POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY STEPHEN POLLARD IN THE TELEGRAPH
"So why has the US done nothing except pressurise the Israelis over settlements for the past two years?"
That seems an extremely naive question besides being factually an inaccurate description.
The only way to get a fair peace in the Mideast is with pressure on Israel. After all, Israel literally holds all the cards, occupying the land, controlling the people, regularly stealing bits of the property of others with no effective opposition, and being militarily a Frankenstein monster compared to the Palestinians, a military monster which regularly strikes out killing and maiming large numbers.
Israel has also managed to quash every outside effort to reach peace, as with the Oslo Accords. And Obama started out right, for the first time being a little tough on Israel rather than the usual complaisant attitude.
Still, anyone viewing the last two years objectively would hardly say he has seriously pressured Israel. But, in fact, he has now turned quite around. Why?
The answer is obvious: serious local electoral troubles plus the tireless efforts of the Israeli Lobby.
That is precisely the formula which got Israel recognized as a nation in the first place.
President Truman was under tremendous political pressure in his reelection bid.
He had no intention originally of recognizing Ben-Gurion's self-declared state. There was no good argument for doing so.
But then Truman was literally inundated by lobbyists and apologists for Israel. His life was almost made a misery by platoons of special pleaders.
So he agreed to recognize Israel, and he was reelected.
Clearly those two things do not constitute cause and effect, but money is the mother’s milk of American politics and, undoubtedly, large campaign funding pledges plus promises of press support were made between the two events.
Obama went into office with a balanced and reasonably fair attitude towards Mideast peace, the first modern president to do so.
But he too was met by a wall of pressure - influential delegation after influential delegation.
His name also became widely hated in Israel, as his assistant, Rahm Emanuel, unhappily discovered on a visit to Israel with his family.
At the same time, his reelection prospects have turned around dramatically owing to the ongoing poor economy in the United States and to Obama's widespread perception as an elitist serving the interests of bankers and corporations.
So now he has quietly backed off all of his original Mideast positions.
He has also made some dramatic efforts, in light of his new political weakness, to placate Israelis and American Jews - e.g., signing a ten-year arms gift agreement with Israel, supplying Israel with some new weapons technology, and offering Netanyahu a ridiculously extravagant bribe for a few months of cessation of settlements.
Obama’s getting ready to run as a less-than-heroic figure, and he needs all the help he can secure, so he has abandoned any pretence of fairness or the much-required pressure on Israel for a fair peace.