Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Likud-GOP convergence in Vancouver

As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert faces calls to resign, and reports indicate that Likud leader and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could likely win if there is a new election, it certainly poses the interesting possibility that little old Vancouver, WA., could become something of a center of attention next month if Netanyahu remains as the keynote speaker for a conservative US-Israeli conference called Convergence Northwest here next month.

To follow up on Tuesday's post about Convergence Northwest, here's a portion of an interview that Brigitte Gabriel of the American Congress for Truth did with conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder. Gabriel is listed as a conference speaker on the Convergence Northwest web page.

From The Orange County Register:
Elder: What happens if a Democrat wins the 2008 election?

Gabriel: We are doomed. Our enemies want the Democrats to win. This last election, jihadist Web sites were playing victory songs and declaring the Democrats are our allies in the war against America. … Whoever comes next is going to have to deal with the same things Bush is dealing with.
Okay, lest someone misunderstand, I'm not against people having their say. But when they say things that equate Democrats with terrorists, an obnoxious and tired rhetorical trick of the right, then they deserve to be exposed, because if that's what they really think then they don't consider us political opposition, they consider us to be enemies. So much for civility.

While there are some who think Israel has "no right to exist," I'm not among them. I was, however, horrified by the senseless and fruitless destruction brought to bear last year against Lebanese civilians, which is not the same as "supporting terrorists." Hey, here's a concept for conservatives -- death is bad, even if it involves beings other than blastocysts. It's not "pro-terrorist" to recognize the shortcomings of Israeli policy. For some reason, conservative fantasies that violence is always a preferred solution, no matter the consequences, seem to know no international boundaries.

The intertwining of Israeli and US politics is, of course, not new. Harry S. Truman faced extreme pressures to recognize Israel, and did so after considerable angst and against the advice of his trusted secretary of state, George C. Marshall. It's true that our countries should have a special bond and share core values.

But that doesn't change the facts on the ground, and the strong support by evangelical Christians in the US for Israeli hard-liners is neither new nor a secret.

If bombing the crud out of Lebanon didn't really do much positive, continuing to deny and ignore the abysmal treatment of Palestinians isn't going to do any good, either. Both sides have plenty of blood on their hands already. Do we really have to spell out that we are equally horrified by suicide bombers walking into hotels?

I suppose we do, otherwise people like Gabriel start in with their Limbaugh-esque shtick. Enough already. If that's what GOP state Sen. Joseph Zarelli, one of the organizers of the conference, wants to bring into our community, then let the record show that he did so.

Clark County might have been the perfect place to hold such a conference, with its strong evangelical forces and still-believing Republicans. Normally they would have faced little media scrutiny here, due to the magical forcefield that repels journalists at the Columbia River.

A possible return to power by Netanyahu might change that a bit, although we'll have to see how it shakes out. The conference organizers and attendees are certainly entitled to speak their minds, but if public officials and world leaders are involved, it would be nice to see some reporting about their entire message, in context, so citizens can judge it for themselves.

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