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 Robert Fisk wrote in The Independent today about the VP debates and the Middle East:

'Palestinians ceased to exist in the United States on Thursday night. Both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin managed to avoid the use of that poisonous word. "Palestine" and "Palestinians" – that most cancerous, slippery, dangerous concept – simply did not exist in the vice-presidential debate. The phrase "Israeli occupation" was mercifully left unused. Neither the words "Jewish colony" nor "Jewish settlement" – not even that cowardly old get-out clause of American journalism, "Jewish neighbourhood" – got a look-in. Nope.

 

Those bold contenders of the US vice-presidency, so keen to prove their mettle when it comes to "defence", hid like rabbits from the epicentre of the Middle East earthquake'. Read more.

Question: What do you think? Is the Middle East an issue in this election or a trap to be avoided at all costs? Is an understanding of the Middle East pivotal to future American security?

Edit: Robert Fisk professes himself 'shocked' by the lack of interest in the Middle East

Comments

( Comment )
greenpartyfan wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
Ignorance is Bliss ..Also a sin.
How are you supposed to become the next president of the United states if you refuse to mention Any other foreign country? How are you going to be Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, if you didn't want to say "Jewish Neighborhood"? Well, so far, we have those two to vote for. .. Oh wait, why don't just add that Ralph Nader is Also in the 3rd parties ..Of 2008?
knightabraxas wrote:
Oct. 5th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Re: Ignorance is Bliss ..Also a sin.
and cynthia mckinney!
zumayabooks wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
Choosing your battles
First, it has to be understood that there are always going to be those committed to a particular cause for whom nothing but everything will suffice. It's the nature of the human beast that there will always be those who firmly believe it's possible to go from black to white overnight, forgetting that it's also human nature to resist change.

The simple--and sad--fact of life is that Palestine is a subject of very low priority on the to-do list of most US voters. For one thing, the situation has been going on so long with no indication there will ever be any way to resolve it people just aren't going to consider it important when they're dealing with financial problems and a very immediate war in which many have loved ones of their own to worry about.

For another, sad as it is, most US voters don't care what foreigners do as long as it doesn't directly affect their daily existence. Yes, you can tell them that the situation in the Middle East directly does that, but that's too many steps removed from immediacy to really make a dent. The people of the US have always been somewhat insular--remember that there was no intention to become involved in the battle against Hitler until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

And finally, the vice-presidential debate was turned into a promo op for the McCain campaign by Governor Palin's clearly expressed intention to not respond to questions but to express herself on issues. As an evangelical Christian, her sympathies are all with Israel; for Mr. Biden to have introduced the issue would have been pointless. Given the understanding that the people who were watching and hearing the debate didn't care about the subject, it made no sense to introduce it.
tyskkvinna wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Choosing your battles
I agree with this sentiment. I also think that, for many Americans, the idea of going into another country and potentially starting a "war" of any sorts is a very scary thing right now - we only have to look at Iraq to make that connection. Not that Israel/Palestine and Iraq are the same thing, oh no no no no, but the connections between the two are very clear: Going somewhere outside of the US to do something that on the surface doesn't "immediately impact" the US ... for what? It's a tough sell to many Americans. Especially those that are upset that American soldiers have been fighting abroad for far too long.
iber wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
I do believe the Middle East is an issue, as much as foreign policy is an issue. It is a piece of the world that we tend to do a large amount of trade with, yet is generally ignorant in terms of understanding the region as a whole.

Honestly, how they are approaching this issue in general, I felt like it was more a trap for them than an issue. If we had someone with much more understanding of Middle Eastern policy doing the moderating, we might have seen a different debate than the No, I love Israel more-fest that happened. I would love to see this as more of an issue, but Israel is too much of our country's child, and therefore we can see no wrong with them...

I'm not sure if it's a pivotal issue for security, but it sure would help. I was cringing during the debate with the talk about the middle east, and some of the clear misunderstandings they seemed to have. I mean it doesn't help that current administration has nobody in the Executive branch with any major understanding of the Middle Eastern Politics, yet does major work within the region. If anything, having an understanding of the culture would be effective... and maybe help prevent us from attacking the entire culture/region rather than the few sects which actually brought these troubles.
greenpartyfan wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
Debates are led by the Republicans and Democrats as we speak.
..If both parties control the debates, and how it was set up, it is not led by one person. It's being pulled on strings from behind the scenes. And this was: Not a serious debate. I believe that.
shaggydog58 wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
Usually, the debates are led by one person...
...and the parties to the debate respond. We may hear from the remaining debates on the Palestine/Israel situation, but nobody so far has volunteered to open that can of worms.
greenpartyfan wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Priorities against the Middle class ...
The simple--and sad--fact of life is that Palestine is a subject of very low priority on the to-do list of most US voters.

Response: I don't think that US voters have a very clear to-do list. In fact, we clearly don't have a very Informative media. If this subject is a low priority on the to-do list of US voters, then I would like to say: What would their to do list consist of in the choice of voters?

How about trust, NOT only trust in the US President not to forget about Palestine in the heated election period. I'm saying: at least a VP who could use the word "Jewish neighborhood."

Which I would like to hear in any future discussion anyway, being one United States citizen who noticed actually, that they weren't really paying attention to the most critical priorities of lower class family anyway.

If you ask me, they had Not even mentioned Solar energy ..Nuclear Energy? Yes. Clean Fossil Fuel? (which doesn't exist?) Yes. Wind power ..Geothermal vents ..The countless endless resources for saving the environment through electricity and getting rid of all the nuclear power plants? No.

But you see, that's a very big priority that they didn't even mention.

For one thing, the situation has been going on so long with no indication there will ever be any way to resolve it people just aren't going to consider it important when they're dealing with financial problems and a very immediate war in which many have loved ones of their own to worry about.

Response:

The situation has been going a long time because no one wanted to resolve it.

There is No such thing as inability to resolve any problem in this world.

There is a way to solve world hunger.

There is a way to fix the Bail out crisis right now.

There is a way to fix global warming.

You can heal yourself with cancer Just by eating organic food now.

But..

Our loved one's financial problems are happening because no one has hope for anyone out there to help them. And actually, Ralph Nader would propose to draw all troops from the war. I believe he would not hesitate to suggest that the war shouldn't be immediate. It should be ended immediately and as quickly as possible.

Never should it become a priority over the very rushed decision to Bail out Wall street .. which has only crippled the poor class financially and emotionally in every single way, and threatened their right to have any power to vote whatsoever as well as Decide who to vote for.
mefan wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
The simple fact is that no candidate (w/the possible exception of fringe candidates such as Nader) is going to risk angering AIPAC this late in the game. To come out in defence of the Palestinian cause (or to even appear to be doing so) is virtually guaranteed political suicide. If Biden - arguably the most experienced candidate of the four, certainly the most experienced on foreign policy, and the only voice of reason b/t the two VP candidates - had even hinted at the Palestinian issue, it'd have been the equivalent of handing McCain the election on a silver platter. Palin could have vomited pea soup all over the debate audience whilst her head rotated 360 degrees and McCain still would have walked away w/the election if Biden had brought up Palestine.

Also, I agree w/what zumayabooks said re: the priorities of the American electorate. I woudln't go so far as to say that Americans don't care about Palestine, but Americans don't care about Palestine. The three main issues that Americans do care about at the moment are the economy, the economy and the economy. Also, Iraq. That is about it. And I will even go a step further and possibly stereotype here by stating that most Americans are more likely to be pro-Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.

So to answer the question. Yes, I think it is a trap to be avoided. At least the Israel question as it relates to Palestinians. Yes, I do believe that an understanding of the Middle East is vital for future security; however, I am not entirely convinced that most Americans are either capable or willing to understand the situation.

As an aside, I still to this day find it ironic whenever I see pieces in British papers regarding this issue, particularly when they point the finger at America.
greenpartyfan wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)
The simple fact is that no candidate (w/the possible exception of fringe candidates such as Nader) is going to risk angering AIPAC this late in the game.

Response: What game are you talking about? This is supposed to be a politician's debate. This is not a game -- To toy with the lives of American citizens. And I cannot speak for Nader, but I think the risks he has taken can be considered an enormous amount of difference.

To come out in defence of the Palestinian cause (or to even appear to be doing so) is virtually guaranteed political suicide.

Response: Because .. Obama is being funded by the big corporations behind the scenes? You do understand that George Bush is guaranteed Political suicide too, not by Obama, but maybe because he's been using a law like FISA to spy on the phone lines of everyone in the U.S. without their permission?

If Biden - arguably the most experienced candidate of the four, certainly the most experienced on foreign policy,

Response: There are more than four candidates running for Election ..

and the only voice of reason b/t the two VP candidates - had even hinted at the Palestinian issue,

Response: An open debate would consist of more than two Vp's participating ..

it'd have been the equivalent of handing McCain the election on a silver platter.

Response: It's better to vote for someone you believe in. Then someone you don't, because they'll surely betray you. Quote.

Palin could have vomited pea soup all over the debate audience whilst her head rotated 360 degrees and McCain still would have walked away w/the election if Biden had brought up Palestine.

Response: And again, the focus would then not be to win ..It's that Palin would has vomitted over the audience ..? (Which they probably could have attempted to pull off if they thought they'd win?)
(no subject) - mefan - Oct. 4th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - greenpartyfan - Oct. 5th, 2008 01:24 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - greenpartyfan - Oct. 5th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - mefan - Oct. 5th, 2008 02:11 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - greenpartyfan - Oct. 5th, 2008 04:26 am (UTC) Expand
greenpartyfan wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
Also, I agree w/what [info]zumayabooks said re: the priorities of the American electorate. I woudln't go so far as to say that Americans don't care about Palestine, but Americans don't care about Palestine.

Response: I am an American ..I have Not a clue what's going on in Palestine. Not because I don't care, but maybe because I'm confused of the facts that are being delivered across the media.

The three main issues that Americans do care about at the moment are the economy, the economy and the economy.

Response: ..At the moment, I think we're not just Thinking of money. What happened to our loved ones?

Also, Iraq. That is about it.

Response: Iraq is an issue. Yes. We shouldn't have invaded Iraq in the first place. One Iraq official ..Even explained in Al Gore's doumentary: We just wanted electricity.

And I will even go a step further and possibly stereotype here by stating that most Americans are more likely to be pro-Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.

Response: I have seen a lot more than just one stereotype of the average American in the VP debates. Stereotypes Do exist ..However.

So to answer the question. Yes, I think it is a trap to be avoided. At least the Israel question as it relates to Palestinians. Yes, I do believe that an understanding of the Middle East is vital for future security; however, I am not entirely convinced that most Americans are either capable or willing to understand the situation.

Response: I think letting the Americans decide what they are capable of is more important than JUST understand the Middle east. And Yes, I am american, I am willing and I wan't and will decide that for myself too as well as a lot of others.

As an aside, I still to this day find it ironic whenever I see pieces in British papers regarding this issue, particularly when they point the finger at America.

Response: Let me make another point already made: In Europe ..some WORKING middle class people have 8 weeks of vacation. We as Americans who work, don't.
kaseinoodoriko wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
I do think the Middle East is of some importance.
But i also think it's used WAY too much, just like 9/11, as a scare-tactic.

And during these elections, the candidates have much important things to worry about, here at home.
I'd much rather hear about our economy, schools, health insurance, and exporting of jobs...
Things that effect me, as a middle class citizen, every single day.


I mean the war should be talked about, yes. But it shouldn't be the main thing talked about, for it's not the main thing the american people want to hear about right now.
And it's not because we don't care, it's because i think Americans are fed up with it. And don't feel, like anything is going to change, so we don't want to waste time listening to the candidates talking about something thats never going to change, when other things - here at home, where we have a say - are negatively effecting us NOW.
And of course, things can change and it's not a waste of time to talk about the war, but Americans are fed up with it at the moment...
So warp my words however you like, i'm not saying i don't care about the war, or the soilders, or w/e...
I'm saying, that at this very moment, i don't have and can't afford medical insurance, haven't been to the doctors in over 10 years, have gas that's 4.00+ a gallon - and in super short supply here in the s. east, and have prices of food-products in local stores doubling before my eyes......
And to say that our schools, and education systems, are failing, is the biggest understatement of the year. - In terms of Education, Americas a global-joke. Everyone considers us, idiots - pretty much.
So yea, THAT'S, what i want addressed right now, ya know.
greenpartyfan wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
Actually the Middle East is a topic of some importance, I agree ..I don't see how mentioning any phrases that refer to Palestinians would be a scare tactic. The idea of Invading Iraq is a scare tactic for me.

I think we have heard about our economy, but I don't think the fact that Wall Street has cheated us for years, and are being promoted to be bailed out. Is is Not actually a good thing to talk about, much less a considerable factor in repairing this economy. We don't lend money to crooks, we run a background check. Right?

Our schools ..need more money. We need better teachers, with better pay who want to do their job. George Bush wants more qualified teachers meaning More oversight, without adding a penny to their paychecks. And teachers are having it so badly, they have to take second jobs as Janitors at some point Just to support their family.

Health Insurance is being Run By HMO's.. Private insurance companies that Palin approves of ...which we pay thousand of dollars for, when we could work on being healthier and investing in Medical savings accounts: MSA's..which Hillary Clinton had said No to.

Americans Are fed up Now. But they are not fed up over something that happened mysteriously overnight. I'm saying what I want addressed right now, is why 18,000 people die so quickly in America when they probably could have been prevented from that disease in the first place by their IPA's ..Single pay doctors ..who would treat them based on their own Health and lives and not money.

Remember.. Everything Is a Circle in life. And I'm not warping your words. I just explain the facts that I Cannot question myself.


sophia_sadek wrote:
Oct. 4th, 2008 11:42 pm (UTC)
Foreign relations savvy
The important thing for any candidate is whether they lean to a peer relationship in foreign policy, or whether they have an attitude of superiority over other nations. What is more at issue is not the candidate's special knowledge of an individual situation, such as Palestine/Israel, but the approach they take to foreign relations in general. Both parties and the State department have resources for special knowledge. It's how the executive acts on the information that matters.
greenpartyfan wrote:
Oct. 5th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC)
Re: Foreign relations savvy
The important thing for any candidate is whether they lean to a peer relationship in foreign policy, or whether they have an attitude of superiority over other nations.

Response: That's true. But that also means that they should not set up sanctions in Iraq ..which has actually killed more Iraq children then they have any terrorists there. Their attitude is very important too, but they have to work with their attitude, not fake it.

What is more at issue is not the candidate's special knowledge of an individual situation, such as Palestine/Israel, but the approach they take to foreign relations in general.

Response: I might have to disagree with that. Their special knowledge of Palestine and Israel should not only be their responsibility. They should in fact, allow others to help in the process of decision making, and that actually includes the labor class. Whether it's votes being fairly counted. Or whether it's through Open debates that everyone has more than 90 seconds to speak in along with 3rd parties sharing their own knowledge.


Both parties and the State department have resources for special knowledge. It's how the executive acts on the information that matters.

Response: I'm a bit concerned about these resources. I was surprised a few years ago, when I was googling info on President Lincoln, that not one biography link was accessable about him. (During George the 4th Bush's ruling terms.)

Considering that people in China are getting blocked access to necessary sites as well, I'm not sure what knowledge the U.S. government has that it could be hiding from all of us if we have trouble finding info on our past history itself.

And finally, the executive should act on the information with no surprises. No hidden deceptions, and, work for the people, not in secrecy. Not against Russia, Iraq, or any other country on this planet.

Just the omitting of Solar Energy or Geothermic energy which Other countries have already implemented into their system and daily lives--

It hints to me that the democrats and Republican candidates are not just After this Planet and it's middle class citizens. They may Just only care about themselves, and the less we know, the better for them it is.
wackinessensues wrote:
Oct. 5th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
I have to admit that as a non-religious American I am completely unaffected by this aspect of the election. I have never understood why the US blindly stands by Israel even when they appear to be aggressors in that region of the world. But that said, I also cannot personally understand why any two cultures would be at war for thousands of years over geography and religion. I just cannot relate to the underlying causes of this ongoing conflict so I find it more of a distraction from our domestic issues than anything else.

I would like to add however that I do not begrudge others their religion and I completely understand why this is an important issue to my Jewish friends and to others with personal and direct relations to the Middle East, but for me it is a non-issue when I am considering candidates.
greenpartyfan wrote:
Oct. 5th, 2008 05:33 am (UTC)
Off of the subject: Just musing.
I'm not quite sure myself, why the U.S. stands by Israel, I've seen a few documentaries that discuss what life is actually like living in a war zone. But, actually, now that I think of it, that documentary filmed the two parts of towns a lot like a city. There was a bus there, but a lot of times, there were also bombings and screams.

The characters I followed there was a film in which a filming crew attempted to film the interaction of some Israelian children who would be meeting some children from their enemies' side. (Palestinians..)

I was surprised by all the strange myths they'd grown up believing. Before meeting eachother they were certain that the other would have "really dark skin" Or a "hooked nose".

And when they were face to face, they hardly talked.

I added then that during those meetings, they actually started to get along, and at points became really good friends with eachother.

But a strange contrast to our society as well, is that they were overseen by guards, everytime they crossed the border, needing I.D.'s..

It was actually rather strange to see children growing up this way. Because they smiled and said to us as people were getting attacked near them: It's only death, if you don't run in time you die.

By the end of the film however, they'd interviewed the children two years later. Somehow, neither side seemed to remember eachother.

I think then, that as time passed, they'd seen more and more deaths, but when they first met, despite their differences they were friends.

In the end, there were rather sad comments, ending with. "I don't see an end to this war very soon."

I'd seen this documentary around 2006, so I'm not sure of the state of things now.

I guess I just felt that, when seeing that documentary, those kids were a lot like ordinary American kids. They lived around death and in poverty and had different beliefs, but they joked around and had racing games too.

So, I guess in voting for a politician, I would decide on Ralph Nader, because he understands that no matter where we live, we are still people. We want peace.. If put in a certain situation without fear of one another, I think things in the world would not have turned out so badly.

But because of the barriers of society, I don't think many people understand that. In this case, time can heal, or hurt. But silence, never answered anything.
Re: Off of the subject: Just musing. - greenpartyfan - Oct. 5th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC) Expand
Re: Off of the subject: Just musing. - greenpartyfan - Oct. 5th, 2008 06:07 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - sparkstealer - Oct. 5th, 2008 06:15 am (UTC) Expand
..... - greenpartyfan - Oct. 5th, 2008 06:34 am (UTC) Expand
Re: ..... - sparkstealer - Oct. 5th, 2008 06:47 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - wackinessensues - Oct. 5th, 2008 06:36 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - sparkstealer - Oct. 5th, 2008 06:46 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - greenpartyfan - Oct. 5th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC) Expand
brennakimi wrote:
Oct. 7th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC)
Someone somewhere decided that if you support recognizing the inherent human rights of Palestinians, that you're a terrorist sympathizer.

Someone else decided that Israel should be America's number 2 priority, and that there's only one appropriate opinion to be held on it.

So, when the rest of the country takes off it's idiot goggles and starts to see that the issue is more complicated than
Israel
[]yay
[]nay
then we'll hear about it in our elections.

It's on the platforms, but you won't hear it in public.
millenium_king wrote:
Oct. 7th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
I have no clue what you are talking about. The candidates did speak about the middle east: both VP candidates said quite forcefully in their debate that they were pro-Israel.

The Independant teeters on the edge of being pro-Palestine and just wanted the candidates to mention their (supposed) hatred of Palestine so that they could be lambasted. I mean, what person actually calls Israel a "Jewish Colony" or a Jewish "occupation?" Wonderful little bit of anti-semitism you dug up there.
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