Monday Miscellany

1. So far, a viral campaign has so far collected 3,000 condolence letters from Muslims to the family of slain Ambassador Chris Stevens. That’s not to mention other forms of apology and grief expressed by the people of Libya who remain grateful to the United States for helping it to overthrow 40 years of dictatorship by a homicidal psychopath. 

Next time you hear some conservative mock Islam for not being “religion of peace-y” enough, or for pining for the good old days when Reagan had to drop bombs on Libya, point this out. 

2. Famed prude and anti-sex legislation enthusiast Rick Santorum gave an accurate speech to a crowd of like-minded vicious homophobes. 

3. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thinks he can berate the United States into doing his bidding. He’s been taking actions and saying words in the last few weeks in an effort to either influence our election here in favor of Romney, or to embarrass the current administration into supporting a strike against Iran. Evidently, having a military presence in Afghanistan isn’t difficult and costly enough, we’re also meant to support an invasion of a functioning, reasonably advanced nation-state. People criticize Obama for letting relations with Israel deteriorate, but that street runs two ways. It’s so bad that the leader of the Israeli opposition openly asked whether Netanyahu really wants regime change in Tehran or Washington

All of this is complicated by the fact that the Republican Party’s evangelist base is willing to do whatever Israel wants because Israel is proof to them of the imminent rapture, or something. I think it’s fantastic that wars, and our contemporary foreign policy are in part dictated by competing 2,000 year-old fairy tales. 

You should read this piece in Foreign Policy, wherein Bill Clinton explains how exactly Netanyahu completely obliterated – single-handedly – any chance for peace in the Middle East in the near future. 

“The Israelis always wanted two things that once it turned out they had, it didn’t seem so appealing to Mr. Netanyahu. They wanted to believe they had a partner for peace in a Palestinian government, and there’s no question — and the Netanyahu government has said — that this is the finest Palestinian government they’ve ever had in the West Bank,” Clinton said.

“[Palestinian leaders] have explicitly said on more than one occasion that if [Netanyahu] put up the deal that was offered to them before — my deal — that they would take it,” Clinton said, referring to the 2000 Camp David deal that Yasser Arafat rejected.

But the Israeli government has drifted a long way from the Ehud Barak-led government that came so close to peace in 2000, Clinton said, and any new negotiations with the Netanyahu government are now on starkly different terms — terms that the Palestinians are unlikely to accept.

“For reasons that even after all these years I still don’t know for sure, Arafat turned down the deal I put together that Barak accepted,” he said. “But they also had an Israeli government that was willing to give them East Jerusalem as the capital of the new state of Palestine.”

Israel also wants a normalization of relations with its Arab neighbors to accompany a peace deal. Clinton said that the Saudi-inspired Arab Peace Initiative put forth in 2002 represented an answer to that Israeli demand.

“The King of Saudi Arabia started lining up all the Arab countries to say to the Israelis, ‘if you work it out with the Palestinians … we will give you immediately not only recognition but a political, economic, and security partnership,'” Clinton said. “This is huge…. It’s a heck of a deal.”

The Netanyahu government has received all of the assurances previous Israeli governments said they wanted but now won’t accept those terms to make peace, Clinton said.

“Now that they have those things, they don’t seem so important to this current Israeli government, partly because it’s a different country,” said Clinton. “In the interim, you’ve had all these immigrants coming in from the former Soviet Union, and they have no history in Israel proper, so the traditional claims of the Palestinians have less weight with them.”

Clinton then repeated his assertions made at last year’s conference that Israeli society can be divided into demographic groups that have various levels of enthusiasm for making peace.

“The most pro-peace Israelis are the Arabs; second the Sabras, the Jewish Israelis that were born there; third, the Ashkenazi of long-standing, the European Jews who came there around the time of Israel’s founding,” Clinton said. “The most anti-peace are the ultra-religious, who believe they’re supposed to keep Judea and Samaria, and the settler groups, and what you might call the territorialists, the people who just showed up lately and they’re not encumbered by the historical record.”

Netanyahu appeared on Meet the Press yesterday, but I haven’t watched that show since it’s been watered down into an unrecognizable piece of dreck by David Gregory. Gregory apparently referred to Netanyahu as “leader of the Jews”, which is as stupid as it is factually inaccurate. 

4. Someone ask Ralph Lorigo how his early support of Chuck Swanick has helped (a) Lorigo; (b) Swanick; (c) the anti-same-sex marriage cause. 


  • Alan–some of the people of Libya are grateful for our intervention in their civil war: the side that won, including the Salafis of Benghazi. Others–including the side that lost, and those we killed–aren’t so grateful. It’s an old trick to say “the people” feel this or that, as if the rest are non-people. We’ve got a similar situation right now in Syria, where we are arming one side (the FSA–again, the side with Salafis, our erstwhile enemies in Afghanistan) against the other (Assad’s forces), while many Syrians fear either side coming to power.

  • Feeling guilt about Betty Jean?  Ya ought to.  Maybe you should have reread your posts from back in early 2010, about Kennedy’s reform coalition, then maybe you would have endorsed Betty Jean even though you thought she had no chance.

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