‘J Street’ and ‘Peace Now’ say it’s now or never for Obama to bring Netanyahu to heel

on 43 Comments

The two liberal Zionist organizations J Street and Americans for Peace Now are demanding that the Obama administration condemn the recent Israeli announcement of a new settlement bloc in the West Bank. The two groups argue that the two-state solution is in jeopardy, and Obama must act now. J Street’s statement is adamant:

Tell President Obama: Stand up for a two-state solution and demand a reversal to the E1 settlements.

So is Peace Now:

Tell Secretary Clinton that if the Obama Administration is truly committed to Israel’s security and its viability, it must intervene and compel the Netanyahu government to reverse its reckless, provocative, and dangerous decisions. These include the announcement of the approval of 3000 new settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – an announcement that, on its own, sends a message that Prime Minister Netanyahu is eager to undermine Abbas and pander to his right-wing political base in the run-up to Israeli elections early next year.

Tell Secretary Clinton: Get tough now. If not now, soon it will be too late.

Lara Friedman of Peace Now concedes that Netanyahu has humiliated Obama but says that Obama can turn the tables and maybe play a part in the Israeli elections. Notice that she does not come out for sanctions, though she says the two-state solution is disappearing:

Netanyahu and Lieberman believe they are unaccountable because they have never been called to account. They’ve seen that their defiance of Israel’s closest allies carries no price, either diplomatically or in the domestic arena. The two are, of course, linked: Israel’s allies acquiescing to Netanyahu treating them as underlings and enemies has only strengthened Netanyahu politically…

The reality is that world leaders, especially from the U.S. and EU, have tremendous leverage in dealing with Netanyahu and Lieberman. …  For the first time, Netanyahu is getting real push-back [in Europe], sparking a long overdue debate in Israel about the costs Netanyahu’s reckless actions are imposing on Israel….

President Obama has plenty of options for action that don’t require Congressional approval. These include summoning the Israeli Ambassador for a talking-down, recalling the U.S. ambassador in Israel for “consultations,” and strong demarches at the level of Foreign Minister or Netanyahu himself–and making these actions public. They include in a meaningful way turning up the heat on settlements, for example by adopting stronger rhetoric (using words like “obstacles to peace” and “illegal,”), by pursuing special labeling requirements for products produced in settlements, or by launching a review of the activities of U.S. groups that support settlements. …

Given Netanyahu’s serial humiliations of Obama during his first term in office and his apparent efforts to see Obama defeated in the last election, such a change in tone seems a long time coming. If world leaders return to the usual approach of crying foul over Netanyahu provocations but imposing no consequences, then it will soon be impossible to avoid the conclusion that the game is over for the two-state solution….

This is obviously an important moment for American liberal Zionists. They seem to understand that the two-state solution has vanished because of Israeli expansion. They hope that U.S. outspokenness will somehow upend the Israeli electoral process and allow Kadima to create a centrist ruling coalition that will somehow revive the peace process.

Wearing rose-colored glasses, I have often said here that the American Jewish community could knock Netanyahu out of office. But Annie Robbins has pointed out that 40-50 members of the Knesset (about 1/3 of the body) are beholden to the settler community; and Yousef Munayyer has demonstrated that bloc’s power over the entire political order; and David Remnick, observing that trend, has pronounced the Israeli political class a lost cause.

It will be fascinating to see whether the liberal Zionist community can mobilize opposition to Netanyahu in the U.S. While I hold out hope for some shift, B’nai Jeshurun’s cave on Palestinian freedom yesterday suggests that the U.S. Jewish community is still too rightwing to do anything to speak out against Israel’s apartheid leadership.

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43 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    December 7, 2012, 11:25 am

    Does not come out for sanctions? Oh, how surprising. But if not sanctions, then what? Harsh words? Maybe VERY harsh words?

    The mistake they are all making (and deliberately, I believe) is in pretending (and assuming and by modeling also inviting all others to assume) that ALL EXISTING SETTLEMENTS ARE PERMANENT and NONE must ever be dismantled or destroyed. (Read UNSC 465: it calls for removal of all settlers and dismantling of all settlements. In 1980 when there were fewer, but, still, ALL.)

    Hogwash. We must model a different behavior, namely, demanding the removal of all settlers and dismantling of all settlements, ALL, because it is the law and because it is necessary for Palestinian human rights, and because the settlements are an impediment to peace, and because the settlements IN NO WAY provide for Israeli security. And we must demand that this requirement be backed by SERIOUS SANCTIONS FOR NON-PERFORMANCE BY ISRAEL.

    Peace Now, J-Street, are you listening? If you disagree with what I said, please explain why you disagree. Explain cogently. If you can. And if you find that I am right, say so. To your members, too. Thanks. RSVP.

    • Shingo
      December 7, 2012, 6:46 pm

      But if not sanctions, then what? Harsh words? Maybe VERY harsh words?

      It reminds me of a joke they used to say in New Zealand, where police were not allowed to carry guns. What does a cop do when he witnesses a felony? He says “stop”. And if that doesn’t work he says “stop” again.

      JStreet became utterly irrelevant long ago. I don’t know why anyone even bothers to report what they have to say anymore.

    • kalithea
      December 8, 2012, 3:25 am

      But-but, do you really think they want the existing settlements dismantled? What J-Street really wants is for the two-state corpse to be reanimated. They’re clinging to their precious Zionism for dear life. They’re not counting on the settlers to leave; they’re counting on the U.S. and Israel to pressure Abbas into accepting the scraps that are left and maybe a small concession and calling that crap “a two-state solution”.

      Do you honestly believe the settlements will be dismantled??? Whatever promises Zionists made were broken repeatedly and will be broken again. Don’t you know that??? Aye!

      • Sibiriak
        December 8, 2012, 5:36 am

        kalithea says:

        What J-Street really wants is for the two-state corpse to be reanimated. They’re clinging to their precious Zionism for dear life. They’re not counting on the settlers to leave

        No, of course, they are not.

        they’re counting on the U.S. and Israel to pressure Abbas into accepting the scraps that are left and maybe a small concession and calling that crap “a two-state solution”.

        Yes. Maybe something along the lines of the long-ago rejected “Geneva Accords”, or similar 1967 borders+land swaps plans:

        End of conflict. End of all claims.
        Mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian right to two separate states.
        A final, agreed upon border.
        A comprehensive solution to the refugee problem.

        ***Large settlement blocks and most of the settlers are annexed to Israel, as part of a 1:1 land swap.

        Recognition of the Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and recognition of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
        A demilitarized Palestinian state.
        A comprehensive and complete Palestinian commitment to fighting terrorism and incitement.
        An international verification group to oversee implementation.


        Of course, if the Palestinians were to accept such a settlement (likely much worse, and in no way a just solution), that does not mean history would end and that a one-state transformation would be forever precluded.

      • Theo
        December 8, 2012, 8:35 am

        If I build a house on the property of another without his permission, legally that house will be his.
        With this in mind, all illegal settlements built in East Jerusalem and on the WB will be the property of the palestinian state, without paying any compensation or landswap. The israelis, I mean all of them, take the settlers and go back behind the 1967 lines. Even that is generous as the UN in 1948 gave them much less, all other territories are stolen.
        How will they do it? It is their problem, their military budget will finance it.

      • kalithea
        December 8, 2012, 5:04 pm

        First, not only will the Palestinians reject this offer and SHOULD reject it for its vagueness on right of return and settlements annexed to Israel; but loony-tunes rabid Zionists will sabotage the whole thing before lift-off, should a miracle happen and Palestinians agree to it which they shouldn’t and won’t.

        Circumstances greater that the parties themselves will impose a one-state solution but there will be hell to pay first unless the global community rejects apartheid forcefully. But one thing is certain, Israel’s legitimacy, if it ever had any will completely evaporate.

  2. Shmuel
    December 7, 2012, 11:34 am

    For the first time, Netanyahu is getting real push-back [in Europe]

    Show me sanctions. Show me one “special-partnership” agreement that has been suspended. Show me one arms deal that has been cancelled.

    Merkel and Netanyahu have “agreed to disagree”. Hollande and Cameron have reassured Israel that sanctions are not and option (bite your tongue!). Monti has pledged Italy’s undying friendship (although Mr. Netanyahu really shouldn’t have done that).

    Is this what JStreet and Peace Now really want from Washington? Netanyahu and Lieberman (and the Republicans) would like nothing better.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 7, 2012, 1:09 pm

      Show me sanctions. Show me one “special-partnership” agreement that has been suspended. Show me one arms deal that has been cancelled.

      i believe some EU governments will need international cover for these kinds of actions and they will be a long time coming, but the path has been broken. hopefully, palestinians will use their new access to the ICC. after there is a court ruling sanctions will follow. (i predict)

      • Shmuel
        December 7, 2012, 6:00 pm


        You’re assuming European governments have an interest in imposing sanctions on Israel. They don’t (except maybe Ireland or Norway [not part of the EU], and Israel doesn’t really care about them anyway). Europe has gone down the finger-wagging path many times before, but has never put its money where its mouth is. Europe will not cross Washington over this, will not “forget its past”, and will not give up on all those lovely arms deals with Israel – field-testing included!


        I predict that the PNA will not approach the ICC, but even if they do, the European powers that really matter to Israel (and a couple of deal-sweeteners like the Netherlands – home to the ICC) will back Israel (and Washington) to the hilt. Undoubtedly with tears in their eyes.

      • ritzl
        December 8, 2012, 12:59 am

        Why, Shmuel?

        Sincerely, why? I don’t get it, and I’m equally sincerely not trying to “trap” you into some sort of “control” freakology, but I don’t get the disconnect between OECD acceptance, the FIFA U21 tourney, Greece’s disabling of some of the Free Gaza boats, etc. given Israel’s seemingly acknowledged moral abhorrency and Europe’s blithe acceptance/acquiescence on major issues (or as Israel as part of, or one of, Euro “democracies”).

        I don’t get it. Is there an Israel Lobby everywhere?

      • Shmuel
        December 8, 2012, 5:05 am

        Why, Shmuel?

        An incomplete list, in no particular order:

        1. US hegemony
        2. European military-industrial-financial complex
        3. Holocaust guilt
        4. Fear of radicalism (it’s the moderate, responsible thing to do)
        5. Neo-colonialism/eurocentrism
        6. Anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim sentiment

      • Misterioso
        December 8, 2012, 8:58 pm

        An interesting and hopefully, a sign of imminent change:


        “Israel accuses US of backing European settlement backlash”
        The Telegraph, 5 December, 2012


        “Britain, France, Sweden, Spain and Denmark all summoned Israeli envoys on Tuesday to protest over the settlement plans, while Germany and the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, denounced it.

        “The newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, quoted unnamed Israeli diplomats as saying the outcry could not have occurred without the complicity of the Obama administration, which has profound differences with Mr Netanyahu over settlements.

        “ ‘We would not be mistaken to say that Europe was acting with Washington’s encouragement,’ the paper’s commentator, Shimon Shiffer wrote. ‘The White House authorised Europe to pounce on the Netanyahu government and to punish it.’ “

      • Shmuel
        December 9, 2012, 4:47 am

        “Israel accuses US of backing European settlement backlash”

        That was Gideon Levy’s take the other day: “Europe is rebuking Israel because this time, America permits it. Before, America forbade it; hence the self-restraint.” http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/now-you-show-up-europe.premium-1.482919

      • ritzl
        December 13, 2012, 11:01 pm

        @Shmuel Yeah, sorry. I thought that that question could be asked non-rhetorically, but I realize, now, that is not the case.

        Sorry to do that to you.

        Appreciate your insights, here as elsewhere, which is why I posed the question(s) to you.

        My bad in confusing the rhetorical with the answerable.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 13, 2012, 11:32 pm

        shmuel, just now reading your response due to ritzl’s current comment bringing my attention to the thread again.

        You’re assuming European governments have an interest in imposing sanctions on Israel. They don’t

        as you’ve mentioned before, their people do. i am not sure if it is with america’s blessing (but last year i recall US admin underlined EU pressure). anyway, i think you could be wrong. check out the wording of this statement:


        and i think there were 27 signatories…(something like that)

        don’t be so sure on the timing, things could turn on the head of a needle. plus, it explains lieberman freaking out. maybe they are really pressuring.

      • ritzl
        December 13, 2012, 11:59 pm

        Maybe Annie, maybe. Hope so. But it sure seems that despite the popular sentiment, the rewards keep coming. That’s a lot of political inertia to overcome.

      • Shmuel
        December 14, 2012, 12:57 am

        as you’ve mentioned before, their people do.

        If I have, I was wrong. To the extent that European media may be a little less biased and public opinion polls may show more sympathy for the Palestinians, I/P is a very low priority for most Europeans and there is also a huge amount of popular sympathy for and identification with Israel. I don’t believe there is any real popular pressure on European governments to impose sanctions of any kind, although some bureaucrats may have their knickers in a twist over incorrect labelling (a terrible, terrible crime in Brussels, I’m told).

        I’ll believe it when I see action of any kind instead of just talk.

  3. HarryLaw
    December 7, 2012, 12:19 pm

    What the Liberal Zionists seem to be asking for is an upgrading of language from “this is unhelpful” to “this is most unhelpful” only when words, if not acted upon, are followed by action will anything meaningful change,the American political elite see no need to do anything because they themselves are under no pressure, Saudi Prince Turki threatened the US last year in an op-ed in the NYT with dire consequences in its [the US relationship with Palestine], maybe just hot air, but the Arab spring or the threat of it will come to Saudi Arabia and force the dictatorships to change or fall, preferably the latter, cancellation of the 60 billion dollar arms deals and the threat to cut off the oil spigot as they did in 1973 would change US attitudes to the settlements overnight, here’s hoping.

  4. American
    December 7, 2012, 12:54 pm

    ” They include in a meaningful way turning up the heat on settlements, for example by adopting stronger rhetoric (using words like “obstacles to peace” and “illegal,”), by pursuing special labeling requirements for products produced in settlements, or by launching a review of the activities of U.S. groups that support settlements. …””

    ROTFLMAO…oh yes, stronger rhetoric and launching reviews and more talk should do it.
    They are delusional, delusional, delusional, in denial, in denial, in denial about the monster they have created……it is now permanently Mr Hyde.

  5. W.Jones
    December 7, 2012, 12:58 pm

    I think a change in the community’s attitudes and activism can be an important factor, like changes among US whites and white South Africans during the civil rights eras in those countries.

    Still, I am skeptical how easily this can move to be a major factor. We find a range of cases, like JVP, where dissidents play a leading role. But it seems hard for the everyday community as a whole will play the main leading role.

    Whites in the US North played a supporting role in the US Civil Rights movement, and there were liberals in the South too that went along and helped too. But the leading role was played by Blacks themselves. This is because it is the Blacks’ rights and the blacks’ interests that were being protected and promoted. Giving them equality to whites seemed like not a strong direct interest for US whites, particularly in the South.

    I encourage your desire and work to reach and activate the community in the US. But the moderate, liberal, typically-egalitarian rank and file have to overcome the power of the other side within their own community. That means alot of footwork or activism to balance it.

    Second, you would have to get those liberals to care alot about the IP conflict and the situation there, while as you know, young people in the community care less about it than their predecessors as part of a trend. So it becomes harder to activate them to care.

    Third, you have to motivate them out of a feeling of responsibility and moral duty, rather than immediate self interest which is alot harder to do. Obviously having a strong, wealthy modern state dedicated to one’s own culture where someone can emigrate to almost automatically is a serious self-interest. Human rights and other people’s democratic rights is more indirect and idealistic, despite being inspiring.

    Fourth, it seems like it is alittle bit painful for someone to play a leading role in criticising a state dedicated to their own ethnicity. They end up pointing things out, and this seems emotionally tough, because there could be a sense on the side they are criticising themselves. Obviously some people are tough enough and brave enough inside they do this. It’s admirable, but I think still a difficulty that’s out there.

    That’s why I think this is much harder to do than, say, working in the oppressed community directly: but that has its own difficulties, like government surveillance backed by the advocates of the system, and the fact you would often be dealing with lower-income people who have had a hard time working ahead in general.

  6. American
    December 7, 2012, 1:04 pm

    Listen, let’s get real ….without some BIG punishment put on Israel…this thing is over and Israel will believe even more their ‘F*** the world ‘ ability and do even worse than they’ve done.
    And then down the road someone is going to get Israel…and they will have no trouble finding plenty of help to do it by then.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 7, 2012, 1:57 pm

      Listen, let’s get real ….without some BIG punishment put on Israel

      ok, but if we’re gonna get real we have to acknowledge there’s been a shift. when very mainstream reporters ( ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent) are saying “There’s no consequences. ” you can believe me others are noticing across the board.


      and this guy is clearly entrenched. open the very first embedded link and read his twitter description. seriously.

      • American
        December 7, 2012, 4:58 pm

        annie……..a shift in reporters or reporting isn’t a shift in the WH or congress…….yes it’s good for the public to hear but the politicians aren’t listening and even if they were, would they care about public opinon?…I doubt it….unless it threatened them politically.
        I’m not trying to throw cold water on the gains activist and others are making —-but I’m hearing hoofbeats getting closer and closer in a I/P blowup.
        Maybe I ‘m being too alarmist and the lid can be kept on I/P till some settlement happens….but Im less and less hopeful on that.

      • kalithea
        December 8, 2012, 3:50 am

        So the writing on the wall is getting bigger and the media can’t pretend they don’t see it anymore.

        So Netanyahu’s pushing all of Obama’s buttons and the press want to know how far Obama will go. So they’re setting a Zionist loyalty trap for Obama to step on, but I see he’s keeping his cards close to the vest because he’s damned whether he does or he doesn’t take his response to the settlement issue a step further. All I see before me is the same ‘ol media tools and a chicken-livered Obama administration.

  7. douglasreed
    December 7, 2012, 1:05 pm

    This status quo is the prelude to war.

    There are those who want peace and work for it every day in the Middle East and in governments around the world, but not the majority and not the Israeli government whose strategic plan is and has always been for a ‘Greater Israel’. To achieve their goals, hard-right-wing ministers have been working for decades to ethnically cleanse the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These ideologues will stop at nothing to implement their plan and will continue to treat both the United Nations and the democratic nation states of the international community with contempt.
    Israel’s leaders, settlers and religious fanatics want land, not peace.

    There is no longer any hope for a negotiated settlement. There is now too much hatred as a result of the killings, the bombs, the destruction of homes, schools and hospitals and the inhuman use of cluster bombs and white phosphorus against civilians and children. The certainty now is a brutal war that will make 9/11 look like a MTA and will see nuclear weapons being deployed for the first time and tens, or hundreds, of thousands being killed. The world is sleep-walking into a disaster, the like of which there is no precedent. Peace is not the agenda. Israel’s strategic plan is to change the face of the Middle East, which is the rationale that has driven the building of the world’s only undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal that sits menacingly underground in the Negev desert and in dispersed silos around Israel.

    There will inevitably be a bloodbath and the United States will not be able to disclaim responsibility for its abdication of compliance with democratic principles and the rule of law, and its acceptance of extreme violence and illegal expropriation in its haste to create an American satellite state in the center of the Muslim Middle East in order to satisfy the demands of the Zionist lobby in Washington. This status quo is the prelude to war.

    It will be a tragedy of biblical proportions orchestrated by powerful agencies armed with nuclear bombs and delivered by the American-built, F16 strike aircraft and helicopter gunships of the Israeli state military command.

    • chinese box
      December 7, 2012, 5:53 pm


      I agree. I’ve been thinking for some time that this will result in another war. Perhaps Israel will be the flashpoint for a wider war involving more countries? WWIII? WWI was started over less.

  8. American
    December 7, 2012, 1:22 pm

    How Obama Could Stop Those Israeli Settlements

    The Atlantic .excerpts…

    Obama’s leverage with Netanyahu is limited, because Congress has so much influence over purse strings. But the president has enough leverage to do what needs to be done. Here’s how he should proceed:

    [1] Write out a statement that he’s willing to deliver on TV. It should criticize Netanyahu sharply and say something that will shock the Israeli people: If the prime minister is going to behave this outrageously, America can no longer guarantee that it will stand by Israel’s side at the United Nations. It can no longer guarantee that it will veto Security Council resolutions that declare West Bank settlements in violation of international law. Indeed, America may now introduce such a resolution–that’s how outrageous this latest settlement project is.
    [2] Call Netanyahu, read him the statement, and tell him that if the settlement plans haven’t been reversed within 48 hours, Obama will deliver the statement on TV.
    And Obama has to mean it. He has to be ready to deliver the statement–because then Netanyahu will sense that he means it, in which case Obama won’t have to deliver the statement.

    And if for some reason he (Netanyahu) doesn’t cave, and Obama has to deliver his statement, I predict that Obama will find–to the surprise of many–that he pays no significant political price (or, at most, a price that a second-term president can easily tolerate). The reason is that pretty much everyone who’s paying attention to this issue realizes how indefensible Netanyahu’s behavior has been. Most people will realize, too, that Obama is acting in Israel’s best interests by trying to strongarm it into limiting its alienation of the world.
    Even if Netanyahu doesn’t cave, Obama will have strengthened America’s national security, because he will have shown the world that America will actively and forcefully oppose at least some unjust and illegal encroachments on Palestinian territory. Terrorist recruiters will be very disappointed to hear this.
    I’m not suggesting that we should always do whatever minimizes hatred of America. There are principles worth fighting for, and there are principles whose defense will require increasing our exposure to terrorism. But Israel’s freedom to build more settlements on occupied territory–in violation of international law and of the world’s sense of decency–isn’t one of those principles. Obama would be helping both Israel and America by making that clear.
    [Postscript: I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying Obama will take this approach; obviously, it would be out of character for him to be so bold. I’m just saying that if he did take this approach it would work. I’m also saying that if he doesn’t do something to rein Netanyahu in, he’s not doing his duty as president.]””>>>>

    I would go a lot further than that. I wouldn’t even give Netanyahu a chance to back down, wouldn’t notify him of my planned speech. I ‘d take directly to the bully pulpit and expose the entire 65 year support of Israel, everything we’ve done for them, what it’s cost us, how it endangers US interest, how Israel has constantly biten the hand that feeds them, how it’s been forced on the American people by politicians in the dem and repub party who protect Israel and give it US taxpayer money in exhange for campaign contributions to them…the whole ball of wax, and say this is the Last Straw. Period.
    Think O would pay a price for telling the US public the whole scoop on what Israel has cost us all?…Nope….but congress would sure as hell start paying a price every time they opened their pie holes to demand more this that and the other for Israel.

  9. David Doppler
    December 7, 2012, 5:40 pm

    Hilary is not the one to deliver this message. She’s got an important election coming in 4 years. Obama must deliver it himself. It is all about accountability. It should be directed at Israeli policies – especially settlements, assassinations, constraints on Gaza supplies, seizure of land, bulldozing of olive orchards, villages, segregated buses, walls, and there should be real consequences. It could include action against AIPAC and congressional members who’ve signed pledges to it. It should be intended to drive a wedge between those who support Israel but not the settlements, and the settler community. There is no way America can support the extreme settler community in its aspirations. It should be politically designed to drive Netanyahu/Lieberman from office, i.e., by revealing real but limited consequences now, with promise or hint of much more substantial consequences post election if major re-direction doesn’t occur, but without being as personal as Netanyahu made his opposition to Obama.

    Obama could make the step from weakness to strength, with such a game-changing punch in the nose.

    On the domestic front, if I were him, I’d address the country and, in it, assure the Republican Congressional leadership, and all those top-two-percenters that, their taxes will be raised, that he will put a reasonable proposal on the table before the fiscal cliff, and, if the Republicans refuse it, they can be certain that the rate for the top two percenters which both Senate and President would have to approve as a reduction from the pre-Bush era rates will be far higher.

    And I’d consider using in both cases the term “price tag.”

    And then follow through. As simple as that, he’d move from weakness to strength, and some real progress would be made.

  10. MHughes976
    December 7, 2012, 5:42 pm

    But I think Obama is fixed on toppling Assad, not on stopping Netanyahu in his tracks.

    • kalithea
      December 8, 2012, 3:12 am

      The universe works in strange ways. Obama thinks once he gets rid of Assad, Syria will become Israel-friendly, but Netanyahu’s greed is going to help sabotage the whole plan. As we can see from the situation in Egypt, allegiances and stability can change dramatically in the wink of an eye. There’s a whole lot of nasty characters running around Syria with foreign-made weapons in their hands muttering under their breath, first Assad then the U.S…. If Assad falls, Syria will make the chaos in Egypt look like a Sunday picnic.

  11. radii
    December 7, 2012, 8:32 pm

    no … as I’ve been urging Democratic activists here in the U.S. with regard to the dying Republican Party the approach is to take is to pour gasoline on the fire … Democrats here need to register as Republicans and vote in Republican primaries to vote in the most extremist candidate so that the virus of extremism burns hot and burns itself out more quickly … the same is true with Bibi – the time is long since passed to rein him in and impose severe penalties for his settler support, warmongering, seizures of Jerusalem homes, etc. – U.S. policy now should be to keep feeding Bibi more rope – the current leadership and hideous right-wing policies of israel cannot sustain

  12. Inanna
    December 7, 2012, 9:13 pm

    Poor deluded J Street. They think Netanyahu is the problem. They don’t see he’s standing on a edifice that was decades in the making.

  13. yourstruly
    December 7, 2012, 9:18 pm

    obama should go after netanyahu while at the same time no serious effort is being made to go after highly placed israel firsters? why not call them out in public for the traitors they are? not once but repeatedly & loudly. it’s not as if the public isn’t already aware that something’s fishy about this u.s-israel special relationship. better yet, such an all out effort would hurt the zionist entity far more than it’s being hurt by criticisms from afar, because success in disillusioning the american people on the special relationship is the first step towards severing it. here in america there’s nothing we can do that would bring as much daylight between the zionist entity & america than discrediting israel firsters here in america. what’s holding us back? if perchance it’s fear that there’ll be a backlash against jewish-americans, such a backlash would be nonexistent or at most insignificant, compared to what would occur should the u.s. join israel in attacking. indeed, by openly denouncing israel firsters, jewish-americans could accomplish a two-fer – severing the special relationship & getting that damn monkey (that we put israel’s interests before america’s) off our backs.

  14. tanoli
    December 7, 2012, 10:47 pm

    American/David, These are all great ideas. But, not happening…at-least not in the next 10 years. As long as aipac is alive.
    USA denouncing and sending such a message to Israel?
    That would be a dream come true.!

  15. piotr
    December 7, 2012, 11:33 pm

    Thinking about it, recalling UN ambassador for consultations would be even better than recalling the ambassador to Israel. The security council can vote whatever with USA absent. Why should we care?

    Concerning Israel, it may be interesting. After the purge of moderates, Likud list is such that mixing it with Lieberman party will make it a bit more moderate. But this is only the beginning. Netanyahu may be forced to choose between Livni who actually took stand against expansion of settlement and the far-right. Far right combination is a better fit for Likud Beitenu, but it is so picturesquely crazy that American establishment seems to be getting its fill. Not that anyone cares about Palestinians (inside the Establishment), but USA does not look good.

  16. Nevada Ned
    December 7, 2012, 11:39 pm

    I agree that if the US wanted to pressure Israel, Obama has options to exert pressure without the approval of Congress. For example: Obama could…
    (1) launch a campaign to remember the USS Liberty, attacked by Israel in 1967. Hear public testimony by the survivors.
    (2) revive the criminal case against Larry Franklin and the two AIPAC employees.
    (3) open an investigation of the big Israeli spy ring busted in 2001 (140 people deported).
    (4) make a public case about Jonathan Pollard. Have Obama (or a surrogate) criticize those calling for Pollard to be released.
    These four options requires friends in the media, willing to run stories based on leads from the Administration.

    This is more speculative, but note the recent blizzard of verbal protest by the European leaders against Israel’s announced plans to colonize the E-1 region. Obama may have quietly encouraged the Europeans to do so. An anonymous Israeli official made this charge recently on Ynet, and it sounds plausible to me.

    Obama has given me almost* no reason to believe that he wants to pressure Israel, but he does have options if he wanted to.

    *Obama did say once, to a foreign leader, that it was a pain to have to deal with Netanyahu. (Obama spoke when he wrongly thought that his microphone was turned off. It was a Reaganesque moment)

  17. kalithea
    December 8, 2012, 2:53 am

    Aye! Why do you “…hold out hope for some shift…” on the part of a flawed people who selfishly allowed a monumental injustice for others to prevail for this long?

    Here’s the scenario we have:

    On the left we have the delusional enablers who believe a two-state is still possible by offering Palestinians a few scraps of swiss cheese AND, on the right we have the delusional who believe they can get away with murder and apartheid.

    And then you STILL have hope.

    We need to ask who’s doing the greatest harm between the two groups of morons I just described?

    You know, I almost wish that the reason Obama is leaving Netanyahu to his own self-destructive devices is because he sees that doing something to resuscitate the two-state corpse will have more harmful and catastrophic results than allowing the right to totally self-destruct and take Zionism down with them. But now I’m being delusional cause Obama’s not that smart!

    Okay, so you know all the crazies are on a runaway train headed down the track at warp speed and destined for a spectacular crash, riiiiiiiight? Sooo, what’re you gonna do, get on the tracks and flag them down or get outta the way and let karma do its job?

    What we’re witnessing is the natural evolution of Zionism propelling it to its fated crash and burn demise. It’s disingenuous for the ENABLERS (J Street and Peace Now) to scream stopppp! at this point when it’s so close to the end and they did so little for so long. Why didn’t they scream STOP two decades ago??? Instead they watched Palestinians suffer for years and did nothing, cause they kinda liked having those settlers grab a little here and there for the Zio side. How cruel can you get? So they helped create this outcome and they deserve to witness their precious Zionism self-destruct, because they’re the worst lot of all, trying to cheat Palestinians out of a viable state. They know perfectly well the settlers have dug in their heels and there’s no viable anything left!

    They’re trying to rescue Zionism with a hail mary pass; when they had YEEEARS to do right by the Palestinians. They weren’t concerned for the Palestinians; they were concerned for the survival of Zionism and their reputation in the world! Shame on them. So if Netanyahu wants to ride that train with those settler crazies – let him, as he’ll take the Zionist dream down with him for both sides, and boy do they have it coming!

    Jabotinsky had it all wrong. The iron wall is not what will preserve his dream; it’s what will destroy Zionism. This is the eleventh hour. An iron wall of justice (karma) is around the bend and Zionism with Netanyahu up front is headed straight for it. I say, what could be better?

    • Sibiriak
      December 8, 2012, 5:03 am

      kalithea says:

      On the left we have the delusional enablers who believe a two-state is still possible by offering Palestinians a few scraps of swiss cheese AND, on the right we have the delusional who believe they can get away with murder and apartheid.

      Are those relishing a Zionism-ending military victory over Israel/USA also delusional?

      Okay, so you know all the crazies are on a runaway train headed down the track at warp speed and destined for a spectacular crash, riiiiiiiight? Sooo, what’re you gonna do, get on the tracks and flag them down or get outta the way and let karma do its job?

      And what exactly will that impending Karma-impelled “crash” look like? What is it you are so sure is going to happen so soon?? (and is the future really so predictable?)

      They’re trying to rescue Zionism with a hail mary pass; when they had YEEEARS to do right by the Palestinians.

      Yep. Complete moral bankruptcy.

      This is the eleventh hour.

      But what if you are wrong? What if it is only the 7th hour?

  18. ToivoS
    December 8, 2012, 3:47 am

    This is just too pathetic. It was some time back when I thought Peace Now represented a progressive voice in the IP problem. After some time I had to agree with the wag who suggested Peace Now should be renamed Peace Later. That they are now saying it is “now” or never is just a pathetic joke. J street and Peace Later are totally irrelevant.

    There are a few things Obama could do today to improve things but I believe the political costs to his admin would simply be too great to even try. He should not do anything other than signal to Europe that they should follow their own instincts (which I believe he did and let them to vote their own interests over the GA vote on Palestinian representation and their reaction to the E1 settlement expansion). The ME would be much better off if the US was no longer micromanaging every countries reaction to whatever Israel desired. Now that would be an improvement.

  19. edding
    December 8, 2012, 11:19 pm

    To this outside observer, J Street seemed to drop the ball before the election on these very issues, and has not been nearly as firm or forward looking as your commentators or others like Richard Silverstein have been, so one wonders what kind of leverage it will have.

    What commitments did J Street get from Obama or Clinton? One suspects very few firm or meaningful ones, especially after BO’s and Hillary’s public pronouncements and obfuscation of the facts while Gaza was being pummeled; and neither politician has ever shown they can be trusted to buck the AIPAC line and become an honest and impartial broker for both sides.

  20. edding
    December 8, 2012, 11:22 pm

    [continuation of comment:]

    J Street did endorse Diane Feinstein, even though she has been more talk than walk on the Israeli-Palestinian question during her tenure in office, and worse than wretched on intelligence and national security state matters (which AIPAC always seems to link to support for Israel). Nonetheless, they should go to her and every other Senator they have endorsed and/or supported and try to cash in. Feinstein might have some influence with her colleagues on this issue, though how much she would be willing to deliver is an open question. It’s worth a try if it can be coupled with an effective strategy to hold hers and her colleagues’ feet to the fire. One’s sense however, is that without big dollars to fund her colleagues’ campaign coffers, J Street will be at a major disadvantage. That’s how the game is played, and, unfortunately, will continue to be played unless the country undergoes a major political sea change.

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