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 Will the Democratic Platform Committee Go to War Over Israel?

 Clinton’s and Sanders’s appointees are sharply divided, so there’s sure to be a fracas—one that represents growing divisions among Democrats.

By Ali Gharib
Today 8:00 am

 When The Washington Post announced the Democratic Party’s platform-committee appointments for this summer’s convention, the uninitiated might have been forgiven for wondering why, in a primary contest dominated by domestic politics and policy, a foreign-policy issue got top billing. And yet there it was: “Sanders wins greater say in Democratic platform; names pro-Palestinian activist,” blared the headline.

The lead of the article focused on the party’s decision to allot six platform committee spots to the now-presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, and a healthy five slots to her challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders. But by the fifth paragraph, there again was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

Sanders’s slate includes James Zogby, a longtime activist for Palestinian rights as well as a DNC member and official. Zogby currently co-chairs the party’s resolutions committee. His inclusion is a sign of Sanders’s plans to push the party’s policy on Israel toward what he has called a more even-handed approach to the Palestinian cause.

The reduction of longtime Democratic Party activist James Zogby’s career—and, by extension, Sanders’s campaign—to quarrels over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is something to behold. But it’s not surprising. To paraphrase a more generalized saying about the news business: If it’s about Israel, it leads. (It should be noted that this dynamic is one of the Israel lobby’s own making, but that’s for another column.)

That doesn’t mean, however, that picking Zogby holds no significance, or that the looming platform battle over Israel isn’t an important one. Party platforms may be mostly symbolic documents—they’re not binding on candidates—but they are a high-profile venue for setting party agendas and airing ideological disputes. With recent history as our guide, this appears to be exactly what is about to happen in the lead-up to the convention in Philadelphia.



Dems Build Wall Around Convention Site; Wells Fargo Center, To Be Inside DNC Security Perimeter

Security at the Sports Complex during the Democratic National Convention next month will include “no-scale fencing” to enclose the Wells Fargo Center and Xfinity Live!, the Secret Service special agent in charge said in an interview Thursday.

But exact boundaries of the security perimeter around the sports arena, where the convention will take place July 25-28, are not yet finalized, Special Agent James Henry told NBC10.com.

Exclusive4 Massive 'March for Bernie' Rallies Approved for DNC

“We’re not quite there to talk about the perimeter yet,” Henry said. “We’re probably a couple weeks away from finalizing that. But expect some closures.”

For the second time in less than a year, Philadelphia is playing host to an event that brings with it the designation of National Special Security Event (NSSE). Last year's papal visit was hailed a success in the days and weeks after Pope Francis came to the city for a historic weekend. But it caused months of angst leading up to the event. Much of the unease settled around what became the planned shutdown of Center City to vehicle traffic. Highlights From the 2016 Campaign TrailHighlights From the 2016 Campaign Trail

Henry cautioned that the DNC is very different from the papal visit last September.

“This is not the papal visit. This is much smaller in scope and much smaller in scale. So the security footprint is going to be much smaller,” Henry said. “The impacts are really minimal. We’re fortunate the sports complex is more isolated, certainly than the papal visit in Center City.”

Read more: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Wells-Fargo-Center-Xfinity-Live-to-Be-Inside-Perimeter-Secret-Service-Says-382433501.html#ixzz4BC92mzWY
Follow us: @nbcphiladelphia on Twitter | NBCPhiladelphia on Facebook

Summing Up the Glories of the Israeli Occupation as We Enter Its 50th Year

This is what remains: hatred. And for that we thank everyone who was in favor of going into that war and who postponed the end. Now is the life after death, like vampires.

Yitzhak Laor Jun 06, 2016 11:00 PM

As we enter the 50th year of the occupation, we might be able to sum up a few of its glories: It apparently saved Israel, or at least extended it far beyond what would have been its natural lifespan.

Not only did the world’s Jews, and especially those of the United States, acknowledge after the war with the optimistic name, as they did not before the “Six-Day War,” Israel as the leader of the Jewish people. Not only did anti-Semitism gradually disappear, in total contradiction to Israel’s squeals (it mainly faded away in the U.S., where it clung on even after the Holocaust, but there the Jews, for the first time in our people’s history, joined the “white race”).

And not only did Israel’s violent existence come to be, after the occupation, a salient Western interest – there’s no other explanation for the growing disregard of the “human rights community” of what Israel is wreaking on the Palestinian people (its gradual decomposition into persecuted, oppressed communities). And not only is Israel, more than ever before, strong, secure and not in danger (“Yitzhak, there’s no partner for war,” Mahmoud Darwish once told me with characteristic irony during one of the times that the “peace process” stalled) – in contradiction to Benjamin Netanyahu’s propaganda and occasionally the left, which seeks to persuade the nation that “without peace there will be a terrible war.”

Rather, it appears that the disintegration of the Middle East, with Israeli assistance or irrespective of it, leaves Israel independent from any of the regional upsets. Netanyahu’s voters know that full well: Even after the end of the Cold War that American fortress, Israel, remained within the Middle Eastern hell ignited by the U.S.



He is not going to be the GOP nominee, just watch this space. eom

Israel Has Its Own Donald Trump, Cornel West Warns at Platform Committee Meeting

Donald Trump is reviled by Democrats, but they give Trump-like figures such as Israeli’s defense minister a pass, complained scholar and activist Cornel West, before the Democratic Party’s platform committee.

“Trump-like figures in Israeli life” should be treated by Democrats just like Trump, said West, a member of the committee, during a hearing on foreign policy.

The otherwise sleepy hearing was the second in a two-day session that started on June 8. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders selected West and four others to represent him on the committee, and West’s comments reflected Sanders’s wish that the party raise the profile of Palestinian suffering and rights in its language on the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

“Why can we focus on xenophobes here, and seem to be so reluctant to call out xenophobes in Israel and other places?” asked West, who is known as a critic of Israel. He went on to inquire whether “if there were a Palestinian occupation of Jewish brothers and sisters would we respond the same way?”

He took issue with strongly pro-Israel testimony given by former Florida congressman Robert Wexler, asking him to agree to include of the term occupation in the party’s platform. America’s commitments to its allies, West said, “can never be predicated on occupation.” He then asked members to “agree that life of Palestinian baby is just as valuable as Jewish baby.”

Read more: http://forward.com/news/342424/israel-has-its-own-donald-trump-cornel-west-warns-at-platform-committee-mee/#ixzz4B9cTvGuv

Pro-Sanders, DNC Protesters Booking, Selling Out South Jersey Campgrounds

Cherry Hill, NJ
By TOM DAVIS (Patch Staff) - June 9, 2016 10:23 am ET

Hundreds of pro-Bernie Sanders protesters at the Philadelphia-based Democratic National Convention in July have locked up reservations at local South Jersey campgrounds.

Two campgrounds in South Jersey have already sold out their tent and RV sites, according to one of the lead organizers of a social media group called Occupy DNC Convention.

Timberlane Campground in Clarksboro and Old Cedar Campground in Monroeville are full, Laurie Cestnick, a Boston-area neuroscientist and a leading organizer of protests planned during the DNC week of July 24-28 was quoted as saying on NBC Philadelphia.

Also, South Jersey campground called Four Seasons is next on the list of sites for protesters' temporary tent cities, Cestnick said.

Four Seasons has about 400 camp plots, which makes it larger than the other two. Old Cedar and Timberlane are in Gloucester County. Old Cedar is roughly 25 miles from the Wells Fargo Center and Timberlane is about 16 miles from the sports complex, according to NBC Philadelphia.



US Cautions Israel Not To Escalate Tensions After Tel Aviv Attack

Source: Jerusalem Post

'We understand the Israeli government's desire to protect its citizens after this kind of terror attack, we just hope that any measures that Israel takes would be designed to not escalate tensions.'

By MICHAEL WILNER 06/09/2016

The State department underscored its condemnation of an attack on civilians at a Tel Aviv market on Thursday, but cautioned the Israeli government to "exercise restraint" as it vows to increase security control over the West Bank and its residents.

"We understand the Israeli government's desire to protect its citizens after this kind of terrorist attack," said Mark Toner, a spokesman for the State Department. "We would just hope that any measures that Israel takes would be designed to not escalate tensions any further, but we certainly respect their desire to express outrage and to protect the safety of their people."

Nine Israelis were shot on Wednesday night by at least three Palestinian men, in what has been characterized by the United Nations, the US and Israel as an act of terror. Four of the victims have died.

The decision by Israel not to return the bodies of dead Palestinian perpetrators to their families– a policy Israel considers a deterrent against future attacks– is "obviously an internal matter for Israel to debate," Toner remarked. But he made note of Israel's decision to constrict ease of travel for thousands of Palestinians in and out of the strip.

Read more: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/US-cautions-Israel-not-to-escalate-tensions-after-Tel-Aviv-attack-456386

Israel Seals Off West Bank and Gaza in Wake of Deadly Terror Attack in Tel Aviv

The Israeli army imposed a general closure on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip midnight on Thursday, in the wake of a deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

The closure was scheduled to end midnight on Sunday, the Israeli army said in a statement, after the end of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

Passage into Israel will be allowed only for humanitarian and medical reasons, per the decision of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Worshippers will be allowed into the Temple Mount compound for Friday prayer.



Poor U.S.-Russia Relations Increase Risk Of Dirty Bomb In Europe - Experts

By Toby Sterling

Tension between Russia and the West may be distracting them from cooperating to prevent an accidental nuclear confrontation or a dirty bomb attack by militants, nuclear policy experts said on Tuesday.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defence William Perry said he regretted the current lack of communication between the United States and Russia, which went into a deep freeze after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

"We are about to recreate the conditions that nearly brought us to the brink of nuclear war" during the Cold War, Perry said.

Anatoly Adamishin, a former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, argued that the U.S. has focused on a policy of "strangling Russia" and hoping for the departure of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has the effect of putting Russia at the forefront of a list of U.S. enemies.

"The U.S. simply has to rethink its own policy: what should be in focus is nuclear reductions," he said. "Russia and the U.S. are not inherent enemies."



Taliban Gains In Afghanistan Threaten Costly U.S. Reconstruction Effort

Source: Reuters

The United States has wasted billions of dollars in reconstruction aid to Afghanistan over the past decade, and now a renewed Taliban insurgency is threatening the gains that have been made, the U.S government’s top watchdog on Afghanistan said.

"The bottom line is too much has been wasted in Afghanistan. Too much money was spent in too small a country with too little oversight," John Sopko told Reuters. "And if the security situation continues to deteriorate, even areas where money was spent wisely and gains were made, could be jeopardized."

The nearly $113 billion Congress has appropriated for reconstruction since 2001, when U.S.-led forces invaded the country and toppled the Taliban regime, has long been plagued by corruption, waste and mismanagement, according to a series of reports from Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).Appointed by President Barack Obama, Sopko has led the watchdog agency for nearly four years. He said the planned drawdown of U.S. troops could compound the reconstruction effort's problems and add to the amount that already has been wasted, which he estimated is in the billions of dollars.

According to Sopko's latest report, issued in April, U.S. reconstruction funding for Afghanistan includes projects for programs to combat the drug trade, build electric power lines, develop new industries, improve the banking and legal systems and modernize agriculture, which the report says "employs more than 50 percent of the labor force".

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-afghanistan-reconstruction-idUSKCN0YV2DZ

Democrats Are Now the Aggressive War Party

Exclusive: For nearly a half century – since late in the Vietnam War – the Democrats have been the less warlike of the two parties, but that has flipped with the choice of war hawk Hillary Clinton, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The Democratic Party has moved from being what you might call a reluctant war party to an aggressive war party with its selection of Hillary Clinton as its presumptive presidential nominee. With minimal debate, this historic change brings full circle the arc of the party’s anti-war attitudes that began in 1968 and have now ended in 2016.

Since the Vietnam War, the Democrats have been viewed as the more peaceful of the two major parties, with the Republicans often attacking Democratic candidates as “soft” regarding use of military force.

But former Secretary of State Clinton has made it clear that she is eager to use military force to achieve “regime change” in countries that get in the way of U.S. desires. She abides by neoconservative strategies of violent interventions especially in the Middle East and she strikes a belligerent posture as well toward nuclear-armed Russia and, to a lesser extent, China.

Amid the celebrations about picking the first woman as a major party’s presumptive nominee, Democrats appear to have given little thought to the fact that they have abandoned a near half-century standing as the party more skeptical about the use of military force. Clinton is an unabashed war hawk who has shown no inclination to rethink her pro-war attitudes.

As a U.S. senator from New York, Clinton voted for and avidly supported the Iraq War, only cooling her enthusiasm in 2006 when it became clear that the Democratic base had turned decisively against the war and her hawkish position endangered her chances for the 2008 presidential nomination, which she lost to Barack Obama, an Iraq War opponent.


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