George Mitchell and the ‘peace process’.

February 3, 2009

The appointment of Mitchell by the Obama administration as Middle East envoy brings renewed hope of an even-handed approach with regards to a peace settlement. There are, however, several substantial obstacles to overcome.

Like Irish nationalists, Palestinians will never recognize the “right” of another group to discriminate against them. Like Protestant unionists did, Israeli Jews insist on their own state. Israel’s “solution” is to cage Palestinians into ghettos –- like Gaza –- and periodically bomb them into submission just so Israeli Jews, their relative numbers dwindling, can artificially maintain a Jewish state.

If Mitchell is allowed to apply Northern Ireland’s lessons, then there may be a way out. But he goes to Jerusalem with few of the advantages he brought to Belfast. The Obama administration remains committed for now to the failed partition formula of “a Jewish state” and a “Palestinian state” and maintains the Bush administration’s misguided boycott of Hamas, which overwhelmingly won Palestinian elections in 2006. And the Israel lobby — much more powerful than its Irish American counterpart — warps US policy to favor the stronger side, an intransigent Israel committing war crimes. If these policies don’t change, Mitchell’s efforts will be wasted and escalating violence will fill the political vacuum.

Read the rest of Ali Abunimah’s article here.

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Zogby on Rahm Emanuel

November 18, 2008

I’m reprinting below an e-mail I got from the Arab American Institute.  It’s a thoughtful article by James Zogby about how the Arab world should interpret Obama’s appointment of Rahm Emanuel.

Washington Watch
November 17, 2008

Lessons That Should Be Learned

Dr. James J. Zogby (c)
President
Arab American Institute

On November 5th, my office sent an email to tens of thousands of our members and contacts congratulating President-elect Barack Obama. In our message, we noted the historic transformation his victory represented and commended the thousands of Arab Americans who participated in this winning campaign.

The initial and near universal response was heartwarming, with many sharing moving anecdotes of their campaign experiences, their reactions to the victory, and their hopes for change.

One day and one announcement later, the tide turned.

With the naming of Congressman Rahm Emanuel as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, the euphoria of some, not all, turned to despair. The emails and calls to my office were both troubled and troubling because much of the reaction was based on misinformation and because of what the entire episode revealed about the larger political dynamics involved. Read the rest of this entry »


CTlab virtual symposium on the Hamdan trial

September 27, 2008

[cross-posted to Culture Matters]

CTlab is hosting a virtual symposium on the Hamdan trial, and they’ve got a lot of people, including myself, poised to comment on Dr Brian Glyn Williams’ fascinating account of the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver. Williams was an expert witness for the defense.

This week, Williams has been posting a fivepart narrative account of his experience, and after the fifth installment, CTlab will post comments and observations from a panel of invited legal scholars and social scientists based in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

–L.L. Wynn