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Signs of the Times for Fri, 31 Mar 2006

By Ron Kampeas
Combined Jewish Philanthropies
WASHINGTON, March 29 (JTA) – Two weeks after two prominent political science professors published a paper that they promised would expose the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, the collective reaction so far suggests they get a D for impact.

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Julian Borger in Washington
Friday March 31, 2006
The Guardian
An article by two prominent American professors arguing that the pro-Israel lobby exerts a dominant and damaging influence on US foreign policy has triggered a furious row, pitting allegations of anti-semitism against claims of intellectual intimidation.

Stephen Walt, the academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and John Mearsheimer, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, published two versions of the essay, the Israel Lobby, in the London Review of Books and on a Harvard website.

The pro-Israel lobby and its sway over American policy has always been a controversial issue, but the professors' bluntly worded polemic created a firestorm, drawing condemnation from left and right of the political spectrum.

Professor Walt's fellow Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz - criticised in the article as an "apologist" for Israel - denounced the authors as "liars" and "bigots" in the university newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, and compared their arguments to neo-Nazi literature.

"Accusations of powerful Jews behind the scenes are part of the most dangerous traditions of modern anti-semitism," wrote two fellow academics, Jeffrey Herf and Andrei Markovits, in a letter to the London Review of Books. Critics also pointed out that the article had been praised by David Duke, a notorious American white supremacist.

Prof Mearsheimer said the storm of protest proved one of its arguments - that the strength of the pro-Israel lobby stifled debate on US foreign policy.

"We argued in the piece that the lobby goes to great lengths to silence criticism of Israeli policy as well as the US-Israeli relationship, and that its most effective weapon is the charge of anti-semitism," Prof Mearsheimer told The Guardian. "Thus, we expected to be called anti-semites, even though both of us are philo-semites and strongly support the existence of Israel."

He added: "Huge numbers of people know this story to be true but are afraid to say it because they would punished by pro-Israeli forces."

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March 31, 2006
Hoping to buck daunting political and racial trends, two urban Jewish Democrats are looking to succeed black lawmakers in New York and Tennessee - and they're sparking some resentment from African Americans in the process.

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From Thursday's Globe and Mail
OTTAWA - Canada has become the first country after Israel to cut off aid and diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority since Hamas, a group that Ottawa considers a terrorist organization, won the legislative election in January.

The decision garnered praise from pro-Israeli organizations, but condemnation from an Arab group spokesman who said it will hurt Canada's ability to press a resolution to the long-standing and bloody dispute in the Middle East.

It comes after weeks of suggestions by the new Conservative government that Hamas would have to change its direction for further assistance to continue.

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Comment: Obsequious, spineless, pathetic.

Thu Mar 30, 2006
By Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS - The new Palestinian foreign minister, Hamas member Mahmoud al-Zahar, got off to a bad start by slandering the United States, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said on Thursday.

Zahar said a day after being sworn in as a member of the new Palestinian cabinet that America was committing "big crimes" against Arab and Islamic countries.

He was responding to President George W. Bush's statement on Wednesday that the United States would not give aid to the Hamas-led government because it has expressed its desire to destroy Israel.

"We obviously unequivocally reject that proposition and I would note also to Foreign Minister Zahar that casual slander is an inauspicious way to begin," Bolton said during a U.N. Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

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Comment: What is Bolton talking about? There is nothing "slanderous" about saying that "America is committing big crimes against Arab and Islamic countries"'s a simple FACT!

by Mark Curtis
March 30, 2006
Britain's apparent complicity in Israel's military assault on Jericho prison should finally demolish an enduring myth about Britain's foreign policy. Iraq's supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction was not the only line peddled by the government to justify the invasion. Another was that Britain was an 'honest broker' in the Middle East and would influence Washington to press Israel for peace with the Palestinians. Now that peace prospects look gloomier than ever following Israeli, US and EU reactions to Hamas' success in Palestinian elections, the reality of Britain's role needs to be exposed.

Since the government of Ariel Sharon came to power in 2001, Britain has exported around £70 million worth of military equipment to Israel. Last year's supplies of combat aircraft technology and components for surface-to-surface missiles follow previous exports of armoured cars, machine guns, components for tanks and helicopters, leg irons, tear gas and categories covering mortars, rocket launchers and explosives.

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