Zion­ist lobby's new or­ders for Obama

The Pak Banker - - Editorial5 - Alan Hart

Af­ter his ap­point­ment as Chair­man of the United States House Com­mit­tee on For­eign Af­fairs, Cal­i­for­nia's rep­re­sen­ta­tive Howard Berman told The For­ward, "Even be­fore I was a Demo­crat, I was a Zion­ist." This is the man, one of the Zion­ist lobby's most in­flu­en­tial stooges in Congress, who in­tro­duced House Res­o­lu­tion 1734 which gives Pres­i­dent Obama his new or­ders.

Thor­oughly disin­gen­u­ous, the res­o­lu­tion, which was drafted by AIPAC and in my view is an in­di­ca­tion of panic on its part, was ap­proved unan­i­mously by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on 15 De­cem­ber. It

- strongly and un­equiv­o­cally op­poses any at­tempt to seek recog­ni­tion of a Pales­tinian state by the United Na­tions or other in­ter­na­tional fo­rums;

- calls upon the Ad­min­is­tra­tion to con­tinue its op­po­si­tion to the uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of a Pales­tinian state;

- calls upon the Ad­min­is­tra­tion to af­firm that the United States would deny any recog­ni­tion, le­git­i­macy, or sup­port of any kind to any uni­lat­er­ally de­clared "Pales­tinian state" and would urge other re­spon­si­ble na­tions to fol­low suit, and to make clear that any such uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion would con­sti­tute a griev­ous vi­o­la­tion of the prin­ci­ples un­der­ly­ing the Oslo Ac­cords and the Mid­dle East peace process;

- calls upon the Ad­min­is­tra­tion to af­firm that the United States will op­pose any at­tempt to seek recog­ni­tion of a Pales­tinian state by the United Na­tions or other in­ter­na­tional fo­rums and will veto any res­o­lu­tion to that end by the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil (my em­pha­sis added);

- calls upon the Pres­i­dent and the Sec­re­tary of State to lead a high-level diplo­matic ef­fort to en­cour­age the Euro­pean Union and other re­spon­si­ble na­tions to strongly and un­equiv­o­cally op­pose the uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of a Pales­tinian state or any at­tempt to seek recog­ni­tion of a Pales­tinian state by the United Na­tions or other in­ter­na­tional fo­rums; and

- sup­ports the res­o­lu­tion of the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict and the achieve­ment of a true and last­ing peace through di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the par­ties.

As M.J. Rosen­berg pre­dicted the Berman bill passed over­whelm­ingly, ac­tu­ally unan­i­mously, "be­cause that is how things work in a city where pol­icy is driven by cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions --and not just on this is­sue." He added: "The only dif­fer­ence be­tween how AIPAC lob­by­ists dic­tate U.S. Mid­dle East pol­icy and pretty much ev­ery other ma­jor lobby is that AIPAC works to ad­vance the in­ter­ests of a for­eign coun­try. In other words, com­par­isons to the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion would only be ap­pli­ca­ble if the gun own­ers that the NRA claims to rep­re­sent lived in, say, Greece. Oh, and NRA-backed bills usu­ally take longer than a day to get to the House floor."

What Rosen­berg thinks and writes is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing be­cause in the early 1980s he was edi­tor of AIPAC's weekly news­let­ter Near East Re­port.

He noted that as is usual with Berman, "his res­o­lu­tion ex­clu­sively blames Pales­tini­ans for the col­lapse of peace talks; not a word of crit­i­cism of Is­rael ap­pears."

He went on: "There is only one rea­son that Is­raeliPales­tinian ne­go­ti­a­tions col­lapsed. It is the power of the 'pro-Is­rael lobby', led by AIPAC, which pre­vents the United States from say­ing pub­licly what it says pri­vately: that res­o­lu­tion of a con­flict which is so dam­ag­ing to U.S. in­ter­ests is con­sis­tently be­ing blocked by the in­tran­si­gence of the Ne­tanyahu govern­ment and its de­ter­mi­na­tion to main­tain the oc­cu­pa­tion."

For now, Rosen­berg says, the bot­tom line is money. "The U.S. govern­ment dances to Is­rael's tune be­cause it is afraid to risk cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions." But he also gives op­ti­mism a voice (as I some­times do).

"It doesn't have to be that way. If the ad­min­is­tra­tion and Congress put U.S. in­ter­ests (and Is­rael's too) over the crav­ing for cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions, the United States could tell the Is­raeli govern­ment that, from now on, our aid pack­age comes with strings. Like an IMF loan (al­though aid to Is­rael is a gift, not a loan), we could say that in ex­change for our bil­lions, our UN ve­toes of res­o­lu­tions crit­i­ciz­ing Is­rael, and our si­lence in the face of war crimes like Gaza, we want Is­rael to end the oc­cu­pa­tion within, say, 24 months. And Is­rael would have to com­ply be­cause our mil­i­tary as­sis­tance is, as AIPAC likes to call it, 'Is­rael's life­line."

I would like Rosen­berg to be right about how Is­rael's lead­ers would re­spond to real Amer­i­can pres­sure, but I am very far from con­vinced that he is. As my reg­u­lar read­ers know, I think there is a pos­si­bil­ity, even a prob­a­bil­ity, that if real Amer­i­can push came to Zion­ist shove, the pref­er­ence of Is­rael's de­luded lead­ers would be to tell the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent of the moment (and the whole world) to go to hell.

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