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  1. TopTop #1
    Mayacaman's Avatar

    Pompeo Visits West Bank Settlement and Offers Parting Gifts to Israeli Right

    Article, New York Times :

    Pompeo Visits West Bank Settlement
    and Offers Parting Gifts to Israeli Right

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the boycott-Israel movement would be treated as anti-Semitic,
    and ordered that imports from Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank be labeled products of Israel.

    JERUSALEM — The high point of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s valedictory trip to Israel could easily have been the long, grateful recitation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday of the gifts that the Trump administration has bestowed upon his right-wing government.

    But then Mr. Pompeo unwrapped some new ones.

    He announced that the United States would henceforth view the international boycott-Israel movement as anti-Semitic. He stopped on the occupied West Bank, becoming the most senior American official to visit one of Israel’s settlements, which much of the world considers a violation of international law.

    And he directed that goods imported to the United States from a large swath of the West Bank be labeled “made in Israel.” The scope of that act, experts noted, far exceeded even the large section of the West Bank that the Trump peace plan envisioned being annexed by Israel.

    “The people of the book have not had a better friend,” Mr. Netanyahu said to Mr. Pompeo in Jerusalem on Thursday morning, after gushing that the classification of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as anti-Semitic was “simply wonderful.”

    All told, Mr. Pompeo’s whirlwind day was scarcely a mere victory lap. It was a last chance to reinforce Israel’s hard-line approach to the Palestinians and, as Democrats and other supporters of a two-state solution cried foul, to place political land mines in the path of the incoming Biden administration.

    It was also a day filled with photo opportunities that could be useful for Mr. Pompeo, particularly with the evangelical Christian voters he has long courted, were he to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024.

    Joel C. Rosenberg, an evangelical author and pollster based in Jerusalem who is a friend of Mr. Pompeo’s, said the secretary was “solidifying his position as one of the great friends of Israel.”

    “There’s no question,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “And if he decided to run in 2024, he is squeezing the toothpaste out of the tube to show just how serious he is about strengthening the U.S. – Israel alliance. I think he’s using the time wisely.”

    Mr. Pompeo’s admirers say his support for Israel, like his evangelical beliefs, is deeply felt.

    But there is also a rushed sense to the Trump administration’s diplomatic moves on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the clock runs down as if, like settlers themselves, they are frantically pouring concrete in hopes that it will set before Jan. 20. It is the same approach the lame-duck administration is taking with Iran.

    In both places, some of those moves will be difficult to reverse.

    Others, however, like the new labeling guidelines for West Bank products, could be undone with the stroke of a pen, said Michael J. Koplow, an analyst and supporter of a two-state solution at the Israel Policy Forum.

    He called the made-in-Israel rules a “fringe issue” that would resonate with Jewish Republicans, but said Mr. Biden would pay little political price for reversing it.

    “But it also seems to be the case that Pompeo supports a vision of greater Israel as a core belief, irrespective of whether or not he runs for president down the road,” Mr. Koplow said.

    From Jerusalem, Mr. Pompeo drove to Qasr el Yahud, an Israeli-controlled area on the banks of the Jordan River that is traditionally held to be the site of Jesus’s baptism.

    Later in the day, in another first for a U.S. secretary of state, he flew to an old military fortification atop a strategic hill in the long-disputed Golan Heights overlooking Syria.

    Local Palestinians and Israeli land experts say that many of the vines that supply the Psagot winery grow on plundered soil. Several Palestinian families are registered as the legal owners of nearly 20 acres around the settlement that are now planted with the winery’s grapevines.

    Munif Treish, a 70-year-old Palestinian-American who said his family owned land in Psagot, called Mr. Pompeo’s visit astonishing.

    “By law, Pompeo is supposed to protect the property and interests of American citizens all over the world,” he said. “But he is coming here to give legitimacy to the Israeli settlers who are trespassing, grabbing and cultivating our land illegally.

    Mr. Pompeo was familiar with the winery. When it lost a lawsuit last year to get the European Union to reverse its policy of labeling settlement products as made in occupied territory, Mr. Pompeo attacked the European Court of Justice’s decision in the case and rescinded a 1978 State Department memorandum saying that the settlements were inconsistent with international law.

    The winery later produced a wine labeled “Pompeo.”

    The winery’s majority shareholders are the Falic brothers, the American owners of the Miami-based Duty Free Americas shops, who have contributed generously to both Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump and given millions of dollars to the settlement enterprise.

    [ CONTINUES...]

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  2. TopTop #2
    Mayacaman's Avatar

    Re: Pompeo Visits West Bank Settlement and Offers Parting Gifts to Israeli Right

    By David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner

    Commentary by Rick Staggenborg



    Since people who know how the MSM distorts reporting on foreign affairs know that the NYT is a mouthpiece for war profiteers, they may have missed this amazing article by David Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner.

    Since the NYT has rarely allowed more than mild and selective criticism of Israel on its pages, it is extremely remarkable that in reporting on Pompeo's recent trip to Israel, it actually provides context for the series of actions he took while there (as well as those of Trump which preceded it) that makes clear to even the most brainwashed Israeli supporter much of the complete injustice of the actions of not just this administration but those which preceded it.

    My first thought was that since the main reason the story was assigned was probably to be a hit piece on Pompeo, the facts that are usually ignored about Israeli criminality "slipped through. After all, the NYT has given up any pretense of balanced reporting and gone to straight editorializing on stories about Trump and his minions in its "news" pages, so perhaps the editor was not looking for adherence to the Zionist line.

    However, given the long and mostly consistent history of the Times as a staunch defender of the Zionist narrative it seems extremely unlikely that the honesty showed by these reporters could have been unnoticed by their editors.

    Which suggests that not only did the reporters show rare integrity in reporting on Israel, but that the editor approved of the fact that they did.

    It will be interested to see if there is any blowback on the story. I'm sure that AIPAC and its allies in the Israeli lobby have been lighting up the phones at the Times!

    So please share this widely. We may not see another like it again in America's most trusted fake news source.
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