All hail two Jewish members of Congress who have enough spine to resist the Aipac onslaught. Aipac’s capo di tutti in the House appear to be Steny Hoyer and Eric Cantor. They’ve been circulating a letter outlining recommended negotiation positions for the U.S. related to Israeli-Palestinian peace. But a funny thing happened: Barney Frank and Bob Filner said “no thanks.” Jewish legislators don’t usually cross Aipac. So the fact that they refused to affix their names is an event of moment.
The letter appears innocuous enough until you place it in the current political context. We have an Israeli prime minister who’s just been lambasted here in Washington not just by an American president and secretary of state, but by some of his most slavish former admirers. They uniformly told him to straighten up and fly right concerning freezing settlements and embracing a two state solution. To which he’s responded by fumfering around and claiming he simply can’t accede to U.S. wishes and how unfair they are to the poor settlers who have expanding families with no place to live.
In that context, the letter is of a piece with Bibi’s tried and true tactics of attempting to play off Congress and the executive. It won’t work this time, but you can’t blame a guy for trying. Here’s the content of the letter:
Among the principles laid out by the House letter is that “the parties themselves must negotiate the details of any agreement” and that the United States must “work closely with our democratic ally, who will be taking the greatest risks in any peace agreement.”
What this means is that the U.S. has no right to exert any pressure on Israel to cave in to our demands.
“The proven best way forward is to work closely and privately together both on areas of agreement and especially on areas of disagreement,” states the missive, adding that the U.S. must be both “a trusted mediator and a devoted friend to Israel.”
Translation: Be Israel’s friend. F*&k the other guy.
The letter also insists on an “absolute Palestinian commitment to end violence, terror and incitement” and urges “far greater involvement and participation by the Arab states both in moving toward normal ties with Israel and in supporting moderate Palestinians.”
First, you’ll notice the onus this places on the Palestinians while demanding nothing of the Israelis who haven’t exactly ended their own violence against Palestinians. As for “involvement of Arab states,” this seems either a sham or a delusion. Aipac seems to believe that Arab states should normalize relations with Israel in return for…nothing. When the Arabs respond with stone-faced silence, then Bibi will have an opening to claim that Israel can’t possibly be forthcoming unless the Arab states reciprocate (one of his most beloved sham phrases).
Aside from all the narischkeit in this letter, there is the most important matter of all: Pres. Obama is going in an entirely different policy direction. Aipac knows this, Bibi now knows it if he didn’t already, Congress knows this. This letter is the last hurrah of the old order.
Obama’s policy eschews the smoke of mirrors of this letter. It names things for what they are. It doesn’t pull any punches. If Aipac keeps playing these little games they’ll be left holding the bag, while the American Jewish peace camp gets onboard the peace train.
Bob Filner and Barney Frank–you guys are all right.
RE: “Aipac’s capo di tutti in the House appear to be Steny Hoyer and Eric Cantor”
MY COMMENT: That’s so harsh! (LOL)
gene schulman says
Richard, you’ve fallen hook, line, and sinker for Obama. Moses long ago warned us against worshiping ‘other gods, bowing down to them….’ Obama is neither a god, nor a saint. He is a false idol that exists in your imagination. As he has shown in every other instance, he will turn his back on his promises to you because he is in the employ of the ruling elite, which includes Aipac. Don’t cry when you wake up.
charles vaird says
Could it be that the international community has finally accepted that an AIPAC-run United States is not a democratic way of running the country or the world.
Could it be that the international community has decided that there is a partner for peace in the Middle East but that it is not Israel.
Could it be that the international community has woken up to the fact that it could be on the verge of a nuclear war in the region that would quickly spread to Europe and the world.
Could it be that the international community now sees clearly the futility of its previous position in allowing a group of foreign politicians with American connections to dictate to the rest of the world.
After many decades, five presidents, thousands of innocents killed, murdered or liquidated by US supplied cluster bombs, missiles, tanks and fighter bombers – we now have an administration that is strong enough not to be bought or sold by a political lobby with vested interests.
Thank you Mr. Vaird, You’ve said it all and said it well!
More likely due to suicide than anything else. The Israeli lobby and their Likud/Zionist allies put the revolver to their own heads and emptied all six chambers into their brain stems.
They say the world changed on 9-11. The world undoubtedly changed for the worse for the above fools on 19 March 2003. Had they any brains at all they would have realized the enterprises they had in mind could have ended no other way.
The stupendous 60 failure of crushing a captive population should have told them something. Come to think of it, it should have told Bush and co something too, But then what could anyone expect from the stupidest man in the universe.
I like what Charles Vaird says here but I agree with Gene Schulman.
I almost throw up to listen to Obama talk about Palestinian violence after Israel’s latest attack on the Gazan’s. The reasons for the attack itself was a BIG LIE just like the 2006 attack on Hizbolla. It’s these blatent lies that turned me against Isramerica and the fact that Obama is following in Bush Jr’s footprints (following the path of lies) just disheartens me. I voted for Obama just because I didn’t have Ron Paul in the primary to vote for. He would have been our man. Two states will never happen either. If Obama was sincere he would be talking about one state, that of Palestine. Not because I think only Arabs should be there or a ruling party. No, I think that everyone should be there in a democratic state togeather. Why call it Palestine? Because IT IS Palestine. Jews should return to their countries if they like or stay in Palestine if they like. It can’t be like Iran, run by a bunch of mullahs, Palestinian Arabs don’t like that anyway. They like to be free and happy, like everyone else. A party like Hamas would not have power. I should be able to move there if I want and become a citizen if I want. Me, neither European Jew nor Arab.
Richard Silverstein says
Thanks for that msg. from the loony anti-ZIonist left.
A Snyder says
“Jews should return to their countries”
Israel is our country! A one state Palestine solution is a one sided solution, with complete disreguard to an entire community, nation, and people.
Ignorance really is bliss.
Arie Brand says
I hope more members of congress will follow.
Does President Obama really expect Israel’s compliance with his demands re the settlements or is he counting on Israel’s resistance which would allow him to create distance with this troublesome ally. It is distance he needs when Israel takes ‘pre-emptive’ action against Iran and wants to draw the US into the fray. Israel’s demands can then be met with the cold aloofness that its earlier obstinacy has created in a way that seems fully justified.
Yeah, Obama obviously expects Israel to comply with his demand that they abide by their agreements and official understandings regarding settlements and 2 states.
Crimson Ghost says
To the extent that Obama opposes some aspects of Israel’s agenda, the purpose seems to be to make it easier to carry out plans for continued wars in Iraq and AFPAC.
Obama is anything but a good guy on these matters and his disagreements with Israel are strictly tactical.
Arie Brand says
Perhaps the phrase ‘his disagreements with Israel’ is the equivalent for ‘his concern with America’s national interest’. The last thing the US needs now, so it seems to me, is getting embroiled in a war with Iran. As if Iraq, Afghanistan and now North Korea are not causing already enough of a headache.
Secretary Gates said recently he feared a pre-emptive strike on Iran as much as the prospect of that country getting a nuclear weapon.
Trita Parsi has argued that it is not in Iran’s interest to acquire that. Its size and population give it a ‘natural weight’ in the region which would disappear if an arms race would even provide tiny Kuwait with this weapon and make it in that sense the equal of Iran.
For the great article. We need to sign a petition supporting this two great congressmen as well as supporting president’s leader ship and Mrs Clinton’s efforts for the peace and two state solution.
With Best wishes.
Another war now will probably drive the US and the global economy into an economic depression far worse than the one we are experiencing now. A war with Iran makes that a dead certainty.
The last 8 years have demonstrated that state adventurism in a time of diminishing natural resources and global warming whatever its causes & effects is a deadly policy for any aggressor checkmated by nuclear weaponry.
Decisive wars ended on 6 Aug 1945, which has given rise to more ancient norms of warfare made more lethal with modern science & technologies. The terrorist with a nuke scenario. It’s an age where total war is obsolete, but characterized by eternal conflict and no peace.
Obama & co. are merely trying to end run that state of affairs by resurrecting the multi-lateral world order the previous fools destroyed. Sensible people would wish the man all the luck in the world.
Allan Beek says
Tell Frank and Filner “CONGRATULATIONS!”
Barney Frank, 29 Crafts Street, Newton, MA 02458-1275, 617-332-3920.
Bob Filner, 333 F St., Chula Vista, CA 91910-2669, 619-422-5963.
Tell them “Now follow through to achieve lasting peace: Introduce an appropriation of four billion dollars, by which the United States offers to pay for the expense of moving the ‘settlers’ into Israel proper.”