The annual Jewish day of lamentation, Tisha B’Av is upon us again. What does that mean for present-day Israeli reality? I explore in Souciant today.
Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category
Posted in Barack Obama, Bibi Netanyahu, Jerusalem, tagged AIPAC, Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish State, Middle east, Netanyahu, Obama, Peace Groups, pro-Israel, Settlements, Two-state solution on May 19, 2011 | 4 Comments »
Today, the day of President Barack Obama’s long-anticipated “Middle East reboot” speech and one day before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to meet with Obama, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office (PMO) took up discussionon two major East Jerusalem settlement expansion projects, in Pisgat Ze’ev and Har Homa.
This is not coincidence, nor bureaucratic happenstance. Terrestrial Jerusalem posted information about this more than a week ago. The discussion was intentionally put off before in order not to upset Netanyahu’s discussions with European leaders.
Upsetting the Americans is not a concern.
Truly Israeli hubris knows no bounds. But then, why should it?
Should this cause a controversy, defenders of the occupation will come out of the woodwork to say “it’s no big deal, it’s the Palestinians who are blocking progress, why are you pressuring Israel?” And Congress and, perhaps grudgingly, the President and State Department too will support that line of thinking.
So why should Israel limit its hubris? We encourage it, we allow Netanyahu to embarrass our president, our diplomatic corps, indeed our entire foreign policy in the region. We allow a country we call a friend and ally to doom itself to perpetual conflict, which it eventually cannot win, while pursuing policies that keep a dangerous region dangerous, jeopardizing both American influence in the region and American citizens, in and out of its military, on the ground.
As Daniel Levy has frequently pointed out, every successive commander of CENTCOM (The United States Central Command, the main command post in the Middle East) has agreed that Israeli policies are dangerous for US troops and interests. As every American foreign service officer, including former ambassadors, I’ve discussed this with agrees, Israeli actions severely undermine the US position in the region. (more…)
Well, AIPAC got the message. At around 7 PM tonight, I received another e-mail from them, following the sleazy attempt to rake in the bucks off of today’s bombing in Jerusalem. It reads, in full:
Dear Friends of Israel:
Today, you received an email from us about the dangers facing Israel right now and ways in which you can help ensure American support for Israel at a difficult and dangerous time. We included information about the horrific bombing in Jerusalem. In hindsight, it was wrong of us to mention this terrible tragedy the same day it occurred in the context of this email. We are deeply sorry.
We express our sympathies to all those impacted by today’s events and extend our heartfelt apologies to you.
I’d love to think they give a damn about what I say, but I’m sure this was so far beyond the line that many of their own supporters complained. Hence the apology, which doesn’t actually admit what they did, which was blatantly to use the bombing today as a fundraising tool. They say it was “information” they merely “included.”
Still, I suppose that this message at least shows there is some shred of decency, if not in AIPAC itself, at least among their supporters. No doubt such would not have been on display if the victims were not Jews, but one can hardly wish for the moon here.
One woman was killed and at least 30 injured in a bomb blast today near the central bus station in Jerusalem. But by now all of you know that.
But while I was still gathering data and reports of the incident, I received an e-mail. This message must have been composed very fast, in a hurry one can only imagine was akin to the excitement of a hungry dog that catches a glimpse of some tasty food.
The e-mail came from the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and it was a fundraising appeal based on the Jerusalem bombing. It gives a stark impression of a possible conversation in AIPAC’s DC office:
“Hey, a bomb just went off in Jerusalem. A Jew was killed and other Jews were injured!”
“Wow, just what we need, we can really cash in on this now. How lucky we were already working on a fundraising appeal.”
“No problem, I can just stick murdered and injured Jews in.”
It’s a conversation one would think would befit a meeting of some Jew-hating white supremacist group. Instead, this rush to cash in on harm to Jews fits only too well in an organization that has mobilized huge amounts of money and people power over many years in their effort to support suicidal Israel policies which have brought nothing but harm not only to Israel but to the United States as well.
Over at Think Progress, Matt Duss showed himself to be equally speedy, but a lot more humane, in his response to the same AIPAC e-mail. His analysis is quite thorough, so I’ll hope you go ahead and read it.
I’ll just say this: AIPAC, more than any other single anti-Israel organization (and yes, anti-Israel is just what they are, though they are certainly more passionate about the harm they do to Palestinians), has created the atmosphere around this issue that so many identify as McCarthyist.
In light of that, there is only one way I can respond to their appalling behavior as Israelis lay dead and dying, in the wake of one of the most lethal weeks for Palestinians since Operation Cast Lead. It is to paraphrase the words of George Welch at Joe McCarthy’s hearings:
AIPAC, you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?