Posted on September 28, 2011 in Countdown

Nicely Done, Mr. President... Former

A lot went down at the U.N. around Palestine last week: President Obama delivered a disappointing campaign speech, Abbas delivered a better-than-expected U.N. membership bid speech, and Netanyahu beamed in from an alternate universe where everything is the opposite of what it is in our world. But the most interesting remarks made on the subject of Palestine last week didn’t come from the floor of the General Assembly at all, they came from Former President Bill Clinton. Foreign Policy ran the headline “Bill Clinton: Netanyahu Killed the Peace Process” over an article in which he went on to describe the Arab Peace Initiative (API) as a “huge…heck of a deal” for Israel. In Politico, President Clinton went on to liken Republican presidential contender Rick Perry to rightwing “militant subgroups in Israel,” and criticized an extremist religious constituency in the U.S. which thinks Israel should keep the West Bank and not make peace with the Palestinians. Bluntness is a common condition among former politicians, and President Clinton seems to have caught this particular strain of it from President Carter. Current Politicians who are busy worrying about reelection are not susceptible to this strain, as evident by President Obama’s omission (compared to previous years) of any reference to Palestine or Palestinians from his Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) video message. Future former president Obama might have a lot of interesting things to share.

Of Cheers & Jeers 

Some in the audience at the Republican debates have reacted bizarrely to several things: they cheered the commonness of executions in Texas, egged on the abandonment of sick people without insurance to die, and booed a gay U.S. serviceman. But the reaction that caught our attention related the DREAM Act (which we support), interestingly defended by Rick Perry (R-TX) to a mix of cheers and jeers from the audience. On the one hand (if you haven’t noticed from Clinton’s remarks above), Perry is pretty far right on the spectrum. On the other hand, educating children who grew up in America regardless of how their parents brought them here is the kind of thing he doesn’t need to run through an ideological litmus test because it is so obviously the right thing to do. Good for him for sticking to principle on this one!

Isn't It Time We Started Another One? 

With the conflict in Libya nearing its end, and an impending troop withdrawal in Iraq, what can we do with all that extra military strength? If Senator Lindsey Graham gets his way, we could use it in Pakistan! “The sovereign nation of Pakistan is engaging in hostile acts against the United States,” Graham said on Fox News Sunday. “If they continue to embrace terrorism as a part of their national strategy, we're going to have to put all options on the table, including defending our troops.” Thanks Senator, for a minute there we were worried that we wouldn’t be engaged in simultaneous wars anymore!

Worse Than We Thought 

Remember Joe Walsh? He’s the Republican Congressman who introduced a bill supporting Israel’s “right” to annex the West Bank if the Palestinians pursued their bid for U.N. membership. When we highlighted that in last week’s Countdown, we thought it was just a really severe case of pandering syndrome (P.S.). But the more we learn about Mr. Walsh, the worse we realize it is. Last week, he suggested the media was shielding President Obama from criticism because he is black. He’s also the guy who complained earlier this year that Jews in America are not sufficiently pro-Israel. Who talks like that these days? Is he sure he’s a Congressman in the intended century, or is this an anachronistic glitch?

Don't You Kind Of Miss Them?

Remember our friends at the Washington Times? Last year, we responded to a silly and delusional article they published on the threats of Palestinian statehood.  But the last time we mentioned them, we were highlighting their suggestion that former Congressman Anthony Weiner (yes, the twitter crotch photo guy) may have converted to Islam. Since it’s been a while since we’ve picked on them and we kind of miss them, we figured it was time to highlight them yet again (we’re sure they love us for it!). Last week, they published a bleak article about the prospects of the Arab Spring. We could get into the substance of the article, or we could just let their lead photo speak for itself: Ahmadinejad and Bashar Al-Assad is their visual choice for an “Arab Spring” article – doesn’t that say it all? And you wonder why we miss them….

3 More Days!

If you enjoy reading Countdown as much as we enjoy writing it, make sure to be part of the conversation this weekend at our National Leadership Conference, September 30 - October 2, 2011, in Dearborn, Michigan (check out our video promo). The conference will cover a range of domestic and foreign policy issues as well as practical workshops on building a local campaign, using social media to create a movement, and combating Islamophobia. What’s the best part about this conference? The discussions are guided by you – the participants (activists, intellectuals and community leaders) who know their communities and are looking to build a better Arab American strategy to confront the challenges of 2012 and beyond. It’s not too late to attend; register now (scholarships still available for those who qualify).

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