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60 minutes

From: ray Close
Date: Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 10:32 PM
Subject: Fwd: Israel lobby and friends attack 60 Minutes
To: undisclosed-recipients


Dear Friends:
If you viewed the segment on 60 Minutes last Sunday in which CBS reporter Bob Simon examined in depth the current Israel-Palestine crisis, you will be aware that it was a stunningly candid and courageous piece of journalism. It doesn't matter where you stand on the American political spectrum. You will agree that  Bob Simon and the CBS network have broken a taboo many decades old, and in doing so have made a major contribution to journalism in our country.
Most of you to whom this message is addressed are well aware of the J Street organization, a new lobbying group in Washington that is avowedly pro-Israel, but dedicated to peace with justice in the Middle East. They are, they proudly declare, an alternative to AIPAC --- offering American Jews and others sympathetic to the Zionist cause an avenue to support Israel, but in a manner that steadfastly subscribes to and adheres to the principles of free speech and fair-minded political action. There is not the faintest shred of anti-Semitism in anything that J Street does or lends its name to.

his message was forwarded to me by my friend Ilene Cohen, of Princeton University, with introductory comments.  If you by chance did not view the Bob Simon segment on 60 Minutes, this posting offers you an opportunity to see it now with just a click of your mouse. It also provides a very convenient opportunity to send a message of support to Bob Simon and 60 Minutes, via J Street, expressing appreciation of their historic (and hopefully precedent-setting) action.

I hope you will also pass this message on to friends and relatives.  If the Obama administration is going to give America a fresh start on the road to Middle East Peace, it will be encouraged greatly by evidence of public support for the program of J Street. We must all remember, after all,  that it has been largely through massive grass roots political action of this kind that AIPAC, for its part, has managed to control and distort US treatment of the issue for the past half century. Now is the time to rectify that dangerous imbalance in our national security policy.
Ray Close



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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ilene Cohen <ilenepcohen@gmail.com>
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 17:21:54 -0500
Subject: Israel lobby and friends attack 60 Minutes
January 29, 2008
The content of Bob Simon's 60 Minutes story was precisely what Israel, its lobby, and other friends have worked to censor for decades. They have done their work with intimidation, including threats of accuasations of anti-Semitism. Can it be that he Big Chill is entering a time of Big Thaw. Global warming? The attacks against 60 Minutes and Bob Simon are flying
 
The following letter, about the attacks against 60 Minutes and Bob Simon, was sent out by JStreet--a a "pro-Israel" lobby that is pro-peace, until now a concept that would have been considered an oxymoron. If you haven't seen Simon's report, treat yourself; maybe you'll wish to send along your own thanks to Simon for breaking the silence on the most watched news program on US network television.
 
I've also included a short article, hot off the presses from Reuters--Susan Rice, new US ambassador to the UN, has called on Israel to investigate charges that its military violated international law during the war against Gaza. I believe that's a first. Question is whether Rice will be forced to recant. Maybe Olmert can call Obama to tell him to "rein in" his ambassador (in a riff of sorts of his call to Bush some weeks ago to "rein in" the other Rice (Condoleezza, secretary of state) when word got out that she was going to vote for the Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.
 
Ilene

 

 

Bob Simon from 60 Minutes under attack.

Fight back with a letter of support.

Ilene --

All week, 60 Minutes' Bob Simon has been under attack for supposed "anti-Israel bias" for this past Sunday's accurate and thoughtful report on the danger that Israeli settlements pose to the chances for Israeli-Palestinian peace. If you haven't yet seen the segment, view it here.

CAMERA (the Orwellian-named Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) alerted their activist network - flooding the 60 Minutes' offices and their advertisers with angry phone calls charging media bias. [1] Jewish community leader Abe Foxman fired off a letter calling the piece "a hatchet job on Israel." [2]

Journalists - as well as rabbis, professors and elected officials - know that if they raise questions about what Israel does - they'll often get attacked as anti-Israel. It's one way the forces of the status quo constrain debate and discussion on what's really best for Israel and the United States.

It's time for a reporter like Bob Simon to know that those of us with balanced views value balanced reporting - and we know how to write letters too!  If he's getting an earful from CAMERA and others, then the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement should be showing him support.

Click here to view the segment and send Bob Simon a note of support for his accurate and thoughtful report on Israeli settlements and the occupation.

We hear plenty from American media about the threats that Israel faces from terrorism, rockets, and a nuclear Iran. 

While those threats are real and should be covered, Americans also need to hear about another threat that is just as real: that time is running out for a two-state solution with the Palestinians in part due to Israeli settlements and the occupation of the West Bank. Without a two-state solution soon through assertive American diplomacy, Israel's future as a Jewish, democratic homeland is at risk.

During Sunday's 60 Minutes segment, anchor Bob Simon interviewed pro-settlement activist Daniella Weiss who readily admitted that she thinks "settlements prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state in the land of Israel. This is the goal. And this is the reality."

Simon also restated what Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been saying for years [3] about what would happen if the two-state solution peace process falls apart.

"Demographers predict that within ten years Arabs will outnumber Jews in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Without a separate Palestinian state the Israelis would have three options, none of them good. They could try ethnic cleansing, drive the Palestinians out of the West Bank, or they could give the Palestinians the vote. That would be the democratic option but it would mean the end of the Jewish state. Or they could try apartheid - have the minority Israelis rule the majority Palestinians, but apartheid regimes don't have a very long life."

Simon also interviewed Israeli Foreign Minister and Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians Tzipi Livni who said that evacuating the settlers in the West Bank is "not going to be easy. But this is the only solution."

But groups like CAMERA are opposed to mainstream media reporting that Israeli extremists, in addition to Palestinian extremists, undermine efforts to achieve a two-state solution. CAMERA resorts to claims of anti-Israel bias - when the reality is that Israeli extremists on the West Bank make real peace and security for Israel and the Palestinians more difficult to achieve.

We can't let fringe groups like CAMERA define what it means to be pro-Israel through intimidation and fear tactics.

Bob Simon should receive support from the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement for his accurate and thoughtful assessment of the threat that Israeli settlements pose to the two-state solution peace process.

Click here to write a note of support to 60 Minutes' Bob Simon.

Thanks for all you do.

- Isaac

Isaac Luria
Online Director
J Street
January 29, 2009


[1] "CBS's 60 Minutes Scapegoats Israel," Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. January 26, 2009.

[2] "ADL Letter to CBS News' 60 Minutes," Anti-Defamation League. January 26, 2009.

[3] "Olmert to Haaretz: Two-state solution, of Israel is done for," by Aluf Benn, David Landau, Barak Ravid, Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondents and AP.  Haaretz.  November 29, 2007.

----------

ABOUT J STREET
J Street is the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement. J Street was founded to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israel conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. We support a new direction for American policy in the Middle East and a broad public and policy debate about the U.S. role in the region. Learn more at our website by clicking one of the links above.

Don't forget to check us out on Facebook!
Check out our blog "Word on the Street" for J Street's take on recent events.
To ensure that J Street messages reach your inbox, please add info@jstreet.org to your address book.
Please support our work by donating to J Street here.
To contact J Street, please just reply to this email. You can also write to us at info@jstreet.org.
If you are having trouble reading this email, please click on one of the links above to go to our website.

This email has been sent to ipcohen@princeton.edu. To change your subscription settings, click here.

The New York Times



January 29, 2009

Israel Must Investigate Charges Of Crimes In Gaza: U.S.

By REUTERS

Filed at 4:40 p.m. ET

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israel must investigate allegations that its army violated international law during its three-week war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, the new U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Thursday.

"We expect Israel will meet its international obligations to investigate and we also call upon all members of the international community to refrain from politicizing these important issues," Ambassador Susan Rice said in her debut speech before the U.N. Security Council.

Rice said that Hamas had been guilty of violating international law "through its rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in southern Israel and the use of civilian facilities to provide protection for its terrorist attacks."

"There have also been numerous allegations made against Israel some of which are deliberately designed to inflame," she told the council during a meeting on international humanitarian law.

Some 1,300 Palestinians, including at least 700 civilians, were killed during Israel's Gaza offensive, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in the territory. Israel put its losses at 10 soldiers and three civilians.

During the campaign, Israel fired on several U.N. installations in Gaza, including schools, where hundreds of Palestinians had been seeking shelter from the fighting. Israel rejects allegations that its army was guilty of war crimes.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said there would also be a U.N. investigation of the deadly attacks on United Nations sites in the Gaza Strip.

Rice made it clear that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama had a very different view of the role of the United Nations from George W. Bush's government, whose officials were often suspicious of the world body and

occasionally spoke of it with disdain.

She said Obama's long-term goals included enhancing global peace and security, fighting terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, dealing with climate change, alleviating poverty and improving respect for human rights worldwide.

"The United Nations is indispensable for advancing these goals and making our world a better, safer place," she said.

She also hinted that Obama had a different attitude toward The Hague-based International Criminal Court, the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal.

President Bill Clinton's administration had signed the ICC treaty, which was never ratified by Congress. Bush later rejected the idea of ever joining the court.

"The International Criminal Court, which has started its first trial this week, looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda and Darfur," Rice said.

(Editing by Jackie Frank)

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