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U.S. has lost the football

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Juan Cole:

So the Palestinians have decided on a United Nations strategy. They have succeeded in getting most of South America to recognize Palestine, and the Israelis were shocked to wake up to the news on Monday that the British are upgrading the status of the Palestine Authority’s representation in London.

The Palestinians plan to declare their state mid-summer of 2011, and then take it to the United Nations General Assembly …

From the right, Elliot Jager in Jewish Ideas Daily says that Brazil’s effort to recognize a Palestinian state represents a decided push in South America to shift the international power balance of the conflict away from the U.S.:

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian authority, has been pursuing a discreet diplomatic blitz in Latin America, part of a larger strategy aimed at gaining the endorsement of the European Union, the UN General Assembly, and ultimately the Security Council for the creation of a Fatah-led Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza—without engaging in bargaining with Israel. ..

Another inescapable factor in the mix is that, internationally, Washington’s influence in the region has been waning while Tehran’s clout is growing. The upshot, according to the expatriate Brazilian firebrand Olavo de Carvalho, is that not a single politician remains in Brazil who is openly pro-Israel—a condition that seems increasingly widespread among Latin American leaders in general. And this brings us to the single overriding factor in the continent’s orientation toward the Middle East: namely, the essentially homogenous thinking of most of its political elites.

That this thinking veers sharply Left is a well-documented fact. Less well known is the indebtedness of much of today’s political class to the São Paolo forum, a group established jointly by Lula and Cuba’s Fidel Castro in order to advance a “consensual unity of action” among Latin American countries. Founded in 1990, the Forum has exercised an inordinate influence on the current crop of leaders; most of those now in power are, in fact, Forum alumni. The views inculcated by its teachings, inherently anti-Western and essentially unsympathetic to Israel’s cause, make it all but inevitable that when it comes to a conflict between the dictates of traditional international law and sovereignty on the one hand, and the wishes of the Palestinians on the other, the latter will win the nod.

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