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Obama Folds a Royal Flush: Israel Wins, Palestine SuffersBy Alan Sabrosky Salem-News.com
Obama needs to be seen as more than a crashing disappointment.
(JACKSON, Miss.) - One rarely sees someone sit at a card table holding a Royal Flush with most of the game’s chips in front of him, and fold his hand. But that is precisely what Obama did with Netanyahu on the settlements issue, which was absolutely a litmus test of what he would do to Israel to force a solution, and of what the Palestinians could expect from him.
The answer in both instances is “nothing.” So the Israelis have no reason whatsoever to give more than lip service to anything Obama says or wants in the future, and the Palestinians have no reason whatsoever to trust him to help them improve their lot, much less protect them from periodic Israeli depredations.
The indicators were mostly bad anyway, aside from his Cairo speech and his call for a freeze on new Israeli settlements. I suspected the game was over when he selected a Zionist thug named Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, although putting General Jones at the NSC was a bright spot.
But the other appointments throughout the government’s national security and Middle East policy ranks largely went the way of Emanuel and the Bush-era neo-cons, many of whom are still in government, albeit in different positions. Dropping the prosecution of two AIPAC operatives for espionage, after even Bush’s people felt what they had done had been so outrageous that it merited indictment and prosecution, spoke volumes. Accepting a lifting of the penalties imposed on the Pentagon official convicted of providing them that information said even more.
And then there have been so many other disturbing signs: his total silence on the Israeli savaging of Gaza immediately before he took office, his total silence on the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, his total silence on the piratical Israeli hijacking of The Spirit of Humanity bringing humanitarian supplies to beleagured Gaza, his incessant affirmation of America’s “special relationship” with Israel and undying commitment to its security, his instructions to:
UN Ambassador Rice to begin the usual process of “stonewall and subvert” when the Goldstone Report critical of Israel as well as Hamas was published, and his perpetual refusal to include Hamas in the negotiations.
So why has he done this? He holds a winning hand when dealing with Israel, in objective terms. It needs the US desperately for almost everything, and the US needs Israel for nothing — indeed, in strategic terms, the Israeli connection makes being merely a liability seem like a good thing.
It is not just the difficulties it causes the US regionally and globally. It is that some of the worst Israeli habits have been penetrating the US system as well. One of the crueler torture techniques employed at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, for instance, was known as “Palestinian hanging” — a term and a technique that did not originate in Boston or San Francisco, and which highlights how Israelis treat their own prisoners.
Politically, of course, Israel — through AIPAC formally and a host of other Jewish PACs and wealthy individuals — effectively owns the US Congress and the US mainstream media, which gives them great political leverage over any president, unbeknown to most Americans.
Yet even here Obama had options. No US president has gone directly to the American people on this issue, but he can do so, and the networks will squirm but air his speeches. He can sign op-ed pieces, and they will be published. He can give interviews on TV and radio, and what he says will be seen and heard. He can do all these things and more, without fear that the Congress will block him, and the likely public reaction would make all but the most committed Zionists back off, simply for their own political survival.
But he hasn’t even given a hint of trying. And the question is why? It isn’t a lack of brains, so there are really only three explanations:
1. He has been backed into a corner by his staff and political appointees. Very likely, but it is his own fault, he selected or approved them. General Jones is the outlier, and he is manifestly so isolated policy-wise he makes the proverbial Lone Ranger seem like a group act.
2. He is being blackmailed. AIPAC has something on him he dare not let become public, or Israel has something in the US — embedded nuclear weapons, perhaps? — he dare not risk, or both. Also very likely, and disturbingly so.
3. He just doesn’t have the backbone for the job. His charisma and personal appeal simply mask an empty shell, mostly show and little substance — ironically, on this issue at least, Clinton’s critique of him during the campaign for the Democratic nomination may well be true.
Obama needs to be seen as more than a crashing disappointment. He is an enemy of Palestine’s hopes and dreams, an enabler of Israeli excesses who is unable to stand up to Israel and its lobby in America, and unwilling to go around them, meaning others must make up for his failures.
The key globally is to use the UN’s “Uniting for Peace Resolution” (UNGA Resolution 377A) to move the entire Palestinian issue from the Security Council to the General Assembly (GA). Remember that any seven members of the Security Council or a simple majority of the General Assembly can call an emergency special session of the GA to make this happen, and that sanctions can and should include embargoes like that used in a more limited way earlier by OPEC. People everywhere need to pressure their governments to move in this direction, with the understanding that the support of any significant state — such as (but not limited to) Russia, China, India, Japan or Brazil — will likely produce a rush of support elsewhere.
The key within America is to challenge members of Congress who make this injustice possible by toadying to AIPAC and company. Don’t go after them in their posh Washington offices with staff (& lobbyists) all around, or try and get the mainstream media to criticize them. Those are THEIR chosen battlefields. Hammer them in their home constituencies at their periodic “town hall” meetings and speeches to local groups, where they will be on their own and dare not have a staffer or lobbyist answer anything for them. The local media is largely unaffected by AIPAC and its cohorts, and will show or print what is said and done. This is their weak point — especially with 2010 being an election year — and many can be hurt, and hurt badly, politically. Let’s get started. Bookmark and Share
Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a writer and consultant specializing in national and international security affairs. In December 1988, he received the Superior Civilian Service Award after more than five years of service at the U.S. Army War College as Director of Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, and holder of the General of the Army Douglas MacArthur Chair of Research. He is listed in WHO'S WHO IN THE EAST (23rd ed.). A Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Army War College, Dr. Sabrosky's teaching and research appointments have included the United States Military Academy, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Middlebury College and Catholic University; while in government service, he held concurrent adjunct professorships at Georgetown University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Dr. Sabrosky has lectured widely on defense and foreign affairs in the United States and abroad. You can email Dr. Alan Sabrosky at: email@example.com
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