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Obama and Power announcements show, Israel is US’s BFF

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Obama and Netanyahu in 2011 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Obama and Netanyahu in 2011 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

As the boycott/sanctions discussion begins in earnest, it’s important to consider that at the highest level, the U.S. does not treat Israel as just another country, but our BFF (best friends forever). Two statements from the Obama administration, today and yesterday, underline the very special place of Israel in the American government. First, from the White House:

On Monday, March 3, President Obama will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.  The President looks forward to discussing with the Prime Minister progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, developments in Iran, and other regional priorities.  Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit is a demonstration of the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel, and our close consultations on a range of security issues.

Second, from Ambassador Samantha Power:

February 11, 2014

Today, for the first time, Israel participated in one of the core coordinating groups focused on human rights and social policy at the United Nations. Israel’s participation in the “JUSCANZ” caucus in the United Nation’s Third Committee is an important step toward securing Israel’s full participation across the UN system.

The United States has long been a tireless advocate for Israel’s full participation and inclusion at the UN. Today’s inclusion, coupled with our successful efforts to secure Israel’s membership in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) last November in Geneva, are important steps in the right direction. Israel is now able to fully participate in the main regional and core coordinating groups in New York and Geneva where much of the behind-the-scenes work at the UN gets done.

While more work remains, the United States will combat every effort to undermine Israel’s legitimacy as a full and equal member of the community of nations, including by ending the various forms of structural discrimination against Israel throughout the UN system.

This seems an important difference between Israel and South Africa. South Africa was not joined at the hip to the United States, or embedded in the U.S. political structure to this degree. No, as Samantha Power makes clear, we keep taking Israel to parties even though nobody is crazy about the country. And trying to square that craven support with her support for inspiring, trailblazing Americans, Jason Collins formerly of the NBA and Michael Sam, who will soon be in the NFL.

The Israel lobby is clearly helping to enforce this pattern. Yesterday Roger Cohen did a fearful piece about BDS in the New York Times, portraying it as destructive– and so very unlike the equal rights movement in South Africa that everyone supported.

As Diana Shaw Clark, an activist on behalf of a two-state solution, wrote to me in an email, “People affiliated with divestment in South Africa had no agenda other than the liberation and enfranchisement of an oppressed majority.”

I don’t agree with Clark; I want to liberate an oppressed people. But Clark counts! If you look her up, you find that she is a British Zionist who has raised a ton of money for Obama from overseas, who was then named to a Holocaust board by Obama. Here it is reported she raised $50,000 for Obama as his chief bundler in England.

So Clark is hardly just some activist who loves equal rights, as Roger Cohen knows. BDS is taking on very powerful forces inside the American establishment.

Thanks to Peter Voskamp.

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9 Responses

  1. Krauss
    February 12, 2014, 12:38 pm

    Slightly unrelated, but Bibi attacked the head of the European parliament today and Bennett staged a theatrical walk-out when he had the temerity to speak that Palestininas need access to water, too, such an outrage!

    I’m no fan of Martin Shultz in general, but this is telling that they feel confident enough to do this. EU doesn’t count on anything, it’s America’s lapdog.

    But they showed their true intentions when they know there won’t be backlash.

    I just wish that the EU would grow a spine and just do their boycott already, kick Israel out of CERN and play hardball. All major actions from the EU has been from the private sector.
    The political echelons are as spineless as ever.

    This is why BDS is so necessary.

  2. Little_Shih_Tzu
    February 12, 2014, 12:51 pm

    But still unanswered: Why Do They HATE Us?

  3. HarryLaw
    February 12, 2014, 1:02 pm

    During Power’s nomination hearing she recommended that the US divest its support from Israel’s military, Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) pressed her on these comments. Power responded by saying they were part of “a long, rambling and remarkably incoherent response to a hypothetical question that I should never have answered.”,7340,L-4406613,00.html She has no shame, what will she not do advance her career, pathetic. At that hearing she wanted to get Israel on the UNSC, doesn’t she know they are already on it and with veto power.

    • Blownaway
      February 12, 2014, 11:24 pm

      Perfectly said. No shame. How can any of her so called humanistic motivations get any support when she prostitutes herself for a whiff of power. Is her humanitarian concern limited to certain people only?

  4. James Canning
    James Canning
    February 12, 2014, 2:17 pm

    Time for the US to be a “tireless advocate” for full participation by Palestine, at the UN.

    And scr*w Aipac.

  5. Blownaway
    February 12, 2014, 11:22 pm

    The Palestinians are like a husband who knows his wife is cheating on him but still holds out hope that she will come back. Meanwhile she’s making a fool of him in the neighborhood. The Paletinains should say you go ahead America sit on the same side of the table as Israel ( Micronesia too) and we will invite the rest of the world on our side

    • tree
      February 13, 2014, 12:08 am

      I think the battered wife is probably the more apt analogy to the Palestinians.

      • Sumud
        February 13, 2014, 1:02 am

        Serial sexual assault victim, and the molester is a family member: always present, always seeking to intimidate, yet always demanding public displays of loyalty and “affection”.

  6. seafoid
    February 13, 2014, 2:02 am

    Israel has zero legitimacy in Palestine. They can huff and they can puff but the YESHA pantomime is over. Oh no it isn’t says DC. Oh yes it is says the world.

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