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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Passive aggression against Netanyahu


Surprise surprise, according to Jeff Goldberg Obama believes Israel "doesn't know what its own best interests are." As Israel threatens to cut the West Bank in half and so cut off the possibility of a two-state solution, that sentiment is about as surprising as an Obama conclusion that Republican budget math doesn't add up.

While allowing for the possibility of effective U.S. action behind the scenes to block the E-1 development, I am, shall we say, conditionally infuriated by Obama's reported passive aggression vis-a-vis Israel, if Goldberg's reporting is reliable:
When informed about the Israeli decision, Obama, who has a famously contentious relationship with the prime minister, didn’t even bother getting angry. He told several people that this sort of behavior on Netanyahu’s part is what he has come to expect, and he suggested that he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart.
In the weeks after the UN vote, Obama said privately and repeatedly, “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” With each new settlement announcement, in Obama’s view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation.

And if Israel, a small state in an inhospitable region, becomes more of a pariah -- one that alienates even the affections of the U.S., its last steadfast friend -- it won’t survive. Iran poses a short-term threat to Israel’s survival; Israel’s own behavior poses a long-term one.
Allowing Israel to self-destruct might make sense if it weren't taking U.S. credibility with it. As it stands,
Israel is arguably the single greatest danger to U.S. interests and lives in the world today. Our real and perceived complicity with its continued land grabs and ever-evolving apartheid inflames a quarter of the world against us.

Israel continues to gobble up Palestinian land and threaten to launch major preemptive war against Iran. We bankroll this aggression to the tune of $3 billion a year coughed up more or less unconditionally to a wealthy country. We allow tax exempt gift-giving to the most extremist settlers, Jewish fascists and theocrats, in the West bank.  We are led by the nose by Israel into undeclared cyber warfare, and probably targeted assassinations, against Iran.

Yet at every pressure point, the U.S. president feels compelled to intone that the U.S. "has Israel's back" and that the two countries have an "indissoluble bond."  No "ally," real or imagined, should enjoy the kind of carte blanche such language provides.

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