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So I’ve taken the plunge and started writing for CIF. I was flattered that they approached me after I was interviewed on the Today programme this week, opining on one of my perpetual themes: why the United Nations needs to start suspending and expelling member states who are guilty of the worst human rights abuses. For my first piece, I wrote about why Barack Obama was wrong to make the outrageous promise, while speaking to AIPAC that Jerusalem will remain the ‘undivided capital’ of Israel. Which is news perhaps most of all to the US State Department, which maintains an embassy in Tel Aviv. As does Britain. You can read more here

Personally I find AIPAC a rather creepy organisation. I remember ten years ago when I was making some radio programmes for the BBC on Israel at 50 trying to interview one of their officials. Trying to get any information out of her about how AIPAC worked reminded me of interviewing suspicious ex-(not really)-Communists in eastern Europe.

I agree with this writer:

AIPAC has become more militant than the Israeli government. Its messages reflect more the oppositionist Likud doctrine than the moderate stance of Prime Minister Olmert. Moreover, whereas the American Jewish community is known for its liberal, progressive pro-Democrat party heritage – some 80 percent of the Jewish voters traditionally cast their votes for the Democrats – AIPAC is geared to an extreme-right-wing agenda, often more in line with the Jewish neo-cons than with the majority of American Jews.

Far better, he opines, to support the new, pro-peace Israel lobbying group, J-street.

The author? David Kimche, former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and veteran Mossad agent. Read more here

Inspired, as ever, by HP, I think I feel another CIF article coming on.

Gene adds: Reuters reports:

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama amended his support for Israel’s stance on Jerusalem on Thursday, saying Palestinians and Israelis had to negotiate the future of the holy city.

Palestinian leaders reacted with anger and dismay on Wednesday to Obama saying Jerusalem should be Israel’s undivided capital.

“Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations,” Obama told CNN when asked whether Palestinians had no future claim to the city.

Asked if he opposed any division of Jerusalem, Obama said: “As a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute. And I think that it is smart for us to — to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city.”

Obama should have been clearer in his AIPAC speech, of course. But I don’t think anyone– even among those of us who favor granting Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem– wants to see the city physically divided as it was before the 1967 war.