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Left Margin

The United States, Israel & Very Little of the Rest of
the World, United

By Carl Bloice - BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board
BC
September 8, 2011

http://www.blackcommentator.com/440/440_lm_us_israel_united.php

There have been a lot of foreign guests in Israel
recently. Many of them had their way paid. The list
includes a lot of notables or wannabe notables,
including about 20 percent of the members of the United
States Congress. BC Question: What will it take to
bring Obama home?One visitor who received major
attention during his late summer junket has been none
other than our own rightwing preacher - broadcaster
Glenn Beck. He was accompanied by "personages
identified with the Republican Party's extreme right
and a group of Christian Zionist evangelical leaders,"
according to the Jerusalem Post.

"Beck never misses an opportunity to speak ill of U.S.
President Barack Obama and to challenge his
leadership," said the Post, editorially. "His
television program fell out of favor even with rightist
Fox Broadcasting, which took Beck off the air. A few
weeks ago, Beck received publicity for comparing the
young Norwegians who were killed by an extreme right-
winger to the Hitler Youth. Hundreds of rabbis in the
United States, from all streams of Judaism, have
expressed disgust with Beck's incitement on the air
against Jewish financier George Soros and Jewish
intellectuals `accused' of harboring liberal, leftist
views."

The newspaper noted that, "people from Israel's ruling
party, Likud, foremost among them Vice Prime Minister
Moshe Ya'alon and World Likud Chairman Danny Danon" and
members of the Israeli parliament "have joined the
circle of Beck's fans." Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat
was among the speakers at Beck's "support event" rally
in that city.

Caroline Glick, a former assistant foreign policy
advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu, with numerous ties
to neo-conservative circles in the US, and now deputy
managing editor of the Jerusalem Post, labored mightily
to convince readers of Back's importance: "Unlike the
leftist public intellectuals such as New York Times
columnist Tom Friedman, who are celebrated and
obsessively covered by the Israeli media, Beck exerts
real influence on public opinion in the US. His calls
for action are answered by hundreds of thousands of
people. His statements are a guidepost for millions of
Americans. Aside from radio host Rush Limbaugh, no
media personality in the US has such influence." Wow.

Meanwhile, 81 congressional representatives from all
over the country, led by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer
and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, traveled to
Israel last month. Most were new to Congress, including
half of all the freshmen Republicans voted into office
last year.

On August 22, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
held a separate meeting with the delegation of visiting
GOP Congressmembers, headed by Cantor and Policy
Committee Chairman Tom Price.

"The timing of the visits by the GOP contingent and an
even larger number of Democratic legislators could not
have been better for the Netanyahu government," said
the Post, which said attention was drawn to the recent
conflict on the Israel-Egyptian border that
"highlighted for the Congressmen the dangers of an
independent Palestinian Authority."

Of course, that's wrong. There already is an
independent Palestinian authority. What is meant here
is the intention of the Palestinians to take the
ongoing conflict to the United Nations. That's what the
Netanyahu regime sees as a threat.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is slated
to present the Palestinian bid for UN membership in
person to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the
opening of the 66th session of the General Assembly
September 20 in New York. The Palestinian statehood
proposal has the full backing of the Arab League.

There has been scant notice of the U.S. politicians'
pilgrimage to Tel Aviv in the major U.S. media. Not
surprising; the whole affair is diplomatically
unprecedented and politically a bit unseemly.

The American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), which
is linked to the American Israeli Political Action
Committee (AIPAC), the major pro-Israel lobbying
organization in Washington, picked up the tab for the
visits. "This is an extraordinary situation, wrote
Alison Weir on counterpunch.org last week. "No other
lobby on behalf of a foreign country comes anywhere
near controlling such wealth or taking so many of
America's elected representatives on a propaganda trip
to its favorite country."

In a related development, according to the Jerusalem
Post:

    "The Israel Project will be bringing a group of 18
    Washington-based ambassadors from Asia, Europe,
    Africa and Latin America to Israel on Monday for a
    weeklong tour and high-level meetings. Like the
    congressmen, they will also go to Ramallah, for a
    meeting with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad."

Among the countries represented on the trip are
Albania, Barbados, Belize, Burkina Faso, the Dominican
Republic, Haiti, Macedonia, St. Lucia and Uganda.

"Some of these countries have been mentioned by
officials in Jerusalem as likely candidates to either
vote against, or at least abstain, when the vote on
Palestinian statehood comes before the UN in
September," said the newspaper.

Behind all the seeming bravado coming out of Tel Aviv
these days one senses desperation rather than
confidence. The Netanyahu government and its allies at
home and abroad are certainly pulling out all stops to
try to prevent something their supporters are trying to
convince the world won't change anything at all. But it
will.

The moment of truth approaches. The Palestinians are
going to the UN seeking recognition. There was a time
when the Israeli government could count on an
overwhelmingly vote against their policies on
resolutions vetoed by Washington and a few client
states in Latin America. Gone are the days. Last week,
Honduras and El Salvador endorsed Palestinian statehood
and said they support the PA's bid at the United
Nations. European governments are divided and wavering.
Perhaps the most the Israeli expansionists can hope for
is unwavering support from the U.S. joined by one or
two small indebted Pacific islands.

The reason for the alarm in Tel Aviv and Washington is
simple. If the U.S. votes no in the General Assembly,
or exercises its veto in the Security Council, the two
countries will stand sharply isolated amongst the
nations of the world. This will be particularly vexing
against the backdrop of the popular, democratically
oriented uprisings sweeping the Middle East and Africa.

The U.S. could and should vote with the rest of the
world to support the Palestinians and thus signal
agreement with the long-standing international
consensus regarding Palestinian statehood. But it
won't.

It's an election year here and those politicians being
charmed on their trip to Israel are intending to make
certain that such remains the case. Worse than that,
one of the Obama's Administration's chief diplomats,
Daniel Rubinstein, the US consul general in Jerusalem,
last week warned of "punitive measures" should the
Palestinians go ahead with the statehood bid at the
General Assembly. That threat was openly reiterated by
the visiting U.S. politicians. (In a truly strange
development, a deputy spokesman for the consulate
confirmed that he told Israeli media August 28 that
Rubinstein's reported comments are "not an accurate
portrayal of the U.S. position").

However, the expansionist forces in Israeli want much
more from Washington, including its use of diplomatic
and economic force to persuade other governments to
oppose the statehood bid, forthright support for the
Netanyahu government's stance, and an end to criticism
of settlement expansion. They also want the U.S.
President to take back his suggestion that an eventual
peace accord be based on the 1967 armistice lines.

Just in case the White House didn't get the message,
the website Politico noted that the visit to Israel by
the 81 Congressmembers "offers a glimpse into a
simmering foreign policy fight that could unify the two
parties and cause headaches for the White House."

Meanwhile, rightwing Israeli attacks on President Obama
have, in recent weeks, become ferocious.

"Barack Obama is solidifying his status as the worst
president in American history," wrote Yigal Walt an
editor at YNetNews.com. "The leader who promised us a
bright future of peace and fraternity is leading the
American empire - and the rest of the world with it -
into a dark abyss. Ever since he settled into the Oval
Office, Obama has been hopping from one disaster to the
next, making every possible mistake, boosting enemies
and disregarding allies while ruining everything he
touches in the process. To our regret, the heaviest
price - for the time being at least - is being paid by
residents of the Middle East."

After attacking Obama, whom he referred to as "Barack
Hussein" and "a living and breathing nightmare" for
failure to act correctly as regards Iran, and accusing
him of cozying up to "a new buddy, Bashar Assad," Walt
struck a chord frequently sounded these days in the
rightwing media: "So when did Obama act? Mubarak! The
Egyptian ruler, possibly the wisest, most moderate
Mideastern leader safeguarded the peace treaty with
Israel, hunted down Islamic radicals, counter-balanced
the Shiite Iran, steadfastly maintained his ties with
the US, and turned our crazed region into a slightly
saner place," he wrote. "He was no angel, certainly not
towards his own people, but was, or is there, a better
realistic option?

"Yet, there of all places, Obama the brilliant diplomat
opted to intervene aggressively, openly humiliated
Mubarak and ultimately presented him with an explicit
threat while the latter was struggling to maintain his
rule."

"And we haven't even mentioned the economy yet, where
Obama appears poised to lead his country into what
appears to be a devastating recession. Only recently he
won the dubious honor of being the first president to
see America's credit rating lowered while in office,"
wrote Walt.

Walt's commentary was reprinted far and wide last week
by numerous rightwing internet outlets in the U.S.

The Netanyahu government refuses to end the occupation
of Palestinian land seized in war and held in defiance
of international law. That still lies at the heart of
the conflict in the region and Israeli opposition to
any form of Palestinian statehood. Now, the U.S.
appears to be engaged in a full court press to head it
off. "Washington and Tel Aviv are putting pressure to
hamper the Arab-Palestinian effort (to seek UN
recognition), without coming up with a serious
alternative," an unnamed Arab diplomat told AFP last
week.

Early last month, a "senior Western diplomat" held a
special briefing for Israeli journalists in Tel Aviv.
According to the newspaper Haaretz, "the diplomat" told
them "Cooperation between the U.S. and the Palestinian
Authority will be harmed if the PA goes through with
its plan to seek United Nations recognition of a
Palestinian state."

"If the PA will go to the UN in September, it will make
it harder for us to have the same relations with them
as we had before when it comes to aid and security
training," the diplomat said. "We want that to continue
that cooperation but it will make it harder for us. It
is easier to work together as partners."

No one from the European Union would ever make such a
statement.

Last December, the EU foreign policy council expressed
disappointment that Israel was proceeding with
territorial expansion, saying, "Our views on
settlements, including in East Jerusalem, are clear:
they are illegal under international law and an
obstacle to peace." The council said it "reiterates its
readiness, when appropriate, to recognize a Palestinian
state."

China's Foreign Ministry said two weeks ago that
country's special envoy on the Middle East, had
informed Palestinian leaders in a meeting in Ramallah
that Beijing will support the proposed UN recognition.

The Spanish government also recently expressed support
for an independent Palestinian state, saying it hopes a
meeting of European Union foreign ministers this Friday
and Saturday in Sopot, Poland will bring progress
toward its recognition. The EU's Ashton will meet with
Netanyahu the previous day. Israeli sources now say
they expect no more than four European countries to
vote with Washington and Tel Aviv. This probably
explains the hurried phone consult between Obama and
Chancellor Merkel August 27 when the President had
interrupted his vacation because of hurricane Irene.

Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Trinidad Jimenez
told the newspaper El Pais, "There's the feeling that
now is the time to do something, to give the
Palestinians the hope that a state could become
reality,"
___________________

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member Carl Bloice
is a writer in San Francisco, a member of the National
Coordinating Committee of the Committees of
Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and formerly
worked for a healthcare union.

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