Obama at the General Assembly: Sacrificing Palestine for Zionist Campaign Funds
(The James Petras Website) -- by James Petras --
The White House’s blatant parroting of Israel’s position to continue bilateral negotiations, while Tel Aviv continued to colonize Palestinian land and forcibly evict its residents, alienated the 1.5 billion Muslims throughout the world. Obama’s refusal to even mention the return to the 1967 borders as a basis for a “peace settlement”, totally undermined any pretext that the US could act as an “honest broker” in Mid-East peace negotiations, even in the eyes of its most slavish supporters in the PLO. His one-sided reference to Israel’s minimal casualties in maintaining the Occupation, while omitting any mention of the 12,000 Palestinian political prisoners, thousands of assassinations, everyday humiliation, routine torture of suspects and frequent defacement of Palestinian religious centers (mosques and churches, cemeteries and shrines), undermined any US effort to win favor among the millions of people involved in the pro-democracy social movements sweeping the Arab world from Tunisia, Egypt to the Gulf states.
Washington’s insistence that its NATO allies line-up with it in supporting continued “bilateral” negotiations, has led to the German government’s public humiliation when it followed Obama’s line of pressuring Abbas back to ‘negotiations’ only to have the Israeli Prime MInister Netanyahu announce the construction of 1,100 illegal Jews-only housing units in occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem.
Obama’s blatant and overt pandering to Israel before the representative of 193 independent nations, which had followed the standing ovation for Abbas’ call for Palestinian recognition, highlights one of the greatest US diplomatic defeats since the founding of the UN over 60 years ago.
But was Obama’s groveling before Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu really a ‘failure’ in the eyes of the White House? Or was his speech really a carefully crafted appeal to a domestic audience in order to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from pro-Israel billionaires to finance his re-election campaign?
There is a wealth of documentary evidence showing that Obama deliberately and forcefully sacrificed US international standing, in order to satisfy the major American Jewish organizations who were demanding nothing less than total and unconditional backing for Netanyahu’s phony position of “peace negotiations” and colonization from Obama.
From the angle of satisfying the US Zionist power configuration (ZPC) and securing a massive flow of re-election financing, Obama’s UN speech was a smashing success.
Obama’s Rejection of World Opinion and the Zionist Payoff
Obama’s re-election campaign from April to the end of September has received tens of millions of dollars from wealthy pro-Israeli Jewish fund raisers and contributors, as well as endorsements from rightwing US Jewish and Israeli politicians.
In the run-up to Obama’s UN speech, Zionist lobbyists adopted “good cop bad cop” tactics. Liberal Zionist Democratic Party advisers emphasized that he was “losing the Jewish vote and funding”, highlighting the recent resignation of a disgraced Democratic Congressman from a district of Orthodox Jews because of his internet porno-exhibitionism as a sign of Obama’s growing unpopularity among Jews. Some campaign strategists emphasized the “crucial Jewish vote in swing states” like Ohio and Pennsylvania (where non-Jews, who represent well over 80% of the voters, are not “crucial” in the eyes of these election experts!).
The 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations took turns accusing Obama of “slandering Israel”, for disobeying Netanyahu and “backing the Arabs” for protesting Israeli land grabs, even as Obama raised US government aid to Israel to an un-paralleled $3 billion per annum, in the midst of a US economic recession with 18% of American workers unemployed or underemployed. Obana’s pro-Israel critics overlooked his $205 million gift to Tel Aviv to build the Iron Dome rocket defense system together with the US military’s latest fighter jets. The Zionist power configuration demanded total surrender even as they extracted more political and economic concessions. They ignored the enormous military imbalances in the Middle East in Israel’s favor and the degradation of US standing in the region.
Hardball threats to end Jewish financial support by the rightwing Zionists was “complemented” by fund raising by liberal Zionists and promises of more to come if Obama ended his “public feuding” with Israel and vetoed Palestinian admission to the UN. Obama performed his well-rehearsed shuffle and song routine of the “absolute defender”, now and forever, of every Israeli violation of Palestinian human rights.
Obama’s Rush for the Gold
On June 20, 2011, months prior to Obama’s speech opposing Palestinian admission to the UN, a pro-Israel Washington fund raising event for his re-election campaign raised over $1.5 million, assuring Obama that “Jewish donors” were not wavering, as long as he followed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s line of peace negotiations and land grabs (Forward, June 29 2011). During the fund raiser Obama reiterated his unconditional support for Israel’s policies, including the settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. Following the dinner he met behind closed doors to elaborate on how far he was willing to go in opposing the Palestinian initiative at the UN, (Forward, June 29, 2011). A month earlier on May 22, 2011, Obama spoke at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), directly appealing for funds in exchange for the United States’ total submission to the AIPAC agenda.
Obama’s dependence on Zionist funding was evident between April to June 2011: Of the $68 million raised for his campaign, $37 million was raised by 244 “big cash bundlers” – individuals who round up multi-millionaire contributors. According to one count of the 244 bundlers approximately 120 were identified as pro-Israel Jews. Among the Zionist “bundlers” are Penny Pritzker bagging contributions between $100,000 - $200,000, Jeffrey Katzenberg putting the touch on contributors for $500,000 plus; Mark Gilbert $500,000 plus, and Mark Stanley $100,000 to $200,000.
Obama’s fund raising and organizational success among Israeli right wingers and US Zionists multiplied following his UN speech opposing the recognition of Palestine. As the New York Times (September 30, 2011) noted “. . . Democratic officials maintain that they do not think that Mr. Obama is in danger of losing the Jewish vote – particularly given the President’s muscular defense of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly last week”.
Following his UN speech Obama raised several million from wealthy Zionists in Manhattan and Hollywood at dinners ranging up to $35,800 a plate. The extremist right wing Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman (influential among billionaire US Zionists), signaled his enthusiastic support for Obama, as did Abe Foxman, the notorious Israeli Firster and head of the Anti-Defamation League, and former-New York City Mayor Ed Koch, another fanatical-Zionist (NY Times, Sept. 30, 2011). Thanks to pro-Israel bundlers and hustlers, Obama had out-fund raised the leading Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, by more than a 4 to 1 margin by September 2011, (Reuters, Sept. 27, 2011)...MORE...LINK
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