MJ Rosenberg writes:
In recent years, AIPAC’s main message has been about Iran and its view of the dangers posed by the Iranian nuclear program. Speaker after speaker at various AIPAC conferences over the past decade (including, most histrionically, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) has invoked the Holocaust when discussing the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon.
These speakers laid the groundwork for AIPAC’s presentation of legislation imposing “crippling sanctions” on Iran — along with the declaration that the military option remained “on the table” if sanctions failed to end Iran’s nuclear program. Most of the sanctions legislation enacted by Congress and signed into law by the president originated at AIPAC.
But this year Iran will have to compete for attention with AIPAC’s worries about the democratic revolutions that are sweeping the Arab world. For AIPAC, as for Netanyahu, those revolutions have already turned 2011 into an annus horribilis and the year is not even half over.
Early indications are that the main theme that will dominate the conference will be that Israel, once again, has “no partner” to negotiate with. This is an old theme, but one that receded as the Israeli right came to view the Palestinian Authority (led by Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad) as not only partners but as collaborators in maintaining the status quo.
As Al Jazeera‘s Palestine Papers demonstrated, Abbas and Fayyad rarely said “no” to the Netanyahu government — which made them the only kind of partners acceptable to the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak troika.
But, fearing that it might be next to fall to democracy, the PA started showing some spine recently. It refused to yield to U.S. and Israeli demands that it shelve the United Nations Security Council Resolution condemning settlements. It absolutely refuses to negotiate with Israelis until Israel stops gobbling up the land they would be negotiating over. And, most disturbing of all to Netanyahu and company, it says that it intends to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state this summer.
Netanyahu, who needs the illusion of movement to ensure that there isn’t any, is suddenly feeling the heat.