Write On for Israel Blog

Campus (Un) Pleasantries

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http://xpress.sfsu.edu/archives/news/014892.html

This article describes the unfortunate situation at San Fransisco State where Jewish students celebrated Israel's 62nd birthday while, across the street, the pro-Palestinian group on campus protested in white masks and performed a "dead-in." According to the article, past events such as Yom Ha'Atzmaut have led to violence between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups; supposedly the only reason why this did not happen this year is because the pro-Israel group was not present--it was only moderate Jewish students from Hillel who frequented the event.

The fact that April 20 marks such a decidedly different day for pro-Israel and pro-Palestinians is upsetting. To anyone pro-Israel, Yom Ha'Atzmaut is a happy day, where we are reminded of our independence and cherish the land for which we fought so hard some 62 years ago. But for pro-Palestinians, April 20 is a "day of disaster" and a cause for total lament. This makes me wonder...even if the Palestinians and Israelis eventually do come to a peaceful settlement, will those groups' American supporters ever reconcile their differences?

It almost seems that Americans are so ingrained in the conflict that our opinions are beyond the realm of change and compromise. During one of our seminars, we read an article that stated that the views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are more extreme on American college campuses than they are in Israel, itself. The thought of a group of college students eating falafel and listening to Israeli music while across the street their fellow students are having a dead-in and screaming about Israeli atrocities is saddening. I just don't know if Americans would be able to set aside their views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, even if those two peoples do finally work out a peaceful agreement.

Posted by Ariel Goodman

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, don't call it a chicken

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That was the first sentence used by Ethan Tobias in his article "No Apartheid Here". This article was published in the Brown Daily Herald after the university "celebrated" its Israel Apartheid Week. Durring that Week, a wall was built on the quad to protest against Israel's activities. But on April 16, Tobias published an op-ed in response to the makeshift wall. What he said brought something that I never thought of onto the table of discussion. Tobias said that no matter what opinion one has on how Israel treats the Palestinains. Most Israelis and Palestinians believe themselves to be a separate nation. Each nation has separate ideals, separate religions, and most importantly, separate governments. Due to these facts, it can be determined that these are two different nations. And a nation can't have an aparthied on another nation.

http://www.browndailyherald.com/ethan-tobias-12-no-apartheid-here-1.2226451

Posted by Sam Israel

Aftermath of UCIrvine situation with Michael Oren

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http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/article/2010/03/18/1011203/irvine-jews-speak-out

A few seminars back, we were informed of the disrespectful interruptions made by anti-Israel students during Michael Oren's speech at UCI in February. These eleven students who intentionally disrupted the presentation and were escorted out of the building, arrested, and were facing academic penalties of suspension or dismissal from the school. On March 4, the UCI student government passed a piece of legislation condemning the actions taken against the students who spoke out against Oren, saying that the interruptions were considered free speech, which is a right of the students that the school strongly protects. In response to the legislation passed, members of the Jewish community on campus went to the student government meeting and made public comments about how by passing this piece of legislation, the student government was not listening to their voices. In addition, the Jewish students formed their own resolution which included students freedom of speech but indirectly defined this freedom of speech as respectful freedom of speech. I am proud of the reaction that the Jewish community at UCI had on the legislation that the student government passed. They did not disregard it, deem it not important, but rather, they took two actions to convey their reactions to it. What's most important is that they didn't just simply criticize the legislation; the students made their own piece of legislation to help solve the problem.

Posted by Aliza Jaffe

Appreciating Freedom

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As I was approaching the Washington D.C. convention center about amonth ago, I was extremely excited to go and attend the AIPAC Policy Conference. As we got closer, it seemed as though the only people in D.C. that day were attendees of the conference. I was so excited! As the convention center was only across the street, I saw protestors. These protestors bothered me to my core, yes I expected them, but hearing about something and seeing them are two totally different things. I was not bothered by the Westboro Church and their signs which are to grotesque to mention here, what I was most upset about were the protestors with signs protraying so called Israeli injustices. "Code Pink" as they are called, were out not only with signs and complaints about Israeli policy, but also about American and British policies. As you walked in and out of the convention center they would yell at you with their megaphone and hold up signsmaking everyone walk in almost single file. Do these people realize that if they were under the control of the PA or Hamas, they could be jailed or even in prison for holding a rally like this? If they were in Ramallah or Rafah, they would not even think to hold protests against Mahmoud Abbas or Ismail Haniyah, they would most likely be never seen again in society. On top of this, with over half the senate and congress in attendance, as well as leaders from around the world, somehow these protestors got in during Prime Minister netanyahu's speech and screamed at him. She was immediatly taken down, but again, this just made me think of how this person probably would never even think about what the reprecussions would be if she went and protested a speaker in the muslim world. The only time someone from our group interacted with them was when they asked someone with a sign, "When am I getting my free gaza?". Besides this, the conference was incredible, with speakers such as Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton, Bibi Netanyahu, Richard Kemp, and the Pastor DeeDee Coleman. If anyone does not know who the last two speakers are, I very highly reccomend that you go to http://www.aipac.org/PC2010/ and watch their speeches, for non-jews to say what they said was truly inspiring and incredible.

Posted by Evan Gewirtz

Forced Peace

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The United States government has no issues dictating the terms of any peace agreement that Israel may have, then turn around, and claim a great victory in the direction of peace, never considering how devastating its terms may be. For example, it was when the United States government demanded that Israel stop all settlement activity in the West Bank (claiming that it would promote peace) that peace negotiations actually stopped, and have, since then, been an issue to any type of peace negotiation. Additionally, the United States, if it had its way, would have Israel give up land that is critical to its national security, such as land, upon which its has a radar located, allowing its air force to respond to any air threat quickly enough. It almost feels like peace is being forced, as to prove success in the Middle East.

Posted by Shane Selig

The Peaceful Palestinian Approach

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Many of us Zionists have donated money to have trees planted in Israel, have toiled in the dirt ourselves, and have seen others contribute time and effort to enhance Israel’s greenery.

However, this particular tree planting ceremony is different. This photograph illustrates Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, planting a tree in the West Bank. Trees symbolize the Palestinian’s intentions to settle the land permanently. This is one of a new wave of nonviolent actions that the Palestinans are taking against Israel. Although I am thankful that these approaches will not harm anyone physically, I worry that they will cause a whole new set of problems.

This photograph is extremely concerning. Over the course of Israel’s history, Palestinians have used many obscenely violent methods to threaten Israel. Now, they are trying other methods to respond to Israeli policies. The nonviolent approach has included Israeli product boycotts, rallies, and planting trees. To evoke empowering emotions, the nonviolence campaign has even invited speakers such as Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and Martin Luther King III. Let’s hope these speakers are not as moving as their predecessors.

Will the nonviolent approach affect Israel? Or will it go unnoticed by Israel’s politicians? Will the Palestinians’ message get across?

Boycotts have been instituted before against Israel as non-violent protest. In 1922, the Fifth Palestine Arab Congress instructed Arabs to boycott Jewish businesses in Palestine. In 1945, a boycott targeted the Israeli automobile industry and was rather effective. Boycotts have been directed at hurting Israel’s economy.

The current tree-planting and the speaker campaign are intended to influence Israel’s policies while arousing Palestinian patriotism. Will either work out? Either way, both are potentially threatening, and for now, troubling. Nonetheless, I am thankful that the actions are currently of nonviolence.

Posted by Miriam Mosbacher

Divestment Campaigns-The Last Blow?

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This political cartoon is very relevant to the recent happenings with US-Israel relations. As we learned at our last seminar, some colleges have proposed anti-investment from Israel. The image shows a man, representing "The Lobby" holding together a large wall that's containing water. There are three cracks in the wall-labeled Walt Mersheimer, Jimmy Carter, and the Divestment Campaigns. Since the man only has two arms, one crack is left without someone to plug it's leaking holes. A little birdie in the corner is saying "The truth will out..." After some thought and understanding that the cartoon was drawn by an Arab illustrator, I think that the water behind the cracking wall is supposed to represent the "truth" behind these three issues. It seems to me that the cartoonist wants to show that soon, the lobby and the politicians won't be able to "lie" or be corrupt in the regard to the three cracks in the wall. It's as if the lobby has been trying to "plug" the truth and the effect of it. The cartoon also suggests that the divestment campaigns will be the last blow needed to finally break down US-Israel relations.

We can learn a lot from this cartoon, and the most important is the fact that Israel and her issues are always doubted as correct. Since people have developed such an anti-Israel attitude, it is like an instinct for some to suspect politicians to be lying, cheating, or hiding important information. Now, I'm not saying that Israel's perfect, but I do think that it's unfair for a nation to be put up to so much judgment in comparison to others. That's anti-Semitic. And in the end, through all of Israel's political problems, negotiations, and media, that anti-Semitism will always be our most prevalent challenge. Since divestment campaigns are apparent on college campuses, it's our job to fight them and the Antisemitism that is driving the campaigns.

Posted by Lucy Marshall

Thomas Friedman's Let Down

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/opinion/14friedman.html 

Last month, following the announcement of a building project in Ramat Shlomo, Thomas Friedman wrote an article strongly condemning Israel for the approval of the construction of 1,600 housing units in Arab East Jerusalem. I have to say that I expected more from Friedman than what he gave. No doubt about it, the timing of the housing announcement was unquestionably an insult to the Obama administration, and Biden was certainly justified to be upset. However, Ramat Shlomo, as I am sure Friedman understands, is not a settlement, but a core part of Jewish Jerusalem, and building there should not in anyway impede the peace process. The houses were not built in “Arab East Jerusalem,” they were built in a clearly Jewish neighborhood that under any peace deal would end up as part of Israel. To assert that Israelis building in Jewish East Jerusalem is a sign that Israel is uninterested in working for peace is ludicrous. It blows my mind that, of all people, Thomas Friedman would make this link, and it infuriates me that now the PA can use this excuse to skimp out of peace talks once again since it has a bogus reason accredited by a reasonable person.

Posted by Adam Schneider

Apartments in East Jerusalem

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I’m going to be quite honest and say I am confused on this whole dilemma. First off, East Jerusalem does belong to Israel and the Israeli government can say they want to build apartments buildings whenever and wherever they want as much as the Illinois government can say they can build an office building next summer. It’s that simple, Israel owns the land therefore they can choose what they want to do with the land. However, if the subject was as black and white as it seems it wouldn’t have made the front page of every major newspaper across the globe. It was the timing that blew this dilemma out of proportion. I agree that the timing was definitely bad timing, but the video says it was a coincidence. It could possibly be a coincidence, but the reasons given for the coincidence did not show both sides of the story. They showed a Palestinian official and they showed the Jerusalem deputy. But not once did they show a pro-Israel Israeli presenting their side. To me it just seemed like the Palestinian showed his side, but we didn’t get to see Netanyahu’s side or an Israeli official’s side. Although the facts might be right, the opinions given in this piece are clearly anti-Israel and cannot be accepted as the truth. I agree the timing was definitely not a coincidence, but I think Israel is trying to make a point that this is our land and they just want to make East Jerusalem flourish like the rest of Jerusalem. The same action reminds me of how when the Jews started pouring into Israel and the Arabs hated it, the Jews built hospitals and school systems and made a gross, desolate land flourish. To me this is the same and even though it was bad timing it was out of the good will of Israel to make their land flourish.

Posted by Ari Bressman

Where the 'Funny' Stops and the 'Conflict' Steps In

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http://www.toonpool.com/cartoons/US%20VP%20Biden%20visit%20Israel_76621#img9 

The posted cartoon portrays a U.S.-made Israeli construction vehicle clenching Vice President Joe Biden in its crane. I found the depiction to be comical at first, but recognized that it might be portraying some resentful undertones. This joke comes from a concern that I think many Americans have for their country, which was only strengthened by the interactions between Biden and Israel last month, in which the vice president’s visit was overshadowed by settlement negotiation. I would like to emphasize the fact that the tractor in the cartoon states, “Made in USA.” In this case, it seems as if Israel is actively taking advantage of her friendship with the United States and repays our country with only humiliation. Even though this may extend outside the simple, comical scope of this cartoon, I think we have a responsibility to examine the more serious implications of such a negative sentiment. With the AIPAC policy conference in Washington D.C. only a month ago, pro-Israel Americans have to consider the following questions. How is our relationship with Israel changing/deteriorating/strengthening? How can we remind the U.S. that Israel is necessarily the best friend that it has in the Middle East? And is this cartoon accurate in describing what most Americans think about Israel. I recognize that the average reader of a comic does not always look for these messages, but it is still interesting to take a step back and examine where the “funny” stops and the “conflict” steps in. Jordan Shapiro

Posted by Aliza Goodman

Next year in Jerusalem

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Most Jews, whether religious or marginally affiliated, partake in some form of a Passover seder. Near the end of the seder everybody sings "Next year in Jerusalem." The comic that I posted references the seder that was held at the White House, a lame attempt at demonstrating solidarity with the Jewish people. The Obama administration should instead demonstrate his loyalty to the Jewish people via actions and not empty acts. The most intriguing point of this cartoon was that it was both humorous and very truthful at the same time. The cartoon notes the incongruence between participating in a seder and Obama's views on Jerusalem. The seder recongizes the importance and Jewish notion of Jerusalem. Whereas, Obama seeks to internationalize the heart of the Jewish homeland. Netanyahu in his speech to the Jerusalem Conference a month ago stated unequivocally that Jerusalem is not a settlement, but rather the capital of the Jewish state. I have a few words to President Obama: Leave Jerusalem alone. It is Jewish, was Jewish, and will remain Jewish and undivided forever.

Posted by Aaron Miller

US VP Biden visits Israel

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I dislike this cartoon because it seems to say that Israel had deliberately attacked Biden, when in fact the statement was made at the wrong time. By placing Biden in direct connection with the bull dozer, it is taken to be understood that Biden was the problem and because of his arrival in Israel, the Netanyahu decided to build these new settlements. One interesting drawing in the cartoon is that the bull dozer says that it was made in the United States, which shows that the United States in some way supports the creation of the new settlements. I took it to mean that although the United States doesn't support the building of the new settlements, they still support the State of Israel and the decisions its government makes. Also, the United States will continue to send aid to Israel. Finally, I think that the bull dozer shows that although the relationship between the United States and Israel is now on a rough patch, the two countries will eventually return to their past relationship, in which the two countries were allies. Another interesting point that I found in the cartoon is that the artist didn't include Netanyahu in the cartoon, only Israel. The aggressor in the drawing is the entire Jewish country, and not just the government.

Posted by Ilana Lupovitch

Refusing to Turn Around and Face the Truth

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When I first learned about the current “situation” concerning Vice President Joe Biden, I was not really sure what to think. While I am happy that the Vice President would like to support Israel at all times, I am appalled that America believe building in our own capital is preventing peace. That is why I like the cartoon posted below. It portrays a sad situation, but at the same time, I find it truthful. While Biden stands at his podium trying to confront the issue, behind him stands a man who is very ready to wipe Israel off the map. The sad part is that Biden, as well as Obama, cannot see this. Biden believes that “knocking off settlement building in the West Bank” will create peace, but Biden is wrong. Iran and the other Arabs want to literally get rid of Israel completely, not just in the West Bank. For some reason Machmud Dinejad is still hiding behind Biden and the more unfortunate fact, is that Biden is refusing to turn around and look at what is staring him straight in the face. We will never get anywhere if we cannot see face to face, and this cartoon clearly depicts that at the moment, Biden is not seeing what he should be.

http://blog.cagle.com/2010/03/10/biden-visits-israel/

Posted by Leetal Gabel

Internal and External Conflicts

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/25/AR2010032502153.html

It seems that Netanyahu is really having a tough time as Prime Minister.  Not only does he have to deal with foreign policy, which includes negotiating with the sometimes-difficult-to-negotiate-with Obama, and it does not seem that their is much agreement between the parties.  Obama wants a complete freeze on settlements, but Netanyahu would never see to such a thing.  I think that part of the struggle is that Netanyahu truly feels the pull of the Zionist dream, which includes a settlement of the land, whereas Obama cannot feel this same pull.

In addition, Netanyahu has to deal with internal issues as well. In order to "alleviate the tensions with the United States", there is talk of bringing Kadima into his coalition.  Again, the different idealogies of the two groups make this merge difficult.  However, the article says that Netanyahu probably realizes that even if he believes something 100%, he might have to forgo this belief if it is a roadblock to peace.  This can get really tough, especially when the leader has very strong beliefs.  However, a good leader balances his ideologies with his desire for peace. Time will only tell if Netanyahu and Obama's decisions lead to peace.

Posted by Matthew Miller

Difficult Relationships: The Internal and External Difficulties

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/25/AR2010032502153.html

It seems that Netanyahu is really having a tough time as Prime Minister.  Not only does he have to deal with foreign policy, which includes negotiating with the sometimes-difficult-to-negotiate-with Obama, and it does not seem that their is much agreement between the parties.  Obama wants a complete freeze on settlements, but Netanyahu would never see to such a thing.  I think that part of the struggle is that Netanyahu truly feels the pull of the Zionist dream, which includes a settlement of the land, whereas Obama cannot feel this same pull.  

In addition, Netanyahu has to deal with internal issues as well. In order to "alleviate the tensions with the United States", there is talk of bringing Kadima into his coalition.  Again, the different idealogies of the two groups make this merge difficult.  However, the article says that Netanyahu probably realizes that even if he believes something 100%, he might have to forgo this belief if it is a roadblock to peace.  This can get really tough, especially when the leader has very strong beliefs.  However, a good leader balances his ideologies with his desire for peace.  Time will only tell if Netanyahu and Obama's decisions lead to peace. 

Posted by Matthew Miller

New York Times Op-Ed

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/opinion/17dowd.html?scp=2&sq=Joe%20Biden&st=Search 

Talk about an extreme point of view. After reading this op-ed, I feel misled. This piece seems to be discussing the reactions of the Biden/Netanyahu event, but it eventually switches to attacking Israel on multiple levels. On the subject of the Biden/Netanyahu event: I know that Israel had promised America that it would cease expanding in the West Bank, and because of that it was a hard blow to America and its “Israel champion” Joe Biden who was in Israel at the time. This op-ed has made a clear point that what Israel decided to do was the worst of worst things that could ever happen. But take a step back. Was Israel pulling out its machinery and beginning to build the complexes? No. What was announced on “St. Patrick’s Day, of all days” was merely just that: an announcement. No walk, just talk. On the op-ed’s attack on Israel: I don’t understand why everything Israel is in the media for gets connected to negativities that are unrelated to the topic at hand. For example, why does this columnist have to add small tidbits of what Netanyahu says about Emanuel and Axelrod? It does not fit here. Although this columnist did specifically state her point of view, she was not consistent in giving relevant information in strengthening her point.

Posted by Aliza Jaffe

Netanyahu cancels trip to U.S nuclear summit

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Netanyahu canceled his trip to Washington DC where he was scheduled to participate in a nuclear security summit. He canceled because he felt that a group of Muslim states would pressure Israel to sign the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Instead, Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor would represent Israel. I applaud Netanyahu for canceling his trip. This administration is tough on Israel and they need to do what's in their best interest as a state and as a nation. Hundreds of Republicans approve Netanyahu's action because Israel is America's strongest ally in the Middle East. The daughter of Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney, blasted Obama for his negative treatment of Netanyahu. Until the Obama administration can find a way to show their support of Israel and make Israel's security and safety a priority, Natanyhu will most likely remain in Israel and we will be no closer to a resolution.

Posted by David Pachefsky

Obama's Israel policies

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http://www.allrightmagazine.com/political-cartoons/daletoon-of-the-day-a-star-burns-out-3316/#more-3316

This political cartoon made a very strong impression with me because it illustrates how I have felt about the Obama administration’s policies on

Israel since the 2008 election.  I have never believed that Obama fully supported Israel , and his policies often worried me.  However, many of my fellow Jews wholeheartedly supported Obama, claiming that he was good for Israel .  This political cartoon that I found illustrates how the policies in the white house regarding Israel have certainly shifted since Obama’s election.  The political cartoon depicts Hilary Clinton celebrating “Palestinian Day of Rage” which includes burning an Israeli flag.  Hilary Clinton is telling Biden that she and Obama are shocked that he refuses to participate in this “Palestinian Day of Rage.”  Biden, on the other hand, is shocked that so many American Jews voted for Obama.  This implies that the American Jews should have known what Obama stood for, before naively voting for him.  Now, American Jews may be feeling a sense of buyers’ remorse, having voted for a man who claimed to be good for Israel but is not nearly as pro-Israel as past presidents have been.  Supporting Israel is one of the most important things an American Jew can do, and we must choose our political representatives carefully to ensure that our support for Israel is being represented in Washington .  I think that this cartoon should be a wake up call to American Jews, as we all must see the realities of how Obama’s policies affect Israel.

Cutting Away at Peace

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http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/settlement-freeze-cartoon.jpg 

This cartoon is disturbing on a number of different levels. It features a dove--the classically Jewish symbol of peace from the time of Noach in the Torah--being hacked to pieces as more settlements are built. An evil-looking, stereotypical Jewish man with a long nose is wielding scissors with a Jewish star and cutting settlements into the bird. It appears that the dove is made of paper, which implies the fragility of Israeli-Paelestinian relations, and how easily those relations can be slashed and made worse.

While on the one hand this cartoon makes me feel upset and defensive, it has also forced me to examine my stance on this issue even closer. The use of the Jewish symbol for peace was extremely clever--the artist forces his Jewish audience to examine values that stem from religiosity as well as Zionism. Ultimately, my view on Israeli settlement construction has not changed--for I believe Israel has the right to build anywhere in Jerusalem, but should ultimately place a strong freeze over West Bank construction. What worries me about this cartoon is that I believe it has the power to change the minds of other people. In some ways, the fact that it is one of few cartoons that does not depict direct violence, weaponry, bloodshed, or grotesque images is what gives it strength. Most people claim to seek peace, or at least the ideal of peace, in some form or another, and the destruction of a time-honored peace symbol--the dove--speaks volumes. Other political cartoons depicting settlement construction have not affected me as much as this one, which to me shows the complexity of the issue and the ways it can change a person's opinion when examined through a different lens.

Posted by Ariel Goodman

Israelis Degrading Israel? Give Me a Break.

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http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1155257.html Many people have been calling last month's incident between Israel and Joe Biden a "disgrace." Others, as in the article posted above, say that Israel only degraded itself after what took place. I have to respectfully disagree with these opinions. What took place was not a political gaffe, or an untimely coincidence. In my opinion, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Israeli government knew exactly what they were doing when they called for the approval of 1600 new homes in East Jerusalem. As stated by Netanyahu, why isn't Obama visiting Israel? If America is such a good ally to Israel, why hasn't Obama come to Israel almost a year and a half (and counting) after he was elected? Last time I looked at the approval rating for Obama in Israel, the approval percentages were around 6-9%. With ratings so low, and tensions increasing, why does it surprise people that Israel would use its sovereign power to continue building settlements? I agree that this action taken by Israel doesn't improve relations with the Palestinians or America, but at least Israel is taking initiative and showing the United States that the Israeli government is not a lapdog; they are willing to flex their muscle when they believe it is needed. Whether the settlement expansion was a result of a pro-settlement presence in Israel's bureaucracy, the political style of Ehud Barak, or just a simple coincidence, what took place a month ago cannot be changed. Israel cannot go back in time and reverse what they have done. America must accept that Israel is no longer going to wait for America's support in their campaign for peace. If the United States is truly "hurt" by the actions of the Israeli government, then maybe they should improve their relationship with Israel. As a start, America might want to send Mr. President on a trip to Israel.

Posted by Jason Silberman 

How Obama created the Biden incident

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/18/AR2010031802747.html?referrer=emailarticle&sid=ST2010031802797

The article I posted is an Op-Ed from The Washington Post. The headline is “How Obama created the Biden incident.” When I first saw this headline, I was eager to see how the writer, Charles Krauthammer, would be supporting this claim and as I began to read the article, it became obvious that the writer is an avid Israel advocate. The article begins by summarizing what has been deemed the Biden incident and explains that Netanyahu’s offense was unintentional and that he had apologized sufficiently – Clinton ’s message was unnecessary and her questioning of Israel ’s seriousness about peace was uncalled for. Krauthammer explains that Obama sees himself as “the historic redeemer” who has set out to “heal the breach between the post-imperial West and the Muslim world.” Krauthammer also states that Obama sees Israel as the one thing standing in his way of being this so called redeemer. But the fact is that Israel , from the start of its existence, has always tried to facilitate peace with its neighbors and it is merely the refusal by the Palestinians to accept these proposals which is the reason peace has not been achieved. Israel needs the help of its strongest ally, the United States , in order to ever have any chance of resolving these issues and Obama has not, in my opinion, given sufficient support to Israel . Krauthammer gives many examples of Israel ’s proposed peace talks to counter Clinton ’s questioning. I was very glad to see these facts, considering this idea of Israel ’s struggle to achieve peace is one we have come across many times in our reading and seminars. He also mentions that Obama hasn’t really done much to facilitate American support of Israel , as Obama promised he would, which is something I strongly agree with. I really enjoyed this article and I believe it presents a very interesting viewpoint on the current state of US-Israel relations and Obama’s role in them so far.

Posted by Alex Rokni

Dear Governments of the World: Grow Up

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http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131438.html 

This is yet another article about the settlement freeze. In this one Israel has agreed politically to freeze the settlement near Jerusalem. However the settlers refuse to cooperate. In my opinion this entire debate is silly. The only reason that the Palestinian people would not want that area developed is so that it will be easier to develop their way when they want “their land” back. Israel has every right to build homes in their country and America who is thousands of miles away has no place to freeze the building of homes in Israel. That is like Uzbekistan saying that Chicago can’t build more homes in the surrounding area. If you are thinking “that’s ridiculous” that’s the point. The entire debate and issue is dumb. Though it may sound childish to say that, the issue is childish. If everyone could behave like adults then maybe this debate will be put away and a lot of other issues will be put aside to take care of the main issue, achieving peace. Because whatever America thinks it is doing to help, is really doing nothing but put oil on an open flame. On the note of acting childish our president, Mr. Obama, acted childish at the recent AIPAC conference. Like Israel and the Palestinians have George Mitchell to go between them, and little boys and girls have friends go between each other on the playground, Mr. Obama had Hilary Clinton deliver his message to the members of AIPAC. It’s time to send a message to the collected members of governments around the world: “Grow Up.” The days of arguing over who can color on which part of the blackboard are over, its time to have a grown up discussion to solve grown up problems. Because time out is a lot different now.

Published by Becca Israel

Settlements: This is truly overkill

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I don't think that Israeli settlements are something that should engrage the public so much that all talks of peace have been called off. It also shouldn't have the Obama administration wagging their finger at Israel either. The world has seen and done so much worse than simple settlements. I think that this political cartoon is a great example of another country with settlements.

I mean, if the US is so angry at Israel, why don't we set an example? Why don't we give back Texas, Oregon, Hawaii, and the entire Louisiana Purchase? The idea just sounds rediculous and it is. America should not take back the territories they have claimed and neither should Israel. Israel may have made a mistake of building settlements. However, Hamas and and America are reacting in a very immature. America telling Israel what to do about territories is like Israel telling the US what to do about Texas. Hopefully this quarrel will end soon and life will go on. (If the political cartoon doesn't show up, try copying and pasting the URL).

Posted by Sam Israel