I haven't much time, so let's bustle...
Bibi to address Congress?
Boehner wants him; the WH says it's a breach of protocol
. If Bibi does come, I wouldn't mind joining a protest (if I have $$ enough for fare to DC). Mondoweiss
argues (persuasively) that this move is in response to Obama's SOTU statement about vetoing any further moves on Iran.
Obama was warning the Israel lobby; bug out of these negotiations. That’s the line he drew in the sand in the New York Times last week, criticizing donor pressure on Democratic senators.
Well, Congress has responded. This morning it invited Netanyahu to speak to a joint session in the House chamber on February 11– a month before the Israeli elections (as Haaretz noted).
As Boehner aides pointed out to the Hill “there is bipartisan support for Iran sanctions legislation.” That’s true: Netanyahu met two days ago with a bipartisan group of seven senators.
Just to make things really
is making an end run around Bibi...
The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling U.S. officials and lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Congress would tank the Iran nuclear negotiations.
Israeli intelligence officials have been briefing both Obama administration officials and visiting U.S. senators about their concerns on the Kirk-Menendez bill, which would increase sanctions on Iran only if the Iranian government can't strike a deal with the so-called P5+1 countries by a June 30 deadline or fails to live up to its commitments. Meanwhile, the Israeli prime minister’s office has been supporting the Kirk-Menendez bill, as does the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, ahead of what will be a major foreign policy confrontation between the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government in coming weeks.
Evidence of the Israeli rift surfaced Wednesday when Secretary of State John Kerry said that an unnamed Israeli intelligence official had said the new sanctions bill would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.” But an initial warning from Israeli Mossad leaders was also delivered last week in Israel to a Congressional delegation...
You have to admit, this is
Norman Finkelstein on the Charlie Hebdo affair.
I'm not sure I agree with what he says here
. He says that the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo were "sadism, not satire," and he compares them to the kind of cartoons that appeared in Der Sturmer
Well, yes, let's make that comparison. But let's also compare them to the Leo Taxil illustrations published here a week or so ago. And while we're at it, let's compare them to the work of the Robert Crumb and the other great -- and utterly outrageous -- underground comics artists who came to prominence during the 1960s and 1970s.
(As always, let us keep in mind the dictionary definition of the word "compare." Comparison does not imply equivalence.)
Finkelstein makes one excellent point which deserves to be repeated...
Finkelstein pointed to the contradictions in the Western world’s perception of the freedom of the press by giving the example of the pornographic magazine Hustler, whose publisher, Larry Flynt, was shot and left paralyzed in 1978 by a white supremacist serial killer for printing a cartoon depicting interracial sex.
“I don’t remember everyone celebrating ‘We are Larry Flynt’ or ‘We are Hustler,'” he said. “Should he have been attacked? Of course not. But nobody suddenly turned this into a political principle of one side or the other.”
As I recall, people reacted to the Flynt shooting in a rather unusual way. Obviously, nobody approved
of it; the act was outrageous and horrifying. But I spoke to a few people who seemed to feel that Flynt was so addicted to shock that he almost courted a violent reaction. I don't recall speaking to anyone who seemed utterly surprised.
William Blum. Blum's response
to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy is quite informative...
I present here some views on Charlie Hebdo sent to me by a friend in Paris who has long had a close familiarity with the publication and its staff:
“On international politics Charlie Hebdo was neoconservative. It supported every single NATO intervention from Yugoslavia to the present. They were anti-Muslim, anti-Hamas (or any Palestinian organization), anti-Russian, anti-Cuban (with the exception of one cartoonist), anti-Hugo Chávez, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, pro-Pussy Riot, pro-Kiev … Do I need to continue?
“Strangely enough, the magazine was considered to be ‘leftist’. It’s difficult for me to criticize them now because they weren’t ‘bad people’, just a bunch of funny cartoonists, yes, but intellectual freewheelers without any particular agenda and who actually didn’t give a fuck about any form of ‘correctness’ – political, religious, or whatever; just having fun and trying to sell a ‘subversive’ magazine (with the notable exception of the former editor, Philippe Val, who is, I think, a true-blooded neocon).”
My take? Well, I've noticed that neo-cons have skulked into places where one normally would not expect to see them -- such as the Slate website. (Or, for that matter, the Obama White House.)
If neocons were content to appear on Fox News and similar venues, they would speak only to the converted. To control the policy debate, they need to persuade people outside the conservative media bubble. So they craftily look for ways to get their message out to people who would never watch Fox.
That's what has been going on here in America; something similar may be happening in France.