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Netanyahu’s Message to Obama Campaign

by FRANKLIN LAMB

Beirut

Presidential candidate Barack Obama is being targeted by the US Israel lobby from A to Z, (Ackerman, Gary & Aipac to Zuckerman, Mort & the Zionist Organization of America) as no American President seeking re-election has been in the country’s 236 year history.

Israel’s duel loyalty agents, as well as more fair minded American Jewish voters have historically intimidated and influenced US presidents seeking reelection, especially those in a tight race, with various financial and political threats and rewards.  That’s part of the American political game and obviously plenty of other lobbies do it also.

One could perhaps feel for Obama and his campaign staff given what they are reportedly experiencing today,  especially since America’s most powerful lobby has become even stronger since the 1980’s. Their tactics are many and aimed at sapping Obama’s will to do what American national interests require.

The power to make credible demands on Obama involve much more that Jewish votes since they make up a bit less than 2% of the American electorate. Yet, even the smallest group can make an electoral dent if they move in unison and that may happen regarding Obama among those Jewish voters and Christian Zionists who put Israel first. Obama’s fate, though, is more closely tied to the Jewish vote in states Florida and Pennsylvania where they made up 4% of the 2008 electorate in both of these states.

Statistics being used by the Zionist lobby to pressure the increasingly jittery Obama campaign include recent polls. The Republican Jewish Coalition claims that 30% of Jewish voters who support Romney, represents the “highest level of Jewish support for a Republican presidential candidate in 24 years.” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks recently stated that if the Jewish vote poll numbers hold in November, they will spell “a disaster” for Obama.

In the 2008 election, Jews supported Obama by a 57 percentage point margin. A recent Gallup poll has Jewish voters still in Obama’s camp, but only by barely 35 percentage points. That is the lowest percentage for a Democratic presidential candidate among the Jewish electorate since 1988. A recent Gallup polls reveals a 10-point drop in Jewish voter support (22% in New York) or five points worse than Obama’s shrinkage among all registered voters compared with 2008.

The Israel lobby knows, and they know that Obama’s campaign staff knows, that any diminution in his support from Jewish voters will have a major impact in a very tight election. They both realize that Obama needs to retain his 2008 Jewish vote levels and campaign cash – or risk defeat. . In a close election, one point either way could make the difference as it did in Florida’s 2000 election.

So what price is being demanded of the Obama campaign for Zionist lobby support between now and November 6th?

They include, but are not limited to the following:

–Obama must freeze Israeli-Palestinian “peace talks” and block European Union pressures on Israel over the settlement and human rights issues;

–Israel wants Obama to pressure the government of Turkey to cancel the 5/28/12 indictment of four senior Israeli military commanders, who have been charged in a Turkish court in connection with the killing of nine Turkish citizens in 2010 on broad the Mari Marmara, one of the ships of the Freedom Flotilla.  Warrants have been issued for the arrest of former Israeli military chief of staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, the former head of military intelligence, Major General Amos Yadlin, head of the navy, Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, and head of the air force, Brigadier General Avishai Lev. Israel wants them withdrawn.  According to an aid of Senator John Kerrey, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) of the US State Department has advised the US Senate Foreign Relations committee that the Israeli attack on the Mari Marmara constituted an international crime which involved lethal and excessive force and resulted in the killing of nine civilians and the wounding of at least 50 others.  The State Department further advised Congress that while Israel carried out an inquiry into the attack, that inquiry failed to meet the requirements of international law. Israel has not prosecuted anyone who killed those on board the Mari Marmara;

–A green light to attack Iran in case the Zionist leadership decides to do it;

–An unequivocal White House commitment that the 2012 Democratic Convention Party Platform will back the 5/17/12 passed resolution (H. Res. 568 adopted by vote of 401-11) affirming that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and opposing any reliance on a policy seeking to contain a nuclear-capable Iran;

— That the White House force US Senator John Kerrey, Chairman of the Foreign Relation Committee to expedite a vote on a similar resolution in the Senate (S. J. Res. 41) which remains on hold in Kerrey’s committee.

— That the White House publicly endorse the 5/23/12 Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act (S. 2101), which would dramatically escalate the level of sanctions against Iran and sharply tighten the enforcement of existing sanctions law.

— A public pledge by Obama that the US will attack Iran and Hezbollah if either retaliates against Israel for its bombing of the Islamic republic.

— More money for fourteen new Research & Development projects for the Israeli military;

— Free convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard;

— More visible White House support for various congressional resolutions supported by Israel, ranging from those targeting Iran, Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians;

–Regime change in Syria;

–Instruct Egypt that the price for continued US military and economic aid is to embrace the Camp ‘David accords and all its provisions requiring Egypt to “cooperate with Israel;”

–Arrange for Israeli Embassy space in Cairo given that to date no one is willing to rent it any, and damp down Muslim Brotherhood calls for the recovery of Palestine;

–Support for the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 (H.R. 4133 and S. 2165), which recommends several ways to strengthen U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation in such fields as missile defense, homeland security, energy, intelligence and cyber-security. The House bill, which passed on May 8 by a vote of 411-2, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

That the 2012 Democratic Platform and candidate Obama emphasize over the next five months the need for America to guarantee Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge over any and all combinations of adversaries on the battlefield.

Obama election year groveling to Israel was perhaps symbolized by the June, 13 2012  White House spectacle of bestowal on Israel’s President Shimon Peres of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. The PMF recognizes those individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”  Peres, father of Israel’s colonial settlements, has committed myriad international crimes against the Lebanese people and Palestinian refugees, including the April 18, 1996 Qana Massacre  that  killed 106 Lebanese and Palestinians and wounded approximately 120 including four Fijian UNIFIL soldiers who were among the 800  civilians who had taken refuge in the compound. Peres sanctioned countless other attacks on civilians killing more than 14,000 civil and wounding more than 25,000 as part of various Israel aggressions during his time as Prime Minister, meaning that he belongs on trial at the International Criminal Court at the Hague not at a White House dinner even in an election year. Despite knowing this, Obama caved to AIPAC and Congressional campaign pressure and sullied the PMF, his office and claimed American values.

In an email from one Congressional staffer, she explained that the lobby wanted Peres to receive this honor which disgusted many on Capitol Hill and internationally,  hoping to deflect some of the increasing condemnations  the Apartheid regime has been receiving including the recent British government’s Foreign Office in its report, Children in Military Custody has accused Israel of illegal mistreatment of Palestinian children after a report by a delegation of senior British lawyers revealed unconscionable practices, such as hooding, solitary confinement and the use of leg irons, and found that “undisputed facts” pointed to at least six violations of the UN convention on the rights of the child, to which Israel is a signatory.

The report claims that youngsters are dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, have their wrists bound behind their backs, and are blindfolded and made to kneel or lie face down in military vehicles. The children are held in conditions that amount to torture, such as solitary confinement and no access to their parents.

In a damning conclusion, the report points out repeated breaches of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

In addition, Israel is a party to the Geneva Conventions, and bound by its obligations, yet Articles 76 and 65 of the 4th Geneva Convention were also found to have been breached, according to the report.

Article 76 prohibits detainees from being transported to the country of the authority which has detained them. In this case, Palestinian children were found to have been transported from the West Bank into Israel.

Article 65 states that any penal laws applied to prisoners in an occupied land must be translated into their own language. The lawyers said the Israeli authorities failed to translate Military Order 1676 from Hebrew into Arabic.

To the extent Obama convinces the Israel lobby between now and Tuesday November 6th of his intentions may determine whether he is a one term President or returns for a second term with its uncertainties regarding traditional US Presidential support for Israel given that during his second term, as he has stated publicly thanks to a live media mike, he will have much more flexibility.

Franklin Lamb is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com


Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, Damascus University and volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (sssp-lb.com).

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