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International politics from the "decent Left".
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:: Wednesday, June 26, 2002 ::

Thanks to XQUZYPHYR & Overboard for the link.
:: Judah 3:27 PM [+] ::

I'm working on a research project for a human rights organization, looking to create relationships with American groups working for peace in the Middle East. I know that I'm not familiar with all the groups out there, so if you know an organization that's promoting peace and human rights for Israelis and Palestinians, send me an email or add a comment. Thanks.
:: Judah 3:23 PM [+] ::

A quick round-up of some good responses to the Bush speech on the Middle East:
-William Saletan in Slate
-Gideon Samet in Ha'aretz
-Adam Keller from Gush Shalom
-Suzanne Goldenberg in the Guardian
-Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian
-New York Times editorial
-Reports on the Israeli left in Ha'aretz
-Ali Abunimah in Common Dreams

:: Judah 1:27 AM [+] ::

Ok, I need to comment on Nicholas Kristof's tribute to sweatshops. Basically, he says that the choice is between sweatshops or no jobs, so rich nations should promose sweatshops. What Kristoff misses is that the choice isn't between these two options, but are both evils that need to be rectified. Sweatshops, under no circumstances, are unacceptable. Watch some videos of life in sweatshops and then ask yourself if you're willing to work in one. If not, than no one else should have to. Here's one suggestion from Bob Reich on how to deal with sweatshops and wages. I'm really looking for some good discussion on this one by others who share these values.
:: Judah 1:12 AM [+] ::

Maybe I'll post more about this later... Every day I'm just more amazed by how wrong a person to have in charge George W. Bush is.
:: Judah 12:28 AM [+] ::

:: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 ::

In contrast, for the first time in 54 years, all of the Arab nations came together by saying they were ready to recognize Israel. In response, nothing. Isn't this what Israel has always wanted?
:: Judah 11:52 PM [+] ::

George Bush, in what was supposed to be a historic speech, somehow turned into a dummy to Ariel Sharon's ventriloquist. For those of you who missed the speech, it essentially went like this. "Israel is only acting in self-defense, which is ok and which will continue. Should the Palestinians create a democracy, adopt free-market economics, hold elections, elect someone who is not Arafat, not in the current government, not associated with any militant group, then, and only then, will we talk about creating a provisional Palestinian state. If they do not give in to these Israeli and American demands, they have no chance of getting basic human rights."
This speech shown a complete lack of understanding of the dynamics in the conflict, a complete lack of understanding of Palestinian needs, a complete lack of understanding of how to make the situation better. He's missed that one of the worst problems Palestinians have is that they've constantly been treated like less than the Israelis and have always been told what to do. This speech only continues that pattern. He's missed that America can't tell other countires who their democratically elected leaders should be. He's missed that Israel is taking his speech to be a green light to continue furthering its occupation of the Palestinian territories (ok, maybe Bush didn't miss this part).
Basically, Bush took where the two parties were - an understanding that there would eventually be two states based on the 1967 borders, etc. - and pushed the process back by adding new conditions and not recognizing the internationally accepted parameters to the final status. There will be no progress from this speech. If anything, it pushed peace farther away. It is a speech made in a fantasy world with no basis in the actual conflict.
:: Judah 11:51 PM [+] ::

Yediot Achronot reports on Shimon Peres' reaction to Bush's speech:


"Shimon Peres' face became more and more weary and angry, the longer Bush went
on with his speech. "He is making a fatal mistake" remarked Peres. "Making the
creation of a Palestinian state dependant upon a change in the Palestinian
leadership is a fatal mistake" he repeated again and again. "Arafat has led the
Palestinians for 35 years, kept their head above the water in the international
arena. No, no, you can't just brush him aside with one speech."
Peres did not watch the speech to the very end. He got up, turned off the TV
and left the room, saying before he left: "The abyss into which the region will
plunge will be as deep as the expectations from this speech were high. There
will be a bloodbath."
:: Judah 11:38 PM [+] ::

:: Sunday, June 23, 2002 ::

If Israel is to be destroyed, it won't be because of terrorism. Terror, at its worst, can disrupt the Israeli way of life, but it cannot destroy the state. The most dangerous threat facing Israel is the loss of international legitimacy. Israel, who has always had support from most countries of the world because of its moral legitimacy as a state created to protect a people from oppression, is quickly becoming an international pariah. Perhaps its post-colonial guilt, perhaps its latent anti-Semitism, but whatever the reason Israel needs to protect itself from becoming a state mentioned in the same breath as Iraq and North Korea as violators of U.N. resolutions and international norms. In the current world scene, Israel's economic needs depend on hi-tech trade with other Western nations and its political legitimacy depends on good relations with European countries and support from America. The loss of those would be destructive to the Jewish state.
Given this, Israel's current military strategy against the Palestinians and its entire system of occupation without human rights is a greater threat to itself than the Palestinians can ever be. Israel needs to accept the international consensus and announce its willingness to accept a fair and just solution to the conflict. Even if terror continues, even if Palestinians are as murderous as right-wingers claim, Israel's ability to defend itself against terror won't be clounded by the moral ambiguity of combining defensive actions with ones designed only to deny Palestinian national aspirations and prolong Israel's rule over the Palestinian territories and people. After a withdrawl from the territories, Israel have the international support it needs to continue its path to be a modern, normal country at peace.
:: Judah 8:10 PM [+] ::

This is from Ha'aretz' Doron Rosenblum:
With what surprising indifference we received the chilling conclusion of the FBI
and CIA - published in The New York Times - that America's war against Qaida
in Afghanistan has actually failed. Not only did the indiscriminate revenge and
carpet bombings not eliminate terror, but in fact they may have doubled the
threat. The terror organizations have apparently branched out and turned into a
global jihad movement, with 10 times more motivation to seek vengeance and
wreak destruction.


Can anyone find the original NYT piece?
:: Judah 7:44 PM [+] ::

Some people with Netscape may be having problems with the comments section. You can either use Internet Explorer, or wait for me to try and fix the problem...
:: Judah 11:08 AM [+] ::

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