Douglas Bloomfield's blog

Take The Quiz

If Prime Minister Netanyahu is as serious about making peace as he says why did he announcing more settlement construction knowing how the Palestinians would react?  And If Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is serious about peace as he says, why does he keep threatening to file war crimes charges against Israel at the World Court?

Both leaders like to talk about peace but do they have an aversion to actually making peace?  Are they looking for common ground or for excuses to scuttle the entire exercise and blame the other?

The Arabs' Jewish Lobby

The most powerful pro-Arab lobby in Washington may be AIPAC – that's right, the vaunted pro-Israel lobby.  When the going gets tough on Capitol Hill, that's who gets called in to help.

Most recently it stepped in to block a move by some prominent senators to halt U.S. assistance to Egypt in response to the bloody crackdown on Islamist demonstrators protesting the army's overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi. 

It wasn't the first time AIPAC went to bat for an Arab country, even when it was technically in a state of war with Israel. 

Who Are The Real Job Creators?

When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently repeated in a Fox News interview a favorite Republican mantra that  “the government doesn’t create jobs, the private sector does” he knew it wasn't true. 

For starters, he himself has a government-created job and it pays a nice $193,400 a year plus a very generous benefits package.  What's more tens of thousands of his fellow Virginians, including many of his constituents, also have government-created jobs.

Lamdan Honored For Exploring Jewish Roots

Amb. Neville Lamdan, who served Israel in top posts in Washington, at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and at the Vatican before leaving the diplomatic arena to explore Jewish roots, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Boston this week. 

Enemies Lists

It was 39 years ago today that our most paranoid of presidents resigned in disgrace, the victim of repeated self-inflicted wounds. One of his legacies is his enemies lists; he intended to create problems for his critics but it all backfired and presence on one of Richard Nixon's enemies lists became and remains a badge of honor.

The anniversary brought to mind an item by the Washington Post's conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin shortly after the death of New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg; her column looked a lot like a Nixonian honor. 

Congress Hits Road To Jerusalem

The greatly underworked and unproductive Congress just adjourned for a long, undeserved summer vacation. You know what that means:  it's time to hit the road.

At least 60 are heading for Israel this month on what they euphemistically refer to as "study missions."

First to the boarding gate will House Democrats led by Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), who will be making his umpteenth visit to the Holy Land.  This time he's taking 36 other House Democrats. 

Kerry Gives Talks 9 Months To Produce Peace

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators spent more time on planes flying to and from Washington this week than meeting with each other and American officials, but they accomplished enough to begin formal negotiations within the next two weeks.  Those talks will be "sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations," will take place in the Middle East and will aim for a comprehensive final status agreement within nine months, said Secretary of State John Kerry.

Talking About Talking About Peace To Begin Monday

Just after the Israeli cabinet voted 13-7 with two abstentions to release 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners, the State Department announced that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators would meet in Washington Monday evening and Tuesday to resume peace talks after a three-year hiatus.

Dem Bones

Hats off to Yaakov Kirschen, the man behind the popular Israeli cartoon Dry Bones.  His latest zinger takes a well-deserved smack at the European Union and its decision to boycott anything Israeli or Jewish coming out of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

"Europe has no problem with importing goods made in Chinese prisons and Bangladeshi sweatshops, or buying oil from repressive Islamist regimes. But Jews building homes in their ancient Jewish homeland really offends Europe's sense of morality."

High Hopes, Low Expectations

The latest word is Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are expected in Washington early next week to begin talking about talking.  They're not coming to negotiate peace but to discuss about the shape of the table, what diplomats call a "framework" for negotiations. 

Even the most optimistic, those with the highest hopes, have low expectations.  They're not convinced Netanyahu and Abbas are ready or able to take the risks or make the difficult, historic decisions necessary for peace. 

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