Why Avaaz is Running this Ad re: Obama, Bibi and Middle East Peace

Friends,  I just wanted to give you a heads up that over at Avaaz.org we have decided to run this Ad ahead of the Obama-Netanyahu face-off on Monday.

The Ad -- titled "Leadership" will run during the Sunday talk shows in the DC market.  We have been inspired to take this step by a stunning poll of Israeli-Jews suggesting that 65% want President Obama actively involved in helping solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

The Ad draws attention to the controversial statement made by new, right-wing Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman that Obama will do as he's told. This comment runs counter to the sentiment expressed in our poll of Lieberman's fellow Israelis, carried out by major Israeli polling institute Hagal Hahadash, which shows that a majority of respondents believe Obama could help bring about a two-state agreement (53% said he could help a lot or somewhat to achieve this, and only 19.2% answered not at all).  

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US Arms Sales to the Middle East Soar

A new report (pdf.) released earlier this week by the independent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that the volume of arms transfers worldwide increased by 21 percent during the group's latest five-year reporting period. While that number is off a low base as arms transfers had been at their lowest level since the 1960's during the previous reporting period (1999-2003), the number masks a significant rise in arms transfers to the Middle East. The SIPRI report shows that arms transfers to the Middle East have increased by 38 percent during the past five years, compared to the base period.

It should come as no surprise that five biggest suppliers of major conventional weapons for the period 2004-2008 were the United States, Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom with these top five suppliers accounting for 78% of total world arms sales. Furthermore, the global arms trade is largely two nation game with the United States and Russia accounting for 56% of total arms sales. The US alone accounted for 31% of the world arms trade on sales to 69 different countries.

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Publication of Israeli Palestinian diaries on Daily Kos

As a matter of curiosity, I evaluated Daily Kos for member publication of diaries on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as local Middle East politics, for personal interest as well the possible interest of MyDD members. Unfortunately, MyDD's search function does not permit a comparative analysis. Also, it was not possible to assess the strong influence of membership numbers, which is evident in the diary numbers provided below.

During the election, the heightened interest of bloggers in Democratic politics induced a marked climb in daily site visitors to Daily Kos as well as MyDD, reaching roughly 2 million in the former, and roughly 40,000 in the latter. After the election, site visitations naturally dwindled to its roughly current 750,000 at Daily Kos, and roughly 14,000 at MyDD.

Search by tags (listed below) over the past year revealed the following numbers of diaries posted at Daily Kos compared to periods one year earlier and four years earlier that pertained to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and local Middle East politics.

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The World's Most Moral Army

I was waiting to see this posted here, but I didn't so here it is.

For years we have been told in the media that the Palestinians were the aggressors who didn't discriminate with their targets.

Israel was just defending itself.

There's always another incident/conflict and the media in this country is always as sympathetic as they could be to the Israelis.

There was always little scrutiny of the tactics of the Israeli army in real time and when there was, it was months after the fact and relegated to the back pages of newspapers.

The internet is changing all that.

I'd really like to hear how Israeli army is so different from Hamas.
Why am I supposed to hate one and label them terrorist and excuse the other because they are just defending themselves?

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Obama's Historic TV Interview On Arab TV( video)

[Cross Posted from Polcampaign at stuartoneill.com]
[Personal comment: There was a diary of this event at DK and a good portion of the response was semi-negative since he choose a network other than AljazerraEnglish. I do not, as an experienced politico,understand why anyone with a brain doesn't understand this is a positive historic event that needs recognition and support.

The most important part of the event is that fact that for the first time the Arab, Muslim and Persian worlds can hear an American President articulate his vision on one of THEIR networks. It is a significant step forward to those groups. I frankly do not understand why so many in the 'progressive left' (a term I think is being misapplied these days) have such politically tin ears. An American President on Arab TV gives that President a forum to reach everyone! It is,in fact, historic and huge diplomatic step forward.]

On 1.27.09 President Obama took the historic step of being interviewed by the Al Arabiya Television network. It is the first time any high ranking official has ever granted an interview to Arab or Muslim TV networks. Seen widely in the Arab and Muslim world it is an affirmation of Obama's campaign promise to reach out to that world.

At points in the formal interview Obama says


"Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to be a language of respect.

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