Since winning reelection, Obama has championed Netanyahu’s war in Gaza and rejectionism in the UN. Enough illusions about this U.S. administration.
It’s hard to see how Mitt Romney could have been any more pro-occupation or anti-Palestinian than Obama’s been since getting reelected three and a half weeks ago. (That’s all it was!)
First Rashid Khalidi’s old friend supports Operation Pillar of Defense as an exercise of Israel’s “right to self-defense,” without any mention of the people in Gaza (or the West Bank) living under Israel’s thumb for nearly half a century, or, God forbid, that they may have a right to self-defense, too.
And now this at the UN. The “good guys” did it again. The Obama administration actually lobbied the world not to recognize a Palestinian state, arguing that the way to go is for Abbas to negotiate with Netanyahu – on Netanyahu’s terms, without preconditions. The U.S. line remains identical to Bibi’s. (And Obama’s most influential domestic supporter, the New York Times, made the same case – no to Palestine at the UN, yes to peace talks without preconditions – in an editorial.) The president and his people warned and are still warning the Palestinians not to use their new status to take Israel to The Hague. About the only downgrading in the administration’s UN performance from the first time around, in September of last year, is that instead of Obama himself flacking for Bibi at the podium, UN Ambassador Susan Rice did it from her seat.
What’s going on? Obama and the rest of them can’t really believe this crap. They can’t believe Netanyahu wants to negotiate a deal with Abbas, or that the Palestinians were being rash (!) in going to the UN – they know that if Abbas accepts their advice, he and the Palestinians will get nothing but more Israeli contempt for their weakness. The folks in Washington aren’t stupid, they don’t like Bibi one bit, and they don’t have Likud in their blood, either. Everything Obama, Rice, Clinton and the rest of them have been saying since November 6 on Israel and Palestine is, for them, a lie. So why, when they don’t have to worry about Jewish voters in Florida or any other electoral consideration, are they still slinging it for Israel’s No. 1 Republican?
Any number of possible reasons – they don’t want to go back on their “strong for Israel” campaign rhetoric so soon and alienate a lot of supporters; they don’t want to admit, even to themselves, that they were bullied for the last four years; they’re saving their political capital to stop Bibi from bombing Iran – who knows? But the why of it, while interesting, doesn’t matter – the important thing is that Obama, freed of pre-election restraints, and with a long list of offenses from Netanyahu that he would be expected to want to avenge, is not only not avenging, he’s continuing to do this Republican hero’s bidding.
As for the why, my guess is that the administration has decided that it’s futile and self-destructive to try to play Middle East peacemaker again, so why not try to reap some benefit at home by playing Israel’s defender? But whatever the reason, the reelected Obama administration’s support for Israeli aggression in Gaza and rejectionism in the UN shows that it is not going to do a 180 one of these days and commit itself to getting Israel off the Palestinians’ necks. It would be just too weird. Too out of character. The post-November-6 war in Gaza and UN vote have been a compound moment of truth for Obama. What’s left to say? Only zeh mah yesh, if you’re Israeli, or, if you’re American, what you see is what you get.
It’s just like with Shelly Yacimovich, the ex-leftist who took over the Labor Party and is now pro-war, pro-settlement and altogether Bibi-compatible on the occupation – how could it be, she doesn’t believe this insanity, she’s just saying it to get elected … but Shelly’s been saying it now for years, at every opportunity, until you realize that this is who she is, this is what she stands for. People change, for all sorts of reasons, not always good. She’s one example. Barack Obama is another. On Israel-Palestine, not only is he not part of the solution, he’s no less a part of the problem than he’s been for the last few years, and that’s saying a lot to his discredit. There’s been no change in Washington, and hope will have to come from other sources.