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Mike Huckabee *hearts* East Jerusalem Settlers

Haaretz is reporting today that former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be the guest at a huge "in-your-face-nyah-nyah-there's-nothing-the-Palestinians-or-lefties-can-do-to-stop-use" banquet at the Shepherd's Hotel -- the recently-approved Irving Moskowitz settlement project in the heart of the East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. For further details, see Maariv's take on the story, after the break (which mentions the settlers' plan for a major PR effort aimed at Americans, including bringing in movie stars!).

American and Israeli right-wing politics come together again this week, at Right Wing Celebration in Hotel of Contention


(8/13) Ma'ariv (p. 4) by Eli Bardenstein (Translation by Israel News Today)


The Israeli right wing is recruiting US President Barack Obama's greatest rivals for the battle over the settlements. This coming Sunday already, a banquet is being planned for about 100 guests at one of the places most in contention-the Shepherd Hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The guests will be American figures, among them: former Arkansas governor Republican Mike Huckabee who lost in the race to be a presidential candidate to Senator John McCain, as well as people from Israel-apparently ministers and MKs, as well as members of the Ateret Cohanim  organization that is based in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.


A large construction project is planned for the Shepherd compound, which was bought by  right wing billionaire Irwin Moskowitz, which has elicited a commotion because it is located in East Jerusalem, an area in which the US and Europe are opposed to Israeli construction. [.]


Huckabee, today a star on Fox and a leading candidate in the polls for the US presidential elections in 2012, is being brought to Israel by the American Friends of Ateret Cohanim organization, and the person heading it, Dr. Joseph Krieger. Huckabee will also visit various settlements, including: the illegal outpost of Givat Hayovel where the family of the late Maj. Roi Klein lives, who was a hero of the Second Lebanon War, as well as Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, Hebron and Maale Adumim.


The dinner at the Shepherd Hotel is part of a widespread campaign of leading Republicans and Jewish right wing figures against a settlement construction freeze. Among the activities being planned: organizing visits of thousands of Americans to the settlements and illegal outposts, including politicians and movie stars, Jewish and non Jewish, who will express support for the right to settle in Judea and Samaria and in East Jerusalem. Some of them are even planning to buy houses in these places.

Dov Hikind, one of the campaign organizers and a New York State assemblyman, explains: "We are planning to sleep in the settlements and visit the region. I believe that there will also be those who will buy houses in the settlements in lieu of buying houses in Florida. This is a very clear message to Obama, who is leading a policy whereby there are areas in Israel that should be clean of Jews. We want to show that many in America are opposed to his pressure on the Israeli government on the subject of settlements."


The campaign also has activists and supporters from among Israeli politics. One of them is chairman of World Likud, MK Danny Danon. "World Likud is using its connections in the Jewish community and the Evangelistic community in the US to make it clear to the Obama administration that unilateral pressure on Israel is not acceptable to the American public, to the Congress and the Senate," Danon said. "In the next few months there will be dozens of assorted representatives from the American administration and from various organizations who will come to Israel to show solidarity with the positions of the Likud government."