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Douglas Carpenter

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Corry (Erie County), Pennsylvania 16407
Home country: USA
Current location: Saipan, U.S. Commonweath of the Northern Mariana Islands
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2005, 08:56 PM
Number of posts: 19,671

Journal Archives

Biden will skip Netanyahu’s speech

Update: Politico is reporting that Vice President Joe Biden will be out of town when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to come to Washington to address a joint session of Congress, March 3.

The vice president’s office on Friday confirmed the plans to skip the March 3 speech.

“We are not ready to announce details of his trip yet, and normally our office wouldn’t announce this early, but the planning process has been underway for a while,” a spokesperson for the office said.

Amazing. This will give permission to a lot of Democrats to make other plans and will embarrass the rightwing prime minister. Even as various Jewish organizations are saying they are going to be collecting the names of those who don’t show up. This is a big name alright!

Original post: Let’s keep the pot boiling over the scandal of Netanyahu’s planned speech to a joint session of Congress to push the U.S. to attack Iran, why don’t we?

The latest news is that there are now a handful of Democratic congressmen who say they won’t attend the speech, but the Democratic leadership is trying to hold the line on defections. The Democrats don’t want a wedge driven between the parties over their love for Israel. So while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the invitation to Netanyahu was a mistake and the speech ought to be cancelled, she also said yesterday she’s going to attend the speech. No one should be using the word “boycott” about the Democratic leadership!

“I don’t think anybody should use the word ‘boycott,'” Pelosi said in her weekly press conference.

Boycott was the word of the day yesterday, re the Democratic leadership’s anger over the speech.

Pelosi says the speech is so awful that “maybe we need to review the idea” of foreign leaders giving speeches to joint sessions of Congress. But in her remarks (at 1:15 here), you will see that her entire concern is the U.S. meddling in Israeli politics — Netanyahu’s campaign ahead of the March 17 elections — and not a word about Israel and its lobby meddling in our Iran policy. No, that’s just fine.

We have great friendships in terms of country to country, leaders to leaders; it’s really something that we should be able to resolve. Maybe we have to even review the idea of joint sessions of congress because they should not be a political arena two weeks before an election. Some people just think it’s outrageous. Some staunch supporters of Israel call me and tell me, it’s outrageous– and they’re supporters of Netanyahu– that our floor of the House would be used, exploited in that way, for a political purpose, in Israel and the United States.”

So you have to be a staunch supporter of Israel to object to the speech. Netanyahu also is worried about the political fallout. He’s now saying he was hornswoggled by Boehner. He thought that the invitation came from Democrats too.

We’ve compiled a list of five Democrats who say they won’t attend: Jim McGovern, Jim McDermott, John Lewis, Earl Blumenauer, G.K. Butterfield. The Guardian says three prominent Dems, Blumenauer, Butterfield, Lewis. And that Pelosi is saying others may also have “diary clashes,” when Netanyahu shows up

- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/butterfield-refuseniks-netanyahu?

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:25 PM (0 replies)

John Lewis tells D.C. crowd he will not attend Netanyahu speech -

    John Lewis, the longtime Georgia congressman who is portrayed as a hero in the new film “Selma” and known as the “conscience of the U.S. Congress,” said last night that he won’t attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to Congress in March, according to Medea Benjamin. From the twitter feed of the Code Pink leader:

Exciting! @repjohnlewis announced he will join @repblumenauer in refusing to attend #Netanyahu’s March 3 speech at Congress #freepalestine At event tonite at @busboysandpoets @RepJohnLewis pledged that he would not attend

#Netanyahu speech at Congress!!! #ICC4Israel

Lewis spoke about his book at the D.C. restaurant Busboys and Poets last night. Benjamin says she asked Lewis if he would attend the Netanyahu speech. “I have no plans to attend the speech,” he said, to applause. Today, Benjamin says, Lewis’s office confirmed to Code Pink that he will not attend the speech. We’ve contacted Lewis’s office and will update if we hear more.

Blumenauer is Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, said to be the only congressperson on record to say he won’t attend the speech. But the Washington Post reports the resistance is now widespread. “High-ranking Democrats are weighing a boycott of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress next month.” And the Post identifies two other congresspeople who don’t plan to hear Netanyahu:

Some House Democrats have decided they won’t attend, saying that the event was meant to create an image for Netanyahu back home as he faces a potentially difficult reelection bid. “It’s a campaign stunt, and I’m not working for his campaign. I’m not a standing stooge,” Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) said Tuesday. “What will be remembered here is the slight against our president and the partisan political nature of it, and I don’t know who’s served by that,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said Tuesday. -

See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/refuse-netanyahu-speech?
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Feb 7, 2015, 02:04 AM (2 replies)

Question submitted by Douglas Carpenter

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Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Feb 4, 2015, 09:31 AM (0 replies)

Netanyahu is a paper tiger by Mike Coogan

You see this napkin? In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.” Those were the words of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) official, Stephen Rosen, describing the power of the pro-Israel lobby to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg.

Four years earlier, while boasting about his bad faith implementation of the Oslo Accords to a group of Israeli settlers, Benjamin Netanyahu said, “America is a thing you can move very easily.”

These sort of stories have long haunted efforts in the U.S. to advocate for a more balanced American policy toward Israel/Palestine. They represent a general public perception that Israeli leaders like Netanyahu and lobbying groups like AIPAC are all-powerful forces in the halls of congress, a perception that vote counts on the lobby’s legislative initiatives often bear out. They’ve symbolized the idea that pro-Israel organizations’ money, political connections, and successful intimidation of opposition groups have effectively made their cause impervious to counter-lobbying efforts.

But at a moment when an unprecedented number of members of Congress are up in arms over Netanyahu’s efforts to sabotage the Obama administration’s policy towards Iran, there are other signs that the pro-Israel lobby may not be invincible in Washington. Here are seven pieces of news from the last year that proponents of a less lopsided policy towards Israel/Palestine should find heartening.
1.Grassroots activists helped defeat one of Netanyahu’s top legislative priorities.
2.Student groups passed at least eight resolutionsin 2014 and there’s already a wave of divestment proposals being considered in 2015.
3.All eight of the candidates supported by Sheldon Adelson lost their elections.
4.Representative Eric Cantor lost his primary.
5.Representative Justin Amash won his election.
6.Senator Boxer was forced to acknowledge and challenge Israel’s discriminatory policies.
7.Even some evangelical’s are beginning to withdraw unconditional support for Israel’s policies.

Before you write this off as Pollyannaish bordering on delusional, let me explain.

One of the clearest examples of increasing success by grassroots activists was the challenge mounted against the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014. Unlike the 70 Senate signatures promised by Mr. Rosen on a napkin, it took more than a year to get 63 co-sponsors for the United States Israel Strategic Partnership Act and it took twenty months and a significant watering down of the legislation for it to pass. The bill also faced an enormous public outcry and ignited a fierce debate across the country about Israel’s discriminatory policies against U.S. citizens, at one point leading to a stunning exchange between George Bisharat and Senator Barbara Boxer in the Los Angeles Times.

Even some of AIPAC’s hand-picked candidates initially refused to co-sponsor the egregious legislation. As many may remember, in 1983 Dick Durbin was promoted by pro-Israel groups as a replacement for Paul Findley, the latter of whom was targeted because he was seen as being insufficiently supportive of Israel. In the case of AIPAC’s most recent priority legislation, Senator Durbin recognized the detrimental impact it would have on the civil rights of U.S. citizens, particularly Americans of Arab and Muslim heritage, and he refused to support the bill until the language was changed.

Because of widespread opposition, Senator Boxer was forced to reintroduce the legislation with an amendment that essentially bars Israel from entering the Visa Wavier Program until it ceases its discriminatory policies against U.S. citizens. Although the bill ultimately passed after twenty months, a group of organizations with a tiny fraction of the opposition’s budget successfully challenged Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program, which Haaretz described as “a top priority for Prime Minister Netanyahu and the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.”

In addition to facing a more emboldened and successful opposition, pro-Israel groups are increasingly coming to terms with the fact that their strategic depth comes from a deeply problematic and notoriously unreliable source, namely evangelical groups like Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Pastor John Hagee, the head of CUFI, has a long history of making anti-Semitic remarks and offering deeply disturbing interpretations of the Holocaust. Thus far, pro-Israel Jewish organization have maintained their myopic alliance with CUFI, but the current détente is far from durable. Compounding the problem for pro-Israel groups is that in recent years significant numbers of young evangelicals have begun to question and challenge their church leaders’ unconditional support for Israel.

Within the Jewish community itself, organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) are achieving incredible growth in their numbers and success in their work. From divestment campaigns to lobbying on Capitol Hill, organizations like JVP are challenging the status quo in unprecedented ways.

A number of other examples haven’t exactly been clear victories for social justice or human rights, but they should dispel any idea that money and unconditional support for Israel are the sole determining factors in elections. This past summer Representative Eric Cantor, the former Republican House Majority Leader who was beloved by AIPAC and in line to be Speaker of the House, was defeated by a primary opponent with less than $300,000. A well organized group of activists from both ends of the political spectrum managed to handily win an election against Cantor, who outspent his opponent David Brat by 40 to 1. Shortly after Cantor lost his primary, Representative Justin Amash, a tea party leaning Palestinian-American from Michigan, won his primary within weeks of voting against more funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile system.

The Potemkin village of invincibility that pro-Israel groups have built over decades is beginning to crumble. As Netanyahu and Republicans increasingly use Israel as a wedge issue, Democratic support will continue to erode as lawmakers adopt positions more in line with the opinions of their constituencies. We’ve already seen large swaths of the Democratic base begin to break. As recently as 2014, delegates at the Democratic National Convention resoundingly rejected an attempt to reinstate language recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital only to have their decision repeatedly ignored by party leadership.

In all likelihood, many Republicans will also eventually withdraw support as well to bring the party’s position more in line with the opinions of their own core constituencies. National security hawks like General Petraeus think unconditional support for Israel is a strategic liability, libertarians like Rand Paul want to end military aid to everyone, and as mentioned earlier support from evangelicals is also beginning to evaporate. It’s also worth recalling that both Reagan and George H.W. Bush sanctioned Israel.

If the past year has taught me anything, it’s that AIPAC and Netanyahu are paper tigers; money doesn’t necessarily buy elections, grassroots organizing works, and the movement for Palestinian rights has far more latent political power than it realizes.

As the political rift between the US and Israeli government appears to grow, it’s incumbent upon us to utilize this moment to address more than just a breach in diplomatic protocol. Mounting antipathy by Democrats towards Netanyahu presents a real opening to strengthen campaigns aimed at addressing the real issue, Israel’s decades of brutal military occupation and its systemic discrimination against Palestinians. As Netanyahu self-destructs under the weight of his own hubris, we should view Israel’s new status as a wedge issue as an opportunity to permanently change lawmakers’ political calculus on Israel/Palestine.​

- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/netanyahu-paper-tiger?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=88d54832ee-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-88d54832ee-309261746#sthash.E4vC3AuE.dpuf

Mike Coogan is the Legislative Coordinator for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/author/mike-coogan#sthash.nUVcH4St.dpuf
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Feb 4, 2015, 08:15 AM (3 replies)

UN: In 2014, Israel demolished 1,177 Palestinians’ homes in the West Bank -

Israel destroyed 590 Palestinian buildings in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 2014, displacing 1,177 people, according to a new study by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This constitutes the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since the UN began monitoring the issue in 2008.

Amira Hass summarizes the findings of the OCHA report in Haaretz. She indicates that, in 2014, the Civil Administration of the Israel Defense Forces destroyed
•493 buildings in the West Bank;
•the homes of 969 Palestinians in the West Bank;
•97 buildings in East Jerusalem;
•the homes of 208 Palestinians in East Jerusalem; and
•an average of 9 Palestinian buildings per week.

In three days, from 20-22 January, 77 Palestinians, over half of whom were children, were made homeless by these demolitions. In just the week of 19-26 January, Israel destroyed 41 Palestinian buildings and delivered 45 construction stop orders and two demolition orders. All of these structures were owned by Bedouins and other pastoral communities. Some of the destroyed buildings had been donated by European humanitarian organizations, and Israel issued an order to stop construction on a park funded by foreign donor countries.

Israel’s extrajudicial demolitions continue into 2015. In January alone, Israel destroyed 77 buildings belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank, leaving 110 people, roughly half of whom were children, homeless in the cold of the winter.

OCHA writes, in an official statement,

The planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits. As a result, many Palestinians build without permits to meet their housing needs and risk having their structures demolished. Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met.

Hass also draws attention to the fact that “Israel does not allow Palestinians additional construction relative to the natural population growth, and does not allow connecting hundreds of communities with some 300,000 Palestinian residents to infrastructure.” This leaves Palestinians with three options, she says:

(a) living in crowded housing and poor conditions,
(b) moving to Areas A and B of the West Bank, which is difficult to do and expensive, or
(c) building without permits.

Given their lack of opportunities and resources, most Palestinians have no other choice but to repeatedly rebuild their homes without permits, Hass explains.

See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/israel-demolished-palestinians?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=fcd312c30e-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-fcd312c30e-309261746#sthash.NXeq3y5G.dpuf
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Tue Feb 3, 2015, 09:17 AM (4 replies)

Question submitted by Douglas Carpenter

The text of this question will be publicly available after it has been reviewed and answered by a DU Administrator. Please be aware that sometimes messages are not answered immediately. Thank you for your patience. --The DU Administrators
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Mon Feb 2, 2015, 10:13 PM (0 replies)

Netanyahu to American Jews: Get Lost by David Corn

By accepting Speaker Boehner's invitation to address Congress, the Israeli leader has chosen to side with political forces opposed by many US Jews.

—By David Corn

| Tue Jan. 27, 2015 6:00 AM EST

Remy Steinegger /Flickr

It was not so shocking that House Speaker John Boehner would seek to undermine President Barack Obama and his attempt to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to deliver an address to Congress, in which Netanyahu will presumably dump on Obama's efforts. Nor was it so shocking that Netanyahu, who apparently would rather see another war in the Middle East than a deal that allows Iran to maintain a civilian-oriented and internationally monitored nuclear program, agreed to mount this stunt two weeks before the Israeli elections—a close contest in which the hawkish PM is fighting for his political life. Certainly, Netanyahu realized that this audacious move would strain his already-ragged ties with the Obama administration and tick off the president, who will be in office for the next two years and quite able to inconvenience Netanyahu should he hold on to power. (Even Fox News talking heads acknowledged that Boehner's invitation and Netanyahu's acceptance were low blows.) But what was surprising was how willing Netanyahu was to send a harsh message to American Jews: Drop dead.

The clear conclusion is that despite Republican efforts to target Jewish voters and to paint the president as somehow anti-Israel, the Jewish vote is not up for grabs. In fact, there has been a remarkable consistency in the Jewish vote for Congress over the past three elections as measured by GBA surveys, including 66 percent for Democrats in 2010, 69 percent in 2012, and 69 percent in 2014.

And there's this. The poll asked American Jews to cite two issues of importance to them. Only 8 percent mentioned Israel, which put this subject in 10th place, far behind the economy and health care. Another survey conducted earlier in 2014 showed American Jewish voters overwhelmingly supporting Obama and listing the economy and the growing gap between the rich and poor as their top issues. As the New York Times reported, "Concern about Israel or Iran ranked very low, even when respondents were asked for the second most important issue that would determine their vote for president." The paper quoted Robert Jones, head of the Public Religious Research Institute: "We show no slippage in Jewish support for President Obama."

That is not good for Jews in the United States or Israel. Israeli politicians have long counted on Jewish support in the United States—and support from conservative evangelicals. Yet there have been signs that non-Orthodox American Jews are not all that happy with Netanyahu's policies. A 2013 poll found that only 38 percent of American Jews believed that his government was "making a sincere effort to bring about a peace settlement" with the Palestinians. Close to half believed Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank was a bad idea. (Only 17 percent said it helped Israeli security.) That is, Netanyahu's right-wing approach—even if supported by AIPAC and other American Jewish establishment outfits—was not popular with many American Jews.

And now Netanyahu is partnering up with Boehner to kick Obama in the teeth and sabotage one of the president's top diplomatic priorities. He is essentially telling American Jews to get lost: I have no regard for the president you support and no regard for your own political needs and desires

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Jan 28, 2015, 09:11 AM (5 replies)

Okay, Okay I get it. I know when we're whipped - I'll even say it twice. In 2016 I'm ready for

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu Jan 22, 2015, 08:09 PM (81 replies)

Democrats defend naming Muslim Congressman to House Intelligence panel

By Associated Press
January 16, 2015 1:06 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Democrats are defending their appointment of a Muslim congressman to the House Intelligence Committee after protests erupted on social media, warning the move is dangerous.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this week appointed Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana to the panel, which oversees the government's intelligence departments and activities. Much of the business that comes before the committee is classified.

Anti-Muslim protests erupted on Twitter and other social media with complaints that exposing American secrets to Carson could be dangerous.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the panel, called the protests un-American. He said including Muslim Americans in public policy issues is "an essential element in preventing the kind of alienation that has made too many young European Muslims vulnerable to extremism."

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Jan 17, 2015, 03:14 PM (15 replies)

Muslims' mixed response to new Mohammed cover

(CNN) By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor

It's not surprising that, in its first issue since the attack, Charlie Hebdo again put Mohammed on the cover. But this time, instead of showing the revered Muslim founder in an unflattering light, the magazine struck a far different tone -- and was received by some Muslims in a far different way.

"My initial thought is that the cover is a near perfect response to the tragedy," said Hussein Rashid, a professor of Islamic thought at Hofstra University in New York. "They are not backing down from the depiction of Mohammed, exercising their free speech rights. At the same time, the message is conciliatory, humble, and will hopefully reduce the anger directed to the Muslim communities of France."

Yahya Adel Ibrahim, an imam in Australia, counseled his 100,000 Facebook followers to follow the example of their prophet, even as they encounter images that many may consider to be offensive."As it is clear that the cartoons are to be published again, Muslims will inevitably be hurt and angered, but our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the one we love & are angered for," Ibrahim said. "Enduring patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy as was the character of our beloved Prophet (peace and Blessings be upon him) is the best and immediate way to respond."

Yasir Qadhi, an American cleric with a wide following, said he's not pleased by any depictions of Mohammed, but it's clear that this Hebdo cover, unlike others, is not meant to offend.


Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Tue Jan 13, 2015, 03:33 PM (16 replies)
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