Obama went to Israel to try to rescue the state from deepening isolation

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
on 60 Comments
Obama and Netanyahu
President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Obama’s visit to Israel (Photo: Associated Press/Carolyn Kaster)

The Obama administration’s creation of extremely low expectations prior to the president’s first trip to Israel and Palestine in office was a strategic gambit meant to make his trip look all the more good when he made some progress, albeit incremental, on a number of fronts. All of the admittedly meager deliverables Obama obtained and pushed for had one thing in mind: helping to break Israel out of its increasing political isolation in the Middle East, and the world more broadly. Whether this will actually work remains to be seen, but by most indications, Israel’s actions and political system will continue to isolate the country. 

You can see the examples of political isolation in many places. Whether it’s the California divestment movement or the United Nations Human Rights Council approving a harsh report against illegal settlements, Israel’s loneliness continues—save for the United States always having its back.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may recognize Israel’s political isolation is not beneficial, the continued strength of the Israeli economy and the discovery of natural gas off its shores will leave most of the Israeli political class comfortable no matter what the world thinks of them.

President Obama’s worldview—evidently a liberal Zionist one—leaves him uncomfortable with this state of affairs. But Obama’s personal worldview only has a small effect on what actions he takes; the institution of the presidency is much more important than his personal inclinations. And the U.S. elite he represents has a reason to be worried about Israeli isolation. This isolation deepens because of continued illegal and provocative actions. Those actions may lead to increased pressure on Israel from Palestinian protests and regional governments that are more susceptible to popular opinion than they were before the Arab Spring (though there is no Palestinian uprising coming in the near future for a variety of reasons). And those provocations in the region could make it difficult for a “stable” Middle East–friendly to American elite interests–to continue existing to the extent it does now. For all these reasons, Obama’s speech in Jerusalem was meant to sound the alarm about Israel’s regional isolation.

“Given the frustration in the international community, Israel must reverse an undertow of isolation. And given the march of technology, the only way to truly protect the Israeli people is through the absence of war,” Obama told the crowd of Israeli youth. “This truth is more pronounced given the changes sweeping the Arab World. I recognize that with the uncertainty in the region – people in the streets, changes in leadership, the rise of non-secular parties in politics –it is tempting to turn inward. But this is precisely the time to respond to the wave of revolution with a resolve for peace.”

These words came in a speech that promised unconditional American support, which helps boost the profits of weapons companies and is the easy political thing to do. But unconditional American support only means so much if the rest of the world continues to turn against you.

The biggest get on the anti-isolation front was the much-heralded Israeli-Turkish rapprochement. Obama also tried to make progress on the “peace process.” While it remains unlikely that a genuine “peace process” will emerge from Obama’s efforts, the semblance of movement towards one could help Israel out with its diplomatic relations with Europe and other countries in the Middle East.

Right before President Obama left Israel, a phone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was made to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After the call concluded, Netanyahu’s office announced that he told Erdogan that Israel “regretted” the incidents on board the Mavi Marmara, the flotilla ship where Israel killed 9 people trying to get to Gaza, and that Turkey had accepted Netanyahu’s apology. Headlines beamed the news of Israeli-Turkish reconciliation around the world, and predictions of increasing Israeli ties to Turkey were made. But the devil remains in the details.

Erdogan has now said that the normalization of ties with Israel is predicated on the lifting of the Gaza blockade and the payment of compensation to the families of those killed by the Israeli Navy on the Mavi Marmara. Still, whether full normalization goes through between the two states, it is significant that Obama seemed to encourage Netanyahu into making the apology as the way for Israel to restore ties to Turkey.

These ties are important because, on a number of political issues, Israel needs Turkey as an ally in a region where it has none. Israel needs Turkey to help deal with the chaos in Syria, and closer Israeli cooperation with NATO, which Turkey has sought to block, is another prize that could come from Israeli-Turkish rapprochement.

So the Israeli-Turkish dance remains complicated. And getting the “peace process” back on track could be even more complicated.

Time and time again during the president’s trip, both Obama and Netanyahu emphasized the need to return to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. The negotiations, in Obama’s worldview, will also help Israel break out of growing isolation, even if they won’t lead to a real agreement. Netanyahu knows this, and it’s why he agreed on the need for peace talks despite a right-wing coalition filled with settlers and their supporters.

The need for Netanyahu’s government to put on a nice face was driven home to me when I encountered Michael Oren, the American-born Israeli ambassador to the U.S., in the press room at the residence of Netanyahu in an upscale neighborhood in Jerusalem. After he was done giving an interview in Hebrew, I approached him and asked to speak with Oren. He was hesitant—Mondoweiss is “not exactly friendly” to Israel, he told me, and he was worried how I would spin it—but he did briefly talk with me.

Asked about whether Israel’s right-wing pro-settler government would cause tensions with the U.S., he replied:

“The government’s committed to the peace process. There may be different ideas about how to proceed, but the government, the Israeli government, the way our democracy works, it’s a consensual form of government, there’s one government position…And the government is committed to finding a solution.”

The nod to the “peace process” and a “solution” is Oren’s attempt to tell the world that Israel wants peace, despite the fact that its actions say otherwise.

And the Palestinian Authority (PA), for its part, desperately wants to return to negotiations. Peace talks are all they have, as their economy remains in shambles and sentiment in the West Bank continues to turn away from Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. But the PA is caught between their wish to please their international benefactors and their people, who want no part of pointless negotiations.

So Obama came here to help jumpstart negotiations, and the U.S., led by Secretary of State John Kerry, is trying to coax the PA into talks. The unlocking of $500 million in aid to the West Bank government could be one way to do that. The Israeli government made a similar move yesterday when it resumed the regular transfer of tax revenues they collect on the PA’s behalf to Abbas’ government.

The peace talks, if they ever happen, will not go anywhere substantive. We can say that given their miserable history. But Obama sees them as important to breaking Israel out of its deepening political isolation.

And this was one reason why Obama came to Israel: to warn them that despite unconditional U.S. support, you have to make some moves that brighten up your image.

The Israeli settlers don’t care about this image. But Obama knows that if Israel is to weather the storm of revolution and a changing Europe that is now talking about sanctions (though for now, it is only talk), the facade of peace talks are important. A belligerent right-wing government in Israel will continue to do harm to the state’s political situation. But Obama came to help rescue the state from itself. The big problem for the Obama administration, though, is that the dominant political forces in Israel continue to dive deeper into the abyss of apartheid, and by consequence, isolation.

60 Responses

  1. seafoid
    March 26, 2013, 10:22 am

    link to haaretz.com

    “Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show returned after two weeks off the air by poking fun at the outcome of President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Israel and the West Bank, and lamenting the failures of past U.S. presidents in the peace process.

    Stewart mocked Obama’s Jerusalem speech, in which the president combined what Stewart described as “a stunning declaration of American support for Israel’s right to exist,” with a call for recognition of “the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, right to justice.”

    “An American president sketching out a path to an Israeli state, to a Palestinian state, why did no one think of this sooner?” Stewart quipped.

    He went on to show footage of former U.S. presidents making similar assertions, including Geroge W. Bush Jr. in 2007, Bill Clinton in 1998 and George W Bush Sr. in 1991, before shouting out “We are f***ng powerless,” and pulling out a one dollar bill with a talking George Washington also repeating the two-state message.

    “The point is this: Talk is cheap, and we have done that for years, so call me when there is actually some diplomatic progress,” Stewart said, before lambasting Obama’s big success of the trip – brokering the reconciliation between Israel and Turkey, “two countries nobody knew were fighting.””

  2. W.Jones
    March 26, 2013, 11:13 am

    It seems to me the Turkish-Israeli reapproachment is a significant step. As Kane points out, one of the conditions had been loosening the blockade on Gaza, and it remains to be seen whether the reapproachment will continue without that.

    What do you think about this development?

    • Citizen
      March 26, 2013, 1:46 pm

      @ W.Jones
      I saw nothing specific about the Turkish-Israeli reapproachment that included anything about loosening the blockage on Gaza, let alone ending it, which has been The Turkish stance. Anybody?

    • seafoid
      March 27, 2013, 12:40 am

      Nothing. Gaza will continue to be shafted. Zionism is heartless and the Turks want growth.

  3. kalithea
    March 26, 2013, 11:18 am

    ” and the discovery of natural gas off its shores will leave most of the Israeli political class comfortable no matter what the world thinks of them.”

    Is this the gas that belongs to Gaza or the one in dispute with Lebanon, because Israelis usually just TAKE what belongs to others?

    So the PA is being bribed to talk about the dead patient, the evaporated, imaginary two-state solution so the focus will return to that pretense instead of the crimes being committed. Abbas will again betray Palestinians if he returns to blabbing about nothing while the criminals are indulged.

    The best thing for Israel IS isolation; it’s what any criminal who steals and hurts people deserves until he’s ready to behave in society.

    • Ecru
      March 26, 2013, 1:37 pm

      The best thing for Israel IS isolation; it’s what any criminal who steals and hurts people deserves until he’s ready to behave in society.

      Well said. Could not have put it better myself. Thank you for doing so, so I don’t have to try.

    • Citizen
      March 26, 2013, 1:51 pm

      @ kalithea
      The Palestinians have discoveries too of natural gas off Gaza shores; the discovery is over a decade old, and it originally had Brit developers backing it’s enterprise, but Israel has shut that down by refusing its aid to such development unless the Palestinians sell it the product at deep discount from market value. Israel’s power is based on its claims of Israel security matters related to any such discovery brought into production and/or distribution. The US has done nothing to help the Palestinian off shore resources’ ability to save US and UK, EU tax dollars dollars supporting Palestinian terrible “diet” thanks to Israel.

  4. lysias
    March 26, 2013, 11:18 am

    None of these reports about the Israeli-Turkish rapprochement mentions the ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK Kurdish rebels that jailed PKK leader Öcalan announced the very same day. Surely there is a connection.

  5. yourstruly
    March 26, 2013, 11:18 am

    in apartheid israel as in aparteid south africa -
    isolate & turn it into a pariah state, oh yes!
    isolate & turn it into a pariah state, oh yes!
    isolate & turn it into a pariah state, oh yes!

  6. DICKERSON3870
    March 26, 2013, 12:33 pm

    RE: “Given the frustration in the international community, Israel must reverse an undertow of isolation. And given the march of technology, the only way to truly protect the Israeli people is through the absence of war,” Obama told the crowd of Israeli youth.

    MY COMMENT: Obama’s admonition is in diametrical opposition to the Iron Wall strategy of Revisionist Zionism as adopted by Likudnik Israel.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Iron Wall (essay)]:

    “The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs)” is an essay written by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in 1923. It was originally published in Russian, the language in which Jabotinsky wrote for the Russian press.[1]
    He wrote the essay after the British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill prohibited Zionist settlement on the east bank of the Jordan River, and formed the Zionist Revisionist party after writing it.[2]
    Jabotinsky argued that the Palestinian Arabs would not agree to a Jewish majority in Palestine, and that “Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”[1] The only solution to achieve peace and a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, he argued, would be for Jews to unilaterally decide its borders and defend them with the strongest security possible.
    ● References
    • 1^ a b Jabotinsky, Ze’ev (4 November 1923). “The Iron Wall”. – link to jabotinsky.org
    • 2 ^ Zionist Freedom Alliance – Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky – link to zfa.org.il
    ● External links
    • Lustick, Ian S. (2007). “Abandoning the Iron Wall: Israel and “The Middle Eastern Muck””. Middle East Policy (Middle East Policy Council) (Fall 2007). – link to mepc.org

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      March 26, 2013, 12:39 pm

      P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA [Revisionist Zionism]:

      [EXCERPTS] Revisionist Zionism is a nationalist faction within the Zionist movement. It is the founding ideology of the non-religious right in Israel, and was the chief ideological competitor to the dominant socialist Labor Zionism. Revisionism is the precursor of the Likud Party. . .[1]
      . . . Revisionism was distinguished primarily from other ideologies within Zionism by its territorial maximalism. While not the only group to do so, they insisted upon the Jewish right to sovereignty over the whole territory of Eretz Yisrael* (originally encompassing all of Mandatory Palestine). . .
      . . . Revisionism’s foremost political objective was to maintain the territorial integrity of the historical land of Israel and establish a Jewish state with a Jewish majority on both sides of the River Jordan. Jewish statehood was always a major ideological goal for Revisionism, but it was not to be gained at the price of partitioning Eretz Yisrael. Jabotinsky and his followers, therefore, consistently rejected proposals to partition Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state. Menachem Begin, Jabotinsky’s successor, therefore opposed the 1947 United Nations partition plan. Revisionists considered the subsequent partition of Palestine following the 1949 Armistice Agreements to have no legitimacy.[1] . . .
      . . . Following Israel’s capture of the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 war, Revisionism’s territorial aspirations concentrated on these territories. These areas were far more central to ancient Jewish history than the East Bank of the Jordan and most of the areas within Israel’s post-1949 borders. In 1968, Begin defined the “eternal patrimony of our ancestors” as “Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Judea, [and] Shechem [Nablus]” in the West Bank. In 1973, Herut’s election platform called for the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza. When Menachem Begin became leader of the broad Likud coalition and, soon Prime Minister, he considerably modified Herut’s expansive territorial aims. The party’s aspiration to unite all of mandatory Palestine under Jewish rule was scaled down. Instead, Begin spoke of the historic unity of Israel in the West Bank, even hinting that he would make territorial concessions in the Sinai as part of a complete peace settlement.[8]
      When Begin finally came to power in the 1977 election, his overriding concern as Prime Minister (1977–83) was to maintain Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza.[9][10] In 1981 he declared to a group of Jewish settlers: “I, Menachem, the son of Ze’ev and Hasia Begin, do solemnly swear that as long as I serve the nation as Prime Minister we will not leave any part of Judea, Samaria, [or] the Gaza Strip.”[11][page needed] One of the main mechanisms for accomplishing this objective was the establishment of Jewish settlements. . .
      . . . In the diplomatic arena, Begin pursued his core ideological objective in a relatively pragmatic manner. He held back from annexing the West Bank and Gaza, recognizing that this was not feasible in the short term, due to international opposition.[1] He signed the Camp David Accords (1978) with Egypt . . . But his uncompromising stance in the negotiations over Palestinian autonomy from 1979 to 1981 led to the resignations of the more moderate Moshe Dayan and Ezer Weizman, Foreign and Defense Ministers, respectively, both of whom left the Likud government.
      According to Weizman, the significant concessions Begin made to the Egyptians in the Camp David Accords and the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty of the following year were motivated, in part, by his ideological commitment to the eventual annexation of the territories.[12] By removing the most powerful Arab state from the conflict, reducing international (mainly American) pressure for Israeli concessions on the issue of the territories, and prolonging inconclusive talks on Palestinian autonomy, Begin was buying time for his government’s settlement activities in the territories. Begin continued to vow that territory which was part of historic Eretz Israel in the West Bank and Gaza would never be returned. His adamant stand on the territory became an obstacle to extending the 1979 peace treaty.[8] . . .

      SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

      * Map showing an interpretation of the borders of the Land of Israel, based on scriptural verses found in Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47 - link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Taxi
        March 26, 2013, 4:02 pm

        From the map link you provided, Dickerson, I see that the zionists have their euro-blue eyes on the WHOLE of Lebanon: a green and fecund land with hundreds of underground rivers and a handful of overground ones. No sh*t they don’t want neighboring Syria, that dry, dusty, waterless hellhole, they want the evergreen pine and cedar lands of northern Lebanon. I’m sure the christians of Mount Lebanon will surrender to the zionists no problemo lol! I mean they’re only a christian version of hizbollah in the south so that plan should be a real nice cakewalk uhuh. I mean how do them zionists do it, how do they manage to always keep their intention aligned with their a**hole? Boggles the mind!

        But the fun part of looking at the ‘Ezekiel’ map was realizing what a great piece of real estate the conjoining of Palestine and Lebanon would make. I mean really wow! And both people are so industrious to boot – just think of a life of prosperity and fair weather! When Palestine is liberated, maybe the two countries can become one and call their country Lebanstine, or Palinon – lol!

        In the meantime, the colonialist zionists should really be setting their sights on Odessa and Brooklyn – it won’t cost an arm and a leg to get there, unlike the white-knuckle winding roads to Mount Lebanon.

      • seafoid
        March 27, 2013, 1:38 am

        “removing the most powerful Arab state from the conflict, reducing international (mainly American) pressure for Israeli concessions on the issue of the territories, and prolonging inconclusive talks on Palestinian autonomy, Begin was buying time for his government’s settlement activities in the territories”

        It was always nuts. Buy time. Facts on the ground.
        Big swinging mickey. They never thought about the Palestinians.
        Stupid. All that Jewish exceptionalism and they forgot the basics.

    • DICKERSON3870
      March 26, 2013, 12:47 pm

      RE: “For all these reasons, Obama’s speech in Jerusalem was meant to sound the alarm about Israel’s regional isolation.” ~ Alex Kane

      MY COMMENT: Israel’s Iron Wall strategy inevitably results in “Israel’s regional isolation”. The two are inextricably intertwined!

    • DICKERSON3870
      March 26, 2013, 1:00 pm

      RE: “These words came in a speech that promised unconditional American support, which helps boost the profits of weapons companies and is the easy political thing to do.” ~ Alex Kane

      MY COMMENT: And, it is “unconditional American support” that enables Israel to implement its Iron Wall strategy which inevitably leads to “Israel’s regional isolation”!
      Think of a dog chasing its own tail. It can never quite catch it.

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 26, 2013, 1:15 pm

        P.S.
        ● FROM WIKIPEDIA [Enabling]:

        [EXCERPT] . . . In a negative sense, enabling is . . . used in the context of problematic behavior, to signify dysfunctional approaches that are intended to help but in fact may perpetuate a problem.[1][2] A common theme of enabling in this latter sense is that third parties take responsibility, blame, or make accommodations for a person’s harmful conduct (often with the best of intentions, or from fear or insecurity which inhibits action). The practical effect is that the person himself or herself does not have to do so, and is shielded from awareness of the harm it may do, and the need or pressure to change. It is a major environmental cause of addiction.[3]
        A common example of enabling can be observed in the relationship between the alcoholic/addict and a codependent spouse. The spouse believes incorrectly that he or she is helping the alcoholic by calling into work for them, making excuses that prevent others from holding them accountable, and generally cleaning up the mess that occurs in the wake of their impaired judgment.[citation needed] In reality what the spouse is doing is hurting, not helping. Enabling prevents psychological growth in the person being enabled and can contribute to negative symptoms in the enabler.
        One of the primary purposes of a formal Family Intervention with alcoholics/addicts is to help the family cease their enabling behaviors. . .

        SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

        ● JACLYN FRIEDMAN (from “It’s Time for Some Israel Real Talk”):

        [EXCERPT] . . . I love Israel. As an American Jew, the dream of Israel has held me in thrall since I was a small child. The day I wept at the Wailing Wall was one of the most transcendent and emotional of my life. But loving someone doesn’t mean helping them do whatever destructive thing they want. Call that enabling or co-dependence, but it’s not love. I love Israel like I’d love a drunk friend who wants their car keys. . .

        SOURCE – link to prospect.org

        ● AND SEE: “How Israel Is Like an Alcoholic Mother”, by Megan McArdle, The Atlantic, 3/22/12

        [EXCERPT] . . . What is it Alex Portnoy overhears his mother say to her friends, apropos of the lengths she has to go to to get him to eat? “I have to stand over him with a knife!”
        To be a bit more serious for a moment, though, Chesterton famously quipped: “My country, right or wrong is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying: “My mother, drunk or sober.” Well, yes, but she is your mother, drunk or sober, right? Similarly, it is your country, whether your country is right or wrong. The question is what that entails. If your mother is a drunk, and begs for another drink, are you obliged to give it to her? Presumably not.
        But are you obliged to devote yourself to getting her to dry out? That, it seems to me is the real heart of the question. I think many of Beinart’s critics — like Jeffrey Goldberg — would say: that’s exactly how they think about Israel and the settlements. They are against them. . . They think they were and are a grave and historic mistake…
        . . . So they are doing what they can to convince their mother to check herself in and dry out. But she’s their mother. If it takes her a long time to convince, they’ll keep trying. If she slips a drink on the sly, they’ll try to hide the liquor better, but they’ll forgive her. [In other words, they will act as "enablers". ~ J.L.D.] And, whatever she does, they certainly aren’t going to call the cops on her, and give the neighbors (who never liked her, even have tried to get her evicted) the satisfaction of seeing her humiliated by her own son in public. After all, she’s their mother. [Let's call this "constructive engagement"! ~ J.L.D.]
        Well, talk to a few children of alcoholics, and you’ll discover that “my mother, drunk or sober” is not always a tenable proposition. Sometimes, for some people, the sense of obligation to one’s mother is trumped by a sense of obligation to oneself, and to protect oneself from her disease. And that, in a nutshell, is what Beinart is saying. She may be my mother, yes, but if she keeps carrying on, I don’t care what the neighbors say, and I don’t care if she never speaks to me again afterward: I’m going to call the cops on her. . .

        ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to theatlantic.com

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 26, 2013, 1:19 pm

        P.P.S.
        ● ALSO SEE: “Enabling – When ‘Helping’ Doesn’t Really Help”, By Buddy T, About.com Guide, 3/05/11

        [EXCERPT] Many times when family and friends try to “help” alcoholics, they are actually making it easier for them to continue in the progression of the disease.
        This baffling phenomenon is called enabling, which takes many forms, all of which have the same effect –
        allowing the alcoholic to avoid the consequences of his actions. This in turn allows the alcoholic to continue merrily along his (or her) drinking ways, secure in the knowledge that no matter how much he screws up, somebody will always be there to rescue him from his mistakes. . .

        SOURCE – link to alcoholism.about.com

        ● AND SEE: “Are You an Addiction Enabler?”, By Sunrise Recovery

        [EXCERPT] The problem of alcoholism or drug addiction is often shared by two people. There is a substance abuser and there is an enabler.
        The enabler may be a spouse, life-partner, relative or friend. The substance abuser and the enabler are partners in a co-dependent relationship that encourages or overlooks the abuser’s unhealthy behavior. The enabler makes excuses for and protects the substance abuser, often out of a misplaced sense of loyalty or love. As a result, the substance abuser’s problems with addiction are prolonged. . .

        SOURCE – link to drugrehabranch.crchealth.com

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 26, 2013, 1:58 pm

        P.P.S. RE: “Obama went to Israel to try to rescue the state from deepening isolation”

        IN SUMMATION: And yet, Obama repeatedly and unequivocally pledged “unconditional American support” for Israel, and it is this “unconditional American support” that enables Israel to believe in and implement its Iron Wall strategy, which inevitably leads to “Israel’s regional [and international] isolation”!
        Think of a dog chasing its own tail. No matter how hard the dog tries, or how fast it runs in a tight circle, it can never quite catch its own tail. Its own tail is always just barely out of its reach.

      • Talkback
        March 27, 2013, 10:39 am

        Your right, Dickerson3870. The US is actually acting like a codependant:

        “Codependency is defined as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition … it refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. … Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns. Narcissists are considered to be natural magnets for the codependent.”
        link to en.wikipedia.org

  7. peacenotapartheid
    March 26, 2013, 12:46 pm

    From Defense News at link to ow.ly :

    “In an extraordinarily emotive visit here aimed at rallying Israel’s current and future leaders to seize the chance for peace, U.S. President Barack Obama doubled down on U.S. security support with a new agreement to extend annual military aid through 2027.”

    Bush’s earlier 10-year “…agreement elevated Israel’s annual grant aid from $2.4 billion to $3.1 billion, and Israeli officials expect (this) follow-on package to provide incremental boosts to nearly $4 billion per year.”

    • Citizen
      March 26, 2013, 1:59 pm

      @ peacenotapartheid

      And, meanwhile, while per capita every Israeli gets $500 a year check from US, while America’s (mostly white Gentile) seniors are getting the shaft. And America’s university students are doing badly too. The US press never focuses on this state of affairs. The USSR collapsed, Pravda collapsed, but in America they carry on in implemented principle.

    • southernobserver
      March 26, 2013, 5:37 pm

      a complete disgrace. Benign neglect would be so much less damaging that this.

      Seriously, why is Mr Obama doing this?

    • American
      March 26, 2013, 9:33 pm

      Absolutely disgusting…..next election I am voting for the craziest sob running so we can bring all the insanity to a head and get it over with.

  8. Qualtrough
    March 26, 2013, 12:50 pm

    Israel and the USA need Turkey on board in order to pursue their designs on Syria and Iran, thus the apology.

    • Citizen
      March 26, 2013, 5:22 pm

      Yea, PNAC is alive and well; the neocons are still trotted out as experts on foreign policy by cable TV news/entertainment despite their glaring failures, and the liberal Jewish media and politicians sail right along with the same PNAC program. Iraq? Check. Syria? Getting close to checking that box. Iran? That will be the last box to check. In the end, how different are Soros and Adelson?

    • lysias
      March 26, 2013, 6:54 pm

      As Rashid Khalidi explains in his new book Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Israel have been driving U.S. policy on Syria.

    • Mayhem
      March 26, 2013, 7:10 pm

      Israel and the USA need Turkey on board in order to pursue their designs on Syria and Iran

      What kind of nonsense is this!
      The two bleedingly obvious issues in the Middle East today are what happens to Syria, and whether Iran can be prevented from gaining nuclear weapons.
      Israel and Turkey are central to these considerations.
      The Palestinian issue is not the main issue right now and its resolution can wait to allow the more pressing matters of Syria and Iran to be dealt with.
      No matter how much bleating and heavy breathing we hear from the Palestinian side their supporters need to recognise current priorities.
      When Obama first came to office he mistakenly thought that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute was the central cause of conflict in the Middle East and Israeli settlements in the West Bank were the main obstacle to Middle East peace. He eventually realized that this conflict existed long before the issue of settlements appeared on the table.
      By demonising Israeli settlements and demanding a freeze on building within them – not a freeze on the acquisition of any new territory for settlements but building within their existing territorial limits – Obama in fact gravely harmed the peace process.
      The Palestinians got sucked in and hence refused direct negotiations with Israel unless there was a complete freeze on all building within settlements. The Israelis said they would negotiate directly with the Palestinians without preconditions but would not (except for one 10 months period) freeze building within settlements.
      As a result of Obama’s miscalculation, we got several years of inaction. Obama now realizes that direct negotiations without preconditions is the ONLY way.

      • Sumud
        March 27, 2013, 8:16 pm

        The Palestinian issue is not the main issue right now and its resolution can wait to allow the more pressing matters of Syria and Iran to be dealt with.
        No matter how much bleating and heavy breathing we hear from the Palestinian side their supporters need to recognise current priorities.

        Mayhem you can put your fascist fantasies away. You don’t get to decide other people’s priorities.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 27, 2013, 8:32 pm

        sumud, like saddam’s wmd’s, assad’s alleged chemical weapons scare, or the scaremongering over iran, all of it merely a distraction used to claim “the palestine issue is not the main issue right now”, because they always have something bigger. it just seems thru thick and thin, no matter how dire things are, they never tire of expanding their little criminal state. there’s ALWAYS time for the issue of their own zionist expansion! about the only thing not used to alleviate the threats against them is to stop expanding, but they won’t. that way they always guarantee a threat because..colonizing pisses people off. and the opportunities are seemingly endless. once they colonize one area,they can just move further on down the road and will probably do so til they are stopped dead and forced to retreat.

      • Mayhem
        March 29, 2013, 1:31 am

        You guys hate the distraction of Syria and Iran because it takes the Palestinian issue out of the limelight. As one Palestinian so appropriately remarked (can’t find the exact quote) the distractions that keep happening in the rest of the Middle East (not just in Syria and Iran) keep taking the world’s attention away from the Palestinians. You mightn’t like that but that is the reality and you can’t just keep on blaming Israel and the US for your plight. As Obama put it

        Arab States must adapt to a world that has changed. The days when they could condemn Israel to distract their people from a lack of opportunity … are over. Now is the time for the Arab World to take steps towards normalizing relations with Israel. Meanwhile, Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state, and that Israelis have the right to insist upon their security.

  9. mikeo
    March 26, 2013, 1:18 pm

    “Obama went to Israel to try to rescue the state from deepening isolation”

    Good luck with that…

    • Bing Bong
      March 27, 2013, 9:01 am

      Ties with Turkey moved a step away from isolation. Unconditional support from the US *and* all the countries that follow the US remains I presume.

      If Israel isn’t isolated by now, when is it happening? When the UN redeclares Zionism as racist? When the countries with diplomatic ties revoke those ties of which there were none pre 1948? When Egypt and Jordan tear up the peace treaties? When Germany starts another Holocaust this time worldwide?

      The only countries that seem to be collapsing in on themselves in the ME are the ones that have always tried to isolate her.

      Maybe next Pesach it’ll happen, Israel can worry then. Or the next one. Perhaps Israel’s enemies will start saying ‘next year in Jerusalem’ at this time of year.

      • mikeo
        March 28, 2013, 9:32 am

        Yes Israel doesn’t have an isolation problem, no one in Israel is worried about this:

        link to mondoweiss.net

        link to electronicintifada.net

        link to reut-institute.org

        Taking your fingers out of your ears may help…

      • mikeo
        March 28, 2013, 10:52 am

        “Unconditional support from the US *and* all the countries that follow the US remains I presume.”

        Wanna bet?

        “The United Nations general assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to recognise Palestine as a state, in the face of opposition from Israel and the US.

        The 193-member assembly voted 138 in favour of the plan, with only nine against and 41 abstentions. The scale of the defeat represented a strong and public repudiation for Israel and the US, who find themselves out of step with the rest of the world.

        ……..

        But the coalition against the vote was thin. Apart from Israel and the US, those voting against were Canada, the Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama.

        European countries such as France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland all voted yes. Britain and Germany both abstained, with Britain saying Abbas had failed to promise he would resume peace negotiations with Israel.”

  10. Ecru
    March 26, 2013, 1:44 pm

    “…Obama’s worldview—evidently a liberal Zionist one…”

    Can we please stop using this description? Liberal Zionist is like Liberal KKK – a complete and utter contradiction in terms. Liberal Zionist translates into “the illusion of being liberal when something benefits Jews (and if other also benefit it’s great for brownie points) totally reactionary to a murderous extent when anything might challenge Jewish privilege.

    Also I seriously doubt Obama IS a Liberal Zionist – he’s just a politician who knows on which side his bread is buttered. I’ve honestly yet to see him demonstrate a real belief in anything.

  11. American
    March 26, 2013, 2:01 pm

    “While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may recognize Israel’s political isolation is not beneficial, the continued strength of the Israeli economy and the discovery of natural gas off its shores will leave most of the Israeli political class comfortable no matter what the world thinks of them.”>>>>>>

    I haven’t looked lately at the progress of Israel’s gas venture, but have noticed signs of possible economic upsets in Israel, they’ve got a severe RE and some other bubbles going, plus reports on how Israelis production efficiency lags behind other world workers and then the following appeared this week:……Lapid may have to renege on his more fair economic equality promise.

    link to haaretz.com

    ”Lapid: Israel has monster overdraft, I’ll have to become ‘Mr. No’

    Finance Minister Yair Lapid started his first week of work by telling activists from his Yesh Atid party that Israel’s fiscal situation is far worse than he had imagined, and warned that he would have to undertake painful measures to correct it.

    “The picture that is slowly unfolding before me is a lot worse than I had expected,” Lapid wrote in an email over the weekend. “Don’t use words like ‘deficit’ or ‘fiscal crisis.’ I’m telling you that it’s simply a lot worse. I wanted to fix the house but discovered that our bank account is in overdraft. What kind of overdraft? Monstrous, ominous and growing.”

    • MK_Ultra
      March 27, 2013, 7:19 pm

      Here’s another sign, although I’m willing to bet that the US taxpayers will be picking up the tab for that one:

      Israel to cut military budget over deep economic concerns

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid have agreed to cut Israel’s military budget over deep concerns about the regime’s mounting budget deficit.

      link to presstv.ir

      At a Sunday meeting, Netanyahu and Lapid agreed to slash Israel’s military spending by 4.5 billion shekels over the next 18 months, as part of the regime’s plan to curb its 16-billion-shekel deficit.

      Based on the new consensus, the service of some soldiers will be shortened to less than three years and some early pension plans will be cancelled.

      Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has denounced the plan as irresponsible.

      In a post on his Facebook page Saturday night, Lapid wrote he was “very worried by the economic data presented to me” at a meeting with treasury officials.

      He warned that Israel was facing a “monstrous overdraft,” and underlined the need to apply painful cuts to balance the regime’s budget.

      According to the report, Lapid also intends to slash the planned financing of infrastructural development — mainly roads and railways — and to stop the government-subsidized education which begins at the age of three. “We will work hard, we will cut, we will lower expenses and we’ll also cut from painful places,” Lapid wrote in a blog post. “It will be hard, it will be pressure-filled,” Lapid added.

      An opinion poll released by Russia’s Yuri Levada Center in February indicated that more than 40 percent of Israelis see ‘economic problems’ as the biggest challenge facing Netanyahu’s new cabinet

      According to a report by the International Monetary Fund in December 2012, Israel has one of the highest rate of poverty among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

  12. chinese box
    March 26, 2013, 2:37 pm

    I’m wondering if the rapprochement between Netanyahu and Erdogan was really set up in advance (maybe the US had nothing to do with it?) as a quid pro quo for making the trip to Israel and keeping mum on the settlement issue. In return Obama gets to look forward to puff pieces like this one:

    link to nytimes.com

  13. James Canning
    March 26, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Fractious Israeli political system contributes hugely to failure to end occupation of West Bank.

  14. James Canning
    March 26, 2013, 2:47 pm

    I think it will be a good thing for the US if more countries recognise Palestine. Even if Obama would prefer this not happen.

  15. amigo
    March 26, 2013, 3:02 pm

    The Palestinians should view all this malarkey for what it is.

    Theatre -designed to carry on Peace “TALKS” while Israel steals and murders and Builds.

    Abbas, go straight to the Hague and put the ball right in Obamas/ Nietanyahu,s court . (no pun intended.

  16. James Canning
    March 26, 2013, 4:08 pm

    Netanyahu sees that Israel can continue to grow the illegal colonies in the West Bank, and that the game plan should be to grow them in the areas Israel intends to try to keep – - no matter how many billions of dollars this costs the US taxpayers.

  17. Citizen
    March 27, 2013, 8:38 am

    Obama offered to extend Israel’s yearly $3B plus military aid package to $4B plus yearly–renewing the US’s largest foreign aid package to any country for another decade atop the current one signed into law by Bush Jr. Currently, this amounts to $500 per capita Israeli. It will increase. While at the same time he’s perfectly willing to cut US seniors Social Security COLA increases by changing the formula, and to rob them of their Medicare Advantage Plans to pay for Medicaid roster jump mandated by Obamacare. No American mainstream news media will point out such things.

    link to informationclearinghouse.info

  18. a blah chick
    March 27, 2013, 9:35 am

    “I encountered Michael Oren… He was hesitant—Mondoweiss is “not exactly friendly” to Israel..”

    Y’all should get t-shirts that say “Fear the Mondo!” That’s a slogan just waiting to be picked up.

    And now for the money shot- “…the way our democracy works, it’s a consensual form of government..”

    Translation: Our Arabs are only 20% of the population, so we can ignore their opinions. Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy!

  19. Rusty Pipes
    March 27, 2013, 3:12 pm

    The government of the State of Palestine certainly is feeling economic and political pressure from having its tax revenues held for ransom. But is Abbas really desperate to return to another round of negotiations (while Israelis continue to build, even if not in E1) when he has other options through the UN and the ICC?

    And the Palestinian Authority (PA), for its part, desperately wants to return to negotiations. Peace talks are all they have, as their economy remains in shambles and sentiment in the West Bank continues to turn away from Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. But the PA is caught between their wish to please their international benefactors and their people, who want no part of pointless negotiations.

    • MHughes976
      March 27, 2013, 6:58 pm

      The paradox of being the man who would sign anything is that no one gives you anything to sign.

  20. NickJOCW
    March 27, 2013, 3:36 pm

    …the only way to truly protect the Israeli people is through the absence of war

    That, from Obama’s speech, is the most enlightened observation I have read for a long time. Peace is indeed an absence of war. That is almost a thermodynamic law, like cold being an absence of heat. It is not possible for ‘negotiations’ between the PA and the current Israeli government to achieve peace for the simple reason that each seeks what the other wants and feels justified in doing so.

    Just imagine that after lengthy horse trading sessions some kind of 2 state arrangement were agreed and even set in motion, does anyone honestly think either party would be completely happy with it and, if it actually came about on the ground, Israel would not daily provoke it by over flying Palestinian airspace, infiltrating its institutions, subverting its government and assassinating its citizens.

    The absence of war will only come about when some movement or group forces Israel to its knees.

  21. gingershot
    March 27, 2013, 4:54 pm

    “But the devil remains in the details.

    Erdogan has now said that the normalization of ties with Israel is predicated on the lifting of the Gaza blockade and the payment of compensation to the families of those killed by the Israeli Navy on the Mavi Marmara.”

    Since when are we going to believe Netanyahu and the Israelis are actually going to take their hands off the throat of Gaza/Palestine? – isn’t this the whole ball of wax for Israel?

    • MK_Ultra
      March 27, 2013, 7:11 pm

      One of them is in the works (probably because the American taxpayers are footing the bill). The other one, not so much.

      Israeli minister phones Turkey on compensation issue

      link to middleeastmonitor.com

      Israel’s new Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, has been in touch with Ahmed Davutoglu, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, over compensation for the victims of her country’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010. Nine Turkish citizens were killed during the assault by Israeli commandos as the Flotilla was in international waters on the way to take humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip; dozens of international solidarity activists were injured in the attack. Benjamin Netanyahu apologised to Turkey’s Prime Minister for the deaths last week.

      Turkey cut its diplomatic relations with Israel and downgraded most of its other relations, such as commercial and military links, in the wake of the Flotilla incident. The Anatolia news agency quoted Turkish diplomats as saying that both sides feel that an official meeting is important to discuss the compensation issue.

      Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that Israel should apologise to Turkey, compensate the families of the victims and lift the siege of Gaza as conditions to resume normal relations.

  22. American
    March 27, 2013, 5:40 pm

    Well while O was in Israel increasing their US aid to 4 billion a year until 2027, congress was busy expediting emigration of Jews out of Iran before irs’merica bombs it.

    Congress extends Lautenberg amendment
    March 22, 2013
    WASHINGTON — An extension to the Lautenberg Amendment, a law facilitating immigration for victims of religious persecution, including Jews, was included in the funding bill passed by Congress.
    The continuing resolution approved by the Senate on Wednesday and the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday extends government spending until October and includes in it the Lautenberg Amendment, which facilitates the exit from Iran of members of the Jewish, Christian and Baha’i minorities. Named for its original author, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the amendment was first passed in 1990 to facilitate the exit of Jews from the Soviet Union.
    “As we prepare to celebrate Passover, we are thankful for Congress’ continuing commitment to protecting Jews, Christians, Baha’is, and other persecuted religious minorities in Iran,” the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which led lobbying for the amendment’s extension, said in a statement.
    Lautenberg, who is retiring next year, celebrated the amendment’s approval.
    “More than 20 years ago, I created this program to allow religious minorities to escape persecution and live safely in the United States,” he said in a statement. “When the president signs the extension into law, this critical lifeline will be restored and provide religious minorities with a safe means of exit and access to refugee status in the United States.”
    Also included in the continuing resolution was $10 million in Homeland Security funding for securing non-profits. Most of such allocations in the past have gone to Jewish organizations. The Jewish Federations of North America, the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America, groups that lobbied for the funding, praised the allocation.
    “Since Sept. 11, nonprofits generally, and Jewish communal institutions specifically, have been the targets of an alarming number of threats and attacks,” said William Daroff, JFNA’s Washington director. “We are incredibly grateful for the bipartisan, bicameral support for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, as it is a proven, critical resource that helps supplement the work of local and federal law enforcement to help keep us safe.”

  23. Mayhem
    March 27, 2013, 5:54 pm

    helping to break Israel out of its increasing political isolation in the Middle East

    Israel is surrounded by Muslim countries which by definition are anti-Israel. This enmity is nothing new – steeped in history.
    Any country that is encircled by countries that have a fundamental objection to its very existence will need its friends and supporters to declare themselves from time to time.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 27, 2013, 6:42 pm

      will need its friends and supporters to declare themselves from time to time.

      don’t you mean anyone deciding to run for office in the US will need to declare their support for israel from time to time during the campaign? and then keep declaring it non stop while they are in office? it’s called .. doin’ the donkey.

      • Rusty Pipes
        March 28, 2013, 6:02 pm

        The Hasbara is strong in this thread.

    • Sumud
      March 27, 2013, 8:21 pm

      Israel is surrounded by Muslim countries which by definition are anti-Israel. This enmity is nothing new – steeped in history.

      Witness all – the brain rot that Ziocaine brings on.

      Apparently Israel has done nothing to raise the ire of it’s neighbours, and the Arab Peace Initiative does not exist. Then there’s the long history of jews and muslims living together in harmony across the middle east (never happened), which was not disturbed until Israel came into existence in 1948 and the Mossad began bombing Iraqi jews (to demonstrate their love)…

      • Mayhem
        March 29, 2013, 1:17 am

        @Sumud, don’t dish up this falsification about Jews and Muslims having lived together in harmony. Martin Gilbert wrote “In Ishmael’s House”, a definitive history of Jews in Muslim lands, which puts paid to this myth.

        Even Maimonides the greatest Jewish scholar of the Middle Ages, who was appointed as court physician to Saladin, Sultan of Egypt, after having escaped the ferocious persecution by the Almohads in Muslim Spain, suffered greatly. He justified the formal conversion to Islam that was foisted upon Jews as an acceptable alternative to torture and death under the rule of fanatical Muslim rulers.

        Maimonides lamented the aggression and humiliation Jews faced from Muslims: “You know, my brethren, that on account of our sins God has cast us into the midst of this people, the nation of Ishmael, who persecute us severely, and who devise ways to harm us and to debase us… No nation has ever done more harm to Israel. None has matched it in debasing and humiliating us. None has been able to reduce us as they have… We have borne their imposed degradation, their lies, and absurdities, which are beyond human power to bear.”

    • RoHa
      March 27, 2013, 9:36 pm

      “Any country that is encircled by countries that have a fundamental objection to its very existence will need”

      to work out why the neighbours object, remove the reason for that objection, and make friends with the neighbours.

    • eljay
      March 27, 2013, 9:37 pm

      >> Any country that is encircled by countries that have a fundamental objection to its very existence will need its friends and supporters to declare themselves from time to time.

      Yeah, that’s how the rapist feels: Encircled by people who have a fundamental objection to his very existence as a guy who enjoys kidnapping women, chaining them in his basement and raping them.

      He has a strong connection to his victims, and all he wants to do is to exercise his right to “return” to them and to self-determine himself in them, but these anti-rapist people just won’t leave him alone! I mean, it’s not as though he’s a child-molester or a murderer!

      Anyway, a guy like that needs his friends and supporters to declare themselves from time to time.

  24. MK_Ultra
    March 27, 2013, 6:59 pm

    Naw, Obama went to ISreal to pay homage to the kingdom in the way governors of the provinces used to do during the days of empire.

    Coincidentally, here’s an interesting bit. Apparently, Egypt weighed in on the visit and Zionists are not happy with all the commotion. We’ll see how Sugar Daddy is going to justify this one since Egypt has always been such an obedient servant of both US and ISreal and all. And since the Zionists are planning to do the attacking, as is customary, it’ll be interesting to see the spinning on that one.

    Israel Defence Forces planning for confrontation with Egypt

    link to middleeastmonitor.com

    Israel Today newspaper has prepared a special report on the Arab armies in the Middle East; its title is telling; “Long Arm in the Region” is a reference to the Israel Defence Forces. It is claimed that the IDF is planning for a confrontation with Egypt.

    The report has been prepared by the paper’s military editor, Yoav Limor and opens with the failures of the IDF in the 2006 Lebanon war. Limor notes that there is a new unit within the IDF which studies the armies of the Arab states through Israel’s military intelligence agency, Aman. This agency supplies information on the power centres in the region’s armies and their plans, as well as how to exhaust their capabilities even before a direct confrontation. In the event of war with any Arab state, the new unit is ready to present a detailed plan of attack, cutting off enemy supply routes and rendering it unable to retaliate against Israeli attacks. The IDF is supposed to be able to paralyse any Arab army within two days of the outbreak of hostilities.

    Apparently, claims Israel Today, the unit was tested with Operation Pillar of Cloud/Defence against the Gaza Strip in November 2012, which followed the assassination of senior Hamas member Ahmed Al-Jaabari. The newspaper pointed out that Israel has a missile defence system which can down any aircraft flying hundreds of meters beyond its borders, in addition to smart missiles that can hit Hezbollah’s missiles in south Lebanon.

    The paper added that in the event of a war with Egypt the Syrians would not be able to use Scud missiles to attack Israel on a second front because the IDF could destroy them on the ground before they have been deployed. Israel’s development of advanced tanks such as the Merkava 5 makes it more than capable of deterring any direct assault across the border. The air arm of the IDF can, notes the newspaper, transport large numbers of combat troops over long distances in the shortest possible time. It stressed that part of Israel’s strategy is to destroy enemy troops and armour before they have left their bases.

    Looking at the statistics of the Egyptian armed forces, Israel Today reports that the army has 600,000 men in service at any one time, with 1 million reservists, 3,980 combat tanks and 2,760 artillery pieces. Egypt has also recently taken delivery of 20 F-18 fighter aircraft. The backbone of the Egyptian air force is made up of 220 Falcon F-16 fighters based at 17 airfields out of a total of 86 air force bases around the country. In addition, it has 40 advanced Mirage 2000 jets, 32 F-4 Phantom IIs, Mirage 5, C130 Hercules and 10 early-warning and control aircraft. The government in Cairo is looking to buy replacements for its aging MIG-21s and F-4s. America is keen to maintain Israel’s military edge in the region, claims Israel Today. That is why Washington has rejected Egyptian requests for F-15 interceptor aircraft. Egypt is, therefore, turning to Russia to buy SU-35s and MIG-29s.

  25. NickJOCW
    March 28, 2013, 7:00 am

    US humanitarian concern is nothing but a political fig leaf. It’s difficult to imagine any pressure influencing the US in favor of Palestinians considering the treatment meted out to prisoners in Gitmo and the reluctance of the US authorities even to acknowledge the present hunger strike now entering its 47th day. A Google search suggests that only today is it creeping into US news although it has been covered abroad, and by RT who the other day interviewed random US citizens none of whom appeared aware that the strike was even in progress let alone that 86 prisoners held on permanent detention have actually been cleared for release.

    link to rt.com

    link to cbsnews.com

    link to miamiherald.com

    The only hope I see is that when Ahmadinejad releases power in June Obama will find it possible amicably to resolve the US/Iran relationship, a move that would prepare the ground for a resolution of the Israel problem.

  26. Citizen
    March 31, 2013, 4:51 pm

    The key to all of this, in practical terms, is the US commitment to maintaining Israel’s cutting edge military weapons, free for Israel, no strings attached–at the expense of US taxpayers, who live in an economy where 47.5% of Americans live on food stamps. How long can this go on? Quite a while, I guess.

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