The Day In Israel: Wed Oct 13th, 2010

The media is reporting that yesterday, the US State Department said it supports Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s demand that the palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The US State Department said Tuesday it supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

“I’m not making any news here,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told a press conference. “It is a state for the Jewish people. It is a state for other citizens of other faiths as well.”

But did he?

Saying “It is a state for the Jewish people. It is a state for other citizens of other faiths as well” is effectively saying it is a state for everyone.

So I have looked over the transcript of the State Department briefing and this is what I found:

phillip crowleyQUESTION: P.J., do you recognize Israel as a Jewish state and will you try to convince the Palestinians to recognize it?

MR. CROWLEY: We will continue our discussions with the parties. I would expect, following up on the Arab League meetings of late last week that George Mitchell will go to the region at some point. I’m not announcing anything, but I – it would be logical for us to follow up directly with the parties, see where they are. We will offer our ideas on – based on our conversations what our assessment is that – of what each side needs to be able to make the political commitment to remain in these direct negotiations.

QUESTION: And do you recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MR. CROWLEY: We recognize the aspiration of the people of Israel. It has – it’s a democracy. In that democracy, there’s a guarantee of freedom and liberties to all of its citizens. But as the Secretary has said, we understand that – the special character of the state of Israel.

QUESTION: Is that a yes or no?

QUESTION: P.J., it’s – do you want to answer his question or —

QUESTION: Did you say yes or no to that question from Michel?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: Michel’s question was a yes or no sort of question. I was wondering whether that was a yes or no.

MR. CROWLEY: We recognize that Israel is a– as it says itself, is a Jewish state, yes.

—-

QUESTION: Did you say that you recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not making any news here. The President, the Secretary, and others have said this before.

QUESTION: Because Abbas said they recognize the state of Israel. Does the U.S. want the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MR. CROWLEY: Look, I will be happy to go back over and offer some – I’m trying – I’m not making any news here. We have recognized the special nature of the Israeli state. It is a state for the Jewish people. It is a state for other citizens of other faiths as well. But this is the aspiration of the – what Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday is, in essence, the – a core demand of the Israeli Government, which we support, is a recognition that Israel is a part of the region, acceptance by the region of the existence of the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and that is what they want to see through this negotiation. We understand this aspiration and the prime minister was talking yesterday about the fact that just as they aspire to a state for the Jewish people in the Middle East, they understand the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.

In other words, he did eventually say it, but it was like extracting teeth.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:40PM: From Condoleeza Rice’s autobiography:

Since the book ends long before the Annapolis Conference, Israel is only mentioned once, in a short passage describing the meeting between Rice’s family and the family of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Denver, Colorado.

“One of our neighbors was an Israeli family,” writes Rice. “Benzion Netanyahu, a professor of Hebraic studies, taught in the Department of Religion, giving him and my father common interests. The Netanyahus had three sons but only one was young enough to live at home. Their oldest son, Bibi, was in college, and their middle son was serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Our families shared what I now understand to have been a Seder meal during the Passover holiday. Many years later when Bibi Netanyahu was elected prime minister of Israel for the first time, my father reminded me of this example of far less than six degrees of separation. I still send greetings to Professor Netanyahu when I see his son.”

Kevin Bacon, eat your heart out.

5:15PM: Quote of the day:

“The history of man-kind would be different if in 1939 somehow, a Jewish soldier had succeeded to kill Hitler.”

“If even for one moment, Ahmadinejad is in the IDF’s sights on the day that he comes to throw stones at us, he cannot be allowed to return home alive.”

– MK Arye Eldad (National Union)

5:12PM: From the apartheid state of Israel:

A three-year-old Iraqi child is lying in his hospital bed in Israel and smiling, after his life was saved thanks to a surgery performed by Israeli doctors.

The child, Boland, suffers from an inborn heart defect that requires intense cardiovascular effort for any small effort, as if he was running a marathon.

The level of medicine in Iraq is not advanced enough to handle the problem, prompting the international Shevet Achim foundation, which cares for sick children in Iraq and Gaza, to fly him to Israel for surgery given the Jewish state’s advanced capabilities in the field.

The child arrived in Israel with his mother about a month and a half ago, and was hospitalized in Safra Hospital for Children at the Sheba medical center near Tel Aviv. He underwent the surgery in recent days and now feels better – he is smiling and his eyes express his gratitude.

‘We love Israel’

Dr. David Mishali, who manages the center for inborn heart defects at the hospital, says that Boland would not be alive today without the surgery.

“When he arrived here, he was already at an almost irreversible condition,” said the doctor, who personally operated on Boland.

The child’s mother, Ranjin, is smiling too. “We love Israel and are not scared to go back home,” she says. “We have good doctors in Iraq too, but the technology is not like in Israel. We had a possibility to undergo the surgery in Iran for thousands of dollars, but we are a family without such means.”

Meanwhile, the Shevet Achim foundation is working at this time to bring another 30 Iraqi children to the Safra Hospital for life-saving operations.

3:48PM: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting Lebanon:

Visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad decided to forego a helicopter ride from Beirut’s airport, instead opting to head to the Lebanese presidential palace on the roads.

Iran’s leader was welcomed by cheering masses on the streets who threw rice and flowers in his direction, as he waved back at them from his armored car.

Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Lebanon with his wife, later met with local President Michel Suleiman. At the conclusion of the session the two headed to the presidential palace’s backyard and planted a tree.

‘We’ll stand by Lebanon’

Following the meeting, Ahmadinejad thanked his hosts: “I would like to thank everyone, and especially the Lebanese people who came out to welcome their brothers. They showcased Lebanon’s power and we thank them for that. I feel as though I’m at home, in my homeland among my brothers.”

Turning his attention to the Iran-Lebanon relationship, Ahmadinejad said: “Lebanon changed the hostility equation in the region and tilted the balance in favor of its people. We are two peoples that love each other. We have joint interests. The discussions were positive and constructive, and we signed a series of agreements.”

“We want Lebanon to be united and strong,” he said. “We’ll stand by it with all our power.”

Iranian ‘surprise’

Ahmadinejad ended his joint press conference with Suleiman with a “surprise.” He said he granted Lebanon an advanced technological device developed by Iranian scientists that is only possessed by six countries in the world. For the time being, he did not say which device he was referring to.

Meanwhile, Suleiman thanked the Iranian president for his country’s support “in the face of Israeli aggression and the threats being uttered by it,” and also for “rebuilding Lebanon following the July war.”

The Lebanese president added: “We emphasized that states have a right to make use of nuclear capabilities for peaceful purpose, and Iran has this right to, via quiet dialogue and without any threats or violence against it.”

As usual, the Iranian leader made sure to slam Israel, saying both Iranians and Lebanese “object to the occupation and crimes of the Zionist enemy.”

“We object to all the acts of aggression undertaken by the Zionist entity,” he said. “We back a return by Palestinian refugees to their occupied homeland. We endorse a bitter struggle against Zionist aggression.”

Meanwhile, here is a photo taken there. Spot the dumbass.

Lebanese waiting for Ahmadinejad

People hold up posters as they wait for the convoy of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as it crosses Beirut's airport highway on his first visit to the east Mediterranean country. Ahmadinejad was greeted with adulation by tens of thousands of Hezbollah supporters who showered him with rice, sweets and petals as he began his first official visit to Lebanon. (AFP/Str)

2:25PM: Mandatory reading of the day: Lattes, beach barbecues (and dodging missiles) in the world’s biggest prison camp

1:25PM: Brian of London posts on the Smash EDO protest.

12:25PM: Queen’s Brian May has responded to the Hebrew University lip dub I (and many others) posted yesterday!

Well, even though I am way behind in EVERYTHING today — I watched the video, and I have to say, among all the grimness of today’s world, this is a breath of fresh air. I – unexpectedly – got quite a lump in the throat. It’s very well done, with great heart and joy, and I’m sure Freddie would love it. Well done to all … it’s quite something to pull all this off in a single shot. I’m sure there are no edits in this at all.

All the very best to all involved, and thanks for alerting me. I will publish this on my site, if that’s OK with you … (yes, you look good – you pass!! ha ha! )

Cheers

Bri

10:12AM: My first animated movie.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media