Friday, May 21, 2010

Bipartisanship at its best...

...when it comes to Israel. Democrat and Republican politicians may disagree on almost every single issue right down the party line but when it comes to passing laws to give Israel our tax dollars, the votes are near unanimous. Such is the case with the law just passed yesterday, giving Israel $205 million dollars for its production of short range rocket defense system. With one in ten of us unemployed, our budget deficit at all time high and our economy in shamble, our elected politicians still managed to hand over money that we do not have to Israel. As a matter of fact, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill by a wide margin of 410 - 4. Two of the four no votes are Rep. Ron Paul and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, both are the last remaining handful of true patriots in the Congress.

Howard Berman, Jewish Congressman from California, said that "with nearly every square inch of Israel at risk from rocket and missile attacks, we must ensure that our most important ally in the region has the tools to defend itself." Ted Deutch, another Jewish Congressman who voted for the bill, applauded the Obama Administration for supporting the missile system and stressed that the Administration "must always work to address the threats posed to Israel not only by short-range missiles, but by the looming possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Why is Israel "our most important ally in the region?" Throughout the years, these are what the Israelis have done:
  • Attacked us unprovoked (remember the attack on USS Liberty in 1967?).
  • Stole secrets from us and sold it to our archenemy during the Cold War.
  • Committed war crimes using weapons that were provided by us that are meant for defensive use only.
  • Continues to build Jews-only settlements in the occupied territories in clear violation of international laws while completely ignoring our demands for them to cease this ethnic-cleansing activity.
  • Repeatedly commits serious human rights abuses against Palestinians with abusers rarely brought to justice.
  • Treats its own non-Jewish citizens like second class citizens (The term Jewish and democratic is really an oxymoron. Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic simultaneously with more than 1/5 of its population being non-Jews).
  • Most importantly, putting the lives of Americans at risk by its actions because America has been associated with Israel by providing it with unwavering and undying support diplomatically, financially and militarily.

With Israel being our "most important ally," who needs enemies? All the so-called threats facing Israel are all consequences of Israel's past and present policies. If Israel wishes to live by the sword, then it will have to take the risk of dying by the sword. Why are our politicians risking the lives of our servicemen and women by taking responsibility for Israel's actions?

The full text of the bill contains the following reasons on why it is "essential" to provide this $205 million dollars funding to Israel:
(1) The State of Israel is under grave threat and frequent attack from missiles fired indiscriminately by Hamas terrorists on its southern border and Hezbollah terrorists on its northern border.

The State of Israel is under "grave" threat because it is still occupying West Bank (Palestine), Shebaa Farms (Lebanon), Golan Heights (Syria). If Israel wants to be the tough bully in the neighborhood, let Israel deal with its consequences. The easiest way to remove this threat is to withdraw from the occupied land.

(2) The Jewish State of Israel, as a close ally of the United States, requires and deserves all necessary assistance to defend itself from such indiscriminate attacks on its citizens.

The points I listed above unquestionably demonstrated that Israel is NOT our close ally. This myth about Israel sharing the same values as us is demonstrably false. We do not treat any particular group of citizens in our country as second class citizens, unlike Israel. Even though there are many Christians groups here that would like otherwise, our constitution requires that religion be separated from state. What does Israel being a Jewish state, one that is not particularly democratic to its Arab citizens and one that does not even have a constitution, share anything in common with us?

(3) The United States remains committed to Israel's qualitative military edge, including its advantage over non-state actors such as Hezbollah and Hamas, which boast increasingly sophisticated and powerful weapons as a result of support from Iran and other state actors.

What we have given Israel: Apache attack helicopters, Cobra attack helicopters, F-16 fighter/bombers, F-15 fighter jets, guided missiles, precision-guided bombs, Patriot missile batteries, howitzers, multiple launch rocket systems, satellite intelligence, etc.

What Iran/Syria are allegedly giving Hama and Hezbollah: home-made rockets, Katyusha, Scud (rumored).

Israel's "qualitative military edge" is undoubtably leaps and bounds over its opponents - of its own creation - crude weapon systems. What is so sophisticated about those Hamas home-made rockets and Hezbollah's unguided Katsuya rockets?

(4) Regional stability and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians requires that Israel can ensure the safety of its population against missile and other threats.

Regional stability and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians requires Israel not be belligerent and obey all necessary international laws. Peace can only be achieved between the two asymmetrical parties - I don't think I need to specify who's the David and who's the Goliath here - if the significantly stronger party understands that it is no longer able to abuse the much weaker party at will. By giving the Israelis the ability to counter the crude rockets from its opponents, we are actually making it harder to achieve regional stability and lasting peace since the Israelis can be even more belligerent in attacking its neighbors, now that it does not have to worry about the retaliations on its own citizens.

(5) The United States can help to advance the cause of peace by supporting Israel's ability to defend itself against missile and other threats.

On the contrary, giving Israel the "ability to defend itself against missile and other threats" actually makes it harder for Israel to negotiate in good faith. It can now continue to hold on to the territories it illegally acquired by force, knowing that there is absolutely nothing its opponents can do about it.

(8) President Barack Obama has stated: `Our commitment to Israel's security is unshakable.'.

It is a real mystery to me as to why we are committing to the security of a foreign state, this is especially so given the reasons I listed above.

(9) Vice President Joe Biden has stated: `From my experience, the one precondition for progress is that the rest of the world knows this--there is no space between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to security--none.'.

And is it still not clear to you why the Israelis dared to make the pie-in-your-face announcement on new housing development project in East Jerusalem during your visit to promote peace? It is a statement like this that makes the Israelis think that they can pretty much do whatever they want without having to suffer any consequences.

(10) Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has stated: `President Obama has affirmed, the United States commitment to Israel's security is unshakable, and our defense relationship is stronger than ever, to the mutual benefit of both nations.'

What is the benefit to us? I can probably see the short-term benefit to Israel but how is putting the lives of Americans at risk being beneficial? I must be living in a wacky world where up is down and wrong is right. Can anyone make this claim with a straight face that supporting Israel's policies in stealing land while ethnically cleansing it of its original inhabitants, thereby enraging Arabs/Muslims around the world, putting the lives of Americans at risk is actually beneficial?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Congressmen urge Obama to take personal interest in China

How would you have felt if you, as an American, read these headlines:

Chinese American Lawmakers: Obama Gets It On China

Congressmen urge Obama to take personal interest in China

Chinese American lawmakers urge Obama to visit China

Obama meets with 37 Chinese American politicians for a 'group hug and group gripe' session

Any level-headed citizen would probably be asking himself why these Chinese Americans politicians are asking President Obama to take "personal interest" in a foreign state and why he had to discuss "his support for China and strategies to counter the perception that he is not pro-China." Well, the headlines listed above are real, just swap out China/Chinese with Israel/Jewish.

Here's a list of the 37 Jewish members in both houses of Congress that met with President Obama.

1. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
2. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.)
3. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
4. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.)
5. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
6. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.)
7. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
8. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.)
9. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
10. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
11. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.)
12. John Adler (D-N.J.)
13. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.)
14. Howard Berman (D-Calif.)
15. Stephen Cohen (D-Tenn.)
16. Ted Deutch (D-FL)
17. Susan Davis (D-Calif.)
18. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)
19. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
20. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)
21. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.)
22. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)
23. Steve Kagen (D-Wisc.)
24. Ron Klein (D-Fla.)
25. Sander Levin (D-Mich.)
26. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)
27. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
28. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)
29. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.)
30. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
31. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.)
32. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)
33. Brad Sherman (D-Calif)
34. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)
35. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)
36. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)
37. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.)

Here are statements made by some of "our" elected officials after this meeting:

The President gets it,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn & Queens). “The President was reminded and conceded that there were missteps taken…There were communication problems in hitting the Israelis and then treating the Palestinians with kid gloves.

So telling the Israelis that they need to stop building on stolen land is considered "hitting the Israelis" and telling the Palestinians that they should not boycott the proxy talk regardless of Israel's decision on building on stolen land is "treating the Palestinians with kid gloves."

Rothman, an early backer of Obama's presidential candidacy, said the members thanked Obama for such initiatives, describing Obama as "the best president on U.S.-Israel military and intelligence cooperation in American history."

Can anyone else see the problem here? On one hand the Obama administration admonished the Israelis for daring to announce new building projects in occupied East Jerusalem - the administration appears to have a problem with the announcement itself but not with the act of building on stolen land, on the other hand, they are giving the Israelis $205 million dollars to help them deploy anti-missile defense system. Why would the Israelis act any differently from what they have been doing if after a public scolding we turn around and hand them cash?

It is always an honor to meet with the President of the United States, especially on an issue so vital to our national security. Israel has long been our best, and at times, only friend in the Middle East. Yet, the threats facing the Jewish state today are unprecedented. From the Iranian nuclear weapons program to the missiles in the hands of Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists, the United States must stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally, Israel. We must not be distracted by recent unfortunate disagreements. Rather, we must reaffirm the strength of our ties and understand that in a relationship between friends, as in family, there will be some disagreements. Through quiet dialogue, we will overcome differences and learn from each other, and, in turn, our nations will become stronger and our relationship deeper.

I look forward to an exchange of views with the President because I believe that helping to strengthen the U.S./Israel relationship is our common goal.

Once again, these Israel firsters are trying to conflate Israel's interests with ours. As separate sovereign nations, we DO NOT share the same interests. What is good for Israel is not always good for us. In fact, what appears to be good for Israel in the short term has never been good for us. So why do we have all these Jewish American politicians bamboozle us by telling us that strengthening the U.S./Israel relationship is our common goal?

"I do want to see the president step up and vocalize his support for Israel far more than he has. He just needs to do that," Berkley said.

Why does our president need to "step up and vocalize his support for Israel far more than he has?" The last time I checked, President Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America and not the leader of Israel. He is only accountable to Americans, not Israelis. Good citizens of Nevada's 1st congressional district did not elect Rep. Shelley Berkley to do the bidding for Israel. She was elected as a Congresswoman to serve Americans.

I have absolutely no problem with Jewish American politicians having affinity for Israel, just like recent immigrants to our great country may have cultural bonds with countries of their origins. What these Jewish American elected officials do as private citizens, whether it is financially or morally supporting Israel, is their own business. What really incensed me is when these politicians tell us that we share a common interests and face the same threats and therefore "the United States must stand shoulder to shoulder" with Israel. Israel, as a sovereign state, has its own policies. If it wishes to continue to illegally occupy land in contravention of international laws, it should be left to face the consequence of its own actions. Why are these Jewish politicians, in cohort with the Israelis, making us responsible for Israel's failed policies? Legitimate or not, the recurring basis cited by organizations that have attacked us is our undying and unwavering support of Israel. The fact that these politicians are serving the interests of a foreign state while putting the interests and lives of Americans at stake is reason enough try them for treason.

Friday, May 7, 2010

So who are Joe Lieberman targeting with his "Terrorist Expatriation Act" ?

(Update)

I had my suspicion when i first read the full text of Sen. Joe Lieberman's "Terrorist Expatriation Act". This bill was to "add joining a foreign terrorist organization or engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States or its allies to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality." Now who are those allies, or should i say, who is that ally if Americans are "providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization" and/or "engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against" that will result in them losing their citizenship? Ignore for now the fact that this bill is completely unconstitutional, who is Joe Lieberman trying to "protect"?

My suspicion is confirmed by this article on the Washington Post which stated that this bill "would also allow citizenship to be stripped from Americans who support groups that target U.S. allies, such as Israel or India." Again, ignore the unconstitutionality of this bill, as even Rep. John Boehner knows this bill "would be pretty difficult under the U.S. Constitution", if Joe Lieberman is truly trying to protect Americans, why is there a need to add our "allies" in it? Does it make any sense to strip the citizenship of Americans who support organizations that are only involved in an asymmetrical war with Israel and not us?

Update:

Glenn Greenwald discussed the irony of Joe Lieberman sponsoring a citizenship-stripping bill which has its origin in a 1940 bill to strip citizenship off Americans who demonstrated their loyalty to a foreign power.

One ironic aspect of Lieberman's sponsorship of the citizenship-stripping bill for accused Terrorists is that the original 1940 law on which it is based was designed, as Frum put it, "to strip citizenship from Americans whoshowed themselves loyal to a foreign power."  Fortunately for Joe Lieberman (as well as for GOP Rep. Peter King), the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 held that it is unconstitutional for Congress to strip the citizenship of any American who did not voluntarily renounce citizenship, even if that citizen proved himself loyal to a foreign country (adding to the irony, that case,Afroyim v. Rusk, involved an American citizen who had voted in Israeli elections and, as a result, had his passport renewal denied by the State Department on the ground that he had lost his American citizenship under The Nationality Act of 1940).  As the Afroyim Court put it (emphasis added):
[The Fourteenth Amendment] provides its own constitutional rule in language calculated completely to control the status of citizenship: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States . . . are citizens of the United States . . . ."  There is no indication in these words of a fleeting citizenship, good at the moment it is acquired but subject to destruction by the Government at any time.  Rather the Amendment can most reasonably be read as defining a citizenship which a citizen keeps unless he voluntarily relinquishes it. Once acquired, this Fourteenth Amendment citizenship was not to be shifted, canceled, or diluted at the will of the Federal Government, the States, or any other governmental unit.
The Court, in 1980, made clear what a person must do in order to be found to have "voluntarily renounced" his citizenship.  All of this underscores another great irony of Lieberman's advocacy of this bill:   although I'd be unequivocally opposed to any citizenship-stripping, if anyone merits having that done to them, it's Joe Lieberman, who proves -- yet again -- that he has no interest or belief in core American principles.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Citizenship-stripping Joe



Head honcho of Israel Firsters Sen. Joe Lieberman, who never misses an opportunity to put the interests of Israel above America's, "is proposing a new law that could potentially strip Americans of their citizenship if they're involved with foreign terrorist organizations." So who, in Lieberman's proposed bill, has the power to strip Americans of their citizenships? The State Department. And who gets to designate groups as terrorist organizations? The same State Department.

So basically, with the bill that Lieberman is proposing, any American involved with an organization like Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist organization by the State Department even though its target has always been Israel and that it has not engaged in any terror acts against us, will have his citizenship stripped. Can one not see how unconstitutional this is?

If Joe Lieberman insists on ramming this down our throat, I propose adding a bill to strip citizenships off Americans who consistently put the interests of a foreign state above America's. Americans, like Joe Lieberman, who habitually supports Israel regardless of the harm that it causes us, shall lose their citizenships.

Instead of adding an unconstitutional law, may be we should just enforce the existing statute:
§ 1481. Loss of nationality by native-born or naturalized citizen; voluntary action; burden of proof; presumptions

(a) A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—
(1) obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application or upon an application filed by a duly authorized agent, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or
(2) taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or
(3) entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if
(A) such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, or
(B) such persons serve as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer;

So how many Americans, who have served or are currently serving in the IDF, fall under the above mentioned categories? And how many of them have their citizenship stripped as a result of serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the IDF, swearing allegiance to Israel or has acquired the Israeli citizenship?