Obama’s failure, and achievement, in Palestine

US Politics
on 56 Comments

When President Obama came into office eight years ago, friends in Washington said the private message on Palestine was clear. He wanted to do everything that liberal Zionists and the soon-to-be-announced J Street lobby wanted him to do: force Israel to end the settlements and retreat to the Green Line and thus allow the creation of a Palestinian state. Obama was said to have quoted FDR. “You’ve convinced me. Now go out there and make me do it.” I.e., build a movement that will compel me to do this, politically.

That approach was a miserable failure. Two-staters (and I was a wishy-washy one) failed to build such a movement inside the American establishment or more importantly, the Jewish community; J Street was marginalized; there are 100,000+ more settlers today than there were when Obama vowed in Cairo, “It is time for these settlements to stop;” Obama caved to political pressure and did nothing substantive till his last weeks in office, with the heroic abstention at the UN Security Council allowing the condemnation of settlements. For eight years the rightwing Israel lobby and its donors worked inside the Democratic Party to keep Obama from even thinking about putting pressure on Israel. An administration that began right after one massacre (Cast Lead) and quietly witnessed another (Protective Edge, 2014), still gave Israel more American aid than ever, $38 billion over ten years–more than half of all our foreign aid to a country whose GDP per capita is about to top France’s.

And I’m not even talking about the broader Middle East, which has become a “zone of disaster” in which our allies carry out massacres.

Still, I think I will look back on the Obama administration with fondness. Brain scientists say we store memories with two data points, peak and end; and the peak and end were good: The Iran deal, the Security Council abstention. Obama also kept us out of Syria despite huge pressure from the Clintonites. And at the last minute, when he had some autonomy, he freed Chelsea Manning. That UN resolution is likely to have massive negative consequences for Israel’s standing in the world. So Obama gave a big boost to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), and earned all of Netanyahu’s contempt for him.

That’s one achievement of the last eight years on the Israel-Palestine front: the successful internationalization of resistance to occupation and to Zionism. Things are worse in Palestine, but what had been a marginal global movement eight years ago is today a broad one, and about to convulse the Democratic Party and liberal institutions. Obama’s original national base– the Liberal Zionists, his “cabal” of rich Chicago Jewish liberals– is the big loser. The middle ground is vanishing. Increasingly, you are in the Greater Israel camp or in the boycott camp.

The two-state solution is over; and a struggle for equal rights in Israel and Palestine has begun in earnest, and is breaking into the mainstream. (Even Obama said the two-state “moment may be passing,” at his last press conference yesterday.)

People will say this is a leftwing achievement, and not Obama’s; but I give the president some credit. He never really liked Netanyahu. And though he did not resist him outright till the end, he objected on numerous occasions to the Likud agenda. No slideshow of the Obama presidency is complete without a picture of one of the awkward/angry Obama-Netanyahu meetings. Early on, it was said that Obama had read The Israel Lobby by Walt and Mearsheimer. His fights with his own party, in which liberal coastal Democrats savaged the president over his alleged opposition to Israel, and his speech in favor of the Iran Deal saying it would be an “abrogation” of his constitutional duty if he sided with Israel, have highlighted the truth of the Israel lobby theory. By the time they build an Obama library, the smear of the president as an anti-Semite will be a badge of honor.

Why didn’t Obama do more to call out Israel and its supporters and build a new base? I blame the power of the lobby; and yes, too, the deep state that seems to love the militarization of the Middle East. But there was also something characterological at work, Obama’s disinclination to engage with mortals and get down in the political mud. He was great at giving lofty speeches but afraid to put his chips down. A friend of mine who went to law school with Obama said you could see his conciliatory temperament then. At late night bull-sessions, Obama would draw everyone else out on their opinions, but at the end of the night you never really knew where the future president stood.

In years to come, there are sure to be memoirs– and revisions– in which we discover that Obama knew there was apartheid in Palestine and didn’t really believe in a Jewish state. So let the mythologizing begin. Some of it is deserved.

About Philip Weiss

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

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56 Responses

  1. Bandolero
    January 19, 2017, 2:30 pm

    Phil,

    if I my add my opinion to this, which is not unsimilar to yours, but gets it from a diffrent point of view:

    In his first term Obama was an abysmal failure, culminating in the needless murder of the African hero Muamar Gaddafi and so many more poor people, but in his second term Obama nevertheless proved to be a true son of Africa. Obama came back and fought and will surely be remembered as the one who dismantled the American Empire to the benefit of all oppressed people, whether they be in Africa, in Palestine and other parts of Asia or elsewhere. And I’m quite convinced, throwing the succeeding Presidency to Trump, and thereby securing to make the dissolution of the American Empire to be permanent, will once in a time be regarded as his masterstroke in the books of history.

    • Citizen
      January 19, 2017, 4:44 pm

      Well, he sure did not dismantle The Fed or Wall St or the MIC or the Insurance Oligarchy or Big Pharma, and his abstention was on a UN SC resolution with no teeth. How did he benefit Africa? How the Middle East, by killing Gaffed, or by all his morning checks on drone killing?

      • Bandolero
        January 19, 2017, 6:55 pm

        Citizen

        Obama could not dismantle The Fed or Wall St or the MIC or the Insurance Oligarchy or Big Pharma because he would have had no majority in Congress for it – and he might as well have been impeached for trying it. Had Obama given teeth to a settlement resolution the Brits and French would have vetoed it.

        The true accomplishment of Obama in his second term is that he deliberately destroyed the US empire by being the worst imperator possible. All what he did in his second term was creating a giant storm of blowback, and there’s no way out of that consequence. It’s like Obama read the policy proposals of the mighty lobby, just jumped to the risk paragraph, and if the risk of the policy was high for the well being of the empire, he chose exactly that policy. Take his murders by drone as an example: due to that policy the US will not be able to get the favor of hundreds of millions of people anymore for generations.

        The giant mess Obama created in Syria and the middle east is just tearing the EU colony of the US empire apart, Brexit has already been voted on, and more may well follow this year. And that is, while the US under Obama facilitated good cooperation between Russia and China, – and India, too, Pakistan goes into the SCO, Egypt to Russia, the Philippines go to China, and so on and on.

        Can you see what I mean? And now comes Trump, who is surely looking like even more poison for the US empire. And, in the end, I’m quite sure, without an US empire, there can’t be any Israel neither, at least not an Israel which behaves so irresponsible that it is loathed by the rest of the world.

    • xanadou
      January 19, 2017, 10:37 pm

      Obama dismantled nothing. He made the situation in Africa worse by allowing Africom to expand not only the drone wars, but also the number of military bases with the newest one being built at the cost of $100M. The latter means that the US economy is slated to grow its out of control debt with more, to finance the impossible to win colonial wars in Africa.

      Here’s just one of a slew of articles on the subject on US colonial adventurism in Africa:
      http://www.blackagendareport.com/node/4844

      The US has lost every single warmongering foray in Asia, and the ME. Why would the US generals and the POTUS think this latest murderous theatre can be won? (rhetorical)

      As time passes and the dirty secrets are gradually revealed, the depth of Obama’s failure will only become more depressing. The Intercept has written a massive number of articles on this subject, while the US media largely ignored the subject.

    • A.T.
      January 21, 2017, 8:56 am

      Had Obama given teeth to a settlement resolution the Brits and French would have vetoed it.

      Do you why they would veto it? Because ever since the stupid France gave the Israelis the atomic bombs, they put themselves at her mercy! The Israelis would simply threaten the Europeans that if they don’t go along with what she wants, Paris, London. Berlin etc. would get the nuke–and there is nothing in retaliation that they could do. Why? Because bombing Israel will also cause the destruction of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria ets. Take a look at the map of the region and you see what I mean!

      • Mooser
        January 21, 2017, 2:37 pm

        “The Israelis would simply threaten the Europeans that if they don’t go along with what she wants, Paris, London. Berlin etc. would get the nuke”

        Now wait a minute. Israel wouldn’t do that! I mean just because they have an illegal nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver it doesn’t make Israel a threat. I mean, do we consider all illegally nuclear-armed nations a threat?

      • A.T.
        January 21, 2017, 3:48 pm

        Now wait a minute. Israel wouldn’t do that! I mean just because they have an illegal nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver it doesn’t make Israel a threat. I mean, do we consider all illegally nuclear-armed nations a threat?

        No, not really! Only the one that occupies other people’s land, expands it boundries without a break and disregards all the UN resolutions in that and similar regards, just to mention a few.

        This is my explanation as why the Europeans are powerless regarding Israel. What’s yours dear Mooser?

      • Mooser
        January 21, 2017, 8:28 pm

        B,bu,b,b,but…but if this is true, apart from the danger to Europe, it makes every Jew on earth, in one way or another, hostage to Israel’s actions. That’s not how they told me it would work!

      • A.T.
        January 22, 2017, 1:57 am

        B,bu,b,b,but…but if this is true, apart from the danger to Europe, it makes every Jew on earth, in one way or another, hostage to Israel’s actions. That’s not how they told me it would work!

        At least Mr. suarez in his book:
        Terrorism: How the Israeli state was won

        Thinks differently! If you convinced him, then I agree with what they told you.

  2. BBSNews
    January 19, 2017, 2:54 pm

    That was phenomenal Phil.

  3. Kathleen
    January 19, 2017, 4:25 pm

    Obama did not keep us out of Syria. He allowed Clinton to push her war hawk agenda both in Libya and Syria (not all the way in Syria but enough to fuel the human disaster) Arming unknown rebels and providing intelligence to unknown rebels is not staying out. He fucked up royally on Libya and Syria. Leveretts wrote a great deal about the power sharing deal that Assad was allegedly interested in over 6 years ago.

    Under Obama Clinton was able to run the Christopher Stevens arms running machine from Libya through Turkey into Syria. Seymour Hersh and many others have written about these disastrous interventions.

    Gaddafi’s son was trying to make a peace deal weeks before the disastrous military intervention in Libya. HRC refused to communicate. She is very much part of the neocon death cult . Obama is either a closet supporter or just went along. Not sure. In my book he belongs right behind Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld…etc Clinton for crimes against humanity at the Hague.

    The Iran deal, Kerry and Obama’s effort on the I/P issue. the abstain vote all good. Iran deal great. Sure appears that Israel has truly become their own worst enemy. Two state solution dead. Apartheid state becoming so apparent

    The Obama peaks for me were in the Pepsi Center during the Dem convention in Denver. Walked all around talking with people at the top of stadium and down in the pit before stage (had volunteered so much for Obama had tickets to all venues). People were out of their minds with the idea of hope and change (had worked with Republicans who were out pounding pavement for Obama) At one point during his speech people were stomping on the floor of many levels of stadium, on the benches. People were out of their minds with euphoria. I thought the whole place was going to levitate over the foothills of the Rockies.

    I really think Obama failed harnessing this energy after he was in White House. So independent, Anyway he tried like hell.

    My other Obama peak moment was on the National mall just behind the reflecting pond during the inauguration. Had been talking with a young African American male Steve who was standing next to me as well all huddled in the human bee hive in the freezing cold waiting for Obama. He and I had been talking about his two tours in Iraq (one of his jobs had been assisting with putting dead soldiers bodies in body bags to put on returning planes to states) Our conversation was long and heart felt. I asked him why he had joined the army? He said he had believed everything Bush, Cheney and war team had said about WMD’s in Iraq and trying to link Al Qeada with Iraq. I asked him what he had learned? Steve responded “I learned not to trust our leaders when they are trying to send you into a war zone. To do my own digging and research when it comes to what our leaders are claiming. We cried some more. Then we leaned our two heads together as Obama approached the podium, Steve said “I will never forget this moment” I gulped and let him know that “I would never forget that moment, That I honored his nature to serve but was royally pissed off that his sense of duty had been so manipulated” Leaning our heads together we cried as Obama came up to the podium to deliver his moving speech.

    Then after the event the Bush exit helicopter circled the mall as people shot the bird up towards the copter and sang “na na na na na na hey hey hey good bye”

    8 years later..Trump takes the podium. Yikes

    • Citizen
      January 19, 2017, 5:19 pm

      ““I learned not to trust our leaders when they are trying to send you into a war zone. To do my own digging and research when it comes to what our leaders are claiming”

      Such intimate scenarios occurred all over in the aftermath of the Nazi regime, despite Goldhagen’s fantasy. Irony is today, the German government policy re Israel: 2 wrongs make a right, give them more reparations, more deeply discounted nuclear-ready submarines.

    • Bandolero
      January 19, 2017, 6:34 pm

      Kathleen

      I won’t disagree with you, especially regarding Libya. That didn’t need to be. To his credit, Obama already acknowlegded that he made a grave mistake there.

      However, on the other hand, democratic US president Obama had to work on an extraordinary long list of enemies of the US and world peace. The worst of those enemies are named in this list, and the 38 worst of the worst are marked by the letter D in the last column:

      http://web.archive.org/web/20100415104808/http://www.aipac.org/Publications/SourceMaterialsCongressionalAction/Signatories_to_Boxer-Isakson_Letter.pdf

      The letter, which that list of enemies of the US and world peace is referring to, can be read here:

      http://www.politico.com/blogs/ben-smith/2010/04/76-senators-sign-on-to-israel-letter-026380

      A bit more than five years later, and a lot of hard work from Obama inbetween, the length of the list of names of these worst of the worst US enemies and world peace marked by the letter D was down from 38 to 4:

      http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/247956-the-hills-whip-list-senators-take-sides-on-iran-deal

      Now, let’s wait and see how his successor Trump will work on the list of names of these worst of the worst US enemies and world peace marked by the letter R when the time will come. I’m quite optimistic that Obama did a good transition.

    • Mooser
      January 20, 2017, 12:36 pm

      “(had worked with Republicans who were out pounding pavement for Obama)”

      “Kathleen”, this is the only mention of the word “Republicans” on this page, so far.

  4. joemowrey
    January 19, 2017, 4:28 pm

    “…I think I will look back on the Obama administration with fondness.”

    I doubt the people who were on the receiving end of Obama’s bloody foreign policy will feel so warm and fuzzy about this war criminal. Frankly, Phil, you should be ashamed of yourself for making such a statement. What has happened to your moral compass?

    Here are two links to summations of Obama’s rampage of death and destruction around the globe. There are plenty more out there.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/america-dropped-26171-bombs-2016-obama-legacy

    http://original.antiwar.com/Nicolas_Davies/2017/01/18/obamas-bombing-legacy/

    John Pilger recently had this to day about Obama:

    “according to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day. He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.

    “Every Tuesday ­ reported The New York Times ­ he personally selected those who would be murdered by mostly hellfire missiles fired from drones. Weddings, funerals, shepherds were attacked, along with those attempting to collect the body parts festooning the “terrorist target.”

    “Under Obama, the U.S. has extended secret “special forces” operations to 138 countries, or 70 per cent of the world’s population. The first African-American president launched what amounted to a full-scale invasion of Africa. Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late Nineteenth Century, the U.S. African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. ”

    72 bombs every day. That’s an average of 3 every hour. Barack Obama should be on trial in the Hague, and certainly should not be remembered “fondly” in any context.

    • JWalters
      January 19, 2017, 8:15 pm

      Lincoln routinely went over the list of Union soldiers who were to be executed for desertion, to see who among them he could reasonably take off the list. Obama was not creating the kill list, he was reviewing it. Did he do this to add people to it? It seems to me more likely that he was reviewing the list like Lincoln. That would fit better with his pardon of Chelsea Manning.

  5. Citizen
    January 19, 2017, 4:53 pm

    “but at the end of the night you never really knew where the future president stood.”
    Yes, that should be on his gravestone. Thought experiment: Would he have caved into the Zionists like Truman did, to give him a real chance against Dewey? Yes. Would he have signed the letter recognizing Israel? Yes. Would he have crossed out the adjective “Jewish” when he recognized the state of Israel? No. Is he Penny Pritzker’s boy? Yes.

    Did he know about apartheid Israel? Yes. Does he want a comfy life style in retirement? Yes. He says he will still fight as an ordinary citizen (with instant recognition, backed by 99% of blacks) for Palestinian rights, and against Israel Lobby abuse of the USA’s blood and treasure? Yes, in a diluted manner parallel to his abstention at the UN SC vote on settlements.

    Does he know what a gigantic creep Netanyahu is? Yes.

  6. broadside
    January 19, 2017, 5:13 pm

    “Still, I think I will look back on the Obama administration with fondness.”

    Incomprehensible. This column absolutely defies belief.

    “A friend of mine who went to law school with Obama said you could see his conciliatory temperament then. At late night bull-sessions, Obama would draw everyone else out on their opinions, but at the end of the night you never really knew where the future president stood.”

    The very definition of a total coward, and everything he did while president lived up to the label — especially regards the Palestinian people and Jewish lobby — yet you’ll look back at him fondly…..

    Every minute I’ve spent on this site just got cheapened.

  7. joemowrey
    January 19, 2017, 5:40 pm

    Couldn’t help myself. Had to add this additional link. I kinda’ think Faheem won’t be remembering Barack Obama with fondness.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/23/drone-strike-victim-barack-obama

  8. joemowrey
    January 19, 2017, 5:54 pm

    There’s probably some folks in Gaza who also don’t hold many fond memories for Obama.

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/obama-gives-19-billion-weapons-welcome-gift-israels-racist-government

    “Israel pounded Gaza with US-supplied bunker buster bombs during Operation Cast Lead, the three-week assault in the winter of 2008-2009 that killed 1,400 Palestinians, including nearly 400 children.

    Obama quietly transferred dozens more bunker buster bombs to Israel in 2009 in an effort to prevent it from obstructing negotiations with Iran.

    The Obama administration replenished that stockpile after yet another Israeli attack on Gaza in 2012 with a $647 million arms package that included thousands of bunker buster bombs.

    Israel used those bunker buster munitions to pummel Gaza’s high rise towers and wipe out entire families as they sheltered in their homes during Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israeli assault that ultimately killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including over 500 children.”

  9. Annie Robbins
    January 19, 2017, 6:39 pm

    addressing an achievement of obama’s, which he may not be remembered for very much, is how he flushed out the lobby in an almost covert way on a few occasions which really exposed the nightflower in ways i don’t think they can retreat from going forward.

    so, while you addressed syria, and i don’t think obama did enough to pull back the US in syria i recall how he was getting massive pressure from the lobby to bomb syria (after the “red line”, incident that was never proved definitively). it was the way he tasked the lobby (who were both denying they were pressuring and pressuring at the same time) with getting congressional support to bomb syria knowing damn well they couldn’t get it. and the lobby ended up looking like war mongering fools. he also appointed hagel, who he knew the lobby didn’t like and then the congressional approval of hagel was such a side show even SNL made a joke of it, and this really flushed out the lobby too.

    unfortunately i think the “successful internationalization of resistance to occupation and to Zionism” that has occurred during his presidency is not primarily to his credit, i think it’s primarily to the credit of israeli slaughters in gaza. as far as americans are concerned, yes, his presidency made a difference. but the internationalization of resistance to israel is not the same as an internationalization of resistance to the lobby. i think we’re seeing that. obama’s snubbing of the lobby over multiple things (the iran deal, that too). i while i can’t say he improved anything on the ground in i/p, it’s definitely worse, the awareness of israel /the zionists and who they are, he helped expose them in a big way.

    • Bandolero
      January 19, 2017, 7:42 pm

      Annie

      “the way he tasked the lobby … with getting congressional support to bomb syria”

      Oh, yes, I remember, and I agree. Do you remember the wording of the exceptionally broad AUMF Obama drafted for this?

      (a) Authorization. — The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria in order to —
      (1) prevent or deter the use or proliferation (including the transfer to terrorist groups or other state or non-state actors), within, to or from Syria, of any weapons of mass destruction, including chemical or biological weapons or components of or materials used in such weapons; or
      (2) protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by such weapons.

      The key words were: “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate” and he could have gone against anybody and any state in the world he would have determined to pose a threat due to the CW use in Syria. What would have happened, if the President would have determined after he got the AUMF that it was a false flag attack – executed with the help of regional allies? Obama’s propsed AUMF would have given him authority to start any military action against them!

      And guess which regional ally was involved in the CW attack. Remember, Obama’s weird “Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013” contained the words: “On the afternoon of August 21, we have intelligence that Syrian chemical weapons personnel were directed to cease operations.” That was Israeli signal intelligence allegedly collected from a German ship given to the US by Israel as proof for the Syrian CW attack. But laboratory analysis done in Britain found out the CW attack was done with homebrew CW weapons, not Syrian state weapons. What did it mean? It meant the Israeli intel was fake, an Israeli involvement in the CW plot, deliberately designed to mislead the US and make the US bomb Syria.

      If Obama concluded this – as he determines – , the AUMF would have given Obama legal authorization to bomb Israel.

      And with that proposed AUMF – which would have given him authority to bomb Israel – Obama then went to AIPAC and asked them to get a majority in Congress for it. No wonder AIPAC failed to get that through Congress.

      • Sibiriak
        January 20, 2017, 1:48 am

        Bandolero: It meant the Israeli intel was fake, an Israeli involvement in the CW plot, deliberately designed to mislead the US and make the US bomb Syria.
        ——————

        I followed your reasoning up until that assertion.

        Just because Israel may have provided fake intel, it doesn’t follow that powerful factions within the U.S. political/military establishment weren’t leading the whole process of military escalation, including the production of intel to support it.

        All the U.S. neocons and liberal interventionists, the CIA et al., were demanding greater U.S. military action and conniving in every way possible to make it happen, looking to find every possible saleable rationale–so it wouldn’t be surprising at all if these U.S. warmongers had in fact sought out Israeli intel to back the “Assad used chemical weapons on his own people” war pretext, in the same way they sought out intel on Iraqi WMD’s to create a pretext for that war.

      • Keith
        January 20, 2017, 1:40 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “…in the same way they sought out intel on Iraqi WMD’s to create a pretext for that war.”

        A very relevant and timely observation. Has not the CIA sought out the “Golden Showers” intel to discredit Trump? Covering themselves by saying they cannot verify the accuracy (maybe yes, maybe no) while heaping praise upon the author? In effect, legitimizing hearsay rumors from folks with an agenda and clear bias?

      • Annie Robbins
        January 20, 2017, 5:18 pm

        thanks bandolero, i don’t think i ever actually read the proposed legislation before. and what a flop that was for the lobby!

        i knew about it being israeli intel, not US – (no “slam dunk”, being clapper’s understatement).

        sibiriak, “an Israeli involvement in the CW plot, deliberately designed to mislead the US and make the US bomb Syria” doesn’t rule out “U.S. neocons and liberal interventionists, the CIA et al” being in on the scheme, at all.

        i don’t think military establishment were leading the whole process of military escalation in syria, or production of intel to support it. i don’t think the military particularly wants to go to war in syria, or russia for that matter, which is why they backed trump.

        the cia, the clintonites, that’s another story.

      • Sibiriak
        January 20, 2017, 10:02 pm

        KEITH: Has not the CIA sought out the “Golden Showers” intel to discredit Trump? Covering themselves by saying they cannot verify the accuracy (maybe yes, maybe no) while heaping praise upon the author? In effect, legitimizing hearsay rumors from folks with an agenda and clear bias?

        ——————–

        All true. And beyond just legitimizing the rumors:

        As The New York Times noted, “putting the summary in a report that went to multiple people in Congress and the executive branch made it very likely that it would be leaked” (emphasis in the original).

        So even if the “intelligence community” didn’t leak the dossier itself, it distributed it knowing that someone else would.

        https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/14/the-scheme-to-take-down-trump/

      • Sibiriak
        January 20, 2017, 10:27 pm

        Annie Robbins: i don’t think military establishment were leading the whole process of military escalation …

        […]the cia, the clintonites, that’s another story. [emphasis added]

        ————————-

        N.b.: I was careful to write ” factions within the U.S. political/military establishment” ; )

        In any case, there have been plenty of warmongers within the U.S. establishment–neocons, liberal interventionists, the CIA (which has very close ties with Israeli intelligence)–pushing the Assad/chemical weapons escalation pretext. This idea of Israel potentially making the U.S. bomb Syria just isn’t very compelling to me.

        More generally: I appreciate many of Bandolero’s informative posts, but I can’t buy his/her exaggerated view of Israeli domination of the U.S.

        [Bandolero:] Currently it looks like Israel and her lobby rule the USA, but Trump is the figure head of an insurgent movement that wants the country back from Israeli colonialisation. I think that’s the central mission of the Trump presidency. [LOL–Sibiriak] [emphasis added]

        http://mondoweiss.net/2016/11/accused-entering-graywashes/#comment-859054

        ————————-

        Significant influence is one thing, “ruling” the USA quite another.

      • Keith
        January 21, 2017, 12:03 am

        SIBIRIAK- “Significant influence is one thing, “ruling” the USA quite another.”

        There is another factor at work here which I seem to be alone in maintaining. Most anti-Zionists tend to conflate the neocons and other Jewish Zionists with Israel such that their actions are attributed to Israel. I see a HUGE difference between American Jewish Zionists following Israeli diktats about what is best for Israel versus US Jewish Zionists pursuing policies which THEY think is best for Israel. I have always maintained that the center of Jewish Zionist power is the US, not Israel.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 21, 2017, 1:23 am

        i see that too keith.

      • Sibiriak
        January 21, 2017, 1:59 am

        Keith: I see a HUGE difference between American Jewish Zionists following Israeli diktats about what is best for Israel versus US Jewish Zionists pursuing policies which THEY think is best for Israel.
        ———————-

        That’s certainly a valid distinction.

        I would also emphasize that U.S. Zionism (support for Israel as a Jewish State) has HUGE non-Jewish sources of support, including:

        Christian Zionism (religiously based; Israel key element in God’s plans; Judeo-Christian tradition vs Islam etc. )

        American Exceptionalist Zionism (secular; two harmonious, collaborative exceptionalisms; two shining beacons on hills; shared imperial-capitalist values, War on Terror solidarity, etc.)

        American Liberal Zionism ( misguided view, now under severe stress, of Israel as a progressive project, a liberalism-approved post-Holocaust -safe- haven for Jews; socialist kibbitzum; they made the desert bloom, the only democracy in the Middle East etc).

        Finer distinctions are also possible, of course, as well as identifications of ideological overlaps.

        Imo, the underestimation of these non-Jewish wellsprings of pro-Zionist sentiment can contribute to a certain overestimation of Jewish-Zionist/Israeli power within the U.S.–which isn’t to say that U.S. Jewish-Zionist power is in any way negligible.

      • oldgeezer
        January 21, 2017, 10:35 am

        I kind of likenthis quote and agree wholeheartedly with it.

        “Any attempt to link a sovereign state that wants to defend itself with religion is a double-edged sword that can become quickly dangerous as well for other groups of society.”

        Two funny things in this.

        One the quote is from the Israeli ambassador to Germany.

        The second is that he suffers so greatly from cognitive dissonance that he seems blissfully unaware of the actions and words of zionists who not only want to link the state with religion but demands others recognize the linkage.

        It is indeed a double edge sword. I have said so any times. And it won’t end well.

      • Mooser
        January 21, 2017, 1:14 pm

        “The second is that he suffers so greatly from cognitive dissonance”

        Oh, not so much. All you have to do is increase the number of Jews by one or two orders of magnitude, and it all makes sense.

  10. Frankie P
    January 19, 2017, 7:18 pm

    Obama’s achievements on the I/P issue can be symbolized accurately as a nothing sandwich on milquetoast. The first piece of milquetoast was the Cairo speech on June 4, 2009, a promising delivery that unfortunately did NOT translate into any subsequent action on the issues. For the next eight years, there was a bunch of nothing from Obama, not even enough promotion of peace to deserve a bottle of polish to rub on his Nobel Peace Prize. We witnessed just more of the much-expected US Presidential jamming of said POTUS’s proboscis up the Zionist poop chute, something that Americans have become much accustomed to. Finally, he needed to find closure to his non-existant sandwich, so he added the second piece of milqutoast: the abstention at the UN Security Council on the condemnation of Israeli settlements, again a non-substantial action that means nothing coming so late in the game of his second term with NO opportunity to follow it up with anything armed with teeth.

    Phil Weiss should examine his views of Obama. They completely lack rational objectivity and logic; they are colored by rose-tinted lenses on spectacles of a thickness unprecedented. I’m with broadside and joemowrey on this one. Following all the worthwhile stuff that Phil Weiss has produced in the past, gaining my admiration and interest in continuing to visit this site, this is vomit inducing, syrup of ipecac!

    Frankie P

  11. yonah fredman
    January 19, 2017, 7:37 pm

    The end of the Obama administration is a landmark occasion, worthy of comment.

    The one state, two state argument. By chance I’ve been reading some biographical accounts of David Ben Gurion and besides wondering at the indomitable will of the man, I was struck by two things: there were many Zionists after wwII who were opposed to statehood at that time, sufficient numbers that I cannot ideologically invalidate proposals of new governance for i/p. My objections are not ideological, but practical.
    Second point: Ben Gurion’s insistence in adjusting to the historical moment. Certainly he was guided by practicality rather than morality, but he consistently was trying to balance what he saw as Israel’s interest versus the geopolitical and regional power dynamics.

    Obama plus bibi was never going to work. If olmert, livni, sharon, barak or rabin had been in power at the same time as obama, the situation would have had possibility. But bibi, no, nothing doing.
    It seems clear that if current trends continue, ultimately, the Democratic party will represent their voters rather than the donors and the party will pull away from supporting israel. Will future democrats cite obama in justifying the party’s move away from israel? I don’t know. According to pundits the short term health of the Democratic party is iffy, so it could be 13 years before democrats really get on top of their game. So in such a longer time frame Jimmy Carter and Obama will be mentioned by those taking over the rejuvenated democratic party, but dynamics on the ground in i/p and on the ground in the future democratic party will play the major role in the new policy and historic precedence and presidents won’t play a major role.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      January 20, 2017, 10:06 am

      What makes you so confident that the rank and file Democrats will care enough about the I/P issue to actually demand a change? I just don’t see it. Each identity group is obsessed with their own situation. And BLM will never influence the majority of Americans. Time to get realistic and work accordingly! The real change will come when patriotic Americans no longer see Israel as our friend.

    • Mooser
      January 20, 2017, 11:06 am

      “The end of the Obama administration is a landmark occasion, worthy of comment.”

      It must be, if the event caused you to break your vow of silence.

  12. JWalters
    January 19, 2017, 7:53 pm

    It seems to me Obama’s true priorities and goals were shown in his Cairo speech and the Iran nuclear deal. Both involved standing up to the war profiteers. The Iran deal removed the main excuse for the MIC’s next war, and was done in the face of extreme political pressures on all fronts. While working hard to assure Jews of security, he advanced the discussion toward justice and away from the abject, subversive subservience to Israel, the Israel lobby, and the vicious war profiteering banksters behind them.

    It also seems to me most liberal critics of Obama underestimate the extreme power of the forces he was up against. They seem to think this is just about speaking up in a political debate. In reality, an international gang of ruthless criminals (e.g. LIBOR) controls the money system and most of the wealth, and thereby the media with its capacity to character assassinate and drive people from public life, and thereby the Congress with its capacity to write the rules. And it’s not just their vast financial muscle they use. They also routinely use blackmail and murder. It is my studied opinion that they were behind the JFK assassination and 9/11, AND have had the media, political, and social power to cover up these monumental crimes, DESPITE the OVERWHELMING evidence available.

    Obama was riding a powerful, evil tiger which even the office of the presidency could not rein in unilaterally. Even Cory Booker would have betrayed him had he tried to do so. He would have been savaged (even more) by even the (cowed and quivering) “liberal” press, and possibly impeached. He made significant progress in turning this giant ship away from war while avoiding getting himself (or his family) murdered. The extreme evil and power of this cabal cannot be overstated.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      January 20, 2017, 10:11 am

      “Both involved standing up to the war profiteers. The Iran deal removed the main excuse for the MIC’s next war, and was done in the face of extreme political pressures on all fronts. While working hard to assure Jews of security, he advanced the discussion toward justice and away from the abject, subversive subservience to Israel, the Israel lobby, and the vicious war profiteering banksters behind them.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/01/failure-achievement-palestine/comment-page-1/#comment-867776

      When did he stand up to them on Libya and Syria and Yemen? If Americans had not objected to more war, Obama would have bombed Syria, and ISIS or AQ would now be in control of Damascus. Certainly he never stopped the CIA from arming AQ in Syria. And he even looked with favor at the rise of ISIS, as a counterweigh to Assad, as we can see in the 2012 DIA Memo.

      Yes, he would have been up against a vile group of people and interests had he chosen to do the right thing, but so what? SOMEONE has to be the first to try to make change on this issue. So he gets ZERO respect from me for the utter waste he made of an opportunity to at least help shape the American consciousness. I seriously think the reflexive praise for Obama from some on the Left is because he is Black. Face facts: Obama is a craven and selfish politician. He was a cruel hoax.

  13. dbroncos
    January 19, 2017, 11:50 pm

    I’ll give Obama credit for his impressive speeches, improving the economy and the Iran deal.

    But he lacked the talent and/or the will to take on other important issues. He didn’t challenge the dark side of the Patriot Act – Presidential power to arrrest, imprison and kill American citizens without charges under the catch-all – ‘national security’. Obama didn’t challenge this policy despite the very clear record of tyranny that’s resulted from governments with this kind of power.

    Wall Street sent tens of millions of people to the poor house in the biggest bank robbery in American history. Obama, at least, owed American tax payers, morgtgage holders and investors the satisfaction of knowing that the bankers and their partners in crime at the SEC would be held accountable if they were guilty of fraud. But he did nothing.

    Netanyahu mopped the floor with Obama. However, Netanyahu had overwhelming support in our feckless congress (29 standing ovations) and the DNC, no doubt, reminded Obama that the viablility of the party depended on contributions from Israel’s supporters. The only thing Obama could lean on was the moral strength of his argument against settlements and support from the American public which is still not strong enough to sway congress. He backed down from Netanyahu in a humiliating way but he was in a very weak position. If he had sanctioned Isreal over settlements he would have been thrown over by congress.

    • broadside
      January 20, 2017, 10:06 am

      “The only thing Obama could lean on was the moral strength of his argument against settlements and support from the American public which is still not strong enough to sway congress. He backed down from Netanyahu in a humiliating way but he was in a very weak position.”

      Oh, balls. Weak position? The president of the United States??? “Think I’ll address the American people tonight, honey.”

      And that’s what he should have done. “The only thing Obama could lean on was the moral strength of his argument against settlements”

      Exactly!! And he didn’t lean on it. Fifteen-minute speech to the American public, laying out the facts; namely; Israel started a war in 1967 to steal some land, and they’ve been stealing it ever since. Since 2002 EVERY Arab country has agreed to recognize Israel, have dealings with an Israel bordered by the ’67 lines — that’s giving Israel 78 percent of a piece of land they were originally given 53 percent of. That is a deal that is good for the American people, it is too good a deal to pass up, we can settle this once and for all, and if the Israel lobby and its partisans in Congress want to take me on over this, I am more than willing and ready to stake my presidency on it.”

      That would have taken a “man” in the White House; we didn’t have one. We had a little boy, never so small as when Netanyahu visited the Oval Office, those times Obama could have walked under the couch without touching that flap.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      January 20, 2017, 10:18 am

      He didn’t do anything to fundamentally strengthen the economy. The Fed kept interest rates are virtually zero per cent interest, so there was only a re-inflation of the bubble. And that 10 Trillion in new debt is quite an accomplishment eh?

      But you are correct that he fostered even more moral hazard with his own bailouts. He even supported the one that W pushed before leaving office, which should have signaled to everyone his real character.

      • Mooser
        January 20, 2017, 2:19 pm

        “And that 10 Trillion in new debt is quite an accomplishment eh?”

        Considering the Bush tax cuts, Obama probably did the best he could.

  14. iResistDe4iAm
    January 20, 2017, 2:24 am

    Obama Legacy: From a Nobel Peace Laureate to a regime-changing Warmonger

    https://twitter.com/iResistDe4iAm/status/822303294995374081

    Link to image:
    http://i.imgur.com/C5uDZrL.jpg

  15. Boomer
    January 20, 2017, 7:50 am

    The PBS series “Frontline” recently spent 4 hours reviewing Obama’s years in office. It is a good but depressing reminder of what he was up against. Many of us hoped for more from Obama. Whether those hopes were ever realistic or not, I’ll leave for others to decide.

    As for whether the recent UN resolution is significant, it isn’t clear to me why it should be. Naturally, I hope for the best, but it is sobering to remember the history of such resolutions. It is also sobering to reflect on the current state of knowledge and discourse regarding Palestine in the U.S.

    A recent exchange reported on Houston Public Media was instructive. Dr. Arye Carmon was in Houston for an event. Afterwards, a reporter (Andrew Schneider, a man with two degrees in history and considerable experience as a reporter) had a brief discussion with him. A summary by Houston Public Media follows, with a link to the full interview:

    “Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is sponsoring a bill to block the U.S. from paying its dues to the United Nations. Cruz filed his bill following a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. The U.S. typically vetoes such resolutions. But the Obama Administration abstained, allowing it to pass. News 88.7’s politics and government reporter Andrew Schneider spoke with Arye Carmon about the future of U.S.-Israeli relations. Dr. Carmon, the founder and past president of the Israel Democracy Institute, is currently a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

    “Interview Highlights:

    [Question from Schneider] “This is the first time in my lifetime the U.S. has abstained from a resolution condemning Israel in the UN Security Council. How is this being received in Israel?

    [Response from Carmon] “Andrew, I have to correct you…All presidents who occupied the White House since 1967 opposed settlements in the West Bank. During the Johnson era, the United States abstained seven times when it was brought before the Security Council. Nixon, 15. Ford, 2. Carter, 14. Reagan, 21. Bush Sr., 9. Clinton, 3. Bush Jr. 6.”

    [Question] “So why has Obama’s decision to abstain become such a controversial move?

    “It became a controversial move in the eyes of a prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] who against the president came to speak to Congress at a certain point. So it was very easy to blame the president for doing it. But, you know, I would expect the United States and any other country to be very clear about its position. This would be the only…support toward achieving a two-state solution.”

    [Question] “What do you see as the prospect for a two-state solution at this point?

    “The alternative is a disaster. The alternative may mean the end of the state of Israel. Israel declared itself to be Jewish and democratic. This is our identity. We’re still struggling internally to define what is Judaism and what should be the equilibrium between Jewishness and democracy. But it is unbearable that the alternative to two states will be one state, because in one state, we will either be a democracy and not Jewish or we will be Jewish and not a democracy.”

    http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2017/01/19/184049/the-future-of-u-s-israeli-relations-after-obama/

  16. hophmi
    January 20, 2017, 8:50 am

    “Things are worse in Palestine, but what had been a marginal global movement eight years ago is today a broad one.”

    That statement sums up everything people hate about radical activists. You’ve made the lives of people on the ground worse, but hey, you build a “movement.”. It’s all about you.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      January 20, 2017, 10:21 am

      Yep! These people would waste opportunities for reach change if it meant spiting all the Trump supporters they see as deplorable.

    • Mooser
      January 20, 2017, 11:11 am

      “You’ve made the lives of people on the ground worse,”

      Ah, it’s the “”movement”” which is making everything worse. Just so we know how serious this is, can you tell us how many deaths and home demolitions the “”movement”” is responsible for?

      • eljay
        January 20, 2017, 11:41 am

        || Mooser: … Just so we know how serious this is, can you tell us how many deaths and home demolitions the “”movement”” is responsible for? ||

        They’re not “deaths” and “home demolitions” – they’re “Israeli excesses”.

    • David Nelson
      January 20, 2017, 11:12 am

      So, the people most vocal about the need for Israel to end the occupation and its purpose–never ending settlement expansion–are the ones most responsible for continued occupation and settlement activity? The answer to the occupation and land theft is shutting up about it?

      Your logic is unimpressive.

    • eljay
      January 20, 2017, 11:38 am

      || hophmi: … That statement sums up everything people hate about radical activists. You’ve made the lives of people on the ground worse, but hey, you build a “movement.”. It’s all about you. ||

      Sounds like a good description of Zionists and their “Jewish State” movement.

    • Talkback
      January 20, 2017, 5:46 pm

      hophmi: “That statement sums up everything people hate about radical activists.”

      Of course. Your distorted paraphrase is your own creation. Just the usual word twisting. Never deal with the real argument, right?

    • oldgeezer
      January 20, 2017, 6:47 pm

      @hophmi

      Be honest for once. What has made the lives of Palestinians worse is the rogue state of Israel and it’s supporters, like you, who actively and violently support it’s war crimes, crimes against humanity and flagrant violations of the Geneva Conventions.

      Oh forget I asked. You aren’t ever going to attempt to be honest.

  17. echinococcus
    January 20, 2017, 9:31 am

    “Fondness”? The Obama admin, a bragging criminal against peace and a war criminal on behalf of the Zionists outside Palestine, has also for Palestine been much more than an accessory: in fact it has been a first-person actor as a sponsor providing money, arms, diplomatic coverage and a huge number of American-citizen troops directly to the Zionist entity for its wars and direct genocide. Just like its predecessors.

    His last-minute trick with UNSC 2334 was a new lease on life for the most murderous comedy of a pretend “peace process”, a total absence of progress on any “negotiations” is used for decades as a pretext for continuing military occupation and genocide. Do some possible fringe benefits for BDS compensate for that?

  18. jackal
    January 23, 2017, 1:38 pm

    As a Canadian, I had such high hopes for the States when Obama came into office. But the fact that he did not get rid of Bush’s Zionist lackeys immediately portrayed a weakness that was maintained throughout his term of office.
    “Follow the money” is a phrase that explains just about everything he did: kowtowing to the Zionist Lobby (he may have read the M and W book, but he didn’t do anything about it); kowtowing to the industrial/military complex; continuing the funding of Israel while Israel was beating the hell out of Gaza; allowing Israel to continue its settlements; surrounding Russia with his military bases in the west as well as the east;, etc.

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