M.J. Rosenberg writes: The U.S. vote against raising the status of Palestine at the United Nations was a deeply cynical move. It was cynical because there is not a chance that President Obama believes that he did the right thing. It is also cynical because, in the name of friendship for Israel, Obama led Israel closer to the cliff.
The last thing a true friend of Israel would have done would be to stand by as Israel demonstrated its almost complete international isolation. Just eight countries backed the Israeli position – the US, Panama, Palau, Canada, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Czech Republic and Micronesia – while 138 voted with the Palestinians. Was this display helpful to Israel?
But Obama was not trying to be helpful. The administration enabled this “disaster” (from Israel’s point of view) because Obama seems to truly not care about Israelis or Palestinians.
Take the two most recent examples. The first was his absolute refusal to express a word of sympathy for the Palestinians killed in the Gaza war. Under previous administrations, certainly under every Democratic administration, sympathy was expressed for the dead and injured on both sides along with a call for an end to the fighting. But Obama would not do that. Even when asked directly his spokesperson at the State Department would only speak of Israel’s pain. (To her credit, Secretary of State Clinton did say that she felt for both sides.)
But not Obama. He is determined not only to demonstrate that there is “no daylight” separating the two countries but that no amount of darkness separates us either.
The argument that he has to behave this way because of the power of the lobby doesn’t hold up. I would be the last person in the world to deny that the lobby is a powerful force in the making of U.S. Middle East policy. But, unless there is some mysterious element to the lobby’s power that I am missing, its ability to intimidate ends when a president is re-elected. [Continue reading...]