Obama’s November surprise

US Politics
on 55 Comments

The organized liberal Jewish community has a new vision: that President Obama will use the lame duck period of his presidency to make a major initiative on the Israel/Palestine conflict and introduce resolutions at the United Nations Security Council to condemn settlements and/or set out the parameters of a two-state solution.

Thus Obama will establish a more assertive U.S. policy in favor of Palestinian human rights and self-determination that the next president will live by.

Hillary Clinton won’t let him go forward with such a resolution now because it would capsize her campaign. But when he does it in November or December– after she is elected president, according to the scenario– then she will say, There is only one US president at a time, and Obama’s policy is my inherited policy.

The dream was alive at J Street’s gala dinner the other night. Both Joe Biden and John Kerry were coming: that was a huge score for the liberal Zionist organization. President Obama invited members of J Street’s youth chapter into the White House last Friday. Morton Halperin the chairman of the J Street board (and the father of political talking head Mark Halperin) said that the torch had been passed; J Street speaks for a majority of Jews, and has endorsed most of the Democratic Congress, which will have the president’s back:

We have not given up our hopes that this administration will before it ends, lay out the parameters for a two state solution and lay out its opposition to settlements that is more meaningful and specific.

Then Biden and Kerry spoke, and the wealthy elderly legion at J Street (fyi, I’m 60) derived hope from the following statements. Biden:

Despite our overwhelming frustration with the Israeli government, we have an obligation to push them as hard as we can… at the same time being a guarantor, an absolute guarantor of their security.

Kerry:

I can tell you that for these next nine months we will not stop working to find a way…

[N]o matter how many times we hear people tell us the goal is unattainable, they can’t do it, they’re not ready, I remember the words of Mandela: “Nothing is impossible until it is done.”

The J Street people believe that Obama owes it to them because they helped him get the Iran deal. The theme of the evening was: Obama wouldn’t have gotten the Iran deal if we had not taken on AIPAC inside the official Jewish community. J Street took on AIPAC and cracked the monolith and signaled to politicians around the country, they could support the deal and still get Jewish backing and not get their heads handed to them in the next election. J Street is justly proud of this. And by the way, Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council and Joe Cirincione of Ploughshares were in the hall that night; they also delivered the Iran deal. As did Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink and a lot of grassroots groups.

Do I actually believe that Obama will come up with a November surprise? Why not? He should do something. But will it mean anything or have any effect; that is the real question. Kerry gave the same Mandela mantra three years ago, and it’s done nothing. The despairing mood of the J Street dinner was that Netanyahu and the Israeli government are too far gone to be saved. We have been trying to tell them this for years. J Street is always too late to grasp the reality. Max Blumenthal tried to give them the news three years ago and was censored. J Street wants the United States to save Israel from itself with outside pressure, but it is unwilling to sign on to the most significant pressure campaign so far, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, because it wants nothing to do with anti-Zionists. At J Street, they still dream of a “democratic Jewish state.” Stav Shaffir, the young redheaded Labor member of Knesset, repeatedly called Israel and Zionism “miracle”s, then talked about Palestinian terrorists and how much they threaten Israelis; now please tell me, how do you get 20 percent of your population that is subjugated by Zionism to subscribe to Zionism? Labor didn’t dare say a word about peace in the last election; the train left the station on the two-state paradigm a while ago.

But let us stay with J Street’s political dream for a moment. It would be a good thing if the U.S. condemned settlements (finally) and a good thing if the U.S. opposed Israeli expansion. Such a move could change the dynamic of the global politics of the issue. It would lessen American power, and thus Israeli power; it would give Europe greater clout. It would be a sign that some day the U.S. will sanction Israel. When Joe Biden talked about how much money the U.S. is going to throw at Israel with the new memorandum of understanding, people in the hall were quiet. A lot of these J Streeters in their wirerimmed glasses understand that Israel is committing human rights abuses with that money. Some of them have kids who are in JVP or IfNotNow, or who don’t care about Zionism. Some of them understand why Palestinians resist. (Some of them know that the American revolution began when the British massacred five people in Boston in 1770 to quiet the mob, and Israel massacred 500 children in Gaza two summers ago out of the same tyrannical principle.)

Kerry and Biden’s speeches at J Street were both lackluster. Kerry hugged his former campaign finance director Louis Susman on the stage and told some funny stories about his presidential dream, but he seemed to phone in the policy bits. Biden leaned over the podium like he was with buddies at his dinner table. That’s when the unscripted bit about “overwhelming frustration with the Israeli government” slipped out.

The real fear at J Street is that Obama doesn’t really care about Israel any more. The Obama administration got its Iran deal and Israel has ceased to be a threat to world peace, and it’s slipping into rogue state status. Back in 2010 and 2011 it felt like Israel was going to start World War III with Jeffrey Goldberg riding shotgun. Now that is done with. The realists have won. Israel and Palestine is just another pot of human rights violations bubbling on the back burner. Obama will do a November surprise, but it will be lip service.

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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55 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    April 20, 2016, 11:54 am

    If Obama would submit a draft UNSC resolution to recall that the settlements are present in violation of I/L and demand, with sanctions for non-compliance, they be removed, on a tight schedule — 1 year for removal of settlers, 2 years for removal (demolition) of settlement buildings — then (see below) the USA would not need to take the unnecessary and unworkable step of dictating peace or demanding peace upon a set of “parameters” (what are “parameters” anyhow but some sort of diktats).

    If the UNSC would recognize the timeliness (at nearly 50 years of very belligerent occupation) of such a resolution, and recognize it as merely a very late but still appropriate act of enforcement of I/L and nothing further, then Israel — facing a vastly expensive political and economic and social catastrophe — might begin serious negotiations with PLO (or whoever). Or might begin threatening or dropping nukes here or there, if “existential threat” seemed the way to go.

    Negotiations for what? Their choice. Maybe 2SS. Maybe 1SS with democratic guarantees.

    One difficulty there (maybe “parameters” would be better?) is that by now the PLO may have dissolved into such non-representative, co-opted, corrupted subservience to USA/Israel that such “negotiations” would be dictated by Israel.

    Would the UNSC go along? Not sure. Europeans have been very slow to put any sort of pressure on Israel. November-December-January is a short time to engineer and put into effect such a momentous thing with no prior diplomacy (as we must assume).

    Still, even if it didn’t work, any USA effort at all to break the continuity and inevitability of occupation-now-and-forever would be a good thing.

    • eljay
      April 20, 2016, 1:28 pm

      || pabelmont: … One difficulty there (maybe “parameters” would be better?) is that by now the PLO may have dissolved into such non-representative, co-opted, corrupted subservience to USA/Israel that such “negotiations” would be dictated by Israel. … ||

      The schedule re. settlements allows 2 years (3 if the two items aren’t concurrent) for the U.S. / U.N. to oversee free elections of a new Palestinian government within a new Palestinian state. Plenty of time to resolve that difficulty (parameter).

    • Theo
      April 21, 2016, 12:55 pm

      “Removal (demolition) of settlements buildings”.

      That would be the biggest blunder of the retreating zionists, they owe the palestinians billions of dollars, not to forget the destroyed real estates, stolen water, etc.
      Those buildings should stay where they are, the they are needed to house the refugees coming home and are just a small return for the destruction of the homes of the palestinians.

      • echinococcus
        April 21, 2016, 1:34 pm

        Mr Weiss,
        Try to be your age, please.

    • echinococcus
      April 22, 2016, 10:05 am

      One difficulty there… is that by now the PLO may have dissolved into such non-representative, co-opted, corrupted subservience to USA/Israel that such “negotiations” would be dictated by Israel.

      Immediately after Oslo, 1993, the PLO was merged into the official manager of the “PA”, officially established by the US and the Zionist entity as the organ of “non-representative, co-opted, corrupted subservience to USA/Israel” in a Zionist-controlled location.

      A bit late now for reexamining.

  2. Annie Robbins
    April 20, 2016, 12:35 pm

    Hillary Clinton won’t let him go forward with such a resolution now because it would capsize her campaign. But when he does it in November or December– after she is elected president, according to the scenario– then she will say, There is only one US president at a time, and Obama’s policy is my inherited policy.

    then she’ll invite netanyahu to the WH, get cozy and the non veto will be a little blurp in history that lasted for a month. obama has had 8 years to get tough on israel and he didn’t do it. the lame duck session is too little too late but it might happen. it might give other counties cover to sanction israel or something.

    The theme of the evening was: Obama wouldn’t have gotten the Iran deal if we had not taken on AIPAC inside the official Jewish community. But J Street took on AIPAC and cracked the monolith and signaled to politicians around the country, they could support the deal and still get Jewish backing. J Street is justly proud of this. And by the way, Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council and Joe Cirincione of Ploughshares were in the hall that night; they also delivered the Iran deal. As did Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink and a lot of grassroots groups.

    the self absorption of patting yourself on the back and taking credit for an issue huge swaths of the american public were very vocal about is just stunning. and this reminds me very much of tablets scolding article claiming the very mention of money and lobbying and “foreign interests” over the iran deal was bigoted. >> http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/semitic-israel-lobby/

    the idea that the deal went through because “J Street took on AIPAC and … signaled to politicians around the country, they could support the deal and still get Jewish backing” is still the idea jewish lobbiests buy politicians and — ultimately — have the power to control our foreign policy. but they claim it and it’s not anti semitism! yes, i agree it was a much broader coalition that delivered the iran deal. one that included a LOT of americans that spontaneously erupted across social media.

    re: “Labor didn’t dare say a word about peace in the last election” — just wondering if anyone read todays: “Herzog: Labor Party Must Stop Giving Israelis the Feeling It Always Loves Arabs”
    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.715362

    • eljay
      April 20, 2016, 12:53 pm

      || Annie Robbins: … obama has had 8 years to get tough on israel and he didn’t do it. … ||

      And there’s no reason for him to do it as out-going president. As former president, however, getting tough on Israel will make for some nice book deals and speaking tours. And as ineffectual as that will be in resolving anything, it’ll nevertheless provide more fuel for the Zio-supremacists’ victimhood fire.

      • CigarGod
        April 21, 2016, 9:54 am

        Do you think he’ll forget the lesson Jimmy Carter learned?

    • ritzl
      April 20, 2016, 2:12 pm

      +100

      I don’t get this article. I don’t know if it was awkward phrasing or what, but it had a “Steve Grover” feel to it.

      Does Phil really believe (“…justly proud…”) that the ONLY way for politicians to adopt a new position on Israel and regional foreign policy writ large is for Jews to convince “Jewish money” to change its mind and give them (pols) permission to do so? Then the rest of us backfill as needed to support that permission?

      Maybe so, maybe no. It’s demonstrably clear however that J Street believes it.

      This mode of influence could continue indefinitely if it was even slightly additive to the quality of life of 99.9% of Americans (e.g. increased military aid for Israel and single-payer health care for the rest of you, or else…). But as it is currently constituted it’s totally an extractive/zero-sum influence.

      Ho hum. Car balanced on a broomstick. Wind picking up.

      • Steve Grover
        April 20, 2016, 2:59 pm

        Yeah ritzl, I’m a youge J-Street fan.

    • Eric
      April 20, 2016, 3:49 pm

      To: Phil Weiss
      Re: Obama showing backbone with “November Surprise” after 8 years of inaction

      Dear Phil,
      Dream On!
      Regards,
      Everyone not dreaming in technicolor

  3. hophmi
    April 20, 2016, 1:14 pm

    Obama just met with J Street U’s national leadership at the White House. Anyone who understands military defense understands how silly it is to say that any US President “doesn’t care” about Israel. It’s not really a choice.
    And JVP and groups like it, who could care less if Israel dropped off the face of the Earth, can take no credit for the Iran Deal. Radical activists drive people to the right, not the moderate center. In the case of the Iran Deal, which was sold as a benefit to Israel, activists who deny Israel’s right to exist are distinctly unhelpful.

    • eljay
      April 20, 2016, 3:18 pm

      || hophmi: … Anyone who understands military defense understands how silly it is to say that any US President “doesn’t care” about Israel. It’s not really a choice. … ||

      Israel is colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state located thousands of miles away from the U.S.

      I don’t understand military defense. Please explain:
      – why defending Israel is an obligation (“not really a choice”); and
      – how defending Israel makes the U.S. safer.

      Thanks.

      • Donald
        April 21, 2016, 8:22 am

        What Hophmi is trying to say is that Clinton won, so the Palestinians can go frack themselves. As far as American politics goes, he’s right.

      • eljay
        April 21, 2016, 8:43 am

        || Donald: What Hophmi is trying to say is that Clinton won, so the Palestinians can go frack themselves. As far as American politics goes, he’s right. ||

        As far as politics goes, no doubt. But he’s talking about “military defense”, as though he understands it. So I would like him to explain to a simple guy like me the “military defense” necessity and obligation (“not really a choice”) of defending Israel. How does not defending Israel endanger the “military defense” safety of the United States?

      • hophmi
        April 21, 2016, 10:24 am

        ” So I would like him to explain to a simple guy like me the “military defense” necessity and obligation (“not really a choice”) of defending Israel.”

        Do you know where the Middle East is Eljay? There’s a lot of terrorism emanating from the dysfunctional Arab states in that region of the world. Israel is in that dysfunctional region and knows it fairly well. US and Israeli defense officials have collaborated to address these issues for years. So it’s not about the US defending Israel. It’s about Israel helping to defend the US.

      • hophmi
        April 21, 2016, 10:31 am

        “What Hophmi is trying to say is that Clinton won, so the Palestinians can go frack themselves. As far as American politics goes, he’s right.”

        That’s actually not what I’m trying to say. What I’m trying to say is what I said, which is that radical groups did not positively contribute to passing the Iran Deal. J Street not only promoted the deal, but organized constituencies within the Jewish community to support it. The presence of radical groups like JVP hindered their efforts by identifying proponents of the Iran Deal with those who wanted to see Israel endangered or destroyed, rather than those who felt that the deal ultimately made Israel safer.

        The notion that J Street is weak, which is a talking point on both the far left, which thinks that J Street members will eventually become JVP members, and the far right, which thinks that J Street exists only to support Obama and that without Obama, it will shrivel and die, is belied by the facts. It’s growing by leaps and bounds, both in size and in influence.

      • eljay
        April 21, 2016, 11:08 am

        || hophmi: Do you know where the Middle East is Eljay? … ||

        Sure, it’s in the Middle East, many thousands of miles away from the U.S. You do know that the M.E. and the U.S. are many thousands of miles apart, right?

        || … There’s a lot of terrorism emanating from the dysfunctional Arab states in that region of the world. Israel is in that dysfunctional region and knows it fairly well. US and Israeli defense officials have collaborated to address these issues for years. So it’s not about the US defending Israel. It’s about Israel helping to defend the US. ||

        There are five sentences in that paragraph, all of which whitewash the terrorism of Israel’s colonialist and (war) criminal activities and none of which explains the “military defense” obligation of defending Israel.

        So I’ll ask again:
        – Why is defending Israel a “military defense” obligation (“not really a choice”)?
        – How does defending Israel makes the U.S. – which is many thousands of miles away from the Middle East – safer?

      • hophmi
        April 21, 2016, 12:29 pm

        “Sure, it’s in the Middle East, many thousands of miles away from the U.S. You do know that the M.E. and the U.S. are many thousands of miles apart, right?”

        You do know that the people who crashed planes into the WTC on 9/11 were all from the Middle East, right?

        || … There’s a lot of terrorism emanating from the dysfunctional Arab states in that region of the world. Israel is in that dysfunctional region and knows it fairly well. US and Israeli defense officials have collaborated to address these issues for years. So it’s not about the US defending Israel. It’s about Israel helping to defend the US. ||

        “There are five sentences in that paragraph, all of which whitewash the terrorism of Israel’s colonialist and (war) criminal activities and none of which explains the “military defense” obligation of defending Israel.”

        Well, you characterized American-Israeli defense cooperation as defending Israel. I characterize it as defending the US. So we disagree there. I don’t think that the US really defends Israel militarily. It certainly provides aid and access to new weapons, but to my knowledge, US troops have never fought side by side with Israelis in any of its wars.

        “– How does defending Israel makes the U.S. – which is many thousands of miles away from the Middle East – safer?”

        Well, to the extent that the US supports Israel by allowing it to buy American weapons, it supports the only country in the region where you’re more likely to see an American flag flying, instead of burning. If the fact that Israelis don’t think that America is Satan doesn’t sway you, Israel is also about the only place in the Middle East that one can reliably expect to be there tomorrow and one year from now, because the rest of the region is unstable. Big powers generally go for the stable states. If you don’t like the realist explanation, we also have more shared values with Israel than we do with any other country in the region. Israel is a functioning democracy, whether you like it or not. They have a free press, an independent judiciary, and a complete mess of a legislature. They don’t kill hundreds of thousands of their own citizens in ethnic wars. They don’t massacre, rape, and enslave ethnic minority groups like the Yazidis or expel Christian minorities that have been in the Middle East for more than 1500 years. They aren’t run by a quixotic theocratic oligarchy most famous for bringing people into the street to chant death to America and death to Israel, and notable for inspiring an international guessing game about how rational they actually are. They allow women to drive cars, be Prime Minister, and, you know, go out unattended without being severely harassed, and they don’t prosecute them when they get raped. They don’t restrict all non-government press. They don’t kill hundreds of people in one shot if they come out into the street to protest. The country contributes to the world around it in all sorts of ways.

        Again, none of this is to excuse occupation or to act like occupation doesn’t exist. It does, and it’s not a good thing and it needs to end. But if you’re trying to figure out why the United States doesn’t just abandon Israel, and why, even if they did, it would not help the United States in the region, these are the reasons.

      • eljay
        April 21, 2016, 2:14 pm

        || hophmi: … But if you’re trying to figure out why the United States doesn’t just abandon Israel, and why, even if they did, it would not help the United States in the region, these are the reasons. ||

        I’m not trying to figure out anything about abandoning Israel. And don’t go moving the goal-posts: The discussion is about U.S. “military defense”, not about “helping the United States in the region”.

        You said that as far as U.S. “military defense” is concerned, caring about (defending) Israel is “not really a choice”. I asked you to explain why it’s an obligation. So far, you haven’t provided a single reason why it’s an obligation or how militarily-defending Israel makes America safer.

        And I’m not surprised that you lay the blame for America’s woes in the Middle East entirely on “Arabs”. You downplay Israel’s on-going colonialism and its decades-long list of (war) crimes and you completely ignore the U.S.’ constant f*cking around in the region:
        – selectively defending / supporting oppressive states;
        – selectively destabilizing and/or overthrowing governments; and
        – selectively funding / enabling terrorism.

      • eljay
        April 21, 2016, 2:30 pm

        || eljay: … You downplay Israel’s on-going colonialism and its decades-long list of (war) crimes … ||

        All of which, I forgot to add, are supported, excused, defended and justified by the U.S.

        — Edit —
        I noticed that my first reply to your last comment – which including pointing out to you that the “military defense” of Israel failed to make America safer by stopping planes from hitting the WTC – has been deleted by a moderator. Oh, well.

      • Mooser
        April 21, 2016, 3:58 pm

        “There’s a lot of terrorism emanating from the dysfunctional Arab states in that region of the world. Israel is in that dysfunctional region and knows it fairly well.”

        I knew God had a plan for us! So no point in all that ‘redeeming the land’ jazz, just be an aircraft carrier for ‘the West’ or the US. A heavenly way to deal with the 21st century.

        The system seems to be dropping comments now and again.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 20, 2016, 4:38 pm

      It’s not really a choice

      ;) why? tail wags dog?

  4. David Doppler
    April 20, 2016, 1:43 pm

    Clinton appears to have handily won NY, despite Sanders driving a wedge between his candidacy and hers on the issues of being too uncritical of Netanyahu, defending disproportionate force against the Palestinians ( a war crime), and ignoring Palestinian rights in her speech to AIPAC – the long-awaited (by Mondoweiss) politicizing of the War of Ideas in the Middle East in a presidential campaign.

    Or were the reported mishaps that blocked many Dems from voting part of an organized effort to “deliver” the election to Clinton? Some 126,000 voters were purged from Democratic voter rolls in Brooklyn in the last few months, part of a large net drop in total eligible voters in that borough, which is a suspicious sign when Sanders is the one bringing masses of new voters to the primary polls for the first time in state after state.

    Now we have this report of an elaborate plan for J Street and a “lame duck” Obama, to try to advance the peace process after the election, i.e., to keep the peace process out of the election, where Americans can vote on it directly. What? The American people can’t handle the issue directly? Obama is too timid to fight for peace until after the election is over?

    Well, I think Sanders has put his differences on display, and, I believe, that difference will grow in importance in other states, especially California. The Emperor’s nakedness is now well passed having been noticed and laughed at. People are at the stage of being angry that parade continues, their integrity insulted.

    I also think, if Clinton and Trump win their respective nominations, Clinton will have to face much blunter and more forceful accusations of having, in partnership with Obama, destroyed the chances of peace whenever they’ve arisen, while even more steadfastly having advanced the causes of counter-productive wars, and the careers of those who use bureaucratic infighting to achieve them.

    The only hope for peace to is directly take on those for whom the opposite of peace is their motivating mission in life, from Netanyahu on down through all the Neocons and so-called neo-libs allied with him in the US. They don’t want peace, and should be treated as the war criminals and war-mongers they are.

    • Donald
      April 20, 2016, 4:01 pm

      I don’t pretend to know why so many black and hispanic voters like Clinton, but they’ve been her chief source of strength. And in general, there may not be that many voters who would vote against her and for Sanders on this issue, or rather, the people who would vote for Sanders on this issue were probably voting for him on others as well.

      In general, American elections don’t seem to hinge very much on what terrible things we do to other people. Lots of Democrats claimed to be outraged by the Bush invasion of Iraq. War crime, crime against humanity, worst blunder in US foreign policy history, etc… And who is the likely Democratic nominee? The great foreign policy wonk who supported the Iraq War.

  5. ckg
    April 20, 2016, 3:28 pm

    I don’t think there will be any movement toward peace as long as the U.S. thinks it can achieve an agreement without applying meaningful pressure on the stronger party.

    QUESTION: Different topic. Okay. Very quickly on the Secretary’s speech yesterday —

    MR KIRBY: Yeah.

    QUESTION: — at J Street, he said that, quote, “I can tell you for these next nine months,” talking about the peace process, “we will not stop working to find a way.” Then he went on to say, “And so we will continue to advance the two-state solution as the only solution because anything else will not be Jewish and will not be democratic and we understand that,” unquote.

    Now, does he have – like, is there something in the offing? Is there going to be some sort of an initiative that the Secretary might undertake, perhaps either – because we’re talking about a very short period of time.

    MR KIRBY: The Secretary is very mindful of the time left while he has in office, and he’s also mindful of the importance of this issue. And I don’t think I can improve upon his words from last night, that he is very committed to continuing to try to work to get to a two-state solution. Does he have an initiative or an announcement to make? I have nothing for you on that today. I can just tell you that the point he was trying to make last night was that for as long as he’s the Secretary of State, he’s going to continue to work on this and work as very – as hard as he can.

    QUESTION: The reason I ask this question, because only months ago – maybe couple months ago – the President himself said there’s not likely to be anything. But listening to the Vice President and listening to the Secretary of State, they’re basically saying that this thing is alive and kicking and we’re going to push for it. So —

    MR KIRBY: I don’t know that anybody said it wasn’t still an objective. We’ve also said – I know I’ve said and I know the Secretary has said that it’s up to the leadership there in the region – all parties, the leadership on all sides – to take the kinds of affirmative steps and initiative to get us there. We can’t do it for them. It can’t be legislated externally. It has to be something that they decide to move forward on. And as both, I think – as both the Secretary and the Vice President said last night, it’s difficult to see that way right now because that sort of leadership isn’t being fully exerted. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t still committed to it, that we aren’t still going to try to help them get to a position where they can make these decisions and we – they can take the kinds of actions to reduce the violence, restore the calm, and move forward. I don’t see the gap, quite frankly, the way you’ve described it.

    QUESTION: Maybe just —

    MR KIRBY: We’re all still committed to it.

  6. farhad
    April 20, 2016, 5:21 pm

    Hope springs eternal

  7. Kay24
    April 20, 2016, 5:52 pm

    It is sad that Phil’s well written article has made many skeptical about Obama REALLY doing something to remedy America’s huge mistake of aiding and supporting, Israel for years.
    That is unfortunately the reality. At the end of his term, Obama will leave this problem unsolved with a few , maybe harsh words for the occupier, and it’s crimes. The sounds of the chorus you hear now (Biden and Kerry) may be a prelude to that.

    It is tiring to hear the Obama administration (like the others before) make loud noises condemning Israel endless crimes, and see nothing coming out of it.

    The US always had the opportunity to do something to stop this madness, but decided for whatever devious reasons to not do so. No politician dares to reject zionist “help” even if it goes against the interests of their own country. A sorry state of affair, but there you have it.

  8. Kathleen
    April 20, 2016, 7:15 pm

    Clinton would not go along or maintain any such effort. She would drop the ball like a hot potato….

    Hell I don’t think Samantha Powers would do Obama’s bidding …bet she would push back hard.

  9. JWalters
    April 20, 2016, 7:17 pm

    The J St folks remind me of wealthy widows who have been romanced by a highly idealistic suitor, and then had him “turn bad”. Whereas they formerly denied that he turned bad, now they speculate about why he turned bad. But they’re not yet emotionally strong enough to accept that he was a con artist from the start.

    Jewish psychologist Avigail Abarbanel has a helpful article in this respect, titled It’s time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/american-recognize-duped

    Question: Why would a project that was sold as a “safe haven” turn into a perpetual and expanding war zone? Here’s an article on Israel’s military-industrial complex.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/10/because-global-supplier/

  10. yonah fredman
    April 20, 2016, 11:48 pm

    Thanks be to the Master of the Universe that hillary beat Sanders by a large margin. Imagine how Phil Weiss would have scolded Jewish voters, if they had God forbid been essential in hillary’s victory.

    Of course the question of money and Jewish democratic money is still an issue. The role of money in politics is crucial and difficult to control, certainly when the Supreme Court asserts freedom of speech for corporations, so this is a bigger problem than Jewish money and the middle east, though this does not mean to trivialize that issue.

    J street was created to give Obama cover if it ever came to pressuring Israel to make a peace, but it never came to that. Except as weather vane to tell us which way the wind was blowing, J street accomplished absolutely zero, and so of course they will trumpet their one success, but really, did corey booker support the iran deal because of j street, that’s only a tad more believable than the clearly inconsequential role played by the activist left. Obama staked his presidency on the issue and that won the day.

    I cannot imagine Obama handing hillary a fait accomplis vis a vis Israel against hillary’s will. That would be unfriendly and there’s nothing to make me believe that would happen. Has there been one consequential resolution since the toothless 242 of 1967. (On israel) no. In 1957 in the aftermath of 56, ussr and us joined in forcing a withdrawal of Israel from sinai. That was the last un action with teeth. The 80 days from election day to inauguration will not seek to break the mold, which is what is being suggested. What indicators would lead to predicting such a farfetched history making change?

    • yonah fredman
      April 21, 2016, 2:46 am

      I have to mention that Obama’s nomination of yet another jew to the Supreme Court makes me uneasy. It may be pure coincidence that this politically astute selection is Jewish but it certainly looks bad.

      • oldgeezer
        April 21, 2016, 6:37 am

        @yonah

        Only loos bad if you obsess about religion. There is every indication he was nominated based upon his qualifications and track record. While some prior appointments are questionable this one isn’t. At least on tbe surface.

        There is nothing wrong with judging people on their merits and ignoring things such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc, etc. We may end with a better world.

      • bryan
        April 21, 2016, 6:37 am

        “I have to mention that Obama’s nomination of yet another jew to the Supreme Court makes me uneasy.”

        I know exactly what you mean. As a Jew, even one so modest as to shun capitalisation, its nice when Jews exercise great influence in American public life, but it will pose all sorts of issues if that becomes too obvious and visible. It is so much better when influence is wielded obliquely, untransparently, and at arms length by innocent lobby groups, campaign finance, editorial and journalistic effort, and numerous think tanks rather than directly in the service of the republic.

        On the other hand, could it not just be that Garland’s qualifications, experience, integrity, reputation, popularity and moderate, generally progressive stance are more important than his religious and cultural background?

        I’m not advocating quotas, and on past performance Jewish judges seem preferable to Catholic ones, but would it not be nice if for once America’s atheists could have a solitary representative on this bench?

      • eljay
        April 21, 2016, 7:28 am

        || yonah fredman: I have to mention that Obama’s nomination of yet another jew to the Supreme Court … ||

        You’re not “counting Jews” are you? I mean, how else would know that Obama had nominated “yet another jew [sic]” – rather than another American – to the S.C.?

      • Keith
        April 21, 2016, 11:34 am

        OLD GEEZER- “While some prior appointments are questionable this one isn’t. At least on tbe surface.”

        One thing which I find very troubling is that, if approved, then all 9 Supremes will have come from an Ivy League background, primarily Harvard and Yale. Do we really need yet another ex-Wall Street lawyer to reinforce an elite, Wall Street friendly perspective on Constitutional interpretations?

      • hophmi
        April 21, 2016, 12:49 pm

        I don’t know why. Garland is considered one of the most accomplished circuit judges, and he’s the Chief Judge of the DC Circuit, traditionally a feeder court for the Supreme Court. He’s also considered a moderate that Obama can use to pressure the Republican Congress. I don’t think that Garland would be nominated but for the political circumstances, which require a moderate.

        Personally, I’d like to see another African-American on the court, preferably Loretta Lynch.

      • Mooser
        April 21, 2016, 3:49 pm

        ” It may be pure coincidence that this politically astute selection is Jewish but it certainly looks bad.”

        Wow, that is bad, “Yonah”! What if Garland is the vote on the court which limits the power of corporations in some decision? Oh noes, what if Garland is responsible, in some way, for re-affirming the inviolability of a basic Constitutional right or two?

        Why that might spur the American people to outright revolt, and the Jews might get the blame.

      • oldgeezer
        April 21, 2016, 10:20 pm

        @keith
        “I would suggest that the quality of an Ivy league education may be exaggerated, whereas the effectiveness of an Ivy League indoctrination is well established. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/recent-comments/#sthash.ZgsafJMr.dpuf

        Yeah. I hear ya. Whatever.

      • Keith
        April 22, 2016, 12:40 am

        OLDGEEZER- “Yeah. I hear ya. Whatever.”

        Why “whatever?” I think that there are a lot of folks who don’t appreciate Harvard’s role as an imperial indoctrination center, including its use to provide credentials to imperial mass murders. A quote from Noam Chomsky excerpted from his book “Year 501: The Conquest Continues.” A book, I might add, which should be required reading in high school.

        “One of the grandest of the Guatemalan killers, General Hector Gramajo, was rewarded for his contributions to genocide in the highlands with a fellowship to Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government-) not unreasonably, given Kennedy’s decisive contributions to the vocation of counterinsurgency (one of the technical terms for international terrorism conducted by the powerful). Cambridge dons will be relieved to learn that Harvard is no longer a dangerous center of subversion.

        While earning his degree at Harvard, Gramajo gave an interview to the Harvard International Review in which he offered a more nuanced view of his own role. He took personal credit for the “70 percent-30 percent civil affairs program, used by the Guatemalan government during the 1980s to control people or organizations who disagreed with the government,” outlining the doctrinal innovations he had introduced: “We have created a more humanitarian, less costly strategy, to be more compatible with the democratic system. We instituted civil affairs [in 1982] which provides development for 70 percent of the population, while we kill 30 percent. Before, the strategy was to kill 100 percent.” This is a “more sophisticated means” than the previous crude assumption that you must “kill everyone to complete the job” of controlling dissent, he explained. (Noam Chomsky) https://chomsky.info/year01/

    • bryan
      April 21, 2016, 5:57 am

      yonah – “J street was created to give Obama cover if it ever came to pressuring Israel to make a peace”

      I’m not generally a great fan of conspiracy theories, but perhaps this one has legs. Obama announced his candidacy for President in February 2007, and despite the fact that not a single primary had yet taken place, and despite the fact that Obama appeared likely to focus on health care reform, energy independence, the Iraq War and the looming financial and economic crisis, an astute but small and secretive group of American Jews, realising that his victory was inevitable, and that also he would inevitably risk his presidential reputation by interfering in Israel, began preparing for that very day, and in November 2007, almost a full year before his election, they incorporated J-Street. I learn something new every day at Mw.

      • yonah fredman
        April 21, 2016, 10:36 am

        Bryan- thank you for informing me of the exact timing of the birth of j street. Thus let me amend my statement: j street was created so that the next democratic president (or even republican president) would have cover to pressure israel.

      • bryan
        April 22, 2016, 3:53 am

        yonah – that retraction makes barely more sense. Why would a US president need cover to address a major world problem, which has sorely troubled the UN as well, and has contributed to much conflict? Why was J-Street not formed years ago when Bush 1 and Clinton 1 put just as much (and more) feint pressure on Israel as Obama did? Why would American Jews create organisations purely in response to what an American president might or might not do, rather than from a sincere understanding that the trajectory of Israel, and American policy towards it, is going in entirely the wrong direction? Why denigrate J-Street when it is far from perfect but at least better than the traditional establishment-dominated Jewish organisations which have served most American Jews, and Israel, so badly by providing cover for that state to move ever closer to national suicide?

    • Mooser
      April 21, 2016, 3:27 pm

      Boiled down “Yonah”: ‘Everything happens to us. We have no agency, can make no decisions, can take no responsibility.’

    • oldgeezer
      April 21, 2016, 4:33 pm

      @Keith

      “One thing which I find very troubling is that, if approved, then all 9 Supremes will have come from an Ivy League background, primarily Harvard and Yale – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/obamas-november-surprise/#comment-165507

      I know! And they’re all lawyers too!! Facetiousness aside it somewhat stands to reason that a lot of the best lawyers will have come from the best schools. I am not ignoring your issue. The issue which was raised was his Jewish background. That the candidates picked may be part of the corrupt (imho) political, financial/capitalist system is another issue entirely. I prefer capitalism until someone perfects socialism but we need to find a way to constrain it.

      • bryan
        April 21, 2016, 5:53 pm

        oldgeezer: “I prefer capitalism until someone perfects socialism”

        Surely all the evidence lies the other way; capitalism has always been pretty imperfect and in its unperfected phase remains pretty imperfect, (apart from the awarding of huge bonuses to investment bankers, the proliferation of tax cuts for the 1%, the corruption of democracy by patronage, and so on and so forth). I can speak only from a British socialist perspective, but all the evidence suggests that every advance in recent human history (esp. the extension of the suffrage beyond the elite, workers’ rights, shortening the hours of labour; minimum wage; pensions, healthcare, extension of education, improvement in housing through public provision, but also many social freedoms including abolition of the death penalty, decriminalisation of homosexuality, penal reform, improvements in rights for minorities and women, and so on and so forth, have been inspired by socialists and their fellow-travellers in the radical / liberal community. As my gran used to say “the only thing the capitalist class ever did for us was to donate aprons to the servants at Christmas”. It is possible for people to be PEP, but also for them to be progressive only on Palestine. The injustices faced by Palestinians are not unique and are similarly faced by workers and ordinary people throughout the world; capitalism ain’t going to solve any of them.

      • Keith
        April 21, 2016, 8:54 pm

        OLDGEEZER- “Facetiousness aside it somewhat stands to reason that a lot of the best lawyers will have come from the best schools.”

        Best schools? I would suggest that the quality of an Ivy league education may be exaggerated, whereas the effectiveness of an Ivy League indoctrination is well established. The Ivy League is primarily a boot camp for the children of the elite, its elite status confirmed by acceptance into the power elite. I think it obvious that Harvard trained lawyers identify with the elites of which they are a part and have a very narrow perspective along with a commitment to defend the system which rewards them so well. Did I mention that Merrick Garland used to work on Wall Street? Yet another real man of the people.

  11. dx
    April 21, 2016, 1:54 am

    I don’t think Obama will do anything about Israel at all. It looks to me like Obama just tries to work around Israel (like getting the Iran deal done, but really all through his years in office). It’s just a waste of energy trying to move the stubborn Israeli brick wall. On every issue, Clinton seems to take whatever position is politically favorable to her at any given time–she won’t do anything. I can’t really tell if she truly has any personal convictions about anything other than she thinks she deserves to be president. Also, she is too bought off and too beholden to donors to do anything (on this and many other issues–but especially this one). I really doubt that Obama makes decisions based on Clinton’s campaign fortunes–just on principle. I don’t think his personality or character would allow him to do that.

    My guess is that the US will someday be pushed to rapidly change positions/postures on Israel due to outside circumstances–something or some string of events will happen someday that the press can’t ignore or slant or stick on a back page. And then it will rise to attention of ordinary Americans. Kind of like how lately those 28 pages in the 9/11 report have come into sharp focus after all these years of stewing in the background, popping up in the news every once in a while. Or even the gay marriage issue. Things just perk along, and one day, change seems inevitable.

  12. Boomer
    April 21, 2016, 7:01 am

    Strange. Apart from Senator Sanders, it seems that the only concerns of American politicians are the concerns of Zionists. The range of possibilities seems to be what is acceptable to liberal Zionists on the one hand, and conservative Zionists on the other. There seems to be no concern about the best interests of Palestinians, or of Americans per se (only the interests of Americans who are Zionists). It seems that the only difference that exists in American politics today is about what is the best way to preserve and protect Israel. Liberal Zionists want to forestall international sanctions by a Potemkin Palestinian State. Conservative Zionists see no need for that.

  13. El Cazador
    April 21, 2016, 9:37 am

    «The dream of liberal Zionists at J Street is that in the lame duck period of his presidency, President Obama will bring resolutions to the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements and set out the parameters of a two-state solution. Do you believe it?»

    I could believe it, easily, but if I refer to the past, Obama might be killed just for having thought of trying to put the Two-State Solution in his end-of-presidency agenda. Then he would deserve his Nobel Peace Prize, posthumous

  14. David Plimpton
    April 21, 2016, 11:27 am

    Obama’s not a key to any of this and never has been. Aside from the Iran deal, done at the best of many, including some of Israel’s supporters, to avoid an Israel-Iran conflagration, Obama and his Clintonista, pro-Israel henchmen, have either phoned it in or actively promoted an AIPAC, pro-Israel, Zionist agenda.

    Why? Obama was anointed and financially supported by AIPAC, pro-Israel Americans as an up- and-comer who could (and did) go places in return for fawning pro-Israel support, just as AIPAC has accomplished with almost the entire Congress. And don’t think for a minute that his golden parachute isn’t tied to being loyal and keeping his mouth shut on Israel’s many outrages to the bitter end.

    On influencing Israel’s policy to move in a way that could lead to a fair and just solution in Israel-Palestine, there’s only one approach that could work, even though it might not work in an apocalyptic country like Israel. And anyone who understands negotiation and practiced it knows what it is. But most of the politicians who talk about this (like the entire Congress, Obama, Kerry and Biden) sound like they haven’t the foggiest notion how to negotiate. Trump does, but that’s another story.

    You have to bring leverage to the table, the stick as well as the carrot. Israel is feasting on carrots to the tune of billions from us and almost unlimited government, NGO, think tank, and media support. They are no sticks being applied and Israel has no incentive to negotiate and never will unless we threaten to cut off all monetary aid, weapons sales, trade and other things unless they give the Palestinians their rightful land, including pulling back the settlements. BSD, though well-meaning is a wet noodle. I support it because you have to start somewhere. But this really depends on U.S policymakers and the power of the purse. If we did what I suggest, the Palestinians would go along and not be a problem and we could support reasonable security, at a much lesser cost that our unqualified support and unending war in the Middle East, largely carried out with Israel as the unidentified beneficiary.

    As background, everyone who hasn’t should consult Mearsheimer and Walt, two respected
    academics, and their “Israel Lobby” book, , including their fact-based views on how we got into the Iraq War and the since unending war in the Middle East. See also, “Against Our Better Judgment” by Alison Weir. They deal with facts and though broadly labeled as anti-Semitic, I haven’t seen one criticism that backs the claim up, unless you agree that criticism of Israel’s policies and actions is anti-Semitic.

  15. James Canning
    April 21, 2016, 1:06 pm

    The illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank should be condemned, strongly, by Obama. In no way would this “weaken” the US. That HC prefers such condemnation to occur after the election is of course readily understandable.

  16. BruceB
    April 27, 2016, 3:40 pm

    Regarding the 2-state solution:
    I’ve always wondered why Israel condems Palestinian leaders because they don’t recognize “Israel’s right to exist”

    Does Israel formally recognize Palestine’s right to exist.

    • Kay24
      April 27, 2016, 4:22 pm

      Good question. The loony zionists expects those they occupy, steal, and have never recognized, to live in limbo for years, to state that “Israel has right to exist”. It would be a miracle for people to recognize the transgressors who have used deadly weapons against them killing their people and making millions refugees. The zionists have made the American leaders also spew the same crazy logic.

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