Will Netanyahu kill the US/Israel romance?

99228-004-B97C59C2 "Moreover, Netanyahu will in all likelihood swiftly return to his old habit of alienating Israel's friends. Even Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak once admitted the Israeli nationalist leader made him "very, very, very exasperated." Jordan's King Hussein, who at one point ceased all contact with the former premier, openly accused him of betrayal and trying "to destroy all that I have worked to build between our peoples."

And who can forget how the Americans talked about him after his last stint as premier? Former White House staffer Aaron David Miller described in his book how President Bill Clinton reacted to Netanyahu's habit of lecturing foreign leaders: "Who the f*** does he think he is? Who's the f***ing superpower here?" Former White House spokesman Joe Lockhart described him as "one of the most obnoxious individuals you're going to come into – just a liar and a cheat." Surely President Barack Obama will have even less patience for Netanyahu's attempts to obstruct a peace settlement."  Daily Star


Probably so.

It is unlikely that Barack Obama will tolerate Netanyahu's normal arrogance and overbearing demeanor.

It is, however, likely that Netanyahu will "try it on."  Why?  Because he is compulsive and will not be able to help himself.  Like a lot of extreme nationalists in various parts of the world, Netanyahu deeply believes in the intellectual and moral superiority of what he thinks of as his people.   For him, innate feelings of group superiority are the bedrock of his personality.  The Oval Office encounter which I forecast some time ago is inevitably in the cards now.  Ah, to be a fly on the wall in that one.

To see such a confrontation approaching does not require "moral and intellectual superiority."  Therefore one must ask why the Israeli electorate has created the preconditions for that meeting.  I will leave the question open for debate.  PL


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43 Responses to Will Netanyahu kill the US/Israel romance?

  1. binnie has a lot of friends on the right who admire his tough talk and bluster. same kind of people who admire gw bush will gush all over him. talk of turning countries into glass is a major aphrodisiac for the the RWA echo chamber.
    no, if anything will change the relationship between the US and Israel it will be J Street. How is the relationship between Netanyahu and Emmanuel?

    Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, once a member of the Irgun militia that fought for Israel’s statehood, was asked in an interview with the Hebrew daily Maariv if his son’s appointment would be good for Israel.”Obviously, he will influence the President to be pro-Israel,” said the elder Emanuel, who immigrated to the U.S. from Israel in the 1950s.”Why shouldn’t he do it? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floor of the White House. “There was no immediate comment from Rep. Emanuel’s congressional office

  2. Actually I think it may be some time before there is a meeting between the two heads of state. Why, both have important irons in the fire and neither wants that meeting to be perceived elsewhere as a fracture point in the frozen crystal of US/Israeli relationships. I actually believe both countries are in a complete quandry over the relationships in the middle-east and may be some time or some event before sorting out occurs.But no doubt in my mind that a fundamental sorting process is now underway in the relationship. Israeli leadership clearly does not trust the US nor does US leadership trust Israel. After so much time, effort, and money that distrust indicates some change in the wind. Whether for good or bad will be in the eye of beholder because the relationship seems fundamentally flawed to the rest of the world. When my Jesuit trained son asked me why the US so unrelentingly supports Israel I said one word “Guilt.” The generation that feels that guilt is rapidly disappearing and some really really tough cost-benefit analysis is under way in the nature of the “Better red than dead” analysis of the 50’s and 60’s with the same emotional jag. Both countries are clueless of the real feelings of their populace on the relationship.They do of course know the key lobbyist positions. And money bags.

  3. Cujo359 says:

    I wonder what Israel could be thinking. Then again, I wondered what we could possibly be thinking when we elected W in 2004. Netanyahu is precisely the wrong person for this time.

  4. Keith says:

    Therefore one must ask why the Israeli electorate has created the preconditions for that meeting.

    They did if for the same reason the Palestinians elected Hamas, and the same reason Americans reelected Bush, Cheney and Co., with all their attendant confrontational bluster. In other words, they weren’t thinking, they were emoting, and there was no inspirational and charismatic alternate option to give them hope instead of fear and anger.

  5. Mad Dogs says:

    Cujo359 wrote: “Netanyahu is precisely the wrong person for this time.”
    Perhaps. And perhaps not.
    As Steve Clemon’s put it on his WashingtonNote blog back on February 7th “before” Israel’s latest electoral scrum:

    Give Us Netanyahu. Please.
    …Israel’s bravado over Gaza and the massively disproportionate deployment of force in which so many innocents were killed or injured — and lives seriously disrupted on so many levels — is the type of potentially transformative act that can either radicalize a great many more Arabs against the current equations of power in the region or more optimistically, could transform the perspective of the White House to finally realize that Israel’s zero-sum game approach in the region is something that needs to be curtailed and changed…
    …But “earnestness” in trying to move the Rubik’s Cube of the region into alignment is flawed. Israel and Palestine together don’t work. They can’t come to a responsible deal on their own.
    It doesn’t matter if Livni is Prime Minister, or Ehud Barak — who I think is the most monstrous of recent Israeli political players for his role in tightening the noose around Palestinian mobility and movement after the Annapolis process started. And yes, I said monstrous – to borrow a term from Samantha Power. And it doesn’t matter if Netanyahu is PM…
    …In fact, the more irresponsible both sides are about their situation, the more achievable a “new equilibrium arrangement” may be — because the US and other regional stakeholders simply can’t afford for the recklessness, immaturity, and sheer stupidity of leadership on all sides of the conflict to continue.
    Given that. Give us Netanyahu. Please.
    His re-ascension will help Americans realize that the false choice approach the Bush administration has been taking in Israel-Palestine affairs was flawed — and that Obama’s team must change the game or face a serious rebuke from Middle East watchers in the US and around the world.”

  6. Charles I says:

    Cujo my answer is similar.
    Humans are incapable of discerning their individual and collective interest(s) and achieving what that appears to be in hindsight, in any but the grossest manner, considering our manifest resources, ingenuity and self awareness.
    Lots of clever chaps to herd us around to THEIR interests doesn’t make it easier.
    In that regard, William R. cumming, I don’t think Israel will act too confused when it comes to manipulating the peace process and cycle of war to their own now plainly pathological ends – right until the tipping point – and its coming – when that domain passes from the Israeli’s hands to the Arabs’ and the growing block of western Palestinian sympathizers.
    A very scrupulous examination of the cycle of agreements, immediate non-compliance, provocation, “self-defense” and continuous illegal armed colonial expansion demonstrates the considerable coherent power of Eretz Israel, whatever the citizens of Israel tell their pollsters about peace.
    Quite a bit of momentum there yet, human capacity for cognitive dissonance is boundless – to the post-tipping, breaking point.
    Add in a protagonist’s arrogance – that’s the polite term Pat – and anther’s intransigence, well, I’m reduced to prayer.
    I predict more war.

  7. PirateLaddie says:

    Romance? Romance!! Ours is an abusive relationship of the first wetness. Look at the levers in the hands of the Zionists: “our” neocons, Hagee and his ilk, folks (plural) like Jonathan Pollard, the overhang of the Holocaust (too bad THAT was put in a non-interest bearing account, it’s kinda running low on moral capital, don’t you think?) Is it any wonder that, submissive abused spouse that we are, the USS Liberty has already dropped out of our collective memory? Romance? Geeze!!

  8. robt willmann says:

    The Israeli electorate delivered a closely divided decision which is, in essence, not a ringing endorsement of Benjamin Netanyahu and his attitudes and beliefs. The structure of a parliamentary system inhibits the “winner take all” approach of U.S. elections.
    Certainly as he quivers in anticipation of regaining political authority, “Ben-Jammin'” will make any deal with anybody to get to that point, and so I think he will definitely get over the required hurdle of cobbling together a coalition that puts him in the big chair.
    Opinion polls in the past have placed a majority of Israelis in favor of peace with the Palestinians. However, jingoistic propaganda, the Satan of the nation-state, when devised to create fear of an alleged external threat, has a tragic habit of succeeding (and has here since 2001), and seems to have influenced Israeli public opinion in the recent attack on the essentially defenseless Gaza strip.
    Netanyahu is not worried about the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the apartheid wall largely in place and the viciously destructive attack on Gaza accomplished. His big agenda is to get the United States to attack Iran. For this he will pull out all the stops and look to the Israeli lobby and other supporters. Netanyahu surely feels he can count on help from Rahm Emanuel, a notorious leaker sitting at President Obama’s door as chief of staff. With this perceived “backing”, Netanyahu may think he can easily bulldoze Obama into whatever his scheme is for Iran and elsewhere.
    What independence of mind and inner strength against a full court press does President Obama have?
    The disgraceful reversal of the appointment of retired General Anthony Zinni as ambassador to Iraq is not an encouraging sign. The slap in the face to Gen. Zinni was not due to his failure to pay income tax or employment of an illegal immigrant maid or taking payola as a corporate board member. In the absence of an ongoing declared war, the U.S. ambassador in a country has a lot of authority. The rumor is that some supporters of Israel contacted Hillary Clinton and others to try to get the appointment withdrawn, and were successful in doing so.
    Why didn’t President Obama back Gen. Zinni up?
    I have not yet given up “hope” on Obama, to use one of his favorite words, because he is just getting started. But the signs are not good. Obama was apparently enthralled by the idea of a “team of rivals” as advisors. But what he has put together is a team of rivals to his own self-interest, apparent better judgment, and the well-being of the American people. His escalation of attacks in the Waziristan tribal areas and elsewhere in Pakistan is terribly counter-productive. He is adding more troops to Afghanistan. Who is advising him to do this? What sources of alleged information is he using?
    There is a high likelihood that tragic death and destruction will resume in the Middle East after Netanyahu gets his coalition going. Yet, there may be a little humor on the side. James Carville, a political advisor to Bill and Hillary Clinton, helped Ehud Barak in his successful election against Netanyahu around 1999. Now Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State (although that was no help to Gen. Zinni).
    Human nature trumps all protocols. Netanyahu may think he has the Israeli lobby, Rahm Emanuel, and a friendly U.S. media all lined up. But he doesn’t spend the night with the President. Michelle Obama does. If she recognizes his unsavory reputation, and tires of his blustery arrogance, the Man in the Oval Office may develop some real spine, and there might be a little hope for the Middle East after all.

  9. MRW. says:

    I think it’s going to come down to bucks. Politics wont cut it.
    The majority of Americans I know — because I’ve asked people since the Iraq War began — are unaware of the terms and conditions, and amounts, of our enormous annual foreign aid to Israel. As the economy worsens during this corrective period — and worsening also means past transgressions ‘revealed’ and uncovered — the populace will, as the change.gov questions showed, demand an accounting of and justification for foreign aid amounts to other countries. It will demand that transparency. Imagine all this on the web.
    Obama, therefore, may have the question of whether Netanyahu will kill the US/Israel romance decided for him by the public mood as a result. When it’s broadly understood that what we give Israel annually, repeatedly, in cash, military weapons & contracts and loan guarantees, directly and indirectly, is what we give to the car industry only under duress and spectacle, public anger will surface. (Eg: Why do we subsidize the Israeli defense industry to the tune of 26%/yr?) That mood is already prevalent on the web on sites that incline to xenophobia; but the amounts they are complaining about are tens of millions, not the billions Israel gets.
    This Nov 08 report by Shirl McArthur, a retired U.S. foreign service officer, discusses some of those issues.
    One can imagine the video equivalent of a Rick Santelli screaming about foreign aid going viral once amounts are known. Surely, Israel knows this and is trying to control it now. But rotsa ruck to Mr Netanyuhu overcoming this groundswell. Not even over-used anti-semitic labeling will quell it.

  10. fred says:

    It is very interesting that the Daily Star has an article about Egypt and Lebanon linking their electric grids. It would be far more efficient and cost effective if the electric grid were connected through Israel rather than Jordan-Syria, not to mention the influence over Lebanese policy such connections would provide. Israel has truly isolated herself.

  11. Buzz Meeks says:

    Obomba already has Rahm, what’s the difference?
    Buzz Meeks

  12. sbj says:

    Does someone displaying the sort of pathology Netanyahu’s behavior reflects even have the capacity for diplomatic negotiation with any degree of sincerity or honesty?
    I have my doubts.

  13. johnf says:

    Didn’t Netanyahu and Emmanuel have a major falling out back in the 90’s?
    I’m not certain that Emmanuel is Netanyahu’s man.

  14. Redhand says:

    a fracture point in the frozen crystal of US/Israeli relationships
    Nice turn of phrase. I see the Gaza incursion as the straw that broke the camel’s back so far as US-Israeli relations is concerned. The grotesquely disproportionate use of force reminded me of Begin going into Lebanon in the 1980s, and bombing the living hell out of the place, with an on-the-ground dash of Sabra and Shatila thrown in by indiscriminate IDF killing of civilians with tanks: mayhem and murder because Biblical retribution is so satisfying.
    And all that before this clown returns to center stage.
    I predict that US-Israeli relations will remain “frozen,” or deteriorate even further, so long as “N” is in office. Dialogue and compromise with this arrogant reprobate are impossible. The best strategy is to let him self-destruct and resign in disgrace halfway into his term, just like he did the first time. It’s not like Obama doesn’t have other agenda items in the meantime.

  15. Homer says:

    PL: Like a lot of extreme nationalists in various parts of the world, Netanyahu deeply believes in the intellectual and moral superiority of what he thinks of as his people.
    Strange, is it not, how extreme-geniuses with an insatiable thirst for blood, like Netanyahu, Bush, et al. have only severely degraded their people through their actions, thoughts, and words?

  16. ColinLaney says:

    Netanyahu can do and say whatever her wants. If Obama tries to pressure him, the Israel Lobby will make sure that Congress comes to Netanyahu’s rescue.

  17. R Whitman says:

    I think the Daily Star is naive for even imagining anyone in Washington is thinking “peace settlement”. The reality is that you cannot have a permanent peace without the agreement of both Likud and Hamas(who are really two sides to the same coin). Not very likely in my lifetime. The best course for the USA is to pay as little attention as possible to the problem.
    If an activist solution is forced by external events,then an imposed peace by the US,EU,Russia, the Arab League and the UN needs to be put in place without consultation with the Israelis and Palestinians.

  18. Will says:

    Binyamin Netanyahu is a very smart man w/ a reputed IQ of 180 matching that of former chief of staff to No. 41 John H. Sununu (who was a quarter Lebanese & likewise Palestinian and said to be similarly arrogant + abrasive).
    But of course there is a difference between being smart and having good judgment and being wise.
    And as the Torah says, w/o wisdom (chukimah) the people perish.

  19. Highlander says:

    If you’ve never been the recipient of a rocket barrage, this may come as a suprise to many of you, but it is a very unpleasant sensation. The Colonel can confirm this no doubt.
    The Israelis have been subject to a steady rain of rocket attacks on both ends of their tiny country for the last few years. I imagine this unpleasantness brought the need to do something different into the mind of the average Israeli voter.
    If the present Israeli leadership could not stop the rockets, the voters simply decided to give the other crowd a chance. They want to see if Netanyahu can give them what they need.(In this case it is freedom from fear of a Palestinian rocket landing in their living room.)
    If the Palestinians in Gaza don’t want Israeli rockets in their houses. Then they should not support dysfunctional political leaders who get their “jollies” by firing rockets into Israel while operating beside a Palestinian school for a shield.
    As for the coming conflict between the White House and Netanyahu, I would’nt get my hopes up too high for “change you can believe in”. For starters beginning with the Chief of Staff count the number of Jewish names on the White House personnel roster.
    Now, I’m not saying the White House politicans won’t give you a few scenes of political Kabuki Theater about how they are going to slap those arrogant Israelis into line.
    But as the old saying goes:”sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

  20. Nightsticker says:

    Col Lang,
    Can I swap a few things around to put a recent post in perspective
    If the Zionists in Israel don’t want Palestinian rockets in their houses. Then they should not support dysfunctional political leaders who get their “jollies” by firing rockets into Gaza while ignoring the location of Palestinian [schools homes, factories,mosques,police/fire/rescue buildings, hospitals, etc]
    For what it is worth, yes, I have been rocketed, bombed, mortared,machine gunned, grenaded and sniped at.

  21. Mark Logan says:

    As to why the Israeli electorate is doing this, perhaps a possible embellishment to Highlanders
    remarks, which seem to me to be likely true.
    Something else may be relevant to the surge in Israeli nationalism is the
    changing demographics within Israel today.
    A World Focus 6 min. video:
    The Eastern bloc demographic is reported as huge. Added to that are a growing demographic of Nepalese, Darfurian, Ethiopian et. al. refugees.
    I’d guess that no matter how shaky their status as Israelis may be, they wish most of all to be allowed to stay. I would assume there are few in this group would share Orwell’s views about nationalism.
    They would be easy to whip into a lather.

  22. euclidcreek says:

    Hillary Clinton in no James Baker. Israel will continue to treat the US as a doormat. And Americans will still love Israel.

  23. Charles I says:

    Highlander, Re:
    “the need to do something different”
    Uhhhhhh, how about obeying international law and forty years of UN Resolutions, get the hell out, stop the land theft and murder, see how that pans out?
    That’d be different, no?
    Except the pollsters tell us that’s ALREADY in the majority of voters’ minds.
    So it seems there’s quite a bit of daylight between the mind of the average Israeli voter and the State of Israel’s actual dark doings in the West Bank,Gaza, and the fiendish machinations of the Infrastructure of Occupation. Many changes of government on, the death toll, land thefts and settlement population in the Occupied Territorries rise apace.
    Seems there can be many war crimes worth of sunlight between between voter and perpetrator, no matter who cobbles up the government of the day.
    Which are you, thinker, doer or katsa?
    Highlander, NO ONE can secure Israel from itself. A few jolly Hamas volleys are a pin prick compared to the poison Israel has been mainlining lo these 60 years of Occupation.
    Delusions of grandeur never saved a nutter yet, I can assure you. Sadly, there’s no pink room big enough to treat Israel.

  24. curious says:

    Israeli Leader Fires Lead Negotiator on Gaza Truce
    JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed Israel’s top negotiator in Gaza truce talks for publicly criticizing his demand that Palestinian militants hand over a captured Israeli soldier before any deal is clinched, officials said Monday.

  25. mlaw230 says:

    It seems to me that there is some element of right, of a craving for justice on both sides of any conflict.
    I was surprised to learn that the recent Gaza unpleasantness was precipitated by the unwillingness of the Israelis to loosen their economic choke hold, and continues “surgical” strikes against Hamas during the cease fire. True enough, that Hamas launched it’s rockets, in the General direction of Israel but without effect. so although my prejudices remain with the Israelies it is not such a clear case.
    Israel appears to be a country reliant almost entirely on the twin pillars of presumed invincibility and American support. Americans inherently dislike arrogance, and like most communities are closely attached to their preconceptions. Consequently, if Bebe’s arrogance ties with the other changes, in terms of economic collapse and loss of prestige, etc… The effect can be a red shift, in which the American public simply refuses to back further support.
    That would be a historic and moral failure, but already Israel has diminishing public support. Already people are beginning to ask exactly what is in it for us and how, in light of current events, Israel has the moral high ground.
    A country whose legitimacy rest on a tortured reading of its own sacred texts, and the memories and guilt of histories Pogroms for which no living person remains, holds a precarious existence, at best.
    Were I a Palestinian, I would spend a few million dollars and hire the most prestigious western Pr firms in the world to pitch my cause in vernacular English all over the cable networks. Of course I would also begin a non violent campaign which remains far more effective than any intifada could ever be.
    Netanyahu, in my opinion, raises the specter of historic collapse of the jewish state.

  26. Rider says:

    Netanyahu won’t be able to form a viable coalition.

  27. sixpacksongs says:

    mlaw –
    I’d like to agree, but I’m not sure I’m optimistic. For example, “Americans inherently dislike arrogrance…”: that seems to fly in the face of the elections of the Bushie cabalists, and the new savior in the White House doesn’t seem too short on that score either and that should have been evident during the electoral campaign. Not that there’s anything wrong with arrogance – I’ve got my fair share of it….
    “Were I a Palestinian, I would spend a few million dollars and hire the most prestigious western Pr firms in the world to pitch my cause in vernacular English all over the cable networks. Of course I would also begin a non violent campaign which remains far more effective than any intifada could ever be.”
    I agree to the extent that Palestinian PR sucks – some of it their own shortcomings, some of it our useless mass media.
    Palestine does have a tradition of non-violent resistance – in fact, there is a village cut by the Wall where non-violent demonstrations have regularly occured only to be repeatedly fired on with rubber bullets. If it wasn’t 12:50 AM I would look for a web reference. However, you can read http://www.ap-agenda.org/11-02/asaleh.htm for a historical overview: the first intifada was basically non-violent until the Israeli response (h/t Helena Cobban’s Just World News).
    Anyway, an interesting if demoralazing thread. Thank you again, Col. Lang, for the fabulous committee of correspondence.
    Not encouraged by Ross getting the special advisor nod, but then I didn’t really expect anything better.
    Still unemployed in Houston (thank the gods for the occasional paying gig!) –

  28. Charles I says:

    mlaw230 re:
    “I was surprised to learn that the recent Gaza unpleasantness. . .”
    I’m dismayed at your surprise, inured to it in general.
    I’m appalled by your description of full bore modern aerial, artillery, tank, and gunboat warfare, savagely unleashed contrary to international law, the Geneva conventions, many UN Resolutions, and bilateral munitions end-use limitation agreements between the U.S. and Israel, against
    besieged, captive sanctioned, starved urbanites armed with homemade fertilizer powered rockets wielded, as you note, “without effect”, as “unpleasantness”.
    Language is a powerful tool. As are modern armaments, and as you astutely point out, public relations. All critical to defining and holding the elusive “moral High ground”, should reference to it be required over and above the more pressing and pedestrian consideration of “exactly what is in it for us”.
    Unpleasantness is when a drunken guest pees on your couch after you’re kind enough to hide his car keys. When your kid is caught shoplifting. When your spouse is cheating, or an addict. That’s unpleasantness.
    Gaza was the murder of innocents preceded by decades of ruthless colonial land theft and suppression of the oldest kind, the boot to the neck, the chokehold you rightly note, by a victor who dices and despoils what it does not seize outright.
    Gaza was subjected to hundreds of thousands of the highest tech munitions to devastating effect that you may review at such sites as:
    or at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights:
    UNOSAT at the UN in particular has comprehensive photographic battle damage assessment of Gaza here:
    Similar information for the Israeli-suffered BDA is not evident.
    You may visit Debkafile and review the breathless accounts of psychological trama inflicted upon thousands of equally innocent Israelis(aside from those armed Israeli combatants participating in the Occupation or in illegal agressive war) as they cower in well equipped bomb shelters under an intolerable rain of rockets(“without effect”.C
    Compare and contrast those reports with the evidence from the cited sites above of the actual physiological effect of modern warfare upon the hapless captives it is visited upon.
    I’m at a loss as to just how the point at which ” the American public simply refuses to back further support” of the blatantly criminal colonial warfare described above “would be a historic and moral failure”.
    I would find it an occasion for celebration and salutation.
    NOTHING Hamas could do would change my view of that fact. Though if they set off a bomb where I live, hurt mine, well I’d sic the Hounds of Hell on those misguided perpatrators. Gazans didn’t deserve that war and the Palestinians deserve a state. Israel deserves to be opposed, International Law and the U.N charter mandate it.
    There is NO Israeli moral high ground. Israel deserves to be opposed, International Law and the U.N charter mandate it.
    What could possibly be in “it”, whatever “it” is, for ANYONE to support such criminality, all the moreso, as you say, because it imperils the very existence of the state of Israel?
    Which I support in theory as I now clamour for its reduction in fact and footpr-, er, jackbootprint.
    Nascent sanction, divestment and boycott campaigns are gaining new traction. A Spanish Judge has opened a war crimes file upon petition by the Palestinians. I’ll be lining up for the first new Palestine Bonds.
    As you not a Palestinian in pursuit of spin and an clever ad campaign, nor apparently, not an unreconstructable Zionist, I pray you continue your surprising learning and share it further abroad than this column, the latter now drearily familiar with my little rants.
    I really do hope you look at some of the destruction wrought in Gaza. There are other satellite resources available detailing the extent of the colonization and balkanization of the West Bank I’m too indolent ot find just now.
    I in turn am so pissed off that I am working furiously for the Palestinian cause. I hope that it can gain enough momentum, if not the moral high ground (which as the Occupied Party of an aggressive expansionist neighbour it already occupies in any event, no matter how much you squint at the rubble nor how loud the We-Own-The-Holocaust-So-All-AntiZionism-Is-AntiSemitism chorous screeches) required to force a just two state solution on the 1967 border prior to the destruction of the present Israeli state.
    If not, I’d be morally comfortable with a democratic one state final solution. The present state of affairs is immoral, illegal, intolerable and for that latter reason alone, unsustainable.
    At the very least, until we positively stop enabling Israeli “unpleasantness”, we are morally complicit with it.

  29. David Habakkuk says:

    I see from Jim Lobe’s blog that Ambassador Chas Freeman has been appointed head of the National Intelligence Council. Having much enjoyed the wisdom — and wit — with which he has chaired forums at Middle East Policy, I find this enormously heartening.
    An excerpt from a speech he made in December 2007, which Lobe quotes, sums up much of what has been wrong with U.S. — and British — policy since the attack on the World Trade Center.
    ‘In retrospect, Al Qaeda has played us with the finesse of a matador exhausting a great bull by guiding it into unproductive lunges at the void behind his cape. By invading Iraq, we transformed an intervention in Afghanistan most Muslims had supported into what looks to them like a wider war against Islam. We destroyed the Iraqi state and catalyzed anarchy, sectarian violence, terrorism, and civil war in that country.
    ‘Meanwhile, we embraced Israel’s enemies as our own; they responded by equating Americans with Israelis as their enemies. We abandoned the role of Middle East peacemaker to back Israel’s efforts to pacify its captive and increasingly ghettoized Arab populations. We wring our hands while sitting on them as the Jewish state continues to seize ever more Arab land for its colonists. This has convinced most Palestinians that Israel cannot be appeased and is persuading increasing numbers of them that a two-state solution is infeasible. It threatens Israelis with an unwelcome choice between a democratic society and a Jewish identity for their state. Now the United States has brought the Palestinian experience – of humiliation, dislocation, and death – to millions more in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel and the United States each have our reasons for what we are doing, but no amount of public diplomacy can persuade the victims of our policies that their suffering is justified, or spin away their anger, or assuage their desire for reprisal and revenge.’
    (See http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=229.)

  30. curious says:

    new CBS VP. (expect propaganda to come out of that outfit when Bibi hit the button and yank the chain.)
    CBS News named Jeff Ballabon, a New York Republican activist, to serve as the Senior Vice President of Communications.
    What is CBS thinking? This guy is very far out there with his partisan rhetoric.
    A decade ago, I debated Ballabon in New York. I represented the Democratic Jewish community while he spoke on behalf of Republican Jews. During the debate, Ballabon claimed that, after his most recent job in Washington, he became convinced that Democrats are inherently bad people and Republicans are fundamentally good people.
    What planet does this guy come from? It’s astonishing that CBS News would name Ballabon to its senior management.
    In fact, it is not atypical of Ballabon to use this kind of extreme partisan rhetoric. During the 2008 election, Ballabon said, “Obama is incredibly dangerous.”
    During the 2004 elections, JTA reported, “AIPAC has touted this election [in 2004] as a ‘win-win’ proposition, noting Bush’s strong support for Israel and Kerry’s 100 percent pro-Israel voting record in the Senate.” In response, Ballabon wrote, “Bush and Kerry ‘win-win?’ Republicans and Democrats indistinguishable? It would

  31. Karim says:

    “why the Israeli electorate has created the preconditions for that meeting” ?

  32. Green Zone Cafe says:

    If Israel changed its electoral system from extreme proportional representation to single member winner-takes-all districts (like in the US House), their politics would be tremendously moderated.
    You’d have Kadima and Labor fighting for the center instead of whackos like Avigdor Lieberman acting as kingmakers.

  33. ads says:

    CBS News named Jeff Ballabon, a New York Republican activist, to serve as the Senior Vice President of Communications.
    What is CBS thinking? This guy is very far out there with his partisan rhetoric: Ballabon claimed that, after his most recent job in Washington, he became convinced that Democrats are inherently bad people and Republicans are fundamentally good people.

    It didn’t take long for the press to return to their adversarial ways vis-a-vis the administration in power. I wonder if they’ll play the “Yakkity-Yak” theme during Mr Obama’s prime time speech tonight?

  34. curious says:

    double or nothing. (but this is debka we are talking about)
    Netanyahu eyes Nathan Sharansky for foreign minister
    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
    After Labor and Kadima leader Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni refused to join his wall-to-wall national government, Israel’s designated prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has launched negotiations for a centrist government coalition supported by a parliamentary majority of 65 members of the right-of-center and religious parties. Nathan Sharansky is Netanyahu’s choice for the foreign ministry; governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fisher may be offered finance and a professional soldier or security figure is sought for defense.

  35. curious says:

    Clinton warns Israel over delays in Gaza aid
    Two weeks ago, four senior European Union officials sent a letter to the prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and Yitzhak Herzog, the minister charged with humanitarian aid transfers to the Gaza Strip, protesting delays in the flow of aid through the crossings into Gaza. The officials also demanded that Israel formulates a clear policy on this issue.
    In response, Israel explained that the delay stems, in part, from the uncertainty regarding the fate of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, but also stressed that efforts are being made to improve the situation.
    Herzog also asked Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to hold a meeting in order to revaluate current policy on the delivery of aid to Gaza.

  36. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    1. Bibi’s political “base” in the United States contains perhaps 25-50 million Americans: the “Christian” Zionists led by Hagee etal. I do not see him, or others on the far right of Israeli politics, losing this fanatic and superstitious American political base. As the economy unravels further, perhaps Christian Zionist numbers will grow anticipating the “End Times.”
    2. Patrick Seale’s take on Bibi and Obama:

  37. Cieran says:

    Professor Kiracofe:
    Bibi’s political “base” in the United States contains perhaps 25-50 million Americans: the “Christian” Zionists led by Hagee etal. I do not see him, or others on the far right of Israeli politics, losing this fanatic and superstitious American political base.
    True, but it’s doubtful that any of the members of that special-interest group voted for Obama, or for Democratic candidates in general. They did constitute an important plank in the GOP alliance that elected Bush II, but that coalition is falling apart, and the votes on the stimulus bill demonstrated that Obama can set policy without much help from those in Congress who Hagee would support.
    This class of Zionists may grow as the economy unravels, but then again, it may not. Those who go to these churches seeking religious and financial advice may choose to go elsewhere when all they get is bad international politics instead. Megachurches like Hagee’s may prove to be too big to succeed in hard times, and many may fail just as Promise Keepers did.

  38. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    It will be interesting to see the analyses of the 2010 elections.
    After the 1929 Crash, and during the 30s and 40s in the US, the Fundamentalists took a lower public profile, partially as a result of fallout from Scopes.
    Nonetheless, their numbers grew as they focused on building their institutional base of churches and educational institutions. Outreach was assisted through use of new communication technology: radio.
    Thus, by the 1950s the Fundamentalist movement was large and active in the US and has grown ever since to its present day size. Over the past decade, the fastest growing segment has been the Pentecostals.
    The Pew Forum has the following report which is the most recent and comprehensive.
    Prof. John C. Green at the University of Akron is one of the leading US academic analysts on religion and domestic politics and may have some recent insight. There is an increasingly rich and dense body of scholarly literature on the subject from different disciplines: sociology, anthropology, political science, etc.

  39. Cieran says:

    Professor Kiracofe:
    Thanks for your well-considered insights, and for the link to the Pew Forum studies. I am looking forward to reading your book on this subject when it comes out this summer.

  40. curious says:

    The Obama administration has notified Congress that Chas Freeman has been appointed chairman of the National Intelligence Council, demonstrating a willingness to rebuff pro-Israel activists and an embrace of a more realist foreign policy line.
    Freeman, who drew fire for defending the Chinese and Saudi governments, doesn’t represent the mainstream of the administration. He’s also a broadly knowledgeable, polyglot, experienced diplomat with many friends in foreign policy and intelligence circles, including Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair.
    But his inclusion in an important, low-profile job represents, among other things, the vastly diminished sway of the neocons — long at odds with the professional intelligence community — who launched a concerted, public effort to torpedo the move.
    “Ambassador Freeman will be responsible for overseeing the production of National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) and other Intelligence Community analytical products, providing substantive counsel to the DNI and senior policymakers on issues of top national security importance, reaching out to nongovernmental experts in academia and the private sector to broaden the Intelligence Community’s perspective, and articulating substantive intelligence priorities and procedures to guide intelligence collection and analysis,” says the notification, which lists his qualifications: “Ambassador Freeman brings a diverse background in defense, diplomacy, and intelligence to this position having served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires in Bangkok and Beijing, Director of Chinese Affairs at U.S. State Department, and Distinguished Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and the Institute for National Security Studies. He received his J.D. from the Harvard School of Law.”

  41. curious says:

    Netanyahu Fails to Land Centrist Rival’s Support
    JERUSALEM, Feb. 27 — Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu failed a second time Friday to win Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s agreement to join a government of national unity, increasing the likelihood that Israel will be led by a narrow coalition of parties opposed to or skeptical of talks with the Palestinians.

  42. curious says:

    Israel’s Netanyahu gives up on alliance with Livni
    JERUSALEM, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has abandoned efforts to talk centrist Tzipi Livni into forming a broad coalition government, a spokeswoman said on Saturday.
    The decision, made after a second round of negotiations on Friday ended in disagreement, increased the likelihood that Netanyahu’s Likud party would turn to rightist factions opposed to territorial withdrawals in peace talks with the Palestinians.

  43. curious says:

    TEL AVIV, March 2 (RIA Novosti) – Israeli authorities plan to build over 73,300 housing units in the Palestinian territories which will see the number of settlers double there, an Israeli left-wing NGO said on Monday.
    Acccording to the report by Peace Now, based on data published on the Israeli housing ministry’s website, planning permission to build 15,156 dwellings has been given, while permission for another 58,146 has yet to be approved.
    “If all the plans are realized, the number of [Jewish] settlers in the [Palestinian] territories will double – an addition of approx. 300,000 persons, based upon an average of 4 persons in each housing unit,” the organization said.

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