Sunday, April 22, 2007

Democrats standing up to Olmert??

Only in an Israeli newspaper:

When Speaker of the House Nancy came back from her Mideast trip, I wrote briefly about her frustration with the Israeli government and the way it handled her visit to Damascus: "Pelosi", I wrote, "didn't like the Israeli clarification. It made her look slightly ridiculous, like a rookie in foreign policy." I also mentioned that it was not her first frustration with Olmert. He knows how politically sensitive are the issues of American policy in the region but "nonetheless decided to present an explicit Israeli policy regarding Iraq identical to that of Bush in a speech to AIPAC."

And this wasn't even the first time that Olmert marched into this mine field. Visiting the White House in November, right after the Midterm elections, he felt the need to say that he is "very much impressed and encouraged by the stability which the great operation of America in Iraq brought to the Middle East." snip

As Guttman wrote Thursday: "Israeli officials and Democratic lawmakers are working to mend fences", and the Waxman-Ackerman statement is a first sign. Sources in Washington told me today that next week, when all the Democratic Presidential hopefuls will appear before delegates to the National Jewish Democratic Council conference, we will see more of this conciliatory tone coming to fore.

However, this source said, "even as our leadership is working to calm things down, the rank and file Democrats are getting tired of these Israeli maneuvers." If Israel doesn't "get its act together" and doesn't reciprocate these pacifying moves - "if Olmert keeps doing such irresponsible things" - it will get more "difficult for Democrats who do care about Israel" to defend their position.

It almost sounded like a threat.

I know Bush does not seem to care that the democrats won Congress....but someone needs to tell Olmert.

I believe Bush had Sharon's blessings to go into Iraq...and that Olmert is having problems backing away from that position.

Here is the line up for the conference on Israel and Terrorism:

Senator Hillary Clinton
Senator Barack Obama
Senator John Edwards
Senator Joe Biden
Senator Christopher Dodd
Governor Bill Richardson
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer

And who are they? What is their mission statement? Sounds like they could be a close mirror imagine of AIPAC:

Founded in 1990, the National Jewish Democratic Council is the national voice of Jewish Democrats. Informed by our commitment to those values shared by the Democratic Party and the vast majority of American Jews - including the separation of church and state, a strong US-Israel relationship, and reproductive freedom - NJDC's singular set of priorities includes:

* Educating Jewish voters about the very real differences between their Democratic and Republican candidates for elected office through special reports and voter guides. NJDC has distributed more than 250,000 informational guides to Jewish households in recent election cycles.
* Informing candidates for public office about the need to address and support issues of concern to the Jewish community.
* Advocating on behalf of Jewish and Democratic ideals on Capitol Hill and in Jewish and national media.
* Fighting the radical right agenda at every turn through research and reports, grassroots advocacy, working directly with lawmakers in Washington, and educating journalists.
* Engaging and cultivating a new generation of young Jewish Democratic leaders by replicating our highly successful Washington-based Young Leadership program in other major cities, including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Cleveland and South Florida.
* Expanding Jewish awareness of critical legislative activity through quarterly and biweekly publications, as well as Breakfast Roundtables and Domestic Issues Forums featuring congressional and executive branch leaders.

Their articles tend to focus on Israel more than internal issues, for example: Robert Novak...(our one Anti-Israel neo-con?).

Why Won’t Prominent Republicans Criticize Novak
for Anti-Israel Writings?

Today, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) called on Republican party leaders to offer a public rebuke of right wing pundit Bob Novak’s harsh anti-Israel stance and string of unbalanced columns.

In recent columns, Novak has suggested Israel’s policies are "worse than apartheid," implied that Israel is oppressing Christians, claimed that terror organization Hamas wants peace, and chastised President Bush for failing to pressure the Israeli government. [Washington Post, 4/9/07, 4/16/07 and 4/5/07]

"This is a major example of Republican hypocrisy," said NJDC Executive Director Ira Forman. "Republicans jump up and down and paint Democrats with a broad brush whenever anyone on the left says anything remotely questionable about the Middle East. Yet, here is right wing pundit Bob Novak writing a series of awful columns and the silence from Republican leaders is deafening."

snip Novak has also blamed Israel for the Iraq war. [Newsday, 12/7/01; 4/18/05; CNN 12/23/03]

And their message to Olmert last year:

As NJDC's leadership noted in the letter, "The leaders and supporters of the NJDC are committed to doing everything in our power to preserve the longstanding friendship and strategic military alliance between the United States and Israel. We look forward to continuing our work with you and your administration as Israel continues its quest for lasting peace and security."
We at the National Jewish Democratic Council pledge our full cooperation in working to uphold the ever-strengthening relationship between America and Israel.

I wonder what they are thinking of Olmert now.

Meanwhile another excellent article from Harretz, Olmert does not need to negotiate from a position of strength to end the conflict...he just has to show-up.

Olmert does not need to be an outstanding rhetorician or even a statesman to market the Arab initiative. It almost sells itself. The way in which it is now presented by the Arab leaders offers a plan with two floors of the same building: immediate tactical conditions for initiating Arab negotiations with Israel - not only Palestinian negotiations - and strategic conditions for establishing full relations, including normalization. The tactical conditions entail freezing Israel's policy vis-a-vis the territories - including a halt to construction in settlements and the separation wall - a return to the status quo of September 2000, lifting the boycott on the Palestinian people and stopping the excavations near Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The first several conditions do not require negotiations; most of them are even included in the road map proposed by the Quartet. They constitute a gesture of goodwill, with the aim of building trust and generating momentum for the start of Arab-Israeli negotiations. The familiar strategic conditions are a full Israeli withdrawal, a solution for the status of Jerusalem, and a resolution of the refugee problem. Saud al-Faisal, who elaborated on these conditions, did not speak about the right of return and did not draw a map of the Holy Basin - everything is subject to negotiation.

There is a bonus attached to these conditions. They constitute a paved route to the ultimate vision, as defined by the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa: "There is no normalization free of charge. But the Arabs are prepared, in accordance with the initiative, to enter into a final peace process and to regard the Israeli-Arab conflict as a thing of the past if we carry out and they carry out the mutual obligations."

Here are the explicit words: the end of the conflict.

Until further notice...

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