Obama praises Israel to high heavens as Israeli and American elite cement ‘unbreakable’ alliance

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 91 Comments
Obama
President Obama delivers his opening speech at Ben Gurion while Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu look on (Photo: Alex Kane/Mondoweiss)

President Barack Obama received a hearty welcome from his Israeli hosts this afternoon as Air Force One touched down in Ben-Gurion Airport for an official ceremony that saw the president and prime minister of Israel praise America’s commitment to the state they represent. With Israeli and American flags flapping in the wind everywhere you turned, Obama, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly affirmed the U.S.-Israeli alliance and insisted it would remain unbreakable in the face of the winds of change blowing in the Arab world.

“Your visit here is a crown demonstration of the profound relationship between our two nations,” Peres said, as he opened the ceremony with brief remarks. “The Israeli spirit is inspired by American exceptionalism. We are separated by an ocean and united by the commitment to freedom, to justice.”

Netanyahu spoke next, and had a similar message. “Thank you for unequivocally affirming Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself by itself against any threat. Thank you for enhancing Israel’s’ ability to exercise that right through generous military assistance, revolutionary missile defense programs, and unprecedented security and intelligence cooperation,” the prime minister said. “In an unstable and uncertain Middle East, the need for our alliance is greater than ever.”

While both Netanyahu and Peres said that Israel wants peace with the Palestinians–with Peres the only one saying he supports a state of Palestine–Obama did not mention the Palestinians, though it’s likely he will pay lip-service to a two-state solution while in Ramallah and at his big speech in Jerusalem tomorrow. Instead, Obama heaped praise on the Israeli state.

“I want to begin right now, by answering a question that is sometimes asked about our relationship — why? Why does the United States stand so strongly, so firmly with the State of Israel?” said Obama. “The answer is simple. We stand together because we share a common story — patriots determined to be a free people in our land, pioneers who forged a nation.”

In his remarks, Netanyahu claimed to “seek a peace with our Palestinian neighbors.” His record, though, demonstrates otherwise. Netanyahu has presided over a government that has expanded settlements and further cemented Israeli control over the West Bank.

The official speeches garnered applause from a variety of American and Israeli officials in the audience, including Naftali Bennett, the new Israeli government’s minister of industry, trade and labor; Yair Lapid, the new finance minister; Tzipi Livni, who takes over the Palestinian portfolio as Justice minister; Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz; Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren; and more. Despite the official niceties, it was jarring to see Obama, the beneficiary of the U.S. civil rights movement, shake hands with the guardians of a state that imposes separate and unequal sets of rules based on ethnicity.

Obama2
President Obama chats with Naftali Bennett. (Photo: Alex Kane/Mondoweiss)

Before Obama spoke, Israeli military personnel, as well as some American soldiers, milled around and chatted with one another as they waited for the president’s arrival. An Israeli military band played both the Israeli and American national anthems in the moments before the president walked out of Air Force One.

The speeches praising Israel capped a morning that consisted of the Israeli and American elite mingling with one another before the president arrived. I walked right into a special VIP room, where food and drink were served as high-level American and Israeli officials spoke with one another. Yair Lapid and American ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro hugged one another as Shapiro introduced Lapid to his wife.

The ceremony for Obama was carefully choreographed down to the minute, and nobody wanted to mess that up. Shapiro told me “I’m not doing interviews”; Lapid said the same to me, though he wondered how I “snuck” in there.

As Bennett, the settlement booster and Greater Israel supporter, arrived at the ceremony, the Israeli press caught up to him. He gave a brief interview to an Israeli television station, where he praised Obama and the U.S. “The timing of this visit is crucial, so we have great expectations from our great friend America,” Bennett told the station. He also said that Iran was “racing” to build a nuclear weapon.

I called out to Bennett as he walked away, and said, “as minister of the economy, do you plan on financing more settlements?” He gave no response, and instead waved me off. I tried a second time with a different question: “and what about your plan to annex Area C?” Bennett responded by saying his “plan is to strengthen Israel’s economy.” And with that, he walked away for good.

But despite Bennett’s refusal to answer simple questions about his policies for the occupied West Bank, it is clear that the new Israeli government will continue to fund and expand illegal settlements. And despite Obama’s lip-service to the two-state solution, the president has made no sign of seeking to pressure Israel over settlements or a peace agreement.

His speech today, where he made no mention of Palestine, was a clear indication that the U.S.’s “unbreakable alliance” with Israel will continue into his second term. By landing in Israel with no intention to talk about illegal settlements and the discriminatory system Palestinians live under, he has given Israel carte blanche to continue to violate international law with impunity.

91 Responses

  1. John Douglas
    March 20, 2013, 11:49 am

    Alex Kane is a very good reporter who manages to get to where the story is. Congrats to Alex.

  2. Citizen
    March 20, 2013, 12:05 pm

    And the Congressional Black Caucus, the “conscience of Congress,” continues to support the use of US tax dollars to expand illegal Israeli settlements, and to support an Israel boasting over 50 laws discriminating against non-Jewish citizens in every daily way, with lots more of such laws in the knesset hopper, soon to follow. Not to mention not a word from said official black conscience about what harm Israel is doing to the natives in the OT.

    • Teresa
      March 20, 2013, 10:20 pm

      @Citizen:
      It is more than shameful. I have yet to understand the moral framework that guides Obama’s behavior. Nevertheless, for those of us who are the direct descendants of the people involved in the [Black] civil rights movement, it should seem unconscionable for the CBC to support these actions as though they are equally valued players in the game at hand. (I suspect that they know full well of their lesser status and this is why they cower and shuffle such legislation along.)

      • Wonder Bunder
        March 21, 2013, 5:03 am

        He buries his morals deep down so that he can continue to heap praise on Israel so as not to invoke the wrath of AIPAC. I wonder how he can look himself in the mirror as one who, as Alex put it, is a “beneficiary of the U.S. civil rights movement.”

        Thanks, Alex, for this excellent coverage. Come home safely.

      • lysias
        March 21, 2013, 12:23 pm

        Do hollow men even have consciences?

      • aiman
        March 21, 2013, 10:02 am

        “I have yet to understand the moral framework that guides Obama’s behavior.”

        Teresa, this might interest you: link to abc.net.au

      • Annie Robbins
        March 21, 2013, 10:58 am

        that’s a very interesting article aiman. thanks for linking.

    • sardelapasti
      March 21, 2013, 2:30 am

      Citizen – “official black conscience” is sold at the same price per pound as the white version .

  3. Annie Robbins
    March 20, 2013, 12:23 pm

    go alex!!!! excellent reportage! keep it up.

  4. HarryLaw
    March 20, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Obama said “The answer is simple. We stand together because we share a common story — patriots determined to be a free people in our land, pioneers who forged a nation.” And he should have added, we decimated the Indians just like you are trying to decimate the Palestinians. Peres said ” The Israeli spirit is inspired by American exceptionalism”. He should have added, two exceptional nations united against the world.

    • Citizen
      March 20, 2013, 3:47 pm

      @ HarryLaw
      Well, I think he should have added, “We decimated the Indians just like you are trying to decimate the Palestinians. That was in the 19th Century, before WW1 and WW2, and before the Nuremberg Trials, when the world then realized we owe something to all who died from such barbaric antics during the history of the world through WW2, and so, post-Nuremberg and also post-the Toyko Trials, and in line with Geneva from then forward, we cannot abide by what Israel is doing any longer, nor what is being done by the US government in the name of all US citizens. The German defendants at Nuremberg were
      tried under ex post facto (international) law, and so America cannot abide what Israel has been doing, which is against the international law that has been in place for decades, at the cost of so many lives in WW2. Hence we no longer will support Israel no matter what it does.”

      • seafoid
        March 20, 2013, 6:01 pm

        Decimated means 90% survived.

        The native Americans lost more than 80% of their people.

      • thankgodimatheist
        March 20, 2013, 8:30 pm

        “Decimated means 90% survived.”
        Yes and no..While it’s literally true (kill a tenth) it was largely extrapolated to figuratively mean to kill a large portion. In French, taking from Latin, decimer means to cut the head/summet (cime). It simply means to annihilate.

      • thankgodimatheist
        March 20, 2013, 8:42 pm

        “deci·mation n.
        Usage Note: Decimate originally referred to the killing of every tenth person, a punishment used in the Roman army for mutinous legions. Today this meaning is commonly extended to include the killing of any large proportion of a group.”
        link to thefreedictionary.com

      • seafoid
        March 21, 2013, 1:09 am

        I think genocide would be more appropriate for the native experience. Or virtually exterminated. Society destroyed and salted.

        Germany was decimated after WW2 but it had the means of picking itself up again. The Native Americans didn’t. Everything they knew was lost.

        There is some great work being done now by native people 120 years after the end of the Plains wars but what the Native Americans went through was beyond the normal white historical experience even for the Middle Ages when Genghis Khan came to town.

        Even a systematic Goetterdaemmung like the Irish famine was on a lesser scale.

  5. American
    March 20, 2013, 1:10 pm

    O.K. I just threw up….

    Obama…..”We stand with Israel because it is in US security interest and the US and Israel make the world a better place.”

    Can we just go ahead and have WWIII now please?….that’s the only way to end this madness.

    • tokyobk
      March 20, 2013, 3:58 pm

      That is F’d up on so many levels. Its Nakba incitement.

      Who do you think would so most of the dying?

      Probably not Israelis and definitely not internet warrior Americans.

      • Cliff
        March 20, 2013, 9:54 pm

        Nakba incitement?

        Who the hell do you think you are, BK? (Not the Burger King)

        Seriously. Chill out.

      • sardelapasti
        March 21, 2013, 2:25 am

        What the hell are you talking about, Tokyo?
        Your Zionists want it all, and there is nowhere to expel the owners of the land. Do you seriously think they are not going to resort to industrial scale genocide? It’s not small-scale now, either. Do you seriously think they will not use their nukes to stop (or prevent even the idea of) any intervention, or that we can avoid getting in that mess?
        So who’s doing the incitement here?

  6. amigo
    March 20, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Nietanyahu to Obama, Don,t mention the Palestinians.

    Hence the following statement by Obama ,(Nobel Peace prize winner).

    “”We stand together because peace must come to the Holy Land,” Mr Obama said. “Even as we are clear eyed about the difficulties, we will never lose sight of the vision of an Israel at peace with its neighbours.”

    “Even as we are clear eyed about the difficulties,”

    Nice one Obama ??.

    Do you think that will penetrate the average Ziokopf ?.

    Or will they naturally assume you are referring to the Palestinians

  7. MRW
    March 20, 2013, 1:25 pm

    He needs money to build his presidential library in Chicago. You think Pritzer is going to cough up unless he folds?

    • Citizen
      March 20, 2013, 3:54 pm

      He also needs to get and keep as many Israel Firster donations as possible so his Democratic party might take over the House, not just retain the Senate, before he leaves office, so that he may pursue further his attempts at all programs geared towards affirmative action directly or indirectly for all US Citizens except those who are not in that beneficiary class, i.e., white males.

  8. seafoid
    March 20, 2013, 1:26 pm

    “Unbreakable” my ass.

    If Israel were really comfortable with its place in the world it wouldn’t need these pathetic reassurances 24/7.

    They stole the land and they need the world’s 4th largest army to secure it. checkpoints around the clock. Insane airport security procedures. Secret Service agents abound.

    Israeli Jews live a weird life of IDF driven paranoia and mass hatred of Palestinians and the wider Arab world.

    So weird they have run out of US Jews to make aliyah.

    Nothing screams “fake” more than Israel. At least the North Koreans speak the same language as the neighbours . They didn’t base their national anthem on a hungarian folk dance either.

    • Shingo
      March 20, 2013, 3:15 pm

      Great comment Seafoiid

    • Justpassingby
      March 20, 2013, 5:04 pm

      Compare it with a guy insecure about his sexuality.

      I am not gay, I am not gay. I am hetero, I am an “unbreakable” hetero.

    • thankgodimatheist
      March 20, 2013, 9:05 pm

      “Insane airport security procedures.”
      Talking of which, did you read this in Haaretz? Priceless. Security personnel “welcoming” Obama at Ben Gurion airport:
      “Just a few routine security questions, sir”

      PBO: Sure. It’s good to be here. Shalom.
      (She opens his passport.) What is your name?
      PBO: Barack Obama.
      Barack Obama. What kind of a name is that?
      PBO: My parents shared an abiding faith that in a tolerant world your name is no barrier to success. Barack means blessed…
      (Interrupting) I see. Do you have any middle names?
      PBO: Um…
      The security officer waits.
      PBO: That’s my name.
      And what are the names of your grandparents?
      PBO: Hussein and Habiba Obama.
      What community did they belong to?
      PBO: They were Kenyan Muslims…
      Step aside please. (PBO is directed to an isolated corner of the arrivals hall. After some time, another security agent appears.) I need to ask you a few questions. You understand that this is for your own security. What are the names of your grandparents?
      link to haaretz.com

      • Citizen
        March 21, 2013, 9:51 am

        Step aside please. (PBO is directed to an isolated corner of the arrivals hall. After some time, another security agent appears.) I need to ask you a few questions. You understand that this is for your own security. What are the names of your grandparents?

        PBO: Stanley and Madelyn Dunham

      • seafoid
        March 21, 2013, 2:01 pm

        What are the names of your grandparents?

        PBO: Rivka and Zeev Milikovsky

    • piotr
      March 22, 2013, 5:52 am

      Israeli also have a weird combination of complacency “we do not care what they think” and paranoia “whatever we do they do not like us”. And also “the only place safe for Jews” and “ah! our neighborhood is sooo tough!”.

  9. Brown-Eyed Girl
    March 20, 2013, 1:27 pm

    Why does the United States stand so strongly, so firmly with the State of Israel?” said Obama. “The answer is simple. We stand together because we share a common story — patriots determined to be a free people in our land, pioneers who forged a nation.

    Obama is correct: Israel and the US share a common story. It is a story and history of European colonialism, expansionism, and ethnic cleansing against the native population.
    It is just sad to hear such words come out of the mouth of a black man.

    • German Lefty
      March 20, 2013, 2:08 pm

      Exactly right, Brown-Eyed Girl!

    • Citizen
      March 20, 2013, 4:02 pm

      @ Brown-Eyed Girl
      Yes it is. Not only Obama, but the Congressional Black Caucus, the ” conscience of the US Congress,” is riding right there, along with Obama. It does not take a David Duke to point out the hypocrisy, just any semi-intelligent and aware US citizen, or world citizen.

    • Inanna
      March 21, 2013, 1:04 am

      Yanno, I can’t help but think that the insistence on and repetition of the term ‘unbreakable alliance’ in all its variations is really a cover for just how tenuous and breakable the bond really is. After all, when something really is strong, it’s obvious and you don’t go around vocalising it all the time. I think the repetition is a sign of insecurity and fragility rather than a tribute to any ‘unbreakability’.

      The only expectations I have of Obama are that he will always find the lowest common denominator. He’s going to do his duty, pay the visit, not do anything substantive and not ever have to visit or think about this issue again. He’s out-sourced Middle East policy to the political donors.

  10. Justpassingby
    March 20, 2013, 1:52 pm

    When Obama hail Peres as a ‘man of peace’ you know this man is out of touch with realities on the ground.
    As Netanyahu once (in)famously said, ‘America is something you could move very easily’. Yes indeed.

    link to youtube.com

    • Citizen
      March 20, 2013, 4:08 pm

      @ Justpassingby

      Over the last couple of days, roaming the web, I’ve encountered many US-based web sites that are telling Dick and Jane that Obama in Israel merely shows that the great majority of Americans back Israel, not the Palestinians, not because of the Israel Lobby, and not because of the US mainstream media’s peddling of hasbara, but because Dick and Jane, as fully informed American citizens, show over and over again by all polls that Dick and Jane love Israel, and don’t think much about Palestine.

    • lysias
      March 21, 2013, 12:28 pm

      As Netanyahu once (in)famously said, ‘America is something you could move very easily’.

      I understand Netanyahu said that shortly before 9/11. I am still curious to know just
      how shortly before 9/11. I would dearly love to have a precise dating.

  11. German Lefty
    March 20, 2013, 1:55 pm

    “The Israeli spirit is inspired by American exceptionalism.”

    Yes, that’s precisely the problem!

  12. EUR1069
    March 20, 2013, 1:57 pm

    I’m gonna post something when I stop puking & clean up.

  13. kalithea
    March 20, 2013, 3:03 pm

    Obama’s pulled out all the stops in his efforts to win the “love” of Zionists. (good grief “love” and Zionist in one sentence!) He’s groveled hard, he’s added Jewish to the “homeland” of Zionists, he’s caved on the Iran issue, yes, he’s fellated the donkey and barely stopped short of kissing the ground as he stepped off the airline stairs. And guess whaaat??? The Israeli Embassy rewarded him by responding in kind with this shitty, tacky, animated propaganda postcard. (Warning: barf material)

    link to youtube.com

    The donkey is fully satiated.

    • German Lefty
      March 20, 2013, 3:35 pm

      The Israeli Embassy rewarded him by responding in kind with this shitty, tacky, animated propaganda postcard.

      OMG! I’m speechless.

    • justicewillprevail
      March 20, 2013, 7:39 pm

      How gag-making. And how debasing of the office he represents – to appease an apartheid nation with utterly false and superficial statements for parochial political concerns is the end of Obama and the notion of ‘hope’. Unbreakable bond, my ass. A political marriage of convenience, intimidated by the relentless power and coercion of the lobby. To hell with human rights, justice or equality. Coming from a black president, you would think he would have a glimmer of awareness of the betrayal he represents.

    • Sumud
      March 21, 2013, 12:30 pm

      OMG that is so tacky.

      The closing screen I initially read “The United States of Israel”. That pretty much sums it up.

      So disgusted to see the US’ first black President kissing the ass of the leaders of apartheid Israel.

  14. Taxi
    March 20, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Girl: Do you love me?
    Boy: Uhuh.
    Girl: Say it.
    Boy: But I said it five minutes ago.
    Girl: That doesn’t count anymore.
    Boy: But I meant it with all my heart.
    Girl: So it should be easy to say it again.
    Boy: You say it first.
    Girl: I asked you first.
    Boy: C’mon you’re just being insecure.
    Girl: No I’m not, I just need to hear it right this very now.
    Boy: But we do this everyday.
    Girl: That’s because there’s something missing.
    Boy: What do you mean? I give you everything.
    Girl: But you never say ‘forever’ – you never say I love you FOREVER.
    Boy: You mean like for eternity?
    Girl: Just tell me your love is permanent , everlasting, immortal, unshakable, unbreakable – amaranthine – tell me there’s no daylight between us.
    Boy: No daylight between us? But, but, that’s not love – that’s kinda clingy.
    Girl: Boohoohoo boohoohoooooooooo booooooooohoooooooohooooooooo!
    Boy: Oh jeez please don’t cry I’m sorry so sorry alright alright I’ll say it: I. love. You… Ferver.
    Girl: Bwaaaaaah aaaaaawww-hoooooo bwaaaaaaah!
    Boy: Baby I love you for. Ever. Okay…. I’m gonna say it with feeling now: I love you forever. Really. Believe me. I love you forever. For sure. For sure.
    Girl: Bwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaah waaaaaaabwaaaaaaaaaah!
    Boy: Please please no more tears please here here take this please go ahead take my American Express Card – it’s all yours.
    Girl: Sniffle, sniffle…. okay. It’s the least you can do. I’m gonna go shopping now. But I’m still gonna be mad at you.

    • German Lefty
      March 20, 2013, 3:40 pm

      Thanks, Taxi. That’s funny.

      I just found this on Haaretz:
      Just a few routine security questions, sir
      Israel wouldn’t mess up and let its airport security people welcome President Obama to the country, would it?
      link to haaretz.com

    • Citizen
      March 20, 2013, 4:20 pm

      If you don’t give your credit card to someone you say you love, or if you pull it, as to, say your spoiled, irresponsible, not to say, evil kid, than you are an evil person. Pretty amazing. Besides, why should a Gentile love Israel in the first place?

    • Justpassingby
      March 20, 2013, 5:07 pm

      Funny because its true. Dont miss this splendid comic showing the obama/netanyahu “friendship”.

      link to 972mag.com

  15. Shingo
    March 20, 2013, 3:20 pm

    As I read this, I can’t help picturing Obama and Michelle on Air Force One, minutes before landing, seething with self loathing and disgust at what they are about to do.

    Michelle advises him to hold his nose, control his gag reflex and remember that this terrible ordeal will all be over in a few days.

    • Citizen
      March 20, 2013, 4:26 pm

      I have no doubt that Michelle has no special love for Israel. Why should she? Neither does her hubby. It’s all about zionist donations, even though the internet is aflame right now with articles saying the US average citizen loves Israel and that’s why the US congress acts as it does, and why the US mainstream media does not peddle the Palestinian plight–why, Americans won’t watch such a tv station, and, tv news/entertainment is a business, same as paper press.

      • kalithea
        March 20, 2013, 6:34 pm

        “US mainstream media does not peddle the Palestinian plight”

        The plight of Palestinians does not need to be “peddled”; it is the responsibility of the righteous to “report” the truth and defend the oppressed. Only the worthless needs peddling. Zionism on the other hand is peddled everywhere you turn.

        The American public cannot wait to gravitate to their favorite primtime reality and vacuous entertainment shows; because they’re so bored and sick to death with the repetitive, delusional grub they’re being fed daily on mainstream media. Even a dimwit starts to recognize bullshet for what it is after a while.

      • HemiFaulk
        March 21, 2013, 2:39 am

        No they don’t peddle atal, peddling equates to having saleable goods which in this here case means truth. Stories out of Palestine are out of time, pinched in a sense, like air escaping an uncapped tube, hiss, get the cap on, Hiss,

      • bintbiba
        March 21, 2013, 9:51 am

        Kalithea, I love your take on” the plight of Palestinians does not need peddling” and “only the worthless needs peddling” ! Outstanding ! Thank you.

      • bintbiba
        March 21, 2013, 10:18 am

        Correction: “…does not need to be peddled…”

  16. jon s
    March 20, 2013, 3:35 pm

    Shingo, Michelle isn’t on the trip, she stayed home. (Preparing for Passover?)

  17. flyod
    March 20, 2013, 3:43 pm

    this is what happens when you have a zionist – benjamin j rhodes- dictate your speech. look at rhodes past including connections with lee “free pollard” hamilton and the woodrow wilson international center for scholars. (wilson center also featuring ardent zio’s jane harman and joseph gildenhorn.) hamiltons infamous whitewashing of the israeli connection to 911 motives when as vice chair of 911 commission he barred testimony linking u.s. support for israel to hatred of the u.s. the people must never know that.
    not that i ever had faith in obama. anyone paying attention will note his powerful zionist backers. fact is, he wouldn’t be president today without that support. he is owned. good mondo folk give up on the guy once and for all, you are wasting time. proud i never voted for him

  18. Dan Crowther
    March 20, 2013, 3:58 pm

    “Apartheid is totally gnarly, it’s a gnarly institution”
    – Barry Obama

  19. Taxi
    March 20, 2013, 4:09 pm

    When Obama steps off Air Force One wearing an israel-blue tie, matching his host Natenyahu’s israel-blue tie, well you just kinda know it’s ALL political theater.

    Netanyahu needs to assure his supporters that America is still on their side, will still protect them despite the hostility between the two leaders. And Obama needs to assure his American jewish backers/patrons that he really does love israel.

    This trip is a marriage of convenience. Realpolitic.

    Realpolitic: noun – politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives. (Webster’s dictionary)

  20. seafoid
    March 20, 2013, 4:17 pm

    I love the photo. Palestine is still there behind the fancy chairs. That light .

  21. Stone
    March 20, 2013, 4:20 pm

    Yeah, such great allies. True friends generally don’t spy on you. Generally don’t send people to steal your nuclear secrets either. It’s all so very disgusting. Netanyahu treats us like some child’s toy because we have a feckless Congress who only sees dollar signs.

    • EUR1069
      March 20, 2013, 5:28 pm

      @Stone: What’s truly revolting is that our Congress is being purchased with the same money it votes as the annual 3 billion in aid to Israel. A genuinely satanic scheme.

  22. mcohen
    March 20, 2013, 4:24 pm

    alex kane

    “President Barack Obama received a hearty welcome—-he has given Israel carte blanche to continue to violate international law with impunity.”

    obviously you have access to the inner circle of decision makers otherwise why would you make the above statement,but what if the opposite is true

    in the speech made in cairo obama said

    “At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.”

    there is a new government in place,the relegious parties are out of the picture and the bible is not the road map to peace as some believed

    • Annie Robbins
      March 20, 2013, 5:18 pm

      there is a new government in place,the relegious parties are out of the picture

      you don’t think settler parties are religious parties? have you read: link to mondoweiss.net

      The next Knesset will also have the highest number of religious Knesset members in Israel’s history, around 40. That is a reflection of demographic changes in Israeli society and also very smart political maneuvering on behalf of the settlers, which made them represented in the next Knesset well above their demographic [weight] in society.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      Leaving aside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, who are the other ministers in the new cabinet? Here are some examples. Naftali Bennett (Trade and Economics) has stated that “There is not going to be a Palestinian state within the tiny land of Israel,” referring to the whole of Mandate Palestine. He supports the annexation of 60 percent of the West Bank.Yair Lapid (Finance) delivered an election trail speech in major West Bank colony Ariel, declaring that Israel will retain illegal settlement blocs. He has said that he wants to “be rid of” Palestinians in the West Bank and to “put a tall fence between us and them.”
      link to electronicintifada.net

      Yair Lapid brought us an extreme-right, settler-dominated government / Gush Shalom
      March 18, 2013 – Today was established in Israel an extremist right-wing government in which settlers and their allies hold all the key positions: their Minister of Housing will construct settlement housing; their Minister of Industry will divert industries to the settlements; their Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee will provide them with plenty of funds. The Minister of Defense – who is, in effect, the military dictator holding sway over the Occupied Territories – is opposed to any gesture towards the Palestinians, even the smallest and most symbolic. It is a government which appointed a minister to take charge of conducting negotiations with the Palestinians and an entire ministerial team to oversee such negotiations, but would not be able to conduct any such negotiations in reality. The primary responsibility for Israel being saddled with such a pernicious and dangerous government does not rest with PM Netanyahu nor even with Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party. The main responsibility lies squarely upon Yair Lapid, the man who scored a big victory in the elections and frittered it away, who dealt a crushing blow to the right-wing block in Israeli politics and then single-handedly restored this same bloc to great power.
      link to zope.gush-shalom.org

      • biorabbi
        March 20, 2013, 9:08 pm

        This is the trend I worry most about in Israel, the middle east, and within the US. I find no redeeming qualities in religion itself. Also, Annie, another disturbing trend of Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians, Egyptians I’ve met… the secular, highly educated often move to the US, the crazies stay. I thought those signs in Hebrew admonishing Jewish woman “to be modest” were a weird joke.

        Perhaps the best religious solution would be if alien life was discovered, rendering God moot. While I’m proud of my Jewish heritage, I’m deeply unsettled by religious zealots of any stripe.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 20, 2013, 9:38 pm

        the secular, highly educated often move to the US

        the majority (of highly educated) have already left iraq, thanks to our invasion. i think there are a few brilliant secular people who remain in the ME, much to the chagrin of people who’d like the place to go up in flames. funding fundie fanatics is not the best recipe for ‘democracy building’.

        religious solution would be if alien life was discovered

        that would still not get rid of the determined colonialists. not all of them are religious. some are just inhumane/cruel/murderous and greedy. it’s not only the religious who make life impossible. that would almost be to simple. villians are not always the religious. sad, some days feel more defeating than others. this too shall pass.

  23. HarryLaw
    March 20, 2013, 4:55 pm

    Citizen @ “That was in the 19th Century, before WW1 and WW2, and before the Nuremberg Trials, when the world then realized we owe something to all who died from such barbaric antics during the history of the world through WW2, and so, post-Nuremberg and also post-the Toyko Trials, and in line with Geneva from then forward,” Roosevelt and Churchill built into the architecture of the UN the principle that the US and UK are above the rules of International Law for all time. The USSR were persuaded to join followed by Nationalist China then France as a balance to China. These veto wielding powers AND their friends can wage war at their leisure, because there are few consequences, there is no judicial body in the world that can bring any of them to account, it is pointless International lawyers jumping up and down about breaches of International law, when the perpetrators are above it, when Nicaragua took the US to the ICJ and won, the US just ignored the decision.

  24. Kathleen
    March 20, 2013, 6:33 pm

    “The Israeli spirit is inspired by American exceptionalism. We are separated by an ocean and united by the commitment to freedom, to justice.” What a sham.

    Great report Alex and good for you walking right in. I have been amazed at where I have been able to get into in D.C. political circles with some nice clothes and bling on. And great that you tossed those important questions out there. But sounds like we will only see more of the same out of Obama on the I/P issue. Total lap dog is how he will go down in history. No accountability on the false pre war intelligence, no accountability on the Wall Street banksters, and roll over on the I/P issue

    Not sure why we expected anything else after rolled over during the first administration after he was kicked in the cajones by Netanyahu.

  25. kalithea
    March 20, 2013, 6:53 pm

    A Zionist media blitz is happening on CNN since Obama rolled over for Zionists in Israel. Blitzer and Regev could hardly contain themselves and maintain a straight face during a discussion on the issue and almost kissed in an impromptu moment of irrepressible, spontaneous joy.

    But seriously, it makes you want to gag…blech!

  26. German Lefty
    March 20, 2013, 7:14 pm

    Press conference:
    link to nbcnews.com

    Two minutes into the press conference, Nutty Yahoo referred to the Holocaust.

  27. biorabbi
    March 20, 2013, 7:48 pm

    In studying today’s comments on Mondoweiss, I must admit to a keen and unhealthy sense of ‘mondofreude’ which I should be ashamed of. Also, query to seafoid: what’s so bad about a hungarian folk song? I’m of partially of Hungarian descent. My wife and many others make fun of this, casting aspersions as if Hungarians are the hicks of Europe. Not cool. Tokay wine rocks as well.

    • EUR1069
      March 20, 2013, 11:14 pm

      I am part Hungarian, raised in Hungary. Sorry to say, Hungarians are if not the hicks of Europe, but definitely the problem child of Eastern Europe. Not that it has to do anything with us here on MW.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 21, 2013, 10:06 am

        i never thought of hungarians as hicks. i always imagined budapest as really cool.

        i think the joke of ‘hungarian folk song’ is possibly because the choice for the israeli national anthem (or song or whatever the reference) says a lot about the choice of founders of the state which rather diverts with the dominant biblical nationalist theme/rationale being humped to high heaven on this trip.

      • EUR1069
        March 21, 2013, 12:46 pm

        @Annie: Budapest is awesome! It’s the hoi polloi, who, after having been handed the freedom to make something better of themselves, promptly opted for nationalism, xenophobia, crypto-fascism, despising their neighbors (with the exception of Austria, possibly in the spirit of kaiserlich und koniglich nostalgia), & stirring up irredentist sentiments among their minorities in Slovakia & Romania. Arrested development since 1918.

    • W.Jones
      March 20, 2013, 11:52 pm

      Dear Biorabbi,

      I think Bornstein is a fine last name, and I see value and meaning in East European Jewish cultural traditions. Do you think you can suggest to me why Ambassador Oren changed his name. It’s OK too that he changed his name- it’s his choice- but I just don’t understand it.

      Peace.

    • chinese box
      March 21, 2013, 8:14 am

      @biorabbi

      No need to engage in “mondofreude”. Despite the anger on this thread I suspect most of us were already quite cynical about Obama and aren’t surprised by this. I’m more interested in the backstory to this trip. Whose idea was it? Peres? Why travel thousands of miles on taxpayer dollars just to parrot the same bromides that politicians utter everyday in the US?

    • seafoid
      March 21, 2013, 2:32 pm

      Also, query to seafoid: what’s so bad about a hungarian folk song?

      I thought the Jews came from Erez Israel. How come they had no Shaami music?

  28. Dagon
    March 20, 2013, 8:06 pm

    Hey Obama,going into jerusalem you are supposed to ride the donkey.I heared the sucking sound here in the heartland.I need to throw up.

  29. W.Jones
    March 20, 2013, 9:34 pm

    This afternoon at a peace meeting at a Presbyterian church a speaker read a strong, CZ-style quote about the people returning to their land after thousands of years, with suggestions about OT promises and the State system. The speaker asked who made the quote, and I’m thinking “Falwell”? It was Obama this morning.

  30. Blank State
    March 20, 2013, 10:25 pm

    “Israeli Officials” are telling us that chem weapons were used by Assad.

    Think this timing is a coincidence, with Obama in Israel drooling his fealty to a racist murderous aparthied state????

    How would Assad profit by using such weapons??? He wouldn’t. But the opposition??? They know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the United States and Israel would not, could not, admit that the weapons were actually deployed by the opposition, if in fact they were. Even if our intelligence agencies knew the opposition used these weapons in a false flag effort to draw the United States into an intervention, Obama and Netanyahu would still lay the guilt at Assad’s door.The timing here is no coincidence. Obama’s presence in Israel, and this so called “chemical weapons” event is carefully choreographed.

    Obama has utterly and completely sold out. The man is an embarrassment, a cowardly fraud of epic proportions. Its almost as though the zios are holding something over his head, some dark secret, or ominous threat. How different this mewling weasel is from the man that made the Cairo Speech. Netanyahu owns him now, and he is little more than Israel’s factotum.

    • EUR1069
      March 21, 2013, 10:03 am

      “The timing here is no coincidence. Obama’s presence in Israel, and this so called “chemical weapons” event is carefully choreographed…. Obama has utterly and completely sold out. The man is an embarrassment, a cowardly fraud of epic proportions.”

      There is really nothing else to say. Amen!

  31. dbroncos
    March 21, 2013, 12:27 am

    “… it was jarring to see Obama, the beneficiary of the U.S. civil rights movement, shake hands with the guardians of a state that imposes separate and unequal sets of rules based on ethnicity.”

    I was excited about Obama the candidate in ’08. I campaigned for him in Philly with voter registration drives. One young man I aproached had this to say:
    “Are you registered to vote?” I asked.
    He answered, “I don’t vote for no slave masters.”
    “what about Obama?” I asked
    He replied, “I don’t care what color he is”

    At the time I thought his cynicism was unfornate in the face of such an historic election. Now I think his view of the President was more accurate than mine.

    • sajepress
      March 21, 2013, 8:35 am

      dbroncos, almost exactly my experience too. With all his shortcomings I am almost thinking I liked dubya Bush better. Of course I have to puke when I say that. But I have been throwing up with Obama’s revolting double talk to everyone, and shameless pandering to Zionists. Profanity is not my thing but this SNL un-aired skit says it all. Probably one of the best satire/realities ever. link to hulu.com

  32. IL1948
    March 21, 2013, 2:01 am

    The president should have made this trip during his first term.

  33. seafoid
    March 21, 2013, 7:14 am

    Obama planted a tree that wasn’t vetted by Israeli officials. May have to be uprooted. Every plant that comes into Israel has to be tested.

    link to guardian.co.uk

    “Plants cannot be brought in from abroad “without undergoing a check” by the ministry”

    They should outsource the check to someone who really understands the ecosystem. A Palestinian.

    Past eco security efforts have been pathetic
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    There was a fabulous Mondo article a while ago about Euro pines and how they are just firetraps in a country like Israel but I can’t seem to find it.

  34. chinese box
    March 21, 2013, 8:03 am

    I’m the last one to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but is it possible this whole thing is just a way to placate some people temporarily, and he really has plans to take some actions that Israel won’t care too much for? Otherwise what’s the point of this stupid trip?

    • Annie Robbins
      March 21, 2013, 8:41 am

      is it possible this whole thing is just a way to placate some people temporarily, and he really has plans to take some actions that Israel won’t care too much for?

      chinese box, that’s phil’s hunch at the finale, here: link to mondoweiss.net

      Or, just maybe, Obama is embracing this idea in order to say goodbye to these religious fanatics.

      • chinese box
        March 21, 2013, 9:52 am

        thanks Annie

      • seafoid
        March 21, 2013, 10:06 am

        Matt Rothschild in the Progressive

        link to progressive.org

        “President Obama is in Israel right now, but I doubt his visit will make any difference . I doubt it because he’s been barely able to utter the word “Palestinian” over the last few years. Everything is about Israel’s security and Israel’s rights, as if the Palestinians don’t even exist.
        When he landed in Israel, Obama told the rightist leader Benjamin Netanyahu that “The United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend.” But that’s only half true.
        Yes, the United States is, without question, Israel’s strongest ally, providing it with more than $3 billion a year in military aid alone. But that doesn’t necessarily make us Israel’s greatest friend.
        For if we were Israel’s greatest friend, we’d have to exercise a little tough love. We’d insist that the Israeli government would have to cease and desist with its plans for expanding settlements on the West Bank. In fact, we’d insist that Israel dismantle existing settlements and leave the West Bank to the Palestinians and return, essentially, to the pre-1967 borders, in exchange for a full and decent peace settlement. Instead, Washington coddles Israel, and takes its side every time whenever there is a dispute. Netanyahu plays Obama, knowing that Israel can call on its supporters in Congress to derail any positive proposal that Obama might even dream of. But I don’t see much evidence of the dream anymore.
        Just the status quo, which won’t last forever.
        And preserving it is not the same as being Israel’s greatest friend.”

  35. lysias
    March 21, 2013, 11:19 am

    If this alliance were really unbreakable, I don’t think they would feel a need to call it that.

    • seafoid
      March 21, 2013, 12:31 pm

      What Palmerston said

      link to en.wikiquote.org

      “therefore I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow”

  36. lysias
    March 21, 2013, 12:20 pm

    “I want to begin right now, by answering a question that is sometimes asked about our relationship — why? Why does the United States stand so strongly, so firmly with the State of Israel?” said Obama. “The answer is simple. We stand together because we share a common story — patriots determined to be a free people in our land, pioneers who forged a nation.”

    So Obama still thinks — or says he thinks — of the U.S. as a colonial settler regime.

  37. MK_Ultra
    March 21, 2013, 2:47 pm

    I hurled my breakfast when I first saw these ‘news.’ The coverage from Isreal National News, including video and text of the speech is priceless. For everything else, there are American tax dollars.

    link to israelnationalnews.com

    As Bibi mentioned, this is our tenth meeting. We have spent more time together, working together, than I have with any leader. And this speaks to the closeness of our two nations, the interests and the values that we share and the depth and breadth of the ties between our two peoples.

    Aaaaah…the evil twins kissed and made up. Aren’t they sweet?

    In past trips I’ve visited villages near the Blue Line; I’ve walked through Israeli homes devastated by Hezbollah rockets; I’ve stood in Sderot and met with children who simply want to grow up free from fear; and flying in today, I saw again how Israel’s security can be measured in mere miles and minutes.

    Hezbollah…LOL! The “Muslim” can’t even tell Hezbollah from Hamas…typical American. Yeah, but not once has he had the testicular fortitude to visit Gaza and see the homes devastated by the bombs dropped from the planes provided to ISreal by the US.

    As President I have therefore made it clear America’s commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a solemn obligation, and the security of Israel is non-negotiable.

    Ain’t he cute? He actually thinks he’s president. LOL! I’m sure both AIPAC and Wall Street will have a talk with him about that when he comes back to the occupied territory of Washington, DC.

    Today our military and intelligence personnel cooperate more closely than ever before; we conduct more joint exercises and training than ever before; we’re providing more security assistance and advanced technology to Israel than ever before. That includes more support for the missile defenses, like Iron Dome which I saw today and which has saved so many Israeli lives.

    Great! Just what the world needs: more joint terrorism, more warmongering, more chaos, more destruction, more carnage, more weapons for ISreal. And all on the backs of the American taxpaying suckers.

    In short, and I don’t think this is just my opinion, Bibi you would share this, America’s support for Israel’s security is unprecedented and the alliance between our nations has never been stronger. That’s the sturdy foundation we built on today as we addressed a range of shared challenges.

    Cute how he needs to get Bibi’s approval and reassurance. BTW, I wonder if in exchange for his familiarity Bibi calls him Barry?

    As part of our long-term commitment to Israel’s security the Prime Minister and I agreed to begin discussions on extending military assistance to Israel. Our current agreement lasts through 2017, and we’ve directed our teams to start working on extending it for the years beyond.

    In exchange for that “military assistance to ISreal” American senior citizens will have their meager SS slashed, schools will be closed, people will become homeless, die of preventable diseases for lack of healthcare, more will go hungry and become destitute. But who cares for as long as the ISreal war machine keeps on going? The funny thing is that he actually thinks that either of the two pariah nations will be standing past 2017.

    I’m also pleased to announce that we will take steps to ensure that there is no interruption of funding for Iron Dome. As a result of decisions that I made last year Israel will receive approximately 200 million dollars this fiscal year and we will continue to work with Congress on future funding of Iron Dome.

    And here we were worried and bickering over the debt, the budget and thinking we were broke. Apparently not so this may be good news.

    These are further reminders that we will help to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge so that Israel can defend itself by itself against any threat.

    There ya go, Barry. Keep adding salt to the wound. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make ISreal able to defend itself against its own leaders and citizens. Just like your own country.

    Amen!

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