Mitchell Plitnick on LobeLog: Elliott Abrams’ Shell Game on Settlements

The shell game is a tried-and-true method of persuading people to give their money to the person running the game. In political terms, it’s also a reliable method of persuading people to buy into the political stance of the man running the game.

Elliott Abrams is a master of the shell game. He provides what seems like a serious and sober analysis, with just enough cherry-picking of facts and omission of detail to convince you of his point of view. That is a big reason why this man, who is responsible for some of the greatest foreign policy fiascos in American history, continues to be considered a legitimate source for foreign policy analysis.

Perhaps it’s not surprising. Despite the enormous catastrophes brought on by the neoconservative school of thought of which Abrams is a part, the philosophy, such as it is, continues to be an influential voice in the foreign policy debate in the United States. This is, however, even more reason to look at an apparent change of course from Abrams with a skeptical eye.

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Peace Now News Flash: The Ramat Shlomo Plan is to get the Final Green Light

Shalom Achshav, APN's sister organization in Israel, reported:
The Jerusalem District committee for Construction and Planning will convene on Wednesday, 6/5/15, to approve Plan no. 11085 for the construction of 1,531 housing units in Ramat Shlomo. The plan was called "The Biden Plan" when during the visit of Vice President Biden in Jerusalem, on March 2010, the plan was approved for depositing by the planning committee
 
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APN Israel Study Tour - Spring, 2015

Study_Tour2015_Announcement_400This week, Americans for Peace Now's 2015 Israel Study Tour is exploring Israel and the West Bank, focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts to resolve it.

See below for pictures, video, and highlights from our Twitter feed.

 

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Lara_2011_headshot320x265blurred-backgroundCongress has a long record of supporting and defending Israel's security, Israel's economy, Israel's position and treatment in international organizations and the international community, Israel's right to self-defense, and Israel's reputation as a nation that seeks peace. For this it deserves credit. 

Congress also has a long record of refusing to affirmatively support Israel's policy of building settlements in the occupied territories, including, for example, by barring the use of U.S.-backed loan guarantees for settlement activity. For this too, Congress deserves credit.  Israel's settlements enterprise runs counter to the policy of every U.S. administration since 1967, whether led by a Republican or Democrat, and runs counter to Israel's own interests.  Settlements undermine Israel's security, erode Israel's position in the international community and belie Israel's commitment to peace and the two-state solution - and if there is no two-state solution, Israel cannot survive as both a democracy and a Jewish state.  

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This week, Alpher discusses whether there is any chance former US President Jimmy Carter will succeed in generating Palestinian unity where everyone else has failed when he arrives in the region this Thursday to mediate between Hamas and Fateh, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia; if Israel’s northern front is heating up or if recent incidents are connected to events in the Syrian civil war; how US involvement in the Saudi-led effort in Yemen, directed against Iranian intervention squares with the US-led nuclear talks with Iran; why Israel couldn’t observe the centenary of the Armenian genocide on April 24.

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Watch the video below.speakers collage w-Lara375x200

The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the Conflict Management Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) are pleased to host Lara Friedman (Americans for Peace Now), Ghaith Al-Omari (WINEP), Ilan Peleg (MEI) and Shibley Telhami (Univ. of Maryland) for a discussion about the policy options confronting key players in the peace process following the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  

Is the peace process over, as critics of PM Netanyahu allege? Depending on what kind of a government Netanyahu forms, what are Israel's options for dealing with the Palestinian issue? How might Israel's settlement policies be affected by the formation of a "right-wing" government versus a "national unity" government?  Will the Palestinian Authority accelerate its campaign for state recognition in global organizations? And finally, what influence can the Obama Administration exert on the two sides?   

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APN to Congress: Reject Pro-Settlement Legislation

Washington, DC – APN Today released the following statement regarding pro-settlements legislation in the House and Senate:

“As a pro-Israel, pro-peace organization and the sister organization to Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), Israel’s veteran grassroots, Zionist peace movement, Americans for Peace Now (APN) rejects and condemns efforts in Congress, backed by AIPAC, to legislate U.S. support for Israeli settlements. We urge Congress to recognize the danger and folly of this approach and to hold firm in its well-established support for Israel and its equally well-established refusal to endorse Israeli settlements – and to reject HR 825 and efforts to pass similar language in the Senate.

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"8 million prime ministers, 8 million prophets, 8 million messiahs..."

Yom Haatzmaut

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Israeli author Amos Oz likes to say that he loves Israel even when he can’t stand it.

Israel’s public sphere has in recent months given Israelis such as Oz, and their friends overseas, many reasons for frustration. The growing gap between rich and poor (the widest in the world), overt expressions of racism, intolerance and xenophobia, anti-democratic ultra-nationalist legislation, government policies that pull the rug from under the pro-peace rhetoric of its leaders. And rhetoric that doesn’t even presume to be pro-peace.

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'Israel's Direction Post-Election' with Dr. Gershon Baskin, April 20, 2015.

baskin-event-logoDr. Baskin, renowned Israeli peace activist and political commentator, award-winning journalist and author, and negotiator of Gilad Shalit's release, visited Los Angeles for this special post Israeli election event.

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APN's Lara Friedman in Haaretz: A defeat for Israel, a victory for settlers and BDS

BDS-Haaretz-Lara320x265By effectively equating Israel proper with the occupied territories, Israel's High Court has made life harder for pro-Israel, pro-peace activists.

The High Court's decision to uphold the so-called Anti-Boycott Law will, regrettably, be a boon to Israeli settlers and their supporters, whilst giving a gift to activists worldwide who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

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