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17 February 2015

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Charles I

And he's still at it. A wrecker in the finest Stalinist tradition - except he's real.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/02/16/boehner-confesses-i-invited-netanyahu-secretly-to-stab-president-obama-in-the-back-and-sabotage-peace-talks-video/

What's up with the Logan Act? Can the cretin be charged?

BabelFish

Is it too much to ask the universe to deliver a giant flagon of hubris for him to drink?

William R. Cumming

HARPER! Thanks for this useful, important, and accurate posting!
IMO of course.

Jack

Harper

It seems there are more than enough Israel Firsters in Congress and both parties that Israel has a blank check drawn on US taxpayers.
Do you forsee any circumstances that will change public and political opinion? Currently our national interests are subjugated for the benefit of intransigent political groups in Israel.

Dubhaltach

In reply to BabelFish 18 February 2015 at 08:38 AM

He's already drunk the hubris, in fact he's drunk on it. After hubris nemesis.

Adam L Silverman

While they've not come out and made it official Israeli policy, or even made it a party platform plank, all of the major leaders on Israel's right, both in and out of Netanyahu's Likud coalition government, have clearly stated that the official position is now a one state solution. For many on Israel's right, both secular and religious, this has become the defacto position. It includes an extended period of vetting and normalization for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to be considered for and granted some type of citizenship. Some of the proposals include more home rule/local autonomy for the Palestinians, others less so. All of them, from what I read last year in media reports and position papers and statements while working on this stuff, seem to indicate that there will still be a significant number of Palestinians that do not get citizenship. I came away thinking that these folks are convinced they can end the occupation by maintaining a quasi-occupation. And that this would be acceptable to anyone outside of their own constituencies.

nick b

As a regular reader of SST, I knew this revelation looked very familiar.
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2014/05/httpwwwtheglobeandmailcomnewsworldisraeli-president-says-netanyahu-nixed-peace-deal-with-abbasarticle185.html

What astounds me, is that it wasn't reported in Israel until now.

Adam L Silverman

Nick,

It was reported in the Israeli news media last year. Shimon Peres not so subtly leaked it around the time he stepped down as President of Israel. This was widely perceived as a well placed parting shot on Netanyahu.

turcopolier

Adam Silverman

I thought at the time that the pope was going to intervene to shame Bibi publicly but he did not. pl

Matthew

ALS: The irony is complete. The longer Palestinians assist with security cooperation, the more explicit Likud's rejectionism.

Charles I

Surely this always been the fantasy played out on the ground.

nick b

ALS,

My comment was in reaction to what Harper had written:

"The fact that the story, which appeared a year ago in some Arab and Western media, hit the Israeli public at this sensitive moment is indicative of the behind-the-scenes warfare going on in the run-up to the elections on March 17."

It seemed odd to me that such a thing had not come out prior to now. Thanks for the clarification.

anna-marina

Here is a great analysis by Giraldi:
"Israel's Fifth Column, Enabling Netanyahu benefits no one:"
http://www.unz.com/article/israels-fifth-column/
Let's see how the fear of Lobby is going to interact with electorate's opinion, particularly with regard to Israel-firsters.
"... the United States and Israel are both sovereign countries having different interests... Ultimately, if you are being honest with yourself you can only be loyal to one country and if you are born, living and working in the United States that should be your default choice. If your religion, tribal solidarity or ethnic affinity makes you defer to the interests of Israel or indeed any other country, by all means move there.
Indeed, American citizens can have affection for as many countries as they choose but loyalty involves the responsibilities of citizenships and doing what is right for one’s own country which makes it quite a different issue. It is not a rhetorical conceit that the oath new American citizens take requires them to abjure any prior allegiances. No one is suggesting that American Jews should not be charitable to and express concern regarding the well-being of their co-religionists worldwide, but that charity and empathy should not extend to promoting the pernicious interests of a foreign government."

Strangely Enough

Yet another opportunity for Likudniks in the years to come to complain about Palestinians rejecting a perfectly good peace plan.

At least that's how it's played out every other time...

Harper

To Adam Silverman: There is a Zionist dilemma, which Ariel Sharon, late in life, came to understand. The fundamental tenet of Zionism (as distinct from prophetic Judaism) is that the only safe place for Jews, free from pogroms and holocausts, is in a Jewish-majority state. What that means is that any kind of one-state solution, encompassing all of the land of historic Palestine, must either: 1. be an apartheid state, in which non-Jews are second class citizens without full voting rights. The recent change in the Israeli Basic Law (they don't have a constitution) actually provides for such a two-tier citizenship provision under the rhubric of Israel as a "Jewish State." 2. Mass expulsion of the majority of Palestinians from the West Bank to some kind of walled-off concentration camp called Gaza. Sharon decided on a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza to preserve the "Jewishness" of Israel and the occupied territories for some period of time. Eliminating the 1.3 million Palestinian residents of Gaza from the equation provided for a Jewish majority for a longer period of time. Either expel the Palestinians of the West Bank into Jordan (in Israel, this is called "Jordan is Palestine" and is promoted by people like Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman)and/or Gaza or eliminate them through some more overtly genocidal action. These are the options, unless some majority of sane Israelis decide to become a real live nation-state with a multi-denominational population. That is a fundamental rejection of the core principle of Zionism from the outset.

Anecdote: A friend of mine, a prominent African-American, was asked to address a Jewish audience in Brooklyn a number of years ago. When he showed up, he discovered it was a meeting sponsored by the Brooklyn chapter of the ADL. He could plainly see that he was facing a very, very hostile crowd. He had to think on his feet. After being introduced to stone-faced stares from the majority in the audience, my friend asked: "How many of you think it can happen here?" Immediately, every hand in the room shot up in the air. He responded: "Before they can get to you, they have to get us out of the way first. I think that is a starting point for a dialogue." He got a standing ovation at the end.

This is the ultimate paradox for Israel. They can no longer have it both ways. If they try, they are going to be ostracized and isolated from their last remaining few friends, including the United States. I think they've lost much of Europe already, maybe with the exception of Britain and Germany (the latter over continued guilt over the Holocaust).

The big issue in my mind is whether there are some circles inside the Israeli institutions who understand the crisis clearly enough to act from the inside to assure Netanyahu's defeat and the formation of a government that will move rapidly to revive the Peres-Abbas (really the 2000 Bill Clinton) deal quickly.

Note that in the past few weeks, the US Government has released a study that was previously classified, detailing how Israel got the nuclear bomb, and the role of both the French and the United States in facilitating it. Not a new story, but getting the official USG papers out at this point is a message clearly delivered. And I urge everyone to watch the Al Jazeera America documentary recently aired on the Liberty Ship. Aside from some very excellent interviews with survivors, and some new documents, the broadcast featured an interview with Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, who was absolutely blunt about the fact that the Israelis knew they were attacking a US spy ship, and they did it anyway. They were betting that the power of the Zionist Lobby, even back then, would be enough to silence LBJ. That documentary coming out at this time is yet another message to the Israeli institutions.

Charles I

As was The Gatekeepers, which seems to have had zero effect on Gaza.

rjj

Harper:

1. was the Peres-Abbas really the 2000 Clinton deal or kinda the Clinton deal?

2. what year was the Inman interview?

confusedponderer

I think that Bibi's blanket refusal of any deal at all,
irrespective of its content only underlines, that he is acutely aware of the Palestinians being not in a position to resist Israel on anything. To Netanyahoo Israel is in a position to reject a peace deal without negative consequences.

Last time Israel actually did want a deal was after 1973, when they got hit hard by the Egyptians and Syrians. Both inflicted serious personnel losses (2.500 dead, and many more wounded) on Israel, and very serious losses in material (more than a 1000 tanks and 100 aircraft). That got their attention.

Israel may well have lost without US aid, and despite their eventual march on Kairo, they knew it. For a deal with Sadat they even gave up the Sinai.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur_War

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Nickel_Grass

They are nowhere near such a situation now.

They are the strongest military power regionally, and reassure temselves of that by attacking Gaza (essentially with impunity) on and off to overcome periods of doubt.

Witness their surprise that the last time, the Gazans actually did fight back. They were not supposed to do that! Hezbollah in 2006 was not supposed to fight back hard either. It's a puzzlement.

Or not. Arguably, for Hamas their struggle with Israel is a struggle for survival. Apparently, such existential conflict focuses the mind - not just with Israelis.

And why should Bibi compromise, from his POV? He can count on continued US subservience (though he finally may end up overdoing it. Then it will harm him, not so much US-Israeli relations).

That is to say that internationaly Bibi is insulated from the adverse consequences of his actions.

The only threat for him is domestic politics, in which he now tries to position himself as the knight in shining armor, protector of Jews worldwide, whenever one whackjob takes a shot at Jews. In Denmark the primary target was a Gentile cartoonist, and the Jewish victim a bystander.

Bibi is vulnerable only in Israeli elections. If he overdoes it and threatenens US-Israeli relations he may be removed from office to protect US-Israeli relations.

It is my impression that that is what the Obama administration is trying to tell Israeli opposition that Bibi is going exactly there. Bibi's maneuvre with Boner to speak at congress probably aims on undermining nthat message.

The interesting question here would be what that not happening would indicate about Israeli attitudes towards the US.

But now, in the absence of any current credible external threat, Bibi doesn't feel he is compelled to make any deal. It speaks volumes that in Israel they seek an enemy that is about 1000km away. Some existential threat.

It's like Switzerland insisting vocally that Romania is an existential threat, despite it being several countries away. It's because of the general geographical implausibility that the Israelis need to push as threats missiles and nukes as the threat posed by Iran.

And it is because of domestic fissures that Bibi, and Israel, need Iran as an external existential threat. If Israel continues to weaken Assad, ISIS may in time take over as the more immediate concern. That will be bad news for Isrsael, but that is so ... tomorrow.

In a sense, just like the Saudis irresponsibly project their domestic fissures outwards by exporting their militant Wahhabis, Israel is also projecting outwards their internal conflicts.

Without an existential external threat to rally the citizens around the nation, Israel's diverse and divided nation would probably disintegrate under its own inherent centrifugal forces.

The truth is that Israel is not the nation of the Jews but a nation in which secular, ashkenazi, sephardic, ultra-orthodox Jews live, but who apparently do not want to have to do much to do with each other. Israel is a segregated society even among Jews.

The ultra orthodox in Israel do not need hostile gentiles to build new Shtetls - they prefer to live there apart even of fellow Jews of less strict persuasions.

I think that compelling them to serve in the army is an attempt to overcome that, or to correct if one wants to put it that way, by social engineering. The IDF's task in that scheme is not just to conquer land or secure it and the nation - its function is also to build a national identity.

That is why in places like Pakistan, the army is actually a stable institution even though the country itself is so disparate.

What it cannot do is to create common ground theologically. These divisions will remain.

As a result of that grand experiment, Israel is probably likely to become even more militaristic, since the military service will be pretty much the only thing that all Israelis have in common.

D

Confused Ponderer, you say, "And why should Bibi compromise, from his POV? He can count on continued US subservience (though he finally may end up overdoing it. Then it will harm him, not so much US-Israeli relations)."

I'm not sure that Bibi and not US-Israeli relations are harmed by Bibi overplaying his hand. Look at the career of modern Israel in American minds. At its inception, Israel was an outlet for the hopes of socialist and Jewish Americans. Conservatives opposed it for various reasons, and the Dulles brothers made Eisenhower era Republicans its opponent. Like most American Jews, Israel's American home was in the Democratic Party. Through organs like AIPAC, Americans have been encouraged to love and support Israel without regard to which kind of Israel - Labour or Likud - we have been supporting. When AIPAC was founded it was run by liberal American Jews and Israel was run by Labour. Labour hasn't won an election in Israel in decades, but AIPAC still plugs for blind unquestioning obedience for Likud governments from American politicians.

This is the contradiction of liberal Zionism - liberal in all matters except Israel, where it finds increasingly outlandish excuses to support a nation which consistently votes for repression and demographic lawn mowing. Since Likud took over, American support for Israel has never been widely cast as support for Begin or Shamir or Sharon or Netanyahu, but as support for Israel tout court, sometimes explicitly despite the aforementioned Likudniks when talking to liberal Americans.

Republicans in the person of Boehner know this and are trying to force a recognition that the Republican Party is even more blindly subservient to Israel than the Democrats and hoping that this will be sufficient to make liberal Zionists forget their liberalism. In the press, this is usually portrayed as fishing for Jewish votes, but more likely it is fishing for Jewish Democratic contributors, as older Jewish donors who have followed Israel in its transition from socialism to settler colonialism (a contradiction which was always present but not always so visible) make up a significant element in Democratic Party institutional and individual fund raising, which have done well in recent electoral cycles.
http://forward.com/articles/159959/mega-donors-give-obama-a-boost/?p=all

These are, as I say, likely to be older liberal Zionists, because younger American Jews do not identify with Israel to the extent their parents and grandparents did. I don’t think there is any question that as Israel has become Likud territory, it has eroded support for Israel broadly among Democrats, especially progressive Democrats who were once Israel’s strongest supporters, and among young American Jews. This bodes ill for long-range American support for Israel.
http://forward.com/articles/203589/young-americans-moving-away-from-israel-support/

To me, the most straightforward, though not most important, reason that the preponderance of Americans will think of Israel as a nation to be supported or opposed without regard to Bibi is the simple and longstanding policy of prominent Zionists like Alan Dershowitz and a thousand little Dershowitzes to scream ‘anti-Semitism’ at anyone who criticizes anything Israel does. It has proven very effective in the short run – nobody in public life can afford to be branded an anti-Semite – but potentially disastrous in the long run. There is always the risk that, as the criminality of the Israeli government becomes more and more common knowledge – and as leaks in the past week or so demonstrate, forcing Democrats to either capitulate or fight back is a great way of making this happen – it will become easier and much more likely for Americans who have not examined their unblinking support for Israel for many years to revisit and decide that, OK, I guess it makes me an anti-Semite, but I can no longer support Israel. That would be a disaster for the US and for American Jews, but I am afraid that it is being encouraged by our collective inability to discuss the place of Israel in American foreign policy seriously without resorting to hasbara and name calling. American interests and Israeli interests do not coincide on many points. That doesn’t change with Bibi or without.

Cee

All,

Having some Jewish ancestry, I was raised to be supportive of the Jewish state but the older I got and more I learned, oh, hell, no!!

A Two State Solution was NEVER the plan.

The following quotes tell it all.

“We shall try to spirit the penniless Arab population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our own country.”—Theodor Herzl (1895), Diaries.

“Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when the world’s attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”

—Binyamin Netanyahu, when he was Israel’s deputy foreign minister in 1989, quoted in Yediot Ahronot.

“You see, we are 4.7 million Jewish people and 4 million Arab people west of the Jordan River (Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip)...And whoever says he is against the Palestinian state—what does he suggest? That we shall become binational? That will be the end of being a Jewish state.”

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