Posted on April 16, 2018 in Washington Watch
by James J. Zogby To say that the situation in Gaza is deplorable and desperate is an understatement. That impoverished strip of land on the Eastern Mediterranean has been deplorable and desperate for decades. I traveled to Gaza many times during the 1990's, in my capacity as co-Chair of Builders for Peace, which was a project launched by Vice President Al Gore to help grow the Palestinian economy. My colleagues and I were unprepared for what we found. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, who led one of these delegations, described what he saw...Read more
Posted on April 13, 2018 in Countdown
DREAMers Countdown: It’s been 219 days since President Trump moved to end DACA. The courts did step in to block the move, but Congress has yet to provide a permanent fix.Read more
Posted by Guest on March 28, 2018 in Blog
By Laura Neumayer
Since taking office, President Trump has shaken things up in the U.S. approach to foreign policy and relations in the Middle East, especially where Israel and Palestine are concerned. With the decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and “recognize” the city as Israel’s capital, tensions have escalated between Israel and the Palestinians. Adding to the cocktail of precarious policy efforts in the region, the President’s “ultimate deal” plan for peace in the region has faced major pushback and has been dismissed by Palestinian leaders.
In light of these escalating tensions...Read more
Posted on January 27, 2018 in Washington Watch
by James J. Zogby
US Vice President Michael Pence's recent foray into Middle East politics has been nothing short of a disaster. Because he sees the world through the lens of right-wing Evangelical Christianity, he trampled on regional realities, leaving a mess in his wake.
One might have hoped that American political leaders had learned the dangers of an ideologically-driven foreign policy from the failed presidency of George W. Bush. Bush, whose world view was a mish-mash of Evangelical and neo-conservative doctrines, led the US into a disastrous invasion of Iraq. Guided by ideology, Bush saw that war as a necessary...Read more
Posted by Guest on January 23, 2018 in Blog
By Mollie Todd
“We stand with Israel, because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil” – This was just one of several insensible statements from Mike Pence’s speech before the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, on Monday. To some, the speech seemed more like a sermon, as Pence’s rhetoric relied heavily on Biblical references. The event drew much criticism from the Palestinian community and from Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament. During the speech, Palestinian members of parliament were ejected for holding up signs declaring “Jerusalem is the capital of...Read more
Posted by Ryan Suto on January 10, 2018 in Blog
On 29 December the Jerusalem Post published an interview with the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. In that article, Friedman stated that reactions were "largely emotional" to the Trump administration's announcement of support to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
He went on to state: "We expected the reaction, although we were disappointed with some of the rhetoric, which was ugly, needlessly provocative and anti-Semitic [sic]". The anti-Semitism charge
Friedman does not elaborate how political disagreements with an international policy change constitute bigotry against Judaism as a religion or Jews as a people....Read more
Posted by Ryan Suto on January 08, 2018 in Blog
With congress reconvening this week, we will be watching a few bills which might resurface in the new session. While there are always many concerning bills introduced each Congress, most linger without significant support. As such, the below is an abbreviated list of the bills we would highlight that have not yet been enacted, but may find new life in 2018 as Congress looks toward midterm elections later this year.
S.1697 / H.R.1164 - Taylor Force Act. This bill calls for cutting US funding for the Palestinian Authority (PA) for what is misleadingly described as the PA’s policy of “rewards for terrorism”. For...Read more
Posted on January 06, 2018 in Washington Watch
by James J. Zogby
Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I became embroiled in what The Jerusalem Post termed a "Twitter war" which they claimed "raised eyebrows on both sides of the Atlantic".
What started the heated exchange was my response to a tweet by celebrity chef Rachael Ray in which she called "Israeli"—"meze, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, beet dip, eggplant and sun-dried tomato dip, walnut and red pepper dip, and tabouli".
I hadn't intended a war, but my blood boiled when I saw Ray's tweet and so I tweeted a response—"Damn it! This is cultural genocide. It's not Israeli...Read more
Posted on December 21, 2017 in Countdown Vol. 17 no. 9: Oh, What a Year!
It’s hard to put Trump and “strategy” in the same sentence, given the President’s tendency to fire reckless, unadvisable tweets at all hours of the day, but he did release his official “National Security Strategy,” so we had to put that sentence together. But when you see the Washington Post reporting that Trump “may not have read” his own national security strategy, you realize we’re back in la la land where we belong. So how is this strategy document different from previous administrations’? For starters, it fails to note the seriousness of climate change as a threat to...