Tuesday, June 03, 2008

AIPAC day in Washington

It was Christmas Day in the harem,

The eunuchs were all standing round,

With dozens of naked women

All scattered on the ground;

When in came the mighty Sultan

To gaze at his marble halls.

He said: "What do you want for Christmas lads?"

And the eunuchs they all shouted:

David Seaton's News Links
It was AIPAC day in Washington and all the candidates were standing round...

Rather than rant on tiresomely, I thought I would just collage the whole thing. DS
Jewish Telegraph Agency
As 5,000 AIPAC activists ascend Capitol Hill this week, they will be pushing a multifaceted agenda with a clear bottom line: It's the sanctions, stupid.

Some new wrinkles in the lobbying blitz that traditionally follows the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy forum deal with the role of Arab nations in advancing Israel-Arab peace and with securing a pledged increase in U.S. assistance to Israel.(....)After two days of sessions heavily weighted toward considering the possibility of a nuclear threat, 5,000 of the 7,000 activists will head to 500 meetings on the Hill armed with talking points for a bill that has languished in the U.S. Senate since it passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives last year.

The Iran Counter Proliferation Act would expand existing sanctions by hitting companies and nations that deal with Iran's energy sector. It also would cut off Iran entirely from the U.S. finance system.

Bolstering that bill is a nonbinding resolution put forward last week by U.S. Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.). The resolution urges President Bush to immediately impose some of the sanctions in the Counter Proliferation Act and adds the new proposal: cut off the export of refined petroleum to Iran.

"Despite sitting on some of the largest oil reserves in the world, Iran has been forced to import 40 percent of its refined petroleum -- gasoline and diesel -- because of a lack of investment in its oil refining infrastructure," states the memo prepared for AIPAC activists. "Limiting Iran’s ability to import gasoline will severely impact Iran’s economy and could lead to dramatically greater domestic pressure on the regime to change course."

The language of the congressional resolution is sensitive to the political realities of a presidential campaign that has made the possibility of war against Iran a partisan issue: It explicitly counts out military action -- a point hammered home in the AIPAC talking points.
Asia Times
It has become relatively fashionable for some members of the Israeli lobby to deny any involvement in the build-up towards the war on Iraq. But few remember what AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr told the New York Sun in January 2003: "Quietly lobbying Congress to approve the use of force in Iraq was one of AIPAC's successes over the past year."

And in a New Yorker profile of Steven Rosen, AIPAC's policy director during the run-up to the war on Iraqi, it was stated that "AIPAC lobbied Congress in favor of the Iraqi war".

Compare it with a 2007 Gallup study based on 13 different polls, according to which 77% of American Jews were opposed to the Iraq war, compared to 52% of Americans.
The Forward
The Arizona senator received a standing ovation when he blasted Obama for not supporting a Senate resolution demanding the designation of Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terror group.(...) On the issue of the Iraq war, McCain made an attempt to present the current situation in relation to Israel’s security, arguing that Obama’s call for a gradual troop reduction would cause a “catastrophe” that would “profoundly affect the security of the United States, Israel and our other friends.”

McCain’s reference to the possible danger a withdrawal would pose to Israel was greeted with applause from the audience. A similar case was made last year at the Aipac conference by both Vice President Dick Cheney and by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Aipac’s annual policy conference, which is traditionally one of Washington’s biggest political events, is attracting even more media attention this year, due to the expected appearance of all three presidential candidates.
Wall Street Journal
Both Republicans and Democrats view Jewish-Americans as key swing voters in the presidential election. Jewish-Americans have leaned toward Democrats due to their liberal stances on domestic issues, such as abortion and immigration. But Sen. McCain's backers believe their candidate's hard-line approach to securing Israel could cause some Jewish-Americans to cross party lines.

The strategy to woo Jewish voters could be crucial in Florida, according to Adam Hasner, the majority leader in the state's House of Representatives, who is leading the McCain campaign's Jewish outreach there.
Joschka Fischer, Beirut Star
Although it is acknowledged in Israel that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would involve grave and hard-to-assess risks, the choice between acceptance of an Iranian bomb and an attempt at its military destruction, with all the attendant consequences, is clear. Israel won't stand by and wait for matters to take their course.
Arnaud De Borchgrave, Middle East Times
The Israeli air force has fine-tuned aerial bombardments of Iran's key nuclear facilities. But these number at least 27 that are widely scattered, and built underground close to population centers. Iran would then assume that such an operation could not take place without a green light from the White House. And the mullahs' formidable retaliatory capabilities with asymmetric warfare would then target the United States and its Persian Gulf allies. Oil at $400 wouldn't take long.
Nouriel Roubini
The Bush administration whose hands have been tied by the new National Intelligence Estimate (that argued that Iran had suspended its program of development of nuclear weapons) would thus be able to strike Iran – via Israel - before the end of its term. Such October surprise by Israel would also certainly lead to the election of McCain and defeat of Obama as a national security crisis of such an extent would doom the chances of Democrats to win the White House. So both Israel – that prefers McCain to Obama and is hurried to act as it is wary of the constraints that an Obama presidency may put on its ability to act against Iran – and the Bush administration would guarantee the election of McCain.

Now, it is not certain – as argued by Fischer – that Israel will strike that early; this is just a guess and a prediction by one observer even if many others think likewise. But if such action were to be taken by Israel the consequences outlined above would be the clear outcome: a major global recession, wars throughout the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Israel, etc.) and a major increase in geopolitical instability.
The Fifth Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor
When I was a little advanced into the island, I saw an old man who appeared very weak and feeble. He sat upon the bank of a stream, and at first I took him to be one who had been shipwrecked like myself. I went towards him and saluted him, but he only bowed his head a little. I asked him what he did there, but instead of answering he made a sign for me to take him upon my back and carry him over the brook, signifying that it was to gather fruit.

I believed him really to stand in need of my help, so took him upon my back, and having carried him over, bade him get down, and for that end stooped that he might get off with ease: but instead of that (which I laugh at every time I think of it), the old man, who to me had appeared very decrepit, clasped his legs nimbly about my neck, and then I perceived his skin to resemble that of a cow. He sat astride upon my shoulders, and held my throat so tight that I thought he would have strangled me, the fright of which made me faint away and fall down.

Notwithstanding my fainting, the ill-natured old fellow kept fast about my neck, but opened his legs a little to give me time to recover my breath. When I had done so, he thrust one of his feet against my stomach, and struck me so rudely on the side with the other, that he forced me to rise up against my will. Having got up, he made me walk under the trees, and forced me now and then to stop, to gather and eat fruit such as we found. He never left me all day, and when I lay down to rest by night, he laid himself down with me, always holding fast about my neck. Every morning he pushed me to make me wake, and afterwards obliged me to get up and walk, and pressed me with his feet. You may judge then what trouble I was in, to be loaded with such a burden as I could by no means rid myself of.

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