Obama Does It Again – Speech Humanizes Palestinians To The Cheers Of Israelis (VIDEO)

I watched the president’s speeches in the Middle East and I agree that the one he made in front of the young people of Isreal was the best…

Addicting Info

President Obama gave a very good speech in Israel today. Within the speech he provided both words of support, words of adulation, words of criticism, but mostly words of encouragement.

All issues in the Middle East effectively have a religious component. It is for this reason early in his speech he illustrated the commonality of the major religions in the area.

For the Jewish people, this story is central to who you have become. But it is also a story that holds within it the universal human experience, with all of its suffering and salvation. It is a part of the three great religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – that trace their origins to Abraham, and see Jerusalem as sacred. And it is a story that has inspired communities around the globe, including me and my fellow Americans.

He then went on to praise the many accomplishments of the Israelis, from the taming of the desert through kibbutzeem (ironically a form of agrarian socialism), to the establishment of a “democracy”, to its high tech industries, and much more. He implied America’s similarity in that America is a land built on immigrants. Israel is built on immigrants from Europe, Russia, Ethiopia, North Africa, and many other countries. The similarity is one that should have been excluded from the speech given that said immigration is based mostly on religious homogeneity.

The basic focus of his speech was on three tenets, security, peace, and prosperity. He seemed to use it effectively to also promote Israeli empathy for Palestinians, if one is to go by the cheers in the room and the reviews given by both Prime Minister Netanyahu and others.

The president did however take a swipe at Netanyahu’s government when he said in one of the most touching portions of his speech that likely spoke to the emotions of every mother or father, irrespective of nationality the following.

Put yourself in their shoes – look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day. It is not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished.  It is not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands; to restrict a student’s ability to move around the West Bank; or to displace Palestinian families from their home. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.

He then went off script with the following.

I am going off script here for a second but; before I came here I met with a group of young Palestinians from the age of fifteen to the age of twenty two. Talking to them, they weren’t all that different from my daughters, they weren’t all that different from your daughters or sons. I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with those kids, they’d say I want those kids to succeed. I want them to prosper. I want them to have opportunities just like my kids do. I believe that’s what Israeli parents would want for these kids if they had a chance to listen to them and talk to them.

It was the President encouraging, given permission to Israelis to have empathy by stating what should be obvious; the humanity of all.

All in all most of the speech contained issues we all hear in the American Israeli dialogue and mutual support conversations.

The president had a message to the Israelis and Palestinians but one that should resonate at home.

“And let me say this as a politician. Political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. You must create the change you want to see. Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. I know this is possible.”

Americans should take heed. Inasmuch as there are problems in the Middle East those needs taking care of, the American wealth and income disparity could cause degeneration in our society that creates our own conflict, not between Israelis and Palestinians but between the haves and the have-nots.

Romney aide to reporters: ‘Shove it!’


WARSAW — A Mitt Romney aide told reporters to “shove it” Tuesday morning after the American press corps here shouted questions at the presidential candidate.

As Romney was walking away from Pilsudski Square toward his vehicle, reporters asked him about his string of gaffes and whether he had any comment for Palestinians, some of whom took offense at the Republican’s suggestion Monday in Jerusalem that Israel’s economy is superior because of cultural advantages Israelis enjoy. Romney ignored the questions and got in his car.

But his traveling press secretary was furious.

“Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people,” said aide Rick Gorka. “Show some respect.”

Gorka then told a reporter to “shove it.”

Gorka subsequently called a pair of reporters to apologize, saying he lost his cool.

“It was inappropriate,” Gorka said.

Romney was at the square to visit the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After he did that, laying a wreath and greeting Polish military veterans, the GOP hopeful decided to walk down to a monument on the other side of the square.

(PHOTOS: Mitt Romney in Poland)

Romney has not held a media availability for his traveling press corps since taking three questions outside 10 Downing Street in London last Thursday.

Newt Gingrich’s “Invented Palestinians”

Newt Gingrich, the “so-called” historian, courts the Jewish base at the expense of yet another minority.  The problem with Newt’s hypothesis is that Jewish people here and in Israel will not fall for Gingrich’s obvious race baiting.  It’s a terrible and shameless case of pandering on Gingrich’s part…

Mario Piperni

Another Republican pandering for the Jewish vote by making an extremist and ridiculous statement.

We’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab community and they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel since the 1940s. It’s tragic.

What is tragic is that this 1980s dinosaur has even the remotest of chances of becoming President. Insulting Palestinians by declaring them to be an “invented” people is another sign of how disastrous a Gingrich foreign policy would be.  He’s also declared he’d move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem ’cause you can never stoke those flames of division enough.

And worst of all, Gingrich has said he’s considering neocon nutcase John Bolton as his choice for Secretary of State which just about guarantee another war within two years of a Gingrich presidency.

Newt Gingrich – the stupid man’s smart man.

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Herman Cain Speaks Of ‘The So-Called Palestinian People’

Showcasing GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s utter ignorance is something I enjoy doing and will continue to do until this really strange man descends from his first place position in the GOP lineup…


Herman Cain’s lack of foreign policy knowledge has had him in hot water before. Since he hit frontrunner status he’s been dinged for mocking “Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan” and suggesting he might free every prisoner in Guantanamo Bayin exchange for one U.S. soldier.

Earlier in the campaign, before he had frontrunner status and its resulting scrutiny, the former CEO was asked about the Israel-Palestine “right of return” issue. This is one of the red lines in mid-east diplomacy, with the Israeli stance being that the prospect of opening the door to Palestinians displaced in the 1947-48 fighting should not even be negotiated. Cain rather put his foot in it when he was quizzed about the issue on Fox News and – clearly unfamiliar with the subject – he tried to dodge it by saying, “that should be an issue for negotiation.”

Cain’s clearly been swotting up on his mid-east knowledge since then, and a recent choice of words suggests he may have been dipping into some fairly controversial sources.

Cain gave an interview to Israel Hayom that was released Friday. It’s fairly boilerplate except for the part where he addresses the Palestinians’ recent push for full UN membership:

“I think that the so-called Palestinian people have this urge for unilateral recognition because they see this president as weak.”

It’s that “so-called” that’s striking. This is still pretty controversial territory, though it did admittedly find its most notorious expression in the words of the former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. She famously said, “There is no such thing as the Palestinians.”

What she meant by that, and what Cain is tapping into, is that the notion of a Palestinian people only arose after the foundation of Israel, and that this was a convenient way of harnessing the disparate resentments of various Arab groups who had been dislodged during the tumult of 1947-48.

This is something most serious commentators tend to hold back from claiming. Around the time the statehood push chatter was reaching its peak, a National Review editorial led with the line: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian state, and the United Nations can’t conjure one into existence.” However, their contention was very different from the idea that the Palestinian identity was simply invented so the Arabs could have a convenient stick with which to beat Israel in international institutions. Their argument rested on the far more common contention that the Palestinians – riven between Hamas and Fatah-controlled territories, lacking a Weberian “monopoly on violence,” and without strong political institutions – are not yet ready to have a definite political entity that could credibly be called a “state.” But though the editorial writers denied the Palestinians the concept of statehood, they held back from denyingnationhood.

The only people willing to go that far tend to be the more hardline publications such as World Net Daily. That publication’s editor, Joseph Farah, has several articles arguing that “Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.”

The statehood push is a thorny diplomatic issue, and people on both sides of the matter have some fairly nuanced positions. However, it would seem that Cain has avoided these and has moved instead to one of the furthest edges available in this debate.

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Rush Limbaugh: Obama Plagiarized Me In UN Speech

Oh get real Limbaugh, you are not that important, outside of your brain-dead sychophant listeners.

The Huffington Post

Rush Limbaugh accused President Obama of plagiarizing him during his speech at the United Nations on Wednesday.

Obama’s speech drew attention mostly for his insistence that the Palestinian delegation drop its attempt to be recognized by the UN as a fully independent state. Limbaugh, though, focused on what he seemed to think was Obama’s overuse of some of his favorite aphorisms.

Apparently, Limbaugh wrote a 1988 column that contained his “35 Undeniable Truths of Life.” (The full list is a very vintage document.) One of them, he said, was uttered “verbatim” by Obama at the U.N.: “peace does not mean the absence of war.” (Technically, Obama said that “peace is more than just the absence of war.”)

“I feel like I have been plagiarized,” Limbaugh said. “…No, no! Of course he didn’t credit me.” He also accused Obama of cribbing from his 14th “undeniable truth,” “to free peoples, peace means the absence of threats and the presence of justice.”

Limbaugh said it was “almost like somebody in the regime read this and liked portions of it and lifted it for his speech.”

Listen (via RightVid)

Egypt Gaza Border Reopened Permanently


Undoubtedly, another effect of the Arab Spring

Huffington Post

Egypt lifted a four-year-old blockade on the Gaza Strip’s main link to the outside world Saturday, bringing relief to the crowded territory’s 1.5 million Palestinians but deepening a rift with Israel since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

The Egyptian move will allow thousands of Gazans to move freely in and out of the area – heightening Israeli fears that militants and weapons could easily reach its doorstep.

Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after the Islamic militant Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007. The closure, which also included tight Israeli restrictions at its cargo crossings with Gaza and a naval blockade, was meant to weaken Hamas, but it also fueled an economic crisis in the densely populated territory.

Hundreds of Gazans gathered early Saturday as the first bus load of passengers crossed the border at 9 a.m. Two Egyptian officers stood guard next to a large Egyptian flag atop the border gate as the vehicle rumbled through.

Rami Arafat, 52, was among the earliest arrivals. He said he hoped to catch a flight out of Cairo on Sunday to Algeria for his daughter’s wedding.

“All we need is to travel like humans, be treated with dignity, and feel like any other citizens of the world who can travel in and out freely,” Arafat said. He said he believed the relaxing of travel restrictions “will guarantee more support from all Arabs and Palestinians for the new Egyptian regime.”

Continue reading here…

Herman Cain’s ‘Sarah Palin Moment ‘ – Backtracks Botched Answer on “Right of Return”

Herman Cain - Caricature
Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Presidential candidate Herman Cain of Georgia is definitely “not ready for primetime.”

I was channel surfing and saw the part of  Fox News Sunday where Chris Wallace asked Cain about the “right of return” issue in Israel.   It was surely a Sarah Palin moment for Herman Cain.  Apparently he had never heard of the term and hesitated, until Wallace explained the term to Cain. (See video below.)

So, what we have here is yet another GOPer who doesn’t know jack!

Think Progress

Yesterday ThinkProgress reported on GOP presidential contender and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain’s misstep in an interview on Fox News Sunday when he showed an embarrassing lack of knowledge about Middle East policy. Cain was asked about “right of return” — a key sticking point in peace talks that would allow displaced Palestinians to return to Israel — and appeared to have never heard of the issue. This dear-in-the-headlights moment clearly flustered his fledgling campaign, which issued a statement late last night trying to walk back and recast his answer to make it seem as if Cain knew what he was talking about all along.

In his Fox interview, Cain said he supported allowing Palestinian to return to Israel, because, he (falsely) claimed, the Israel government would have no problem with it. After the interview, Cain’s staff evidently informed him that this is, in fact, the opposite of Israel’s longstanding position. His campaign tried to contain the damage by issuing the following statement, which completely contradicts Cain’s position from earlier the same day:

All Israeli governments have rejected the “right” of large numbers of Arabs or Palestinians to return to what is now the state of Israel. Such an en masse return would unbalance Israel’s demographic makeup as the world’s sole Jewish state. […]

Israel has a long record of being more gracious to its enemies than its enemies are to it, and this would be yet another example of that. But is the “right of return” a moral imperative? Is it something Israel must grant? Is it something the United States ought to encourage?

The answer is no on every count.

In his statement, Cain tells supporters that “as President, I will never lose sight of these basic facts [about the U.S.–Israel relationship].” Although that can’t be terribly reassuring given how tenuous his grasp of basic facts about the region is to begin with.

Watch the original video in which Wallace asks Cain the question:

In Climate Solidarity, Palestinian Firefighters Help Israelis Fight Wildfire

After all, we’re dealing with a humanitarian issue which knows no borders.

Think Progress

In a demonstration of solidarity in the climate crisis, Palestinian firefighters were some of the first to help Israel fight the unprecedented wildfires in the divided nation. The fires are caused by record heat and drought, a predicted consequence of the long-term climate change in the region spurred by fossil fuel pollution. A team of 21 Palestinian firefighters from the Bethlehem civil defense team left the southern West Bank in four fire engines at 4 am Sunday, and “were received respectfully” by Israeli teams, Bethlehem Civil Defense Chief Ibrahim Ayish told the Jerusalem Post:

After all, we’re dealing with a humanitarian issue which knows no borders.

The solidarity shown by the Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, the United States, and others who have come to Israel’s aid in the face of climate disasters is precisely what is needed among the political and corporate leaders who have gathered in Cancun to make progress ending the pollution that is boiling our entire planet.