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Power and Kerry work to deliver the Security Council and Jerusalem to Israel

on 15 Comments

This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Israel on the UN Security Council?  So says Samantha Power in her Senate confirmation hearing.  She’ll lobby for it.

I’m not sure whether she’ll argue for Israel as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council – serving on a rotating basis for two years – or as a permanent member cohabiting with the likes of the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.  The former seems logical though I’m not sure that would be enough to satisfy her pro-Israel supporters.

The Guardian reports that Power also apologized for her previous criticism of Israel, characterizing it as a “long, rambling and remarkably incoherent response to a hypothetical question that I should never have answered.” She’s referred to her comments in an interview in 2002 when she spoke the truth about America’s long, rambling and remarkably incoherent policy toward Palestinians.

At that point in her career, Power had ambitions to lead the Left-leaning anti-genocide community at Harvard and elsewhere.  Then she got Potomac Fever.  Her ambitions changed.  She’s been on her knees ever since.

Power and John Kerry must be bosom buddies now.  Did he watch her testimony yesterday in Amman?  I didn’t.  It’s too painful to watch.

The Guardian also reports an imminent breakthrough and a restarting of the peace process due to Kerry’s efforts.  Will Samantha Power lead the negotiators in prayer before each session?  Or perhaps she’ll be brought in as the honest broker to facilitate the talks once they’ve begun. 

Even though she’s recanted, she once spoke the truth about the need for a real Palestinian state and what America had to do to get it done.  She might also sweeten the deal by offering to lobby for a seat on the UN Security Council for Palestine, too.

Where can these peace talks go?  If everything goes swimmingly and Israel wants to make a deal what will it offer?  If Palestinians are desperate and need to make a deal, what are they willing to accept?

What Kerry has put on the table is top secret.  No one outside his meetings seems to know.  Yet the peace process road is so well travelled it’s easy to guess.

What’s likely left off the table?  For starters, two real states, with Israel withdrawing to its 1967 borders.  Then there’s East Jerusalem – except perhaps some limited sovereignty over holy places.  Gaza won’t be on the table except some dire language about Hamas.  The Palestinian right of return?  You won’t see it on the table, either.   

What’s left for Palestinians?  Symbolic statehood.  Some form of limited political autonomy.  Economic incentives. 

Did I forget Israeli and international forces on the borders of the symbolic, limited autonomy Palestinian state?  Enhanced Swiss Bank accounts for Palestinian leadership?

Cynicism has to be avoided at all costs.  Even corruption can bring parties closer to agreement.  Nonetheless, hope is tempered by reality.  If negotiations begin again we’re in for more of the same – which isn’t near enough. 

What will happen after an agreement or more likely the collapse of the process is, like Kerry’s table, unknown – but thoroughly predictable.

After all, we’ve been down this peace negotiations road before.

Marc H. Ellis
About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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15 Responses

  1. Tzombo
    July 18, 2013, 11:20 am

    Israel already has a right of veto in the UNSC, by means of its grip on the US’ official balls.

  2. Justpassingby
    July 18, 2013, 11:21 am

    This women isnt a representative for america, shes a representative for israel lobby which she obviously have spoken with alot past months, turning her into an advocate for israel. How much money does she get by funders saying this nonsense?

    • Citizen
      July 19, 2013, 5:22 am

      She literally bawled like a baby when confronted by the zionists about her past anti-semitic/anti-Israel statements. Then said she deeply regretted making those statements, chalking it up to her great confusion on the matter. Now she says she’s going to play for The Team, both offense and defense. Why should anyone aware of her Irish background think she might have done otherwise?

  3. Donald
    July 18, 2013, 12:13 pm

    “At that point in her career, Power had ambitions to lead the Left-leaning anti-genocide community at Harvard and elsewhere. Then she got Potomac Fever. Her ambitions changed. She’s been on her knees ever since.”

    This is so painfully stupid it makes my eyes bleed.

    Harvard war criminals

    I get sick of typing this, but when are people at Mondoweiss going to stop portraying Samantha Power as a one-time well-intentioned person who got corrupted? Do you ever get tired of repeating mainstream propaganda about her? “A Problem From Hell”, written “at that point in her career” was very careful in its selection of what to discuss and what not to discuss–it tiptoes around the blindingly obvious point that the US doesn’t do anything about genocides in many places because the policymakers are quite capable of actively supporting mass murder and genocide themselves. There’s no chapter on East Timor, no chapter on Guatemala, no chapter on the mass killings of communists and ethnic Chinese in Indonesia in the mid-60’s, no chapter on the murderous campaign of Jonas Savimbi in Angola, nothing about the sanctions on Iraq. Anyone seriously interested in trying to figure out why the US could ignore genocide in cases A, B, and C would probably find it relevant to examine cases, some not necessarily fitting the definition of genocide, where the US sided with mass murderers. One would then realize that US foreign policy is not set by idealistic Boy Scouts. But not Samantha Power. She studiously ignores the obvious, like any courtier, and instead tells us that US policymakers aren’t able to fathom the depth of evil in the world. She is backtracking from her statements on Israel for the same reason she wrote a thoroughly dishonest book on genocide and US policy. She knows better, but ambition comes first.

  4. Citizen
    July 18, 2013, 12:15 pm

    Yeah, all the potential US leaders, who gain some success after hard work, meet the brick wall: AIPAC et al. It’s been that way since Truman v Dewey with the single exception: Ike. And nobody today has a single toe of Ike’s cred when it comes to overwhelming prestige as the guy who stopped Hitler. He was so huge, he stopped England, France, and Israel in their (neocolonial) tracks. Worldwide, his power was equal to Stalin’s post 1945. Now we have Obama and Putin. It’s like a big joke on the world.

    How can a daughter of Ireland be so….puny in leadership? She defames Ireland’s history for a few trinkets from AIPAC. And as an assimilated Irish American, she defames America’s highest values. The only ethnic group that died more for America’s higher nature than the Irish, were the Germans. Yep, history is ironic.

  5. frankier
    July 18, 2013, 12:57 pm

    One step forward and two steps backwards… This, in my opinion, summarizes the events of the last few days. As a premise, Samantha Powers is totally irrelevant as there are dozens (hundreds) ready to take her place and play the game.

    One step forward: the EU asking Israel to recognize that the West Bank and East Jerusalem are actually occupied territories and the corollary that EU countries cannot “donate” anything in project involved in those territories.

    Two step backward: a) Samantha Power’s massage with happy ending for the donkey; b) potential support of Israel’s seat on the UNSC.

    However, looking at the one step forward, we realize that the EU posture is contained in guidelines , which are not mandatory or enforceable. Most likely, in spite of a very bland, and certainly temporary, impact on Israel’s land grabbing, Israel will leverage the issuance of those guidelines on the US to lean on the European partners to be more lenient with Israel. In all, the EU might have actually done a favor to Israel…. maybe that was the plan all along…

    I wish the Palestinian people and the P.A. would change course of action. They need a new strategy since what they have done so far has not worked and their position is worse off than it was pre-Oslo. They could just dismantle the P.A. and its police apparatus that has served only Israeli’s interest. They should give full control of the West Bank to Israel (that is, de jure since Israel has it already de facto) so that there would be no doubt in the eyes of the international community and from a legal point of view that Israel controls the West Bank. Same for Hamas. Just dismantle and let Israel control everything.

    This might uncover before the world stage the real nature and intentions of Israel. I doubt that continuing on this path will take anywhere better for the Palestinians. Even a 2-state solution will yield a Palestinian client state of Israel and the US, heavily dependent on foreign aid and industrial handouts (maybe Gap / Walmart garments sweat shops). The Palestinians are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their land that now are being unlawfully enjoyed by Israel. They need to push for a one state solution. Period. The white South Africaners did (do) not like it, but they are coping with it and eventually will adjust fully. On the other side of the spectrum, we have the Native Americans outcome. I am guessing that Israel is pushing for the latter.

    • ToivoS
      July 18, 2013, 6:12 pm

      The Guardian piece on the resumption of negotiations has this gem:

      Israeli officials said that a directive to be issued by the European Union, which bars funding and co-operation to Israeli settlements, could adversely affect any progress [in the upcoming negotiations].

      So it sounds like Israel has some concern about the EU Notice. At least they will use them as a precondition to reenter negotiations with Abbas, EU must withdraw the Notice or Israel will not play ball. I can’t believe I am even writing such nonsense — the entire process is a complete fraud.

      • W.Jones
        July 19, 2013, 5:10 pm


        I have a sense that the announcement about the upcoming agreement on the _basis_ for the resumption of talks is related to the EU’s _recommendation_ about governments ceasing to fund Israeli settlements.

        This confirms what the BDS movement has said all along. That Israeli impunity and conquest are the problems and that BDS is an important answer.

        One of the dangers is that the PA leadership could be cowed or craven enough to accept whatever “trickles” the part in control dangles in front of them. None of this contradicts the underlying comparison to peace treaties with the American Indians, which were a 200 year + “peace [pacification] process.”

        Peace, Human Rights, and justice are both the goals and the paths.


  6. seafoid
    July 18, 2013, 1:21 pm

    The US is the only country left that supports Israel to the hilt.
    And that’s all because of money. Nothing else.
    Power represents money.
    Money is power in the US.

  7. agatharchides
    July 18, 2013, 2:01 pm

    I’m pretty sure she will be arguing for one of the non-permanent seats. Trying to get Israel added as a 6th veto member would not happen, countries like India with far more global reach and popularity have been trying without luck for years.

  8. HarryLaw
    July 18, 2013, 3:39 pm

    On the talks process, according to one western diplomat, the Palestinians were likely to insist on a tight time frame and impartial refereeing by the Americans, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Also the European Unions office in Israel said that Peres, Natanyuhu and John Kerry all contacted European Commission Chief Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday to discuss the new EU ban. link

  9. Les
    July 18, 2013, 3:53 pm

    Covered by the US media. But then AIPAC would be nothing without the US media’s 24-7 support for anything and everything Israel does against the Palestinians as the American public and our politicians are propagandized.

  10. Citizen
    July 19, 2013, 6:38 am

    Related: Kerry in Israel is a joke, and not a funny one:

  11. Citizen
    July 20, 2013, 8:20 am

    Looks like the PA caved in and is headed with a delegation to negotiate peace with an Israeli delegation–with Kerry in Washington, DC:

  12. Citizen
    July 20, 2013, 8:26 am

    Kerry announced yesterday that Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni would meet him in Washington “to begin initial talks within the next week or so”.

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