By Jamal Kanj
6 March 2012
Jamal Kanj argues that Binyamin Netanyahu’s and Ariel Sharon’s ominous assertions that Israel controls the US were demonstrated once again this week by Barack Obama’s humiliating pledges of loyalty to Israel in a speech to America’s leading pro-Israel lobby and in a magazine interview.
During a meeting with settlers in the Jewish colony of Ofra in 2001, Binyamin Netanyahu was caught on camera explaining how he sabotaged the Oslo peace accords and bragging that “… America is something that can be moved easily”. In 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was quoted as telling the Israeli president: “We [Jews] control America.”
Sharon’s and Netanyahu’s ominous declarations were demonstrated yet again this week at a meeting of the USA’s leading pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). On 5 March, unlike with President Obama’s speech, Netanyahu’s address was attended by “more than two thirds of the [US members of] Congress.” The AIPAC convention is the most coveted “donor” gathering for aspiring US politicians.
Netanyahu’s ability to move America was validated once more in a recent interview given by Obama to the Atlantic Magazine and by his unctuous speech at the AIPAC annual convention on 4 March.
In the Atlantic Magazine interview, the president seemed more concerned with assuring members of the pro-Israel lobby that he was the best Israeli friend in the White House, saying: “Every single commitment I have made to… Israel… I have kept.”
He elaborated on the supplementary US military assistance to Israel, including the anti-missile Iron Dome, and on “ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge”, as well as on shielding Israel at various international forums, such as the UN Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly and following the Goldstone report, for violating human rights.
The president even made a final pathetic plea to Christian and Jewish Zionists, asking: “Why is it despite me never failing to support Israel on every single problem that they’ve had over the last three years, that there are still questions about that?”
At the AIPAC convention, Obama cited Israel more than 70 times. Yet, zilch for the US economy while pandering to members of a US foreign lobby. Other than blaming Palestinians for the failing peace process, the only significant addition to his magazine interview was an obsequious praise for the Polish native and current Israeli president, Shimon Peres, who will be awarded the US presidential Medal of Freedom later this spring.
To his credit, Obama did not succumb to demands by the Israeli prime minister to set a war ultimatum, or “red line”, to the Iranians. While Israel appears determined to instigate war against Iran as the preferred option, the US military and political leadership seems equally determined to leave war as the last resort option.
But what is disturbing in both Obama’s AIPAC speech and his magazine interview is the fact that the president of the United States — the country arming Israel with the best technology and subsidizing its it to the tune of 5 billion dollars annually in economic and military aid – treated Israel as an equal to the US in making war decisions. This is especially disturbing given that such decisions could lead to a global economic meltdown and devastate the US economy even further.
For the first time in the history of the United States, an American president has implicitly delegated to a foreign entity the power to start a war, one in which the US is highly likely to become involved.
This, combined with the Jewish lobby’s influence over the US political process and foreign-policy-making, will undoubtedly encourage the Israeli prime minister to press further with his declared intention to undermine the peace process with the Palestinians.
Obama ended his AIPAC address by trying to pre-empt the speeches of Republican contenders for the presidency. He reminded Israel-firsters that “there is no shortage on speeches on the friendship between the United States and Israel…“ and pleaded with them to judge him by “where my hearts lies” and by “what I have done-to stand up for Israel”.
Would Obama’s superb servitude credentials satisfy the insatiable appetite of AIPAC? Or would Republican presidential candidates prove to be more servile to the most powerful foreign lobby in the US?
Jamal Kanj is the author of Children of Catastrophe: Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America (Garnet Publishing, UK). His articles can be read at www.jamalkanj.com. http://www.redress.cc/americas/jkanj20120308