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GOP Reps return from AIPAC trip attacking BDS and implying that annexation might be the answer

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In a September 10th speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would annex a third of the West Bank if reelected. Netanyahu’s declaration comes just a month after dozens of congress members (Republicans and Democrats) traveled to Israel as part of a trip sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), a branch of AIPAC. Recent comments by Republican members of the delegation suggest that the trip is being sold as an indictment of the two-state solution and an attack on the BDS movement. These statements indicate that GOP support for Israel is moving beyond cynical two-state solution rhetoric and toward a more public embrace of Netanyahu’s annexation vision.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) led AIPAC’S Republican delegation to Israel. After the trip, he told the Jewish News Syndicate that pushing a two-state solution on the region wasn’t the United States’ job. “The world is constantly changing,” he said, “Look at Lebanon. Look at Syria. Things are always in flux in these areas, so how can we choose a solution now without knowing what’s going to happen in a few years?”

Other Republican attendees expressed similar sentiments. Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) said that, “The United States must step back and simply support Israel’s right to exist and to secure itself.” Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) curiously compared the conflict to Chicago: “I would never suggest dividing Chicago to end the troubles stemming from cultural differences and economic disparities in different parts of the city. No matter where you draw the map, someone will be ticked off.”

Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) posted a write-up of his trip on his website. He said that Netanyahu expressed appreciation for Congress’ support for Israel, but was concerned with some of the “anti-Semitic rhetoric” coming from the chamber. Roe then devoted an entire paragraph to the importance of opposing BDS. He mentioned his co-sponsorship of H.Res. 246 (a resolution condemning the movement that overwhelmingly passed in July) and called for lawmakers to support the Combating BDS Act, a piece of legislation that would make it easier for states to crack down on BDS locally. “Divestment is a form of economic warfare and attempting to prevent international businesses from interacting with Israel is a direct threat to its security,” he wrote. Roe also claimed that Jerusalem was under “Palestinian rule” until 1947 and that people weren’t allowed to visit the Temple Mount as a result. “Today it’s open to people of all religions to visit and worship,” wrote Roe, “This is the way it should be.”

In an interview with Jewish Light, Rep Ann Wagner (R-MO) indicated that her position on the two-state solution was “evolving”, but she seemingly chose her words carefully:

I think that the [two-state solution] position is one that you will see evolve over time. I’m always careful to be certain that we are stating what U.S. policy and positions are. I’m a former U.S. ambassador, and I worked for the State Department, so I never want to get ahead of my skis in that regard. So I would say evolving is a good statement to make and accurate, just as I would say the area is evolving. Things have changed a great deal in Israel in five years — especially in the West Bank, so we are hopeful to the extent that it brings peace and harmony and safety and security and economic prosperity to all people living in Israel, that’s what our goal should be.

However, when she asked what the alternative to a two-state solution would be, Wagner made it clear that Israel would take complete control of the region. “Well, recognizing some of these areas that have been talked about in terms of settlements or occupied areas as actually part of the sovereign country of Israel,” she responded.

Wagner was also asked about annexation directly, but dodged the question entirely:

What we want is peace and harmony, safety and security and economic development in the entire region and a de-escalation. That’s what I hope. It’s certainly not my place to dictate the outcome of that. That’s up to Israelis and Palestinians. That’s up to their leadership and policy makers, but I was encouraged with what I saw. I thought there was great hope there.

Although the aforementioned H.Res. 246 passage was celebrated by Netanyahu as a victory for Israel, 21 Israeli lawmakers sent a letter to House leaders criticizing the bill. Their issue wasn’t with the condemnation of BDS, but with portions of the bill that referenced a two-state solution. The letter declares that a two-state solution is actually “far more dangerous to Israel” than BDS and attacks pro-Israel groups like AIPAC because they’ve recently advocated for it. “Pressure to establish a Palestinian state contradicts President Trump’s position, which he has stated many times — that the solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict shall be determined by the parties,” reads the letter.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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20 Responses

  1. JWalters on September 13, 2019, 7:22 pm

    Further evidence emerges on Israel’s “mysterious” ability to steer members of Congress into voting against America’s stated ideals, America’s interests, and common decency.

    “Looks Like Israel Was Caught Spying on Capitol Hill Cell Phones and Trump Was Fine With It”
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/13/looks-israel-was-caught-spying-capitol-hill-cell-phones-and-trump-was-fine-it

    More on Israel’s deep spying operations is here.

    “How the CIA, Mossad and “the Epstein Network” are Exploiting Mass Shootings to Create an Orwellian Nightmare”
    https://www.mintpressnews.com/cia-israel-mossad-jeffrey-epstein-orwellian-nightmare/261692/

  2. Kay24 on September 13, 2019, 8:11 pm

    Rep. Ilham Omar is right, these members of Congress are deep in the pockets of AIPAC/Israel.
    Shame on McCarthy, he has become yet another puppet doing Israel’s bidding, and conveniently forgetting about human rights, and setting occupied people free from oppression.

    These shameless Americans are obviously pro occupation, pro land grabs, and all for killing unarmed men, women, and children.

  3. Misterioso on September 14, 2019, 10:05 am

    Must read:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/12/liberal-world-order-helped-israel-flourish-now-state-is-pushing-back/

    “Israel and the decline of the liberal order” by Robert Kagan, The Washington Post, Sept. 12/19

    “The rise of nationalism around the globe may be reflected in the outcome of Israeli elections on Tuesday”

    EXCERPTS:
    “What makes Israelis think if the United States were to cease supporting the liberal world order and began shedding the alliances it created after World War II, that the only ally it would not shed would be Israel?… And how would Israel fare in the kind of world that would emerge if the United States stopped trying to uphold the liberal order? Such a world would once again be a multipolar struggle for power and advantage, pitting Russia, China, India, Japan, Iran, the stronger European powers and the United States against one another — all with large populations, significant territories and vast economies. What would be the fate of tiny nations such as Israel in such a world, no matter how well they might be armed and no matter how advanced their economies? In today’s world, Israel is strong and successful. It outshines its weaker and less-developed neighbors. But in the world of self-interested sovereign nation-states, a world with no liberal community, Israel is a mouse surrounded by elephants, all clamoring for a piece of the Middle East. Historically, from the Romans to the Ottomans to the British and French, the peoples of the Middle East have enjoyed only such autonomy as the ruling empires granted them. Otherwise, they were pawns and victims in a much larger game in which they were hopelessly outmatched.

    “Could Israel, with its few millions of citizens, surrounded by enemies on all sides, and no longer living under the umbrella of the United States’ global hegemony, rely on the support of European nations ruled by right-wing nationalists? Is a divided, renationalized Europe good for Israel, or for anyone? Would Israelis look to Hungary and Poland, to Britain, or to Russia and China for support? Can they depend on the friendship and stability of the Sunni Arab dictatorships? …”

    “Israel’s rapprochement with European right-wing nationalism has, so far, required winking at Poland’s law making it a crime to suggest Polish involvement in the killing of Jews during World War II — the joint statement signed by Poland and Israel last year was denounced by Yad Vashem as filled with ‘grave errors and deceptions.’ It has required ignoring the history of Hungarian nationalism amid Orban’s profession of affection for Israel. When Orban and his party waged a campaign against Hungarian-born Jewish philanthropist George Soros that was riddled with anti-Semitic content, and the Israeli ambassador in Budapest lodged a protest, the Israeli foreign ministry overruled him and declared Soros a legitimate target (perhaps not least because Soros funds activities in Israel that are regarded as hostile to the Netanyahu government). Many leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community ‘felt abandoned by Israel.’ As Oren notes, it may be tempting for Israelis to overlook the unsavory past of groups that now claim to love Israel, but ‘we should be very, very cautious about the way we are willing to trade our legacy for possible contemporary or future benefits.’

    “Israel’s relationship with American Jews has also grown more complicated. By far the largest segment of the Jewish diaspora, American Jews have also been the most liberal, in all senses of the word. This reflects their understanding that it is the essentially liberal nature of American society — with the protection of individuals and minorities enumerated in the Bill of Rights and generally protected by the courts — that has made the United States a haven for Jews and other minority groups. American Jews, of course, are also overwhelmingly Democrats and have, therefore, also been unhappy about close Israeli ties with Republican presidents, a fact which historically Israel has had little choice but to ignore. No one could blame Israel for trying to stay close to an American president who has offered as much to Israel as Trump has. Yet, again, Israel has gone beyond pragmatism. A rising tide of white nationalism in the United States has accompanied Trump’s rise to office, and this has included an increase in the incidence of anti-Semitism including, in some cases, violent anti-Semitism. …”

    • Keith on September 14, 2019, 10:45 am

      MISTERIOSO- “Must read:”

      Must read? Robert Kagan, neoliberal imperial warmonger? Husband of Victoria Nuland? Unless you intended the reading to be a warning, you had better explain your apparent enthusiasm for this advocate of imperial hegemony euphemistically called “liberal order.”

      • Mooser on September 14, 2019, 1:44 pm

        As goes the Right, so go the all-rightniks. Israel will get along fine with those countries.

      • Misterioso on September 14, 2019, 3:55 pm

        @Keith and Mooser

        A hurried response:

        Frankly, it seems you missed Kagan’s message. He’s a Zionist who is reading the writing on the wall and sees distinct signs within the world community and the U.S. that in the future, Washington may well decide to set “Israel” adrift. History has several precedents, e.g., France and Algeria; Britain and Rhodesia; Belgium and the Congo.

        For me, the most interesting questions he asks are:

        “What makes Israelis think if the United States were to cease supporting the liberal world order and began shedding the alliances it created after World War II, that the only ally it would not shed would be Israel?… And how would Israel fare in the kind of world that would emerge if the United States stopped trying to uphold the liberal order? ”

        “What would be the fate of tiny nations such as Israel in such a world, no matter how well they might be armed and no matter how advanced their economies? In today’s world, Israel is strong and successful. It outshines its weaker and less-developed neighbors. But in the world of self-interested sovereign nation-states, a world with no liberal community, Israel is a mouse surrounded by elephants, …”

        “Could Israel, with its few millions of citizens, surrounded by enemies on all sides, and no longer living under the umbrella of the United States’ global hegemony, rely on the support of European nations ruled by right-wing nationalists? Is a divided, renationalized Europe good for Israel, or for anyone? Would Israelis look to Hungary and Poland, to Britain, or to Russia and China for support? Can they depend on the friendship and stability of the Sunni Arab dictatorships? …”

        The obvious answer is “NO.” Why would another country with enough problems of its own pick up or make friends with an American cast off that has been brutally and illegally occupying, dispossessing and expelling indigenous Palestinians for seven decades? Indeed, for any relationship to develop, especially with the Arab world and Iran, Jews living between the River and the Sea would have to abandon Zionism, withdraw from illegally occupied lands and agree to live equally, side by side with the Palestinians. (Hopefully, It may well be an inevitable outcome.)

        “Israel’s relationship with American Jews has also grown more complicated. By far the largest segment of the Jewish diaspora, American Jews have also been the most liberal, in all senses of the word. This reflects their understanding that it is the essentially liberal nature of American society — with the protection of individuals and minorities enumerated in the Bill of Rights and generally protected by the courts — that has made the United States a haven for Jews and other minority groups… No one could blame Israel for trying to stay close to an American president who has offered as much to Israel as Trump has. Yet, again, Israel has gone beyond pragmatism. A rising tide of white nationalism in the United States has accompanied Trump’s rise to office, and this has included an increase in the incidence of anti-Semitism including, in some cases, violent anti-Semitism. …”

        In short, as is patently obvious, “Israel” is increasingly becoming a major liability and a curse for American Jews.

        No other country is likely to ally itself with an anachronistic, former U.S. dependent entity. Indeed, no other country could afford it financially or geopolitically. “Israel” is a square peg that for 71 years Zionists have been trying to pound into a round hole.

        In my view, for a multitude of reasons, the “Special Relationship” between the U.S., a declining power, and “Israel,” an ever increasingly heavy millstone around its neck, will inevitably end. As recent developments with Iran along with declining Jewish immigration and soaring emigration attest, it is not for ever.

        Time will tell.

      • echinococcus on September 14, 2019, 4:46 pm

        Never mind that, Kagan beautifully gives away the real nature of the so-called disillusionment of American Liberals and Democrats that chose “Jewish” as identity politics label: the reason they have a slight “problem” with the Zionist state’s current policy is not that they are in any way opposed to either Zionism or Empire:

        “American Jews, of course, are also overwhelmingly Democrats and have, therefore, also been unhappy about close Israeli ties with Republican presidents, a fact which historically Israel has had little choice but to ignore. No one could blame Israel for trying to stay close to an American president who has offered as much to Israel as Trump has.”

        The Great American Jewish Awakening regularly heralded to the sound of trumpets by liberals, including on this site, is nothing but sordid within-one-party domestic US bickering.

        Of course it may have a valuable side effect: this Dimm/Puke bickering might contribute to push a few people to see through the shell game of denying Palestinian rights (like ownership of the country) while invoking some American-style “equality”.

        No surprise, the PW site doesn’t like this comment, what’s new…

      • Keith on September 14, 2019, 6:52 pm

        MISTERIOSO- “Frankly, it seems you missed Kagan’s message.”

        Robert Kagan is a disreputable neocon with an agenda. Nothing he says should be taken at face value. He is not the type of person I would care to associate myself with. Ever. You quote him at your own peril.

      • Keith on September 15, 2019, 12:28 am

        ECHINOCOCCUS- “The Great American Jewish Awakening regularly heralded to the sound of trumpets by liberals, including on this site, is nothing but sordid within-one-party domestic US bickering.”

        “The Great American Jewish Awakening” is little more than the realization by the Jewish Zionist Democrats that the Israeli Labour Party is kaput, Israeli liberal Zionism a thing of the past, and that the Republican/Likud alliance is here to stay. Yes, this is an internal Jewish Zionist power struggle manifesting itself in Democrat-Republican competition for Jewish Zionist funding. And for influence within the corridors of imperial decision making.

      • Mooser on September 15, 2019, 12:36 pm

        All I could think when I read the Kagan piece is: “Oh, so now you’re worried? A little late isn’t it?”

      • jon s on September 18, 2019, 4:20 pm

        Misterioso informs us that Israel is experiencing “declining Jewish immigration and soaring emigration”. Here are the facts:

        https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-immigration-to-israel-up-21-in-2019-1001300036

        https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/total-immigration-to-israel-by-year

    • Brewer on September 14, 2019, 5:09 pm

      Why does Robert Kagan write such bilge?
      On the one hand Poland is castigated for outlawing defamatory dialogue whilst on the other, Hungary is disparaged for criticizing Soros.
      What is “leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community ‘felt abandoned by Israel’” supposed to mean? What role does Israel have in Hungarian business? (I am presuming “leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community” are fully paid up Hungarian citizens.)
      What could possibly motivate an enthusiast for the most nationalistic race-based State in the modern World to lament “A rising tide of white nationalism in the United States”? (in fact there are about eight White Nationalist organizations, most with a mere handful of supporters, in the U.S. and they have been in steady decline since the 60s. According to Wikipedia there are around 53 Jewish political organizations and this does not include crime syndicates ).
      As for “an increase in the incidence of anti-Semitism”, did they not recently gerrymander this silly concept to include criticism of Israel? That would have been a boost.

      From where I sit he appears to be an outright (though rather poor) propagandist or living behind a one-way mirror. His stuff should be called out for what it is at every opportunity.

  4. Boomer on September 14, 2019, 10:47 am

    if annexation is the answer, what is the question?

    • James Canning on September 15, 2019, 12:10 pm

      Aipac is very unlikely to support Israel’s “annexation” of the entire West Bank. The Bantustan strategy is to avoid inclusion in Israel of areas with too many non-Jews.

      • Boomer on September 15, 2019, 2:07 pm

        I don’t believe that the current proposal is to annex the entire West Bank.

        https://www.juancole.com/2019/09/netanyahu-palestine-acknowledge.html

        Still, I wonder, if annexation is the answer, what was the question?

      • echinococcus on September 15, 2019, 3:24 pm

        Boomer,

        The question took its final form in 1897*.

        It is a subquestion of the main question: “How do we realize the Zionist objective?” and it reads “How do we best realize the stepwise invasion, occupation, usurpation of sovereignty, theft and genocide**, leaving only us on the land*?”
        ——

        * Following in the steps of a successful answer to a similar question by the Anglo-American colonists

        ** i.e. erasing stepwise even the very history of the aborigines…

      • Boomer on September 16, 2019, 10:32 am

        re: echinococcus “It is a subquestion of the main question: “How do we realize the Zionist objective?””

        Thanks. That seems plausible. It seems strange to me that an American member of Congress would prioritize that objective, but it seems to be the case.

      • echinococcus on September 16, 2019, 11:25 am

        “It seems strange to me that an American member of Congress would prioritize that objective…”

        How so? American members of Congress are there to inflict slavery, destruction and robbery on the rest of the world, prioritizing every whim of the Zionist leadership. That’s their day job. Isn’t that obvious enough?

        If you were misled by the occasional exceptions, those are just extremely rare mistakes that get corrected by the application of a little Z-money.

  5. James Canning on September 14, 2019, 6:32 pm

    The casual invitation to Israel to violate international law, extended by these Republican Congressmen from the US, is worthy of contempt.

  6. Arby on September 18, 2019, 12:26 am

    Whatever comes out of the mouths of lying fascists is one thing, but Michael seems to think that the two State idea is still alive. What?!! Am I mis-reading him?

    I think that the solution – the ‘only’ solution at this point – is Armageddon. Years ago, the solution would have been for Palestinians to leave for safer territory. They are now trapped. Like the Israelis, they believe that the land is their’s, period. That’s a mistake. It’s more their’s than it is the Israelis, but existence anywhere on earth is always, for everyone, conditional. Abandon God (believing that you are God and only you can save yourself) and you may very well be abandoned by him. Palestinians don’t have to worry about losing ‘their’ land to Israelis. Israelis profoundly lost ‘their’ land when they very explicitly rejected God while doing things that he explicitly condemns and doing them in his name (so to speak). Palestinians need only wait for the Israeli fascists to disappear – along with the rest of the anti-God world, including the Left segment of it.

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