Israeli vice-premier, accused of war crimes, welcomed in Washington’s Wilson Center

On March 9, I received the following invitation:

    The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Middle East Forum
    of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center
    present (sic)
    A Conversation
    with Moshe Yaalon

    Vice Premier, Minister of Strategic Affairs and Likud Knesset Member
    Moderated by
    Aaron David Miller
    Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center
    In the aftermath of the political change sweeping the Arab world, Minister Yaalon will share his perspective on how those events have shaped Israeli attitudes and policies on security, peacemaking, and relations with its Arab neighbors.
    Thursday, March 24, 2011, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
    6th Floor Flom Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson Center…

I was never able to go to the event. But today, I learned that it is now being described as “off the record”. Why?
Possibly because Moshe Ya’alon has been credibly accused of having committed war crimes in Gaza– most notably during the 2002 assassination of senior Hamas figure Salah Shehadeh– an act committed when Mr. Shehadeh was eating dinner in his own home and thus in no sense a valid target under the laws of war? (Eight children and six other family members were killed alongside him during that meal.)
There are many countries in the world that Gen. Ya’alon can’t visit right now, because of the criminal charges that have been filed against him in connection with that killing as well as the shelling of the village of Qana in Lebanon in 1996, in which 120 mainly older people who had taken refuge there were killed. Here in the U.S. no such criminal charges have yet been filed, so he comes and goes as he pleases. But really, is there any need for a federally funded institution like the Wilson Center to grace him with an invitation?
Or possibly, the Wilson Center event is off the record because Ya’alon’s views on “relations with Israel’s Arab neighbors” are still extremely hawkish, and to have any reporting of those views– as delivered in the U.S.-funded Wilson Center– could prove an embarrassment to the Obama administration as it is running around trying to make nice with so many Arab leaders?
On “hawkish”: Ya’alon has said that Israeli settlers should be freely allowed to colonize any parts of the occupied West Bank that they please, and has described the mildly pro-peace people of the Israeli Peace Now movement as a “virus”.
Anyway, as a U.S. taxpayer I find it very unseemly that this war-mongering, racist guy, against whom there are credible accusations that he has committed war crimes, be welcomed into a place supported by my tax dollars and there allowed to hold forth to a select group of invitees who are not even allowed to report openly on what he says.
What on earth is the Wilson Center turning into, under its new President, the unquestioningly pro-Israel former senator congresswoman, Jane Harman?

9 thoughts on “Israeli vice-premier, accused of war crimes, welcomed in Washington’s Wilson Center

  1. Erik

    I subscribed to the Wilson Quarterly for some years because it was a good source of well written articles on a variety of issues. After several years of increasing irritation with them, I allowed my subscription to lapse a year ago. The Wilson Quarterly has now become a captive tool of the party line in recent years and is dominated by hack “public intellectual” types. It is no longer a source of “scholarly” articles. It’s no surprise to me that they’d lay out the red carpet for this latest scoundrel.

  2. Don Bacon

    Ah, clear this up for me. If Ya’alon, an accused war criminal, is not welcome at the Wilson Center than is Obama also not welcome for similar reasons? Or are only Jews considered to be war criminals?

  3. Don Bacon

    The US is killing SUSPECTED insurgents.
    ISAF news release:
    KABUL, Afghanistan (March 18, 2011) – Afghan National Security and International Security Assistance Forces killed several suspected insurgents during a combined operation to detain a known insurgent leader in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, today.
    http://tinyurl.com/6ag8bzn

  4. RHSchumann

    What further evidence do we need that the USA is Israel’s colony? Too many Americans are more loyal to Israel than to the USA.

  5. Salah

    Helena,
    US had more war criminals from Israelite, you should first talking about your criminals and what you or other US citizenry done to them then comes here to calling and arguing bout foreigner war criminals, unless off course if you and other US citizenry see Israelite as your brethren.

  6. rosemerry

    Don Bacon seems to think that Helena is exonerating all US and other war criminals just because in this case it is an Israeli. Why is there always this attitude “others are bad too, why criticise an Israeli or a Jew?” I find the fact that Israeli and US Jews are given such prominence in US “society” means that an occasional imperfect member should be shown, so they appear normal!
    btw I wonder why prominent Palestinian activist /BDS promoter Omar Barghouti was denied a visa for his planned speaking tour in the USA.

  7. Salah

    When UN, US & NATO move to protect long waiting the civilians in West-bank in Gaza of the daily killing by Israelite?

  8. 5ds

    moshe, can you say, “israel has no right to exist. moshe yaalon is an illegal alien, a terrorist. israel should be given the “‘gaza treatment.'”

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