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Showing posts from February, 2017

'From Enemy to Asset: Israel’s Moment of Regional Opportunity'

J Street national conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 26, 2017The panel "From Enemy to Asset: Israel’s Moment of Regional Opportunity" was moderated by Attila Somfalvi, Political Analyst.The three panelists:Member of Knesset Akram Hasson, Kulanu Party
Brigadier General (Ret.) Israela Oron, Former Deputy National Security Advisor, Israel’s National Security Council
Nadav Tamir, Director of International and Government Affairs, Peres and Associates Global ConsultingHow should Israel approach peacemaking in the broader Middle East?Should Israel first speak to other Arab countries about regional politics (as PM Netanyahu says he wants to do), or should Israel first speak to the Palestinians directly? Hasson said it is necessary to speak with the Palestinians directly and not assume that other nations will take the lead. Oron, by contrast, said that Israel shares security concerns with Arab countries that are moderate on these issues like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and "the marria…

'A Security-Driven, Two-State Process'

J Street national conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 26, 2017The panel "A Security-Driven, Two-State Process" was presented by Israel Policy Forum, chaired by Dr. Michael Koplow, Policy Director, Israel Policy Forum, and moderated by Ilan Goldenberg, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security.Introductory remarksIlan Goldenberg, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security demonstrated an outline of a "final security system." The purpose is to show the public what it would look like, to assist future negotiators, and to set the goal so it is possible to take steps to reach it. A key parameter is placing some limit on Israel's military presence in the West Bank while still upholding Israel's right of its own national defense. It is also important to establish timetables, or at least to establish rules for ongoing collaboration on how to schedule implementation of each step of the agreement.The three panelists:Rolly Gueron, Ret. Mossad Division Ch…

'Jerusalem 2017: Crisis and Opportunity'

J Street national conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 26, 2017The panel "Jerusalem 2017: Crisis and Opportunity" was presented by the organization Ir Amim. The session was livestreamed at conference.jstreet.org.Introductory remarksThe three panelists:Hillel Schenker, Co-Editor, Palestine-Israel Journal: He has a "utopian" vision of Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel, and though it may not be achievable, he believes that "all three faiths should play a role" in shaping Israel's future. "The great advantage of Tel Aviv is that it has no holy sites to argue over," he said. He divides his time between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were there is more religious conflict. "Today, most Israelis do not go to East Jerusalem."Yudith Oppenheimer, Executive Director, Ir Amim: The Palestine-Israel Journal and Ir Amim have a joint project for young people called "Empowering East and West Jerusalem." About 40 percent of Jerusalem's residents …

'Daylight to No Daylight: Switching Gears on US-Israel Relations'

J Street national conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 26, 2017The panel "Daylight to No Daylight: Switching Gears on US-Israel Relations" was moderated by Noa Landau, editor for Haaretz English Edition.Introductory remarksThe three panelists:Ambassador Alon Pinkas, Former Israeli Consul General to New York: "There are two ways of looking at this [U.S.-Israel] relationship: One is that it has been normalized, which is something that we should take as a positive. It is no longer unique, it is just a very strong alliance, and every time there's friction, we shouldn't panic and assume that the sky is falling. The other approach is more ominous....it is that the United States is in the process of reprioritizing its foreign policy interests" and is deprioritizing the Middle East.Ilan Goldenberg, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security: He noted that there are still some key leadership roles in the new U.S. administration for which no one has been nominat…

'Between the Lines: Deciphering a New US Approach to the Broader Middle East'

J Street national conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 26, 2017The panel "Between the Lines: Deciphering a New US Approach to the Broader Middle East" was moderated by Nahal Toosi, Foreign Affairs Correspondent for POLITICO.Introductory remarksThe three panelists:MK Akram Hasson, Kulanu Party: "It's very hard to have only two states. I believe that we need three states because Hamas will not accept any relation between Israelis and the Palestinians."Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, Director, Arab-Israeli Conflict Program, United States Institute of Peace: "We've had a long history of administrations getting involved in this conflict with the best of intentions and then getting stuck." She said, "There is a body of 'lessons learned' out there." The new U.S. president goes back and forth on whether he endorses a two-state or a one-state solution, perhaps based in part on what he thinks the parties want. "If you want to look at what the …

I still don't know why you voted for him (response to op-ed)

Dear Chicago Tribune,Help me understand why this was a publishable op-ed. I can't believe the amount of miscounsel that was given in fewer than 500 words. At least I got a new manifesto out of my repeated attempts to process it.“Commentary: I am a deplorable, and I'm happy I voted for Trump,” by Jeff Bust, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 3, 2017.To the writer:I don’t get tired of sharing ideas about values. Clearly some values are still relevant to you, too, because you are writing op-eds about them. I'm sorry you are "weary" almost before you've picked up the pen. If you continue to insist that your subject matter isn't important, you can stop writing and I'll stop reading.When I vote, my motivation is not to privately feel good about my vote. My motivation is to point toward policies that I think will actually help others. When others protest the policies I like, I don’t see that as an attempt to make me feel bad about my vote. Protests usually aim to fix the…

A new presidential directive to 'go shopping'

Today one might feel sentimental about the speeches given by then-President George W. Bush in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. On Sept. 20, he addressed the nation:"Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat...I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today."Again, on Sept. 27:"When they struck, they wanted to create an atmosphere of fear. And one of the great goals of this nation's war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry. It's to tell the traveling public: Get o…

False claims by the Trump administration

Fake protests, journalists suppressing info about terrorism, a rising murder rate...and other things that aren't happening...........Americans paid to protest?Jen Hayden wrote:"Republican Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner casually mentioned he believed the people turning up at his office and Colorado-area protests were 'paid protesters.' So did a Tennessee state senator, who provided evidence that was easily debunked and became an internet joke.Now the White House itself is latching on to the laughable and insulting notion that these massive protests are the result of 'professional paid protesters.' This must be the largest top secret jobs program in the history of the world.""Totally detached from reality, White House spokesman says protesters are 'paid professionals'," Jen Hayden, Daily Kos, Feb. 6, 2017...........Terrorist attacks 'not even being reported'?The president told military leaders at U.S. Central Command on Feb. 6: "A…

So-called 'religious freedom' order would allow discrimination based on sexuality and gender

On Jan. 30, 2017, LGBTQ Nation claimed several anonymous sources were reporting a proposed executive order by the Trump administration that "will allow for discrimination in a number of areas, including employment, social services, business, and adoption." White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, asked that same day by a reporter if an executive order to curtail LGBT rights would be forthcoming, said only, “I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue...we have nothing on that front now.” Deputy Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham reiterated his position, writing that "we don’t want to get ahead of the EO/As [executive orders and actions] that are coming, but that isn’t the plan at this time."It wasn't true. There was indeed a plan in the works. Two days later, a draft of just such an executive order was leaked to the press. It is four pages long, anonymously written, and titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect R…