« Israel won't back down in dispute with U.S., PM says - CNN | Main | Electoral news from Iraq »

23 March 2010

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

blowback

I think that Netanyahu is most likely a rather stupid man, not necessarily lacking in intelligence but with little commonsense and suffering from a large dose of hubris and bloated ego. A few days ago, Obama looked weak and was perceived by much of the US media as weak. The passing of health care reform has done much to strengthen Obama's position, most likely, turned him into a two-term president and for the immediate future he has no substantial need for Congress. On the other hand, with the mid-terms later this year, there are probably many in Congress who need his support for re-election. So I think (and hope) that Netanyahu will discover just who is the superpower and exactly who runs it and it certainly ain't him!

EL

I think that Bibi, blissfully inhaling the AIPAC fumes, will think that Obama is weak and out of touch. But, like the Republicans, Bibi is in for a shock when Obama senses the time is ripe. And, so far, over the last four years, Obama's sense of timing has been superb. And Bibi probably does not understand Obama's patience in waiting for the right moment. Since Tizipi Livini seems smarter than Bibi, she is probably quietly waiting for Obama too.

GregB

The blogger Digby refers to much of the beltway media complex as The Village. A small insular group that engages in much groupthink conventional wisdom.

Others call it Versailles on the Potomac.

However you look at it there are lots of folks used to thinking a certain way.

Remember Karl Rove boasting about "creating their own reality".

That only works up to a point.

They are occasionally shocked out of their cloistered mindset by reality.

I foresee some future shock for these calcified thinkers coming down the pike.

William R. Cumming

Whatever the level of sophistication of US and Israeli polity and leadership this week's contribution to a disaster in the making looks like a new baseline calibration point. The arm twisting on health care reform may end up breaking the legs of the Isralies. No cause and effect just the complexity of reality.

harper

The Israelis are living out a classic tragedy, ala Shakespeare or Schiller. They are so caught up in their own twisted ideology and interpretation of the world, that they cannot see that they are on a path of self-destruction. Israel's greatest enemy is not Hamas or Hezbollah or Iran. It is the mindset of its own leadership, and the culture of fanatacism that has gripped the place. One key demographic factor to recall, which I was told by a Washington contact, and then confirmed with a top Israeli academic. In the past two years, at least 1.5 million Israeli Jews have left Israel and permanently settled elsewhere. Since most are dual citizens, the statistics don't show up clearly. But the most sane and significant elements within Israeli society, including the secular middle class, are leaving the place, and leaving it in the hands of Greater Israel fanatics, religious zealots and Russian Mafiosi, who see Israel as the best money laundering facility in the world. Not a recipe for longterm success. Netanyahu's behavior is reflective of this social phenomenon in Israel. It is delusional. I have been emphasizing for some time now that the Cold War is over for twenty years, and Israel's role as America's nuclear-armed aircraft carrier in the Middle East, targeted against the USSR, is over. The Wald and Mearsheimer book was a clear signal by an elite faction of the American intelligencia (Harvard and Chicago) that the Israeli lobby game is getting stale. Sometimes a show of forces like AIPAC's display this week, and Bibi's abomidable behavior, is a sign of worry, not strength. A decade from now, or perhaps less, Israel may be an historical footnote, one more case of death by hubris. Whether Ob

Clifford Kiracofe

Four key organizations lobbied openly for the Iraq War on Israel's behalf, two Jewish and two "Christian":

Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations

AIPAC

Southern Baptist Convention

National Evangelical Association

From the standpoint of US domestic politics BOTH the Jewish Zionist and the Christian Zionist organizations, supporters, etc. can be placed in the "disloyal" category to the extent they support Israeli, and not American, interests. IMO.

As I have pointed out before, the pro-Zionist Jewish and Christian political lobby surfaced publicly in 1891 with its petition-memorial to President Harrison in behalf of the creation of a Jewish entity in the Holy Land. Thus, this political cancer is deep in the American body politic.

In 1922, Congress passed a Joint Resolution in favor of a Zionist entity in Palestine.

My book Dark Crusade, was intended among other things, to document and explain this structural problem in US domestic politics which has become a structural problem in international politics.

Political Zionism both Jewish and Christian impacts significantly on BOTH the Republican and Democratic parties.

When Hagee's CUFI conference comes to Washington in July the (delusional) gentile audience will have the same hysterical reaction as those at AIPAC.


J

It is one thing for an organization to be political, or grass roots, or focused on issue(s). It is entirely another for an organization to be an active participant in undermining U.S. national security in favor of a foreign power. AIPAC meets the latter. AIPAC is a band of treasonous perps whose allegiance and loyalties lie with a foreign power and against our U.S..

Isn't AIPAC on the same level as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were executed for selling out the U.S. to the U.S.S.R., is there really any difference between them?

citizen

The elephant in the room is demography. And to this observer this lack of official attention to the demographic growth of the Palestinian population shows just how short-sighted American and Israeli leaders are. Semi-officially or unofficially there is some hand-wringing about the demographics, but I've yet to hear an American politician talk about it. Is it just too big and too "scary" a topic to deal with? One state solution is the only long-term viable option, if politically impossible. And by long-term I mean beyond the next couple election cycles. At present, Israel's immigration policies are looking silly. They are dragging and bribing anybody in provided they have a Jewish grandmother. They kind of got caught with egg on their faces when it turned out some of these Russian "Jews" were skinheads. I've read recently that Israel is finally starting to look more favorably towards the Mizo people in Burma, who've been claiming Jewish ancestry for awhile. I don't think this is open-mindedness so much as desperation.

Redhand

But the most sane and significant elements within Israeli society, including the secular middle class, are leaving the place, and leaving it in the hands of Greater Israel fanatics, religious zealots and Russian Mafiosi, who see Israel as the best money laundering facility in the world. Not a recipe for longterm success. Netanyahu's behavior is reflective of this social phenomenon in Israel. It is delusional.

A pithy assessment that sure rings true to me. My only quibble is that this sort of mindset in Israeli leaders long predates the current secularist "exodus." I refer specifically to crazy "Israel will never be destroyed!" Menachem Begin in the early 1980s. I think it's been all downhill for Israel since him.

curious

two very broad questions I haven't begin prodding around to get a sense how elaborate the tangle is:

1. List of US law related to Israel. (It seems to me, a lot of those aid, taxation, military transfer are written in law so that even a president can't change it.) eg. do you know it is even illegal to talk about Israel embargo in the US?

2. list of all aipac/Israel controlled political players.

3. How deep has israel penetrate US counter intelligence and surveillance organizations. (eg. the country has no tool left to gather information to protect itself.) justice, state, pentagon are obviously penetrated fairly deep. Israel can read and anticipate all their move weeks ahead. Things are holding up strictly because the few top guys still have control and hasn't been bought.

----
obviously these questions are pretty way out there and can't be answered directly. The next one, how can these be estimated so anybody can roughly predict the behavior of US-Israel relationship ...

Phil Giraldi

Colonel Lang, for the sake of our country I hope your assessment is correct and that some day and in some way some US administration will normalize relations with Israel. But there are several good reasons to assume that that will not happen, at least not in the foreseeable future. First there is congress. Congress is totally owned by AIPAC, as Netanyahu’s meeting with Boehner and Pelosi yesterday demonstrated. I am sure many of your readers have been following details of the GOP senate race in California in which Tom Campbell has been accused of being insufficiently supportive of Israel. Which means that at least some in the Republican Party believe that allegiance to Israel is a sine qua non to run for office as a Republican. There are also indications from the Republican Party leadership that supporting Israel will become a major wedge issue to use against Obama, meaning that Republicans will be at least partly defined by their close ties to Israel. Combine a solid Republican front with all the traditional pro-Israel Democrats, and it is clear that there will be an unquestioning majority in support of anything that Israel does for some time to come. Congressmen will only abandon Israel when the connection proves to be a political liability, but as both parties are strongly in the AIPAC grasp voters cannot express their disapproval by voting out an incumbent. The other guy is quite likely to also be a friend of Israel.

And then there is the media. The MSM has been leaning decisively towards Israel over the past three weeks, no surprise there, though I do note the remarkable piece http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/23/against-pro-israel/?ref=opinion by Robert Wright that appeared in the New York Times yesterday (unfortunately only on line). If the media will not support a sitting US President against a foreign country in a situation where US lives are arguably in jeopardy there is little hope that they will shift gears and begin to report objectively about the Middle East. Without a media shift, most Americans will continue to receive bad information, believing the “poor little beleaguered democracy” nonsense that is incessantly purveyed regarding Israel.

So what it comes down to is this: will any president ever feel strong enough to take on both Congress and the media over an issue that can safely be ignored? Will any president risk his own reelection because he feels strongly enough that peace in the Middle East is worth it? I doubt it. And that is why I think the Obama Administration lost the latest encounter with the Israelis and why I think it will continue to lose until finally reaching the point where the president realizes that it’s a mug’s game to continue. Per the Robert Malley comment quoted by Kessler in the article, why were the “issue, timing and context” wrong in the most recent “crisis?” They weren’t. Netanyahu behaved like a belligerent buffoon and he had a crowd of people obviously suffering from an acute case of dual loyalty cheering him on. Obama had also just won a major victory on health care. If he couldn’t pressure Israel under those circumstances he will never be able to do so.

DanM

@curious: Could you provide a link to the legislation that makes it "illegal to talk about Israel embargo in the US?"

@Citizen. More attention to the "population bomb" as it was once called is welcome. However, many important Israeli's understand the issue. "As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel, it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic," Israel Defense Minister and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in February 2010. "If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state."

Patrick Lang

Phil

I think popular opinion in the US is shifting against AIPAC et al. It is like pushing on a wall that is rotten at the feet. for a long time it does not seem to move and then, all of sudden... pl

Jackie

Col.,
I remember being distinctly put off by Netanyahu last time he was PM of Israel. He didn't get along any better with Clinton and I think Clinton would be easier to deal with than Obama, not that I think Obama is difficult, he is just more patient.

Netanyahu is full of hubris and he really seems to be tone deaf. It seems that is what got him last time.

I hope you are correct about that "wall".

optimax

A 1970's law made it illegal for a U.S. company to join a boycott not sanctioned by the U.S. Its specific purpose was to keep U.S. companies from joining the Arab League's boycott of Israel.
From the Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce website:

"Antiboycott Compliance:
The Bureau is charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act. Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain Moslem countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott. Compliance with such requests may be prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and may be reportable to the Bureau."

Their website:

http://www.bis.doc.gov/complianceandenforcement/antiboycottcompliance.htm#boycottlaws

Thomas

I agree with EL. This is a play to get rid of Netanyahu and put in Livni, especially with new elections.
If your adversary is a bombastic blowhard, set him up to fall on his own. Once Biden was humiliated, the following Sunday, Foreign Policy releases the article on the military's view (from JAN)of the situation. Looks like they were sitting on that article waiting to release it at the appropiate time.

Next a Chicago ally of Obama is named the new leader of AIPAC. This will allow control of their message as the push for the two state solution goes forward. The Israelis understand that they have to make this move as DanM points out but can't due to domestic politics. It has to come from the US

As for the members of Congress, off the record, how many of them resent AIPAC pressure?

BillWade

"A draft resolution is circulating among members of the House of Representatives that endorses an Israeli military attack on Iran "if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time." The resolution, written by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)"

http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1695&Itemid=2

"The number three Republican (Pence) in the House of Representatives today told reporters, "I never thought I'd live to see the day that an American administration would denounce the Jewish state of Israel for rebuilding Jerusalem."

http://blogs.cbn.com/beltwaybuzz/

It appears that already Republicans are on the attack regarding the "Settlements crisis", this is simply amazing and distasteful to me. I just cannot fathom why a US Congressperson would advocate anything that is harmful to USA troops and USA interests.

jmc5588

An interesting discussion, as always on this blog. If the Founder of Our Feast is correct in his opinion that public attitudes toward AIPAC and its creatures is turning negative, then Republicans who raise the Israel issue against Democrats may find that weapon turned against them. The comments from senior military leaders such as General Petraeus regarding the effect of our Israel policy on the security of our forces in the region could be an important factor in such a process. As Mr. Wade suggests, why indeed would any person in Congress expose himself to the charge of advocacy of policies both harmful to U.S. interests in general and more specifically, to "the troops.?"

DanM

I recently remember a political party in the US (I forget which one) insisting that the President always "listen to the generals."

I wonder how an artful politician who believes in a restructuring of the US-Israel relationship will use that domestically in the coming months and years?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

November 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          
Blog powered by Typepad