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Posted: Jun 7, 2016 - 6:00pm

Andrew Cuomo and Other Democrats Launch Severe Attack on Free Speech to Protect Israel

One of the greatest free speech threats in the West is the growing, multi-nation campaign literally to outlaw advocacy of boycotting Israel. People get arrested in Paris — the site of the 2015 “free speech” (for Muslim critics) rally — for wearing pro-boycott T-shirts. Pro-boycott students on U.S. campuses — where the 1980s boycott of apartheid South Africa flourished — are routinely sanctioned for violating anti-discrimination policies. Canadian officials have threatened to criminally prosecute boycott advocates. British government bodies have legally barred certain types of boycott advocacy. Israel itself has outright criminalized advocacy of such boycotts. Notably, all of this has been undertaken with barely a peep from those who styled themselves free speech crusaders when it came time to defend anti-Muslim cartoons.

But now, New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (above, in the 2016 Celebrate Israel Parade) has significantly escalated this free speech attack on U.S. soil, aimed at U.S. citizens. The prince of the New York political dynasty yesterday issued an executive order directing all agencies under his control to terminate any and all business with companies or organizations that support a boycott of Israel. It ensures that citizens who hold and express a particular view are punished through the denial of benefits that other citizens enjoy: a classic free speech violation (imagine if Cuomo issued an order stating that “anyone who expresses conservative viewpoints shall have all state benefits immediately terminated”).

Even more disturbing, Cuomo’s executive order requires that one of his commissioners compile “a list of institutions and companies” that — “either directly or through a parent or subsidiary” — support a boycott. That government list is then posted publicly, and the burden falls on them to prove to the state that they do not, in fact, support such a boycott. Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told The Intercept: “Whenever the government creates a blacklist based on political views it raises serious First Amendment concerns and this is no exception.” Reason’s Robby Soave denounced it today as “brazenly autocratic.”

To read the relevant provisions of Cuomo’s order is to confront the mentality of petty censoring tyranny, flavored with McCarthyite public shaming, in its purest form. See for yourself: (...)

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Posted: Jun 4, 2016 - 9:59am

Israeli TV Shows Channel John Oliver With News Satire
These three Israeli shows turn reality into a joke.
(...) I’ve been trying to be in front of a functioning TV set on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, at about 21.30, to see – at the same time as other Israelis I’m prone to meet and chat with – the three programs on Israeli TV that make fun of the news: “It’s a Wonderful Country” (Channel 2, Thursday), “The Jews are Coming” (Channel 1, Friday) and “Back of the Nation” (Channel 10, Saturday). (...)

Israel did not invent or start the trend. For some years now the most interesting way to follow what is happening in the world is not by getting the facts right and in their proper perspective, but by having them thrown in the air, juggled about and juxtaposed with others that are seemingly irrelevant, and acquiring a perspective that is different, intriguing and – most importantly – weird-as-can-be and funny, (at least to some). That is the field that Jon Stewart and John Oliver have been mining on American TV screens. (...)

Of the three satirical Israeli programs, “It’s a Wonderful Country” is the veteran. It is based in a TV studio, with an anchor who looks and behaves very correctly (Eyal Kitzis). He reigns over a bunch of very talented actors and impersonators, who visit (or barge into) the studio as various politicians, exposing for viewers those sides of reality that we are usually loathe to contemplate.

The uneasy – but fascinating – relations between the satirical mirror and the politicians reflected in it is a theme worthy of a PhD dissertation. (...)

“The Jews are Coming” on Channel 1, produced by Yoram Gross, is based, to a large extent, on the same principle. It presents biblical scenes with wild twists: for instance, last week we had Moni Moshonov (one of the best and most inventive actors and comedians, a veteran of God only knows how many comic TV shows) as Naomi, returning from Moab to the Land of Israel with her widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth, and the Immigration Police arresting Ruth at the point of entry as an illegal alien. In a series of figures from Jewish history answering a question about their dreams, “The Jews are Coming” had Dr. Freud (played brilliantly by Yaniv Biton) confiding to the viewers: “My dream is to murder my father and sleep with my mother. But it’s a very common dream, isn’t it?”

“The Jews are Coming” is not a topical satire. Rather, it has a lot of fun ridiculing the most sacred cows of Jewish culture; not slaughtering them, but rather milking them for laughs, no holds barred. About three years ago, when Channel 1 was still run by the Israel Broadcasting Authority, with its label of public service, its directors postponed the first season for almost a year, for fear of offending viewers. (...)

“Back of the Nation” got its weird title when it moved four seasons ago from Channel 2, where it was called “State of the Nation” to Channel 10. Its host and main show-runner is Lior Schleien, who delivers a closing monologue each week, very much in the style of Stewart or Oliver. A team of comedians – Orna Banai, who used to be one of the stars of “It’s a Wonderful Country,” Einav Galili, or Ido Rosenblum – deliver punchlines based on questions or ideas presented by Schleien (for instance, coming up with ideas for Bibi on how one can live and thrive without a credit card). No theme or subject is off limits (sex, the Holocaust, you name it), and the panel works very hard to rub it in, even in barbs passed between themselves. The fact that Schleien shares his life (but not a flat) with the feminist MP Merav Michaeli (of Zionist Union) and Rosenblum is married to Channel 2 news anchor Yonit Levi adds to the general mirth, since the private lives of the panelists are very much up for grabs when one strives for a joke. (...)


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Posted: May 25, 2016 - 12:00pm


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Posted: May 21, 2016 - 10:05am

Israeli Defense Minister Resigns, Citing Extremism & Racism in Israel
The Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, has resigned, saying, "I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society." His resignation comes only days after Ya’alon’s deputy chief of staff, Major General Yair Golan, compared modern-day Israel to "nauseating trends" in Nazi-era Germany. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now offered the position of defense minister to the right-wing, ultranationalist politician Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman is considered to be one of the most hawkish politicians in Israel.

Israel Has Been Infected by the Seeds of Fascism, Says ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak
Barak tells TV interviewer that 'there are no serious leaders left in the world who believe the Israeli government.'
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Posted: May 14, 2016 - 8:42pm


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Posted: May 12, 2016 - 11:48am

IDF general in bombshell speech: Israel today shows signs of 1930s Germany
'It's scary to see horrifying developments that took place in Europe begin to unfold here,' Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan said during a Holocaust Remembrance speech.


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Posted: Mar 24, 2016 - 3:48pm

Israeli Rights Group Releases Video of Soldier Executing Wounded Palestinian Suspect

An Israeli soldier was arrested on Thursday after a rights group published clear video images of him shooting a wounded, immobilized Palestinian suspect in the head following a knife attack in the West Bank city of Hebron earlier in the day.

The graphic, distressing video was posted online by B’Tselem, an Israeli group that provides cameras to Palestinians to help them document human rights abuses in the West Bank territory that has been under military rule since Israel first occupied it in 1967. (...)

Several Palestinian and Israeli observers were struck by the fact that no one around the soldier who fired the shot seemed to treat the incident as unusual — suggesting that such extrajudicial killings of suspected attackers have now become “routine,” as critics have charged.

Asked to comment on the video evidence, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, confirmed in an email to The Intercept that the army took it to be genuine. “The IDF views this incident as a grave breach of IDF values, conduct and standards of military operations,” he wrote. “A Military Police investigation has commenced and the soldier involved has been detained. All of the soldiers involved will be investigated as will the orders given.”

Similarly graphic still images and a second video posted online suggested that the other suspect, al-Qasrawi, was also shot in the head.

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties in Israel’s parliament, wrote on Twitter: “Israel has turned in recent months into a place in which executions are carried out in public with the encouragement of cheering mobs.” (...)

Extrajudicial killings are getting to be quite the fashion around the world, whether by cop, drone or soldier...
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Posted: Mar 21, 2016 - 12:11pm

NeoKillary @ AIPAC
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Posted: Feb 16, 2016 - 1:16pm

Some boycotts and sanctions (and censorship) are good and are to be encouraged, while others are very, very bad indeed...
Greatest Threat to Free Speech in the West: Criminalizing Activism Against Israeli Occupation (Greenwald/Fishman)

The UK Government today announced that it is now illegal for “local (city) councils, public bodies and even some university student unions . . . to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.” Thus, any entities that support or participate in the global boycott of Israeli settlements will face “severe penalties” under the criminal law.

This may sound like an extreme infringement of free speech and political activism –  and of course it is – but it is far from unusual in the west. The opposite is now true. There is a very coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters literally to criminalize political activism against Israeli occupation, based on the particular fear that the worldwide campaign of Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) – modeled after the 1980s campaign that brought down the Israel-allied apartheid regime in South Africa – is succeeding.

The Israeli website +972 reported last year about a pending bill that “would ban entry to foreigners who promote the (BDS) movement that aims to pressure Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights.” In 2011, a law passed in Israel which “effectively ban(ned) any public call for a boycott — economic, cultural or academic — against Israel or its West Bank settlements, making such action a punishable offense.”

But the current censorship goal is to make such activism a crime not only in Israel, but in western countries generally. And it is succeeding.

his trend to outlaw activism against the decades-long Israeli occupation – particularly though not only through boycotts against Israel – has permeated multiple western nations and countless institutions within them. In October, we reported on the criminal convictions in France of 12 activists “for the ‘crime’ of advocating sanctions and a boycott against Israel as a means of ending the decades-long military occupation of Palestine,” convictions upheld by France’s highest court. They were literally arrested and prosecuted for “wearing shirts emblazoned with the words ‘Long live Palestine, boycott Israel'” and because “they also handed out fliers that said that ‘buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.”

As we noted, Pascal Markowicz, chief lawyer of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, published this celebratory decree (emphasis in original): “BDS is ILLEGAL in France.” Statements advocating a boycott or sanctions, he added, “are completely illegal. If  say their freedom of expression has been violated, now France’s highest legal instance ruled otherwise.” In Canada last year, officials threatened criminal prosecution against anyone supporting boycotts against Israel.

In the U.S., unbeknownst to many, there are similar legislative proscriptions on such activism, and a pending bill would strengthen the outlawing of BDS. As the Washington Post reported last June, “a wave of anti-BDS legislation is sweeping the U.S.” Numerous bills in Congress encourage or require state action to combat BDS.

Eyal Press warned in a must-read New York Times Op-Ed last month that under a Customs Bill passed by both houses of Congress and headed to the White House, “American officials will be obligated to treat the settlements as part of Israel in future trade negotiations,” a provision specifically designed “to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a grass-roots campaign.” But as Press notes, under existing law – which is almost never discussed – “Washington already forbids American companies to cooperate with state-led boycotts of Israel.”

The real purpose of this new law, as Press explains it, is to force American companies to treat settlements in the West Bank – which virtually the entire world views as illegal – as a valid part of Israel, by outlawing any behavior that would be deemed cooperative with a boycott of companies occupying the West Bank. U.S. companies would be forced to pretend that products produced in the occupied territories are actually produced in “Israel.” The White House announced that it will sign the bill despite its opposition to the AIPAC-backed pro-settlement provision. (...)

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Posted: Feb 16, 2016 - 1:08am

R_P, I did not know for sure you had something against Israël, but predicted it in the other topic because most leftists are pretty predictable. Now I know for sure, but I don't understand it very well.
For example the article you posted. Yes it's bad that a president and a prime minister had to go to jail. But to me it is a proof of a functioning democracy and justice system.
In Italy the same should have been applied many times now, but the high politicians all got away because of corruption, friends or sort of owning the judges/justice system. 
Also the antithese of Israël - Palestine - has widespread fraud and corruption, but this has never resulted in jail time which also can be said for the surrounding countries scoring considerably worse on the corruption index.

So what do you have against Israël and why do you favour the other countries around Israël? Is it based on facts or just feelings? Or is it just fitting for a leftist to be against Israël and be pro muslim countries? Or is it just an underdog thing? 

I could insert a Godwin here {#Wink}
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Posted: Feb 15, 2016 - 5:24pm

Olmert's Entering Prison a Brief, All Too Fleeting Moment of Victory for the Rule of Law
For all its many faults, Israel’s democracy is the only one to have put a president, and now a prime minister, in prison for their crimes.
I admit that I never believed the moment would come. I was certain that the authorities would somehow find a way to keep the former prime minister, with all the secrets he carries in his head, out of prison. Something, a last-minute pardon, a whopping fine and community service – anything but having him serve time. But a few minutes before 10 A.M. on Tuesday morning, it indeed happened.

There is some grim satisfaction to be derived from the footage of Ehud Olmert getting out of the Shin Bet security services jeep, and walking to the door of Maasiyahu prison to start his 19-month sentence for bribe-taking and obstruction of justice.

As he entered, he exchanged his VIP protection unit bodyguards for Israel Prison Service officers. The IPS refused his request to be allowed to go in from the rear entrance, where the camera crews would not be able to record the precise moment Olmert ceased to be a free citizen.

This was a moment of satisfaction because for all its many faults and limitations, Israel’s democracy is the only one to have put a prime minister and president in prison for their crimes. Without a violent revolution or coup. Much more mature democracies have failed to do so. Even the United States pardoned Richard Nixon, rather than see a president behind bars. But it has to be only a fleeting moment. Because this is not just about Olmert and the reign of corruption he facilitated in Jerusalem City Hall and the ministries he headed. (...)

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Posted: Jan 12, 2016 - 5:35pm

 RichardPrins wrote:
Why Israel has silenced the 1948 story of Nazareth’s survival – Mondoweiss/Jonathan Cook (who lives in Nazareth)

A rarely told story of the 1948 war that founded Israel concerns Nazareth’s survival. It is the only Palestinian city in what is today Israel that was not ethnically cleansed during the year-long fighting. Other cities, such as Jaffa, Lydd, Ramleh, Haifa and Acre, now have small Palestinian populations that mostly live in ghetto-like conditions in what have become Jewish cities. Still others, like Tiberias and Safad, have no Palestinians left in them at all.

Nazareth was not only an anomaly; it was a mistake. It was supposed to be cleared of its Palestinian population, just like those other Palestinian cities now in Israel. Much to Israel’s regret, it has become an unofficial capital for Israel’s 1.6 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of the Israeli population.

The reason for Nazareth’s survival are the actions of one individual. Ben Dunkelman, a Canadian Jew who was the commander of the Israeli army’s Seventh Armoured Brigade, disobeyed orders to expel Nazareth’s residents.

Dunkelman’s role has been largely obscured in the historical record – and for good reason. Israel would prefer that observers make an unjustified assumption: that “Christian” Nazareth survived, unlike other Palestinian cities, because its leaders were less militant or because they preferred to surrender. Dunkelman’s story proves that was not the case.

It is therefore a welcome development that a major Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star, has revisited Dunkelman’s role in Nazareth, even if its reporter, Mitch Potter, has contributed in his own way to the mythologising of Dunkelman in an article headlined: “The Toronto man who saved Nazareth”. (...)

An Israeli soldier, armed with a rifle, stops Palestinians in a street in Nazareth, Palestine, July 17, 1948. (AP Photo)


 
A nice town. So different from the rest of the state.
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Posted: Jan 12, 2016 - 12:53pm

Why Israel has silenced the 1948 story of Nazareth’s survival – Mondoweiss/Jonathan Cook (who lives in Nazareth)

A rarely told story of the 1948 war that founded Israel concerns Nazareth’s survival. It is the only Palestinian city in what is today Israel that was not ethnically cleansed during the year-long fighting. Other cities, such as Jaffa, Lydd, Ramleh, Haifa and Acre, now have small Palestinian populations that mostly live in ghetto-like conditions in what have become Jewish cities. Still others, like Tiberias and Safad, have no Palestinians left in them at all.

Nazareth was not only an anomaly; it was a mistake. It was supposed to be cleared of its Palestinian population, just like those other Palestinian cities now in Israel. Much to Israel’s regret, it has become an unofficial capital for Israel’s 1.6 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of the Israeli population.

The reason for Nazareth’s survival are the actions of one individual. Ben Dunkelman, a Canadian Jew who was the commander of the Israeli army’s Seventh Armoured Brigade, disobeyed orders to expel Nazareth’s residents.

Dunkelman’s role has been largely obscured in the historical record – and for good reason. Israel would prefer that observers make an unjustified assumption: that “Christian” Nazareth survived, unlike other Palestinian cities, because its leaders were less militant or because they preferred to surrender. Dunkelman’s story proves that was not the case.

It is therefore a welcome development that a major Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star, has revisited Dunkelman’s role in Nazareth, even if its reporter, Mitch Potter, has contributed in his own way to the mythologising of Dunkelman in an article headlined: “The Toronto man who saved Nazareth”. (...)

An Israeli soldier, armed with a rifle, stops Palestinians in a street in Nazareth, Palestine, July 17, 1948. (AP Photo)

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Posted: Aug 10, 2015 - 2:23pm

Netanyahu Must Stop Silencing Intel Chiefs Who Find Iran Deal Acceptable
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Posted: May 24, 2015 - 10:29am

Netanyahu thanks US for blocking nuclear resolution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to thank the U.S. for blocking a proposal calling for making the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone through a UN conference.

A senior Israeli official was quoted by Israeli daily Haaretz as saying that Netanyahu had told Kerry on Saturday that the U.S. met the commitment it made to Israel in 2010 with regard to the nuclear issue.

The U.S. had blocked the decision at the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference that closed Friday night in New York.

The Egyptian-led drive called for tasking the UN secretary general with convening an international conference on making the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone by March 2016.

According to the official, Netanyahu told Kerry that he appreciated his and President Barack Obama's position as well as the efforts of the U.S. delegation to the conference.

The proposal was led by Egypt and other Arab and non-aligned states, calling for UN chief to call on regional conference on banning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East.

U.S. Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said there was "no agreement", and accused Egypt and other Arab states of bringing "unrealistic and unworkable conditions" to the negotiations, charges that had been denied by Egypt.

Again (with some help from the usual poodles)...

Dimona: Israel’s “Little Hiroshima” » CounterPunch
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Posted: Apr 23, 2015 - 2:12pm

US Lawmakers Quietly Advance Legislation to Penalize Boycott of Israel
Little-noticed amendment was included in controversial Fast Track trade bill that just passed the Senate Finance Committee
Organizations across Canada oppose government effort to criminalize criticism of Israel – Mondoweiss
In recent years, Israel and its allies have become increasingly concerned about the growing international movement to expose and sanction Israel’s behaviour. Their chosen response appears to be one designed to intimidate and suppress this opposition through the threat or actual use of legal punishments. Nowhere has Israel’s call for help in this outrageous endeavor been more enthusiastically embraced than in the right-wing Canadian government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which is widely considered Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest ally.

In the face of growing intimidation from the Harper government, Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) decided to write a statement that identifies the tangible threat to criminalize criticism of the state of Israel in Canada. We reached out to civil society organizations across the country, with the goal of finding broad public support in defense of our civil liberties, which are already under attack through the terrifying Bill C-51. (...)


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Posted: Mar 26, 2015 - 5:49am

 RichardPrins wrote:

As you said the "worst kept secret in the world". I used to call them Schroedinger nukes (since they were in a state of neither confirming nor denying their existence), and I've argued their existence in this forum before (probably pointing to the same '87 document). The result? Far-right posters denying the obvious.

I do give you credit for the common sense knowledge of Israel having nukes for all these years.  I was a tongue in cheek poke at you is all.  I never denied the existence of Israel's nukes.  Not aware of anyone here ever denying that either.  Perhaps other sites where you debate.

  
The rest of your post isn't about anything I said. Though it's fairly rife with ideological paranoia as well as more omissions. It's clear you want to talk about Iran, not Israel. A Bibi Light red herring reprise of sorts.

How do you talk about Israel without talking about Iran these days ?  Iran is working hard to accomplish The Final Solution or have you missed that ?

  
Having nukes is an effective deterrent. No talk of offensive capabilities was ever offered.

But why not go back to 1953 though? Overthrowing (coup d'etat) a democratically elected head of state (that threatened nationalization of oil), and putting a corrupt torturing puppet on his throne (who even was allowed to have nuclear technology)? Great way to ensure you get more polarization in a country as well as yet another enemy. A continued practice in line with the first point earlier, which you didn't want to address (I understand why, because whoever follows, Dem., Rep. (even in the unlikely guise of a Teabagger faction star-du-jour) will simply do more of the same).

There is one TP'er who does have the right idea about the USA's role in foreign policy, Rand Paul, at least in my mind.

  
The remark w.r.t. the nuclear free weapons zone stands on its own. Talks were cancelled in 2012. Want to guess by who? And why?


Yep, it failed, and made matters worse, no argument from me.  

  

 
I'll return the floor to you.  I accomplished what I set out to do, which was posting my little assessment of the current alignment of the US political factions presently in play, without relighting a thread to express it.  You just presented the opportunity is all.
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Posted: Mar 25, 2015 - 10:33pm

 kurtster wrote:
on the second notion, Israel has had the bomb for decades.  Its been the worst kept secret in the world.  Did you just become aware of it when you read the article you posted below ? What the nuclear arms race in the ME has been going on since 1967 ?   Gimme a break, unless you want to go back to 1979 and the over throw of the Shah ?  That's when the crazy theocracy was established and their goal has been bring forth the Twelfth Imam, the elimination of first Israel and then the USA ever since.

If you really think Israel developed their bomb for offensive purposes, then why haven't they used it already ?
 
As you said the "worst kept secret in the world". I used to call them Schroedinger nukes (since they were in a state of neither confirming nor denying their existence), and I've argued their existence in this forum before (probably pointing to the same '87 document). The result? Far-right posters denying the obvious.

The rest of your post isn't about anything I said. Though it's fairly rife with ideological paranoia as well as more omissions. It's clear you want to talk about Iran, not Israel. A Bibi Light red herring reprise of sorts.

Having nukes is an effective deterrent. No talk of offensive capabilities was ever offered.

But why not go back to 1953 though? Overthrowing (coup d'etat) a democratically elected head of state (that threatened nationalization of oil), and putting a corrupt torturing puppet on his throne (who even was allowed to have nuclear technology)? Great way to ensure you get more polarization in a country as well as yet another enemy. A continued practice in line with the first point earlier, which you didn't want to address (I understand why, because whoever follows, Dem., Rep. (even in the unlikely guise of a Teabagger faction star-du-jour) will simply do more of the same).

The remark w.r.t. the nuclear free weapons zone stands on its own. Talks were cancelled in 2012. Want to guess by who? And why?

kurtster
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Posted: Mar 25, 2015 - 9:52pm

 RichardPrins wrote:

The difference is that I make no pretence that the current occupant is any better or worse than his dismal predecessor. By now it's the nature of the beast.

As for the nuclear arms race in the Middle East, see a few posts down who started it and is allowed to get away with it. Because of this, preventing an arms race there (or creating a nuclear weapon free region as proposed by regional parties) is neither a serious endeavour (supported by the US) nor a possible outcome. Iran policy isn't aimed at that result anyway, despite public claims to the contrary.

 
I knew it couldn't last long ...

Passing on the first notion,

on the second notion, Israel has had the bomb for decades.  Its been the worst kept secret in the world.  Did you just become aware of it when you read the article you posted below ? What the nuclear arms race in the ME has been going on since 1967 ?   Gimme a break, unless you want to go back to 1979 and the over throw of the Shah ?  That's when the crazy theocracy was established and their goal has been bring forth the Twelfth Imam, the elimination of first Israel and then the USA ever since.

If you really think Israel developed their bomb for offensive purposes, then why haven't they used it already ?

I'll get your answer in the morning ...

 
R_P
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Posted: Mar 25, 2015 - 9:16pm

 kurtster wrote:
Are we having an agreement on something ?  Aaaack !  
 
The difference is that I make no pretence that the current occupant is any better or worse than his dismal predecessor. By now it's the nature of the beast.

As for the nuclear arms race in the Middle East, see a few posts down who started it and is allowed to get away with it. Because of this, preventing an arms race there (or creating a nuclear weapon free region as proposed by regional parties) is neither a serious endeavour (supported by the US) nor a possible outcome. Iran policy isn't aimed at that result anyway, despite public claims to the contrary.
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