M. J. Rosenberg says that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ramping up the rhetoric on US media and that Iran now plans to actually launch a military attack the US, and the Israel lobby led by AIPAC is joining him in urging that the US take military action against Iran or at the least impose even greater sanctions against that country.
It is worth noting that right after Netanyahu spoke on the show, Sen, Dick Durbin, a dovish Democrat (except on Israel), who is up for re-election in 2014, piped in to say that he is with Netanyahu. He said that “neither the American people nor Congress are seeking a war, we’re not looking for one. But the Iranian leadership shouldn’t push us to the brink.”
Will [Congress] follow AIPAC and Netanyahu’s lead and reject any possibility that the new Iranian leadership should be heard out before piling on new sanctions? Will it continue to demand that President Obama reject the idea of relaxing sanctions no matter what Iran offers?
To those questions the answers are yes, yes and yes. The 2014 election season has begun and those donors close to AIPAC are of critical importance to Democrats. As for Republicans, they believe military force is the answer to most foreign problems and, unlike Democrats, don’t make Israel the big exception to their overall approach to foreign policy.
Obama, on the other hand, clearly does not want war. As I’ve written before, I believe that he allows Israel to do whatever it wants to in the West Bank to make it easier to say no to attacking Iran. All his appeasing of Netanyahu is designed to build up the credit with the Israeli people, if not Netanyahu, so he is both able to resist Netanyahu’s pleas that we go to war and to forbid Israel (our largest aid recipient) from doing so itself. That is unfortunate but it’s better than both enabling the oppression of the Palestinians and becoming embroiled in another Middle East war.
Meanwhile, Philip Weiss describes how Samantha Power, Obama’s nominee for Ambassador to the UN, had to grovel to appease the lobby in order not to jeopardize her chances for the job.
Samantha Power’s climbdown from an enlightened stance on Israel/Palestine to a forcibly benighted one is a sad thing to see, but it is really about the character of the Establishment. If you aspire to higher office, you have to kiss the lobby’s ring. Ask Chuck Hagel. Ask Barack Obama. They both said enlightened things about Israel and Palestine that they had to crawl back from.
For all those who aspire to high position, another warning. It’s not all that much fun. Samantha Power is now joined at the hip to Shmuley Boteach, an orthodox rabbi, friend of Sheldon Adelson, and rightwing Republican loser in a NJ congressional race whom Power assiduously courted to get her Israel cred up, and Obama’s too, even though Adelson did all he could to defeat Obama.
Power is following in the footsteps of her predecessor in the post Susan Rice, now Obama’s National Security Advisor.
In her first appearance before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Samantha Power, Obama’s pick for next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, made clear that she will spend her time in the role much as her predecessor Susan Rice did: acting as Israel’s consummate defender, fear-mongering about Iran, and opposing any move to champion Palestinian human rights or self-determination.
Rice, who has been appointed as Obama’s National Security Adviser, has said repeatedly that the American delegation to the UN “often works in ‘lockstep’ with the Israeli delegation” and spends “an enormous amount of time defending Israel’s right to defend itself and defending Israel’s legitimacy.”
So we should not expect this administration to do anything meaningful in the Middle East but simply continue talking about the mythical ‘peace process’ while continuing to allow Israel to continue its expansion of settlements in the occupied territories and putting the screws on Iran.
We have reached the stage when what we might call a foreign policy ‘success’ is when the US does not gratuitously attack a country on some made-up pretext.