An angry Obama warns the lobby that the ‘world is moving too fast’ (to preserve a Jewish state)

on 104 Comments

Today’s speech by Barack Obama to AIPAC was a historic speech, maybe the most remarkable speech he has ever given. For a masked and calculating man, it was incredibly sincere. For just below the politically-hogtied phrases and praises for the Israel lobby that controls his future, it was filled with rage. When he spoke over and over of a Jewish democratic state and then said that the world was changing, and spoke about that Jewish state upholding universal values that Americans also share, I heard vicious irony: You want a religious state, you have the power to demand it of me, because you are the Israel lobby, well time is running out on you.

And when he finished his speech by reminding the Jews before him that we are fellow Americans, I thought it was a jab at their dual loyalty.

The Israel lobby has never been so naked. Walt and Mearsheimer’s estimations of its character 6 years ago look meager now when the Wall Street Journal writes openly of “Jewish donors,” something Walt and Mearsheimer refuse to say, and when Obama begins his speech by reminding AIPAC of what a good boy he was back in Chicago 2004, when he reached out to “Rosey” when he thought abut running, Lee Rosenberg, the slightly cadaverous media executive who brought Obama to the podium today, and is surely hated by many in the room for doing so.

And all the boilerplate of the speech, the endless celebration of the deep ties between Israel and the U.S., came off as so much boilerplate, lobby speak. I know I have to say this, and you know it, too, Obama is saying, but it is boilerplate.

He is angry. I thought he wasn’t going to mention the word 1967 or the controversy it set off the other day. But he surprised me by saying it 3 or 4 times and going right into the controversy. So he is angry at being shown up by Netanyahu, whom he mentioned only once, in passing. He is angry that as John Mearsheimer said yesterday at Move Over Aipac, Netanyahu has taken on Obama three times and defeated him three times.

The beauty of the speech for me was about the Arab spring and the impatience of history.

Obama said that time is running out on the endless peace process. I was abusing him through most of the speech but when he said, “The world is moving too fast,” I cried out in pleasure. Obama knows what we on the left know: that because of the Arab spring and the millions on the Arab street whose demands he dignified today, and because of the disgust of peoples everywhere with the American-led peace process– in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Arab world, as he reminded the lobby– the world is sick of a Jim Crow state. When I go to Europe this week, this is all people will ask me about, he said, veiling angr.

And when Obama spoke twice of the “demographic” realities west of the Jordan, he was only echoing what Mearsheimer said the day before, there is a majority of Palestinians between the Jordan and the sea, and this is your last chance to gerrymander a Jewish majority on the vast majority of the land that you already ethnically cleansed. I believe he spoke these words about demography with rage– how can an anti-racist say racist phrases without rage? And when he said that Israel and the U.S. share the background of claiming their freedom against overwhelming powers – the British, the Arabs—I think he was offering an ironical history lesson. Obama doesn’t believe in a Jewish democracy any more than he believes in a white or a Christian democracy. He will say these words over and over, in bitterness, to the lobby that has got him politically hogtied because he depends on, according to the Wall Street Journal, Jewish money, and he may well believe in partition for the same reason Mearsheimer does, to head off violent cataclysm in Israel and Palestine, but he is on our side in his heart. On the side of the world moving forward with progressive ideals.

And when he talks about the world’s impatience with an absurd peace process—a peace process that Christiane Amanpour said today is the definition of insanity, and that Steve Walt said yesterday at Move On Aipac seems as plausible a means of producing two states as our plans to colonize Alpha Centauri—it is his own impatience. The lobby has been exposed and Barack Obama is doing all that he can to open up the American discourse to a discussion of its values. So I’m grateful for the speech today.

104 Responses

  1. Potsherd2
    May 22, 2011, 4:43 pm

    You assume Obama has a heart.

    • DICKERSON3870
      May 22, 2011, 6:40 pm

      RE: “You assume Obama has a heart.” – Potsherd2
      MY REPLY: I suspect he might actually have one. It’s just that it’s mostly closeted.
      At any rate*, Obama certainly has more of a heart than the now pulse-less “Pricky Dick” Cheney.
      * rate, as in “pulse rate” (which Cheney now lacks)

    • piotr
      May 22, 2011, 6:49 pm

      Netanyahu should sing “if I only had a brain”. Obama is a Lion, he got medal for courage (Nobel prize) but he does not have the real thing.

    • Robert Werdine
      May 23, 2011, 9:38 am

      You know something Phil, for once I absolutely agree with you.

      Obama, in his heart of hearts, is probably the most ant-Israel president ever, and would probably love nothing better than to just come out and say it. He despises Netanyahu almost as as much as Netanyahu despises him. Their recent photo-op in the Oval was a classic snapshot of barely concealed hostility and mutual loathing.

      In an an earlier post, I speculated about what Obama would really say to AIPAC if he were injected with truth serum beforehand:

      “We all know what the real obstacle of ME peace is folks. It’s the settlements. Yep. You heard me. If only those loony right wing Israelis would stop their stupid settlement building, all would be well and there would be the peace. I’ve known this for a long time; my friend Rashid Kalhidi told me so.

      He also told me about what you Israelis have been getting away with all of these years while being appeased and pampered by the Jews, er, I mean, neo-cons in the Bush administration. You guys have had quite a ride, and think you’ve got it made here. You act like you own the joint. Well, I got news for the Jews: I’m president now and you’re not; Bush is now president of his Crawford ranch, and Cheney, well, don’t get me started on that war-mongering, water-boarding, neo-con troll, or I may never stop. Suffice to say, he can rot.

      I’ve had it up to here with all your settlement building and occupation and checkpoint shenanigans. And please shut up with all your whining about your “security.” I’m sick to death with hearing about it and I’ve heard it all before: blah, blah, blah. I’ve got other things to worry about than your stupid problems. Ever hear of health care, or the economy?

      My advisers tell me that making the kind of statements I’ve just made will piss off pro-Israel members in Congress and, of course, the people in the all-powerful Israel lobby. Stephen Walt will explain.

      And since I don’t intend to be put into early retirement a year from this November, I’ll make the perfunctory happy-face pro-Israel token statement I promised my pollsters and advisers I would make. Here goes:

      Israel is a great country and a wonderful friend.

      There, I said it. Happy now?!

    • Chaos4700
      May 24, 2011, 2:14 am

      Obama’s a little less Tin Man and a little more Lion with a dash of Scarecrow when it comes to actual policy-making, if you know what I mean.

  2. Gaius Baltar
    May 22, 2011, 4:46 pm

    Obama may not need Jewish money. He plans to raise as much as $1 billion for his reelection campaign, mostly from small donors. The risk to The Israel Lobby is that they spurn him, fund his opponent, but Obama wins. Then all bets would be off.

    The teahadists in Wisconsin and elsewhere have fired up the Dem base with their blitzkrieg on collective bargaining and the right to vote (the the teahadists, voting for non-whites is a privilege, not a right), their demonizing public school teachers and Hispanics, and their professed eagerness to destroy the economy to protect the wealth of the Koch brothers. The Dems will be fired up next fall.

    This will set the stage for Obama to win in the face of Jewish money (but not Jewish votes) going to whichever teahadist wins the GOP nomination. Should this happen, Obama’s second term will be open season on AIPAC.

    • Antidote
      May 22, 2011, 5:20 pm

      I think that’s exactly what will happen

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 22, 2011, 6:48 pm

        Watch out for Pawlenty. He’s a non-teaparty Christian Zionist who could well get AIPAC’s support and win if the economy turns downward and (perversely) long-term interest rates rise while the unemployment rate remains extraordinarily high. Big victory for the Lobby, even though it would be thoroughly Pyrrhic.

    • clenchner
      May 22, 2011, 5:49 pm

      “$1 billion for his reelection campaign, mostly from small donors.”
      He will probably raise $1 billion, but if you think that $500 million +$1 is going to come from small donors – those giving less than $250 or even less than $1000 then you are mistaken. That’s just…. not how it works. Two thirds will come from maxed out donors aggregated at events organized by insider, industry and party groups.
      If we include all election spending by unions, business, 527’s, PACs and so on, then the proportion of small donors will shrink even more.

      Not quibbling with your overall conclusion, but let’s not spread myths about the role of the small donor in American politics!

      • piotr
        May 22, 2011, 7:18 pm

        I just checked.

        Obama raised 26% of MONEY from donors that during the entire campaign donated under 200 dollars, thus remaining anonymous, and 27% from donors in 200-999 range. You do not have to be reach to donate, say, 600 in several installments. Also, some people of modest means can max out, 2000 dollars is not a huge amount of money.

        Also, once Obama got a big stream of small donations, he got many opportunistic donations — business lobbies always hedge and give more to a perceived winner.

        I say, very opportunistically Obama has to start feeding his potential base. I bet that the position on Israel is triangulated to death. The funny thing is that the Lobby does not have long term goals. They just need either a crisis, or a way to describe whatever happens as a crisis. And you do not get hasbarah job for original thinking.

      • Potsherd2
        May 22, 2011, 10:13 pm

        Obama has spent the last 3 years telling his base to fuck off. The donors, the doorbell-ringers, the phone callers, are all disillusioned. A lot of them won’t be coming back.

      • MRW
        May 22, 2011, 9:18 pm

        Excuse me, clencher, but you happen to be FACTUALLY WRONG. This is just not supported by the facts:

        He will probably raise $1 billion, but if you think that $500 million +$1 is going to come from small donors – those giving less than $250 or even less than $1000 then you are mistaken. That’s just…. not how it works. Two thirds will come from maxed out donors aggregated at events organized by insider, industry and party groups.

        As Ken Timmerman in Newsmax, no democratic organ, wrote in 2008, “By Obama’s own admission, more than half of his contributions have come from small donors giving $200 or less.”

        Had you paid attention at the time, you would know that the percentage was closer to 90% many months early in 2008, because it was reported monthly by subtracting the over $250 contributions from the monthly amounts. Obama was under no requirement to give the names of the under$250 contributions, and has since refused to do so.

        Because Obama elected not to use public funds, there has been no required audit of where his funds come from as explained here and here.

        The Campaign Finance Institute reports the amounts as these:

        Pre-Nomination: $409,153,859
        $200 and less: 30%
        $200 to $999: 28%
        $1,000 or more: 42%

        General Election: $336,923,179
        $200 and less: 21%
        $200 to $999: 20%
        $1,000 or more: 60%

        The ultimate total being $389,276,324 for under $999 vs $356,800,714 for above it.

    • Shingo
      May 22, 2011, 7:02 pm

      The risk to The Israel Lobby is that they spurn him, fund his opponent, but Obama wins. Then all bets would be off.

      Not really. The election is more than just the presidency. What use is the WH if you lose the House or the Senate? It is here that the lobby is most effective.

    • piotr
      May 22, 2011, 7:05 pm

      I got a bit crazy when Obama was being elected, and I pretty much sat out 2010. If Obama will indeed deliver here, and I do not want much, I can be his man again.

      Let us face it: ME may be in bad shape after a next Republican administration. I do not want to see Condi Rice again talking about “birth pangs of the new Middle East” while Lebanon smolders.

      By the way, it was precious. In the Administration of chicken hawks, Rice talked about birth pangs that she new rather theoretically…

      And Obama winning IN SPITE of the Lobby would be precious. In my estimate, Lobby is a brainless parasite, akin to a tapeworm, fully operating on reflexes without higher cognitive functions. Only an equivalent of an electic shock can change the behavior (and tapeworms do remember electic shocks! science shows that brainless creatures can learn!)

      I must stress that the effect of “brainlessness” is obtained through myopic actions of otherwise clever people. But Lobby is a creature that lives on donations, and donations are generated by crisis mongering, and persistent repetition of stereotypes. Every event, large or small has to be seen as a potential prop in a letter “Dear X, now more than ever…”

  3. TemperamentalCow
    May 22, 2011, 4:59 pm

    Phil, I don’t see how you can write about what Obama is feeling or what he really means. It’s just not possible to know, AND the guy has lied so many times to so many people. The only loyalties we can be sure he has are to himself. As we work on our movement for Palestinian human rights, it becomes stronger, but right now, relative to the Israel lobby and U.S. corporate power, it’s weak and disorganized. Why would a power-hungry man like Obama be angry at the Israel Lobby? If they have the most power, then he’ll do what they want. If they don’t, then he’ll do what someone else wants. The best way to tell what the U.S. government will do is by its previous actions. To say what Obama’s underlying thoughts and feelings are is a recreation of when so many thought Obama would be a shining light in our dark world. We knew that American presidents are sadistic liars and yet we bought into his PR speeches because if what he was saying was true, it would be infinitely easier to rely on Obama than to build our own movements. We wouldn’t have to do anything but be cheerleaders for our Messiah.

    So haven’t we been duped enough? Can we stop placing faith in powerful people? Does believing in them not reveal a lust for power in our own characters?

    • Ellen
      May 22, 2011, 5:36 pm

      TCow, it is not about believing in powerful people. We are talking about a politician. He wants to stay alive, politically and in fact.

      Yes, the I-Lobby and attached corporate interests are strong and still drive US Policy. A horribly destructive policy, feeding fear and wars that serve no nation and bankrupt us all. We all know this and most of the country knows this.

      The movement to free America from the AIPACs and JINSAs of the world is disorganized, but vast, deep and rapidly growing. There is the potential for a strong and positive movement there — a movement in the interests of the US and to support positive direction in the ME. “Community Organizer” Obama might even see this and tap into this. It’s potential is MUCH greater than an AIPAC. This is why a “power hungry man” would say it straight to AIPAC.

      Maybe the “someone else” is us and he will do what this someone else wants — because this is what will keep him in power, not bowing to AIPAC.

      It is not about placing faith in people, but covering the back of those who can drive us in the right direction.

    • MHughes976
      May 22, 2011, 5:56 pm

      We may reveal a character flaw if we say ‘We will follow you, Leader, wherever you command us to go’ but if we remember to call on our leaders not to forget truth and justice (and all that) we may not be so bad. I think that to despair of all leaders would be to despair of social action, and then where would we be?
      I do credit O with enough intelligence to see that the ‘unsustainable’ ME situation will lead him and the whole Western world into endless trouble. And no one likes being held over a barrel, perhaps particularly not a barrel of money and perhaps particularly not by people who say they’re friends but who never really trust you.

  4. Antidote
    May 22, 2011, 5:00 pm

    I couldn’t tell from the grainy video of the speech – but it seemed to me that Obama was wearing the US, not the Israeli flag pin. It sure didn’t look like the customary dual flag. And that’s the equivalent of giving AIPAC the finger.

    • Potsherd2
      May 22, 2011, 10:14 pm

      It was the US flag

      Although I dispute that the dual-loyalty pin is “customary.”

      • Antidote
        May 23, 2011, 7:15 am

        you’re right, pots, I was overstating the case, esp. wrt sitting presidents and SoSs addressing AIPAC. But candidates for election/reelection?

        link to

        Obama didn’t mention Jerusalem this year. And he probably won’t wear the dual flag ever again. The dual loyalty issue is definitely back on the radar. Cantor didn’t wear it during his speech either. But I’m probably reading too much into it

  5. bijou
    May 22, 2011, 5:06 pm

    Bingo – Phil, thank you – I agree with you. This man is a master strategist and his heart IS in the right place.

  6. hughsansom
    May 22, 2011, 5:06 pm

    Philip Weiss’s are the only comments I have yet seen that lead me to think I should reconsider Obama’s speech, that perhaps I was too hard on him. My general view of Obama must be one that is now sadly widely-shared among progressives and others outside the US — that Obama is a pathological, self-serving liar. At the least, he is someone who is forever trying to please that subset of The People whom he has identified as in some sense needing pleasing. That is, labor and the left can be ignored — and we have been. AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka, with the kind of anger I feel, has been reminding Obama that there will be a price for this. By contrast, moderates (whatever they are in this revoltingly conservative country) and conservatives are to be coddled. So Obama has tried to coddle the neo-cons and the Israel fanatics while doing what he — probably — recognizes must be done to bring about something like stability west of the Jordan River.

    But where does that leave us? It leaves Obama having blown too much time and effort trying to please bigots who cannot be pleased while ignoring people who were falling all over themselves expecting to be pleased by this president of “change” and “hope”.

    It leaves us trying to figure out what is going on in the head of a man who — it must be remembered — has also been extremely and needlessly conservative on leakers and whistleblowers, on the treatment of Bradley Manning and others imprisoned in these Wars Without End. Obama is a package — healthcare, labor, education, torture, war, etc. If he sounds one way today, that must be explained in the context of the picture.

    That picture still doesn’t give much, if any, reason for a hopeful take on any recent developments.

    • Potsherd2
      May 22, 2011, 6:06 pm

      Phil is an incurable optimist. There is nothing to suggest that Obama harbors in his secret heart a smoldering passion for justice. His passion is for re-election.

  7. justicewillprevail
    May 22, 2011, 5:18 pm

    One of the consequences of Obama’s stealth attack on the little dictator Yahoo and his posse is that I hope they are forced to start answering some questions, as opposed to their customary dictating of the agenda and what is allowed to be discussed.
    Forcing the issue of borders is a good example. Despite the immediate invention of yet another reason to do nothing (‘defensible’ borders, as if Palestine had any), the next logical question is “ok, you don’t accept the 67 borders, so tell us where you are planning to have them”. Israel has practised the art of refusing to answer such questions for 40 years, including their recent refusal to even read the Palestinian paper on the subject. It is clear Israel considers, and has already instituted its western border on the Jordan. Fine, now let the legal and logical consequences flow from that: the West Bank is in Israel (of course) and thus all of the citizens, under the most basic interpretation of civil rights, require equal status and the right to vote. The alternative is the public admission of apartheid.
    The deception that Israel has routinely practised for years is coming to an end, and Obama is increasing the pressure on their transparent and dishonest policy. Time to fess up to what you want, and drop the sly propaganda and lies.
    No wonder they are bleating and raging. Expect a drive against Obama in all of the MSM and leaked stories and lies about Obama. Hope it makes him stronger and exposes the foreign agents for what they are.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 22, 2011, 7:15 pm

      “Hope it makes him stronger and exposes the foreign agents for what they are.”

      Agreed. Some of the attacks I read above on Obama’s sincerity, in his struggles against the Zionist organizations, appear to be cloaked denials of the power of the Lobby. Perhaps even defenses of the Israel Lobby? It’s time to choose sides.

    • piotr
      May 22, 2011, 8:38 pm

      Yahoo or Not-Yahoo? You got me confused.

  8. kalithea
    May 22, 2011, 5:27 pm

    Angry? I must have heard a different speech.

    “It means that Israelis & Palestinians will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967”.

    Different? He didn’t use “different” in the same context two days ago. Exactly, what does he mean by “different”? “Different” sounds like he’s giving Israel a license to steal more land and make new facts on the ground so that the border ends up being “different”.

    The other version of the “borders” comment a few days ago was meant to bamboozle Palestinians back to the sham peace process and this speech was a “who cares about Palestinians when my Presidency is on the line!” kind of speech.

    And then there’s his spiel on Israel’s legitimacy; repeatedly reassuring that the U.S. will fight all attempts to delegitimize Israel (ex. will fight BDS) and again he reassures these Zionists that the U.S. will guarantee the veto of a Palestinian state at the U.N. This is angry talk?

    I’d sure like someone to give me everything I want with this kind of “veiled anger”! Who cares if he flipped the bird or hid the finger when he has no spine to voice what’s really on his mind if this is really the case? Aipac Zionists are too stupid to discern any kind of animosity in between so much groveling, and besides, why should they care if he’s angry, when they’re getting everything they want anyway? So in the end, who’s the real loser?

    • lobewyper
      May 22, 2011, 7:15 pm


      I agree. I don’t think the speech warrants exhilaration, either. Pretty standard stuff, IMO. Obama does warn that the time window for reaching a 2ss is narrowing rapidly and perhaps, unpredictably. So he’s hinting that the US may step up its pressure on Israel to reach a settlement. But apart from that, what’s to like?

  9. Justice Please
    May 22, 2011, 5:34 pm

    Talk is cheap.

  10. chet
    May 22, 2011, 5:35 pm

    Because of the Lobby and Jewish $$$$ and media influence Pres. Obama is compelled to mouth all the usual “boilerplate” including opposition to the UNGA Palestine vote in Sept., but wouldn’t an overwhelming vote in favour of the declaration of statehood present him with a “lose-win” situation? He could blah blah blah about unqualified support for Israel but use the UNGA vote as the basis for a final agreement during his second term.

    Many people have written that the UNGA vote is essentially meaningless because of the US veto in the UNSC, but doesn’t UNGA Res. 377 provide for an over-ride of the veto:

    “United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 377 (V), the “Uniting for Peace” resolution, states that, in cases where the United Nations Security Council fails to act in order to maintain international peace and security, owing to disagreement between its five permanent members, the matter shall be addressed immediately by the General Assembly, using the mechanism of the emergency special session.”

    Would it take anything short of sole US opposition in the UNSC vote endorsing the UNGA resolution to trigger the mechanism?

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 22, 2011, 7:53 pm

      chet writes,
      “… wouldn’t an overwhelming vote in favour of the declaration of statehood present him with a ‘lose-win’ situation? He could blah blah blah about unqualified support for Israel but use the UNGA vote as the basis for a final agreement during his second term.”

      In the face of continued Israeli intransigence and arrogance during the next few months, the scenario you outline above is precisely what I expect the Obama strategy to become. Dennis Ross’s disapproval notwithstanding, all Obama has to do is sit tight and let Yahu hang himself with the Europeans and the Arabs. Quietly, behind the scenes, the Palestinians will be encouraged to proceed with their plea for a UN declaration of statehood. The U.S. will not apply compelling pressure on other nations to oppose; it will vote against it but the resolution will pass overwhelmingly in the General Assembly. This alone will change the entire political dynamic. The Palestinians will be empowered internationally, and Obama cannot be blamed domestically for that outcome.

      But most importantly, the Israel Lobby in America will be weakened and exposed. The political counter-offensive against AIPAC and its affiliates can proceed in earnest, and Obama will be more free to act in America’s (and the Palestinians’) interests.

  11. Matthew Taylor
    May 22, 2011, 5:56 pm

    Wow Phil, I’m going to rush off and watch the speech but quick reaction is this is one of the most important things you’ve ever written on this blog. Maybe just for me personally. I go through these waves of illusion and disillusion with Obama, as many of us do, and at heart I want to believe he is sincere and loving, not cynical and a political game player. It seems like he plays politics (goodbye Public Health Care Option, kowtowing to Israel Lobby) because he thinks he has to, but you’re saying actually his heart is in the right place. That I want to believe, because if it’s not true, he’s a shell and all the inspiration of his campaign was an empty shell.
    So thanks for sharing the positive take because it’s easy to view his role in all this with near despair.

    • Donald
      May 22, 2011, 10:28 pm

      ” I go through these waves of illusion and disillusion with Obama, as many of us do, and at heart I want to believe he is sincere and loving, not cynical and a political game player. ”

      Why get yourself so emotionally involved in a politician? He’s not your friend, in your family, or a lover. He’s not a religious figure, though he sure seems to be that for a great many people. It’s what perplexes me about the Obama phenomenon, the way so many otherwise sensible lefties got so emotionally invested in believing this guy was damn near on the level of a prophet. Phil was like that and he’s obviously falling right back into his addiction.

      You don’t have to love Obama or hate him or feel anything about him personally–you just have to note that he’s President, driven by the desire to stay in the White House, and figure out how to pressure him to do what you want. Not that I have any bright ideas on how to do that.

  12. gazacalling
    May 22, 2011, 5:57 pm

    I agree with Phil. I was shocked by the “incredibly sincere” aspect exactly.

    I also agree that the Lobby is being exposed. NYT’s Opinionator blog quoted Juan Cole as saying that as much as 65% of the money Democrats get comes from Jewish Americans. HTML link

  13. Matthew Taylor
    May 22, 2011, 6:23 pm

    Just watched the part of the speech about the conflict. Yup, Phil, you’re right. It comes across as a mini-intervention, as much of one as Obama could do within the Israel Lobby straitjacket. I could feel the anger, and also, somewhere down there, the love.

    Closing Time. It’s the Last Call for the Two-State Solution. The lights are flickering in the bar.

    • kalithea
      May 22, 2011, 8:58 pm

      Two-State Solution? You mean you still believe in the tooth fairy?

      I feel like I’ve entered a time warp and everyone’s still unaware of the glaring facts on the ground.

  14. Thomson Rutherford
    May 22, 2011, 6:33 pm

    Phil writes,
    “The lobby has been exposed and Barack Obama is doing all that he can to open up the American discourse to a discussion of its values. So I’m grateful for the speech today.”

    And I am grateful to you, Phil, for affirming so eloquently my own view of the speech, and of Obama’s relationship and attitude toward the Israeli government and its U.S. Lobby.

    • kalithea
      May 22, 2011, 9:05 pm

      Oh Lord, from one day to the next Obama becomes a hero around here. He’s still the same guuuuuy! I sure want to know what changed:

      pandering/grovelling: check
      “iron-clad” unconditional love: check
      Palestinian unity bad: check
      history lesson in attacks on Israelis minus Cast Lead and other state terror: check
      veto UNGA vote: check
      BDS bad: check

      WHAT’S LEFT???????? Sum Total: Obama capitulation

  15. Sin Nombre
    May 22, 2011, 6:36 pm

    Phil Weiss wrote:

    “For just below the politically-hogtied phrases and praises for the Israel lobby that controls his future, it was filled with rage.”

    I don’t know if this is right or wrong—and if I had to guess I’d say if anything there was “frustration” rather than real “rage” present—but it’s a provocative and even brilliant-in-its-way interpretation/perception regardless.

    And then too infused with Weiss’s hopefulness in terms of giving Obama the benefit of the doubt….

    Just once again caused me to thank that I found this site so long ago now.

  16. Philip Munger
    May 22, 2011, 6:49 pm

    I watched and/or listened to the speech as soon as it was posted this morning, while working in my greenhouse. I was impressed with its detail. But not so much with the content. He is, after all, three weeks into his 2012 campaign.

    Phil W’s essay on the speech is one interesting essay, to say the least. Good enough to force me to find the time to watch O’s speech again, more closely, to see if Phil’s views resonate with me.


  17. eee
    May 22, 2011, 7:18 pm

    A completely delusional take on Obama’s speech.
    Bottom line, Obama has committed himself to defending Israel in all international institutions. This is as good as giving Israel the veto at the UNSC.

    • MRW
      May 22, 2011, 9:26 pm

      I’ll let Hostage handle this one. He needs a laugh or two.

  18. pabelmont
    May 22, 2011, 7:25 pm

    Phil, I don’t know if Obama is angry. I didn’t hear the talk. But he is a politician who is skilled at managing his message. I am reminded of when I was a high-school kid returning from an orchestra rehearsal (adult orchestra!) in the car driven by the orchestra’s conductor, and he said to all in the car, “Next rehearsal I’ll have to throw a temper tantrum.” I was non-plussed. I supposed people threw temper tantrums because they were angry, not a piece of theater, done for effect.

    Whatever Obama said, and how he said it, was done for effect. BUT IT MAY HAVE BEEN ENERGIZED BY REAL PASSION, AS ACTORS DO.

    Phil, I hope they get the message you did.

  19. joemowrey
    May 22, 2011, 7:26 pm

    With all due respect, Phil, you must be drinking the Kool-Aid. Maybe someone put something in your water. This entire dance between Bibi and Barry is a scripted scam. In the end, nothing will change for the Palestinians other than that their situation will continue to deteriorate. Mark my words. ObamaCon, Wizard of Guile, lies like he breathes. Like all sociopaths (remember, he kills people with drone aircraft on a nearly a daily basis, yet still can sleep at night), the only sincerity or empathy he can muster is a mockery of true emotion.

  20. bob
    May 22, 2011, 7:32 pm

    This is not a new position for US presidents. Its as old as the 1967 borders themselves
    link to

  21. Richard Witty
    May 22, 2011, 7:44 pm

    I think you are wishful thinking to an extent.

    Obama has given consistent messages. And, that is significant as it reiterates that US policy is coherent and consistent.

    1. The US will defend Israel’s right to exist, and will defend it from direct and indirect delegitimization efforts.

    2. The US expects Israel to pursue peace in earnest, and failing to creates objective tensions and inconsistencies with US policy.

    You are overly quick to condemn, and excessively. And you are overly quick to laud.

    • Donald
      May 22, 2011, 10:32 pm

      “And you are overly quick to laud.”

      Darn it, Richard is right about this. I find Phil’s blog invaluable, but Phil has more than a little of the cheerleader about him. He reminds me of whoever would write the headlines at the Commondreams website a few years ago when I read it regularly. They often made it sound like the leftist/liberal Millenium was about to begin, excep twhen they wanted to scare or outrage people, and then the message was that the Apocalypse had just started.

      • gazacalling
        May 23, 2011, 10:01 am

        No, Donald, there’s reason for hope. Look at how far things have come in the last decade. Ten years ago, the internet was so primitive. Now we have awesome sites like Mondo. But the biggest change is Walt and Mearsheimer. Anyone interested in the conflict has to read this book, and unless he’s already made up his mind, will be convinced or at least impressed. The impact of W&M is still taking time to work its way through the system, but oh, it is. Phil might be too emotional about Obama, he is of course just a politician, but on this speech at least I think his reading is spot-on.

  22. Toma
    May 22, 2011, 7:54 pm

    To my reading these are the two most irreconcilable parts of Obama’s Speech:

    “It’s why we’ve increased cooperation between our militaries to unprecedented levels.  It’s why we’re making our most advanced technologies available to our Israeli allies.  It’s why, despite tough fiscal times, we’ve increased foreign military financing to record levels.    And that includes additional support –- beyond regular military aid -– for the Iron Dome anti-rocket system.  A powerful example of American-Israeli cooperation — a powerful example of American-Israeli cooperation which has already intercepted rockets from Gaza and helped saved Israeli lives.  So make no mistake, we will maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge.”


    “As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself –- by itself -– against any threat.”

  23. RoHa
    May 22, 2011, 8:18 pm

    I want to see the butter on the parsnips.

  24. Jim Haygood
    May 22, 2011, 9:15 pm

    ‘[Obama] is on our side in his heart. On the side of the world moving forward with progressive ideals.’

    Where have we heard this before? Oh, yeah … it was in the summer of 2008, when so many on the left wanted to believe that Obama was antiwar because of his attendance at a Chicago peace demonstration in the fall of 2002. And that Obama was pro-civil liberties because of his opposition to renewal of the USA Patriot Act, and his intention to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    But as the Afghan war grinds on, and US drones smash Third World villages, and the practice of imprisonment without charge widens, we know differently.

    Yes, Obama must be furious about a foreign leader such as Netanyahu, insulting and implicitly threatening him on Obama’s own turf. No other nation would remotely tolerate such a degrading spectacle. But as George H.W. Bush learned to his sorrow, trying to strike a reasonable balance between Israel’s demands and U.S. policy doesn’t earn any dividends from the Lobby. These people do not deal in subtleties. They share the blunt Bush fils mentality: either you’re with us or against us.

    And Obama, they’ve concluded, is against them. For the most trivial of reasons: because he dared to say ‘1967.’ To most Americans, 1967 has little resonance, other than perhaps with the Summer of Love in Haight-Ashbury. But because it was a traumatic year in the life of a tiny, faraway client state, we’re not even permitted to mouth the words anymore. Would the French ‘soixante-sept‘ serve as an acceptable euphemism? As Dennis Ross says, ‘Don’t go there, mon pot.’

    You’re right about one thing: Obama is indeed angry. But as the pop song lyrics go, ‘In spite of all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.‘ Until the president confronts the Lobby head on, in plain words that the average American can understand, the Lobby will continue to bully him. The post-zionist youth already know that he’s ‘pwned.’ My son calls him a fraud.

    • Chu
      May 23, 2011, 11:34 am

      Obama only fights the ‘good wars’ he tells his base of voters. And then he runs to AIPAC conference and emphasizes 1967 lines, but with land swaps. Emphasis on land swaps; it’s a winner for both Obama and AIPAC. Surely this can be debated another 4 years while they fill his cash coffers. I still cant believe he said during his speech that he took Israel’s side during the Goldstone affair. The guy is proving what a hack he is.
      Israel will never have allies, they only want servants. We’ve given them too much credit for way too long. They are an abusive group that is hostile to those that do not work for them. People ask, is it better to have them on you side, or have them as the enemy?

  25. Thomson Rutherford
    May 22, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Jennifer Rubin, the neocon blogger at WaPo, was on the AIPAC floor during the Obama speech and filed a highly negative report. After noting that there were boos around her while Obama was talking (in which I’m guessing she joined), she concluded with this:

    “… if anything Obama underscored that the United States has differences with Israel — but it’s between ‘friends.’ [heavy sarcasm]

    “Obama must be very certain that liberal Jews will enthusiastically support him no matter what. And there is evidence he is right. Josh Block, senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute and a former AIPAC spokesman, e-mailed: ‘It [the speech] was a strong reaffirmation of the US-Israel relationship, and was an important and positive change from his remarks on Thursday. It reflected an important continuity of US policy going back to President Johnson.’

    “This is the sort of spin that pro-Israel Democrats use to justify voting for Obama. But there is a reality that can’t be avoided. This president once again has proved an apt negotiator on behalf of the Palestinians and a thorn in Israel’s side. Now is a time of choosing for the American Jewish community, for Israel and for Congress. And if Obama should be reelected in 2012 one can only imagine how hostile he will become toward the Jewish state.”

    Regarding Obama, Jennifer Rubin probably reflects the collective mind of AIPAC

    link to

    • MRW
      May 22, 2011, 9:38 pm

      She’s stepping into anti-Americanism, and I suspect Europe, Asia, Russia, and Brazil’s responses will highlight it.

    • NimaShirazi
      May 23, 2011, 1:02 am

      It should also be pointed out that the eternally detestable Rubin described the inalienable Palestinian Right of Return as “the demand to flood Israel with the children and grandchildren of Arabs who fled during the war of aggression on the infant Jewish state.”

      Historical revisionism aside (the tired Zionist tale of Palestinians fleeing at the behest of their “leaders” after poor little nascent Israel was savagely attacked by hordes of bloodthirsty Arabs for simply declaring independence has long been debunked – anyone who repeats this absurdity is being willfully dishonest), and taking Rubin’s unbridled racism for granted, the use of the word “flood” is noteworthy.

      Rubin’s word choice is instructive and revealing. Not only does a “flood” conjure images of inhuman waves of invasion and destruction (ironic, to say the least, considering the entire history of Israel is that of invasion, settler colonialism, aggressive territorial expansion, deliberate ethnic cleansing, and the destruction of Palestinian history and culture), but it is also unoriginal.

      In late November 1935, Adolph Hitler gave an exclusive interview to Hugh Baillie, president of the United Press, which was featured in the New York World-Telegram. In his attempt to justify the recent passing of the Nuremberg Legislation, including the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, Hitler stated, “This legislation is not anti-Jewish, but pro-German. The rights of Germans are thereby to be protected against destructive Jewish influences.” He then continued,

      “The Jews, who formed less than one per cent of the population, tried to monopolize the cultural leadership of the people and flooded the intellectual professions, such as, for example, jurisprudence and medicine. The influence of this intellectual Jewish class in Germany had everywhere a disintegrating effect. For this reason in order to bar the spread of this process of disintegration it became essential to take steps to establish a clear and clean separation between the two races.” (Interview quoted in N.H. Baynes, The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, Oxford University Press, 1942, Volume I, pp.732)

      The supposed threat of “flooding” a pure population with such unsavory and dangerous types as “Jewish intellectuals” (if you’re a Nazi) or Palestinian “children and grandchildren” (if you’re a frightened ethnosupremacist like Rubin and her fellow Zionists – oh no, chiiiiiiiiildren!) is clearly common to racist and discriminatory ideologies that rely on the perception of eternal victimization and subsequent need for violent – preemptive or preventative – ‘self-defense’ in order to preserve righteous purity and dominance.

      Also, note how the execrable Rubin consistently refuses to acknowledge the existence of the Palestinian people, referring to them only as “Arabs.”

      Truly appalling.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 23, 2011, 3:53 am

        Thanks for the apt and illuminating comparison, Nima. Often the truth hurts, and sometimes it indeed should be painful.

      • Chu
        May 23, 2011, 12:42 pm

        Many Jewish people appall the comparison to Nazi’s, but some examples are clearly relevant. Arian blood and Jewish Blood for example; it stinks of last century eugenics.

  26. MRW
    May 22, 2011, 9:32 pm

    Europe is the wildcard here that the US press is ignoring the weight of. How these speeches play out in that arena, which we won’t know for another two weeks, is going to have enormous importance. If the new IMF person comes from Latin America, add that continent as well (which actually I think you should include anyway.)

    The General Assembly has enormous power this September and it knows it.

  27. merlien
    May 22, 2011, 9:40 pm

    What is perhaps different for me in what Obama is doing is that Israel is in the position of saying NO. For decades, Palestinians were set up as the “rejectionists.” Now Israel is the naysayer to Obama, so Palestinians can just put out their agenda, say that Netanyahu is clearly not interested in a resolution or a Palestinian state and they move ahead in the international arena returning to the site where Israel was handed territory. Palestinians can embrace the Arab spring with desires for freedom, equality and democracy (firmly rooting themselves in values) and identify with that momentum, with the populations who have rejected subservience to Western, imperial powers. The “peace talks” represent such subservience, remembering that even George Mitchell abandoned last week. A positive, empowered, value-based response from the PLO, invoking the non-violent Nakba demonstrations that indicate a growing unity among Palestinian refugees, would underline Israel as the source of the problem.

  28. Lysander
    May 22, 2011, 10:06 pm

    I almost never post here, though I certainly appreciate the site and Phil’s work. The bottom line is that Obama will not willingly change much of anything in a second term. There will be a just peace if and when the balance of power in the region tilts more favorably towards the Palestinian side. That means such things as 1)a powerful Iran with nuclear capability (not necessarily weapon) 2) a very well armed Hezbollah 3) expensive oil 4) stronger global competitors to the US (Russia, China, etc) 5) collapse of US friendly governments in the region as in Tunisia and Egypt but especially Saudi Arabia and the Gulf 6) an independent, oil wealthy Iraq that spends its wealth as would an Anti-Saudi Arabia.

    A lot of those things are already happening and as they happen more, it will be harder for the US to carry the burden of maintaining Israeli supremacy. If Obama was saying anything at all at AIPAC, that was it. I don’t believe he cares about the Palestinians anymore than the Pakistanis he kills with his drones so regularly.

    • MRW
      May 23, 2011, 12:47 am

      And one thing more, Lysander,

      The US is no longer a cultural leader. We definitely have an American culture, but our arts and music and theatre have diminished the national soul, not enlivened it since we succumbed to the Israeli idea of citizenship starting on 9/11: security politics, oligarchs, poverty of children (the OECD just listed Israel 35th in the world with 26% of its children living in poverty; the US is now #32 at 22%), militaristic pre-emptive war-mongering, state-based racism, a defense-based economy, and two levels of law.

      Vibrant alive cultures produce great art, and we aren’t generating any. We produce tweets. The Egyptians produced their Arab Spring without them, as we have now discovered, even though Mr. Google VP took some credit for using them.

      We are already carrying the burden of maintaining Israeli supremacy, and we are diminished for it. The caterwauling to continue it, if successful, will suck the remainder out of this country.

  29. Amar
    May 22, 2011, 10:36 pm

    Netanyahu ‘pleased’ with Obama’s AIPAC address

    PM’s aides describe speech as ‘befitting,’ say Obama’s clarifications about 1967 borders particularly pleasing. ‘I’m determined to work with president Obama to find a way to reignite the peace process,’ Netanyahu says…

    link to

    As Phil described the ‘boilerplate’ elements of the speech, I think Netanyahu would view whatever elements that may be interpreted as potential, albeit remote, pressure on Israel as the other ‘boilerplate’ which can be shrugged off or dismissed with ease. I dont think N will have trouble sleeping tonite.

    Sorry Phil, as much as I admire your optimism and silver lining views, I think reality will unfortunately a bit less bright when or if it comes down to the crunch.

  30. kalithea
    May 22, 2011, 10:47 pm

    Let me put it this way, I agree with the DesertPeace headline: “OBAMA SELLS HIS SOUL TO AIPAC LIVE ON CAMERA”

    So if this is true, which I personally believe it to be, and if we adopt the analogy implied in DesertPeace for argument’s sake, then according to your post, Obama’s angry with “Satan” who offered to give him exactly what he wants in exchange for being the “devil’s” advocate.

    So we should empathize that Obama made this deal, by seeing to the rage behind his speech, when the devil could have no greater advocate than the most powerful office on the planet to do his bidding in getting what he wants to the point of causing irreversible damage to the Palestinians and nullifying the efforts of so many, including yourself, who took up their cause and worst of all neutralizing the surge of support for Palestinians gained from the death and suffering caused by Cast Lead.

    And you’re hopeful and “grateful”?? I feel like I’ve just been zoned to a parallel universe.

  31. Jeff Klein
    May 22, 2011, 11:34 pm

    I just got around to watching Obama’s speech and it seemed to me — as Phill wrote extensively — that he was angry at some level with the necessity for him to grovel before AIPAC. Whether there will be any operative outcome is hard to imagine. Here I think Phil is over optimistic. But if Netanyahu and the Lobby continue to spit on him, maybe Obama will develop some resolve — or backbone, at least. However, the latest report is that Netanyahu is already moving to defuse the situation, since he got what he needed from Obama.

  32. DICKERSON3870
    May 22, 2011, 11:35 pm

    RE: “…just below the politically-hogtied phrases and praises for the Israel lobby that controls his future, it [Obama’s speech] was filled with rage. ” – Weiss

    NEW HASBARA OFFENSIVE: Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! Angry black man! (ad nauseam)

    P.S. A CLASSIC WITHIN A CLASSIC (Streaming until 5/26): The Spirit of the Beehive (El Espíritu de la Colmena), 1973, 99 min.
    In this mesmerizing allegorical tale set in post-Civil War Spain, precocious young Ana (Ana Torrent) becomes obsessed with finding the spirit of Frankenstein’s monster after watching director James Whale’s 1931 classic. When she happens upon a wounded military deserter, Ana believes that she’s evoked the cinematic creature. Helmed by Victor Erice, the film also stars Fernando Fernan Gomez and Teresa Gimpera as Ana’s disengaged parents.
    Director: Víctor Erice (studied law, political science, & economics at the U. of Madrid)
    Language: Spanish [ENGLISH SUBTITLES]
    This movie is: Cerebral
    Availability: Streaming and DVD (Streaming until 5/26/11)
    NETFLIX LISTING – link to
    P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA: …The critical reception of his [Víctor Erice’s] work both inside Spain and internationally has been almost unanimously enthusiastic, with many hailing his sparse contributions to cinema as visually poetic masterpieces. Critic Tony Rayns describes El espíritu de la colmena as “a haunting mood piece that dispenses with plot and works its spells through intricate patterns of sound and image and of El Sur it has been said that “Erice creates his film as a canvas, conjuring painterly images of slow dissolves and shafts of light that match Caravaggio in their power to animate a scene of stillness, or freeze one of mad movement.”

  33. Donald
    May 22, 2011, 11:37 pm

    To the extent that Obama is angry, it’s the anger of one imperialist at another who he thinks is too stupid to understand the world situation. The problem is that the US and Israel may lose control, that the Palestinians might decide that they can do better without listening to the US telling them what to do.

    Obama’s reiteration of the boilerplate was more heartfelt than any trace of sympathy for Palestinians. He was warning Israel and Israel supporters that those pesky Palestinians aren’t going away and they’d work with the US so they can keep all the territory Israel has stolen for settlements. Palestinian rights and lives lost to Israeli brutality mean nothing to Obama–he bashed the Goldstone Report again, but he wants AIPAC to know that they do mean something to Arabs, and some of those Arabs may have a voice in newly democratized governments that we won’t be able to control so easily.

  34. eee
    May 23, 2011, 12:37 am

    The only anger I saw in the speech was anger at being misinterpreted. To the extent that Obama was angered, he was angry at the people that don’t appreciate how much of a good friend to Israel he is.

  35. Donald
    May 23, 2011, 1:13 am

    ” To the extent that Obama was angered, he was angry at the people that don’t appreciate how much of a good friend to Israel he is.”

    Probably true. But Phil likes to imagine Obama is his secret pal–quite a few liberals in the past few years have had this delusion.

  36. Thomson Rutherford
    May 23, 2011, 1:41 am

    With all respect to my fellow commenters above, I get the impression that some of you are as naive about American politics as the tea-partiers you doubtlessly scorn. Do you honestly think that Obama enjoys having Yahu every few months smack him in the kisser with a lemon meringue pie? Of course there was pent-up anger in his voice and his visage. The AIPAC people seated before him could hear and see it; why can’t you?

    Here’s what you and the tea-partiers need to understand: The American political system is rotten. It is not the “government” – the people who try to serve their country – that is the source of rottenness. Many elected officials – including Obama – are idealists who become great disappointments once in office. Yet the greatest problem is not they, but the abominable “system”.

    America has evolved a political system in which vested interests (“lobbies”) rule. Money provided by wealthy, powerful lobbies controls the outcome of most elections for national office, and incumbents must constantly be running – if they want to remain to do the work most of them believe in. It is the most powerful Corporatocracy on earth, in which money and political organization buy the submission of almost all “servants of the people”.

    Obama is no exception to this rule. I think many of you severe critics of Obama (I am myself a critic) have an exaggerated view of the actual powers of the American presidency wrt foreign policy. The Constitution does grant to the President primary responsibility for the execution of foreign policy, but we have seen over and over again that the Congress has many ways to reign in those presidential powers, IF it chooses to do so.

    Above, I mentioned “money and organization”. It is the combination of these two factors, plus fanatical devotion of its leaders and rank-and-file members, that makes the Israel Lobby by far the most powerful integrated special interest group in Washington. It exercises its power primarily by ruling the will of Congress in areas of foreign policy – especially in the Middle East and most specifically in matters seen to affect Israel. By controlling Congress, the Israel Lobby is able to strictly constrain the degrees of freedom available to any American president. Till now, that lamentable condition has grown worse each passing year.

    If he wants to survive politically and lead his own party out of the wilderness, Obama currently has no choice but to bow to the Israel Lobby and kiss Yahu’s ring. That is the distasteful ritual required of him in this thoroughly rotten American political system which has enabled such a monstrosity as the Israel Lobby to capture the national government.

    But Obama is plotting his revenge. He needs our support to succeed in this.

    • gazacalling
      May 23, 2011, 10:02 am

      Lemon meringue pies, hahaha! Great comment.

    • stevieb
      May 24, 2011, 9:15 am

      Until we have something different from Obama, than what are we to believe?

      As long as they(government officials of any stripe)continue to participate without dissent in this “system”, than there is no reason to believe that they are unhappy with the system.

      It’s, unfortunately, that simple.

      Me? I think American is looking at another civil war sometime in the not-to-distant future….

  37. DICKERSON3870
    May 23, 2011, 2:56 am

    RE: “An angry Obama warns the lobby that the ‘world is moving too fast’…” – Weiss

    Hey somebody next door do you remember my name
    Are you out to celebrate Indifference day
    Do you know that I live in a cage without a key,
    it feels like that anyway
    And I don’t wanna stay there, no I don’t

    Counting the odds against tomorrow
    Living on a time we have to borrow
    The expectations getting higher and higher
    But I don’t wanna wait no more and I don’t wanna stay here

    Stop the world I want to get off
    And find myself a better ride…
    – Gorky Park

    Gorky Park: “Stop the world I want to get off” (VIDEO, 04:31) – link to
    SPECIAL BONUS: Stop The World, I Want To Get Off: “Mumbo Jumbo” (VIDEO, 02:15) – link to

  38. sherbrsi
    May 23, 2011, 5:01 am

    A patently absurd reading of the speech, Weiss. Obama has overtaken every initiative of the Israel lobby, be it viciously attacking the Goldstone report and supporting Cast Lead, to demeaning BDS and international law. He even went as far as giving Israel the right to incorporate its illegal colonies in the Palestinian territories, when he said that both parties must “negotiate” a border that is “different” from 1967. Not even Bush Jr. provided Israel with such liberty or support in regards to settlements. The fact is that in concrete terms Obama and America are committed to Israel and its endeavours, and that means the further destruction and oppressive killing of the Palestinians. Obama could not have given a more disastrous speech in regards to supporting Palestinians in any shape or form. You can talk about sensing any amount of anger in him; that is inconsequential, no matter how true it is. If all the supposed leader of the free world has to offer is impotent rage, the Zionist regime has nothing to worry about on the American front.

  39. Thomson Rutherford
    May 23, 2011, 5:34 am

    Roger Cohen had an approving op-ed piece in the IHT, and also now appearing on Monday’s NYT website, about Obama’s AIPAC speech. Seeking to encourage Obama, he begins,

    “On the eve of an election year, with Jewish donors and fund-raisers already restive over his approach to Israel, President Obama made a brave speech telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that ‘the dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation’ and urging him to accept Israeli borders at or close to the 1967 lines.”

    He went on to say,
    “And the American and Israeli national interest do not lie in the poisonous Israeli-Palestinian status quo.”

    link to

    I was struck by this last sentence. Note that although the verb form is plural, he referred to “American and Israeli national interest” in the singular, clearly implying that the two are one and the same. I guess that’s the price he has to pay in working for our “newspaper of record”. But at least it’s not as bad as working for that well-known neocon rag, WaPo, where far more egregious distortions are a regular occurrence.

  40. MRW
    May 23, 2011, 6:10 am

    George W Bush in a White House news release May 26, 2005:

    Therefore, Israel must remove unauthorized outposts and stop settlement expansion. The barrier being erected by Israel as a part of its security effort must be a security, rather than political, barrier. And its route should take into account, consistent with security needs, its impact on Palestinians not engaged in terrorist activities. As we make progress toward security, and in accordance with the road map, Israeli forces should withdraw to their positions on September the 28th, 2000.

    Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed to. A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity of the West Bank, and a state of scattered territories will not work. There must also be meaningful linkages between the West Bank and Gaza. This is the position of the United States today, it will be the position of the United States at the time of final status negotiations.

    link to

  41. Richard Witty
    May 23, 2011, 7:36 am

    link to

    Roger Cohen’s observations are true, but hide an “if”. Hamas has a functional veto on the future of the world.

    Israel has to be persuaded to stop settlement-construction (rather than petulantly announce increase in settlement building as a conspicuous affront to Obama). AND, probably more importantly, Hamas has to find a language that will allow it to recognize Israel as Israel.

    Otherwise tensions will escalate to war.

    • mig
      May 23, 2011, 12:31 pm

      RW :

      “”Hamas has a functional veto on the future of the world.””

      ++++ What veto ?

      “”Hamas has to find a language that will allow it to recognize Israel as Israel.””

      ++++ Nope. Nein. PLO has done that allready. And when PLO is sole and recognized also in international level as negotiating partner. Hamas recognition on anything would be same as nil. No relevance to anything. Or legal meaning. You didnt get the memo about recognition of states etc. ? And rest of which is out of that international law is blahblahblaaaaa.

    • Chaos4700
      May 24, 2011, 3:57 am

      Hamas has a functional veto on the future of the world.

      Ladies and gentlemen…. Witty has finally gone off the deep end into tin foil hat country.

    • stevieb
      May 24, 2011, 9:18 am

      Why do you continually post things that you know are not true?

      Wishing they were isn’t going to it….

  42. GalenSword
    May 23, 2011, 8:07 am

    Commentary Magazine, which the AJC only just spun off as an independent entity in January 2007 ( link to ), (probably unintentionally) presented the larger picture of Jewish-Zionist un-American anti-democratic attitudes in its January issue, which contains the article “Jews, Muslims and Democrats” ( link to ) by Gabriel Schoenfeld, who writes:

    …in the judgment of the political scientist Peter Skerry, we may now be witnessing the emergence of a new force in American politics. Writing in Time, and citing a whole range of such convergent interests, Skerry calls this a “Muslim-liberal coalition” (more accurately it might be called a Muslim/Arab-liberal coalition). If he is right, and if this coalition can be organized to act with any degree of coherence, it could indeed end up, through sheer numbers alone, wielding a disproportionate influence on American politics [my emphasis], to the clear detriment of the interests of American Jews.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 23, 2011, 3:42 pm

      One can learn a lot of interesting, inside-baseball stuff by reading Commentary magazine. The usual inhibitions don’t seem to apply there.

      • annie
        May 23, 2011, 4:10 pm

        wasn’t/isn’t commentary magazine a cia rag? perhaps i am confusing it w/another. totten has cia written all over him. did you ever read his reports from iraq? can you say psyops anyone?

      • stevieb
        May 24, 2011, 9:19 am

        Absolutely. And I’ve let him know that many times. Although, being that he is clearly a Zionist, it’s just as likely that he’s doing those psy-ops for some other intelligence agency…

  43. moonkoon
    May 23, 2011, 8:47 am

    All this nonsense about defensible borders (defensible from what? Slingshots? Raiders from the sea? Infiltration? Internal insurrection? Airborne attack?) is an extrapolation of the underlying unsustainable Utopian demand for total security for the state of Israel, …especially when suspicion is high that Israel itself has a hand in at least some of the well publicised but unconvincing outbursts of insecurity that occur from time to time. Outbursts, coincidently, that seem to flare up whenever Israel is in a jam, peace process wise.
    In fact, on reflection, perhaps Bibi’s petulant whining about defensible borders while harassing/undermining the neighbours is even beyond deluded Utopianism, more heading deep into la-la land, …in my opinion. :-)
    Get real, Bibi. Nobody’s buying this guff any more.

    P.S. And the whole pathetic defensible borders line of reasoning is all the more ironic coming from an entity that has very little in the way of defined borders, on land or at sea.

    • mig
      May 23, 2011, 12:24 pm


      Best 2 ways have a defensible borders are. 1 . Peaceagreement with enemy. 2. Those our guys in border. They do the job. Rest is just hoax to the christian zionists, and to AIPAC to sell it US congress & senate people.

      Rest of us who still have our own head between our shoulders. BS.

  44. ig
    May 23, 2011, 9:08 am

    In the speech I heard, Obama gave the tired old boilerplate that we need to get back to the negotiation table and achieve 2-states with a number of conditions which would help delay negotiations for Israel (Hamas, security, recognition of the Jewish state).

    Then the President said that he understood that some in the AIPAC audience disagreed with his ideas and promised to talk to them about it. So, is the US peace process initiative not only appears bogus, but this bogus initiative is subject to prior consultation and negotiation with AIPAC.

    Mitchell is gone. Dennis Ross is now Obama’s go to guy. I feel that the President will not be pressing Israel to much in the future.

    • mig
      May 23, 2011, 12:19 pm

      Obama can return that nobel prize now. Or hand it to AIPAC.

  45. Chu
    May 23, 2011, 9:21 am

    Obama is angry because he really wants to seem like a just leader, only Israel ruins that facade every step of the way. Likuds are part of his party (whether they admit it or not) and he should’ve realized that they don’t care about what’s best for the US or Obama’s image.

    They will drain the US to control the middle east policy. Holding this political party hostage by this crowd is quite obvious. They need to keep the party drained of real power, so they can have the upper hand. It’s a hostage situation.

    All of their threats of donor withholding, are really pitiful. But it’s one of the primary ways to manipulate a corrupted system.

  46. Lexikon
    May 23, 2011, 9:43 am

    For those interested in sheer comedy.

    I mean, this is just outrageous.

    link to

  47. jon s
    May 23, 2011, 9:58 am

    This is Phil’s headline:
    “An angry Obama warns the lobby that the ‘world is moving too fast’ (to preserve a Jewish state)”
    Did the President really say that? In fact he expressed his commitment to Israel as a Jewish state , and to the establishment of a Palestinian State.
    I understand that many of the people on this forum are unhappy with the President’s statements , but they would agree with me that that’s what he said, while Phil’s take seems to be detached from reality.

    • Philip Weiss
      May 23, 2011, 10:50 am

      jon i used the parentheses to convey that was his hidden meaning. maybe im detached from reality; it’s my forte; but i did not mean to say that he said that explicitly

      • annie
        May 23, 2011, 12:05 pm

        it was clear to me what you meant phil and i interpreted obama’s statement to imply the same thing or something similar. i thought it was in reference to the ‘window’ of time closing which has been referenced repeatedly including olmert.

        Ehud Olmert said Israel was “finished” if it forced the Palestinians into a struggle for equal rights.

        If the two-state solution collapsed, he said, Israel would “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished”

      • annie
        May 23, 2011, 12:08 pm

        one more thing, the claim that this interpretation is ‘divorced from reality’ is just hyperbolic hasbrat stuff for what else could ‘the world is moving too fast’ mean but ‘get your house in order’. it begs the question ‘or else what?’. or else you will loose it, that’s what.

  48. Taxi
    May 23, 2011, 11:31 am

    Another pathetic brown-nozing speech full of preposterous contradictions and cruelties. A horrid and abusive speech full of polite vitriol against the millions of Palestinian VICTIMS and their ethnically-cleansed past, the tortured present and grim future.

    A veiled warmongering speech amongst “friends who share values”? You bet yer white hinee it is!!

    What I actually heard Obama say to the Palestinians, to much applause from aipacers, is: ‘We are BIGGER and we will kill you and your ambitions for unity and freedom’.

    Predictable and disgusting display of power and thuggery!

    (I think Phil heard imaginary orchestrals in D Major accompanying the speech).

  49. kalithea
    May 23, 2011, 11:36 am

    There are 36.5 million (approx.) Irish Americans or claiming Irish descendancy. There are 6.5 million Jews in America or claiming same. So why isn’t the Irish Lobby 4 times more powerful than the Jewish Lobby? From what I can see, Obama appears much more relaxed with the Irish. Sharing those beers with them in the pub; he looks like he just got himself a “get out of jail free” card! He’s not forced to love them, mollycoddle them; he’s not forced to profess iron-clad loyalty to them; he’s not forced to grovel at their feet to secure his Presidency or to surrender his conscience, nay, his SOUL on a platter to them. He can just relaaaaaaaax!

    Aipac with the giant, overpowering screens, Citizen Kane-type larger-than-life podium speeches by the likes of Hagee, the meshed/entangled flags in the background, the Congress roll-call, the pledges of iron-clad loyalty to a foreign country, the endless groveling of government officials to a foreign entity, an audience of powerful players in the Jewish Community chomping at the bit to have Israel’s every demand served up by the U.S. President, the most powerful office in the world; espionage charges; it all reminds me of a cult. No, worse– some kind of sinister infiltration plot.

    How is it possible??? The founding fathers are turning in their graves.

    God bless the Irish…what a welcome relief!

    • kalithea
      May 23, 2011, 11:37 am

      Correction: “6 times more powerful”

    • Chu
      May 23, 2011, 12:55 pm

      Well, Irish people don’t have an axe to grind with the world.
      Zionist Jews on the other hand, rely on their Bolshevist strategy developed to seize state power and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat chosen members.

  50. American
    May 23, 2011, 1:46 pm

    I just read the transcript of Obama’s speech on NPR
    link to

    I can only conclude that Phil is overworked and has suffered a small disconnect. Obama pandered to everything Zionism is.

    First he pandered to Jewish victimhood and exceptionalism.
    Then he said the US and Israel are one and the same.
    Then he said everyone blames the only ME democracy, Israel, unfairly and the ME text books are full of Jew hate.
    Then he said those who threaten Israel threaten us.
    Then he promised to do another MOU for the 30 billion we are giving Israel.
    Then he said we should give weapons to Israel on the same basis we do NATO.
    Then he condemned Hamas.
    Then he condemned Syria for exporting terrorism.
    Then he condemned Iran as the greatest threat to Israel.
    Then he said Israel couldn’t be forced to do anything on I/P so basically it’s up to Israel and Palestine.
    Then he called divestment aimed at Israel bigoted.
    Then he promised more money for the US-Israel Energy Cooperation Act.
    Then he promised to keep military threat on the table to protect Israel.
    Then he praised Israel’s “adherence to the rule of law”.
    Then he praised Jews for their ‘fairness”.
    Then he played on the Jews and blacks like himself for fighting racism.
    Then he said the Jews must be ‘vigilant’ in facing down every ‘foe.’

    I am pretty sure the AIPAC crowd took his reference to history moving on as a invitation for Israel to seize not the day, but to continue to seize everything they want because he sure as hell won’t stop them.

    So he ‘enabled’ the zionazis and the lobby and fired them up to demand even more from the US and now he’s in Ireland pandering to the Irish…saying the US would always stand by Ireland –is that for the 36% US-Irish vote/money? LOL

    Gawd…this country is soooo screwed I can’t wait till it all falls down so we can get to the real nitty gritty…..faster please.

    • Chu
      May 23, 2011, 2:30 pm

      This paraphrased transcript is the one I had watched this weekend!
      But now he’s in Ireland, working out the bailout details.

  51. AaronAarons
    May 23, 2011, 6:23 pm

    The Zionists are a small but clever criminal enterprise that has managed to ‘persuade’ the members of a much larger and more powerful criminal enterprise — the one known as the United States of America — that the interests of the two crime syndicates, which certainly overlap in membership, are totally identical. If, as is often claimed, this myth weakens the latter, more powerful, criminal entity, I see no reason why those who care about the great majority of the human and other beings on the planet that are victims of this larger, ‘American’, syndicate should want to convince the leaders and supporters of the latter of their error. Rather, let’s hope that the U.S. criminals continue to act stupidly, so that they will be weakened and, consequently, all the lesser criminals that depend on them will be weakened or eliminated as well.

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