Reports are multiplying that President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill gives him momentum going against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This theory can’t be challenged quick enough.
Some news agencies and analysts are arguing that Obama has demonstrated his resolve to get what he wants done. Well, what does Obama want in regards to Israel and Palestine? His speech to AIPAC in 2008, penned by Dennis Ross and company, sounded like Netanyahu’s kind of Palestine.
He was forced to backtrack on his “undivided Jerusalem” remark the next day.
Obama publicly commented on the current crisis only once in the last three weeks, on Fox New no less (dominated by Israeli advocates), where he reaffirmed America and Israel’s bond while saying little of Palestine. Clinton has assumed the front mask and it’s hard to believe she has less control than Obama on US-Israeli policy.
She’s the face because this is her sphere.
We really have no idea where Obama stands. His position on final status talks and a two-state solution is unknown until the White House releases its own “Road Map,” and even then his position may be unclear, though his speech to AIPAC gives some indication.
Obama’s version of Palestine might be what he wants but not what the Palestinians want.
Now consider how health care reform was passed. Obama must be credited for leadership within the Democrats, but he had major help from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and those Senators and Representatives behind her. And Obama still had to wrangle with Democrats to strike a compromise; he’s dead to Republicans.
US-Israeli policy could follow the same mold, with Israelis as the Democrats and Palestinians as Republicans.
Momentum against Israel is just beginning to gather in the international community - it has has yet to reach the US Congress. No concern shines brighter than how fast the tables would turn on Israeli policy. If Obama does stand up to Netanyahu on settlements he won’t have more than a few votes in Congress, whose only actions called for silence on Israel and an end to US pressure.
Collectively they could care less about Palestine and will be unwilling to participate in any legislation, such as economic or military aid, against Israel. The momentum Obama’s riding will evaporate in an instant.
In that case he’ll be left mano-a-mano with Netanyahu, in a private meeting that until yesterday was kept secret. This time Kennedy holds home-turf on Khrushchev, but Obama is still an underdog. Certainly he must feel emboldened and maybe he will make a stand, but the odds aren’t favorable.
The only sure bet to stand up to Israel is Code Pink.