The Zionist Conspiracy
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Wolfowitz's Arab Girlfriend
Thanks to Miriam Shaviv, for alerting us to a fascinating article in the Daily Telegraph, which reports that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's "closest companion and most valued confidantes is a middle-aged Arab feminist."
The woman is identified as Shaha Ali Riza, a senior World Bank official who was born in Tunis and grew up in Saudi Arabia. The article says that according to "close acquaintances of the couple" Ali Riza and Wolfowitz are "romantically linked."
Ali Riza's views on Israel are obviously of special interest. In August 2002, she appeared on "The McLaughlin Group." A review of the transcript reveals the following interesting exchange:
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. I have a question for Shaha.
The question for you, Shaha, is this: Is there any precedent for thinking that, assuming that the Arab-Israeli conflict is settled -- that this will mean a loosening of the grip of Arab regimes? Will it bring about, by itself, a termination of that conflict, a force to effect the loosening of the grip by Arab regimes.
MS. ALI-RIZA: In principle, one would expect that that is what is going to happen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they maintain that restrictive power that they currently have -- on freedom of the press and so forth, and also by denying women their emancipation.
MS. ALI-RIZA: Let me put it this way: For a long time, the Arab-Israeli issue has, just exactly like the report has said, been a cause and an excuse for more open societies in the region. And it is absolutely obvious to most of the Arab people in the region that an ending to that conflict would actually change the situation because people have to think about the real issues that are facing them, and certainly in terms of development, rather than wasting their time on a conflict that -- [cut off by McLaughlin]
I have long argued, to reaction that was skeptical at best, that far from being a friend of Israel, Wolfowitz has been almost obsessive in pushing for any solution to the conflict. Hence, he expressed support for the Geneva Accord, even though an end to Palestinian terror was not a condition precedent for that proposed agreement. The Forward also reported that Wolfowitz stated that a peace proposal by Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh that called for a return by Israel to the '67 borders was a positive step "so that extremists who oppose it can be isolated." Obviously, among those opposing Geneva and the Ayalon/Nusseibeh plan is the current Israeli government.
Similarly, as I posted last December, a columnist in the Beirut Daily Star (no longer available online, unfortunately) mentioned that at a forum at Georgetown University, Wolfowitz revealed himself to be "probably the most pro-Palestinian member of the Bush administration."
Indeed, a review of transcript of Wolfowitz's remarks at Georgetown would be quite comforting to Arabs and others who think he is a tool of the Likud party. Here is an excerpt in which Wolfowitz not only doesn't challenge outrageously anti-Israel allegations, he adds his own criticism:
Q: Hi, my name is Courtney Raj. I'm a second year MSFS student. I'm going into international journalism... Anyway, my question has to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You said that you need to look no further than U.N. resolutions, that you need to respect communal universal human rights, the Geneva Convention, etc. And I was wondering if this applies to Israel as well.
You have the Chief of Staff coming out and saying that the Israeli security policies towards the Palestinians are harmful to Israeli security and to Palestinians. They violate Geneva Convention 53, and tons of other human rights of these Palestinians.
So I'm wondering is the President, as you said, he's ready to make decisions of the magnitude needed for change. Is he ready to make decisions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will lend greater support to the Palestinians and ask the Israelis to stop these policies that are detrimental to the Palestinians and adding to the hopelessness that may be at the root cause of some of the suicide bombings?
Wolfowitz: Obviously there's a great deal that has to change on both sides. You cited some things that Israelis have to change and you could make a longer list. You could have talked about settlements, for example. The President has talked about settlements, he's talked about the wall, he's talked about the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. There's no question that the President is prepared to put pressure on the Israelis to change. There also has to be change on the Palestinian side...
I think what the President has set out, what Secretary of State Powell has set out, seems to me to be at this point in history the best way forward. And I do have to say, contrary to what you may have heard, foreign policy is made in the State Department, and I need to be very careful about getting in the way of Secretary Powell's diplomacy. I think it's pointed in the right direction.
I do believe, as I said in my remarks, that the solution unfortunately has been awfully clear for a very long time. We came, it seems to me, tragically close at Tabah to getting to that solution. It began to look early this spring as thought we might once again be on that path and this time with the active support of major governments in the region. The bombings, and the violent response to the bombings in the last couple of months have certainly been a big setback, and we've got to get it back on track.
I once heard Sid Zion say it best: When Jews are in powerful positions in Washington, a team of chiropractors is needed, because the Jews can't help but constantly bend over backwards to prove their "fairness" to our enemies.