FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama and AIPAC

by JOSEPH GROSSO

Back shortly before he officially became presidential timber Barack Obama, in his bestselling book The Audacity of Hope, described a trip he had taken to the Middle East. Recalling a helicopter trip over Jerusalem he wrote: ‘I looked down at the Old City, the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, considered

the two thousand years of war and rumors of war that this small plot of land had come to represent, and pondered the possible futility that this conflict might somehow end in our time, of that America, for all its power, might have any lasting say over the course of the world.’

Fast forward to the present time and it is safe to say Obama has found his niche. His latest speech at the State Department regarding the Middle East left the phony ignorance of his earlier, pre-campaign days for the safe banality and staleness of beltway politics. There were the usual platitudes about freedom, human rights, and entrepreneurship, made somewhat more edgy given the loss of a longstanding client in Egypt. Obama predicatively slammed dictatorships the U.S. geopolitically opposes while sparing the remaining clients, places where the U.S. actually has definite leverage to have a lasting stay. There was nary a word about the House of Saud, probably the most repressive and corrupt regime in the region, and Bahrain, home of the American fifth fleet, received only a glancing blow of criticism while having its ‘security’ concerns affirmed in the face of nonviolent protests.

 The speech was generally praised by neocons with of course the exception that it was too tough on Israel by referencing the pre-1967 borders as a foundation for a final, two state, peace with the Palestinians. Conveniently Obama was able to attempt to put out this fire only a few days later at AIPAC’s annual policy conference. Standing in front of a packed audience Obama declared ‘No vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state. And the United States will stand up against efforts to single out Israel at the United Nations or any other international forum. Israel’s legitimacy is not a matter of debate. That is my commitment; that is my pledge to all of you.’ While eliminated this legitimate avenue towards Palestinian statehood Obama also dismissed the Gladstone Report (which documented war crimes by the Israeli military in Gaza) to great applause.

 It should come as no surprise that Obama would use AIPAC’s venue to reassure the Israeli lobby that he won’t rock the boat. After all, Obama’s first speech the day after sewing up the Democratic nomination also addressed AIPAC. On that occasion Obama, perhaps anxious to ease an audience skeptical of a candidate with a funny sounding full name, proclaimed, among other things, ‘Jerusalem will remain the capitol of Israel, and it must remain undivided’, which if so would make a just settlement all but impossible.

 Certainly there is an occasional pr price to pay for such obedience. Vice President was humiliated a year ago when his arrival in Israel was met by the announcement of 1600 additional housing units being built in East Jerusalem. And who could forget a few months later that Obama wasn’t able to get a simple 90 day freeze on settlement building (a freeze that excluded East Jerusalem) in exchange for 3 billion worth of F-35 fighter jets. Obama had no problem dismissing these instances as simply disputes between friends overlooking how puny they made him look. In fact this week saw Mark Regev, spokesman for Netanyahu, continue to be noncommittal to a settlement freeze.

Then there was the leaking of the Palestinian Papers that revealed just how weak the Palestinian leadership has been in various negotiations over the years in the face of U.S.- Israeli rejectionism. Indeed one document revealed the frustrated senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat complaining to Obama’s Middle East envoy George Mitchell ‘Nineteen years of promises and you haven’t made up your minds what you want to do with us?We delivered on our road map obligations. Even Yuval Diskin (director of Israel’s internal security service) raises his hat on security. But no, they can’t even give a six-month freeze to give me a figleaf.’ The releasing of those documents may yet prove to be a turning point as far as the Palestinian street goes meaning it probably won’t be much longer until Israel faces some of the large scale, nonviolent protests that have swept much of the region this year.

However in the meantime it appears the masturbation peace process will continue whereby a U.S. administration speaks endlessly of two functional states living side-by-side in peace while using none of its immense leverage, in the form of billions of dollars a year in aid, to extract any concessions from Israel needed to bring about such a peace. With the all change potentially sweeping through the Middle East, it turns out that it’s a status quo dangerous to both peoples that is more comforting to our hope and change talking president.

Joseph Grosso is a writer and librarian in New York City.

 

 

 

Joseph Grosso is a librarian and writer in New York City.

May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
Dave Welsh
Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
Nicolas J S Davies
Escalating U.S. Air Strikes Kill Hundreds of Civilians in Mosul, Iraq
Binoy Kampmark
Class, Football, and Blame: the Hillsborough Disaster Inquest
George Wuerthner
The Economic Value of Yellowstone National Park
Rivera Sun
Celebrating Mother Jones
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir and Postcolonialism
Mairead Maguire
Drop the Just War Theory
Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail