The Times has a big pro-Obama op-ed from Haim Saban today in which Saban makes the undeniable case that Obama has been in essence a Likudnik on Israel. The piece endorses the settlements and dispenses with the mantra of “two states living side by side.” There is no talk about a Palestinian state, except to congratulate Obama for blocking the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral declaration of one.
The real estate the Times granted to Saban– funder of the Democratic Party and the Brookings Institution, and “an Israeli-American who cares deeply about the survival of Israel and the future of the Jewish people”– is a frank acknowledgment of the Israel lobby’s importance in the political process. The piece’s point of view is shockingly lobbycentric. Will folks wake up to the hold that these rightwing forces have in our politics?
The piece is called The Truth About Obama and Israel. It uses the word Palestinian once, and includes these pro-settlement statements:
When the first President Bush had disagreements with Israel over its settlement policy, he threatened to withhold loan guarantees from Israel. Mr. Obama has had his own disagreements with Mr. Netanyahu over the settlers but has never taken such a step. To the contrary, he has increased aid to Israel and given it access to the most advanced military equipment, including the latest fighter aircraft.,,
Mr. Obama has been steadfast against efforts to delegitimize Israel in international forums. He has blocked Palestinian attempts to bypass negotiations and achieve United Nations recognition as a member state, a move that would have opened the way to efforts by Israel’s foes to sanction and criminalize its policies. As a sign of its support, the Obama administration even vetoed a Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements, a resolution that mirrored the president’s position and that of every American administration since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
That was the power of the lobby right there: Obama went against US policy on settlements. I know that many idealistic Americans think that Obama will push for a two-state solution in a second term. I doubt it–he surely sees that as a wasted effort.