Your lobby at work: Americans helped insert new condition, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state

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Rob Browne at Dailykos has an excellent piece on the evolution of the Israeli demand for "recognition-plus"– that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, even before negotiations over land, refugees etc begin. This "new and nonsensical" demand (which preemptively nullifies the right of return and valorizes the second-class status of Palestinian Israelis) began to show up two years ago. And Brown demonstrates, that American groups played a crucial role in installing this language. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, for instance. And congressional bills sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Browne:

Israel did not need this special recognition to start or complete negotiations with Egypt, Jordan, and the PLO. This concept of pre-conditional "recognition plus" appears to have been crafted by certain U.S. and Israeli officials after the electoral victory of Hamas in January 2006. Knowing any Palestinian government would not accept these demands, it was a sure way of preventing the continuation of the peace process in case the members of the Quartet perceived any positive change in the Palestinian's military or political behavior. Since then, the demand has come up whenever Israeli officials, or their American supporter, are aware of a large and sustained international push for the resumption of negotiations.

It seems obvious that American and Israeli actions here were coordinated. One achievement of Browne's piece is to demonstrate, once again, that We do not know the half of it when it comes to the machinations of the Israel lobby in American policy-making. In good part because those machinations have gone unmolested by inquiring reporters.

The veil is being torn at last, and the hypocrisy of all those attacks by journalists on Walt and Mearsheimer is at last evaporating.  Here is a piece in yesterday's Times, by Helene Cooper, that frankly addresses the power of the lobby to screw up Obama's work on a peace initiative.

[His] actions have earned for Mr. Obama some wariness in Israel , where recent polls show that 51 percent of Israelis sampled said that Mr. Obama cared more about Palestinian statehood than about Israeli security. Mr. Obama’s administration, from Mrs. Clinton to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to Mr. [Dennis] Ross, is filled with politicians and foreign policy experts who have high standing among the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, but moving Mr. Ross from the State Department to right next door at the White House could help to protect Mr. Obama’s flank even further when it comes to Israel.

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