News Release

* Abbas * Bolton * AIPAC

STEPHEN ZUNES
Zunes is a professor of politics and chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. He said today: “It was a telling juxtaposition that as Senate Republicans were arguing for the confirmation as UN ambassador of John Bolton, who has displayed contempt for international law, President Bush, in his press conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, was failing to even mention Israel’s ongoing violations of no less than three dozen binding UN Security Council resolutions related to its occupation and colonization of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
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PHYLLIS BENNIS
Available for a limited number of interviews, Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She wrote the articles “Ten Questions the Senate Should Ask John Bolton at his Confirmation Hearing, But Probably Won’t” and “What Has Been the Role of the UN in the Israel-Palestine Struggle?”
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HUWAIDA ARRAF
Arraf is a member of the International Solidarity Movement, which works with Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists. She said today: “The U.S. media reported that Palestinian protests of Laura Bush’s visit to the Muslim holy site, the Noble Sanctuary, were related to Newsweek’s report of desecration of the Koran — as if Palestinians don’t have the U.S. policy of unwavering support for Israel and its 38-year military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem to be upset about.”

Arraf added: “As many focus on Israel’s talk of ‘disengagement’ from Gaza, every day Israel confiscates more land and water resources in the occupied West Bank for the expansion of illegal settlements and the continued building of a wall that isolates farmers from their land and ghettoizes Palestinian communities. While Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is reaping the political benefits of his ‘disengagement’ plan, including a promise of additional U.S. financial support, Israeli military aggression against Palestinian civilians has not ceased, including — just this month — the shooting death of 14 and 15 year old Jamal and Uday Assi, the demolition of the only Palestinian home in a poor West Bank village, the random arrests of Palestinian civilians, the targeted arrest of peace activists, and the nightly raids on the Balata refugee camp.”
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EUGENE BIRD
Earlier this week, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee held its convention in Washington, D.C. Among the speakers were: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic Chairman Howard Dean and Republican Chairman Ken Mehlman. Also speaking at the convention was House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who stated: “There are those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This is absolute nonsense. … The greatest threat to Israel’s right to exist, with the prospect of devastating violence, now comes from Iran.”

Bird is president of the Council for the National Interest, which put together an ad due to be published in the New York Times scrutinizing AIPAC. The ad — which is available at the above web page — states: “The Israel lobby … shut[s] down any rational debate or even any discussion on Israel’s actions. Three past heads of Israel’s security service, Shin Bet, have said that the actions of the present Israeli government are self-destructive, yet those views are not heard by the American public. … The close relationship of the Israeli lobby with the embassy of Israel and its right-wing government has created conditions for widespread espionage that has undermined the formation of credible policies for the United States in the Middle East.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167