Obama Yields to Bibi, Plus Me vs. Petraeus
(The Huffington Post) -- by M.J. Rosenberg --
President Obama's love-in (transcript here) with Prime Minister Netanyahu today demonstrates that the adage that "politics stops at the water's edge" does not apply to the Middle East. The President invited Netanyahu to Washington to get relations back on course (i.e., make AIPAC happy) as we go into the critical fundraising quarter for the November elections.
When it comes to all matters relating to Israel, foreign policy is politics. And politics is fundraising.
That is how Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's meetings with President Obama and other administration officials this week should be viewed. Nothing significant has changed since Obama last met with Netanyahu and conveyed his displeasure with Israeli behavior. Israel is still expanding settlements in Jerusalem, still expelling Palestinians from their homes, and still maintaining the blockade of Gaza. Of course, the blockade has been eased but only after the IDF attacked the flotilla, killing 8 Turks and one American. (Has any American's death ever gone as unprotested as this one?)
Nonetheless, it was all smiles at the White House today. It was embarrassing to watch.
David Makovsky, who works for the AIPAC cutout, the Washington Institute for Near East Peace, explained what's going on in today's Washington Post. "As we get closer to the midterm elections, if there was a gap, it's narrowing.... I think the blowup in March between Obama and Netanyahu has led each side to realize that they've gone too far, and they've got to dial it down."
Makovsky's opening reference to the "midterm elections" is the key. The United States has to make things right with Israel or the Democratic Party will pay a price, quite literally...
Obama even said that Israel will continue to get a pass on nuclear proliferation issues because "given its size and the threats against it, Israel has unique security requirements."
This World Cup goes to AIPAC yet again!
Some readers think I exaggerate the influence of the lobby. I don't (I used to work at AIPAC and on its favorite stomping ground, Capitol Hill and I know how it operates)...
The latest evidence of the fear and trembling produced by the lobby was evidenced last week when it was revealed that General David Petraeus was upset and worried by a column I wrote in March. I praised him for testifying that the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict threatens all US interests in the Middle East, including our troops...
The story here is not that Petraeus believes that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negatively effects US interests throughout the Middle East (he clearly does) but the panic that ensues when those sentiments are ascribed to him.
Why the panic? Why the rush to consult neocon Max Boot? Why the nervousness?
You tell me.
President Obama and Congress are infinitely more susceptible to these fears than a four star General (who is constitutionally immune from political pressure). If Petraeus gets this rattled, what can you expect from politicians?...MORE...LINK
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