Wednesday, May 25, 2011

  • Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress Dashes Palestinian Hopes of a Just Mideast Peace Agreement

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    The future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations remains in doubt after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address Tuesday before a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Netanyahu insisted Jerusalem will not be divided and that Israel’s internationally recognized 1967 borders are "indefensible." He also said Israel must “maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River” and condemned the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal. Netanyahu’s speech came five days after President Obama called for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps. We speak with Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative. “Netanyahu yesterday blocked every possibility for negotiations for a two-state solution,” Barghouthi says. “Practically, he took away any possibility for peaceful resolution, because he wanted to impose unilaterally the outcome on every issue... He wants us to live as slaves in a system of apartheid and segregation.” [includes rush transcript]

  • “Netanyahu is the Main Obstacle to Peace”: CodePink Activist Disrupts Israeli PM Speech to Congress

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech was warmly received by Democrats and Republicans in Congress on Tuesday. According to ABC News, he received 29 standing ovations during his address—four more than President Obama received during his State of the Union address earlier in the year. However, there was at least one dissenting voice inside the halls of Congress on Tuesday. Rae Abileah, a Jewish-American activist of Israeli descent with the peace group CodePink, disrupted Netanyahu’s speech. Standing in the congressional gallery, she yelled, “No more occupation! Stop Israel war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians! Occupation is indefensible!” As she screamed, members in the audience tackled her to the ground, and undercover security forces later dragged her outside. She was taken to George Washington University Hospital where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. At the hospital, police arrested Abileah and charged her with disorderly conduct for disrupting Congress. Her protest came as part a week-long series of actions organized by CodePink called Move Over AIPAC. We speak to Abileah about why she used nonviolent civil disobedience to disrupt Netanyahu’s speech. [includes rush transcript]

  • Obama to Make First Presidential Visit to Puerto Rico Since 1961

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    President Barack Obama has announced he will visit Puerto Rico next month, fulfilling his 2008 campaign promise and making him the first U.S. president to visit to the island since John Kennedy’s trip almost 50 years ago. A task force recently called on the United States to resolve the issue of Puerto Rico’s statehood by 2012. “All the four million people living on the island, as well as those Puerto Ricans who are here in the U.S., are U.S. citizens, but they inhabit a territory that is separate and distinct from the rest of the United States that has its own language, culture and history,” notes Juan Gonzalez, who writes about the country in his newly revised book, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. “It’s this identity problem that really is a reflection of the continuing colonial—Puerto Rico is the last major colony of the United States. It’s one of the last remaining colonies in the world.” [includes rush transcript]

  • “Harvest of Empire”: New Book Exposes Latino History in America as Obama Campaigns for Latino Vote

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    President Obama’s trip to Puerto Rico was announced at a time when he is making a concerted push to win the Latino vote in 2012. Earlier this month, Obama gave a major address to a mostly Latino audience in El Paso, Texas, calling for immigration reform. Juan Gonzalez joins us to discuss the history of Latinos in the United States and how it relates to U.S. political and military intervention in Latin America. Gonzalez, a Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist, has just published an updated edition of his book, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. Originally released in 2000, the book explores the stories of Latinos from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and around the region. We air a few clips from a new documentary in production based on Harvest of Empire. [includes rush transcript]