It couldn’t have been clearer. Trump told the AIPAC conference last March that ‘we will move the embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem’. That promise is now frayed by uncertainty.
Some Jews did walk out, and protest outside, when Trump addressed the AIPAC conference. The large majority didn’t. They may have been excessively polite, they may not have wanted to put their attendance at this high profile event at risk. They may have agreed with him. Lisa Goldman sees a schism between them and Liberal Jews.
It’s the right-wing politics, not religion, that fills evangelical American Christians with zeal for the Israeli security state. Christians United for Israel, in conference this week, aims to lead the Republican fight against Obama. Unlike AIPAC, Nathan Guttman points out, CUFI does not pretend to be bipartisan.
In this essay Mitchell Plitnick surveys the post-war history of US policy towards Israel and concludes the Administration’s unflinching support for Israel is more to do with its assessment of national geo-strategic interests – Israel is a reliable military partner and anti-communist bulwark – than the over-rated power of the Israel lobby.
There has been more reaction in the US to John Kerry’s use of the word ‘apartheid’, and his apology for that use, than there has been to the failure of the peace talks. Josh Rogin says he was ‘damn right’ to have taped the speech. John Cassidy (Kerry was wrong), and Ben White (he was right to defy the thought police), comment.
There’s nothing like war or the threat of war to engage the public in otherwise remote policy issues. The clear public decision in the UK and the USA that most people do not want to launch a war against either Syria or Iran has put a spoke in AIPAC’s normally smoothly rotating wheel. Finally, congresspersons and Obama have recognised that AIPAC is willing to harm American interests in the name of Israel.
Talk of AIPAC’s weakening clout in Washington is based on its failure to block Obama’s diplomatic approach to Iran and the expected ‘framework agreement’ from John Kerry. AIPAC’s demise has been predicted before (its power defies rational analysis) and there are other ‘Israel right or wrong’ lobby groups, notably NORPAC as well as the ADL. But tactically Kerry is in the winning position, not Jewish spoilers, hence their retreat.
The mayor of New York City is a powerful political figure, elected to promote the well-being of the city and its residents. No. The job of the mayor is to promote the interests of a foreign country – Israel. The first words of the US Oath of Allegiance are “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty”. Is Bill de Blasio guilty of treason? It is a trick of the mind that some Americans cannot see the difference between American and Israeli interests.
Tikkun’s Rabbi Lerner introduces two very different pieces on the current standing of Israel (MJ Rosenberg) and its demand that Palestinians recognise it as ‘the Jewish state’ (Uri Avnery). The new spin on these old arguments is Rosenberg’s argument that old American Jews have given up involvement in Israel’s suicidal behaviour and young Jews have far more important things to care about.
America’s pro-Israel lobbies are notorious for their wealth and influence amongst the elite. Their blunt demand for more money and weapons for Israel has provoked growing, and organised, opposition which the Jewish establishment is trying to crush. Stanley Kutler looks at a new Senate bill for more sanctions against Iran and why this nonsensical proposal gets Jewish establishment backing – despite the views of most American Jews.
If the Gulf states did not control such a high proportion of the world’s oil Israelis would not have been able to present Iran as an ‘existential threat’. But as the Gulf states control such a high proportion of the world’s oil only a maniac would drop bombs on Iran – which could close the Gulf of Hormuz without difficulty. Uri Avnery suggests ways in which Israel could break out of its isolation. Reuven Kaminer says the hawks screech to drown out the counsel of security chiefs.
If AIPAC can be said to have a technique it is to finesse a deal so that serving the Israeli government appears as serving the interests of the American people. This was a sleight of hand it could not pull off when American government and people both saw the Iran deal as a Good Thing while Netanyahu loudly fulminated against it as a very bad thing. What to do? Richard Silverstein examines their tactics.
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