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Obama put the ball in Israel’s court

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We have to make sense and progress out of what we have before us; and overall, Obama’s trip was positive. I’ll tell you why.

As far as the recognition of the Zionist attachment to the land, and the history of Zionists in Israel, a lot of that was boilerplate. And actually he’s not saying anything that has not been accepted by most of the Arab countries, if not all of them, in their Arab Peace Initiative, where they said that they would recognize Israel if it returned to the 1949 armistice lines and shared Jerusalem with the Palestinians and had some kind of fair resolution of the refugee problem. The Arab League is not calling for Israel not to be a Zionist state. They’re not saying that they wouldn’t welcome it if it were not Zionist, but they’re not making that a demand.  And there is absolutely no publicity in this country about that Peace Initiative, taken by the Arab League and reaffirmed time and again.

The larger strategic issue here is that Obama had two major tasks before him when he was elected in 2008. Those were, one, the economy tanking, and two, the security situation in this country. He picked up from the wars that Bush had been waging all over the Muslim world; and so the situation between the Muslims and the U.S. was getting worse not better. Obama understood that this war against what Bush liked to call radical Islam– I don’t use that word, but that’s the word they use, though Obama doesn’t say that, he talks about extremists – he had to pick up from this, and he knows that 99 percent of this so-called war has to be a political one. He knows that Muslims are angry with the United States, and one of the great sources of that anger is the United States’ support for the oppression of the Palestinians, so one of the first things he did when he was elected, he went to Cairo. The person who wrote that speech for Obama is still in place, and is still advising him on Israel and still writing [Ben Rhodes]. So they know that they have got  a real problem with Muslims around the world.

I dug something up that gives you the Israeli context. That was an interview with Shimon Peres back in January in the New York Times [by Ronen Bergman]. It’s absolutely kind of astounding when you look at it in terms of this trip and in terms of Obama’s attitude. He talks about the breakdown between Netanyahu and Obama in the first term. Peres says,

“[Netanyahu] may do nothing, but that doesn’t mean that things won’t be done. This idea, that history is a horse that can be held by the tail, is a foolish idea. After all, the fire can be lit in an instant: another word, another shot, and in the end everyone will lose control. If there is no diplomatic decision, the Palestinians will go back to terror. Knives, mines, suicide attacks. The silence that Israel has been enjoying over the last few years will not continue, because even if the local inhabitants do not want to resume the violence, they will be under the pressure of the Arab world. Money will be transferred to them, and weapons will be smuggled to them, and there will be no one who will stop this flow. Most of the world will support the Palestinians, justify their actions, level the sharpest criticism at us… .”

This language is the background for what Obama said. He said there’s no wall that you can build that’s high enough and no Iron Dome that’s going to be effective enough to make your fortress impenetrable. He could have been saying that about the United States. He could have been saying there’s no homeland security and no army and no FBI roundup of suspects and no Guantanamo that’s going to make us secure enough unless there’s political movement. Though he can’t come out and say, I think this Israeli Palestinian peace is a matter of American national security. He cannot say that politically. What that would be saying was, Osama bin Laden succeeded. But that is really the understanding that he’s proceeding upon.

Listen to what Peres says later on:

“President Obama thinks that peace should be made with the Muslim world. We, the State of Israel, do not appear to be thinking along those lines. We must not lose the support of the United States.”

Why does he think that? We have to ask ourselves. He knows what’s driving Obama, and he also knows what’s driving Netanyahu. Peres again:

“The problem is that Obama would like to reach peace in the Middle East and has to be convinced that Israel agrees with this.”  

So Obama could have proceeded on this whole issue in two different ways. He could have engaged with more tough love with Israel, because that would satisfy people like us. But there is no question that Israel has bipartisan support in the United States, and there’s a lot of reasons for that, and as Obama said, he has to deal with that fact. Support for Israel is part of the political culture of this country now. You don’t have an Eisenhower in office. Although there’s been a lot of attempts to make some analogy between Eisenhower and Obama, when Israel invaded the Sinai in ‘56, Eisenhower said, I don’t care what power Israel has, they have to withdraw, and I will cut off the tax exempt status of Israeli fundraising in the United States. Well Obama doesn’t think he has that kind of political space. He has some, but he doesn’t have that kind of political space. Still, he has lots of political tools that he is using. Money from USAID went into making 5 Broken Cameras. Did you know that? That’s remarkable. There is an effort underway, an official effort to demonstrate the difficulty of the life that Palestinians have under occupation.

This Nabi Saleh piece in the NYT magazine section [by Ben Ehrenreich], the fact that it appeared when it did, was not happenstance. I mean by that—there are people here in the New York Times, in the government, and outside of the government, who know that in order to resolve this problem, the Palestinian side has to get some airtime. This is particularly true since polls in this country show that the P.A. is the third most hated government in the world. And they have to change that. Because in all the rest of the word, Israel is one of the most hated governments.

When Obama said to the Israeli young people, who were vetted before they got in there, Do you want to continue to be isolated as a country, he’s also talking about the United States, because the tarbaby relationship that the United States has with Israel has isolated this country and ties its hands enormously, even with its western partners. There are countries in western Europe that want to take the initiative for boycott. And so Obama is a juggler. “I’m a politician.” He said it. “I’ll do what I can do, given the constraints that I have, because this is the subtext of everything I’ve done, my first duty is to protect the national security of the United States.” The other subtext of that, is however much we are aligned and entwined and we recognize that we both came out of colonial settlement efforts, because that’s what the United States and Israel are—what he didn’t say is that America’s interests and Israel’s interests are one and the same. He did not say that. And that’s an important thing. He did say that for all intents and purposes, that Israel’s security is tied to America’s security, but those are two different things.

A lot of what he said has to be read in light of America’s post-9/11 history. You have to look at the wars that Bush started, the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, what’s happening now in the Middle East with the Arab spring–  all of this is weighted down on the Arab Israeli conflict as well.

All Zionists are not the same. People are not prepared to differentiate between them, but there are uber Zionists and lesser Zionists. They all want a Jewish state, a Jewish majority state. But some of them are Jabotinskyites who believe that Israel should have a permanent Iron Wall against the Arab world, while some of them believe that they have to define their borders and become a normal state. And that latter portion knows they can’t do that with an unresolved Palestinian problem.

And the Palestinians have an ace card. They’re not as weak as you think they are. Because their mere existence and perseverance have given them enormous strength, by placing these two different camps in the Zionist movement in contention about where Zionism’s going. I have a lot of problems with liberal Zionists. But I don’t care if they’re motivated by wanting to maintain a Jewish state. What I care about is whether they will oppose the occupation and support Palestinian rights. Then we get into what are Palestinian rights–all those things that are subject to negotiation.

But there’s no military solution to this problem. I can’t repeat that enough. There’s no military solution to this problem. And as bleak as things look, Obama thinks there’s a peaceful resolution. You have to ask yourself: Was Obama lying when he went to the Israeli public and said what he said, that there has to be a viable Palestinian state with contiguous borders? Was he lying, was he insincere, was he just doing this for public consumption without any real genuine belief? I think the answer to that question was no, he was not lying. He has said the same thing consistently, from Cairo to Jerusalem.

He knows the ground must be prepared for this. There is a problem when according to polls two-thirds of the Israelis accept a Palestinian state, but they don’t trust the Palestinians. Obama said to them, You can trust Abbas. You have to have some trust in Abbas. So he went there and he said some hard truths. And the question is, will it have an impact on the Israeli body politic. Obama understands a body politic, because he has to deal with it here in this country. Did you read Thomas Friedman today? Even he is worried that the Israelis “don’t get it.”

And this is probably the essence of Obama trip:  him trying to get them to get what he gets; and he has a strategy. Everyone thinks he has some kind of magic wand. But he can’t wave a wand and say, Let there be a Palestinian state, let there be peace. He’s not a magician. But one of his first duties as president, is to advance the security of this country. And he’s not going to do it if this situation is not resolved.

Jordan is teetering. Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic has an interview with King Abdullah, and all of these countries are teetering because of the frustration of young people. Young people are driving this whole Arab spring. And they’re frustrated because their countries have not delivered and Arabs and Muslims are not getting any respect. If you read Raphael Patai’s book about the Arab mind— which was used to teach American soldiers going to Iraq how to do torture, using sex and nudity and dogs—something that’s essential to Arab culture is dignity and respect. And when it comes to dignity and respect, at the very heart of this turmoil and all this angst and enormous change that’s happening in the Arab world is the Palestine problem. And it has spread out beyond that to the whole of the Muslim world. I’ll never forget, seeing television and some Taliban up in the mountains in Afghanistan, talking about Palestine. They weren’t talking about Karzai.

People follow this, and people are intensely political, throughout the Muslim world. My father’s village in Lebanon is incredibly poor, but every home had a shortwave radio in it. They weren’t getting the New York Times, but they sit there and they listen to this stuff that’s going on, and they try and think, how does this relate to us? And they say, Our countries were divided; the western countries came in and divided us up, and they continue to divide us up. And this Palestine issue has amazing resonance.

I went with another attorney over to Lebanon after the Qana massacre [of 1996] to take affidavits from survivors, about ten years after the event, so as to bring a lawsuit. And I went to my mother’s village to pay a visit. One of my relatives who has a little store in the village said to me, if we fight the Israelis with tanks, and by that he also meant the US– 100 percent we’re going to lose. And if we fight them with airplanes, the same. But now we have people who are willing to put suicide vests on! And he was just citing a truism. The truism is that asymmetrical warfare is the last effort by this aroused Muslim polity to assert itself against the west. And you can call it terrorism, you can call it whatever you want, and it doesn’t change the fact that the situation exists, and you’re not going to change it by getting biometric samples of everyone’s eyes coming into the country.

When I speak of Obama’s strategy—he’s getting more American Jews on board this peace train. This idea of getting the people involved and pushing peace, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you listen to what he said, he didn’t dis the BDS movement. He didn’t dis nonviolent resistance. He praised it. That’s important. So we’ve got to look at this thing in a very, very careful and holistic fashion. Otherwise if you just take this trip and all you hear are his panegyrics about Zionism and the Jewish struggle, then you’re missing a great deal.

I’ll tell you what I think is going to flow from it. I think the U.S. has the map of what they think should be the contours of a settlement, and while Obama says this has to be negotiated between the parties, and no one can go over the head of the other party, I think Obama has pretty much placed the ball in Israel’s court. That’s an enormous achievement. He’s said that the Israelis have to make the move. They’re the stronger party, because of American support. You’ve got to do something. You cannot allow this stasis. So the Israelis I think are going to come up with something. It probably won’t be something that Abbas can accept, but it’s going to be an enormous advance to what we have now and it will give Americans space to get involved. Remember what Obama said. We don’t need any more incrementalism. That’s incredible. All these other people have all put emphasis on the process. Obama is saying this is the end game. This is beyond the times of releasing a few prisoners, or giving back a few dunams to the P.A. This for Obama is the end game.

Obama is not going to fall on his sword and have America fall on its sword for Israel. I don’t care what lobby exists in this country. Does that make him an Eisenhower?  Not really. Because he doesn’t have the political space to be an Eisenhower. He can only do what he has political space to do.

Whether he’s changed the politics of Israel, it’s too early to say. But if  this government doesn’t last, and there’s  another big shakeup, this Yair Lapid fellow is much more amenable to working out something with the Palestinians. 

You have to be an optimist. You can’t proceed unless you’re an optimist and think that things can be better. That’s one of the messages that Obama tried to convey when he gave his talk. He told the Israelis, No longer can you sit on the sidelines and hope this thing goes away. It’s not going to go away. And he said, this is needed for Israeli security, and it’s also just; you don’t want to be oppressing these Palestinians. That’s strong language. We haven’t heard anyone do that before:  Put yourself in their shoes. Israelis have never done that, put themselves in Palestinian shows. And of course he’s also talking to American Jews when he says that.

Have you read The Pessoptimist? It was written by Emile Habiby, who’s an iconic figure in the Palestinian struggle, because he was a writer, and it was the Israeli Communist party after the Nakba that sustained and allowed the Palestinians in Israel to really maintain any kind of cohesion and hope. Now this Communist Party also supported the partition resolution in 1948, in keeping with the Communists generally, because Russia supported it as well. But in retrospect Palestinians would say that it would have been great if Partition had been effected in the manner it was proposed. Of course you can’t put Humpty Dumpty back on the wall, but I’m a pessoptimist.

There’s no absolute justice. There’s not going to be for anyone. Anyone seeking absolute justice should not be involved in this issue, because it’s just not going to happen.

This piece is a transcript of Jabara’s statements during a phone conversation with an editor at this site.

Abdeen Jabara

Arab American lawyer and civil rights activist.

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92 Responses

  1. mjrosenberg on March 25, 2013, 10:26 am

    This is a brilliant piece. In fact, it is the only convincingly hopeful piece I have read about the Obama trip.
    “There’s no absolute justice. There’s not going to be for anyone. Anyone’s seeking absolute justice should not be involved in this issue, because it’s just not going to happen.”
    On another subject: the other really smart thing I read today was about anti-Semitism among the “pro-Palestinian network” (i.e, non-Muslims & non-Arabs) whose pro-Palestinian fervor is a cover for anti-Semitism (no, not anti-Israelism, the real kind). Definitely worth reading.

    • eGuard on March 25, 2013, 12:20 pm

      mjrosenberg: the “pro-Palestinian network” (i.e, non-Muslims & non-Arabs)?

      Nor in reality, nor in the piece by stevehynd this exclusion is made. The opposite is more true: stevehynd clearly claims that he was triggered by a piece about “Muslim anti-Semitism [in Britain]”, and later on he quotes from it. Also he writes about (among a dozen of topics from around the world and a dozen from history) Palestinians. So no exclusion by him.

      Then I do not think stevehynd’s piece is that smart. He does not come close to actually pointing to anti-Semitism. He cannot tear the words “Israel” and “Jew” apart. One reasoning goes like this: … [is] not anti-Semitic in itself but a line of thought that when combined with vocal criticism of Israel’s actions in the occupied territories, can too often lead to anti-Semitism. In another piece (on David Ward MP, he links to) he accepts and understands the gest of what was said, and still keeps rubbing the mud. In the comments he writes: I don’t think there is anything inherent about wanting the abolition of the state of Israel and being an anti-Semite. But, and this is one very big but, it would seriously raise my suspicions. These positions clearly keep the door open for him to smear anti-Semitism by association. Exactly that is what we want to get rid of. For this, stevehynd is unable to show us a lead.

      http://stevehynd.com/2013/03/24/anti-semitism-in-pro-palestinian-networks/
      http://stevehynd.com/2013/01/27/a-note-to-david-ward-mp-your-historical-comparisons-are-unhelpful/

    • Shingo on March 25, 2013, 12:36 pm

      On another subject: the other really smart thing I read today was about anti-Semitism among the “pro-Palestinian network” (i.e, non-Muslims & non-Arabs) whose pro-Palestinian fervor is a cover for anti-Semitism (no, not anti-Israelism, the real kind). Definitely worth reading.

      With all due respect MJ, this patrinising piece smacks of the usual expectations that Palestinian supporters satisfy the standards of moral perfection while Israel’s supporters be allowed to carry on like the KKK clan.

      This writer would have the pro Palestinian movement spend more time cleaning house than fighting the good fight.

      As Donald said so eloquently in another thread ordinary people living under occupation may express views that aren’t liberal and forgiving towards their occupiers and while I will be critical of that, I won’t go so far as to equate them to their occupiers. Particularly not when I help fund their oppressors.

      • tokyobk on March 25, 2013, 1:18 pm

        A movement rooted in universal justice does not need to spend much time cleaning house, just make the terms clear. When Ali Abuminah whacks Great Berlin and Gilad Atzmon he furthers the legitimacy of his positions. Pro-Palestinian and anti-Jewish are useful distinctions for everyone involved.

      • mjrosenberg on March 25, 2013, 2:24 pm

        Fighting anti-semitism is part of the good fight.

      • Cliff on March 25, 2013, 4:17 pm

        What are examples of this antisemitism, mj rosenberg?

      • kalithea on March 25, 2013, 5:13 pm

        Not when that good fight ends up making the oppresser look like the victim and vice-versa. In my book, that’s called…a perfect cover!

      • on March 25, 2013, 7:41 pm

        I thought that fighting occupation and genocide was the good fight. But what do I know?

      • mjrosenberg on March 25, 2013, 2:31 pm

        Fighting anti-semitism is part of the good fight. Plenty of those of us who are engaged in the struggle for Palestinian rights have family members (in my case my wife) were were victims of European anti-semitism. We don’t ask for anything in return EXCEPT not engaging in anti-Semitism. Unfortunately I see plenty of it (not from Muslims) and I think that some non-Jews and non-Muslims use “support” for Palestinians as cover for Judeophobia or plain old fashioned anti-Semitism.

      • eGuard on March 25, 2013, 3:31 pm

        mjrosenberg: I think that some non-Jews and non-Muslims use “support” for Palestinians as cover for Judeophobia or plain old fashioned anti-Semitism.

        Nice reasoning. It allows you to throw around the accusation without having to prove anything. Let me tell you: that is not “fighting” it. That is “inventing it” where it is not.

      • American on March 25, 2013, 3:49 pm

        I suggest you quit worrying about what I w0uld guess is the very miniscule anti semites in the I/P movement. That is actually the least of your worries.
        This is what you should worry about:

        http://www.salon.com/2008/12/30/democracy_2/

        George Washington’s warnings and U.S. policy towards Israel
        Americans overwhelmingly want the U.S. to take no sides in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Why is that view not just disregarded, but made into a taboo?

        By Glenn Greenwald

        ‘There sure is a lot of agreeing going on — one might describe it as “absolute.” The degree of mandated orthodoxy on the Israel question among America’s political elites is so great that if one took the statements on Gaza from George Bush, Pelosi, Hoyer, Berman, Ros-Lehtinen, and randomly chosen Bill Kristol-acolytes and redacted their names, it would be impossible to know which statements came from whom. They’re all identical: what Israel does is absolutely right. The U.S. must fully and unconditionally support Israel. Israel does not merit an iota of criticism for what it is doing. It bears none of the blame for this conflict. No questioning even of the wisdom of its decisions — let alone the justifiability — is uttered. No deviation from that script takes place.

        By itself, the degree of full-fledged, absolute agreement — down to the syllable — among America’s political leaders is striking, even when one acknowledges the constant convergence between the leadership of both parties. But it becomes even more striking in light of the bizarre fact that the consensus view — that America must unquestioningly stand on Israel’s side and support it, not just in this conflict but in all of Israel’s various wars — is a view which 7 out of 10 Americans reject. Conversely, the view which 70% of Americans embrace — that the U.S. should be neutral and even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generally — is one that no mainstream politician would dare express.

        In a democracy, one could expect that politicians would be afraid to express a view that 70% of the citizens oppose. Yet here we have the exact opposite situation: no mainstream politician would dare express the view that 70% of Americans support; instead, the universal piety is the one that only a small minority accept. Isn’t that fairly compelling evidence of the complete disconnect between our political elites and the people they purportedly represent? ”

        And the reason you, as Jew who supports Israel however “liberally”, should worry about this is because this is the “mainstream attitude” on the Israel-US scheme.
        Pro Israel can pretend, pretend ,pretend that US support for Israel is a majority pubic attitude or commitment—–it isn’t. And the more noticeable the US leadership’s sworn oaths to support the “foreign Jewish State of Israel” regardless of what it cost America and Americans, the more they ‘learn’ about what they sacrifice for a special foreign interest minority, the more ‘resentment’ you will see directed at the Jewish state and supporters of it.
        Israel supporters can call it anti semitic and scream all they want about how it’s really Jew hatred in Americans who oppose supporting a troublesome foreign country for a minority within a minority who have a US political Lobby.
        It is what it is —–it’s the same resentment felt by any people in any country who see their government literally “selling out the majority interest and welfare, and the country” for a special and especially, foreign directed interest.
        In a lot of less ‘democratic’ countries they have civil wars and coups and hang leaders for this kind of thing.
        You are worrying about the little molehill problems of assorted powerless anti Semites instead of the big mountain problem of how Americans see this aberration/ corruption in USA-ISR ‘unshakable alliance’.
        Israel is not us and we are not them , we are not joined in values or culture, we are not alike, we are not one, we are totally different, separate nations, and even if all 5 million Jews in the US and all the 10 million Evangelicals supported Zionism and Israel it still would not make it so.
        That is the reality. And no amount of anti semitic fear mongering, alarming raising, holocaust using, slurring and accusations is going to change the ingrained attitudes of the majority of Americans on American interest vr Foreign interest.

      • on March 25, 2013, 4:08 pm

        What anti-Semitism? Honestly, where in our society can you find people who hate Jews because they are Jewish? I am unaware of any such places. I have heard story that many of the white country boys from the South who serve in the military are old school anti-semites , but have not personally seen that. MJ, you note that you see plenty of it. I respect you as a person who is not overly self deluded (all of us are living in self delusion to some level)…can you fill me in?

      • goldmarx on March 25, 2013, 4:12 pm

        Thamks MJ. Unfortunately, you will find plain old-fashioned anti-Semitism on several of the other comment threads, posted by several Gilad Atzmon wannabes, enabled by another Mondoweiss staff writer. I’ve done my best to confront and expose it here, to help the BDS movement that I support.

      • kalithea on March 25, 2013, 5:20 pm

        If we’re going to digress on what could actually be an unproductive distraction, I’m a great believer in at least supporting one’s claims with substance. Give us an example of what you consider a statement or statements supportive of the Palestinian cause which represent “a cover” for anti-Semitism in your opinion?

      • CloakAndDagger on March 25, 2013, 6:01 pm

        Yes, Judeophobia is real, although I have not personally witnessed it (perhaps I am just not sensitive enough as a non-jew). OTOH, Islamophobia is very evident all around us these days, and it would be good to see more articles denouncing it and the likes of Pam Geller. I don’t hear ADL saying much about it either (it is denounced here on MW, however). Not too much is said about Mormon-bashing either, for that matter.

      • Donald on March 25, 2013, 6:04 pm

        I agree that fighting anti-semitism is part of the good fight. But while I sympathize with the link author, I also think he’s mixing up different things. There are no doubt some Western supporters of the Palestinian cause with ulterior motives. And they have no excuse for their bigotry and should be called out when it is clear. But Palestinians are in a different set of conditions. The Israelis and their defenders are constantly pointing out that Israel is the Jewish state, Palestinians should recognize it as the Jewish state, it has a right to exist as a Jewish state, and yet Palestinians know Israel couldn’t be a Jewish state without forcibly expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and it currently practices a form of apartheid on the WB. And America funds it. It’s not the best of circumstances for Westerners to lecture people on the evils of anti-semitism. Yes, we should criticize anti-semitism wherever it appears, but when it comes from Palestinians we are in a rather awkward position.

      • on March 25, 2013, 7:38 pm

        mj rosenberg – “Fighting anti-semitism is part of the good fight.”

        Fiddlesticks.

        First, whatever there is of what you call “antisemitism” IS NOT DOMINANT. It’s retreated to obscure little pockets that have no official support.

        Second, why the hell do you insist calling it “antisemitism”? Racism is racism, end of talk. Are what you incorrectly call “Jewish” somehow Martians?
        Any discrimination based on an accident of birth is racism, except perhaps for some cave dwellers. Period. If your accident of birth makes you, say, Ashkenazi, discriminating against you based on only that is racism. Your insisting in giving it a separate name is highly suspect.

        Third: as if you hadn’t noticed, there are a number of groups purporting to support the Palestinian resistance , who are in the business of making that absurd “antisemitism” bugaboo –and checking credentials and excommunicating whoever in their sick mind is “antisemitic”– into their primary objective. In so many words. Now check this: strangely the most visible of these groups has excommunicated Richard Falk, Gilad Atzmon, etc etc. and, at the same time, has modified the objectives set for the movement (without nary a notice) to the green line instead of the original charter voted by the whole membership.
        It also very unfortunately happens that those groups are more or less dominated by people of Ashkenazi origin. Who very often were Zionists until recently (?)

        Fourth: If my objective is to destroy Zionism, I don’t give a damn if I am working with the devil himself. “Antisemitism” cannot be something to pay attention to. That is the business of other movements and groups. This one is for the liberation of Palestine, by hook or by crook. One of these two looks less and less probable, so we’ll have a terribly ugly and violent period in the near future. I suppose this is not the time to throw away some of the best fighters because of a totally unrelated impurity”. If you want to thunder against “antisemitism”, write to the NAACP or something. Or Foxman, officially in charge.

      • RoHa on March 25, 2013, 9:26 pm

        “Unfortunately I see plenty of it (not from Muslims) and I think that some non-Jews and non-Muslims use “support” for Palestinians as cover for Judeophobia or plain old fashioned anti-Semitism.”

        Unfortunately I see too many people using the “cover for anti-Semitism” claim to divert attention away from criticism of Israel.

        First solve the I/P problem, and then you can start faffing about the remaining anti-Semitism.

      • gingershot on March 25, 2013, 11:18 pm

        Hating ethnic cleansing and Apartheid and the practioneers of ethnic cleansing and Apartheid is perfectly acceptable – and has nothing to do with anti-semitism

        It’s good to hate ethnic cleansing – that’s what makes people rise up to stop it.

        If it happens to be Jews that are doing it – so what – it could be Bokononists or Martians or Afrikaners and if they are practicing such hateful acts they should be despised for it and STOPPED

        To be overly concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’ is exactly the schtick under which Israelis have successfully cloaked their ethnic cleansing of Palestine and played the world.

        The Holocaust Industry is all about how the goy must first introspect themselves if they have any problems with Israelis. The perfect crime and it’s all Baloney.

        The problem is the world has not been Anti-Israel enough with the realities of Israel as an Apartheid State – not that there has been ‘too much’ Anti-Israelism

      • Shingo on March 26, 2013, 7:18 am

        Fighting anti-semitism is part of the good fight.

        I of course agree MJ, and let me add that I am a huge fan of your tireless efforts. Thank you also for being so sanguine in response to my comment.

        You shouldn’t have to ask for anyone to refrain from engaging in anti-Semitism – it is your right. The very thought of good people such as you and your wife being subjected to such abuses is sickening.

        I have no doubt that the pro Palestinian movement is vulnerable to infiltration by non Muslim anti Semites, just as Zionism attracts racists, white supremacists and Islamophobes.

        My initial reaction to the article is similar to eGuard’s, and I found it clumsy and inconsistent. It reminded me a bit of Abe Foxman trying to define anti Semitism – the goal posts are always moving and ill defined.

        And personally speaking, I do find it difficult to stomach when Israeli supporters insist on passing every statement made in anger by the Palestinians through a moral filter, while they themselves remain silent about the Pam Gellar’s and Caroline Glick’s of this world. As Donald alluded to, much of the anti Semitic sentiments expressed by Muslims I believe is reactionary, particularly among Palestinians. I do not forgive it, and it is hugely counter productive, but it is not to be compared to the more insidious WASP country club variety anti Semitism.

      • kalithea on March 26, 2013, 10:55 am

        The Jewish State has no right to exist unless the Muslim state has a right to exist on all the land that legally belongs to it.

        That’s how stupid and backward the “Jewish” state sounds.

        Israel has a right to exist when Palestine can exist with all its land, rights, water etc.! And because that’s a pipe dream at this point then it should be one state with rights and land for all.

      • MHughes976 on March 26, 2013, 2:14 pm

        So where should we fix the goalposts? I usually define anti-Semitism as ‘irrational dislike of at least some things Jewish’ . I don’t apply the term ‘anti-Semitic’ to myself because I disagree as strongly as I do with the ideas of Zionism, since I consider my disagreement to be rational. But I would be anti-Semitic by my own definition were a) Zionism a genuinely Jewish thing and b) were disagreement with Zionism basically irrational.
        But anyone may use words as (s)he thinks fit. If someone defines anti-Semitism as ‘(among other things) strong disagreement with ideas that are equally strongly supported by a significant majority of Jewish people’ then it follows as night from day, in the current state of opinion, that in that person’s usage, all who disagree with Zionism are anti-Semitic. Nothing I can do about it: I can’t deny Zionists the right to use words in the meaning they choose, provided they make what they mean clear. It’s no use my saying ‘Please don’t call me that, it’s an opprobrious term and I hate it’ – they mean me to hate it.
        I/we are allowed to protest anywhere where logic is valued against inconsistent use of the same word with different meanings in the same discourse or with meanings so unspecified that confusion arises and dust is thrown in everyone’s eyes.
        Of course there is an equal right to take a term generally considered opprobrious (even ‘anti-Semitic’) and define it so that it applies to Zionists.

      • Donald on March 26, 2013, 3:53 pm

        “And personally speaking, I do find it difficult to stomach when Israeli supporters insist on passing every statement made in anger by the Palestinians through a moral filter, while they themselves remain silent about the Pam Gellar’s and Caroline Glick’s of this world.”

        Me too, actually. Here of course I’m not talking about MJ or even the blogger he linked to, but more generally. At almost any mainstream blog or news organization I go to where there is a comment section and the I/P conflict comes up, I will see blatant examples of anti-Palestinian or anti-Arab racism there. One form of bigotry and racism is within the mainstream and the other isn’t. Of course that doesn’t mean we should go easy on anti-semitism, but I want to see the other kind of racism called out just as much by the people who complain about anti-semitism.

      • German Lefty on March 27, 2013, 6:29 am

        @ mjrosenberg:

        I think that some non-Jews and non-Muslims use “support” for Palestinians as cover for Judeophobia or plain old fashioned anti-Semitism.

        Well, there’s an easy test for that. Just ask them what they think about Nazism or ethnic nationalism and ethnic cleansing in general. If they don’t mind an “Aryan state” while rejecting a “Jewish state”, then that’s an unacceptable double standard.

        Anyway, it’s the accuser who has to prove that a person is racist. It’s not the accused who has to prove his or her innocence. Unless you can actually produce concrete evidence of our supposed racism, I view your general accusations as defamation.

        Besides, guilt by association is a fallacy. Just because all anti-Zionists agree that Zionism is wrong doesn’t mean that we agree on everything or anything else. We are not responsible for each other’s views. For example, there are some homophobic anti-Zionists. I fight WITH them for Palestinian rights, but I fight AGAINST them for gay rights.

      • German Lefty on March 27, 2013, 6:49 am

        @mjrosenberg:

        “my wife was a victim of European anti-semitism.”

        What exactly do you mean by “European anti-Semitism”? Is it any different from “American anti-Semitism”? Or do you mean that your wife experienced anti-Semitism by a person from a European country? Would you tell me about this incident? I’d like to know how severe it was.

        “Anyone’s seeking absolute justice should not be involved in this issue, because it’s just not going to happen.” […] I read today was about anti-Semitism among the “pro-Palestinian network” whose pro-Palestinian fervor is a cover for anti-Semitism.

        So, you think it’s okay not to have absolute justice for Palestinians, but at the same time you demand absolute justice for Jews and expect every single anti-Zionist to publicly condemn and fight anti-Semitism!? Interesting double standard!

      • Citizen on March 27, 2013, 7:32 pm

        @ goldmarx
        Interesting pen name: gold + marx.
        I view Gilad Atzmon as a man striving very hard to identify first with being one human individual among a planet full of them. His other identities by geography of birth, cultural, religious, education, socio-economic aspects, are all secondary to him. I fail to see any “old-fashioned anti-semitism” in Atzmon, nor in those who aspire to the same self-identity priority. Such people are called “individuals” and “humanists.” Neither Atzmon nor wannabes desire to be any version of The Borg. They don’t care if ants, for example, have many very successful organizational and survival traits. They don’t want to be ants, not even any special kind of ants.

      • Citizen on March 27, 2013, 7:45 pm

        mj rosenberg still has a large mote in his eye. He may be fighting to give pro-Israel jews a better reputation by asking them to conform their deeds according to the more universal aspects of their creed , liberal spiel, and/or ethnic ideal, but he’s still deeply concerned, suspects that any non-jew criticizing Israel and the US enablement of its conduct is secretly a born jew-hater. He blocks people from following him on Twitter when he doesn’t like their response to his tweets–even when those tweets are not personal attacks or imbued with any inflammatory language. He’s not a kind guy open for the full exchange of ideas on matters this blog is concerned about. He’s just more open than many hasbara-AIPAC bots here–not such a big deal.

      • goldmarx on March 27, 2013, 10:16 pm

        RoHa: Why not do both simultaneously?

      • eGuard on March 28, 2013, 5:29 am

        And another question still unclear: MJ, why only fight anti-Semitism that is … among the “pro-Palestinian network” (i.e, non-Muslims & non-Arabs)?

        Anti-Semitism by Muslims or Arabs is acceptable then? And, while we are at it, among anti-Palestinians, liberal Zionists, Zionist Christians too? They all get a pass?

      • German Lefty on March 29, 2013, 2:58 pm

        I usually define anti-Semitism as ‘irrational dislike of at least some things Jewish’ .

        To me, anti-Semitism means denying Jews equal rights and equal treatment because of their Jewishness.
        For example, you can have an irrational dislike for some things Jewish without wanting to deny Jews equal rights and equal treatment.

      • goldmarx on March 30, 2013, 1:39 am

        German Lefty: Explain how you “fight AGAINST them for gay rights” when, in another Mondoweiss thread, you criticized gay people for declaring themselves proud to be gay and sided with straight people who mocked this by saying they were proud to be straight.

      • annie on March 30, 2013, 10:49 am

        i read that as more of a philosophical argument based on declarations of being proud to be something one had no choice over anyway (or something), like expressing pride in being a woman or being straight.

      • goldmarx on March 30, 2013, 11:52 am

        It’s like a het having philosophical differences with the GLBTQ community over same-sex marriage. The objector’s position of privilege corrupts the good faith in which the argument is allegedly made.

        Ever listen to Helen Reddy’s “I am Woman, hear me Roar!”? She would understand.

      • MHughes976 on March 30, 2013, 2:01 pm

        So if the two of us, GL, are involved in any discussion of anti-Semitism we just have to remember that we start from somewhat different definitions. No significant anti-Semitic sentiments exist anywhere in the Western world on your definition, I would say.
        On mine, they probably do exist, which is worrying, since they are unpleasant and discord-sowing. That’s me speaking as an anti-anti-Semite under my own def..
        On Zionist definitions, anti-Semitic sentiments, in the form of attacks on the moral ideas of Zionism, are rife. Since I participate in these attacks, the term ‘anti-Semite’, normally considered opprobrious, applies fair and square to me under (I think only under) Zionist defs. No point in my getting angry about that. No one is sovereign over words.

      • German Lefty on March 30, 2013, 2:47 pm

        Explain how you “fight AGAINST them for gay rights” when, in another Mondoweiss thread, you criticized gay people for declaring themselves proud to be gay

        Just because I said that pride in gayness is stupid doesn’t mean that I want to deny gay people equal rights. These are two completely separate issues.
        Your statement clearly shows the Zionist mindset: Any negative criticism is misinterpreted as denial of equal rights. Total paranoia!

        You sided with straight people who mocked this by saying they were proud to be straight.

        No, I didn’t side with them. I merely explained that straight people probably do this for the purpose of mocking. This explanation does NOT imply my approval of such behaviour.

      • RoHa on March 30, 2013, 10:09 pm

        goldmarx: Because there is hardly any real anti-Semitism around, and squawking about it just confuses the issue. The Zionists want to pretend that any anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and distract everyone from the big problem.

    • MRW on March 25, 2013, 12:38 pm

      I agree with you mj that this is a great piece.

      About this

      On another subject: the other really smart thing I read today was about anti-Semitism among the “pro-Palestinian network” (i.e, non-Muslims & non-Arabs) whose pro-Palestinian fervor is a cover for anti-Semitism (no, not anti-Israelism, the real kind).

      I read the piece. Not news to any of us here who are not “Yehudis.” We’ve been accused of that as a matter of course for years. Not only in the virtual world initially, but by people in our own nabes. As an ex-New Yorker now living in the hinterland, I think the nabers are nutz: why wouldn’t I be discussing it. It’s like an extended brunch conversation under umbrellas on Columbus.

      That said, a leetle red flag unfurled. Vetting “pro-Palestinian non-Muslims non-Arabs” for anti-semitism is going to be, what, the latest distraction? The newest hasbara circling of the wagons. Is there going to be blood-letting and labeling? Purges of, and pogroms against, the anti-semites?

      None of this is new, and it’s to be expected that the ‘network’ would attract some. Give it a rest if their vigor gets the Palestinians some rights. Then you can lower the boom.

      EDIT: Besides, the occasional article like the one you cited acts as a check and balance.

      • MHughes976 on March 25, 2013, 5:01 pm

        What definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ is under discussion here?

      • Mayhem on March 25, 2013, 7:42 pm

        Has any pro-Palestinian group out there shown any genuine desire to eradicate anti-Semites from their ranks?
        As long as you speak out vociferously against Israel such racist tendencies can be tolerated.

        We’ve been accused of that as a matter of course for years.

        Cannot let concerns about anti-Semitism get in the way of the ‘good’ cause. Like water off a duck’s back.
        This article at http://mondoweiss.net/2013/03/talking-about-jews.html decrying that NPR can’t stop talking about Jews is illustrative.

      • goldmarx on March 30, 2013, 1:42 am

        Mayhem: Yes, BDS leader Omar Barghouti denounced Gilad Atzmon, who declared that the Jews are responsible for the death of Christ.

      • annie on March 30, 2013, 10:36 am

        Yes, BDS leader Omar Barghouti denounced Gilad Atzmon, who declared that the Jews are responsible for the death of Christ.

        more formally, christ wasn’t mentioned. and it was signed by quite a few leaders in the movement:

        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/palestinian-and-palestine-solidarity-activists-issue-critique-and-condemnation-of-gilad-atzmon.html

        Ali Abunimah
        Naseer Aruri, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
        Omar Barghouti, human rights activist
        Hatem Bazian, Chair, American Muslims for Palestine
        Andrew Dalack, National Coordinating Committee, US Palestinian Community Network
        Haidar Eid, Gaza
        Nada Elia, US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
        Toufic Haddad
        Kathryn Hamoudah
        Adam Hanieh, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London
        Mostafa Henaway, Tadamon! Canada
        Monadel Herzallah, National Coordinating Committee, US Palestinian Community Network
        Nadia Hijab, author and human rights advocate
        Andrew Kadi
        Hanna Kawas, Chair person, Canada Palestine Association and Co-Host Voice of Palestine
        Abir Kobty, Palestinian blogger and activist
        Joseph Massad, Professor, Columbia University, NY
        Danya Mustafa, Israeli Apartheid Week US National Co-Coordinator & Students for Justice in Palestine- University of New Mexico
        Dina Omar, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine
        Haitham Salawdeh, National Coordinating Committee, US Palestinian Community Network
        Sobhi Samour, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London
        Khaled Ziada, SOAS Palestine Society, London
        Rafeef Ziadah, poet and human rights advocate

      • Shingo on March 26, 2013, 7:31 am

        None of this is new, and it’s to be expected that the ‘network’ would attract some. Give it a rest if their vigor gets the Palestinians some rights. Then you can lower the boom.

        I am not sure if I agree with this MRW. While I agree that there is no need for a night of the long knives type event, those who are clearly identifiable and anti Semitic should be called out on it. I have come across more than a few nut cases claiming to be pro Palestinian, who were so over the top that I suspect were pro Israelis posing as pro Palestinians to discredit the movement.

      • German Lefty on March 27, 2013, 6:52 am

        I have come across more than a few nut cases claiming to be pro Palestinian, who were so over the top that I suspect were pro Israelis posing as pro Palestinians to discredit the movement.

        That may very well be. Zionists are capable of anything.

      • MRW on March 27, 2013, 9:53 pm

        That’s all I meant, Shingo: “While I agree that there is no need for a night of the long knives type event.”

        Maybe it’s completely different in England. I know I wouldn’t be saying something like this if I were living in certain European countries right now, but I’m not. I’m fairly sheltered, AND I live in the heartland. You hear stuff. The sea changes going on out here are the Churches saying no, you don’t get to do that to the Palestinians any more. Actually verbalizing how fed up with Israel they are. And no, it’s not going to be all Israel all the time; we gave you 65 years to make peace. That’s 2/3 rds of a century. Stop it.

        But I don’t hear the kind of anti-semitism that I presume led up to WWII, and I cannot even imagine anyone letting someone get away with it. Not for an instant. But I don’t want its opposite either. The faux witchhunts that destroy an Octavia Nasr or Helen Thomas because they dared to exercise their rights as an American and speak freely, if provocatively, and moreover, because they were Middle Eastern themselves.

        It’s a no-brainer if you’ve got a white supremacist or JDLer masquerading as a Pro-Palestinian activist, or someone with a real burr up their ass: kick ’em out.

    • James Canning on March 25, 2013, 2:09 pm

      Yes, “absolute justice” simply is not achievable, in resolving Israel/Palestine problem. Arab leaders subscribing to 2002 Saudi peace plan recognised this fact.

      • RoHa on March 27, 2013, 7:26 pm

        “Yes, “absolute justice” simply is not achievable, in resolving Israel/Palestine problem. Arab leaders subscribing to 2002 Saudi peace plan recognised this fact.”

        I think everyone recognizes it. But the Palestinians would like a little scrap of something vaguely similar to justice.

        And maybe an admission of the injustice.

    • kalithea on March 25, 2013, 4:20 pm

      Here’s something smarter:

      The Gatekeepers, who are keeping Palestinian rights perpetually under lock and key, aren’t restricted to Israel either. The “Gatekeepers”, and I’m not just referring to The Lobby, are “working” the seat of power, Western public perception and pushing the Zionist narrative with lots of “fervor”. You mean silence THIS kind of criticism and indulge this massive obstruction of justice? Dig that!

      Palestinians want waaaay too much justice. So this is the latest meme, huh? And apparently, it’s “brilliant”! Geeee, I wish I had thought of it. Because settlers from Moldova and New Jersey deserve a sizable part of the big chunk they merely plopped their aS’s on and declared theirs. And the oppressed people, who worked that land to the knuckles and then watched as the fruit of their labor was destroyed, and were then even exploited into building the illegal structures for the occupiers with their bare hands; they should be asked to sacrifice even more. Cause it’s too much “hurt” to ask those who squatted and exploited to sacrifice – what they STOLE. That’s just waaaay too much justice to swallow.

      Back to the “pro-Palestinian network OT”…(sigh)…Why can’t people just be honest and get their digs in at the beginning?

    • ToivoS on March 25, 2013, 4:50 pm

      There is no denying real antisemitism among the pro-Palestinian voices but it is a problem that is being managed. Certainly MW has certainly attracted its share and Phil has had to deal with the problem. The big Greta Berlin purge was led by Palestinian activists themselves because she had attracted a small following of extreme antisemites. Anyone active in the movement has seen examples. I don’t think Steve Hynd is really contributing anything new and it is a problem that does not require continuous public discussion. Just a quick, ruthless purge every once in a while is sufficient to keep those views quiet.

    • seafoid on March 25, 2013, 4:52 pm

      “There’s no absolute justice. There’s not going to be for anyone”

      Absolute justice would mean a peaceful future for everyone. The bots want their zero sum game but that isn’t even just for Jews.

    • seafoid on March 26, 2013, 2:32 am

      Israel is a Jewish tragedy, MJ

      The force needed to push it through has ramifications that will reverberate in ways we don’t know yet.

      There is no morality or law in the territories. It’s like the US in the 1600s. Land grabs are a way of life.

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/things-to-do-in-ramallah-when-the-u-s-president-is-visiting.premium-1.511722#

      “Between the houses I saw groups of armed men dressed in olive green uniforms. There were children around them. The children ran toward me and started showering me with questions. I barely got in a question of my own: “Who are those people?” Yahud, Jews, the children answered.

      They carried on with their questions. What was my name? How was I doing? Where did I work? Where did I live and what kind of car did I drive? A soldier approached and advised me to move away because stones are being thrown. The children asked if I was one of them, like the soldiers. I said I was Jewish like they are, but I was not a soldier. Not all Jews are soldiers”

      Antisemitism is evil but Jews can’t fight it via the IDF pretending it owns Hebron , I’m afraid.

      • Citizen on March 27, 2013, 7:51 pm

        Israel is not merely a Jewish tragedy–it’s an American tragedy. Not to mention things like the Nakba. MJR should get over his tribal angst and more fully join the human race. He’s not the only one that picked on as a kid because of his ethnic or religious or class background, if he ever did. I’m tired of jewish pre-traumatic stress disorder.

    • eGuard on March 28, 2013, 5:49 am

      This happened last week in a UK court regarding accusations of anti-Semitism. All ten claims were thrown into the sewer.

      http://www.ucu.org.uk/6562

      And a commented overview:
      http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/blog_comments/ucu_cleared_of_antisemitism_anthony_julius_charged_with_being_rubbish

  2. pabelmont on March 25, 2013, 10:30 am

    Peres (and Jabara, I guess): “Most of the world will support the Palestinians, justify their actions, level the sharpest criticism at us… .”

    Well, I am not hopeful. Most of the world already supports the Palestinians with words, but with words alone, even sometimes with “the sharpest criticism”, but nevertheless, just words. Why, even the UNSC has lobbed words at Israel, read the resolutions, and Israel ignored them, under ALL governments, under Peres and all others. Israel will respond to force, I suppose, but has never responded to mere words.

    We need some governments to start talking-and-acting. The talk s/b about Israeli lawlessness, and the acts can be anything, beginning mild (removal of ambassadors), stronger (ending commerical airflights, visas to Israelis), and stongest (trade sanctions) (I do not imagine a need to resort to war).

    Sanctions are honored techniques for dealing with rogue states (that is, with states treated as rogues by the sanctioneers) (S.Africa, N.Korea, Iran, Iraq) and it is high time that the nations treat Israel as rogue — due to the wall adn the settlements and the siege of Gaza.

    Perhaps Peres sees this coming. I don’t, but it is the only hope and I wish people would talk about it enough that the idea (if not yet the fact) becomes part of the daily discussion of I/P.

  3. mjrosenberg on March 25, 2013, 10:53 am

    Left out link to piece about anti-Semitism within pro-Palestinian networks. http://stevehynd.com/2013/03/24/anti-semitism-in-pro-palestinian-networks/

    • Cliff on March 25, 2013, 4:21 pm

      “3) A significant minority of Palestinians express anti-Semitic views and are left unchallenged (it goes without saying that this does not describe the majority of Palestinians).”

      From your article linked.

      How do you propose lecturing Palestinians who everyday live in the OPT and deal with fundie Jewish colonists and the IDF and the normalization of apartheid, on-going for decades, by Zionism and it’s imagery overload with Judaism front-and-center (i.e., IDF carving a STAR OF DAVID into Gazan farmland during Cast Lead!)?

      How will you ‘deal with’ this antisemitism in Palestinian society?

      You could easily attempt to police potential antisemitism here in the States and Europe in the anti-Zionists, but how do you do that in the OPT?

      • goldmarx on March 27, 2013, 10:36 pm

        On this point, I would agree. It’s a waste of time – just get the BDS principles applied to the area, and see what happens when the dust settles.

      • annie on March 30, 2013, 10:42 am

        (i.e., IDF carving a STAR OF DAVID into Gazan farmland during Cast Lead!)

        did they really do that? eee gads. perhaps i did hear of that, it’s just the sort of thing i would blank out of my mind it’s so disgusting.

      • Sumud on March 30, 2013, 11:12 am

        (i.e., IDF carving a STAR OF DAVID into Gazan farmland during Cast Lead!)

        did they really do that?

        They sure did, it was even covered here on MW in Jan 2010, complete with satellite photo:

        At Yale, Judge Goldstone faces down his accusers

        The IDF also carved a huge star of david into the runway of the destroyed international airport in Gaza.

        You used to be able to see this one in Google Maps, but the mapping data has since been updated: if you recall, Gazans used what was left of the runway as building material – so that bit of jewish supremacism has been demolished. I previously linked to the google maps location in 2010:

        http://mondoweiss.net/2010/09/maybe-it-should-have-been-called-why-israel-doesnt-care-about-traffic-accidents.html#comment-231858

        And on cliff’s point, this Salon article goes into zionist abuse of the star of david:

        Is the Star of David the new swastika?

      • Cliff on March 30, 2013, 11:24 am

        MW covered it awhile ago.

  4. Don on March 25, 2013, 11:05 am

    “I think Obama has pretty much placed the ball in Israel’s court. That’s an enormous achievement.””

    Well, no offense to anyone, but I don’t find this brilliant at all. Obama placed the ball in Israel’s court? Like it wasn’t there already? (for the past 60 years).

    Indulge a petulant child…give him more candy when he has a tantrum and is beating the daylights out of another child….and then lecture the child about how nice it would be if the child acted nice!!

    Just how effective is that lecture going to be?

    The longer the Palestinians are denied human rights, the closer the situation slouches toward violence. Where is William Butler Yeats when you need the guy?

    “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.”

    • Keith on March 25, 2013, 5:55 pm

      DON- “Well, no offense to anyone, but I don’t find this brilliant at all.”

      I agree, and then some. The entire article is a joke, roughly akin to watching clouds and claiming to see identifiable images. Pure projection and self-deception raised to an art form. I can’t help wondering if the real purpose was to make Weiss seem like a realist in comparison. The only substantive thing which occurred was to formalize the rapprochement between Israel and Turkey thereby permitting a united front in the assault on Syria and possible action against Iran. That and reassure Israel and Zionist Jews everywhere that Israel can do whatever it wants and Uncle Sam will provide full support whatever it does. These are dangerous times for the 99%, unwise to delude yourself about Obama who works for the 1% and is good at what he does.

  5. on March 25, 2013, 1:15 pm

    “Optimist”, eh? Well, it’s these same optimists who screwed us here in the US not once, but twice. Instead of logic they wanted “Hope”, just like Adeen. You can’t blame them; desperate people end up abandoning facts for hope, religious or not.
    I’ll give you this, the guy can speak. He can sell you a dead horse or a lemon. He sold us the foundations of a fascist dictatorship and we bought it twice. Agreed, we have a majority of morons, but in this we aren’t different than any other country. Anyway, we know what his word is worth. Even his totally worthless words, at that, are more unfavorable to the Palestinians than those of Dubya.

  6. ritzl on March 25, 2013, 1:27 pm

    Great article. Plenty to contemplate here.

    Some thoughts…

    • I always have this niggle that Obama does “get it” but is tightly bracketed by political forces – forces seemingly beyond his control. But just to take a recent personal example on health care/AHCA, I just had a discussion with a knee-jerk, anti-government neighbor who was all in a huff about the AHCA requirements. To make a long story short, I assured him with evidence that he would benefit from the changes. His exact words were, “Oh. I didn’t know.” Obama had the chance to speak directly to my neighbor, but declined. He put his own “signature” legislation at risk by not doing so.

    Obama never makes the direct case. Never. His “panegyrics” [new word, thanks] are always oblique and subject to wildly diverging interpretation. That is to say, he self-obfuscates. Maybe he thinks that opens discussion lines, but I think it abdicates leadership, and not only leadership, per se, but leadership from the most profoundly affective position on the planet. He could speak more directly and forthrightly to the American people on this, but doesn’t. He doesn’t avail himself of his own ability to create “political space” for himself or anyone else. My niggle is therefore sadly ignorable, even though I wish it was not.

    • The “ball in Israel’s court”: For that to have the newly emphatic significance it implies, Israel would have to have some newly emphatic motivation for getting the ball out of their court. The ball has been in Israel’s court at least since Oslo, and it has never mattered. What’s new?

    • Agree with the “behind the scenes activities” take in the article, as evidenced by the timing of Ehrenreich’s article. I also saw a remarkable (for PBS) piece about Palestinian concerns/issues/outlook, interviewing only Palestinians (no Israelis or Jews involved) that was similarly timed. Somebody IS working this in the WH (ADC influence? A good thing.). My question is, is that kind of “tossing pebbles in the pond” approach sufficient to initiate and ripple out meaningful change (meaningful meaning before 2016 when either a Republican or Hillary gets elected and everything changes)? Maybe it’s a start. I don’t know. But it seems like a short window for such a tangential approach.

    • The absolutely vacant streets along the motorcade route to Bethlehem posted by Tom Suarez here yesterday wouldn’t seem to allay the concerns in the Arab street. In fact it must surely underscore them. That’s a huge offset to any positivity generated by Obama’s Jerusalem speech to Israelis.

    Obama seems to want to support some form of a two-state outcome sometime in the future, but he seems completely incapable of generating the urgency required to make that happen.

    • Citizen on March 27, 2013, 8:00 pm

      Obama thinks when he tosses a few pebbles in the pond they will eventually erupt in giant waves on the shore. Thus he convinces himself he’s not just another hack politician; meanwhile he has a nice set of golf clubs, his wife is happy playing fashion star and super-nanny, and his daughters get the best of everything as their daily bread. He’s not a leader. Just an average good family man, all things considered. Problem to be POTUS with those mainstay ambitions leaves a sorry state of affairs. The white picket fence didn’t change when it was repainted brown.

      • ritzl on March 31, 2013, 10:37 pm

        @Citizen I don’t deign to “know” what Obama thinks anymore. He’s not stupid, and he has the apparatus at his command, so he’s not uniformed.

        He just has inputs that are not ours. Everyone’s rational, it just depends on the inputs. Even schizophrenics (see Zionism).

        And yes, he is not a leader. Whether your proverbial fence is brown or white is irrelevant in that sense, at least to me. I’m sure he’ll write a book or several describing how “difficult” his decisions were. But that doesn’t/won’t obviate the need to discuss the right or wrong of those decisions.

        It may actally invite discussion of them.

        But too late, imo. The real and imagined conditions change in elections. Who knows what the next, media issued, election conditions will be.

        I know this is an open-ended response, but I don’t know how to respond in terms other than prospective. We’re f’d in retrospective terms.

  7. James Canning on March 25, 2013, 2:06 pm

    Yes, in the US the Arab peace initiative receives very little attention. Most Americans are not aware it exists. Sadly. And dangerously.

  8. Gart Valenc on March 25, 2013, 2:15 pm

    Reading Abdeen Jabara’s piece makes me wonder who is more asinine: Obama, who thinks people are gullible enough to believe his rhetoric or those who actually do believe his rhetoric!

    Anyone who listened to Obama’s speeches in Israel can only conclude one thing and one thing only: not only does Obama believe his own rhetoric, he clearly suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder!

    Obama is not a disappointment, he is a disgrace. He has betrayed oppressed minorities, trampled basic human rights & violated international law!

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

  9. American on March 25, 2013, 2:21 pm

    AJ- ‘’As far as the recognition of the Zionist attachment to the land, and the history of Zionists in Israel, a lot of that was boilerplate.’’

    * Yes, boilerplate that ‘reinforces’ the Israelis belief in the myth they have a ‘right’ to the land of Palestine.

    AJ- ‘’ And actually he’s not saying anything that has not been accepted by most of the Arab countries, if not all of them, in their Arab Peace Initiative, where they said that they would recognize Israel if it returned to the 1949 armistice lines and shared Jerusalem with the Palestinians and had some kind of fair resolution of the refugee problem.’’

    * Yes, and the Israelis rejected the Arab offer, the best they’ve ever had.

    AJ -‘’ He knows that Muslims are angry with the United States, and one of the great sources of that anger is the United States’ support for the oppression of the Palestinians, so one of the first things he did when he was elected, he went to Cairo. The person who wrote that speech for Obama is still in place, and is still advising him on Israel and still writing [Ben Rhodes]. So they know that they have got a real problem with Muslims around the world.’

    * Yes and immediately caved on his Cairo speech. Illustrating once again to the Arab world the US forked tongue.

    AJ -‘’I dug something up that gives you the Israeli context. That was an interview with Shimon Peres back in January in the New York Times [by Ronen Bergman]. It’s absolutely kind of astounding when you look at it in terms of this trip and in terms of Obama’s attitude. He talks about the breakdown between Netanyahu and Obama in the first term. Peres says,’’

    *Do not look at what they ‘say’, look at what Israel does, continues to do.

    AJ – “”Listen to what Peres says later on: ..“President Obama thinks that peace should be made with the Muslim world. We, the State of Israel, do not appear to be thinking along those lines. We must not lose the support of the United States.”

    * Yes, they must not lose the support of the US and Obama and US congress assure them they never will, regardless of what they do.

    AJ- ‘Why does he think that? We have to ask ourselves. He knows what’s driving Obama, and he also knows what’s driving Netanyahu. Peres again: “The problem is that Obama would like to reach peace in the Middle East and has to be convinced that Israel agrees with this.”

    * Yes, the problem is the world’s superpower and sole protector of the US welfare client state Israel must have Israel agreement to abide by international law on I/P and improve it’s own security interest problems caused by I/P. Yes, that is quite a problem.

    AJ – ‘’So Obama could have proceeded on this whole issue in two different ways. He could have engaged with more tough love with Israel, because that would satisfy people like us. But there is no question that Israel has bipartisan support in the United States, and there’s a lot of reasons for that, and as Obama said, he has to deal with that fact. Support for Israel is part of the political culture of this country now. ‘’ ‘’I mean by that—there are people here in the New York Times, in the government, and outside of the government, who know that in order to resolve this problem, the Palestinian side has to get some airtime. This is particularly true since polls in this country show that the P.A. is the third most hated government in the world. And they have to change that. Because in all the rest of the word, Israel is one of the most hated governments.’’“

    * Wrong. Support for Israel is part of “politicans” political culture, that support does not exist among the general US population except in the fringes. And most glaring is the fact that despite the propaganda in the US about Israel, Americans amazingly, have stuck to their belief in the US operating *evenhandedly* and fairly.

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/international_security_bt/503.php?nid=&id=&pnt=503

    ‘’A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel’s side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side. ‘’

    ‘’In no country does a majority favor taking Israel’s side. The largest percentages favoring taking Israel’s side are Indians (24%), Americans (21%), and Nigerians (15%).’’>>>>>>>>>

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brunitedstatescanadara/604.php?nid=&id=&pnt=604

    ‘A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll finds that three-quarters of Americans think that Israel should not build settlements in the Palestinian territories. This is up 23 points from when this question was last asked in 2002‘’

    AJ – ‘’You don’t have an Eisenhower in office. Although there’s been a lot of attempts to make some analogy between Eisenhower and Obama, when Israel invaded the Sinai in ‘56, Eisenhower said, I don’t care what power Israel has, they have to withdraw, and I will cut off the tax exempt status of Israeli fundraising in the United States. Well Obama doesn’t think he has that kind of political space. He has some, but he doesn’t have that kind of political space.’’

    * Obama has the same political space “with the US public” Eisenhower did. ..as the most credible poll above proves. So again quit confusing the ‘pubic space’ and public support with the ‘special interest box’ the Israel Lobby puts US politicians in.

    Example: Americans do not want the US involved in Israel’s grudge with Iran. They do Not want Obama ‘to have Israel’s back”. This public sentiment. preference is Ignored.

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brunitedstatescanadara/712.php?nid=&id=&pnt=712

    American Public Opposes Israel Striking Iran
    March 13, 2012
    If Israel and Iran Have Military Conflict,
    Americans Say US Should Stay Out

    Full report(PDF)
    Questionnaire with Findings (PDF)

    A new poll finds that only one in four Americans favors Israel conducting a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program. Seven in ten (69%) favor the US and other major powers continuing to pursue negotiations with Iran, a position that is supported by majorities of Republicans (58%), Democrats (79%) and Independents (67%).

    Consistent with this emphasis on a diplomatic approach, three in four say that the US should primarily act through the UN Security Council rather than acting by itself in dealing with the problem of Iran’s nuclear program.

    If Israel goes ahead with a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program and Iran retaliates, but not against American targets, only 25% favor the US providing military forces if Israel requests them (though support is a bit higher among Republicans at 41%). Another 14% favors the US providing diplomatic support only.

    Few (6%) would support open opposition. The most popular position is for the US to take a neutral stance, which is supported by 49%, including 27% who would also favor active efforts to end the hostilities and 22% who think the US should simply not get involved.

    AJ – ‘’All Zionists are not the same. People are not prepared to differentiate between them, but there are uber Zionists and lesser Zionists. They all want a Jewish state, a Jewish majority state. But some of them are Jabotinskyites who believe that Israel should have a permanent Iron Wall against the Arab world, while some of them believe that they have to define their borders and become a normal state. And that latter portion knows they can’t do that with an unresolved Palestinian problem.

    * “Informed” people ‘have’ differentiated between them. The uninformed general public has’ no way to do so’ thanks to The Lobby and six decades of propaganda.

    AJ – “Was he( Obama)lying, was he insincere, was he just doing this for public consumption without any real genuine belief? I think the answer to that question was no, he was not lying. He has said the same thing consistently, from Cairo to Jerusalem.

    * What does “it matter” whether he’s lying, what he has said for 5 years..it ‘matters’ no more than what Israel has said for 40 years.

    AJ – ‘’And this is probably the essence of Obama trip: him trying to get them to get what he gets; and he has a strategy. Everyone thinks he has some kind of magic wand. But he can’t wave a wand and say, Let there be a Palestinian state, let there be peace. He’s not a magician. But one of his first duties as president, is to advance the security of this country. And he’s not going to do it if this situation is not resolved.

    * Oh but Obama does have a magic wand, the bully pulpit of the most powerful leadership office on earth. Now understand this—as illustrated, the US pubic is ‘already there’. It is the Lobby’s power over congress that he could destroy with the bully pulpit. Obama has the power to appear before the US public surrounded by the highest US Military Command to tell the US public and the whole world what must be done about Palestine- Israel “ for US security” Yes, ‘if’ he did this the US Israel Lobbies , which is ‘the’ reason he doesn’t do it ,would lose….they would be finished for good…..any politician in congress continuing to enable Israel after it’s actions were publically declared a security risk for the US would be radioactive to the majority of their constituents and voters.

    AJ – “ I think Obama has pretty much placed the ball in Israel’s court. That’s an enormous achievement. He’s said that the Israelis have to make the move. They’re the stronger party, because of American support. You’ve got to do something. You cannot allow this stasis. So the Israelis I think are going to come up with something. It probably won’t be something that Abbas can accept, but it’s going to be an enormous advance to what we have now and it will give Americans space to get involved.

    * The’ball’ has been in Israel’s court for 40 years. The strong unconditional support the US has declared for 65 years that ’’ makes Israel stronger” has had not one postive effect on I/P, it has in fact made it worse.

    AJ – “Remember what Obama said. We don’t need any more incrementalism. ”

    * And you don’t think that’s what you’re looking at?
    Sorry I think you are doing some desperate dreaming here. Nothing wrong with hope but hope needs a better plan than believing in those who have let you down for 40 long years.

  10. paabrhm on March 25, 2013, 3:55 pm

    Abdeen is correct for the most part. BUT, he cut’s Obama too much slack.
    Berry does have political space and ammunition: he is not faced with re-election; he is the President of the United States and appoints all heads of all executive branches, including Treasury. If he wished, he could cause the end of tax exemptions for all those millions that go to support the settlements and the fanatic zionists. He could, if he wished, INCLUDE Israel in the budget cuts that will effect every citizen of THIS country. He could even END tax payer dollars, if he wished to take on the challenge. He just simply does not want to face off against the Israel supporters. He has NO real moral center. Like he said: he’s a politician.

  11. DICKERSON3870 on March 25, 2013, 4:16 pm

    RE: “As far as the recognition of the Zionist attachment to the land, and the history of Zionists in Israel, a lot of that was boilerplate. And actually he’s not saying anything that has not been accepted by most of the Arab countries . . .” ~ Abdeen Jabara

    MY COMMENT: The Likudnik Revisionist Zionists desperately want everyone to acknowledge “the Jews’ 4,000-year connection” to their homeland* [Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the occupied West Bank)] so that it will legitimate Israel’s continued colonization and ultimate annexation of the West Bank.
    Consequently, the Likudniks were very upset by Obama’s having referred to the Holocaust, etc. as justifying Israel’s existence in his June 2009 Cairo speech.
    While the Holocaust, etc. might well justify the existence of Israel, the Eretz Israel crowd fears that the international community might see pre-1967 Israel as adequate. The Likudniks, settlers, etc. fear that the international community will not see the Holocaust as necessarily justifying Israel’s absorption of “Judea and Samaria” [a/k/a the “disputed” West Bank (f/k/a the occupied West Bank)] . To remedy this, the Likudniks/settlers want the “Biblical narrative” used to justify Israel’s existence because they see it as being specific to “Judea and Samaria” (i.e. the occupied West Bank) as opposed to the coastal plain and other parts of pre-1967 Israel.
    By referring to Israel as the ‘historic homeland’ of ‘the Jewish people’ in his 2010 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama has – for the settlers in the West Bank and their supporters – acknowledged that “Judea and Samaria” (i.e. the occupied West Bank) is/are a legitimate part of Israel. That was probably the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. Of course, the two-state solution had long been in an advanced state of Rigor mortis, so a proper Christian burial was probably in order.
    Obama is a Christian, right? I can never keep that straight.

    • DICKERSON3870 on March 25, 2013, 4:36 pm

      RE: “The Likudnik Revisionist Zionists desperately want everyone to acknowledge “the Jews’ 4,000-year connection” to their homeland [Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the occupied West Bank)] so that it will legitimate Israel’s continued colonization and ultimate annexation of the West Bank.” ~ me (from above)

      MY COMMENT: And, they want everyone to acknowledge “the Jews’ 4,000-year connection” to their homeland [Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the occupied West Bank)] despite the fact that DNA studies seem to indicate that most of today’s Jews are not descended from the Jews of biblical Israel in Judea and Samaria.
      How does being a descendant of the Khazars in central Asia (not the Middle East) who converted to Judaism around 600 A.C.E. (A.D.) or so entitle a person to displace the indigenous population of Palestine?

      SEE: “New Study Shows Yeshiva University Researcher, Others Appear To Have Cooked The Genetic Books To ‘Prove’ Middle Eastern Origin Of The Jewish People When One May Not Really Exist”, by Shmarya Rosenberg, FailedMessiah.com, 12/29/12

      “My research refutes 40 years of genetic studies, all of which have assumed that the Jews constitute a group that is genetically isolated from other nations,” Dr. Eran Elhaik says.
      That’s because Jews were never genetically isolated
      , making those other studies fatally flawed and very often contradictory.
      Now Elhaik, in a study that is being called more profound than all of those that came before his combined, has exposed that fatal flaw and is the first to propose a viable way resolve those contradictions, Ha’aretz reports.
      The answer to the origin of the Jewish people Elhaik found is startling – for most of us, our Jewish origins really do begin with the Khazars, the Medieval central Asian people whose ruling elite (and perhaps its merchant class, as well) converted to Judaism.
      The 32-year-old does his work at the School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. His study was published earlier this month as, “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses”, in the prestigious journal, ‘Genome Biology and Evolution’, which is published by Oxford University Press. This study is based on a complete analysis of the comprehensive genetic data published in preceding studies.
      But in the absence of genetic data for the long-lost Khazars themselves, Elhaik uses a procedure often used by researchers in his field – he used data from populations that are genetically similar to the Khazars, including Georgians, Armenians and Caucasians, populations that Elhaik says have all come from the same genetic soup.
      When doing so Elhaik discovered what he calls the Khazar component of European Jewry.
      According to his study’s findings, the dominant element in the genetic makeup of European Jews is Khazar. Among Central European Jews, this makes up the largest part of their genome, 38%. For East European Jews it does the same, at 30%.
      Elhaik found that European Jews genome is mostly Western European.
      “[They are] primarily of Western European origin, which is rooted in the Roman Empire, and Middle Eastern origin, whose source is probably Mesopotamia
      [a name for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, corresponding to modern-day Iraq, the northeastern section of Syria and to a lesser extent southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of southwestern Iran – J.L.D.], although it is possible that part of that component can be attributed to Israeli Jews,” he told Ha’aretz by phone from Maryland.
      That possibility is important because, if it turns out to be true, it could connect European Jews to Israel. However, even if it is true, that connection is only a tiny part of the overall genome, a percentage so small that it would reportedly not be statistically significant enough to show that the origin of the Jews is the Kingdom of Judah in the biblical Land of Israel. . . . .

      SOURCE – http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2012/12/new-study-shows-yu-researcher-others-appear-to-have-cooked-the-genetic-books-to-prove-middle-eastern-789.html

  12. kalithea on March 25, 2013, 4:43 pm

    Just to show you how delusional this article really is, cause God knows I’m fed up of wasting time on the delusional, he states this:

    “…and there’s another big shakeup, this Yair Lapid fellow is much more amenable to working out something with the Palestinians.”

    He calls this a BIG shakeup??? AMENABLE fellow??? Lapid is trying to fast track 16,000 more SETTLEMENTS and he represents “big, amenable” change…HAHAHAHA!

    And apparently, Obama was livid because the Democratic platform didn’t include Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    OY. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and now you want us all to believe that Ignorance is Strength and we should try to convince Palestinians that some Injustice and most of the sacrifice is really true Justice. Spare me the lawyerly talk like, is-is-not-is; it-depends-on-the-meaning-of-is, and comfortably numb psychology like: it’s not that baaad….so take it…my time is expensive!

    Thanks but no thanks.

  13. seafoid on March 25, 2013, 4:44 pm

    Israel’s court obviously includes the areas on both sides of the net.

  14. MHughes976 on March 25, 2013, 4:46 pm

    Of the four main points made by Mr. Jabara I think I agree with two. Obama probably succeeded in sowing seeds of ‘not uncritical’ thought about Israel back home – and that was his intention. Secondly, it is not possible for a practical politician at the moment to go further. However, I wouldn’t be so sure of any strategy depending on persuading Israel to trust Abbas. If that is what Obama is trying to say, it amounts to saying ‘You can trust me and my successors to ensure that there is always a West-compliant leader in charge, keeping any restive Palestinians in check, if necessary, with his well armed police and soldiers’. The Israelis know, and know even more clearly after the factional strife of the Arab Spring – but they always knew, that no such assurance can be given. That is why Abbas has sat there for years, clearly ready to sign anything put in front of him, yet nothing gets put in front of him.
    As for ideal justice, forget it never and speak of it often. Not because it is necessarily attainable but because it is imperative to get as close to it as you can and if you stop thinking and caring about it you can’t do much good.

  15. ToivoS on March 25, 2013, 4:58 pm

    “I think Obama has pretty much placed the ball in Israel’s court. That’s an enormous achievement.”

    By all means be an optimist and I hope you are right. I think Obama did something different: he has just given them permission to drive over the cliff they are heading towards.

  16. lysias on March 25, 2013, 5:06 pm

    Why doesn’t Obama have space? Congress may be able to block a lot of what Obama might want to do, but the executive has a lot of power in diplomatic and military matters. If Obama chose, for example, to stop vetoing resolutions in the Security Council that Israel doesn’t like, Congress has absolutely no power to stop him.

    By the way, I am currently reading Rashid Khalidi’s new book, Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East. The book is absolutely devastating about Obama’s policies — and about a lot of other things.

  17. DICKERSON3870 on March 25, 2013, 5:15 pm

    RE: “There is a problem when according to polls two-thirds of the Israelis accept a Palestinian state, but they don’t trust the Palestinians.” ~ Abdeen Jabara

    MY COMMENT: Uri Avnery seems to attribute much of the cause for this phenomenon to the bias of the Israeli media and the “brainwashing” of the Israelis.
    How can Obama possibly counter that?

    URI AVNERY ON THE SORRY STATE OF THE ISRAELI MEDIA/PRESS: “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . The Israeli media are already to a large extent neutralized, a creeping process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung. [SEE: Gleichschaltung @ Wikipedia – J.L.D. ]
    All three TV channels are more or less bankrupt and dependent on government handouts. Their editors are practically government appointees. The printed press is also teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, except the largest “news” paper, which belongs to Sheldon Adelson and is a Netanyahu propaganda sheet, distributed gratis.
    [Naftali] Bennett repeats the ridiculous assertion that almost all journalists are left-wingers (meaning traitors.) He promises to put an end to this intolerable situation. . .
    . . . In the coming four years, the official annexation of the West Bank to Israel may become a fact. . .
    . . . If the government continues on its present course, this will lead to certain disaster – the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will become one unit under Israeli rule. This Greater Israel will contain an Arab majority and a shrinking Jewish minority, turning it inevitably into an apartheid state, plagued by a permanent civil war and shunned by the world.
    If pressure from without and within eventually compels the government to grant civil rights to the Arab majority, the country will turn into an Arab state. 134 years of Zionist endeavor will come to naught, a repetition of the Crusaders’ kingdom.
    This is so obvious, so inevitable, that one needs an iron will not to think about it. It seems that all major parties in these elections have this will. Speaking about peace, they believe, is poison. Giving back the West Bank and East Jerusalem for peace? God forbid even thinking about it.
    The weird fact is that this week two respected polls – independent of each other – came to the same conclusion: the great majority of Israeli voters favors the “two-state solution”
    , the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem. This majority includes the majority of Likud voters, and even about half of Bennett’s adherents.
    How come? The explanation lies in the next question: How many voters believe that this solution is possible? The answer: almost nobody. Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that “the Arabs” don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.
    If peace is impossible, why think about it? Why even mention it in the election campaign? Why not go back 44 years to Golda Meir’s days and pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist? (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away. They did not exist.” – Golda Meir, June 13, 1969) . . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/04/israels-weird-elections/

  18. DICKERSON3870 on March 25, 2013, 5:39 pm

    RE: “So Obama could have proceeded on this whole issue in two different ways. He could have engaged with more tough love with Israel, because that would satisfy people like us. . . Well Obama doesn’t think he has that kind of political space. He has some, but he doesn’t have that kind of political space. Still, he has lots of political tools that he is using.” ~ Abdeen Jabara

    SEE: “Why Obama Will Ignore Israel”, By Peter Beinart, Daily Beast/Newsweek, 12/10/12
    The administration’s new Mideast strategy: benign neglect.

    [EXCERPTS] The last week of November 2012 was a big one on the Israeli-Palestinian front. On the 65th anniversary of the partition resolution that created a Jewish state, the United Nations recognized a Palestinian one. Israel retaliated with the West Bank equivalent of sequestration: announcing it would move toward building settlements in an area east of Jerusalem called E1, which many observers believe would kill the two-state solution. European governments responded by threatening to withdraw their ambassadors.
    And the United States? It mostly watched.
    In 2011, when the Palestinians first sought a U.N. status upgrade, the Obama diplomatic corps lobbied so hard against it that one State Department official joked that “sometimes I feel like I work for the Israeli government.” This time, by contrast, the U.S. largely went through the motions. It was “half-assed,” observes a Middle East insider close to the administration. “They didn’t really lobby hard … [The attitude was] if Israel ends up with a big embarrassment, who gives a s–t.”
    Then, when Israel responded by going nuclear on settlements and the Europeans responded with fury, the administration was similarly passive. Contrary to reports in the Israeli press, Team Obama didn’t mastermind the angry European response. But neither did they tamp it down. Even though E1 has long been an American red line. And even though the Israelis alerted the White House mere hours before they announced the decision, the Obama administration’s response was pro forma and bland. Publicly, Obama himself said nothing. It was the first sign of what senior administration officials predict may be a new approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Obama’s second term: benign neglect. . .
    . . . So instead of confronting Netanyahu directly, Team Obama has hit upon a different strategy: stand back and let the rest of the world do the confronting. Once America stops trying to save Israel from the consequences of its actions, the logic goes, and once Israel feels the full brunt of its mounting international isolation, its leaders will be scared into changing course. “The tide of global opinion is moving [against Israel],” notes one senior administration official. And in that environment, America’s “standing back” is actually “doing something.” . . .
    . . . If the administration’s new Israel approach sounds familiar, it’s because it fits the broader Obama strategy of “leading from behind.” Critics mock the phrase as reflecting an abrogation of American leadership, but what it really reflects is an understanding that the unipolar world of the 1990s is gone, and America must adjust. Nowhere is this truer than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For years, other powers let the U.S. control the Israeli-Palestinian peace process because they believed that only America, with its unique relationship to Israel, could broker a deal. But the Obama administration’s failure to restart serious talks has gravely undermined that conceit. And partly as a result, other players, both in Europe and the Middle East, no longer defer to Washington in the same way.
    Rather than reversing that phenomenon, Team Obama is trying to make it a strength. It’s hoping that when faced with international isolation, Netanyahu will shift course and embrace the kind of Palestinian state supported by his predecessor, Olmert.
    But that may be a bad bet. Israeli politics have swung so far right that some of Netanyahu’s strongest rivals are now ultra-hawks who consider him too soft. In that environment, resisting global pressure by pushing forward with settlement growth may actually help him in the polls. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/12/09/why-obama-will-ignore-israel.html

    • DICKERSON3870 on March 25, 2013, 5:56 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Flotilla 3.0: Redeeming Obama’s Palestine Speech with Gaza’s Ark”, By Robert Naiman, truth-out.org, 3/25/13

      [EXCERPTS] There’s a half-empty way and a half-full way of looking at President Barack Obama’s Jerusalem speech about the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
      The half-empty way of looking at it is: This was Obama’s white flag of surrender.
      To everyone around the world who for decades has been assuming that at the end of the day, the president of the United States would lead the way to resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Obama was saying: Don’t look at me. Just because the United States is the principal military, diplomatic and economic protector of the Israeli government, doesn’t mean that I, as the president of the United States, will do anything about the military occupation of millions of Palestinian human beings. Bibi doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; Bibi’s government doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; AIPAC doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; and Congress – which defers to AIPAC – doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state. Of course, many of them mouth the words – not Bibi’s government, they don’t even do that – but those who mouth the words oppose any practical measure that would help bring an independent Palestinian state into existence. They’re “two state fakers.”. . . And so, Obama was saying, my hands are tied. Don’t look at me.
      The half-full way of looking at it is this: It was a great speech. If you “price in,” as the markets say, acceptance that the US government isn’t going to lead on this, it was a great motivational speech. President Obama made a very compelling case that someone else should do something.
      The interesting thing is that whether you see it as a great motivational speech or a white flag of surrender, the practical consequences for the public are largely the same: The initiative for justice is going to have to come from somewhere else. The best that we can probably expect from Obama is that if the initiative for justice comes from somewhere else, he won’t get in the way, or won’t get in the way very much.
      While that is much less than we are entitled to expect, it is much more than the Netanyahu government and its supporters want. They demand that President Obama do everything he can to get in the way of justice. So, if he doesn’t get in the way of justice, or only does so halfheartedly, he’ll be helping us more than they want.
      Some people look to Europe. If Europe got serious about curtailing imports from Israel if the occupation doesn’t end, that’s something the Israeli business elite would take seriously, and they would put pressure on the Israeli government to compromise, rather than lose their export income. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/15307-flotilla-30-redeeming-obamas-palestine-speech-with-gazas-ark

  19. Bandolero on March 25, 2013, 6:38 pm

    I agree with Abdeen Jabara insofar as I, too, believe, that these are Obamas intentions. He’s trying to sway public opinion and to create an environmet in Palestine, the arab world, the US and internationally helpful to make a peace deal based on the two state solution. As local popular basis of a peace deal he singled out and tries to strengthen liberal zionism and a peace-loving Zionist coastal youth on the one side and the Abbas administration and it’s peaceful demonstrators in the westbank on the other side.

    That’s how I see it. However, I doubt that it works. And I fear that Obama, perhaps with best intentions, makes the situation even worse than it is now. The reason for me thinking this is that I believe that the main peace-preventing problem is the ideology of Zionism itself. To make any lasting solution possible I think it’s needed to deconstruct the zionist ideology, mainly it’s historical myths and it’s sectarian character. What would be needed to make peace possible would be an Israeli apology to the Palestinians for all the colonial crimes committed since the first waves of Zionist immigation, for the faking of history, for the lies and the hasbara, for the false flag ops, and for Zionism bringing European style racism to Palestine. When that is done, I’m sure Palestinians could forgive, and take a look of how to live together further. The historical fact that many Zionist families living in Israel were the victims of the most horrible crimes of European racism themselves might make it easier to understand and forgive. When Zionism is deconstructed and the conditions are ripe for such a Zionist apology I’m very hopeful that the question how to organize future life in one, two or three states, how to compensate Palestinaians for the Zionist crimes and how to proceed living together in the future are little more than technical questions. But without such an apology I fear there will be never peace, the struggle for truth and justice will continue, be it in one state, in two or in three.

    Obama, unfortunately, tries to strengthen liberal Zionism and thereby he strengthens the Zionist ideology as a whole. Obama strengthened in his speeches the historical myths of Zionism. When Obama spoke of a jewish state for a jewish people he strengthened sectarianism. I think the strenghtened Zionism will inevitably lead to more conflict.

    So I fear more bloodshed and no conflict resolution be the result of Obamas policies regarding to Palestine. Obama’s effectively surrendering to the Zionist lobby, doing not more for an I/P solution than GWB did with his roadmap. It’s pretty much more of the same, just as his general policies in the region. GWB brought “democracy” to Afghanistan and Iraq, and Obama brought “democracy” to Libya, Yemen and Syria.

    PS: Regarding MJ Rosenberg
    From my personal experience I totally agree that there exists anti-semitism in the Palestine solidarity movement, and I totally agree that it needs to be strictly combatted against. I think, anti-semitism is the main source of strength for the Zionist ideology. However, what I deem important, is not giving Zionists the right to define what anti-semitism is.

  20. palijustice on March 25, 2013, 7:16 pm

    Israel’s policies of Jewish supremcy laws in Israel proper, (about 60 of them) and it’s apartheid (segregated roads and settlements, and house demolitions based on religious identity) lead to anti Israeli and anti Jewish feeling. There was stong anti German feeling in the world after the Nazis took over. What can one expect when a nation commits crimes against humanity?

  21. Inanna on March 25, 2013, 7:33 pm

    Look, Obama is living in a fairy land. The Israelis have drunk so much kool-aid they don’t get that they are shooting themselves in the foot. And if he thinks that he doesn’t have the political space, then he’s shot himself in the foot from the outset. The Lobby is not so powerful that a president can’t make political space if he wants to. As proof, I submit Obama getting Hagel through confirmation. Let’s please give up this myth that Obama can’t create new possibilities. The US would then have the support of the rest of the world. Obama can be an Eisenhower any time he wants.

    • seafoid on March 26, 2013, 12:51 pm

      Obama probably just wants to pass the parcel over to his successor so it doesn’t blow up on his watch. Israel built YESHA so it wouldn’t ever have to concede land to the palestinians. And that is what their society has worked towards for 40 years. They ratcheted up the cost of withdrawal to a price that is politically impossible. No point in even discussing it.

      But they lost Galut in the process. And now they become more and more isolated.

      It is going to be really ugly when it blows.

      • James Canning on March 26, 2013, 2:52 pm

        John Kerry apparently sees it important to get something done now, and the danger of just kicking the can down the road.
        But, will Israel lobby compel Obama to block Kerry’s efforts?

  22. Blownaway on March 25, 2013, 8:14 pm

    All this hope for change is just that hope. It fell on deaf ears and Obama wants another democrat after him. This is what it is a pander and surrender..

  23. NickJOCW on March 26, 2013, 8:35 am

    Obama is right that only negotiation can lead to a peaceful solution, but the chances for that are slim to non-existent. The most important reason for this is that negotiation is not horse trading, it requires the opposing parties to rise above their differences to a level where their interests coincide completely. This can be achieved by the intervention of some external threat of an order such that it unites the parties, a common element in many disaster stories where opposed characters come together though a common threat. It can also be achieved by dialectical rapprochement but that requires a level of detachment and intellectual commitment that simply isn’t present.

    As for low level anti-Semitism among non-Jewish pro-Palestinians, there is low level anti-Semitism everywhere and it is moot whether there is more among that particular group than among populations at large. Anti-Semitism is not an attitude of mind but a spontaneous emotion and most people who discover such emotions subdue them under social pressure, fear or simply good manners. Those who do not subdue them are, of course, high level anti-Semites. Exactly the same is true of those who find anti-Gay, anti-Black, anti-Arab emotions arising within them.

    • gamal on March 28, 2013, 9:08 am

      “there is low level anti-Semitism everywhere”! Mannychaen?

  24. Hostage on March 26, 2013, 8:38 am

    you don’t want to be oppressing these Palestinians. That’s strong language. We haven’t heard anyone do that before . . .

    I think the US has been saying that all along, but doesn’t follow-up, e.g. See Bush calls on Israel to impose settlement freeze: Bush urges Sharon to end ‘daily humiliation of the Palestinian people’ http://www.haaretz.com/news/bush-calls-on-israel-to-impose-settlement-freeze-1.135277

  25. Citizen on March 26, 2013, 9:51 am

    Jon Stewart mocks Obama’s trip to Israel:
    http://www.opposingviews.com/i/politics/foreign-policy/jon-stewart-mocks-president-obamas-trip-israel-video

    As Stewart says in his conclusion about Obama’s trip to Israel: “Talk is cheap, call me when you have actual diplomatic progress.” He also concludes “We are powerless.” And his final word tells his audience, how about something actually being done by a US president about those settlements?

    Obama left the ball right where it’s been for decades–in Israel’s and AIPAC hands.

    BTW, it is just as arguable that there’s far less closet jew haters in the pro-Palestinian ranks than there are closet goy haters in the pro-Israel ranks.

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