Tag Archives: George W Bush

Clinton Confirmation Hearings: Good or Bad?

By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

First of all, hello! We at Moment and ITM hope you had a lovely holiday season. Here’s to a beautiful 2009! (Or at least one without World War 3 and total economic meltdown.)

In case you haven’t seen it, our January/February issue is out, with a pretty set of photographs chronicling Jewish/black relations in this country to celebrate the inauguration of our 44th president. Darn, what’s his name again?

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

The important news of the day involves yesterday’s confirmation hearings of Hillary Clinton for Secratary of State.  Clinton took the opportunity to prepare the country for a new kind of State Department that would have a renewed focus on diplomacy and direct negotiation with Iran and other previously untouchable rogue states; thereby signaling a break from the kind of shunning politics the Condoleeza Rice State Department often utilized.

We are all hanging on every thread of information that could clue us in to how the Obama administration will deal with Israel, especially with the Gaza crisis upon us. Clinton did not get into specifics, but she drew the line on inclusive diplomacy at Hamas. Here’s what she said, from the LA Times:

“The president-elect and I understand — and are deeply sympathetic to — Israel’s desire to defend itself under current conditions and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets,” she said. “However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East, and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.”

Clinton echoed the Bush administration stand in part by declaring: “You cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements. That is just for me an absolute. That is the United States government’s position; that is the president-elect’s position.” Continue reading

UN Roundup

What with non-stop hoopla at the convening of the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York, we offer a quick recap of the main issues to help you sift through the news coverage.

  • Predictably, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has created the most amount of controversy. One example: The American Jewish Committee wrote an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon protesting a dinner at which Ahmadinejad will be honored.
  • Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has also made headlines, primarily because of her planned appearance at a rally organized today to voice opposition to Ahmadinejad. This is the rally that Hillary Clinton pulled out of because she didn’t want to make it a political circus. In turn, it has become a political circus. Update 3:05 PM: JTA puts the number of protesters in the thousands.
  • Palin will meet with former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan in an attempt to bolster her foreign policy credentials (not unlike Barack Obama’s trip to Europe and the Middle East this summer).
  • Richard Holbrooke and other government officials write in the Wall Street Journal today that Iran is the primary story of this session for good reason: “A nuclear-armed Iran would likely destabilize an already dangerous region that includes Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, and pose a direct threat to America’s national security.” (HT: The Telegraph)
  • Israeli President Shimon Peres has his hands full with political turmoil in Israel, so he will not attend a General Assembly reception hosted by President George W. Bush tonight. Israel will be represented by UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev.
  • President Bush will be making his farewell address to the UN. (Hold for applause?)

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

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