Obama’s to-do list: Free Pollard in May so he can travel safely to Israel in June

Israel/Palestine

Yesterday Weiss had breakfast in Berkeley with Jeff Blankfort, who laid out the following scenario. Weiss’s notes.

I generally do not make predictions. Though I do have a check from a former CIA guy for $10 because I said there would be no attack on Iran. It was when Scott Ritter was saying there would be an attack on Iran, and I said No it would be too disastrous to the world economy. But now I’m going to make another prediction.

I begin with the question, why Osama Bin Laden was killed at this particular point in time. Because they knew where he was for a while and Al Qaeda by everyone’s observations is not a very active force, and the way I see it is, Obama has a wimp image internationally which has come largely from the way he has been repeatedly humiliated by Netanyahu with direct and indirect support from the US Congress, which has now invited Netanyahu to speak this month. The Republicans that is, though the Democrats will also cheer him.

And to prepare for Netanyahu coming here Obama needed something to restore his image as a leader or commander in chief which would make Netanyahu think twice about even indirectly attacking him in Congress. That was killing Osama bin Laden.

Now in order for Obama to get the Jewish funding he had in the last election he has to make a trip to Israel. What’s curious is that up till now he has not only not made a trip there but he hasn’t been publicly invited– and probably for the reason that Obama is so unpopular in Israel that he cannot go there and feel assured that he will come back alive. And the Netanyahu government quite likely feels the same way, because many of their elite army units which used to be secular are now ultra orthodox. Because if Obama’s going to go, he has to go in a very public way, not like sneaking into Baghdad or Kabul.

Following a meeting that Obama had with Shimon Peres a month ago there’s been an expectation that he will go to Israel in June. and the only way for him to do it at this point in time would be to free Jonathan Pollard. And there has been a major campaign to free Pollard recently, an unprecedented campaign, on the part of the Jewish community. Henry Kissinger weighed in, George Shultz weighed in, Michael Mukasey weighed in. 

Heretofore previous Israeli governments and the American Jewish community have not really pushed this issue in the way they’re doing it today. Because previously they were afraid of what Pollard might say, because Pollard has said that he was betrayed by the Israelis, and Pollard’s support has largely been in the settler community. But now the setters are running Israel, and the current Israeli government is the equivalent of the Tea Party, and they have nothing to lose by anything that Pollard might say about previous Israeli governments when he gets out.

I think that if it’s going to happen, if Obama’s going to make a trip in June, he may quite likely release Pollard before or during the AIPAC convention this month (May 22-24). I think there will probably only be objections to Pollard’s release on the right. Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan. Obama will get no serious attack, though there might be people who mght question it. Paul Krugman? He won’t even talk about it. And as for the intelligence establishment in the United States that has long objected to Pollard’s release, well it’s not the same as it used to be, and even they’ll rationalize it.

What if Obama were killed in Israel? Well, they would probably try to blame it on the Palestinians. Though given the atmosphere in Israel, any Israeli who would assassinate Obama would be considered a hero among many Israelis, as was the guy who assassinated Rabin.

The fallout here? I’ve thought about that. And if Obama were assassinated there it would cause a rise in African Amercan anti-Semitism. It would be a gamechanger, and this might– it would certainly speed the self-destruction of Israel.

What puzzles me is the timing of all this. Obama has no one in Congress backing him up in confronting Israel. Remember he took this on back when he was still popular, and he got letters from both houses of Congress saying, Don’t lean on Netanyahu. He’s a president who does not have the Congress backing him up and will not get the standing ovations in Congress that Netanyahu will. So the timing puzzles me. Why now?

Why’s it happening now? This pressure to free Pollard—it was a phony issue. None of the Jewish organizations have ever been criticized for not doing enough to free Pollard because Pollard is in prison making these wild charges.

How many people are aware of this deal? I’d say a handful. David Harris of the American Jewish committee, sure. Malcolm Hoenlein. Probably not Foxman, he’s too much of a wildcard. Dennis Ross—it was probably his idea.

Leon Panetta knows. Hillary knows. So now you’re in select company.

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