Obama Betrays Israel by Capitulating to Netanyahu

Last week when Obama seemed momentarily to be taking a stand to push Netanyahu toward a more reasonable negotiating position, I encouraged readers to write to the media and their elected representatives to challenge what appeared at that time to be an overwhelming media and political barrage of pro-Netanyahu rhetoric. No sooner had we written that then Obama “clarified” his position in ways to signal that he had no intention of pressing Netanyahu at all. On the contrary, he was silent as Netanyahu received the overwhelming support of Democrats and Republicans in Congress to a speech in which he revealed his minimal conditions for peace that were obviously impossible for Palestinians to accept. Ha’aretz columnist Akiva Eldar puts forward a very sophisticated analysis of Netanyahu’s triumph after Obama allowed him to return to Israel without having to give anything to make peace possible and with the reward of a defacto promise that Obama would now publicly challenge the Palestinian move to seek UN recognition in the Fall of 2011. In so doing, Obama capitulates to the right-wing pro-Israel Lobby, but betrays the best interests of Israel and the Jewish people. At the precise moment when Israel badly needs its primary funder and political ally to say “no, you’ve gone too far, you must now stop trampling on the Palestinian people and instead make a lasting peace with them because doing so is in your interest, and not doing so is turning the whole world against you,” Obama instead has defacto given the right-wing in Israel carte blanche to ignore all the more sane voices in the Jewish world and elsewhere calling for peace and reconciliation. This is a tragedy for the Jewish people, a disaster for Israel, and a reminder of how far Obama’s actions stray from his words.

We also present an article by Gush Shalom’s leader Uri Avnery on how Netanyahu spit in the face of Obama, MJ Rosenberg on how Congress spit in the face of Palestinians, Shlomo Avineri on why Israel should thank Egypt for opening a crossing to Gaza, and Gideon Levy on the defacto one party system in Israel.

Akiva Eldar’s article, “Obama is letting Netanyahu off the hook,” begins:

Who said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hasn’t changed? Who would have believed that the dear son of that combative family would utter indecent words like “Palestinian state” without spitting immediately after? Who would have dreamt that the prince of the right would even hint at the possibility that settlements would be evacuated? A veritable revolution. Instead of brandishing a thorn-filled club, Netanyahu is waving a fresh olive branch; he has learned that there is no better way to perpetuate the frozen peace process, expand settlements and increase his political longevity.

The prime minister is no longer the man Ehud Barak designated “Mr. No.” We are now dealing with a new leader, a much more sophisticated and dangerous one. Meet “Bibi I’ll Have It Both Ways.”

You can read the rest of this article on Ha’aretz.


Another piece worth reading is “Bibi and the Yo-Yos” by Uri Avnery, which starts off:

IT WAS all rather disgusting.

There they were, the members of the highest legislative bodies of the world’s only superpower, flying up and down like so many yo-yos, applauding wildly, every few minutes or seconds, the most outrageous lies and distortions of Binyamin Netanyahu.

It was worse than the Syrian parliament during a speech by Bashar Assad, where anyone not applauding could find himself in prison. Or Stalin’s Supreme Soviet, when showing less than sufficient respect could have meant death.

What the American Senators and Congressmen feared was a fate worse than death. Anyone remaining seated or not applauding wildly enough could have been caught on camera – and that amounts to political suicide. It was enough for one single congressman to rise and applaud, and all the others had to follow suit. Who would dare not to?

To read the rest, visit Antiwar.com.


“Congress To Palestinians: Drop Dead!” by MJ Rosenberg begins:

If anyone had any doubts about whether the Palestinians would declare a state in September, they can’t have them now.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Congress that essentially was a series of insults to Palestinians and their national aspirations. Every insult was met by applause and standing ovations.

In fact, Netanyahu’s appearance itself was an insult.

In the entire history of the United States, only four foreign leaders have addressed a joint meeting of Congress more than once.

Read the rest of Rosenberg’s article at Al Jazeera.


For information about the Gaza crossing, I recommend the article “Israel should thank Egypt for opening Gaza crossing” by Shlomo Avineri, which begins:

Without a doubt, Egypt’s decision to open the Rafah crossing point is good for the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and for the Hamas government. The question of whether it is good for Egypt remains open. As for Israel, even though at first glance it might not look that way, it is also good.

The fact that Gaza will now be directly connected to the Arab world might make it easier for Israel to untangle itself from a number of knots and a thoughtful and wise response to the new reality could make it easier to deal with the next flotilla.

Read the rest of this article at Ha’aretz.


And finally, it’s worth reading “One people, one party” by Gideon Levy, which begins:

Likud is the biggest party in Israel, the biggest in the history of Israel and the biggest in the democratic world. If you add up its offspring, siblings and twins, its representation in the Knesset comes to 86. An amoeba like that has never been seen before, proliferating to every major party. It’s just like the recent disclosure that the Direct Insurance Company and the insurance company called 9,000,000, which are seemingly two competing companies, are basically one firm. So too, most political parties in Israel appear under different brands, but they’re one party.

Likud is the parent party. Virtually the whole Kadima party leadership grew out of it. Yisrael Beiteinu was established by Avigdor Lieberman, who is also a Likud graduate. Many Shas voters came from Likud. And the Atzmaut faction is a Likud satellite. All of them together constitute 86 Knesset seats. One people, one party, one voice. No such phenomenon exists in the Western world. Such a thing has never happened in a democracy.

Read more from the article at Ha’aretz.

tags: Israel/Palestine   
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