Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC last night reminded me of Pat Buchanan’s famous culture wars speech in the ’92 Republican convention, when he cooked his goose and then-President Bush’s too. Netanyahu is equally out of touch with the political zeitgeist. The U.S. Secretary of State comes into AIPAC and says, we need movement on the settlements because it’s killing our image worldwide, General Petraeus and Joe Biden were reported to have made even stronger statements on that score last week; and look, Netanyahu comes to the lobby and says Jerusalem is ours forever, Jerusalem is not a settlement. He made no movement at all.
Plus the weird Holocaust bender: FDR and Churchill didn’t save my people, the Jews of Europe, so we have learned not to rely on great men, but reserve the right to defend ourselves. Israel on its own, defiant, crazy.
Netanyahu believes in the Israel lobby even more than Walt and Mearsheimer do. He seems to think Jews run America. But even shrewd AIPAC’rs know the writing is on the wall, and this delegitimization thing everyone at AIPAC complains about reflects the world’s impatience with Israeli occupation and oppression, and still AIPAC’s speakers serve red meat about Jerusalem undivided. Not one bone thrown in the direction of the Obama administration. The theme of the conference is, Jerusalem is not a settlement. (F— you, Obama.)
I wish Obama would cut these folks off at the knees. Polls say he has room to do so. But he won’t, will he? Chuck Schumer is at AIPAC, the Democratic Party base is still there, Lee Rosenberg heads AIPAC and Rosey was on Obama’s campaign finance committee. AIPAC may be making itself irrelevant, but it won’t happen fast enough for J Street’s idea of the two state solution.
The one thing to look forward to from tonight’s speech is the slow collapse of the Netanyahu government, with Obama pushing out of sight. It has nothing to offer. Israel’s worldly friends must be deeply demoralized. Former Livni aide Tal Becker, who on the stage last night urged Israel to please do something to renew the relationship with the US, must be steaming. The conference-goer in this Haaretz article who says he feels like "shit" because "the time has come for Israel to stop biting the hand of a friend" got nothing from the Prime Minister. Israel is in crisis with no vision of how to escape apartheid, and now it’s taken the lobby with it. Amazing what smart people will do out of ethnocentric identification. But a lot of them followed Madoff too…