Fair Policy, Fair Discussion

June 17, 2010

Double Standards

Helen Thomas’ misinterpreted remarks about Jews in Palestine led to the end of her accomplished career.  Meanwhile, Senator Schumer of New York is allowed to say he supports the continued “economic strangulation” of Gaza, without anyone even blinking twice.

Schumer is a powerful politician; he is the vice-chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, and the third highest ranking Democrat in the Senate.  His position in the government makes the fact that he can make such comments without press coverage or any sort of accountability is especially perturbing.

Schumer, speaking at the Orthodox Union, went on to blame the identity of Palestinians for their situation:  “Palestinian people still don’t believe in the Jewish state, in a two-state solution… They don’t believe in the Torah, in David.” Both of these statements are blatantly false, as most Palestinians support a two-state solution, and Muslims consider the Torah a holy book and David a prophet.  He also blames Gazans for the actions of Hamas, and states that they can only have economic advancement  “when there’s some moderation and cooperation.” (more…)

January 16, 2010

Short films from our November study tour

Filed under: CNI/CNIF activities,Gaza,Helena's travels,Jerusalem,Jordan,Lebanon,Syria — Helena Cobban @ 7:55 am

I have been working with Dominic Musacchio, the videographer from our November ‘Political pilgrimage’ study tour to Israel and all its neighbors, to present some good short cuts from the many hours of footage he took on the tour.  We’ve finally come up with a good, illustrative collection of his films, which you can view here.

I’ve also been doing a huge amount of reorganization in our office.  (We may have some candid shots of us all moving the furniture around, that we’re willing to post here, later on… Or not.) We have a few more days of the reorganizing to be doing– and then it’ll be full steam ahead, getting back to running the excellent lineup of programs CNIF has planned for 2010.

The films present views and voices that people in the U.S. don’t get to hear enough from. Tell us which ones you find most interesting!

November 29, 2009

Our ‘political pilgrimages’: Huge value for money!

Filed under: CNI/CNIF activities — Helena Cobban @ 9:47 pm

I was just looking at this website, from a company called “World Leaders Travel”, that is offering a 12-day tour next May, just to Israel and Palestine (though Palestine is never mentioned as such, and Jerusalem is listed as “Jerusalem, Israel.”)

Hat-tip to Angry Arab for the link.

“World Leaders Travel” are offering Aaron Miller and Sam Donaldson as your tour leaders… and they’re charging $11,900 per person for the tour– without the transatlantic airfare, and with shared accommodation. If you want a single room, you’ll need to pay an additional $5,990.

Our recently completed “Political pilgrimage” tour cost paying participants $8,500. That covered economy-class airfare from Washington DC, an all-expenses-paid, 16-day tour to Israel, Palestine, and four Arab countries that included numerous fascinating meetings and tours, and then two nights’ additional hotel and a Gala Dinner back in DC after the participants returned.

Oh, and participants had Jack Matlock and me as their tour leaders… I venture to say that my CNI colleagues and I know a greater number of interesting people in the region, and more about the region as a whole, than either Aaron Miller or Sam Donaldson. Though Aaron’s a nice enough person, we should also remember that he was a key member of the “peace-processing team” that throughout the eight Bill Clinton years never missed as opportunity to miss an opportunity to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (And that, even after they got handed the whole “Oslo process” on a plate, by the Norwegians.)

Oh, I just looked through the brochure with which WLT are trying to sell the Miller/Donaldson tour. It seems extremely Israelo-centric. No surprise there, I guess.

We at CNI will need to be organizing– and publicizing– our next political pilgrimage tour soon. It will also be in May 2010. Watch this site for news of a really rich (and handily priced) opportunity ahead…

November 28, 2009

Photos from Lebanon

Filed under: CNI/CNIF activities,Helena's travels,Lebanon,Photos — Helena Cobban @ 2:43 pm

I just posted the next collection of photos from our recent CNIF trip, onto the CNI website. These are eleven photos from Lebanon, covering many– but not all– of the really informative meetings we had there.

Big thanks– again!– to all who hosted, or helped set up, these meetings. Come see us when you can, in Washington DC!

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