Monday, March 12, 2012

368 EU trade commissioner says Jewish intransigence dooms MidEast talks in Washington

EU trade commissioner says Jewish intransigence dooms MidEast talks in Washington

(1) Charles W. ("Chas") Freeman: Israel; Asset or Liability?
(2) EU trade commissioner says Jewish intransigence dooms MidEast talks in Washington
(3) European Trade Chief Accused of Anti-Semitism
(4) Wiesenthal was a Mossad agent
(5) Mossad financed Wiesenthal's office in Vienna and paid him $300 a month as wages
(6) Tony Blair: Why I am a passionate believer in Israel

(1) Charles W. ("Chas") Freeman: Israel; Asset or Liability?

From: WVNS <ummyakoub@yahoo.com> Date: 03.09.2010 08:30 AM

Chas Freeman – prepared remarks

Nixon Center debate, "Israel; Asset or Liability?"

July 20, 2010

http://www.nixoncenter.org/index.cfm?action=showpage&page=Freeman-Israel-Asset-or-Liability

Is Israel a strategic asset or liability for the United States? Interesting question. We must thank the Nixon Center for asking it. In my view, there are many reasons for Americans to wish the Jewish state well. Under current circumstances, strategic advantage for the United States is not one of them. If we were to reverse the question, however, and to ask whether the United States is a strategic asset or liability for Israel, there would be no doubt about the answer.

American taxpayers fund between 20 and 25 percent of Israel's defense budget (depending on how you calculate this). Twenty-six percent of the $3 billion in military aid we grant to the Jewish state each year is spent in Israel on Israeli defense products. Uniquely, Israeli companies are treated like American companies for purposes of U.S. defense procurement. Thanks to congressional earmarks, we also often pay half the costs of special Israeli research and development projects, even when – as in the case of defense against very short-range unguided missiles -- the technology being developed is essentially irrelevant to our own military requirements. In short, in many ways, American taxpayers fund jobs in Israel's military industries that could have gone to our own workers and companies. Meanwhile, Israel gets pretty much whatever it wants in terms of our top-of-the-line weapons systems, and we pick up the tab.

Identifiable U.S. government subsidies to Israel total over $140 billion since 1949. This makes Israel by far the largest recipient of American giveaways since World War II. The total would be much higher if aid to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and support for Palestinians in refugee camps and the occupied territories were included. These programs have complex purposes but are justified in large measure in terms of their contribution to the security of the Jewish state.

Per capita income in Israel is now about $37,000 -- on a par with the UK. Israel is nonetheless the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, accounting for well over a fifth of it. Annual U.S. government transfers run at well over $500 per Israeli, not counting the costs of tax breaks for private donations and loans that aren't available to any other foreign country.

These military and economic benefits are not the end of the story. The American government also works hard to shield Israel from the international political and legal consequences of its policies and actions in the occupied territories, against its neighbors, or – most recently – on the high seas. The nearly 40 vetoes the United States has cast to protect Israel in the UN Security Council are the tip of iceberg. We have blocked a vastly larger number of potentially damaging reactions to Israeli behavior by the international community. The political costs to the United States internationally of having to spend our political capital in this way are huge.

Where Israel has no diplomatic relations, U.S. diplomats routinely make its case for it. As I know from personal experience (having been thanked by the then Government of Israel for my successful efforts on Israel's behalf in Africa), the U.S. government has been a consistent promoter and often the funder of various forms of Israeli programs of cooperation with other countries. It matters also that America – along with a very few other countries – has remained morally committed to the Jewish experiment with a state in the Middle East. Many more Jews live in America than in Israel. Resolute

American support should be an important offset to the disquiet about current trends that has led over 20 percent of Israelis to emigrate, many of them to the United States, where Jews enjoy unprecedented security and prosperity.

Clearly, Israel gets a great deal from us. Yet it's pretty much taboo in the United States to ask what's in it for Americans. I can't imagine why. Still, the question I've been asked to address today is just that: what's in it -- and not in it -- for us to do all these things for Israel.

We need to begin by recognizing that our relationship with Israel has never been driven by strategic reasoning. It began with President Truman overruling his strategic and military advisers in deference to personal sentiment and political expediency. We had an arms embargo on Israel until Lyndon Johnson dropped it in 1964 in explicit return for Jewish financial support for his campaign against Barry Goldwater. In 1973, for reasons peculiar to the Cold War, we had to come to the rescue of Israel as it battled Egypt. The resulting Arab oil embargo cost us dearly. And then there's all the time we've put into the perpetually ineffectual and now long defunct "peace process."

Still the US-Israel relationship has had strategic consequences. There is no reason to doubt the consistent testimony of the architects of major acts of anti-American terrorism about what motivates them to attack us. In the words of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is credited with masterminding the 9/11 attacks, their purpose was to focus "the American people ... on the atrocities that America is committing by supporting Israel against the Palestinian people …." As Osama Bin Laden, purporting to speak for the world's Muslims, has said again and again: "we have . . . stated many times, for more than two-and-a-half-decades, that the cause of ourdisagreement with you is your support to your Israeli allies who occupy our land of Palestine ...." Some substantial portion of the many lives and the trillions of dollars we have so far expended in our escalating conflict with the Islamic world must be apportioned to the costs of our relationship with Israel.

It's useful to recall what we generally expect allies and strategic partners to do for us. In Europe, Asia, and elsewhere in the Middle East, they provide bases and support the projection of American power beyond their borders. They join us on the battlefield in places like Kuwait and Afghanistan or underwrite the costs of our military operations. They help recruit others to our coalitions. They coordinate their foreign aid with ours. Many defray the costs of our use of their facilities with "host nation support" that reduces the costs of our military operations from and through their territory. They store weapons for our troops', rather than their own troops' use. They pay cash for the weapons we transfer to them.

Israel does none of these things and shows no interest in doing them. Perhaps it can't. It is so estranged from everyone else in the Middle East that no neighboring country will accept flight plans that originate in or transit it. Israel is therefore useless in terms of support for American power projection. It has no allies other than us. It has developed no friends. Israeli participation in our military operations would preclude the cooperation of many others. Meanwhile, Israel has become accustomed to living on the American military dole. The notion that Israeli taxpayers might help defray the expense of U.S. military or foreign assistance operations, even those undertaken at Israel's behest, would be greeted with astonishment in Israel and incredulity on Capitol Hill.

Military aid to Israel is sometimes justified by the notion of Israel as a test bed for new weapons systems and operational concepts. But no one can identify a program of military R & D in Israel that was initially proposed y our men and women in uniform. All originated with Israel or members of Congress acting on its behalf. Moreover, what Israel makes it sells not just to the United States but to China, India, and other major arms markets. It feels no obligation to take U.S. interests into account when it transfers weapons and technology to third countries and does so only under duress.

Meanwhile, it's been decades since Israel's air force faced another in the air. It has come to specialize in bombing civilian infrastructure and militias with no air defenses. There is not much for the U.S. Air Force to learn from that. Similarly, the Israeli navy confronts no real naval threat. Its experience in interdicting infiltrators, fishermen, and humanitarian aid flotillas is not a model for the U.S. Navy to study. Israel's army, however, has had lessons to impart. Now in its fifth decade of occupation duty, it has developed techniques of pacification, interrogation, assassination, and drone attack that inspired U.S. operations in Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, Somalia, Yemen, and Waziristan. Recently, Israel has begun to deploy various forms of remote-controlled robotic guns. These enable operatives at far-away video screens summarily to execute anyone they view as suspicious. Such risk-free means of culling hostile populations could conceivably come in handy in some future American military operation, but I hope not. I have a lot of trouble squaring the philosophy they embody with the values Americans traditionally aspired to exemplify.

It is sometimes said that, to its credit, Israel does not ask the United States to fight its battles for it; it just wants the money and weapons to fight them on its own. Leave aside the question of whether Israel's battles are or should also be America's. It is no longer true that Israel does not ask us to fight for it. The fact that prominent American apologists for Israel were the most energetic promoters of the U.S. invasion of Iraq does

not, of course, prove that Israel was the instigator of that grievous misadventure. But the very same people are now urging an American military assault on Iran explicitly to protect Israel and to preserve its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East. Their advocacy is fully coordinated with the Government of Israel. No one in the region wants a nuclear-armed Iran, but Israel is the only country pressing Americans to go to war over this.

Finally, the need to protect Israel from mounting international indignation about its behavior continues to do grave damage to our global and regional standing. It has severely impaired our ties with the world's 1.6 billion Muslims. These costs to our international influence, credibility, and leadership are, I think, far more serious than the economic and other burdens of the relationship.

Against this background, it's remarkable that something as fatuous as the notion of Israel as a strategic asset could have become the unchallengeable conventional wisdom in the United States. Perhaps it's just that as someone once said: "people … will more easily fall victim to a big lie than a small one." Be that as it may, the United States and Israel have a lot invested in our relationship. Basing our cooperation on a thesis and narratives that will not withstand scrutiny is dangerous. It is especially risky in the context of current fiscal pressures in the United States. These seem certain soon to force major revisions of both current levels of American defense spending and global strategy, in the Middle East as well as elsewhere. They also place federally-funded programs in Israel in direct competition with similar programs here at home. To flourish over the long term, Israel's relations with the United States need to be grounded in reality, not myth, and in peace, not war.

(2) EU trade commissioner says Jewish intransigence dooms MidEast talks in Washington

From: Sami Joseph <sajoseph2005@yahoo.com> Date: 05.09.2010 04:54 PM

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/03/eu-official-antisemitism-middle-east-peace-talks

Anger at EU chief's Middle East outburst

EU trade commissioner accused of antisemitism after saying Jewish intransigence dooms Middle East talks in Washington

Ian Traynor in Brussels

 Friday 3 September 2010

A top European official was accused of antisemitism tonight after declaring that there was little point in engaging in rational argument with Jews and suggesting that the latest Middle East peace talks were doomed because of the power of the Jewish lobby in Washington.

Karel De Gucht, the European commissioner for trade, and a former Belgian foreign minister, sparked outrage after voicing his scepticism about the prospects for the negotiations which opened in the US this week. He told a Belgian radio station that most Jews always believed they were right, and questioned the point of talking to them about the Middle East.

De Gucht, who negotiates for Europe on trade with the rest of the world, and is one of the most powerful officials in Brussels, was forced today to issue a statement declaring that the views he expressed were personal.

"Don't underestimate the opinion … of the average Jew outside Israel," he told the radio station. "There is indeed a belief – it's difficult to describe it otherwise – among most Jews that they are right. And a belief is something that's difficult to counter with rational arguments.

And it's not so much whether these are religious Jews or not. Lay Jews also share the same belief that they are right. So it is not easy to have, even with moderate Jews, a rational discussion about what is actually happening in the Middle East."

Explaining why he thought the peace talks were probably doomed, he added: "Do not underestimate the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill. That is the best organised lobby, you shouldn't underestimate the grip it has on American politics – no matter whether it's Republicans or Democrats."

Jewish leaders were incandescent. "This is part of a dangerous trend of incitement against Jews and Israel in Europe that needs to be stamped out immediately," said Moshe Kantor, the head of the European Jewish Congress. "What sort of environment allows such remarks to be made openly by a senior politician? Once again we hear outrageous antisemitism from a senior European official. The libel of Jewish power is apparently acceptable at the highest levels of the EU."

Officials in Brussels stressed the remarks did not represent EU views or policies. De Gucht was forced to issue a statement clarifying his remarks.

"I gave an interview … I gave my personal point of view," he said. "I regret that the comments that I made have been interpreted in a sense that I did not intend.

"I did not mean in any possible way to cause offence or stigmatise the Jewish community. I want to make clear that antisemitism has no place in today's world."

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, today attacked the "doomed" Middle East peace talks and urged Palestinians to continue armed resistance to Israel. Ahmadinejad used the annual al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally in Tehran to scorn the Obama administration's efforts in launching the first Arab-Israeli negotiations in nearly two years.

"The people of Palestine and the people of the region will not allow them to sell even an inch of Palestinian soil to the enemy," he said.

Iran supports Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian movement that controls the Gaza Strip and opposes talks involving Mahmoud Abbas, the western-backed PLO leader who is based in the West Bank.

(3) European Trade Chief Accused of Anti-Semitism

From: Josef Schwanzer <donauschwob@optusnet.com.au> Date: 04.09.2010 11:02 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/04/world/europe/04iht-union.html

September 3, 2010

By STEPHEN CASTLE

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s chief trade negotiator was accused on Friday of “outrageous anti-Semitism” after comments made in an interview about Israel’s role in Middle East peace talks.

Karel De Gucht, the European commissioner for trade, told a radio station in his native Belgium that the “average Jew” had a belief that they are right, which was “difficult to counter with rational arguments.”

“It’s not so much whether these are religious Jews or not,” Mr. De Gucht argued on VRT radio. “Lay Jews also share the same belief that they are right. So it is not easy to have, even with moderate Jews, a rational discussion about what is actually happening in the Middle East.”

Mr. De Gucht also said the Jewish community wielded its influence in the United States. “Don’t underestimate the power of the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill,” he added. “That is the best organized lobby, you shouldn’t underestimate the grip it has on American politics — no matter whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”

The comments follow a recent controversy in Germany, where Thilo Sarrazin, an executive of the German central bank, referred to a “Jewish gene” while also criticizing Muslim immigration. That has led to calls for his resignation.

Known for plain speaking, Mr. De Gucht has served both as deputy prime minister and foreign minister in Belgium and once caused a diplomatic incident with Congo after highlighting the failings of politicians in the former Belgian colony.

At the time Henri Mova Sakanyi, the Congolese information minister, claimed Mr. De Gucht’s comments bordered on “racism and nostalgia for colonialism.”

Mr. De Gucht now holds one of the most influential posts within the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, which was embarrassed by the furor Friday.

These were “personal comments” which do not reflect the European Union’s view on the Middle East Peace process, said Olivier Bailly, a spokesman for the European Commission, who refused to comment on whether they were acceptable.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said the remarks were “part of a dangerous trend of incitement against Jews and Israel in Europe that needs to be stamped out immediately.”

“Once again we hear outrageous anti-Semitism from a senior European official,” he said.

Faced with demands for an apology, Mr. De Gucht issued a statement saying he had not meant to offend anyone.

“I regret that the comments that I made have been interpreted in a sense that I did not intend,” he said. “I did not mean in any possible way to cause offense or stigmatize the Jewish community. I want to make clear that anti-Semitism has no place in today’s world and is fundamentally against our European values.”

That failed to placate critics, and the European Jewish Congress issued a second declaration rejecting it as insufficient.

“We didn’t read any apology in the statement, and are still waiting to hear one,” it said. “These remarks clearly fall within the European Union’s own definition of anti-Semitism, so there can be no explanation for these comments and no possible justification for European officials to dismiss.

(4) Wiesenthal was a Mossad agent

From: IHR News <news@ihr.org> Date: 04.09.2010 08:00 AM

Wiesenthal Worked for Israeli Spy Agency, Book Alleges

By ETHAN BRONNER

Published: September 2, 2010

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/02/wiesenthal-worked-for-isr_n_703487.html

JERUSALEM — Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who gained worldwide fame for decades as a one-man Nazi-hunting operation, was in fact frequently on the payroll of the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, a new biography asserts.

The assertion, based on numerous documents and interviews with three people said to be Mr. Wiesenthal’s Mossad handlers, not only punctures a widely held belief about how he operated; it also suggests a need to re-evaluate the standard view that the Israeli government took no interest in tracking down Nazis until the 1960 capture in Argentina of Adolf Eichmann, and little thereafter.

Mr. Wiesenthal died in 2005 at the age of 96 in his Vienna home.

“This requires us to adjust in some small way our view of history,” said Tom Segev, the author of the new book, “Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends,” which is being published by Doubleday this week in the United States and simultaneously in six other countries.

Mr. Segev, who is Israeli and a columnist for the newspaper Haaretz here, is the author of half a dozen other books, mostly about Israeli history. In a telephone interview, he said he had been given unfettered access to Mr. Wiesenthal’s papers — some 300,000 of them, previously closed to the public — by Mr. Wiesenthal’s daughter, Paulinka Kreisberg.

While reading through Mr. Wiesenthal’s correspondence, Mr. Segev came across names of people he did not recognize and discovered that they were Mossad agents and handlers. He interviewed three of them and named two in the book.

Mr. Segev said that Mr. Wiesenthal was first employed by the political department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, a forerunner to the Mossad, and then by the agency itself. It financed his first office in Vienna in 1960, paid him a monthly salary and provided him with an Israeli passport, the biography says. Mr. Wiesenthal’s code name was Theocrat.

His main task was to help locate Nazi criminals, including Eichmann, one of the architects of the Final Solution, and especially to watch out for neo-Nazis and provide information on the activities of former Nazis in Arab countries, the book says.

It also says that Mr. Wiesenthal was part of a largely unknown earlier attempt to trap Eichmann in Austria in the last days of 1948. According to the book, an Israeli agent who was helping Mr. Wiesenthal probably caused the operation to fail when he regaled fellow New Year’s drinkers in local bars with stories of Israel’s war of independence. Word spread that an Israeli was present and Eichmann’s planned visit to his wife and child was abruptly called off, the book says.

The operation was started by Asher Ben Natan, later Israel’s first ambassador to Germany, who spoke about it with Mr. Segev. The operational report, newly declassified, is also cited. Mr. Segev said he passed his manuscript through the Israeli military censor, which is required of any work published here on security-related issues.

Mr. Wiesenthal’s role in the 1960 capture of Eichmann has been a matter of dispute. Isser Harel, the former Mossad head, now dead, claimed that the Nazi hunter deserved no credit.

But the book says that Mr. Wiesenthal, financed by the Israeli Embassy in Vienna, told the Mossad in 1953 that Eichmann was hiding in Argentina, leading ultimately to his capture by agency operatives. Eichmann’s televised trial in Israel was a milestone in modern Holocaust awareness. He was found guilty and hanged by Israel in 1962.

Mr. Wiesenthal, a complex and often controversial figure, opposed the execution, Mr. Segev shows by examining previously unknown correspondence. It was not moral objection to the death penalty but the belief that Eichmann had not yet told everything he knew and that his future testimony could be useful.

The biography provides new details on Mr. Wiesenthal’s often strained relations — ultimately mended — with Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is based in Los Angeles. The disputes, recorded in numerous letters from Mr. Wiesenthal, were mostly petty, regarding accusations that the center failed to inform or consult with him.

The book also shows that Mr. Wiesenthal came to the quiet and consistent aid of Kurt Waldheim, the former secretary general of the United Nations and president of Austria, when he was being accused by Jewish groups of having lied about his service in the German Army. The harshest suspicions of war crimes against Mr. Waldheim were never proved and Mr. Wiesenthal’s role was largely as a behind-the-scenes consultant to his fellow Austrian.

(5) Mossad financed Wiesenthal's office in Vienna and paid him $300 a month as wages
From: Josef Schwanzer <donauschwob@optusnet.com.au> Date: 03.09.2010 11:13 AM

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/famous-nazi-hunter-was-a-mossad-agent-new-book-reveals-1.311612

September 2, 2010

Famous Nazi-hunter was a Mossad agent, new book reveals

New documents from his estate show Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to tracking down Nazi war criminals, was a Mossad agent.By Dalia Karpel

Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to tracking down Nazi war criminals, was seen all his life as a one-man organization. But now, documents from his estate show he was a Mossad agent.

A new book by Tom Segev, to be published on Thursday, reveals that the Mossad supported Wiesenthal - and also shows that Israel did more to capture Nazi war criminals than was previously known.

The book, "Wiesenthal - the Biography" (published by Keter ), reveals that a 1948 Israeli operation to capture Adolf Eichmann in Austria failed.

Wiesenthal, whose efforts to trace war criminals and bring them to justice won him world acclaim, died five years ago in his Vienna home, aged 97.

During the Holocaust, he was a prisoner in five concentration camps. After the war he contacted American intelligence services and provided them with Nazi criminals' names. He was also active in the underground organization Bricha ("escape" ), which helped Jewish Holocaust survivors flee Europe for Palestine.

When Israel was established, Wiesenthal was enlisted to work with the Mossad's predecessor, the Foreign Ministry's "state department." Though he was not Israeli, he received an Israeli passport that enabled him to remain in Austria.

In December 1948, the department sent three agents, headed by Israel Defense Forces officer Michael Bloch, to Austria. With Wiesenthal's help and the Austrian security services' cooperation, the agents lay in wait for Eichmann in the Alpine village of Altaussee, where Eichmann's wife lived with her children. They believed Eichmann, who had escaped from the American POW camp Oberdachstetten, would visit his family for the new year.

But Eichmann never showed up. Perhaps he had been warned at the last moment of the Israelis' presence in the village.

Bloch wrote a detailed report of the operation that was only recently released for publication. Asher Ben Natan, a senior "state department" official who later became Israel's ambassador in Germany and France, confirmed the story.

In 1953, Wiesenthal located Eichmann and reported his whereabouts to the Israeli authorities. But only in 1960, following intelligence from Germany, did Israeli agents set out to capture him.

Wiesenthal started working for the Mossad after Eichmann's capture and continued doing so for about 10 years. His main job was to trace Nazi criminals, but he also provided his operators with information about German missile scientists and engineers working in Egypt.

The Mossad financed the establishment of Wiesenthal's office in Vienna and paid him some $300 a month in cash as wages.

(6) Tony Blair: Why I am a passionate believer in Israel
http://www.tonyblairoffice.org/news/entry/tony-blair-welcomes-re-start-of-direct-peace-talks-during-herzliya-speech/

The Office of Tony Blair

Tony Blair welcomes re-start of direct peace talks during Herzliya speech

Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010 in Office of Tony Blair, Office of the Quartet Representative

Speech by the Quartet Representative Tony Blair, Herzliya, 24th August 2010

There are two forms of de-legitimisation. One is traditional, obvious and from the quarters it emanates, expected. It is easier to deal with. This is attack from those who openly question Israel’s right to exist. It is easier to deal with, because it is so clear. When the President of Iran says he wants Israel wiped off the face of the map, we all know where we are. This is not to minimise the threat of course. It remains and is profound. It is just to say that were this the only form of de-legitimisation, it wouldn’t warrant a conference of analysis; simply a course of action. ...

So, for example, on Gaza they won’t accept that Israel might have a right to search vessels bringing cargo into Gaza, given that even this year over 100 rockets have been fired from that territory into Israel. Leave aside the multiple investigations relating to the flotilla, upon which there will naturally be heated debate. I mean a refusal to accept that, however handled, no Israeli government could be indifferent to the possibility of weapons and missiles being brought into Gaza. ...

Let me tell you why I am a passionate believer in Israel. This is a democracy. It’s Parliament is vibrant. Its politics is, well, not notably restrained, let’s say. Its press is free. Its people have rights and they are enforced. ...

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