March 1, 2012
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A majority of Israelis oppose a strike on Iran or favor such a strike only if it has American backing, according to a new survey.
Some 34 percent of those surveyed said they were against an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities; another 42 percent favored an attack that had U.S. backing. Another 19 percent favor an attack even without backing from the United States.
KALANDIYA, West Bank (JTA) -- The U.S. congresswomen get off the bus and stand in the chilly shadows of the Kalandiya crossing point between the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Its late morning, well past the rush hour when thousands of Palestinians congregate here, and only a few dozen Palestinians stand in line. To cross, the Palestinians go through a series of metal turnstiles and wait with their documents until they are called, one by one, to approach the Israeli soldiers sitting behind bullet-proof barriers.
One Palestinian man strikes up a conversation.
I have American citizenship but I am not allowed to travel through Ben Gurion Airport because I have a Palestinian ID card, Hamad Hindi of Louisiana tells the congresswomen. We are seen as guilty of something because we are Palestinian.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Emergency Committee for Israel called on Jewish charitable foundations to stop funneling money to two liberal groups that have offered criticisms of Israel.
A full-page ad in The New York Times by the right-wing pro-Israel group published Thursday highlights criticism by Jewish groups and opinion shapers of the Center for American Progress think tank and Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog.
CAP has taken steps in recent months to address some of the harsh rhetoric voiced by some of its staffers, and two of the three Jewish groups cited in the ad have since praised its efforts. The ad does not note the steps by CAP.
Media Matters has stood by a staffer who calls right-wing pro-Israel advocates "Israel firsters," a term that analysts have shown has its origins in anti-Semitic writings.
According to a post at The Washington Posts ThinkTanked blog, billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are suing the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that was founded as the Charles Koch Institute in 1974.
The Post reports that it has obtained court papers centered on the handling of the shares of William A Niskanen, a former chairman of the Cato Institute, following his death October 26, 2011.
The lawsuit names Charles and David Koch as plaintiffs and the Cato Institute as well as Cato executives Kathryn Washburn and Edward H. Crane, lll, as defendants.
U.S. exporters sold 120,000 metric tons of wheat to Iran, the most in more than three years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
U.S. trade sanctions against Iran provide an exemption for licensed exports of agricultural commodities, according to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, a division of the Treasury Department. The U.S. exported $53.035 million in agricultural products to Iran last year, the least since 2006, USDA data show.
By Laura Litvan and James Rowley - Mar 1, 2012 12:01 AM ET
Retirement announcements by Senator Olympia Snowe and other centrists are putting more U.S. Senate seats at stake than at any time since 1996 -- and the result may be an even more polarized environment next year.
Snowe, a three-term Maine Republican known for voting with Democrats on some high-profile issues, said her decision was driven by frustration over partisanship and lack of compromise in the Senate. Other departing senators who seek consensus on such issues as debt reduction say they share her view.
Its very difficult to get things accomplished, said Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat who said he will retire after two six-year terms to spend more time with his family. People back home complain about gridlock, but they send people here who engage in that very thing.
Ten senators -- seven Democrats and three Republicans --say they wont face voters again in November, the largest number of elected senators eschewing re-election since 13 decided to forgo new terms in 1996.
By John Walcott - Thu Mar 01 13:25:47 GMT 2012
Obama administration officials are escalating warnings that the U.S. could join Israel in attacking Iran if the Islamic republic doesnt dispel concerns that its nuclear-research program is aimed at producing weapons.
Four days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to arrive in Washington, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz told reporters the Joint Chiefs of Staff have prepared military options to strike Iranian nuclear sites in the event of a conflict.
What we can do, you wouldnt want to be in the area, Schwartz told reporters in Washington yesterday.
Pentagon officials said military options being prepared start with providing aerial refueling for Israeli planes and include attacking the pillars of the clerical regime, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its elite Qods Force, regular Iranian military bases and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Pentagon plans are classified.
Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-01/u-s-escalates-warnings-on-iran-s-nuclear-program-as-netanyahu-visit-nears.html
Notwithstanding the U.S. pressure to scale down its engagement with Iran, official sources here said the country not only remains an important source of oil for India, but is crucial to opening up routes to Central Asian and Caucasian countries, where New Delhi's quest for hydrocarbons and minerals is gathering critical mass.
We recognise that Iran is the key to connecting with Central Asia, said the sources while referring to a major meeting last month on a proposed Russia-Iran-India promoted North-South corridor that would originate from Bandar Abbas leading to Russia and other countries via the Caspian Sea.
India has taken the lead and is pushing hard to put the missing rail links in place so that a seamless route from Bandar Abbas port to Russia and Central Asia opens up by next year by when the customs union of Russia-Kazakhstan-Byelorussia would have expanded to include other Eurasian countries.
Besides the three original signatories, over 15 countries have joined the north-south project. In addition to putting in place missing railways links of about 200 km, all the sides will have to harmonise their customs procedures to make the endeavour workable. Currently Indian goods enter Russia through the Baltic ports of St. Petersburg and Kotka, the European port of Rotterdam and the Ukrainian ports of Illychevsk and Odessa.
Today, a Washington state court dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Olympia Food Coop by StandWithUs and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
(The) court dismissed the case, calling it a SLAPP Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation and said that it would award the defendants attorneys fees, costs, and sanctions. The judge also upheld the constitutionality of Washingtons anti-SLAPP law, which the plaintiffs had challenged.
In a court hearing last Thursday, lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP argued that the court should grant the defendants Special Motion to Strike and dismiss the case because it targeted the constitutional rights of free speech and petition in connection with an issue of public concern.
We are pleased the Court found this case to be what it is an attempt to chill free speech on a matter of public concern. This sends a message to those trying to silence support of Palestinian human rights to think twice before they bring a lawsuit, said Maria LaHood, a senior staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
In this case, the issue was whether the food coop had the right to ban nine Israeli products from its shelves in support of the global BDS movement. This action was taken according to coop rules which permitted the board by concensus to approve this measure. The plaintiffs couldve requested a vote of the entire membership to confirm or reject the boards decision, but refused to go this route. They ran for the coop board in the next election on a platform that opposed the boards BDS decision and lost.
(02-29) 12:18 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) --
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is dismissing Republican criticism of President Barack Obama's record in supporting Israel and says U.S. aid would be the highest ever.
Pressed at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Clinton told lawmakers Wednesday that the administration has pledged its strong support for Israel and put more money behind that pledge than any other administration. Obama is seeking $3.1 billion in military assistance for Israel in next year's budget, which would make it the largest recipient of U.S. aid.
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