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Hillary Clinton’s Statement on the Anniversary of September 11th

September 11, 2010

Nine years later, the memories of September 11, 2001 remain searingly vivid. Loved ones and friends whose lives were cut short. Brave first responders who rushed into burning buildings to save people they had never met. Dedicated construction workers and volunteers who searched tirelessly through the smoldering wreckage for survivors. Families and communities who pulled together to turn tragedy into a new birth of service and tolerance. We remember the pain of loss, but also the pride in our people and our country.

Today I join with all Americans in honoring those who lost their lives on that terrible day. My thoughts and prayers are with their friends and families, with those people who continue to suffer lasting health effects, and with the courageous men and women who are fighting in Afghanistan and elsewhere to defeat those responsible for the attacks. Let us keep all of them in our hearts today and every day.

31 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:52 am

    Here in New York, it’s a day eerily like that awful day — cloudless blue skiies, shimmering sun. Back then, the gorgeous weather somehow made the day’s unfolding tragedy all that more surreal and shattering.

    Hillary’s statement also makes me remember how I winced when, as our new Senator, she was jeered at and booed (while Bill was cheered) in an audience of firefighters and police officers during their appearance at The Concert for New York City on October 20, 2001. But after she and Schumer got $21 billion to help clean up Ground Zero and to provide health tracking for first responders, feelings about her changed. In ’06, she was re-elected with 67% of the vote and the strong support of the firefighters union.

    • September 11, 2010 1:30 pm

      It must have been very strange/terrible to be in NY on that day. I was safe and sound in Boston although they told us to evacuate at the law firm where I worked because it was a high rise and every minute brought a new rumor about where planes might hit. Of course, much of the media coverage in that regard just added to the sense of panic.

      I hated it when she was booed- I had seen a video of it later. She kept her head up though and as you said she did a great job for NY, which is all you can really ask of a Senator. Sometimes I wonder if it was frustrating always having Bill be treated like a rock star while she was at times treated, well, like a carpetbagger (which she wasn’t). Now of course, she is finally getting the recognition she deserves from even some of her most vocal past critics.

      I probably shouldn’t say this but hey, what the heck- I’ve been watching some of the news coverage today and I am tired of hearing people justify our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan – almost a decade later- based on 9/11. I think there comes a point where this has taken on a life of its own and it has less and less to do with 9/11. After all, the only reason AQ is in Iraq is because of our invasion/occupation. They NEVER were there before, despite the lies Bush told. And of course Iran didn’t have the foothold in Iraq they now have. In other words, we likely created twice as many terrorists as we destroyed. According to the administration’s own admission, there are only about 50 AQ members in Afghanistan- The Afghanistan Study Group just came out with a report that doesn’t look good for the administration- it basically says that the blood and treasure we have expended and continue to expend is out of proportion to the current risk and our chance for “success”, whatever “success” is.

      • SpfcMarcus permalink
        September 11, 2010 1:46 pm

        I’m still state-side. I head to Afghanistan in a little less than a week.

        COIN is a mistake- the idea that it was a raging success in Iraq is false because it’s a totally different situation and the idea that counter-insurgency can work in Afghanistan when there is a government who stole an election and is totally corrupt etc. is just wishful thinking. COIN in and of itself isn’t a bad strategy for some scenarios, but not for Afghanistan. The first time I went to Afghanistan and went into the mountains I couldn’t believe how people lived- they basically live like they lived a thousand years ago- in mud huts, most with no running water and more or less agrarian. The people aren’t inherently bad but they are very poor and when some of them provide aid to the Taliban it isn’t necessarily out of hatred for the US but simply to put some food on their table. The taliban will give kids $10 and an old machine gun, which is a fortune to them, to shoot at us from higher vantage points. But just like in Nam, you can’t tell the enemy from the friend and that makes protecting civilians damn near impossible. You just hope and pray the person you are talking to hasn’t lured you into a trap, which frequently happens.

        Interestingly, they did pretty well in Kabul under the Soviets- women weren’t treated like door mats, education was seen as important, the standard of living increased and religious extremism wasn’t tolerated. Of course, we armed the Mujahadeen with the weapons they are now using against us. It seems like we are always creating more problems for ourselves- Saddam, Hamas, AQ/The Taliban – we arm them, let them get away with murder only to later turn around and have to fight them. The worst part is there are never any consequences for the government leaders who think up these grand plans. Hell, Charlie Wilson is a hero for (illegally) helping to drive the evil Soviets out. Now look what we’ve got.

        I’ll start to respect our war-mongering leaders a bit more when they have the balls to call for a draft. Then we’ll see who the real patriots are. I have a feeling they like war so long as their kids don’t have to fight them.

      • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
        September 11, 2010 6:29 pm


        Even with a draft, the well-connected seem to find a way to keep their children stateside *coughGeorge Bushcough*

        It must be hard to be part of a military effort you don’t believe in, but I have boundless respect for men and women, like you, who put themselves in harm’s way every day. A friend of mine — a psychiatrist in her 50’s — just enlisted to be in the Army Medical Corps; she’ll be stationedin Germany but wants to do tours in the war zones. I was flabbergasted at first and asked whether she’d lost HER mind, but what she then said shut me up. She said she had seen too many young people (and their families) making the ultimate sacrifice to defend us and felt compelled to give something back to them.

        Stay safe.

  2. AsherLev permalink
    September 11, 2010 3:11 pm

    Diplomacy is always preferable to war. Would you like to know why the US is so obsessed with Iran even though just as with Iraq, not one single thing has changed to make them any more of a threat to Israel or our neighbors, let alone the US? Israel and the Israel lobby:

    Israel has been actively trying to undermine any attempt at rapprochement with Iran or Syria or any other Muslim nation for that matter. Secretary Clinton and President Obama’s efforts at diplomacy with Iran are praiseworthy but were doomed to failure from the beginning. What the lobby wants, the lobby gets. So now the media reports that Iran is Public Enemy #1. In Israel, we have enough enemies but that doesn’t stop us from trying to scare up a few more. Of course, creating a Palestinian state would help diminish the threat of terrorism but it’s impolite to say that in the US because the Lobby doesn’t like it.

    I don’t know when you Americans are going to admit that we are more of a pain in the ass than a true ally. We cause you nothing but problems. Name one thing Israel has done over the past several years to help the US? All we’ve done is undermined you’re efforts to reach out to the Muslim world, to create a peaceful resolution to the occupation, demanded you give us billions of dollars and fancy weaponry (all the while our Economy just grows and grows and grows…but thanks for the $$$ anyway!) and required you to provide diplomatic cover for all our war crimes. If it weren’t for the US protecting us because of your power on the security council, we really would be a pariah state- more so than we already are. If we have our way, you’ll be in war #3 soon! But hey, don’t thank us, isn’t that what friends are for?

    I hate to break it to you Americans, but Benyamin Netanyahu doesn’t want peace. He doesn’t want a Palestinian state- he never has. Don’t be gullible. I hope Secretary Clinton and President Obama are watching their back because Benyamin is as slippery as they come.

    I dont’ really understand American Jews. Here in Israel we actually question our leaders because we know Israeli democracy is hanging on by a thread. But in the US, Jews just mindlessly sign onto any Israeli policy no matter how backwards and dangerous. In fact, if US Jews would grow a backbone Israel would be better off. The Israeli govt is terribly worried about what US Jews think about us in part because rich American Jews help fund the Occupation, pressure the US government to keep billions of dollars flowing our way and provide finances and weapons for the extremist settlers who illegally steal Palestinian land (for example, Jack Abramoff). Honest question- what would it take for liberal US Jews to stand up to Israel and try to ensure that Israel actually remains a democracy rather than a military-run, Arab majority apartheid state?

    • September 11, 2010 8:46 pm

      It is revealing when we hear that Vietnam is looking at enriching uranium, Burma may be receiving nuclear technology from North Korea, and India receives our strong technological support related to their nuclear program. Yet Iran is the only country our media and government focuses on day in and day out. The truth is that a nuclear incident could happen with any nuclear program (not only one of a Muslim country).

  3. AsherLev permalink
    September 11, 2010 3:29 pm

    This is how we treat our British allies if they have any Arab blood flowing through their veins:

    She’s just a singer.

    We’ve been calling for Palestinians to use peaceful methods of protest- the US has been too- but we even treat peaceful protesters like terrorists. In fact, we sometimes even kill them- like Rachel Corrie for example.

    The settlement construction never stopped by the way. The IDF brought volunteer high schoolers along on one trip to throw Palestinians off their land. Then, in front of the Palestinian families (including children) they let the Israeli high school students go into each house and destroy all their personal property – so they couldn’t even take it with them. Not that they had anywhere to GO. Do you think a Palestinian child who witnesses such cruelty and who watches their parents be humiliated like that is going to grow with a great love of Israel? Of course not.

  4. Thain permalink
    September 11, 2010 5:00 pm

    I turned off the TV coverage of 9/11- I don’t really need to see the Twin Towers falling down over and over again- it’s not like I forget the image. The media use this tragedy to get ratings and its very cynical. I am also sick of hearing about that nutcase pastor down in east nowhere Florida. You’d think there was nothing else going on in the world because all we’ve had is wall to wall coverage of him. And you KNOW the media is totally bummed out that the Qu’uran burning was called off because they were hoping to keep this controversy going for days, weeks. The media is partly responsible for the spread of islamaphobia- they need to stop giving a voice to every two bit crackpot. If we were talking about any other group- african americans, asians, jews, they wouldn’t be giving these guys a platform.

    • September 11, 2010 5:02 pm

      Hey Thain-

      I turned the coverage off too. I really don’t watch the MSM too much on any given day except when I am making dinner maybe. This morning I turned MSNBC on for a short time and quickly got disgusted. About the only news/opinion show I try to tune into is Maddow. And I programmed my remote control to just skip over Fox News- it’s not even an option on my TV anymore.

  5. Thain permalink
    September 11, 2010 6:03 pm

    Hey, I wonder if the anti-Park 51 protesters are aware that there was a Muslim prayer room in the South Tower? Or that there is already a an actual Mosque (as opposed to a community center incorrectly being referred to as a Mosque) within a two mile radius of Ground Zero?

    Given that’s the case, shouldn’t all those anti-Islam protesters pack up their bags and go to some other not-Mosque in some other state to protest? Cause I’m sick of hearing about these guys.

    The right has really whipped everyone up into a nice fear-mongering frenzy haven’t they? Why is that? Why now? Is it because people think Obama is Muslim? Is it because the economy is bad and we need to find some new group to hate and we’ve already tried Jews, gays and black people?

    The REAL terrorists must LOVE watching all these Islamophobes- what a great new recruiting tool! And they’ve managed to make us all turn on each other like a bunch of starving cats fighting over a fish bone.


  6. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    September 11, 2010 6:51 pm

    You know, it took me awhile to get over the seering pain I felt when Hillary conceded defeat in the primaries and the disgust I felt towards Obama, his team, and the Democratic party. To my surprise, beginning election night then through the transition leading up to the inauguration, I actually developed a grudging sort of respect for Obama, and felt little stirrings of odd, unfamiliar feelings like hope…optimism…pride in our country…stuff like that.

    I actually don’t feel betrayed by Obama now — he was dealt a very tough hand and hasn’t be up to the challenge, but basically his heart has been in the right place, IMO. What I do feel is incredibly sad and frustrated. I simply cannot stomach the idea that the Democrats squandered all that good will and will lose their commanding majorities in the House and Senate; that that sleazy orange creepoid, Boehner, will become Speaker; that the Republicans may well recapture the White House in 2012; that the face of America will once again be some Qu’uran-burning, Islamophobic, gun-toting, zealous ignoramus whose idea of great literature is “Going Rogue;” that a generation of young people will lapse back into apathy about the political process, if they haven’t already (well, with the exception of my son, who wants to be the first Jewish President and is just the guy to stand up to the Netan-yahoos of the world! ).

    • September 12, 2010 8:33 am

      Ah, good for your son! Will he be a progressive? If he needs a communications director I’m available. How long do we have to wait? Please tell me he’s older than, say, fifteen right now. Actually, I probably shouldn’t be his communications director- I might cause him more grief than anything else- I might mouth off at the media and get him in trouble.

      I’ll settle for a Supreme Court appointment though. The first Jewish president can appoint the first gay SCOTUS justice. Well, perhaps I should say “openly” since I think we’ve had one or two who have been in the closet.

      • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
        September 12, 2010 9:00 am

        Alas, he’s only 16, stacy. Sixteen years to go. But think about it: Obama wins a second term (with Hillary as Veep). She is elected in a landslide in 2016 and re-elected easily in 2020. In the meantime, a rising young and,yes, progressive star has appeared on the scene. White horse optional. He is tapped to give the keynote address at the 2020 Democratic convention, and becomes a favorite protege of Hillary’s (and asks to bring his mother to a few of their dinners). In 2024, at 30, he is still too young to make a run when Hillary’s second term ends, but he is being widely touted as the frontrunner for 2028. Sigh. We should all live so long. And on his mother’s advice, he will pick stacy as communications director because he’ll want someone who can tell the media just when and where to shove it. His first appointment to the Supreme Court will be Judge Deborah Batts of the Southern District of NY.

  7. SpfcMarcus permalink
    September 11, 2010 6:59 pm

    @Carolyn- it’s not about not believing in the mission. Initially it made sense to go after the Taliban or AQ but once we got involved in Iraq and all our resources both in terms of soldiers, equipment and money got diverted there it became really frustrating. We had driven the Taliban out and had made huge gains and then all the Iraq BS started. Now almost 10 years later we want a do-over in Afghanistan but it’s almost too late. Me and other soldiers and pilots etc. may die for what? So Hamid Karzai can smoke more opium and put hundreds of millions of US taxpayer dollars in Swiss bank accounts? Karzai is a joke and everyone is really frustrated with him. He’s a disaster for the US- of course the US put him in their to begin with because of his political ties and his link tot he Carlyle Group. But Afghanis outside of Kabul hate his guts and they see the US military as propping him up- a big problem given the guy stole the election. How can we win hearts and minds? Then you have US defense contractors getting paid hundreds of millions to do what the average soldier does for 25K a year? The average soldier hates these guys. Where are all the deficit hawks? Trigger happy Blackwater is still running around (with a new name, Xe) and the Afghanis know it- so do the Pakistanis and it makes them hate us all the more.

    What I am getting at is our policy makes no sense. I’ll go where they tell me to go but I really need to believe that our leaders, whether democrats or republicans, aren’t just playing politics and treating us like a bunch of pawns on a chessboard. Hillary and Gates wanted more troops but I think it’s Biden that knows what he was talking about when he argued against it in favor of limited counterinsurgency – he understands the US military can’t rebuild a country that was a fucking mess before we even started bombing it to hell and back. You can’t wage war against terrorism- it’s not a nation or a people, it’s a TACTIC. Yet Hillary, Obama, Gates and others think we can wage secret wars in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, etc? Don’t even get me started on Iran. We need to seriously rethink our strategy but whoever decides to do that is going to have to be a very courageous leader because they will face resistance from the top brass and the hawks in Congress. Some people just want perpetual war for political reasons even if it ends up making us less safe in the long run.

  8. Thain permalink
    September 12, 2010 6:29 am

    Nick Kristof writing about the Islamaphobes:

    You know what I find interesting? A couple of weeks ago on this blog Stacy put up a post that was considered controversial about how Muslim is the new gay. People got really pissed off at the suggestion that the Park51 controversy was about more than simply offending the sensitivities of some of the families of 9/11 victims. But as it turns out, it seems the overall point of the post was right- Park51 and the idiocy surrounding it was just a symptom of the growing Islamaphobia that is being encouraged. The fact that a majority of Americans oppose a center that is incorrectly being referred to as a Mosque wasn’t the issue. It’s not about sensitivity. Mosques all over the country are being targeted and conservatives and even some liberals are using fear to rally their troops. Muslims are being talked about much like Jews used to be talked about. And gays. It’s really sad to watch us become a hateful, fearful nation like this. The terrorists must love it.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      September 12, 2010 10:05 am

      Thanin, having been one of those posters who expressed some sympathy for 911 families who opposed the cultural center/mosque (and it will be both), I don’t think we should dismiss all opposing views as the “idiocy of Islamophobes.” Sure, there are plenty of people — Republicans, neocons, racists — who are exploiting this episode to stir up anti-Muslim sentiments. But several of us who commented here just thought the 911 families ought to have been consulted first, rather than the City Council. The main organizer of the project, Sharif El-Gamal, said as much recently — that he wished he had spoken to the families first — when he became aware of the magnitude of the controversy.

      • Thain permalink
        September 12, 2010 10:25 am

        According to most reports I have seen the Community Center plans to house a culinary school, an auditorium, conference rooms, a swimming pool, a basketball court, exercise rooms and space for prayer. Does a space for prayer equal a Mosque? I have no idea actually – I’m not a practicing Muslim so I’ll defer to practicing Muslims and in particular the Imam who’s behind Park51 on this- it’s not up to me to define what is and isn’t a Mosque so I guess I should stop saying there isn’t a Mosque there. Nor is it up to me to define whether a Jewish community center that houses a space for prayer, is a formal Synagogue or whether the YMCA actually can be considered a Church. I’ve seen people say there’s a Mosque and I’ve heard others say that it can’t really be considered a Mosque.

        The whole controversy has taken on a very ugly life of its own and I personally believe that this country has become outright Islamophobic. If we were talking about any other group this would hardly be a controversy because we wouldn’t tolerate such outright hostility- the people demonstrating such hostility would be considered pariahs, not elevated to the status of political newsmakers, nor would we probably even consider their point of view a valid one worth repeating, but rather we would write it off as anti-Semitism, racism, or whatever. People can disagree with me but that’s where I stand.

  9. Steve permalink
    September 12, 2010 6:38 am

    Thain, thanks for the link- this jumped out at me:

    “Astonishingly, a Newsweek poll finds that 52 percent of Republicans believe that it is “definitely true” or “probably true” that “Barack Obama sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world.” So a majority of Republicans think that our president wants to impose Islamic law worldwide.

    That kind of extremism undermines our democracy, risks violence and empowers jihadis.

    Newsweek quoted a Taliban operative, Zabihullah, about opposition to the mosque near ground zero: “By preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor. It’s providing us with more recruits, donations and popular support.” Mr. Zabihullah added, “The more mosques you stop, the more jihadis we will get.”

    In America, bigoted comments about Islam often seem to come from people who have never visited a mosque and know few if any Muslims. In their ignorance, they mirror the anti-Semitism that I hear in Muslim countries from people who have never met a Jew. ”

    That’s what is so infuriating about this- much of it is total ignorance. If you’ve never been in a mosque, have no Muslim friends, know nothing about the Koran then I’m not all that interested in y our viewpoint on this particular religion. Just like I’m not interested in Ahmadinejad’s views on Judaism.

    I also think this is directly related to Obama and it’s got a real undertone of racism. I’m not saying it’s obama’s fault- quite the opposite. But the fact that a majority of Republicans think that Obama is Muslim and supports terrorism is really kind of freaky. Would they feel that way if he was white and his middle name wasn’t Hussein?

    It’s a bit ironic that that Islamophobes are actually helping terrorist recruitment. if they really gave a damn about keeping America safe they would stop their hatemongering but I think all of this is more about them than America. For some reason we always need a scapegoat.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      September 12, 2010 10:40 am

      “I also think this is directly related to Obama and it’s got a real undertone of racism…”

      I am beginning to agree with you and think the Repugnants are willing to steep to the lowest depths in their drive to regain control of Congress and the WH.

      But your comment reminds me of something that happened during the 2008 primaries — one of the many lessons I’m determined never to let people forget, so I’m going to go right on boring people with history lessons: Remember when that photo of Obama in Muslim garb surfaced and everybody rushed to blame Hillary, claiming she ordered her campaign to send out the photo and was cleverly trying to stoke rumors that Obama was a closet Muslim? This set off a veritable frenzy in the media and blogopsphere — Hillary was a despicable, deceitful, conniving, racist b**** willing to do anything to win. When she was asked in an interview with Steve Croft on 60 Minutes later that week whether Obama was Muslim, she denied it firmly — in fact, I count EIGHT separate times in which she either plainly denied the claim that Obama was Muslim, labeled that suggestion to be a smear, or expressed sympathy for Obama having to deal with the Muslim innuendo. But after the eighth query from Kroft, she then added, unfortunately, ‘as far as I know.’ After parsing Clinton’s answer and then conveniently setting aside the other key sections of it, journalists at NBC, MSNBC, The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Time, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post, among others, declared her response had been wholly deficient and simply confirmed what everybody knew anyway — that she was running a “slimy,” “nasty” contest; it was a “galling” comment; “the sleaziest moment of the campaign.” The misrepresentations were so outrageous that even conservative commentator Nicholas Kristof felt obliged to protest: “To set aside Clinton’s denials and suggest that ‘as far as I know’ captured her entire response is patently dishonest. Yet that’s exactly when many media players did.” Of course, if any of us in the blogosphere dared to suggest otherwise, we were racist, ignorant, backward, divisive, deluded, demented, trivializing, petty, and vindictive hypocrites. The intolerance of any other point of view was frightening to behold.

      Want to know the real story?
      On February 4, 2008, the National Enquirer published the infamous photo of Obama in Somali garb, along with the headline, “Obama’s Shocking Al-Queda Link!” []. The photo was then widely circulated on the Internet over the next several weeks. On February 25, 2008, three weeks after the Enquirer published the photo, Matt Drudge then posted the photo along with the (never-verified) claim that it was emailed to him by a Clinton staffer. You know the Drudge Report, don’t you? The site is a potent combination of real scoops, gossip and innuendo aimed at Mr. Drudge’s targets of choice — some of it delivered with no apparent effort to determine its truth. Clinton campaign aides denied circulating the photo, although they obviously couldn’t say for sure whether some dumb Clinton ally may have done so without authorization. Why would ONLY Matt Drudge, that icon of the right who came to national prominence a decade ago as a nemesis of the Clintons, have received it? And why, absent any proof that it was the Clinton campaign circulating it, would the Obama campaign have reacted so vehemently — on the very same day that Hillary was delivering a major foreign policy address? I’ll let you guess which story — her speech on foreign policy, or Drudge’s report about the photo — got the most press. Later in the day, political blogger Marc Ambinder, reported that an Obama aide “who would know” told him the Clinton campaign did NOT send the email with attached photo to Drudge, but it was already too late. So who exactly was playing whom? I think we’ll never know.[]

  10. Tom permalink
    September 12, 2010 6:58 am

    Bibi’s been trying to get us to attack Iran for over a decade. Every couple of years Israel trots out some scary statistics and says Iran is two to three years from getting a bomb. The years come and go and no bomb. Israel has become a nation of paranoid scare-mongers. They need a boogey man to distract the world away from their inhumane, illegal occupation. So far it’s largely worked.

    G-d forbid the MSM ever questions the Israelis or Americans about how every comment they’ve ever made about Iran’s nuclear abilities has been dead wrong.

  11. September 12, 2010 9:20 am

    @Carolyn- LOL- so, you’ve given this some thought!

    Ok, Batts would be a good pick. Not quite as good as me, but at least she’s a judge.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      September 12, 2010 10:55 am

      @stacyx – You betcha. I sat on a jury presided over by Judge Batts. She was awesome to behold. At one point, a witness was bumbling-stumbling over a remark that was clearly heading in a distinctly homophobic direction. I was holding my breath and sneaking looks at Batts, wondering what she’d do (everyone in the court room knew she is openly gay). She interrupted him calmly, then archly said something like, “Are you suggesting that people of the same gender cannot have feelings of attraction for one another?” He turned every shade of red and quickly rephrased his remark.

  12. Thain permalink
    September 12, 2010 10:58 am

    New subject: Stacy, photo bomb today? 🙂

  13. Tovah permalink
    September 12, 2010 11:07 am

    Oh sh*t. Trouble ahead for peace talks.

    You know, given that Secy Clinton and Pres. Obama apparently requested BOTH parties to not play out their negotiations in the public and posture and say things that may win them points at home but undermine peace talks, you would think that Bibi could keep this stuff to himself and just bring it up this week in negotiations. Same thing with Abbas and his threats to walk out of talks if settlements continue.

    The Palestinians agree to recognize the State of Israel and its security needs. The flag of Israel has a big huge Star of David and everyone knows there are lots of us Jews there. Back when the Palestinians (under Arafat) initially WOULDNT recognize Israel, we said they needed to do that. We said nothing about having to formally recognize it as a solely Jewish state given there are millions of Arabs and Christians there. Now that the Palestinians agreed to recognize Israel’s full rights to exist and their security needs the US and Israel want to throw in another hurdle? It almost sounds like Israel wants to ensure these talks don’t come to anything. The US also started adopting the phrase “recognize Israel as a Jewish state” under pressure from the Israeli lobbying groups.

    Just create two states for G-d’s sake!

    Oh yeah, photo bomb? 🙂

    • September 12, 2010 11:14 am

      re: bibi- I really try to be objective but I just can’t- Bibi has NEVER agreed with a two state solution and I don’t buy this change of heart. I’m going to try to remain hopeful that Hillary can work her magic but I really wish someone other than Bibi was at the helm.

      re: photo bomb. Yes, but it won’t be up for a few hours. I am looking for photos now and then I have to do some stuff. So check back later in the afternoon.

      • Steve permalink
        September 12, 2010 11:43 am

        @stacy- I applaud your efforts to be hopeful. In my 50 years of watching these negotiations, I’ve kind of lost hope. I made the mistake of going back and reading (and watching youtube videos) of some of the speeches made at the last AIPAC conference- the one where Hillary spoke- and it became more and more clear to me that a big huge obstacle to a just resolution of the conflict is my ownconstituency/group- American Jews. To watch thousands of people jump to their feet time and time again as Bibi spoke (quite angrily) and declared that “Jerusalem is not a settlement” is beyond depressing. The sad fact is that American Jews are unwilling to support the US efforts to bring about peace IF THAT MEANS putting even the tiniest bit of pressure on Israel.

        Do you realize if AIPAC, the ADL, AJC and others in the Jewish community got together and wrote an open letter to Obama saying that they fully supported his efforts to bring about peace and that they understood both sides would have to make hard choices and make compromises for peace- or something along those lines, THAT would make Bibi sit up and take notice more than anything else. Bibi knows he controls Congress through AIPAC and he knows that when it comes to choosing between an American President and an Israeli Prime Minister, many American Jewish organizations with pander to the Prime Minister. Very, very troubling in my opinion. Settlement construction would stop tomorrow if AIPAC went to Bibi and asked him to compromise. In fact, I read an article in JPost that said that before Bibi would make any deals or proposals he would – get this- check with AIPAC first! Not the US administration, mind you, but AIPAC.

        I’m just really disgusted right now and it’s time that those of us in the Jewish community start to own up to our complicity in the Occupation. The Occupation and the Israeli governments trigger happy, disproportionate response to every provocation no matter how minor is making more enemies, not less. Also, Israel has stop treating its allies, including the US, like f*cking doormats. We can support Israel’s legitimate security concerns without blindly rubber stamping every half ass, damaging, self-defeating proposal, statement and action that Israeli leaders make. Do we support every single US government policy irrespective of whether its a democratic or republican one simply because its our government and we should be loyal? Of COURSE not. And no one in the Jewish community would ever suggest that loyalty to the US is dependent upon unthinking approval of everything the US does. So why do we have to support every damn thing Israel does?

        • September 12, 2010 11:49 am

          @Steve- So, are you saying I shouldn’t put a photo of Hillary speaking at the AIPAC conference in the photo bomb today? 😉

  14. Tovah permalink
    September 12, 2010 2:05 pm

    @Steve- I understand your frustration but things are changing- just very, very slowly. Look at J-Street. The idea that a group like J-Street would not only be created but be quite popular, just shows how things have changed.

    As I’ve said before, my generation (I’m 30) looks at things a little bit differently than my parents generation. Some of us are a tad more willing to question Israel than previous generations are. My parents think you NEVER criticize Israel and they have accepted without question the right-wing, AIPAC talking point that Obama is “bad for Israel” or an outright anti-Semite. When I ask them why they believe this their answers range from “that’s what people say” to “he is too hard on Israel and isn’t hard on the Palestinians” etc. etc. When I try to explain to them that there won’t be a democratic state of Israel with a majority Jewish population if a two state solution isn’t reached, they look at me like I have 5 heads. They don’t question much. They don’t think illegal settlements are illegal because Israel says they aren’t illegal. Sometimes when I talk to them I feel like my head is going to explode.

    I will say, however, that there is a lot of pressure on Jewish college students to follow the right-wing, hawkish “pro-Israel” party line. I joined a Jewish student group in college and it really ended up being a support Israel group. At the time I didn’t question it too much but back then I honestly didn’t make an effort to learn about the Palestinian point of view. A LOT of events included reps from AIPAC. So, it still can be a tough road for younger Jewish students who think outside the box and challenge the conventional wisdom with respect to Israel and that’s too bad. I think that we need to be more inclusive and not have a pro-Israel litmus test. A lot of my more liberal Jewish friends in college ended up joining other progressive campus groups because they felt their views weren’t really tolerated in the Jewish groups. Again, I didn’t question it too much at the time.

    • September 12, 2010 2:10 pm

      Good points Tovah.

      With regard to your comments about J-Street- I think that’s why it’s important for people who share J-Streets views, whether Jewish or not, to support them in any way possible. AIPAC has been very dismissive of them while at the same time seeming a bit threatened. I give donations to J-Street because I believe that there needs to be more of an honest discussion about Mid-East policy and I think AIPAC shouldn’t necessarily be the only voice and the only viewpoint that is acceptable. The more people that support J Street, the more members of Congress and the WH will take notice. I kept hoping that Hillary would speak at a J-Street event. But quite honestly, right now because AIPAC demonizes J Street, I think a lot of politicians (including maybe Hillary) may be hesitant to throw their support behind the group for fear of bringing down the wrath of AIPAC. And you know what, that’s a very valid concern in my view.

      • Steve permalink
        September 12, 2010 3:16 pm

        Things won’t change if we continue to indoctrinate our children with propaganda about Israel. How many Jewish parents tell their kids about the Nakba? How many tell them about how Jewish settlers toss Palestinian families- not Hamas mind you, but average Palestinians living within Israel- out of homes they’ve lived in for decades on land they’ve farmed for hundreds of years? My wife, who was born in Israel, made sure our kids knew that part of history also. But I think she’s the exception, not the rule. As we speak, Israel is taking part in “Judafication” of Palestinian villages. Remember when the Germans did that? It’s ethnic cleansing.

        I’ve seen this deserted village (Lifta) and it is hauntingly beautiful. Once again though, settlers and the govt have taken it over after forcing out all it’s residents. Official Israeli history tells us the hundreds of thousands of Arabs through Palestine (not just in Lifta of course) simply upped and left after 1948! And that’s what most children are being taught. It’s certainly what I was taught.

  15. September 12, 2010 5:24 pm

    Media Matters has an interesting timeline tracing how the whole park51 and attendant Islamophobia was really nurtured by right wingers who kind of took over the whole opposition.

    Among the most hateful individuals by far is Pam Geller- I think she is one of the most poisonous bloggers that I know of on either the right or left. No one can really compare to her racism and hate-mongering. She gets more extreme by the day. She actually sounds a bit unbalanced when she really gets going, which is pretty much anytime she opens her mouth. It’s no surprise that she hijacked the opposition to the community center and turned it into a national referendum on “the Islamization of America.” And then of course Fox News has been key to spreading fear and hate. It’s what they excel at.

    And all that talk about “Obama is a Muslim” during the 2008 primary and which was blamed on Hillary’s campaign? Nope, it came from Geller’s crowd. She is very adept at using right wing media to plant stories in the MSM.

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