Until recently, Gary Ackerman was the best friend Israel could have in Congress. He was Aipac’s go-to guy, and could always be trusted to do it’s–and Israel’s bidding. But I have to say that since Obama’s election last November that Ackerman has changed his tune. He’s currently in Israel leading a delegation which posed some harsh question for officials it met including Pres. Shimon Peres. The latter surely cannot have liked what he heard.
A U.S. Congressional delegation in Jerusalem said on Sunday that it was “skeptical” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government would be able to move the peace process with the Palestinians ahead.
The five-person delegation from the sub-committee on the Middle East was headed by Congressman Gary Ackerman from New York, who is considered one of Israel’s greatest friends on Capitol Hill. The delegation met with President Shimon Peres and other senior officials in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority.
The representatives had tough questions for the Israelis on construction in West Bank settlements and protested Israel’s intention to continue building to accommodate “natural growth.” They also expressed great concern over the siege on Gaza, noting that the civilian population was suffering greatly from a lack of food and medicine.
This is a guy who previously never met an Israeli policy he didn’t like. Now, he’s suddenly developing backbone and courage. He’s willing to criticize Bibi to his face and call for easing the suffering in Gaza. Hosanna, miracles never cease!
Ackerman’s gradual transformation shows something important: that as the sands shift in the Middle East, those who were hostile to peace on anything other than Israel’s terms, will gradually come over to our side. Perhaps they will never fully be with us on every issue. But these transitions are very welcome and they are the way we will turn the tide and finally bring peace.
I’ll bet there are some very nervous Israeli diplomats in Washington D.C. and New York wondering what the hell is going on with Gary. They thought they had a trusted ally and now look what he does to them. He practically gives Bibi the shaft. It’s a whole new world out there and thank God for it.