Tag Archives: Bill Clinton

US Presidential Election Roundup 1/9 – 8/9

This week’s roundup of the US Presidential elections..

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Romney ‘bounce’ fluctuates [Reuters] After his speech to the Republican National Convention, a brief boost to Mitt Romney’s poll popularity has subsequently deteriorated.

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RNC behind in ratings [Nielsen Wire] Nielsen reports that the last night of the Republican National Convention was watched by around 8.6 million fewer people than in 2008.

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Axelrod criticises Republican platform [National Journal] Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod has said that the Republican platform is ‘locked up in the same vault as Mitt Romney’s tax returns.’

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Obama responds to Clint Eastwood [CNN] President Obama has said that he was not offended by Clint Eastwood’s address to the Republican National Convention.

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North Carolina poll tie [The Hill] The left-leaning Public Policy Polling said this week that Mitt Romney and President Obama are tied at 48% in North Carolina.

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Poor reception for Romney address [NBC] Respondents to a Gallup poll gave Romney’s convention address historically low ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ ratings.

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Obama visits Louisiana [The Guardian] President Obama has visited areas affected by hurricane Isaac this week.

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Ryan goes fundraising [NBC] NBC reports on the Republican VP nominee’s fundraising schedule for the week.

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Obama ad attacks Romney’s tax proposals [The Hill] A new Obama campaign ad has criticised Mitt Romney’s tax proposals, suggesting that they will raise taxes on the middle class.

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Ryan makes Carter comparison [CNN] Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan has suggested similarities President Obama and President Jimmy Carter, who lost the presidency to Ronald Reagan after one term.

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Washington DC voting rights campaign continues [Washington Post] The Washington Post reports that campaigners for congressional voting rights in the District of Columbia will travel to the Democratic National Convention to further their case.

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Obama accuses Romney of distortions [USA Today] In an interview, President Obama has criticised Mitt Romney for ‘creating a fictional Barack Obama.’

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Obama ahead in Michigan and Colorado [Talking Points Memo] Public Policy Polling has found that President Obama is ahead of Mitt Romney by 7 points in Michigan and 3 points in Colorado.

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Romney ahead in North Carolina [The Hill] Despite earlier reports of a tie, multiple polls have suggested that Mitt Romney is ahead in North Carolina.

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Pelosi makes case to women voters [The Hill] Nancy Pelosi has commented on the benefits of re-electing President Obama for women.

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Romney comments on global warming [The Hill] Mitt Romney has said that he believes ‘human activity’ contributes to climate change.

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Romney attacks Democrats for Jerusalem stance [CBS News] Mitt Romney has criticised the Democratic party platform for not acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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Ryan weighs in on debt [Politico] Paul Ryan has commented on the news that the US national debt has increased to $16 trillion.

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Israel quotes clarified [Fox News] Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, has denied that he described Republican policies as ‘dangerous’.

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Michelle Obama addresses DNC [ABC] First lady Michelle Obama has given her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

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Emanuel to focus on fundraising [Huffington Post] Rahm Emanuel is leaving his post as national co-chairman at the Obama campaign to assist the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action super PAC in raising funds.

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‘Mansion’ used for Romney debate preparations [CNN] CNN reports that the Romney campaign is using a ‘$3.9 million’ property to prepare for the upcoming presidential debates.

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No balloons at DNC [Huffington Post] A change in location due to poor weather conditions means that the traditional convention balloon drop will be absent from the Democratic National Convention.

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Media costs after DNC venue change [Politico] Reports suggest that the change of venue for the last night of the Democratic National Convention will cost media organisations ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars.’

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Convention conflict in Jerusalem vote [Huffington Post] A vote to change elements of the Democratic party platform on Jerusalem after criticism from Republicans has been met with hostility from the floor.

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Clinton addresses DNC [Reuters] Former President Bill Clinton has given his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

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Biden gives DNC address [Huffington Post] The full text of Vice-President Joe Biden’s address to the Democratic National Convention.

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President Obama addresses DNC [National Journal] The full text of President Barack Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention.

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‘Final campaign sprint begins’ [Reuters] With the party conventions now at an end, the Obama and Romney campaigns enter the final stage of presidential race.

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Romney ‘pounces’ on Obama [Reuters] After the release of disappointing job figures, Obama is challenged by Romney.

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Democrats’ ‘headache over Jerusalem’ [BBC] Obama personally intervenes to ensure that the Democratic Party’s main policy document includes the sentence “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel”.

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Compiled by Patrick McGhee.

Settlers Are The True Threat To Israel

It is in the interests of the Israelis, the Palestinians and the rest of the Middle East to stop the settlers.

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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he settler movement is viewed as the ultimate expression of the Israeli injustice against the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and thus is seen primarily as a threat to the native Arab population. Although this is certainly true, there is another aspect of the settler movement which is rarely appreciated and which needs to be spelled out explicitly. This is the fact that the settler movement is not only a direct threat to the Palestinian population but it is a direct threat to Israeli society, the one living within the lawful borders.

The settler movement’s culture is characterised by a messianic understanding of the historical contingencies which brought about the State of Israel. More importantly, this religious fervour is often translated into violence against the native population justified precisely on religious grounds by extremist Rabbis. The forms of violence range from burning Palestinian property, to looting villages, to the most heinous of crimes, such as premeditated murders and full blown terrorist organisations. An instance of the latter is the Kach movement following the steps of Rabbi Meir Kahane whose members included Baruch Goldstein, a settler responsible for the mass murder of 29 Palestinians in the Hebron mosque. To all effects, this culture can be called a form of religious fundamentalism. The extent of their conviction is that anyone who opposes the idea of the return of Judea and Samaria –the biblical names for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories- to the Jews, is a traitor. This has been proven by the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir, a member of the settler movement.

The settler movement opposes vehemently the peace process. For example, in October 1998 during the summit held at the Wye River Plantation between Netanyahu and a Palestinian delegation mediated by Clinton, representatives of the settlers exerted pressure on the Israeli side by personally showing up to discourage any kind of compromise. After hearing the news that at the summit Netanyahu had agreed to cede 13% of the Occupied Territories to the Palestinian Authority, the Yesha Council, a former umbrella organisation representing most settlements, defined the Wye consensus as a “treason agreement”.

More importantly, the settler movement is supported by all the main Israeli authoritative institutions: political, military, and legislative. Most governments since 1967 fiercely supported the expropriation of Palestinian land for the construction of settlements. The only exception was Rabin’s government, whose fate we have already mentioned. Governments also invest substantial amounts of tax-payers’ money in order to fund the needs of the settlers. This money could be used in more productive manners, such as investing in curbing poverty within Israel, a growing social problem attested by the protests held in July 2011. The army supports the settler movement by both guarding illegal settlements and outposts and going as far as arming the settlers themselves with sophisticated weaponry.

In the Occupied Territories two sets of laws are implemented: one for the settlers and one for the native population, the former being much more lenient than the latter. The Israeli High Court has repeatedly given absurdly short sentences for obvious crimes. In October 1982, Ishegoyev, a settler near Hebron, shot a thirteen year old Palestinian in the back killing him after the latter had thrown stones against his garbage truck. He was sentenced to three months of public service work. But perhaps the most memorable case is that of Yoram Shkolnick. A settler in March 1993 Shklonick overheard on his radio that a Palestinian, who had tried to stab other settlers had been captured by the military and was tied up and lying on the floor in a place nearby. Schklonick arrived at the site armed with an Uzi submachine gun and filled the Palestinian’s body with bullets. He was initially convicted to a life sentence but Weissman, at the time Israel’s President, reduced his sentence on two occasions so that Schkolnik was released from prison seven years after having been sentenced. This legal leniency only helps to solidify the settler’s belief in the righteousness of their cause.

The settlers represent a threat to Israeli society in three ways. Firstly, their violent tactics might in the future be aimed not solely against Palestinians but against anyone who opposes the settlement movement and this includes Israeli citizens. A case in point is the violent tactics used by the settlers against, paradoxically, the army in the rare occasions when the latter has been deployed in order to evacuate certain illegal outposts. Secondly, Palestinian attacks against Israeli citizens are a direct consequence of the failure of the peace process. Since the settlement movement is not only the major obstacle to peace with the Palestinians but also the locus in which the brutality and injustice perpetrated against the native population is justified, it is the major source of motivation for such attacks.

Thirdly, the settlement movement is responsible for the alienation of Israel from the international community. This is caused by Israel’s continued violation of international law due to the settlers’ pressure. This is illustrated, for instance, by the recent withdrawal of Israel from the UN Human Rights Council to protest against the organisation’s decision to probe the settlements. It is not inconceivable that in the future Israel will no longer enjoy the support of key players in the global arena and that because of their alienation will suffer material and not only verbal condemnation. This would impinge directly on Israeli citizens.

Moreover, since peace between Israel and Palestine is also one of the crucial steps in the stabilisation of the entire Middle Eastern region, the settlement movement threatens communities beyond the borders of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. It is then in the interest of the Palestinians, Israelis and the region at large to stop the settlement movement.