Conference of Presidents Parrots Avigdor Lieberman

On Wednesday, Ha’aretz reported on the Netanyahu government’s latest spin in its clash with the U.S. and the international community over planned settlement construction in East Jerusalem: change the subject to the Nazis.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ordered diplomats to use an old photograph of a former Palestinian religious leader meeting Adolf Hitler to counter world criticism of a Jewish building plan for East Jerusalem.

Israeli officials said on Wednesday that Lieberman told Israeli ambassadors to circulate the 1941 shot in Berlin of the Nazi leader seated next to Haj Amin al-Husseini, the late mufti or top Muslim religious leader in Jerusalem.

One official said Lieberman, an ultranationalist, hoped the photo would “embarrass” Western countries into ceasing to demand that Israel halt the project on land owned by the mufti’s family in a predominantly Arab neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

Lieberman’s transparent attempt to divert attention from the East Jerusalem controversy was widely derided across the political spectrum. It is, of course, a complete non sequitur — why would the mufti’s Nazi ties have anything to do with the status of Jerusalem under a peace deal? (Al-Husseini died in 1974.) As with Netanyahu’s implied accusation that Obama wants to make the West Bank “Judenrein,” the operative political strategy seems to be “when in doubt, bring up the Nazis.” Even among hardliners, few seemed inclined to take Lieberman’s ploy seriously.

Few, that is, except for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the powerful and hardline Washington group whose policies generally track those of the Israeli right. Earlier this week, Conference of Presidents chairman Alan Solow and executive vice-president Malcolm Hoenlein issued a statement defending Netanyahu and calling the Obama administration’s objections to the proposed building project “disturbing”. It included this key paragraph:

It is particularly significant that the structure in question formerly was the house of the infamous Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseni who spent the war years in Berlin as a close ally of Hitler, aiding and abetting the Nazi extermination of Jews. He was also linked to the 1929 massacre in Hebron and other acts of incitement that resulted in deaths and destruction in what was then Palestine. There has been an expressed desire by some Palestinians to preserve the building as a tribute to Husseini.

The Conference of Presidents is perfectly free to side with Netanyahu over the U.S. government if they so desire — although in that case they should stop claiming to speak for all their member organizations, not all of which agree with their pro-settlement stance. But regardless, shouldn’t the group at least make an effort to pretend that it isn’t cribbing its talking points straight from Avigdor Lieberman?

[Cross-posted at The Faster Times.]

  • Tim R.

    I think there has to be compromise in good-faith between the Israelis and the Palestinians….but NOT when it comes to Jerusalem!

    The fact is that Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people. It was built 3,000 years ago, not by Arabs or Palestinians but by Jews! In fact, for Muslims there most sacred place is Mecca, followed by Medina. So if the Muslims are willing to divide up Mecca and Medina then they can ask the Jews to divide Jerusalem.

    Another point: East Jerusalem was controlled by Jordan up until 1967. King Hussein signed a mutual defense pact with Egypt and he went to war when Nassar told him to get involved. He made a very unwise choice…well too bad! He lost the war, he lost East Jerusalem not get over it!

    Last point: Before having the nerve to tell Jews they can't live in Jerusalem the Obama administration should first start following US Law. The United States Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem ( See the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995)

    • Richard

      If your logic is followed the entire United States would have to be handed over to be governed by the various tribes of American Indians. The Palestenians are a people, they are human beings, and they have been in Jerusalem for centuries. They have a right to be there, and the city is every bit as much their as it is the Jews'. In a final settlement, Israel will not only have to withdraw to the so-called Green Line, which reprewsents the theft of about one third of Palesenian legal territory, but rather to the 1947 United Nations partion plan demarkation lines. Half of the city of Jerudalem will belong to Palestine, forever. If Israel does not accept this, Israel should be abolished in the interests of justice, peace, and security for all.

    • Andy

      How about instead of moving the embassy we stop giving Israel its annual shakedown of three billion bucks in "foreign aid"?

    • Andy

      Since London was founded almost 2,000 years ago by the Romans as 'Londinium' by your "logic", that city should be ceded to Italy.

    • "The fact is that Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people. It was built 3,000 years ago, not by Arabs or Palestinians but by Jews!"
      the "undivided city you speak of is the "old city" that is divided 4 ways-
      Muslim Quarter Christian Quarter Armenian Quarter Jewish Quarter

      this "city" that you treasure so much is a mere 0.35 square miles

      now on the other hand you have the modern day "District of Jerusalem" that covers a land area of 88 square miles stretching over many towns in the west bank.
      so if you want you can declare the entire Arabian peninsula to the undivided city of Jerusalem.

      but the reality is simple
      THE CITY OF JERUSALEM IS HALF THE SIZE OF THE PENTAGON AND HAS BEEN DIVIDED 4 WAYS.

  • you-know-who

    tim, did you ever read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Secur… ?
    according to international law, Israel's actions are completely illegal, now get over it!

  • Would seem that Tim R. is working for the Israelis. Right Tim?

  • Considering that Jerusalem was an established city at the time of Abraham, and that's according to the Book of Genesis, Timmy? Your conjecture blows chunks. Timmy, last point- NO ONE told Jews they couldn't "live" in Jerusalem. Not Obama, nope nobody. The U.S. Embassy needs to stay in Tel Aviv. Jerusalem belongs to no one.

  • Jaqueline_Hyde

    Damn straight oldish! Make Jerusalem an international city for all The People of the Book, Jews, Muslims and Xtians without favour.

  • Once again this type of thinking shows how far we are from having any real peace. Anyone who thinks that Israel is actually looking for peace is nieve at best. the Israeli conquest for land progrom is more similar to Nazis and Soviets than anything the Palistinians have ever done.

    Peace!

    • Andy

      Israel has no intention of making an honest peace. Why should it? It has the backing and support of a superpower in its corner, nuclear weaponry and the Palestinians have almost nothing.

      • Orville H. Larson

        Damn straight.

        By rights, Israel should be cut off from American life support. It should be forced to stand or fall on its own. Of course, that might be impossible for the boys in Tel Aviv. They have no friends, nor do they know how to make any. That's what they get from keeping themselves tied to Uncle Chump's apron strings for so long.

        • liberranter

          Given the downhill acceleration of what little remains of the American economy, with the end result being the complete implosion of the dollar and attendant collapse of Pax Americana, Israel's current "life support" isn't long for this world.

  • Ball

    What is this, the Chewbacca defense?

  • Jerusalem was not built by Jews. Read the 'Book of Joshua' in the Hebrew Bible. When Joshua invaded Canaan circa 1200 b.c.. He captured the largest Canaanite city of Salem and renamed it Jerusalem. He also slaughtered most of its inhabitants "Upon God's orders", after giving them assurances of safety if they would surrender (God's plan!)

  • Assad

    in fact j'lem was not built by the jews or hebrews…it was buit by the canaanites and was there whjen the 12 hebrew tribes invaded after being lost in the desert for 40 yrs…TimR you are full of yourself and BS

    • Andy

      Exactly. He says Jews built it 3,000 years ago. Who knows who was living there 3,100 years ago? 3,200 years ago, etc, etc? I find it hard to believe that land was just sitting there empty just waiting for Jews to go there and take it.

  • The Jewish lobby needs to answer the question " Why must the Palestinians suffer for the holocaust when they had nothing to do with it?"

    • Andy

      Wow! How did you get the "J-word" past the censors on this board?

  • Tim R,
    Thanks for finally leveling with us . The truth – Zionism is an emotion usually associated with bratty toddlers – Jerusalem is OURs because we WANT it ; We HAD IT FIRST and we are NOT GOING TO SHARE.

    • richard vajs

      And confronted by adult displeasure from the Obama Adm., the angry response is – YOU CAN'T MAKE ME. When are we going to quit giving this brat all that its selfish little heart wants?

      • Andy

        Israel cares only about itself.

  • Steve

    Israel will remain a home for the many refugees from Boro Park or Brighton Beach, Brooklyn thanks to the support and control AIPAC has over Washington's Mideast foreign policy. The long-time resolution to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will shorten the lines of communication between the leaders in Israel and those they control in our national government in THEIR congress in Washington.

  • Tim R.

    If Israel has to give back and and all the land it won in wars ( wars of self-defense I might add) then America should have to give back all the land it won in wars of agression against the Native Americans and the entire southwest part of America should be given back to Mexico. Also, all of Australia should be given back to the Aborigines.

    Why is it that only Israel is held to this exceptionally high standard?

    • Andy

      For historical, spatial and demographic reasons your comparison is ludicrous. You are acting here like a guy who is one of ten bank robbers and the sole person caught. Your "defense" is that nine others "got away with it" thus "absolving" you of any punishment. Nations grow up and they mature but sadly spoiled brat Israel never did. There was once slavery in this country. By your "logic" the USA can never criticize any other country today for currently practising slavery because it once permitted it. Compare an Australian Aboriginee or Navajo Indian to the Palestinians. Is there a wall separating them from the rest of the country? Are U.S. troops occupying their reservation land? Are they not able to travel freely across the country? Are there roadblocks to keep them down? If you want to compare Israel to another country South Africa is a more valid example then America or Australia. Nor did anyone give either 3 billion bucks a year to oprress the locals. America should just wash its hands of Israel. So much energy is wasted here that could be so much better spent. But thanks to the lobby, corrupt and cowardly politicians and people like you, we can't do that now can we?

  • no on this point tim r is correct the remaining original peoples of north and south America deserve a right of return and sovereignty where ever possible.
    that is why i completely support the Republic of Lakotah
    http://www.republicoflakotah.com
    the only difference is time in America most places that once were controlled by the original peoples are totally developed for generations
    which is the saddest part about the west bank settlements, not that the people who illegaly moved there will have to be uprooted but that a whole genration now has been born there with no other home and brainwashed from birth with ultraothodoxy – zionism hybrid that is far more dangerous than any before.
    and mark my words if you let this new generation raise their own children on that stolen land, no peace will ever be achievable

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