Let’s face it. Claiming that Jews control the US government is utter nonsense. They don’t. They do however have very significant influence through AIPAC in regard to matters related to the state of Israel, which brings me to the shift that I haven’t been alone in noticing lately. It started with this, but now it’s progressed into this:
President Obama and his aides have cast the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not just the relationship with Israel, as a core U.S. national security interest. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of the military’s Central Command, put it starkly in recent testimony on Capitol Hill: “The conflict foments anti-American sentiment due to a perception of U.S. favoritism toward Israel.”
No shit. But apparently, this observation is supposed to be some kind of new revelation. And the favoritism isn’t merely a matter of “perception.”
It’s fact. It’s real. Why can’t we just admit that?
His comments raised eyebrows in official Washington — and overseas — because they suggested that U.S. military officials were embracing the idea that failure to resolve the conflict had begun to imperil American lives.
Erm, “had begun to imperil American lives.” Really? Begun? Oh no, I think they meant, began… began to imperil them a long time ago, and today the anti-Americanism is continuing and worsening, as a consequence of the ongoing conflict.
And there’s more:
… Obama and his aides have strongly pledged support for Israel’s security — including a reiteration by Clinton when she addressed AIPAC on Monday — but they have continued to criticize its settlement policies in tough terms. Clinton notably did not pull her punches on the issue when she addressed the pro-Israel group, warning that whether Israelis like it or not, “the status quo” is not sustainable.
Clinton is right, and here’s something which strongly indicates that. More and more American Jews, especially younger ones, feel differently towards Israel than their parents.
If you want numbers, various polls document the disenchantment. Shmuel Rosner, an astute Israeli journalist who blogs for the Jerusalem Post and writes for Slate pays a lot of attention to the partisan gap in support for Israel. It has jumped dramatically of late, with 80 percent of Republicans expressing favorable view of Israel, according to Gallup, as compared with only 53 percent of Democrats. One recent study found that only 54 percent of Jews under 35 who aren’t Orthodox are “comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state” (as compared to more than 80 percent of those over 65). Among younger Jews, only 20 percent rated as “highly attached” to Israel in another poll. If you want examples of the shift in sentiment, read just about any Jewish columnist for a major newspaper. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times spent last week arguing that Biden under-reacted to Israel’s announcement about the new housing units in East Jerusalem, comparing Israel’s policies to drunken driving. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post is writing a book arguing that the founding of Israel was a well-intentioned mistake.
On top of that, we also have this.
… with Likud-Republican-religious-AIPAC supporters settling into one camp and Kadima-Democratic-secular-J-Street supporters coalescing into another. It’s hard to see this as good news for either Israel or Democrats. American liberals are an external part of Israel’s conscience, and when it disdains them, it becomes a harder and more isolated place. The support that Israel has gained from millenarian American conservatives is no substitute, in part because such allies aren’t persuasive global advocates for Israel.
This going to be fun to watch.
- Will Netanyahu freeze the settlements and consequently piss off a big portion of his voting base?
- Will J-Street someday replace screwed up AIPAC as the dominant Israel lobby and usher in a new better paradigm?
- Will Obama and Biden successfully pressure Israel into doing the right thing: freezing the settlements and stopping the colonization?
- Will Israel succeed in maintaining the status quo Clinton speaks of?
Stay tuned and find out in the next episode of, Big Daddy in the Sky Gave Me This Piece of Land, So It’s MINE!