The most interesting parts of this article by MJ Rosenberg are the quotes from some of America’s leading “pro-Israel” advocates. Racism, fear, bitterness and anger. Yes, Zionism is in great shape:
Other than screaming by the right, there does not seem to be any significant aftermath to President Obama’s decision to oppose Israeli settlement expansion. The Israeli government is simply ignoring Obama’s demand to stop building in the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
Speaking on CNN on Sunday, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, described US-Israeli relations today as “great,” meaning, no doubt, that the Israeli government no longer fears US pressure on the Jerusalem issue.
He even said that Jerusalem “has the same status as Tel Aviv” and that “this policy is not going to change.”
Of course, that isn’t true.
Israel has signed agreements with the Palestinians which stipulate that sovereignty questions about the future of Jerusalem will be decided in “final status” negotiations between the two sides.
As Oren surely knows, the only people who view Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as having the “same status” are those — like, say, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran — who are opposed to the Jewish state’s right to existence. For them, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Nablus all have the same status: occupied.
Oren’s point, however, was to tell President Obama that, no matter how much aid the United States supplies, the Netanyahu government does not much care what the President thinks about Israel’s right to build settlements whenever and wherever it chooses.
What accounts for this impressive self-confidence? My guess is that AIPAC (the “pro-Israel” lobby) and top Democrats and Republicans have told the Israelis not to worry. It’s an election year and no one wants to offend donors so, Bibi is told, he can safely do whatever he wants.
Another sign of rightwing self-assurance is that Steve Rosen, the former AIPAC employee, penned an anti-Obama screed that is being circulated by Republicans, neocons, and right-wingers of all stripes. Rosen is the AIPAC official who was indicted under the Espionage Act. The charges were later dropped, but AIPAC, having seen what the US government had on Rosen, sent him packing.
Rosen’s piece is an attack on “Obama’s Foolish Settlements Ultimatum.” No big surprise there.
The only surprise is that Foreign Policy, which published the piece, would print criticism of US policy on Israel by someone indicted for passing US government secrets to Israel. If the neocons were worried would they allow Rosen, of all people, to make Israel’s case?
Of course, Rosen may be right. If the Obama administration does not follow its “ultimatum” with some serious pressure, the ultimatum may indeed turn out to have been simultaneously correct and pointless.
I don’t know if the administration will back down, but veteran neocon luminaries like New York ex-Mayor Ed Koch, The New Republic editor-in-chief Martin Peretz, and American Jewish Committee chair David Harris are at least pretending to be worried that he won’t.
I offer today’s Exhibits A, B & C.
Exhibit A comes from the AJC’s David Harris, writing in USA Today.
In a piece called, “Don’t Embarrass Israel,” Harris ignores the reasons for the US rebuke of Israeli settlement expansion and focuses instead on Israel’s hurt feelings. “The country is tiny, the size of New Jersey — but its neighbors aren’t quite as friendly,” he writes in circa 1959 tenderness. Harris is particularly anguished by President Obama’s decision to take his differences with Netanyahu public
“All friendly countries have differences, big and small, but they are most effectively dealt with in private,” he writes.
Either Harris does not know, or does not care, that the reason the Obama administration went public is because the Israeli government publicly announced its latest settlement expansion while Vice President Joseph Biden was in Israel, thereby leaving the impression that the United States approved.
Obama had just heard from General David Petraeus that Israeli policies — and the belief in the Muslim world that we support them — had the potential to threaten the lives of American men and women in uniform.
Obama had to speak out publicly because a private whisper in Bibi’s ear would have accomplished nothing. It is in America’s interest for the world to know that the United States and Israel are not joined at the hip. The perception that we are endangers Americans. And this is the reason Obama went public.
Exhibit B comes from Martin Peretz of The New Republic, admonishing Obama for criticizing Israeli policy when his job is to simply, as the old World War II song goes, “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”
Obama…sent out very top members of his administration to beat up on Israel and they did…. Hillary Clinton, who may or may not have a soul, launched her shrill assault on both Bibi Netanyahu and Israel’s ingratitude for her favors. […]
Last but not least (and actually a true instance of effrontery) was the dispatching of David Axelrod, (who in 2004 was behind John Edwards, “Bill Clinton without the sex”) who knows nothing about foreign policy, but maybe being a Jewboy thinks he is more than credentialed to chastise the Jewish state. The fact is that he is an ignoramus on these matters. An “insult,” indeed.
Ignore Peretz’s disgusting misogyny. For him, women by definition are “shrill” and a female Secretary of State can only offer “her favors.” Ignore the weird reference to John Edwards and sex. No, just take in the use of the term “Jewboy” to refer to David Axelrod, one of the President’s highest aides.
Peretz thus takes his Muslim hatred to the next level. Not only is he consumed by his hatred of Muslims and Arabs, he now joyfully employs anti-Semitism to attack Jews who do not share his ugly bigotry. Ultimately, he will wish physical harm on Jews to punish them for not recognizing the danger Obama poses to them. That is how his mind works.
Exhibit C is mainly comic. Former Mayor Ed Koch of New York is “terrified” that the Israel-hating Obama is about to let the United States be destroyed in a nuclear attack.
Why the terror? Obama’s plans to strictly limit the use of nuclear weapons.
What would we do if Venezuela invited Russia to build a missile launch pad, or Russia provided Venezuela with the plans and materials for building nuclear weapons? Would there be a replay of the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s?
Based on our continuing failure to confront North Korea and Iran with regard to their nuclear activities, I suspect we would do nothing. I fear that we have lost the battle and lost our nerve. It appears that the Obama administration has decided to live with the idea that these two rogue states – North Korea and Iran – can do as they please on the nuclear front.
There is a foul whiff of Munich and appeasement in the air. A harbinger of what is to come is the Obama administration’s abysmal treatment of our close ally, Israel. […]
One well known supporter of Israel, with great access to the White House, said to me recently, “I have never been so terrified.” Me too.
Of course, Koch is not worried about Venezuela. He is worried about Israel.
And he should be. Time is passing. Unless the Obama administration pressures Israel to stop settlements, thereby allowing negotiations to start, the two-state solution will be dead.
For their part, the Palestinians assume that is the case and they are not that worried.
They can live with the one-state solution: Israelis and Palestinians living in all of historic Palestine on the basis of “one person, one vote.” Some Israelis are now saying that they can live with that too.
But most Israelis, and most Jews, would find such a one-state solution intolerable. Why, then, are they making it inevitable?