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22 February 2009


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dan of steele

binnie has a lot of friends on the right who admire his tough talk and bluster. same kind of people who admire gw bush will gush all over him. talk of turning countries into glass is a major aphrodisiac for the the RWA echo chamber.

no, if anything will change the relationship between the US and Israel it will be J Street. How is the relationship between Netanyahu and Emmanuel?

Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, once a member of the Irgun militia that fought for Israel’s statehood, was asked in an interview with the Hebrew daily Maariv if his son’s appointment would be good for Israel.”Obviously, he will influence the President to be pro-Israel,” said the elder Emanuel, who immigrated to the U.S. from Israel in the 1950s.”Why shouldn’t he do it? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floor of the White House. “There was no immediate comment from Rep. Emanuel’s congressional office
William R. Cumming

Actually I think it may be some time before there is a meeting between the two heads of state. Why, both have important irons in the fire and neither wants that meeting to be perceived elsewhere as a fracture point in the frozen crystal of US/Israeli relationships. I actually believe both countries are in a complete quandry over the relationships in the middle-east and may be some time or some event before sorting out occurs.But no doubt in my mind that a fundamental sorting process is now underway in the relationship. Israeli leadership clearly does not trust the US nor does US leadership trust Israel. After so much time, effort, and money that distrust indicates some change in the wind. Whether for good or bad will be in the eye of beholder because the relationship seems fundamentally flawed to the rest of the world. When my Jesuit trained son asked me why the US so unrelentingly supports Israel I said one word "Guilt." The generation that feels that guilt is rapidly disappearing and some really really tough cost-benefit analysis is under way in the nature of the "Better red than dead" analysis of the 50's and 60's with the same emotional jag. Both countries are clueless of the real feelings of their populace on the relationship.They do of course know the key lobbyist positions. And money bags.


I wonder what Israel could be thinking. Then again, I wondered what we could possibly be thinking when we elected W in 2004. Netanyahu is precisely the wrong person for this time.

Therefore one must ask why the Israeli electorate has created the preconditions for that meeting.

They did if for the same reason the Palestinians elected Hamas, and the same reason Americans reelected Bush, Cheney and Co., with all their attendant confrontational bluster. In other words, they weren't thinking, they were emoting, and there was no inspirational and charismatic alternate option to give them hope instead of fear and anger.

Mad Dogs

Cujo359 wrote: "Netanyahu is precisely the wrong person for this time."

Perhaps. And perhaps not.

As Steve Clemon's put it on his WashingtonNote blog back on February 7th "before" Israel's latest electoral scrum:

"Give Us Netanyahu. Please.

...Israel's bravado over Gaza and the massively disproportionate deployment of force in which so many innocents were killed or injured -- and lives seriously disrupted on so many levels -- is the type of potentially transformative act that can either radicalize a great many more Arabs against the current equations of power in the region or more optimistically, could transform the perspective of the White House to finally realize that Israel's zero-sum game approach in the region is something that needs to be curtailed and changed...

...But "earnestness" in trying to move the Rubik's Cube of the region into alignment is flawed. Israel and Palestine together don't work. They can't come to a responsible deal on their own.

It doesn't matter if Livni is Prime Minister, or Ehud Barak -- who I think is the most monstrous of recent Israeli political players for his role in tightening the noose around Palestinian mobility and movement after the Annapolis process started. And yes, I said monstrous - to borrow a term from Samantha Power. And it doesn't matter if Netanyahu is PM...

...In fact, the more irresponsible both sides are about their situation, the more achievable a "new equilibrium arrangement" may be -- because the US and other regional stakeholders simply can't afford for the recklessness, immaturity, and sheer stupidity of leadership on all sides of the conflict to continue.

Given that. Give us Netanyahu. Please.

His re-ascension will help Americans realize that the false choice approach the Bush administration has been taking in Israel-Palestine affairs was flawed -- and that Obama's team must change the game or face a serious rebuke from Middle East watchers in the US and around the world."

Charles I

Cujo my answer is similar.

Humans are incapable of discerning their individual and collective interest(s) and achieving what that appears to be in hindsight, in any but the grossest manner, considering our manifest resources, ingenuity and self awareness.

Lots of clever chaps to herd us around to THEIR interests doesn't make it easier.

In that regard, William R. cumming, I don't think Israel will act too confused when it comes to manipulating the peace process and cycle of war to their own now plainly pathological ends - right until the tipping point - and its coming - when that domain passes from the Israeli's hands to the Arabs' and the growing block of western Palestinian sympathizers.

A very scrupulous examination of the cycle of agreements, immediate non-compliance, provocation, "self-defense" and continuous illegal armed colonial expansion demonstrates the considerable coherent power of Eretz Israel, whatever the citizens of Israel tell their pollsters about peace.

Quite a bit of momentum there yet, human capacity for cognitive dissonance is boundless - to the post-tipping, breaking point.

Add in a protagonist's arrogance - that's the polite term Pat - and anther's intransigence, well, I'm reduced to prayer.

I predict more war.


Romance? Romance!! Ours is an abusive relationship of the first wetness. Look at the levers in the hands of the Zionists: "our" neocons, Hagee and his ilk, folks (plural) like Jonathan Pollard, the overhang of the Holocaust (too bad THAT was put in a non-interest bearing account, it's kinda running low on moral capital, don't you think?) Is it any wonder that, submissive abused spouse that we are, the USS Liberty has already dropped out of our collective memory? Romance? Geeze!!

robt willmann

The Israeli electorate delivered a closely divided decision which is, in essence, not a ringing endorsement of Benjamin Netanyahu and his attitudes and beliefs. The structure of a parliamentary system inhibits the "winner take all" approach of U.S. elections.

Certainly as he quivers in anticipation of regaining political authority, "Ben-Jammin'" will make any deal with anybody to get to that point, and so I think he will definitely get over the required hurdle of cobbling together a coalition that puts him in the big chair.

Opinion polls in the past have placed a majority of Israelis in favor of peace with the Palestinians. However, jingoistic propaganda, the Satan of the nation-state, when devised to create fear of an alleged external threat, has a tragic habit of succeeding (and has here since 2001), and seems to have influenced Israeli public opinion in the recent attack on the essentially defenseless Gaza strip.

Netanyahu is not worried about the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the apartheid wall largely in place and the viciously destructive attack on Gaza accomplished. His big agenda is to get the United States to attack Iran. For this he will pull out all the stops and look to the Israeli lobby and other supporters. Netanyahu surely feels he can count on help from Rahm Emanuel, a notorious leaker sitting at President Obama's door as chief of staff. With this perceived "backing", Netanyahu may think he can easily bulldoze Obama into whatever his scheme is for Iran and elsewhere.

What independence of mind and inner strength against a full court press does President Obama have?

The disgraceful reversal of the appointment of retired General Anthony Zinni as ambassador to Iraq is not an encouraging sign. The slap in the face to Gen. Zinni was not due to his failure to pay income tax or employment of an illegal immigrant maid or taking payola as a corporate board member. In the absence of an ongoing declared war, the U.S. ambassador in a country has a lot of authority. The rumor is that some supporters of Israel contacted Hillary Clinton and others to try to get the appointment withdrawn, and were successful in doing so.

Why didn't President Obama back Gen. Zinni up?

I have not yet given up "hope" on Obama, to use one of his favorite words, because he is just getting started. But the signs are not good. Obama was apparently enthralled by the idea of a "team of rivals" as advisors. But what he has put together is a team of rivals to his own self-interest, apparent better judgment, and the well-being of the American people. His escalation of attacks in the Waziristan tribal areas and elsewhere in Pakistan is terribly counter-productive. He is adding more troops to Afghanistan. Who is advising him to do this? What sources of alleged information is he using?

There is a high likelihood that tragic death and destruction will resume in the Middle East after Netanyahu gets his coalition going. Yet, there may be a little humor on the side. James Carville, a political advisor to Bill and Hillary Clinton, helped Ehud Barak in his successful election against Netanyahu around 1999. Now Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State (although that was no help to Gen. Zinni).

Human nature trumps all protocols. Netanyahu may think he has the Israeli lobby, Rahm Emanuel, and a friendly U.S. media all lined up. But he doesn't spend the night with the President. Michelle Obama does. If she recognizes his unsavory reputation, and tires of his blustery arrogance, the Man in the Oval Office may develop some real spine, and there might be a little hope for the Middle East after all.


I think it’s going to come down to bucks. Politics wont cut it.

The majority of Americans I know -- because I’ve asked people since the Iraq War began -- are unaware of the terms and conditions, and amounts, of our enormous annual foreign aid to Israel. As the economy worsens during this corrective period -- and worsening also means past transgressions 'revealed' and uncovered -- the populace will, as the change.gov questions showed, demand an accounting of and justification for foreign aid amounts to other countries. It will demand that transparency. Imagine all this on the web.

Obama, therefore, may have the question of whether Netanyahu will kill the US/Israel romance decided for him by the public mood as a result. When it's broadly understood that what we give Israel annually, repeatedly, in cash, military weapons & contracts and loan guarantees, directly and indirectly, is what we give to the car industry only under duress and spectacle, public anger will surface. (Eg: Why do we subsidize the Israeli defense industry to the tune of 26%/yr?) That mood is already prevalent on the web on sites that incline to xenophobia; but the amounts they are complaining about are tens of millions, not the billions Israel gets.

This Nov 08 report by Shirl McArthur, a retired U.S. foreign service officer, discusses some of those issues.

One can imagine the video equivalent of a Rick Santelli screaming about foreign aid going viral once amounts are known. Surely, Israel knows this and is trying to control it now. But rotsa ruck to Mr Netanyuhu overcoming this groundswell. Not even over-used anti-semitic labeling will quell it.


It is very interesting that the Daily Star has an article about Egypt and Lebanon linking their electric grids. It would be far more efficient and cost effective if the electric grid were connected through Israel rather than Jordan-Syria, not to mention the influence over Lebanese policy such connections would provide. Israel has truly isolated herself.

Buzz Meeks

Obomba already has Rahm, what's the difference?

Buzz Meeks


Does someone displaying the sort of pathology Netanyahu's behavior reflects even have the capacity for diplomatic negotiation with any degree of sincerity or honesty?

I have my doubts.


Didn't Netanyahu and Emmanuel have a major falling out back in the 90's?

I'm not certain that Emmanuel is Netanyahu's man.


a fracture point in the frozen crystal of US/Israeli relationships

Nice turn of phrase. I see the Gaza incursion as the straw that broke the camel's back so far as US-Israeli relations is concerned. The grotesquely disproportionate use of force reminded me of Begin going into Lebanon in the 1980s, and bombing the living hell out of the place, with an on-the-ground dash of Sabra and Shatila thrown in by indiscriminate IDF killing of civilians with tanks: mayhem and murder because Biblical retribution is so satisfying.

And all that before this clown returns to center stage.

I predict that US-Israeli relations will remain "frozen," or deteriorate even further, so long as "N" is in office. Dialogue and compromise with this arrogant reprobate are impossible. The best strategy is to let him self-destruct and resign in disgrace halfway into his term, just like he did the first time. It's not like Obama doesn't have other agenda items in the meantime.


PL: Like a lot of extreme nationalists in various parts of the world, Netanyahu deeply believes in the intellectual and moral superiority of what he thinks of as his people.

Strange, is it not, how extreme-geniuses with an insatiable thirst for blood, like Netanyahu, Bush, et al. have only severely degraded their people through their actions, thoughts, and words?


Netanyahu can do and say whatever her wants. If Obama tries to pressure him, the Israel Lobby will make sure that Congress comes to Netanyahu's rescue.

R Whitman

I think the Daily Star is naive for even imagining anyone in Washington is thinking "peace settlement". The reality is that you cannot have a permanent peace without the agreement of both Likud and Hamas(who are really two sides to the same coin). Not very likely in my lifetime. The best course for the USA is to pay as little attention as possible to the problem.

If an activist solution is forced by external events,then an imposed peace by the US,EU,Russia, the Arab League and the UN needs to be put in place without consultation with the Israelis and Palestinians.


Binyamin Netanyahu is a very smart man w/ a reputed IQ of 180 matching that of former chief of staff to No. 41 John H. Sununu (who was a quarter Lebanese & likewise Palestinian and said to be similarly arrogant + abrasive).

But of course there is a difference between being smart and having good judgment and being wise.

And as the Torah says, w/o wisdom (chukimah) the people perish.


If you've never been the recipient of a rocket barrage, this may come as a suprise to many of you, but it is a very unpleasant sensation. The Colonel can confirm this no doubt.

The Israelis have been subject to a steady rain of rocket attacks on both ends of their tiny country for the last few years. I imagine this unpleasantness brought the need to do something different into the mind of the average Israeli voter.

If the present Israeli leadership could not stop the rockets, the voters simply decided to give the other crowd a chance. They want to see if Netanyahu can give them what they need.(In this case it is freedom from fear of a Palestinian rocket landing in their living room.)

If the Palestinians in Gaza don't want Israeli rockets in their houses. Then they should not support dysfunctional political leaders who get their "jollies" by firing rockets into Israel while operating beside a Palestinian school for a shield.

As for the coming conflict between the White House and Netanyahu, I would'nt get my hopes up too high for "change you can believe in". For starters beginning with the Chief of Staff count the number of Jewish names on the White House personnel roster.

Now, I'm not saying the White House politicans won't give you a few scenes of political Kabuki Theater about how they are going to slap those arrogant Israelis into line.

But as the old saying goes:"sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same".


Col Lang,

Can I swap a few things around to put a recent post in perspective

If the Zionists in Israel don't want Palestinian rockets in their houses. Then they should not support dysfunctional political leaders who get their "jollies" by firing rockets into Gaza while ignoring the location of Palestinian [schools homes, factories,mosques,police/fire/rescue buildings, hospitals, etc]

For what it is worth, yes, I have been rocketed, bombed, mortared,machine gunned, grenaded and sniped at.


Mark Logan

As to why the Israeli electorate is doing this, perhaps a possible embellishment to Highlanders
remarks, which seem to me to be likely true.

Something else may be relevant to the surge in Israeli nationalism is the
changing demographics within Israel today.

A World Focus 6 min. video:

The Eastern bloc demographic is reported as huge. Added to that are a growing demographic of Nepalese, Darfurian, Ethiopian et. al. refugees.

I'd guess that no matter how shaky their status as Israelis may be, they wish most of all to be allowed to stay. I would assume there are few in this group would share Orwell's views about nationalism.

They would be easy to whip into a lather.


Hillary Clinton in no James Baker. Israel will continue to treat the US as a doormat. And Americans will still love Israel.

Charles I

Highlander, Re:

"the need to do something different"

Uhhhhhh, how about obeying international law and forty years of UN Resolutions, get the hell out, stop the land theft and murder, see how that pans out?

That'd be different, no?

Except the pollsters tell us that's ALREADY in the majority of voters' minds.

So it seems there's quite a bit of daylight between the mind of the average Israeli voter and the State of Israel's actual dark doings in the West Bank,Gaza, and the fiendish machinations of the Infrastructure of Occupation. Many changes of government on, the death toll, land thefts and settlement population in the Occupied Territorries rise apace.

Seems there can be many war crimes worth of sunlight between between voter and perpetrator, no matter who cobbles up the government of the day.

Which are you, thinker, doer or katsa?

Highlander, NO ONE can secure Israel from itself. A few jolly Hamas volleys are a pin prick compared to the poison Israel has been mainlining lo these 60 years of Occupation.

Delusions of grandeur never saved a nutter yet, I can assure you. Sadly, there's no pink room big enough to treat Israel.



Israeli Leader Fires Lead Negotiator on Gaza Truce

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed Israel's top negotiator in Gaza truce talks for publicly criticizing his demand that Palestinian militants hand over a captured Israeli soldier before any deal is clinched, officials said Monday.


It seems to me that there is some element of right, of a craving for justice on both sides of any conflict.

I was surprised to learn that the recent Gaza unpleasantness was precipitated by the unwillingness of the Israelis to loosen their economic choke hold, and continues "surgical" strikes against Hamas during the cease fire. True enough, that Hamas launched it's rockets, in the General direction of Israel but without effect. so although my prejudices remain with the Israelies it is not such a clear case.

Israel appears to be a country reliant almost entirely on the twin pillars of presumed invincibility and American support. Americans inherently dislike arrogance, and like most communities are closely attached to their preconceptions. Consequently, if Bebe's arrogance ties with the other changes, in terms of economic collapse and loss of prestige, etc... The effect can be a red shift, in which the American public simply refuses to back further support.

That would be a historic and moral failure, but already Israel has diminishing public support. Already people are beginning to ask exactly what is in it for us and how, in light of current events, Israel has the moral high ground.

A country whose legitimacy rest on a tortured reading of its own sacred texts, and the memories and guilt of histories Pogroms for which no living person remains, holds a precarious existence, at best.

Were I a Palestinian, I would spend a few million dollars and hire the most prestigious western Pr firms in the world to pitch my cause in vernacular English all over the cable networks. Of course I would also begin a non violent campaign which remains far more effective than any intifada could ever be.

Netanyahu, in my opinion, raises the specter of historic collapse of the jewish state.

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