I can’t say I understand the thinking behind Aluf Benn’s March 12th article. Sure, he’s obviously none too fond of Binyamin Netanyahu, as indeed he is entitled to be, but there’s something else in his writing which is rather disturbing; a sort of tinge of shtetl mentality.
“Biden’s trip was meant to mark a new chapter in the cool relationship between the Obama administration and Israel. Mindful of its political trouble at home in view of the midterm elections, and worried about an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the White House dispatched the veep – known to be Netanyahu’s best friend in Washington – to plead Barack Obama’s case to the Israeli leadership and public. Biden’s trip coincided with the announcement of indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, to give the battered administration a diplomatic success.”
Hang on a minute! Is Benn suggesting that the Israeli government should cut its policies according to the US administration’s cloth? That Municipal Planning Committees a ten hour flight away from Washington should grant or deny building permits according to Obama’s ratings in the domestic opinion polls? That the IDF should shred all contingency plans for an Iranian nuclear attack because American voters don’t like Obama’s healthcare plan? With all due respect to US/Israeli ties, it is not the task of the Israeli government to boost the American president’s ratings and any Israeli official who allowed such considerations to influence his decisions would deserve to lose the support of the people he should be serving.
“The Israeli interior ministry announcement, on Tuesday afternoon, put Biden in the worst possible position: rather than visit the Middle East as an honest peacebroker, he appeared as Israel’s patsy.”
If indeed that is the case, it is only so because the US administration chose to react in such an over-the-top manner to the non-event of an announcement that some interim stage of a planning application for a project which will not happen for at least another three years in an area not included (with full US knowledge) in the settlement freeze had been granted by a municipal authority. All rather precious when one considers that Biden’s request to the PA that it refrain from naming a town square in Ramallah after the perpetrator of one of the worst terror attacks ever to happen in Israel was completely ignored. Needless to say, no 45 minute phone call from Ms. Clinton ensued and Israelis are not rioting in the streets or declaring themselves to be unable to take part in the proximity talks.
“Previous prime ministers built more than Netanyahu in East Jerusalem, but they were careful to tie it in with positive developments in the peace process to avoid American anger.”
Here again Benn seems to be suggesting that Israel should be tiptoeing around so as not to annoy its elders and betters. When the US asked for a freeze on building Netanyahu – at considerable political risk- delivered what he could. That was four months ago and yet negotiations still have not commenced. Just how many ‘goodwill gestures’ and ‘confidence building measures’ are needed to get the PA to the negotiating table? How come the Israeli public does not seem to need reciprocal ‘goodwill gestures’ even after 299 fire bombings and over 22,000 stoning incidents upon Israeli vehicles in 2009 alone? That’s certainly a question which no-one in the Quartet seems to be asking.
The overall theme in the comments to this article was the promotion of some rather hilarious and at times dubiously worded conspiracy theories regarding supposed Jewish and/or Israeli control over the USA. Predictably, no-one seemed to be at all perplexed by the thought that if the reality were indeed so, episodes such as this one would not be happening. But why let a little logic get in the way of typical CiF creative license?
12 Mar 2010, 8:21AM
No, Bibi has not lost anything.
He is just letting the Obama administration know who is in charge
Biden will still do as he is told.
The Israeli lobby in America holds all the cards
Just like they put Obama in power, they can make him lose power.
The only problem with Bibi is that he may be crazy enough to bomb Iran and start a regional war.
12 Mar 2010, 9:40AM
Surely, the fact that srael is building settlements in East Jerusalem is in itself a message that says Israel is not interested in a two-state solution. If the US has accepted that Israel can continue settlements in East Jerusalem, then the US knows that there will be no two state solution. So what was Biden doing there?
The ‘peace process’ has constituted a fig leaf for Israel to continue stealing Palestinian land. Previous Israeli governments went along with the pretence in order to save the US from the embarassment of appearing to be controlled by Israel. And Abbas goes along with it because he wants to carry on getting aid and he’s too much of a coward to represent his own people. After all, he saw what happened to Arafat when he refused to bow all the way to israeli demands.
This Iraeli government can’t be bothered to go through the motions. They know they are in control of US foreign policy.
The real question is when will the Palestinians wake up and start asking for a one-state solution and when will they get rid of Abbas and his team of colaborators?
12 Mar 2010, 10:16AM
As if Israel were looking for FRIENDS! Their god and tribe is too superior to everyone else to bend so low.
The U.S will continue as they were – an OBEDIENT servant.
12 Mar 2010, 10:20AM
But this week, he did it again, ruining the visit of American vice president Joe Biden with an official announcement of a plan to build 1,600 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighbourhood of East Jerusalem ? despite a well-known American opposition to Israeli settlement expansion.
If Obama had cajones he’d cut all aid and be like George HW Bush – a one-term President who dared challenge the Israeli far-right’s colonial expansionism.
But he won’t.
This really is a case of the tail wagging the dog.
12 Mar 2010, 11:04AM
As an American, I’m getting pretty sick of the fact that my hard-earned tax dollars are indirectly supporting this settlement garbage.
Well, I hate to tell you, but it will cost you even more money if you want to change it, because you’ll have to outbid the people who fund AIPAC and similar organizations, and they appear to be very well funded.
US supporters of Israel have purchased that country a virtual veto over US foreign policy in the Middle East.
12 Mar 2010, 12:19PM
When you have a whore who will do anything, even drink your bath water, you will start to feel contempt for her. That’s what Israel feels about the US.
12 Mar 2010, 4:52PM
Israel does not care what the Americans or anyone else thinks. They will continue building regardless. This has been their policy from the beginning. Only if America stops the loans coming will they possibly think again. And which US administration dares to do that? Certainly not if they wish to be re-elected given the power and political reach of the US Jewish lobby.
12 Mar 2010, 5:16PM
Aluf, Bibi has absolutely no reason to be troubled by this little tiff. America is Israels’ bitch and has been for decades. When Israel whistles the US always comes to heel. Can you name a single US politician prepared to criticize Israel? Can you recall the last time aid to Israel or Israeli policy was discussed in congress? The House and the Senate is merely extensions of the Knesset, AIPAC has seen to that.
Obama may grumble a bit like a dog booted off the sofa but he’ll be back licking that same boot in no time.
It’s all just a little tiff between a whore and a pimp.
But wait; it seems that the guys and gals at the White House aren’t the only ones quaking in their boots in fear of the omnipotent Zionist lobby:
12 Mar 2010, 5:03PM
i have been moderated three times.frankly its farcical.is this paper so afraid of zionists it will not publish any criticism.pathetic
How about this for a truly disgusting comment:
12 Mar 2010, 3:15PM
Isnt it sad how Israeli’s, when defending their war mongering stance against Iran, always seem to hold up the misplaced reference Ahmajinedad’s threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ without any awareness or willingness to acknowledge the palistinian land and people that they have been wiping off the map for the past 50 odd years?
The way they have carried on over the past 20 years of ‘peace’ negotations only affirms onlookers suspicions that they are a nation of spoilt brats run by a cowardly military dictatorship over-run with fear, arrogance, xenophobia and aspirations to ethnic supremacy that would rival the greatest fascist dictatorships.
Fortunately, it is neither the conspiracy theory bunkum so beloved of CiF commentators nor Aluf Benn’s school playground-type friendship theories which will in the end dictate how this incident will play out, but the common sense of the American people.
Key Findings from The Israel Project’s Poll on Iran, Israel:
* 73 percent of respondents support expanding sanctions against Iran.
* 7 in 10 Americans agree that “even with all the problems America faces at home now, we must still work hard to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
* By an 8 to 1 margin, Americans say U.S. should side with Israel in conflict with the Palestinians.
For Obama’s sake, one hopes he is listening to his electorate.