Zal president Obama zijn rug recht houden tegen de Israelische regering en de machtige zionistische ‘Israel lobby’? Volgens de Directeur van de (Amerikaanse) Israel Policy Forum zou het overgrote deel van Amerikaanse Joden Obama steunen als hij een twee-staten oplosiing oplegt aan Israel en de Palestijnen. Er is, volgens hem, trouwens geen goed alternatief voor Israel, mede gezien de demografische ontwikkelingen.
[Ik ben het weer volledig met hem eens].
Reporters are always asking me if I think President Barack Obama would prevail in the oft-predicted "knock down, drag out" fight with the Israeli government (and lobby) over the peace process.
That question is especially relevant following this week’s AIPAC conference. Vice President Joe Biden made it abundantly clear that the administration intends to push hard for a Palestinian state. (While Prime Minister Netanyahu is talking about everything except a Palestinian state.) The Israeli media is picking up the signals too. Writing in Yedioth Achronoth, Eitan Haber says that all the signs point in one direction and he’s worried. "When Obama roars, who will not tremble?" he asks.
The new president is committed to the two-state solution and intends to insist that the Israeli government not take actions that thwart that goal. That means moving against ever-expanding settlements (which the Israeli press today reports are about to be expanded even more by Netanyahu), easing the flow of goods in and out of Gaza, and removing checkpoints and other obstacles to Palestinian freedom of movement. The administration is also moving away from Israel’s ironclad opposition to dealing with Hamas.
For instance, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted that although we do not deal with Hezbollah, we do deal with a Lebanese government that includes Hezbollah. Why not apply that model to a Palestinian unity government?
Meanwhile Obama’s top White House adviser on foreign policy, National Security Adviser James Jones, told the Washington Post that Obama does not intend to wait for the Israelis and Palestinians to come up with a formula…
In short, the Israeli and American governments are far apart on most of the key issues.
So is a clash inevitable?
In my opinion, no. That is because I believe that no Israeli government can successfully oppose a popular American president who sets out to pursue Arab-Israeli peace.
Neither the Israeli government (nor the [Israel] lobby) was happy with President Jimmy Carter’s aggressive efforts to promote the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty in the late 1970s. But Carter was undaunted and the peace deal was signed-by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, of all people. The same applies to the Reagan Plan of 1982 and Reagan’s recognition of the PLO in 1988. In neither of these cases was a challenge successfully mounted. The lobby loathes the idea of confronting any American president, especially a popular one…
If Obama holds firm, it will not be Obama who blinks.
And not only because it is the United States that is the super power. It is also because President Obama will not be asking Israel to sacrifice any vital interest. On the contrary, in leading an effort to achieve peace, Obama will be advancing Israel’s security, along with our own.
That is also why American Jews will rally behind him. It is not because they are indifferent to Israel’s security but because they understand that maintaining the occupation undermines Israel’s long-term survival.
Proponents of the status quo believe that Israel can maintain the occupation and remain a democratic Jewish state. But that is impossible. In fact, on Israel’s Independence Day last month, the official Central Bureau of Statistics announced that territories under Israeli control are already 51 percent non-Jewish (5.6 million Jews vs. 5.8 million non-Jews). ..
As for the [Israel] lobby, it will not go head-to-head against this president. It won’t because it doesn’t like losing any more than it likes losing access to the halls of power. As for the Democratic majority in Congress, with the exception of a few House members who are to the right of Likud, they will stick with the president who gave their party its first electoral landslide since 1964.
In short, Barack Obama is uniquely positioned to achieve two states for two peoples. It’s now or never. And if it’s never, we will see the "one state solution" instead. That one state won’t be called Israel.
It’s especially crazy when most Americans, including legislators and journalists, like and support Israel. What is the point of building up resentment (and boy is it building up). Why would any interest group do that, especially when it can accomplish its primary goal without hardball tactics?
The lobby, for all the fanfare (both negative and positive) that surrounds it, accomplishes only one significant thing every year. It successfully lobbies for passage of the Israel aid package, aid that is critical to Israel’s security.
But the aid package would pass even if the lobby didn’t exist. That is because it was enshrined in law when President Jimmy Carter brokered the Israeli-Egyptian Camp David peace treaty. Aid to both countries is a firm and binding U.S. commitment, so popular that it carries the whole foreign aid bill in which it is included.
Accordingly, the lobby does not need to spend very much time or effort on it. And it doesn’t.
Instead, it tends to focus on punitive measures directed at Palestinians or provocative bills directed at Iran. In short, accomplishing the status quo lobby’s most significant mission is easy. It supports legislation that almost no one opposes, leaving it free to do other things.
Nice work, if you can get it.
But those of us working not to sustain the status quo, but rather to break out of it, do not have it quite that easy.
We are pushing the boulder up the mountain, not rolling it down.
The good news is that the mountain is considerably less steep than it was 102 days ago. And that is due to the election of President Barack Obama, who has repeatedly made clear that he intends to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and perhaps a comprehensive settlement between Israel and the entire Arab world during his first term…
Opeenvolgende Israelische regeringen hebben steeds gepropageerd geen uitbreiding van nederzettingen op bezet Palestijns gebied toe te staan, terwijl zij dat ondertussen wel deden. Zo was hun beleid ook t.a.v. het opleggen van belemmeringen aan de bewegingsvrijheid van Palestijnen. Premier Netanyahu komt tenminste eerlijk uit voor de voortzetting van de apartheids- en bezettingspolitiek van zijn regering. Dit vraagt om een duidelijke afwijzing daarvan, door de Amerikaanse regering, meent deze voormalige Amerikaanse diplomaat – m.i. volstrekt terecht. Maar zal president Obama durven ingaan tegen de machtige zionistische (Pro-Groot)’Israel lobby’ in zijn land?