli demand that the Shiite group release the three Israeli soldiers it had abducted in June 2006, Yet he ignored that there were 11,000 Palestinian captives in Israeli prisons, some of whom are calling for a two-state solution such as Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti. He did not hesitate to repeatedly attack Hamas, Hezbollah and their sponsors while overlooking Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories. He expressed his sympathy to Israeli lives lost in Sderot and Ashkelon, while not expressing the same sympathy to innocent Palestinian victims, especially women, the elderly and children, targeted by the Israeli military. Obama conveniently overlooked the sad fact that American-supplied Israeli firepower resulted in Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza at a ratio of 400 to 1 (Palestinian to Israeli).
He ignored the increase in illegal expansion of Jewish colonies in the West Bank and supported Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip to weaken Hama and overlooked the fact it was a brutal form of collective punishment of Gaza's 1.5 million people resulting in humanitarian disaster there.
  Why Palestinians Viewed Obama as a Pro-Israel Candidate
Lebanese writer Hasan El-Hasan wrote the best comment about how Obama acted as a senatorial candidate and changed his position from being sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, to being a supporter of Israel when running for the presidency.
The writer lamented, “The old Obama had Palestinian friends and he sympathized with the Palestinians, but the candidate Obama sided with the hard-line AIPAC, denied he had Palestinian friends and blamed the persecution of the Palestinians on the victims themselves.
He supported Israel’s policy in the occupied land including the Gaza siege and starvation its people in defiance of international laws and moral rules as self-defense and he endorsed keeping Jerusalem united under Israeli rule. He never criticized the settlements, the apartheid wall, the roadblocks and checkpoints. Obama even justified the Israeli 2006 war against Lebanon and the massacres of Lebanese civilians as self-defense….
After Obama’s speech to AIPAC convention, Ha’aretz wrote, ‘He sounded as strong as Clinton, as supportive as Bush, as friendly as Rudy Guiliani. During his last visit to Israel, Obama spent two days meeting leaders of Israel’s major parties, spent only 45 minutes talking to the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas with no news conference and refused to visit refugee camps. He expressed deep sympathy with the Israeli victims of the conflict and nothing for the Palestinians.’”
James G. Abourezk, a former United States senator, warned of the Deadly Fallout from “Obama's Groveling Before Israel Lobby.”
“Like a Moslem undertaking the Hajj, the once in a lifetime trip to Mecca, or a Catholic chancing to see the Pope speak from his Vatican window, presidential candidates seemingly long to trudge to the annual AIPAC conference to pay fealty to Israel and its Lobby.
This year we were fortunate enough to witness John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton taking turns losing their dignity before the AIPAC crowd. At one point in his parody on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart spoke of John McCain taking with him Senator Joe Lieberman on a visit to Israel, advising McCain that when you visit Israel ‘you don’t need to bring your own Jew.’
Hillary’s declaration of support for Israel was merely icing on the cake that she earlier baked during the campaign by promising to ‘obliterate’ Iran if it ever attacked Israel. That, without even a declaration of war called for by the U.S. Constitution should we attack another nation. (But see George W. Bush’s attack on Iraq without such a declaration as precedent).
It was left to Barack Obama, a candidate who at one time brought a great deal of hope to many Americans, including this writer, to complete the round robin of pandering to AIPAC, first by wearing not only an American flag pin, but one conjoined with an Israeli flag pin as well. Obama’s nomination has improved America’s image around the world, with the realization that, ‘everyone has a chance in America,’ as the saying used to go. But that is what makes his pandering so painful.
Obama declared Jerusalem indivisible, presumably for the Israelis only, in contrast to the United Nations’ holding that Jerusalem was, and is, an international city, belonging to neither side.
This is all old news, however. Presidential candidates have been kowtowing to the Israeli Lobby for decades, so what else is new? Well, what is new is that the world has come to realize that all such blind, unquestioning support for Israel’s most criminal objectives is a real threat to world peace. Such rhetoric is no longer confined simply to the Jewish vote in America. It has actual impact on the lives of people in the Middle East.
Thus, presidential candidates, one of whom will really become the President of the United States, enabling Israeli aggression can, and has, resulted in the deaths and suffering of tens of thousands of Arabs, in Lebanon, in Palestine and in Iraq. Such rhetoric allows Israel, with U.S. help, to attempt to starve into submission Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, people who had the temerity to take seriously Bush’s promises of democracy in the Arab world. Despite Israel’s blockade of medicines, food, electricity and other necessities to Gazans, the American government and the American mainstream media have voiced not one word of protest. The U.S. only gives Israel more money and more weapons to continue the attempted starvation.
Obama’s statement of unquestioning and unqualified support for Israel’s objectives will likely embolden Israel to once again try to invade Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah’s fighters, the only force strong enough to resist Israeli aggression in that country. ……
One would have hoped that Barack Obama would have taken note of the destruction left in the wake of what George Bush thought would be a benign invasion of Iraq, and not try to repeat this kind of mischief with repercussions so serious that the Middle East is on the verge of destabilization.
One would have thought that Obama would have considered the impact of the divisions created by Bush and by Israel in various Arab countries, all with the objective of giving Israel hegemony over the area. Thus, with Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinians being urged to fight internally with one another, those countries will be easier targets for eventual Israeli control.
That strategy, to which Obama seems to be acquiescing, will result in more destruction, more loss of innocent life, more internal divisions, and more destabilization than the Arab world can withstand.
That is definitely not the new kind of politics Obama has held out as his reason for being chosen over McCain.
The tragedy of it all is that as a candidate for the presidency only Ralph Nader has recognized the dangers that lie ahead by a continuation of that policy.
Watching the candidates pandering to the AIPAC crew makes one wonder if those in the Israeli Lobby’s audience felt any embarrassment at all by forcing such groveling for support on what were then three potential presidents of the United States. From what I saw on television, at least the leadership of AIPAC seemed to be reveling in the groveling as each of the three willingly handed over their dignity on national television as they bent over to kiss the behinds of the leaders.
  Did AIPAC Worked To Defeat Obama Re-election?
Franklin Lamb, former Assistant Counsel, US House Judiciary Committee and Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law in Oregon, wrote on October 2012, “There are signs that some members of congress and their staffs, who are heavily lobbied by AIPAC to donate cash, are beginning to chaff at heavy handed AIPAC fundraising tactics.
Perhaps reflecting financial pressures on its free spending policies including astronomical administration costs in the 75% range, on 9/24/12, Jonathan Missner, AIPAC’s Director of National Affairs and Development sent out more 500,000 emails in a desperate and thinly veiled bid to raise cash to defeat Obama……
AIPAC appears to be failing in carrying out its orders from the Israeli Embassy in Washington ‘to defeat Obama, whatever is required.’ The latest polls, including two commissioned by the American Jewish Committee and one from the Anti-Defamation League show Obama likely avoiding defeat on November 6th that Tel Aviv hoped his combative attitude toward Israel would produce. Obama currently leads Mitt Romney by a 69-20 percent margin among likely Jewish voters. If these polls hold, while they represent a marked decline from the 78 percent of the Jewish vote Obama got in 2008, they show Romney’s promise to put Israel ‘first no matter what ’ is not resonating with American Jews. By even garnering 25% of the Jewish vote this shows there is plenty of resistance to the Romney candidacy on a variety of domestic social issues that increasingly among the American public matter more than Israel’s perceived zany schemes. These poll projections may have been reflected at the UN last week when Netanyahu appeared to back off a bit from his pillorying of the Obama administration as being weak on terrorism……
Congressional staffers report that the Obama White House is rejecting the tactics being employed behind its back to assert pressure for the ‘red lines’ that Netanyahu’s has been pushing and that the administration is aware that AIPAC is actively working to defeat President Obama on November 6th……
Congressional sources insist that White House staff will not forget Netanyahu’s blatant attempts to humiliate and defeat their boss.”
  Why AIPAC Humiliated Chuck Hagel’s Confirmation As Secretary Of Defense
The main reason for initiating Faysal’s Letter in August 2006 was explained in Letter Numbers One and Two. I wrote, “I would like to remind you, Senator, that I have undertaken this very time consuming effort since August1, 2006 after hearing the wise and realistic statements of your colleagues Senators John Rockefeller and Chuck Hagel. Their views were very well articulated and were carried on various television channels. Mr. Rockefeller rightly criticized the Bush administration’s lackluster attitude in dealing with the Middle East conflicts and warned that its festering harvests more hatred in the volatile region and emboldens the radical groups to entrench themselves in the oil-rich area.
Both were aware that our imbalanced approach to the damage inflicted by Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian lands impacts our national strategic position in the Middle East.
For decades, I have been following Congress people remarks/speeches about the conflict. I can think of no more than a half dozen Congress people that spoke from their heart like your former colleague Senator Hagel. It takes political intestinal fortitude for him to point to the obvious about the incredible power that pro-Israel lobby’s influence on Congress people. This is a fact and sometimes operates in the shadow as former AIPAC foreign policy director Steve Rosen stated, ‘A lobby is like a night flower: It thrives in the dark and dies in the light.’
Mr. Hagel’s statement that it is high time this Administration should tackle the root cause of the ongoing strives in the oil-rich region is wise. He, like millions of Europeans, Arabs and mainstream Muslims, believe America can play an effective role in addressing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to end the miseries of everyone, Arabs and Israelis, too.
I also applaud Hagel’s response to those that criticized him for being bold in pointing his finger to the obstinate position of Israel for the ongoing conflict. Hagel simply reminded his critics and fellow Senators, that he was elected as a Senator to serve his constituents as well as our country’s national interests and that he was not going to be a lawyer defending Israeli policies.”
His bold statement, an unusual occurrence in Congress, earned him the wrath of Pro-Israeli supporters and AIPAC.
Obama submitted Hagel’s name on January 7, 2013, to serve as Secretary of Defense. Five days later, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved Hagel's nomination by a vote of 14-11. However, on February 14, Senate Republicans denied Democrats the 60 votes needed to end the debate on Hagel's nomination and proceed to a final vote, citing the need for further review, meaning his opinion about Israel. It was the first time in American history that a nominee for Secretary of Defense was filibustered, although candidates for other cabinet offices have been filibustered before.
Then on February 26, 2013, the Senate voted for cloture on Hagel's nomination and confirmed his nomination by a vote of 58-41. He took office on the following day, February 27.
Alana Goodman, of the Washington Free Beacon, stated in January 2013, “…..
Meanwhile, a 2007 speech then-Sen. Hagel delivered at Rutgers University in New Jersey as he tested the waters for a presidential run is drawing fresh scrutiny.
Hagel said the U.S. Department of State was an adjunct of the Israeli foreign minister’s office, according to a contemporaneous report of the event.”
Fast forward to December 2012 when Marsha Cohen, an analyst specializing in Israeli- Iranian relations and US foreign policy towards Iran and Israel, quoted Aaron David Miller conversation with Hagel, “AIPAC comes knocking with a pro-Israel letter, and ‘then you’ll get 80 to 90 senators on it. I don’t think I’ve ever signed one of the letters.’ When someone would accuse him of not being pro-Israel because he didn’t sign the letter, Hagel told me he responds: ‘I didn’t sign the letter because it was a stupid letter.’ Few legislators talk this way on the Hill. Hagel is a strong supporter of Israel and a believer in shared values. ‘The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,’ but as he put it, ‘I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator.’”
Cohen added, “The kerfuffle (fuss) over Chuck Hagel’s use of the term ‘Jewish lobby’ — and the implication that some members of Congress are intimidated by it — pervades the right-wing media and its echo chamber in the blogosphere. Since Hagel was floated as a possible Secretary of Defense, some American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) representatives, among them former spokesman Josh Block and for former Executive Director Morris Amitay, have denounced Hagel’s characterization. …..
AIPAC’s re-branding of itself as ‘America’s pro-Israel lobby’ instead of the ‘Jewish lobby’ is also relatively recent. The critiques of AIPAC from both the right and left overlook a long paper trail of AIPAC’s self-perception and self-description, which for much of its history — from the 1950s through the 1990s — has reveled in its role as the voice of ‘the Jewish community.’ In Israel today it still is regarded as such, as Chemi Shalev points out in Ha’aretz:
The most frivolous of the accusations against Hagel, from a strictly Israeli point of view, is his statement to Aaron David Miller that ‘the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people’ in Washington. First, because the term ‘Jewish lobby’ in Hebrew is in common use and is a widely accepted Israeli synonym for AIPAC. Second, because Israelis take pride and comfort in the legendary prowess and influence of the lobby that supports them.”
Member of Congress, especially those that totally support Israel and overlooks its brutal policies was very well demonstrated when former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel was vetted on November 29, 2011 to be the Secretary of Defense. The Senator was already co-chairing the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board, and Foreign Policy reports. However, as a harsh critic of the Iraq War and former president George W. Bush’s foreign policy, Hagel has already broken with his party on many foreign policy issues. He had has sought to distance the United States from Israel, blame Israel for Palestinian terrorism, pressure Israel to surrender territory and retreat to indefensible borders, and has consistently attempted to increase pressure on Israel. For this reasons there was no surprise when Israel, a country that seemed to oppose Hagel when he was first nominated just two years earlier. However, upon his decision to resign on November 25, 2014, in an effusive statement, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon called Hagel a "true friend of Israel" whose "dedication to ensuring Israel's security has been unwavering."
Let Us examine why Hagel‘s position on Israel changed from total opposition in Israel to total embracing the outgoing Secretary of Defense. The Israeli new outlook overlooked the fact about an incident where Hagel was trying to close down the USO site in Haifa, Israel, where a lot of American ships were visiting. And he stated the Jewish organization that was attempting to keep it open: “Let the Jews pay for it.”
It is worth quoting what Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog revealed on July 16, 2008, about Hagel, long before he was vetted by Congress. Rosenberg wrote, “This is what Jewish Democrats remarked in March 2007 about then Senator Chuck Hagel
As Senator Hagel sits around for six more months and tries to decide whether to launch a futile bid for the White House, he has a lot of questions to answer about his commitment to Israel. Consider this:
In October 2000, Hagel was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.
In November 2001, Hagel was one of only 11 Senators who refused to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yassir Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel.
In June 2002, after two years of Palestinian suicide bombings and terror attacks, Hagel told an anti-Israel conference that the U.S. alliance with Israel should not come “at the expense” of Palestinians, and that the U.S. must impose an “end game” on Israel and the Palestinians. According to a report from the conference,
The media reported that “When Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) took the microphone, he also took the entire audience by surprise: ‘Israel is our friend and ally, and we must continue our commitment,’ he said, ‘but not at the expense of the Palestinian people.’
The cheers were deafening. Hagel went on: ‘What we need isn’t a cease-fire, leading to a sequential peace process, leading to negotiations on a Palestinian state, leading to negotiations on refugees, Jerusalem, etc. That time has passed. An end game must be brought to the front, now.’”
In December 2005, Hagel was one of only 27 who refused to sign a letter to President Bush to pressure the Palestinian Authority to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections.
In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.”
Here's what the National Review wrote about Hagel's stance on Israel in 2002:
"There's nothing Hagel likes less than talking about right and wrong in the context of foreign policy. Pro-Israeli groups view him almost uniformly as a problem. 'He doesn't always cast bad votes, but he always says the wrong thing,' comments an Israel supporter who watches Congress. An April speech is a case in point. 'We will need a wider lens to grasp the complex nature and consequences of terrorism,' said Hagel. He went on to cite a few examples of terrorism: FARC in Colombia, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, and the Palestinian suicide bombers. Then he continued, 'Arabs and Palestinians view the civilian casualties resulting from Israeli military occupation as terrorism.' He didn't exactly say he shares this view - but he also failed to reject it."
On August 28, 2006, here’s what the anti-Israel group, CAIR, wrote in praise of Hagel:
"Potential presidential candidates for 2008, like Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich, were falling all over themselves to express their support for Israel. The only exception to that rule was Senator Chuck Hagel ?"
Chuck Hagel who was painted as “Jew-hater, anti-Israel, pro-Iran and receiving funds from Hamas”, has finally learned how to keep his new job for a while. In order to please his pro-Israeli opponents, Chuck Hagel invited and “hugged” Israel’s out-going foreign minister Ehud Barack. Barack was in Washington to address the AIPAC annual policy conference in March 2013.
Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on March 5, that after “hugs and Kisses” Hagel held a 2-hour-long meeting with Barak and assured him that the recent $85 billion budget cuts would not affect $3 billion annual aid to Israel.
The Israeli daily noted that “Hagel assured Barak during their meeting that he was committed to the security of Israel and of preserving the Israel Defense Forces’ qualitative advantage over the armies of the Arab world. He also said that he would work to ensure that US funding toward Israel, particularly with regard to its defense systems, would continue despite fiscal uncertainty.”
  What was Obama’s Position Regarding Jewish Settlements?
In his AIPAC 2008 speech the candidate avoided asking Israel to abide by the Roadmap requirements, including a freeze on continuous annexation of private Palestinian lands for establishing or expanding Jewish colonies on the West Bank. This would have been similar to President George W. Bush’s Administration continuous request from Israel to comply with and which the Israeli officials tend to ignore. Despite the Republican administrations’ repeated request to freeze settlement activity, President Bush was described as being the most pro-Israel president in the history of American-Israel relationship. Obama avoided the same stance because he was worried that his audience would think less of him of being a friend of Israel.

  How Obama Addressed Israel’s Security Concerns
He assured the AIPAC audience of his continued and unrestricted aid to Israel, “to ensure that no one will threaten our ally in Israel. I want to affirm my own personal commitment to Israel's security, and I want you to know how honored I am to serve as president for whom the enduring U.S. commitment to Israel's security is unquestionable and unshakable.”
  Who Were Obama’s Key Advisors?
Israeli media hailed President-elect Senator Barak Obama for picking two influential American Jews to his White House. He picked Rahm Emanuel as his White House chief of staff. Israel was aware that Emanuel had volunteered to serve in the Israeli army and did a two-month stint at a base in northern Israel during the 1991 Gulf War. They were also happy that his Jerusalem-born father was once a member of Irgun, an underground, ultra-nationalist Jewish movement that fought British troops before the 1948 creation of the state of Israel. Israeli media applauded Obama's choice of Emanuel to be his chief of staff, because it described him as "our man in the White House,” and "It is obvious he will exert influence on the president to be pro-Israeli”
Emanuel's father, who moved to the United States in the 1960s, told the Israeli daily Ma’ariv , "Emanuel is pro-Israeli, and would not be willing to consider accepting the job unless he was convinced that President-elect Obama is pro-Israel."
Obama’s choice of his chief strategist David Axelrod is a Jewish eminence grise of Chicago political consultants.
The American media circulated a video in which the vice presidential candidate Senator. Joseph Biden had once famously proclaimed “I am a Zionist.”
Obama’s Secretary of State was made only to placate the Israeli lobby when Hillary Clinton failed to garner the nomination. Hillary Clinton was among the pro-Israel supporters, too.
Former CIA employees, Bill and Kathleen Christison wrote, “In 2005 Hillary Clinton stood in Palestine and praised the apartheid wall that the government of Israel was building with large amounts of U.S. aid in furtherance of the Zionist goal of destroying one of the world’s peoples -- the Palestinians. This is the wall that the United Nations’ World Court has declared contrary to international law. And this is just one example of Hillary Clinton’s total support for all of Israel’s policies to oppress and eventually expel whatever elements of the Palestinian population remain west of the Jordan River.”
These key appointments posts raised concerns among Arabs. Many Arab commentators pointed out the influence of Israel’s supporters in Washington and the possibility that they will restrict Obama’s freedom of movement in Middle East policy.
During the campaign, Obama carried the hopes of many Arabs for a new brand of diplomacy more open to their views, one that would revive America’s power and prestige in the region and end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
An Arab political commentator familiar with American politicians’ pandering to Israel lamented, “Obama has political skills comparable to (Ronald) Reagan and Clinton. He has a way of making you think he's on your side, agreeing with your position, while doing the opposite. Pay no attention to what he SAYS; rather, watch what he DOES”
God bless America and its people. (To be continued)