Tag Archives: Israel

Good for Them

The State Department has reversed itself and will now allow the Fulbright Scholars from Gaza to keep their scholarships. Good for them.

What I simply can’t believe is that the State Department didn’t contact the Israeli’s about the issue until last Friday, after the original New York Times article about the Fulbrights being rescinded. How is it possible that the State Department took the scholarships back before they asked if the students could leave Gaza? What kind of incompetents are running the State Department?

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How To Lose the War on Terror

The New York Times reports that the State Department has canceled the Fulbright Scholarships that were awarded Palestinians living in Gaza, because the Israelis won’t let them out.

How on earth is this possible? In the articles the Israelis blame the US, saying we never asked them to let the Gazans out, while the US blames the Israelis, saying the Israelis refused to discuss the issue. However, via Democracy Arsenal, “Given that 100 Gazan businesspeople were just permitted to go to Bethlehem for an investment conference the U.S. strongly supported, it seems that had the U.S. made this a priority, the Fulbright students would be able to leave Gaza.”

In the end this just boggles the mind. How on earth are we supposed to win hearts and minds when we treat the best and brightest of Palestinian society in such a heartless way. Basically, the US just made enemies for life, in not among the Fulbright recipients themselves but then among their friends and families.

“If we are talking about peace and mutual understanding, it means investing in people who will later contribute to Palestinian society,” he said. “I am against Hamas. Their acts and policies are wrong. Israel talks about a Palestinian state. But who will build that state if we can get no training?”

These people have all managed to go through the vetting process put in place by the US State Department to get a Fulbright. They would have been going to the top American Universities if we had only found a way to get them out of Gaza. Yet, somehow, we got 100 businessmen out when we wanted to. This is just an incredibly dumb move that will hurt the Palestinian students, hurt American interests and hurt Israel. Nobody wins. The mere fact that we let this happens proves that we have a long way to go in actually trying to win hearts and minds in the Middle East.

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Virginia Republicans in Congress Make Fools of Themselves

Congressmen Eric Cantor and Virgil Goode really made fools of themselves today.

Goode came first. In the debate over Iraq today, Goode went on a bizarre rant against Muslims.

When the commentary begins in the Middle East, in no way do I want to comfort and encourage the radical Muslims who want to destroy our country and who want to wipe the so-called infidels like myself and many of you from the face of the Earth. In no way do I want to aid and assist the Islamic jihadists who want the crescent and star to wave over the Capitol of the United States and over the White House of this country. I fear that radical Muslims who want to control the Middle East and ultimately the world would love to see “In God We Trust” stricken from our money and replaced with “In Muhammad We Trust.”

He’s really just following up on his rant against Kieth Ellison.

I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.

Its never a good day when you further prove yourself to be a bigot.

Goode’s race against Tom Periello this fall ought to be fun. You see, Periello “was once the co-director of an organization that ran an apology on the Qatar-based network al-Jazeera on behalf of people of faith in the U.S. to the Iraqis for atrocities committed in U.S. detention facilities.”

Cantor came next, a little later in the day.

In an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg Barack Obama said:

JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?

BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable.

Cantor, along with House Minority Leader John Boehner, immediately put out a statement:

“It is truly disappointing that Senator Obama called Israel a ‘constant wound,’ ‘constant sore,’ and that it ‘infect[s] all of our foreign policy.’ These sorts of words and characterizations are the words of a politician with a deep misunderstanding of the Middle East and an innate distrust of Israel”

Only an idiot would read Obama’s comments as talking about only Israel, as opposed to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Does Cantor want us to think that Obama doesn’t think Israel is a “drag on America’s reputation abroad” but does think that it is a “constant wound” and a “constant sore.” Obama didn’t explicitly say the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it’s pretty damn clear what he was referring to. As ABC News’ Jake Tapper wrote Obama was very, very pro-Israel:

After describing some of the first times he thought about Zionism, Obama said “the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience.”

He talked about how “the idea of Israel and the reality of Israel is one that I find important to me personally. Because it speaks to my history of being uprooted, it speaks to the African-American story of exodus, it describes the history of overcoming great odds and a courage and a commitment to carving out a democracy and prosperity in the midst of hardscrabble land.”

He assailed Hamas as a terrorist organization and said the United States “should not be dealing with them until they recognize Israel, renounce terrorism, and abide by previous agreements.”

Does that sound like someone hates Israel? Tapper says that “Boehner et al are falsely accusing Obama of besmirching a nation and a people. They are accusing him of being anti-Israel, even anti-Semitic. It is false,” and that “Voters may conclude that Republicans think they have to make things up to beat Obama.” He’s right.

Talk about a bad day.

[Update] It’s not just me. Jeffery Goldberg agrees. After calling on Boehner to retract his statement on Obama and the “constant sore” comment Goldberg writes:

If he doesn’t, however, I would, sadly, have to agree with my colleague, the less-forgiving Andrew Sullivan, who called Boehner’s statement a “flat-out lie.” In fact, I would add to Andrew’s post, by calling Boehner’s statement mendacious, duplicitous, gross, and comically refutable. So Mr. Boehner, do the right thing, and correct the record. I’ll be happy to post the correction right here.

Not to mention, these wonderful performances came less than a week after voting against Mother’s Day.

It was already shaping up to be a difficult year for congressional Republicans. Now, on the cusp of Mother’s Day, comes this: A majority of the House GOP has voted against motherhood.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House had just voted, 412 to 0, to pass H. Res. 1113, “Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother’s Day,” when Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), rose in protest.

“Mr. Speaker, I move to reconsider the vote,” he announced…. This time, 178 Republicans cast their votes against mothers.

It has long been the custom to compare a popular piece of legislation to motherhood and apple pie. Evidently, that is no longer the standard….

Republicans, unhappy with the Democratic majority, have been using such procedural tactics as this all week to bring the House to a standstill, but the assault on mothers may have gone too far. House Minority Leader John Boehner, asked yesterday to explain why he and 177 of his colleagues switched their votes, answered: “Oh, we just wanted to make sure that everyone was on record in support of Mother’s Day.”

By voting against it?

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