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MJ Rosenberg
MJ Rosenberg
MJ Rosenberg is a commentator on Israel and the Middle East who draws on thirty-five years of experience as a congressional aide, State Department political appointee under President Clinton, four years at AIPAC, ten at Israel Policy Forum, and three at Media Matters for America.



Two States: Still The Only Way To End The Conflict

Jul25

by: on July 25th, 2014 | 5 Comments »

I keep hearing from people who say “but what is Israel supposed to do?” They then go on to say that it is now more obvious than ever that if Palestinians control the West Bank Israel will not be safe. “They” will just launch missiles from there.

Here are the facts:

No iteration of the two-state solution allows the West Bank to be militarized. The Palestinian state would have no army. Its borders with Israel would be guarded, not only by the IDF which obviously would not go out of existence, but by U.S. monitors. The CIA would play a particular role (as it did in the last years of Oslo), working with both sides, to prevent and combat violence. During that period CIA-brokered Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation reduced acts of terrorism to zero. All this is spelled out in the various documents circulated during negotiations; and all these conditions were accepted by Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.

Nobody who advocates the two-state solution envisions Israel just walking away and handing the keys to the Palestinians. Every proposed agreement includes ironclad security guarantees. It is also worth noting that the Palestinian Authority, even without any two-state agreement, has successfully eliminated most violence emanating from the West Bank.

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President Obama Will Be Impeached This Coming Winter

Jul24

by: on July 24th, 2014 | 2 Comments »

Credit: Creative Commons

If the polls are correct and the Senate goes Republican this November, the House of Representatives will make impeaching the president its first order of business. And it will pass the Republican House overwhelmingly.

In theory, it shouldn’t matter to the House whether the Senate has a Republican majority or not. The House can impeach regardless. But with the Senate in Democratic hands, the House leadership can argue that there is no point in impeaching (which is merely an indictment) when the Senate won’t convict.

If, as is likely, the Senate is in Republican hands, it will impeach, a Senate trial will take place, and it will be followed by a vote to remove the president from office.

On what grounds, one might ask.

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Setting Aside Your Humanity To Cheer “Team Israel”

Jul21

by: on July 21st, 2014 | 5 Comments »

I am not especially bothered by right-wingers who defend Israel’s indefensible onslaught against Gaza. Right-wingers who supported the Vietnam war (if they were around then) or the Iraq war, the people who want to go to war with Russia now. I get that. Right-wingers (think John McCain) like war and view it as sport; their side is always right.

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Israel’s Ugly War Of Choice

Jul19

by: on July 19th, 2014 | 34 Comments »

Listening to Netanyahu’s defenders in the media (and that is pretty much all you get as objective reporters are yanked off the air), I’m struck by how Americans are indoctrinated into ignoring the most significant fact about Gaza.

It is under Israeli occupation (now called blockade) and has been since 1967.

That is the cause of the “war.” Yes, Israel has the “right” to defend itself but Palestinians have the “right” to resist occupation. Those conflicting rights are leading to perdition and, in my opinion, the loss of the Israel many of us have loved and identified with our entire lives.

Credit: Flickr Charity Organisation

The oft-proclaimed Gaza withdrawal was a fraud. Although Israel pulled the settlers out, it has maintained a blockade of Gaza ever since, blocking its air, sea, and land borders, locking its people in a giant prison.

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Gaza Burns To Please The Donors

Jul16

by: on July 16th, 2014 | 8 Comments »

Credit: Creative Commons

It occurs to me that the continuing Gaza war can be viewed (in addition to viewing it as part of Israel’s continuing battle to maintain the occupation) as a testament to the failure of American democracy. Hear me out.

Everyone knows that the only way to permanently end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is by Israel getting out of the territories occupied after the ’67 war in exchange for ironclad security arrangements guaranteed by the United States.

The territories Israel would evacuate would become an independent Palestinian state.

So why does the conflict continue? No, not because the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel. They have, repeatedly.

It continues because the one nation in the world which can mediate such a deal, the United States, will not do so because it fears retribution from big donors mobilized by the lobby. That is why the Kerry mission failed. It is why every peace initiative going back to Oslo has failed. Every U.S. position has to be cleared by the donors. (I was working at AIPAC in 1982 when President Reagan himself telephoned its executive director to clear a proposal the United States was planning to issue.)

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Netanyahu’s Repulsive Call for “Revenge”

Jul1

by: on July 1st, 2014 | 9 Comments »

I’m totally dispirited by the killing of the three teenagers and by the Israeli government’s (and the Jewish organizations here) ugly reaction to it. Ugly and political, designed to justify the war against Hamas that Netanyahu lusts for.

Credit: Creative Commons

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response was perhaps the most repulsive response to an event like this that I have ever seen by any national leader of a civilized country. He vows “revenge.” Revenge? Not Even George W. Bush used that term after 9/11, pledging instead to bring the people who committed the crime to justice. FDR after Pearl Harbor? The parents after Newtown?

Meanwhile other Israeli politicians and Jewish organizations here are in their “we are one” mode which means standing together as Netanyahu blasts innocent Palestinians, and pretending that the settlement enterprise is not responsible for almost all of this.

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Israel Firsters Latest Cause: Don’t Let Iran Help In Iraq

Jun17

by: on June 17th, 2014 | 2 Comments »

The neocons are back, although not by popular demand.

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a nauseating profile of Robert Kagan, one of the Flying Wallenda, I mean Kagan, war tribe consisting of Robert, father Donald, and brother Frederick. Tough guys all!

The justification for the article is that the Kagans have come out of hiding because their Iraq policy has proven a success. Their thinking goes like this:

Yes, we helped steamroll the US into invading Iraq and we were right. The problem we are seeing today is that George W. Bush got cold feet about escalating the war and then that coward Obama pretty much ended it. So look what you have now. Disaster. And it’s because you didn’t leave our allies Cheney and Rumsfeld in charge.

No need to rebut any of that for this audience. Most of my readers believe that all the architects of the Iraq war belong at The Hague not in loving New York Times profiles.

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Palestinian Unity Will Be A Big Step On Path To Peace

Apr29

by: on April 29th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

The New York Times devoted a few thousand words on Tuesday to telling us what we already know: the peace process is dead and Prime Minister Netanyahu killed it.

Of course, it hems and haws, apportioning blame to both sides but, it is clear that the Times knows that the sole reason there was no chance that Kerry’s fool’s errand would succeed is because the Israeli right has no intention of giving up the West Bank.

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Kerry Peace Plan Insults Palestinians & Israeli Peace Camp

Apr1

by: on April 1st, 2014 | 11 Comments »

It is possible that the details of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace proposal (as reported in the New York Times) are wrong. However, assuming the reports are correct, the Palestinians would be out of their minds to accept it. It is bad for Israelis and Palestinians and demeans the United States by reducing us to the role of Binyamin Netanyahu’s stenographer.

Here are the key points as reported in the Times.

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The Official Goal Of BDS Is Ending Israel, Not Just The ’67 Occupation

Mar26

by: on March 26th, 2014 | 39 Comments »

Early Wednesday morning the University of Michigan’s student government voted down a resolution that would have begun the process of divesting from companies doing business with Israel. It was the latest defeat for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is dedicated to fighting Israel by isolating it, particularly in the cultural and economic sectors.

Other than Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to devote a full 25% of his recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to condemning the BDS movement, it hasn’t got very much to show for its efforts. And I don’t expect it ever will.

The reason why BDS keeps failing despite the almost universal recognition that the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are illegal and immoral is that the BDS movement is not targeting the occupation per se. Its goal is the end of the State of Israel itself.

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