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‘Special relationship’ is now the acceptable euphemism for–

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The Israel lobby. Cause if you say the word "lobby," then your dear friend Leon Wieseltier will deem you an anti-Semite. Roger Cohen in the New York Times today:

Domestic U.S. politics constrain innovative thought — even open debate — on the process without end that is the peace search. As Aaron David Miller, who long labored in the trenches of that process, once observed, the United States ends up as “Israel’s lawyer” rather than an honest broker. The upside for an American congressman in speaking out for Palestine is nonexistent.

I don’t see these constraints shifting much, but the need for Obama to honor his election promise grows. The conflict gnaws at U.S. security, eats away at whatever remote possibility of a two-state solution is left, clouds Israel’s future, scatters Palestinians and devours every attempt to bridge the West and Islam.

[2-state Holocaust paragraph…]

But past persecution of the Jews cannot be a license to subjugate another people, the Palestinians. Nor can the solemn U.S. promise to stand by Israel be a blank check to the Jewish state when its policies undermine stated American aims.

One such Israeli policy is the relentless settlement of the West Bank. Two decades ago, James Baker, then secretary of state, declared, “Forswear annexation; stop settlement activity.” Fast-forward 20 years to Barack Obama in Cairo: “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” In the interim the number of settlers almost quadrupled from about 78,000 in 1990 to around 300,000 last year.

Since Obama spoke, Netanyahu, while promising an almost-freeze, has been planting saplings in settlements and declaring them part of Israel for “eternity.” In a normal relationship between allies — of the kind I think America and Israel should have — there would be consequences for such defiance. In the special relationship between the United States and Israel there are none.

Dan Sisken notes that in its piece on the new Norman Finkelstein documentary today, the Times critic Stephen Holden used the word "the lobby" matter-of-factly: "A scholar, author and passionate advocate of the Palestinian cause, Mr. Finkelstein, 56, is a thorn in the side of the Israel lobby."

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

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