Two ex-State Department officials who have spent decades – under both Democratic and Republican presidents – pressuring Israel, will be among the featured speakers at the American Zionist Movement’s national conference later this month. An interesting choice, to say the least.
The AZM’s three-day conference, to be held in Washington, D.C. from Nov. 15 to 17, will include many impressive pro-Israel speakers. Yet it will also feature Aaron Miller and Dennis Ross, whose records of criticizing and pressuring Israel are long and troubling.
Miller was a senior Middle East adviser to Secretary of State James Baker. He helped write Baker’s speeches and helped shape his policies concerning Israel, which are widely considered to have been the most unfriendly American policies toward Israel in our country’s history. And Miller was still defending Baker many years later, declaring in the Los Angeles Times in 2008 that “Baker was tough on Israel when he needed to be, but he was no anti-Semite.” Those who remember Baker’s infamous “[Expletive] the Jews” remark might disagree with Miller’s assessment.
Writing in the journal SAIS Review in 1987, Miller praised Yasir Arafat as “pragmatic,” “conservative” and “moderate.” (Note the year – it was before Arafat was even pretending to recognize Israel’s right to exist.) The term “Palestinian terrorists” did not come easily to Miller’s lips. In that article, he called them “Palestinian fighters,” and described the PLO’s terrorist attacks as “Palestinian operations against Israel.” Indeed.
The following year, Miller helped engineer the first U.S. recognition of Arafat and the PLO. But when a PLO faction tried to launch an “operation” to slaughter Israelis on the Tel Aviv beach and seize the nearby U.S. embassy, the U.S. was forced to cancel its recognition of Arafat. It should have cost Miller his job.
Instead, Miller became a senior Mideast policymaker in the Clinton administration, where he pushed the line that Palestinian violations of the Oslo accords were unimportant, and that Arafat should continue receiving $500-million in U.S. aid each year, regardless of his actual behavior. It was Miller who came up with the idea to remake Arafat’s image by having him visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Brilliant.
In recent years, Miller has spent a lot of time dishing out his “expert opinions” on television talk shows and op-ed pages. He endorsed the Iran nuclear agreement, insisting that “in a galaxy far away, a better deal might have been possible, but not here on planet Earth and not under these circumstances.” He opposed moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying such a move “puts America’s interests last” and would “signal – no matter how it’s explained – that the U.S. is validating Israel’s claims to the entire city of Jerusalem.” Heaven forbid!
Miller also has harshly mocked supporters of Israel, writing in his book: “American Jews committed to Israel worry for a living – I call this the ‘cosmic oy vey’ syndrome, the tendency to worry about everything combined with an inability to distinguish what is really worth worrying about from what isn’t.” I wonder what the delegates to the American Zionist Movement conference think of that assertion.
Miller’s close colleague, Dennis Ross, played an active role in shaping the same policies – pushing for U.S. recognition of Arafat, downplaying Palestinian violations of the accords and, of course, constantly pressuring Israel behind the scenes to make more concessions.
As a senior aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ross pressured Israel to let Hamas bring concrete into Gaza. Here’s how Ross recalled it: “I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built. They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right.” That admission came six years too late.
Thanks to Ross’s pressure, Hamas built “a labyrinth of underground tunnels, bunkers, command posts and shelters for its leaders, fighters and rockets,” as Ross acknowledged. They built the tunnels with “an estimated 600,000 tons of cement,” some of which was “diverted from construction materials allowed into Gaza.” (Washington Post, Aug. 8, 2014)
During the past year, Ross has repeatedly pressed Israel to make significant concessions, in exchange for easily reversible rhetorical gestures by the Palestinians. In op-eds in the Washington Post and The New York Times, Ross demanded that Israel halt all Jewish construction in 92 percent of Judea-Samaria. In exchange, he argued, the PA should agree to “normalizing Israeli-Palestinian contacts.” Evidently Ross forgot the PA already agreed to have normal relations with Israel, in the 1993 Oslo accords. Why should Israel have to make more concessions to get something the PA was supposed to have been doing for the past 24 years?
Ironically, the American Zionist Movement conference at which Miller and Ross are scheduled to speak is titled “Zionism Forward in the Spirit of Balfour.” The Balfour Declaration affirmed the Jewish right to the Land of Israel. Yet Miller and Ross have devoted much of their professional lives to undermining and restricting Israel’s rights to Jerusalem and Judea-Samaria.
Moreover, the Balfour Declaration promised a “Jewish national home” and said nothing about any Palestinian Arab state. Yet these two State Department veterans remain devoted to badgering Israel into accepting the creation of a Palestinian state. That would mean pushing Israel back to the indefensible 1967 borders, which would pose a grave danger to Israel’s very existence – precisely the opposite of the “Spirit of Balfour” the conference will celebrate.
Deutsche Bank Raided over Russian Money Laundering
A money laundering probe stemming from the “Panama Papers” has led police to Deutsche Bank, according to authorities. Prosecutors believe the bank helped clients “transfer money from criminal activities” to tax havens.
German Federal police on Thursday raided the Frankfurt offices of Deutsche Bank. The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said the raids stemmed from an investigation into suspected money laundering at the German bank.
About 170 law enforcement agents took part in the operation. The investigation revolves around multiple Deutsche Bank employees, including two believed to still be working at the financial institution.
Deutsche Bank said it was “fully cooperating” with authorities. “The case is related to the Panama Papers,” a spokesperson said.
According to prosecutors, Deutsche Bank is suspected of helping some 900 customers setup offshore shell companies in tax havens to “transfer money from criminal activities.” They said some €311 million ($354 million) is believed to have been laundered, citing information gleaned from the so-called “Panama Papers.”
Markus Meinzer, financial secrecy director of the Tax Justice Network, has been quoted “surprised that German officials would finally take action” on information garnered from the “Panama Papers.”
“It has been two years that they’ve been analyzing these files,” Mainzer said. “We have seen in other situations that German prosecutors took very long to take action” against tax avoidance schemes and financial crimes.
The “Panama Papers” data leak comprised some 11.5 million documents and was leaked to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source in 2015. At least 28 German entities were identified in the leak, according to reports at the time, including Deutsche Bank.
Deutsche Bank has come under increased scrutiny for lax anti-money laundering mechanisms. In September, German financial regulator BaFin formally ordered the bank to do more to combat money laundering in its institutions.
BaFin also assigned an audit firm to assist the bank in fulfilling its regulatory requirements, saying Deutsche Bank needs to “take appropriate internal safeguards.”
In the past, Deutsche Bank has acknowledged that its anti-money laundering efforts have fallen short of financial rules. In August, it confirmed that even after it was fined for helping Russian clients wash some $10 billion (€8.8 billion), its mechanisms to stop such criminal activity were still ineff
Trump Threatens Acosta, Again
The White House has announced that despite a Judicial order restoring Acosta’s press pass, they will suspend it immediately after the order expires in 14 days.
According, to Brian Stelter of CNN, “Lawyers were already expected to be back in court this week to discuss the timeline for further proceedings. Unless there’s some sort of resolution, CNN will be arguing for a preliminary injunction. Here’s what CNN outside counsel Ted Boutrous told me on “Reliable Sources” before these new developments were known… “
The White House argues Acosta did not follow “basic standards” at a news conference when he scrapped with U.S. President Donald Trump.
In a court filing Monday, CNN said the administration was creating “retroactive due process.” The network tweeted that the White House “is continuing to violate the First and Fifth amendments of the Constitution.”
The @WhiteHouse is continuing to violate the First and Fifth amendments of the Constitution. These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. @Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/knr1NpyMVv
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 19, 2018
HORROR IN NYC: Did Saudi Government Assassins Kill Two Sisters?
Two Saudi Sisters Rotana and Tala Farea, whose bodies were found washed up along the Hudson river, may have been victims of Saudi government assassins according to a well placed source within NYPD. They were then killed only a day after they applied for asylum in the United States, scared to return to the oppressive Saudi regime.
Their mother said that the Saudi government had called them on October 23rd and threatened them with being taken back to Saudi Arabia (and most likely punished) because the sisters had applied for asylum in the United States.
The sisters’ bodies then were found the next day, ducted taped, dead washed on the shore of the Hudson River.
There is a Saudi Consulate in NYC at 866 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10017
Police have ruled out that the pair jumped from the George Washington Bridge in a suicide pact, a theory that was initially pushed out by police, because neither body had visible signs of trauma that would have occurred when they hit the water.
Tala was last seen on Aug. 24, according to a now-removed posting on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website. The alert said she might be with her sister.
A cause of death for the two women — both of Fairfax, Virginia — has not yet been determined.
This news comes the same day that we’ve learned that Washington Post Columnist, Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered in a Saudi Consulate in Turkey.
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