Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Ongoing U.S. efforts to protect and coddle Israel.

It's so interesting to read Gideon Levy's latest article in Ha'aretz entitled "America, Stop Sucking Up to Israel."

Levy argues, and it's a point which I have made many times, that the US's unbelievable deference to Israel is merely creating a rod for it's own back.

There is no other country in the world who could treat Obama with the disdain that he currently is being shown by Netanyahu and expect have Obama's government continue to send them one third of all the aid the US gives out worldwide. And certainly no other country would treat the US with such disrespect and yet feel sure that the US will continue to use it's veto at the UN to prevent it from feeling the anger that it's actions have caused throughout the Middle East.

Levy via Glenn Greenwald:

Before no other country on the planet does the United States kneel and plead like this. In other trouble spots, America takes a different tone. It bombs in Afghanistan, invades Iraq and threatens sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Did anyone in Washington consider begging Saddam Hussein to withdraw from occupied territory in Kuwait?

But Israel the occupier, the stubborn contrarian that continues to mock America and the world by building settlements and abusing the Palestinians, receives different treatment.
Another massage to the national ego in one video, more embarrassing praise in another.

Now is the time to say to the United States: Enough flattery. If you don't change the tone, nothing will change. As long as Israel feels the United States is in its pocket, and that America's automatic veto will save it from condemnations and sanctions, that it will receive massive aid unconditionally, and that it can continue waging punitive, lethal campaigns without a word from Washington, killing, destroying and imprisoning without the world's policeman making a sound, it will continue in its ways.

Illegal acts like the occupation and settlement expansion, and offensives that may have involved war crimes, as in Gaza, deserve a different approach. If America and the world had issued condemnations after Operation Summer Rains in 2006 - which left 400 Palestinians dead and severe infrastructure damage in the first major operation in Gaza since the disengagement - then Operation Cast Lead never would have been launched.

It is true that unlike all the world's other troublemakers, Israel is viewed as a Western democracy, but Israel of 2009 is a country whose language is force. . . . When Clinton returns to Washington, she should advocate a sharp policy change toward Israel. Israeli hearts can no longer be won with hope, promises of a better future or sweet talk, for this is no longer Israel's language. For something to change, Israel must understand that perpetuating the status quo will exact a painful price.

Israel of 2009 is a spoiled country, arrogant and condescending, convinced that it deserves everything and that it has the power to make a fool of America and the world. The United States has engendered this situation, which endangers the entire Mideast and Israel itself. That is why there needs to be a turning point in the coming year - Washington needs to finally say no to Israel and the occupation. An unambiguous, presidential no.
Levy writes this at the very moment when Netanyahu is crowing about the US backing down after realising that, despite all the demands made over the summer, Obama is no longer insisting that Israel stop settlement building before negotiations can take place.

Now he simply desires it, but wants the Palestinians to enter negotiations anyway.

I've said this a thousand times, Obama needs to start using a large stick, as trying to cajole and persuade Netanyahu is an utter waste of bloody time.

And, even as I write this, the American Congress are preparing to condemn the Goldstone report and are going to demand that investigations into Israel and Gaza's war crimes be suppressed.

Greenwald again:

It's so obvious as to require no explanation that we cannot and will not be taken seriously in our campaigns against "terrorism" and "war crimes" when we are not only willing, but eager, to exempt ourselves and Israel from those sermons. But after some initial, impressive steps from Obama, we are continuing to do that as much as ever, probably to Israel's detriment and certainly to our own.

I hate to say it, but this isn't change. This is the same old bloody crap all over again. If Obama wants to bring about change he needs to stop being so obsequious to Israel and to enunciate and stick to his principles.

He was right when he made those demands. When they are ignored he should not backtrack, he should - as Levy states - make Netanyahu pay; by withdrawing US aid and by refusing to offer Israel an automatic veto at the UN. Only when Netanyahu believes that Obama would dare to do such a thing will he ever begin taking him seriously.

At this moment, he clearly does not.

Click here for full article.

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