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The two-stroke solution

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President Obama and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in New York yesterday and there was more talk about the president playing golf in Israel and visiting the country in his post-presidency than there was about the vaunted two-state solution.

Many liberal Americans have set store by the idea that Obama is going to unhatch a November surprise— and push Israel to agree to parameters of a two-state solution. There was no sign of that yesterday, even as the president issued a “guarantee” that he will visit Israel often.

Netanyahu said that Obama would always be a “welcome guest in Israel” and teased the president about the golf course next to his house in Israel, “a terrific golf course.”

“We’ll set up a tee time,” Obama said, without any feeling. But later he suggested he really would show up in the country.

I guarantee you that I will visit Israel often, because it is a beautiful country with beautiful people.  And Michelle and the girls I think resent the fact that I’ve not taken them on most of these trips, so they’re insistent that I do take them.  Of course, they will appreciate the fact that the next time I visit Israel I won’t have to sit in bilats — (laughter) — but instead can enjoy the sights and sounds of a remarkable country.

Here’s video of that last meeting. Though maybe it won’t be the last.

The president offered only the weakest promise of doing anything in the next few months on achieving an agreement between Israel and Palestine. The wire services heard resignation in this statement:

Obviously, I’m only going to be President for another few months.  The Prime Minister will be there quite a bit longer.  And our hope will be that in these conversations we get a sense of how Israel sees the next few years, what the opportunities are and what the challenges are in order to assure that we keep alive the possibility of a stable, secure Israel at peace with its neighbors, and a Palestinian homeland that meets the aspirations of their people.

Diana Buttu said– in an IMEU statement— that President Obama had set out eight years ago by saying settlements needed to be halted. And finished up the same way, saying that settlements need to be halted. Without having any effect.

If the next president continues down the same path as Obama and his predecessors, of attempting to appease an intransigent, hardline Israeli government, they will achieve the same measure of success — which is to say, they will also fail miserably.

Nathan Thrall says much the same in the latest New York Review of Books, in an excellent and bleak piece on Obama’s “last chance.” Obama will have done nothing at all to solve the conflict if he fails to lay down parameters for a resolution– “he will have left no mark”– but even those parameters will be Israel-tilted and will produce nothing. The Washington crowd can’t face the fact the two-state solution is over.

Where US officials come down on a parameters resolution depends to a significant degree on whether they believe the two-state solution is dying or already dead. Those who think it is merely dying—most in the administration—see a parameters resolution as a way to give new hope to hopeless Palestinians, inject a dose of realism into both societies about the compromises that will be required, ratchet up pressure on Israel to reverse steps undermining a two-state solution, and provide grounds for the Palestinian leadership to claim that its hand was forced by international law.

Those who think the two-state solution is already dead, however, worry that a parameters resolution will simply give new life to the lie of a “temporary occupation” that will end in the next round of talks, meanwhile wasting the time of the US and the international community with plans, pleas, and bribes to gain the parties’ acceptance as Israel gobbles up more of Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Thrall is more honest than the New York Review of Books usually is about the Israel lobby. He says that Obama’s biggest obstacle to taking action is “domestic politics,” including Haim Saban and Dennis Ross and “donors to the Democratic Party.”

And yes– proving that point, all but two or three Democratic senators landed on Obama this week, at the behest of AIPAC, warning him not to take any actions that would pressure Israel. Maybe that’s why Obama guarantees that he will visit Israel often. Because he needs to raise money for his presidential library? Just guessing.

Speaking of the lobby and the lack of straightforwardness about it, the New York Times published a report on Netanyahu’s goals in his speech to the UN General Assembly today by Peter Baker, the new Jerusalem bureau chief. Baker says that the audience of international diplomats will be “useful foils for Mr. Netanyahu as he makes his points to a wider world.” My emphasis; Donald Johnson points out that “wider world” is a euphemism, and a deceptive one. He writes:

Netanyahu according to this is making his case to a wider world. But Baker means Congress. What wider world does he imagine that likes Netanyahu and sympathizes with the settlement policy? I think Netanyahu is preaching to his choir, the Christian Zionists and AIPAC and Congress.

I know Netanyahu is trying to make friends with others, but who? Rightwing Hindu nationalists in India? Would they be natural allies? I want to be fair in case Baker actually has someone in mind besides Congress.


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32 Responses

  1. Boomer
    September 22, 2016, 11:34 am

    re: “And yes– proving that point, all but two or three Democratic senators landed on Obama this week, at the behest of AIPAC, warning him not to take any actions that would pressure Israel.”

    I weep for my country.

    • Marnie
      September 22, 2016, 12:09 pm

      “I weep for my country.”

      Yes. I weep for all of us. I can’t shake the feeling that we’re seeing the end of everything.

    • JWalters
      September 22, 2016, 8:16 pm

      I share your feelings. But I remain hopeful there’s a way for Americans to become informed about a few simple truths.

      “[Thrall] says that Obama’s biggest obstacle to taking action is ‘domestic politics'”

      That ‘domestic politics’ is orchestrated by Israel. Israel has become America’s most dangerous enemy, because it has managed to camouflage itself as an ally. It is a parasite that has taken control of America’s central nervous system.

      Israel controls America’s major media, and spikes all honest reporting on itself there. Israel controls America’s political process and government, using America’s military as its proxy. It spends thousands of American lives and trillions of American dollars in manufactured war, draining and weakening America’s middle class to serve its mountainous military profits.

      Israel wants a weakened, confused, easily controlled America with a big military that it can use as it wants. And right now that’s what it’s got. Israel is a tyranny ruling America by deception, bribery, blackmail, and worse.

      And all of America’s captive pundits and politicians know this. It’s only the majority of Americans still in the dark. And that can change.

      • oneangrycomic
        September 23, 2016, 9:31 am

        Congressional ZioPuppets. US military as mercenary army of Israel, destabilizing targeted countries in the Mideast. MSM controlled by ZioTurds like Adelson, Saban, Murdoch and others – spewing Hasbara hate propaganda to a dumbed-down population of zombies. . We are quickly becoming a fascist state through militarism, foreign invasions and spying on fellow Americans.

        We are about to experience some kind of event(s) that will change the very course of our world in a very dangerous and destructive manner. Some would say this is already happening and/or we are past the point of no return. And to think, the tiny Apartheid state of Israel, with complicit puppets in congress, etc. will probably be responsible for the annihilation of mankind as we know it!

        If there are any survivors after these events, can you imagine how they will judge us? Allowing a tiny terrorist state to implement a de-facto coup on the most powerful nation in history. Then using it to wreak terror and destruction on any people it decides to destroy on a whim!?? Invading sovereign countries, assassinating their leaders, murdering hundreds of thousands of innocents, creating a breeding ground for groups like ISIS, millions of refugees in the biggest hate campaign in history – all to help destroy Israel’s competitors under the guise of proclaiming them to be legitimate threats?

        And we wonder why we are the most hated people on the planet? WE are the terrorists and WE will be judged for OUR acts of terrorism. Ignorance will not be an acceptable excuse!

      • brent
        September 24, 2016, 12:24 am

        Israel’s capture of the Empire can be seen as effective competing in an immoral system of competing interests. That Palestinians took the principled position that facts mattered most enabled the capture.

        It’s instructive the number of Democratic Senators AIPAC was able to corral.

        The capturel of the narrative, the political system and the media

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      September 23, 2016, 12:13 am

      Stop weeping, and figure out what new strategy can change things. One thing is crystal clear. The current strategy to try to elicit sympathy for Palestinians has not worked. We need to show the common person in the US what Israel has done to the US over the years. That is far more effective. If you have ever met a former supporter of Israel turned non interventionist anti neocon after learning the truth about parasitic Israel, you know what I mean. We need to reach out to the Christian Zionists and the Trump supporters, you know, the patriotic ones who just might be convinced to change their mind about Israel if you could show them how Israel has never been a true friend. This obsession with elites and changing attitudes among Jews, and the very unpopular, BLM. Geez Louise folks. It is time to change strategy!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Mooser
        September 23, 2016, 12:48 pm

        “This obsession with elites and changing attitudes among Jews, and the very unpopular, BLM. Geez Louise folks. It is time to change strategy!!!!!!!!!!!!”

        Yeah! Let’s blame liberal Zionists, and “elites” for fostering BLM!

      • JWalters
        September 23, 2016, 10:52 pm

        I completely agree that the average person in the U.S. needs to learn how Israel has impacted them. It seems to me a good starting point is online in “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”. It gives key foundation facts, is easy to read and fairly brief, and not anti-Semitic.

        At the same time, I think a two-pronged attack that also includes informing and turning the Jewish community would be the most powerful approach. Battles on two fronts would be harder for Israel to deal with. They could also reinforce each other, providing more openings and opportunities for truth strikes.

  2. Kay24
    September 22, 2016, 12:38 pm

    A sorry state of affairs here in the US. Although this was a PR effort and a great photo op for both sides, the bottom line is, American Presidents come and go, and Israel knows whether they like it or not, all President must toe that line, send that aid, weapons, and show unwavering support for even this slime ball like Netanyahu.

    Aren’t zionist sympathizers supposed to do so?

    Perhaps Phil is right, Obama needs wealthy Jewish donors to build that library.

    • Citizen
      September 22, 2016, 8:24 pm

      Obama also needs favorably disposed and influential Jewish folks for his next career, pushing his books, making lucrative speeches. Maybe even being a guest pundit on infotainment news shows.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      September 23, 2016, 12:10 am

      Obama has always been about Obama, not true progress for his nation, not to mention, the truly oppressed of the world.

  3. John O
    John O
    September 22, 2016, 1:00 pm

    One can only hope that this encounter was a version of the typical end-of-holiday exchange among British tourists.

    “Oh, be sure to drop in on us when you’re in Oxford.”


    Translation –

    “We can’t actually have you banned from Oxfordshire, but if you insist on turning up, we’ll just pretend the doorbell doesn’t work.”


    • Rusty Pipes
      Rusty Pipes
      September 22, 2016, 8:53 pm

      I can’t imagine how the Secret Service would feel about this. Even if Netanyahu rolls out the red carpet and skips the treatment many Americans of Color receive (strip search, long quiz, #6 on the luggage), there are plenty of crazy settlers who would love to injure Obama even after he’s out of office.

      • Marnie
        September 23, 2016, 12:14 am

        …”there are plenty of crazy settlers who would love to injure Obama even after he’s out of office”.

        There’s plenty of crazy americans on american soil who’d love to injure him too and I am concerned about the safety of him and his family.

        WRT ‘settlers’, I think they’ve done plenty of damage to him while he’s been in office (netanyahooo et all are settlers too, not just the murderous thugs in Hebron, Jerusalem, etc.)! He didn’t get any respect from these thugs as a sitting u.s. president at all. I sure can’t imagine he’d put himself or his family through another visit to ye olde holey land if he didn’t have too.

  4. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    September 22, 2016, 1:32 pm

    Whereas Obama’s predecessors, Clinton and bush, had extended periods with cooperative Israeli premiers rabin, sharon and olmert, Obama’s entire presidency overlapped with Netanyahu’s term of office. The idea that a lame duck president will sign onto a un SC resolution that the elected president would object to is almost laughable. (I mean a reset or definition of 242) (in this season of trump, the laughable is not dismissable, but I think we can dismiss it.) A hail Mary pass on the last play of the game only makes sense if you have receivers in the end zone and neither trump nor clinton will back up such a declaration, so there is no receiver.
    The obvious fact is that this is an election season and Obama is hillary’s surrogate at the moment. I think that the primary change that occurred during obama’s tenure vis a vis Israel has been the collapse of the regime in Syria in the context of the Arab spring. The array of forces in syria, including russia iran and hezbollah and the enmity of Saudi Arabia towards those backing assad is a very real bleeding wound and the events in israel palestine are a minor bomb in a dumpster in comparison to a major geopolitical event.
    Who can tell the Palestinians that they have to wait until things calm down in syria. Their desire for freedom and a new direction is not going to be put on hold. But from a global viewpoint and a historian’s viewpoint, it will be Syria (and anti Muslim immigrant emotions in Europe and US) that will be what the years 2009 to 2016 will be known for.
    Obama’s only hope to pressure bibi was to go over his head to the Israeli people and the odds against that were always slim.
    The topic of the presidential library is more fit for the comments section, than the rest of the post, but it does raise the question of an Obama post presidency. Friends have mentioned a Michelle Obama run for office, but I scoffed that she does not have the fire in the belly that hillary always had. And what about Obama himself. He’s not going to build habitats for humanity. Carter had unfulfilled ambition when he left office and his post presidency reflected his need to not allow his defeat in1980 to define him. Obama has no such need. But he’s young and one wonders after a year or so, how he will deal with his “retirement”.

    • MHughes976
      September 22, 2016, 5:49 pm

      There’s a lot of sense in that, Yonah. I wish you were wrong, but I can’t believe in a final grsnd gesture by Obama.

      • Citizen
        September 22, 2016, 8:31 pm

        Certainly not going over the heads of Israel to speak to the Israeli public–because he never went over the similar heads of US government to speak to the US public about Israel/Palestine and best interests of all.

  5. Ossinev
    September 22, 2016, 1:45 pm

    I doubt if he is hoping/planning to play any golf in the West Bank (aka Judea and Samaria) as there aren`t any courses there that I am aware of ( unless some of those ex Brooklyn and Florida settlers yearning for the comforts of their old homes have uprooted some more Palestinian olive trees to make way for one – oh and they would have needed to divert some more of that Palestinian water to irrigate the fairways and the greens. To make do they could of course just get out their five or six irons and practice by hitting balls from their hilltop settlement tees down into the untermenschen villages below. Good chance of getting lots of Palestinians in one and contributing to the fight against the demographic threat.

  6. Ossinev
    September 22, 2016, 3:31 pm

    Sounds like the Yahoo is planning an imminent courtesy visit to Mecca. Apparently all that Arab loathing is rapidly turning to love and JSIL after all will not do the decent and honorable thing by leaving what he describes as a farcical UN because within a decade all that new Arab love and hugging will make JSIL a jewel in the UN crown especially when the constituent members wake up and realise that all that talk about two fingering UN resolutions and human rights violations was simply vile anti – semitic propaganda.

    With this delusional reptile in charge JSIL is truly headed for the abyss

    • Marnie
      September 23, 2016, 12:17 am

      JSIL and ISIL need face time for a sit down to discuss how to divide up the world between them.

  7. September 22, 2016, 4:29 pm

    Enough of this shit about Christian Zionists. If every one of them died tonight, AIPAC would be no less strong tomorrow.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      September 23, 2016, 12:08 am

      False. If you could show the avg. Christian Zionists the truth about Israel and what it has done to the US over the years, then you might finally get some progress.

      • Mooser
        September 23, 2016, 6:06 pm

        ” If you could show the avg. Christian Zionists the truth about Israel and what it has done to the US over the years…

        …they would say: “Hooray for hastening the End Times! The ‘ingathering’ of the Jews is what’s important, the US is already over since they took away our freedumb.”

        Expecting an imminent rapture doesn’t leaves time for worrying about the US future.

      • JWalters
        September 23, 2016, 10:55 pm

        I agree that the Christian Zionists turning would be a big political blow to Israel. But would facts about Israel’s crimes against the U.S. be enough? Or is there some ‘end times’ angle that could also be played?

  8. Spring Renouncer
    Spring Renouncer
    September 22, 2016, 4:30 pm

    That last Donald Johnson quote is gold! As someone who has had the misfortune of dealing with distant family and acquaintances who are Hindu fascists, I can attest to the fact that they are rabidly pro-Israel and Islamophobic. But the truth is that even though India is currently controlled by a group of conservative thugs – and PM Modi will visit Israel this winter – Indian foreign policy usually operates under realpolitik. The Indian government may cozy-up to Israel to acquire some weapons, or because of an ideological convergence, but India has not and will not base its policy on Israel/ Palestine on sentiment. India’s economy is totally reliant on Middle-eastern oil, and its relationship with Iran is indispensable for it to access Afghanistan and thus oppose Pakistan and China. There are many other geopolitical and economic connections between the Muslim world and India, and an alliance with Israel will never outweigh them – unless fascism truly subverts the state, which could happen but probably won’t.

    So the United States due to messianic Christian Zionists and AIPAC is uniquely illogical and unjust in its support for Israel. The Israeli right bluffs, claiming that the relationship with the US can be replaced by China and India, but this is simply not true, for the Israel is nothing but an iteration of Christian (and Jewish) American extremism and imperial delusion.

  9. iResistDe4iAm
    September 22, 2016, 10:32 pm

    The premise that after 7 years 10 months in office, Barack Obama will suddenly change in the last 2 months, is ludicrous.
    Obama has already changed …in 2009.

    In 2008, Barack Obama promised change.
    In 2009, Barack Obama fulfilled his promise and changed.

    He changed from a liberal Democrat to a neocon neo-Republican.
    He changed from a tough principled negotiator to a weak bipartisan appeaser.
    He changed from an advocate of rule-of-law to an enabler of torture & summary executions.
    He changed from a professor of constitutional law to a sponsor of unconstitutional laws.
    He changed from a defender of government transparency to a persecutor of whistleblowers.
    He changed from a master of equal opportunity to a slave of lobby interests.
    He changed from a Nobel Peace Laureate to an interventionist War President.
    He changed from a champion of civil rights & democracy to a protector of autocratic regimes.
    He changed from a neutral & honest broker to an obeisant Israel’s lawyer.
    He changed from a promising visionary statesman to a myopic reactionary ruler.
    He changed from an inspirer of audacious hope to a guardian of conservatism & despair.

    Barack Obama promised change, so he changed.

  10. Atlantaiconoclast
    September 23, 2016, 12:07 am

    I can’t believe anyone at this point believes that this cruel hoax with a truly evil ego has the desire or the courage to do something to even reduce Israel’s consolidation of Palestine. Obama sickens me. Shame on all the so called progressives who continue to make excuses for this truly despicable shell of a man.

    • Mooser
      September 23, 2016, 12:44 pm

      ” Obama sickens me. Shame on all the so called progressives who continue to make excuses for this truly despicable shell of a man.”

      So if you want a real mensch for President, vote Trump!

    • plimespo
      September 23, 2016, 4:50 pm

      Indeed, and same goes for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Trump and almost every member of Congress, all bought and paid for or shivering in their boots that the guns of the Israel Lobby will swivel their way if they utter any criticism.

      A golden opportunity slipped through our leaders’ fingers when Israel came to us for the recently renewed 10-year military aid package. That was the chance to use some leverage to negotiate major changes in their policies (which would actually make Israel safer and perhaps be the start of bringing home some of resources from the Middle East to fix things here), including pulling back the settlements and the start of justice for the Palestinians. And any deal for aid made would not be implemented until good faith progress was made.

      If Israel refused, then we could just say “have a nice life “and start to unwind our other aid and relationships to show them we mean business. If they want to go it alone in the Middle East, so be it.

      Now we know we have at least four more years which won’t bring change, except maybe gradual enlightenment of the populace. At least we can hope for the latter, but money does most of the talking in America, so overall it make for a pretty bleak horizon.

  11. Brewer
    September 23, 2016, 5:08 am

    I thought I had seen all there is to see about the Israeli colonization of the U.S. but this article gives a whole new (old) perspective:
    Has Israel Effectively Colonized the United States?

    India was successfully colonized by tiny Britain in the 18th century. The vehicle for colonization was the East India Company. It was only after the Indian mutiny that Britain acted directly and sent in troops to establish the British Raj. For the next 200 years India was drained of its wealth, its economy was restructured to support England’s needs and global ambitions, and its people militarized to fight and die on behalf of the British crown. The Indian leaders who remained were willing participants in this venture; those who felt otherwise were destroyed or marginalized.

  12. Kay24
    September 23, 2016, 6:58 am

    Look at that smug look from Netanyahu, it looks like he has swallowed that $38 billion canary.

    Now that they have extracted billions more from us, it will be back to the same devious, arrogant behavior from Israel. They were lying low until everything was sealed up, but expect the same ugliness from the occupier.

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