Obama’s visit and Israel’s penchant for conflict

Israel rules USA

By Jamal Kanj

President Barack Obama’s visit to the Middle East has coincided with the 10th anniversary of the killing of American peace activist Rachel Corrie.

She was murdered by an American-made and financed Israeli bulldozer on 16 March 2003.

It is unlikely Obama or anyone in his entourage will remember the young American citizen but, according to the Israeli ambassador, the Israeli government plans to broach the subject of Jonathan Pollard, the US servicemen convicted of spying for Israel.

As part of his “listening” tour, Obama must pay homage to the choreographed Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem, honouring the victims of the Nazi holocaust.

For contemporary suffering, the president should peek across from Yad Vashem for traces of Deir Yassin’s massacre or take a five-mile detour to a Palestinian refugee camp, a living museum and breathing testament of Israeli malevolence.

…the president should peek across from Yad Vashem for traces of Deir Yassin’s massacre or take a five-mile detour to a Palestinian refugee camp, a living museum and breathing testament of Israeli malevolence.

While Obama is unlikely to make such a deserving tribute to the victims of Zionism, in his helicopter ride to Bethlehem and Ramallah he can’t miss the Jews-only colonies raping the virgin hills of the West Bank or the separation wall suffocating Palestinians.

Israel firsters in Washington have marketed the trip as a must for the US president to win over sceptic Israeli public opinion. David Miller, an Israel-first ex-US official, faulted the Obama administration for not showing adequate understanding of Israeli “fears”.

Another Israel firster, Dennis Ross, who was Obama’s point man on the Middle East for most of his first term, advised him to take this opportunity “to connect with the Israeli psyche”. This may seem like a daunting task.

According to a recent poll conducted by the Maagar Mohot Institute and Maarive newspaper, only 10 per cent of Israelis view the US president favourably. In fact, October 2012 opinion survey showed Israelis would have elected Mitt Romney over Obama by 57 to 22.

While the American Arab delegates urged the Obama to take this opportunity to advance peace negotiations, US Jewish leaders counselled him to hold off on any peace initiative.

Ahead of his trip, the president met separately with representatives of American Arab and Jewish communities. While the American Arab delegates urged the Obama to take this opportunity to advance peace negotiations, US Jewish leaders counselled him to hold off on any peace initiative.

They cautioned that Israelis would “bristle” if Obama challenged them to take “hard steps” for peace. Ironically, the same crowd wanted him to be firm and do everything necessary to halt Iran’s nuclear ambition.

In other words, Israel firsters want conflict not peace to dominate the president’s agenda.

This is an exact repeat of the strategy Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir used 20 years ago, eventually dragging the US into war with Iraq.

Israel was false on Iraq then and has been proven to be wrong on Iran for the last 20 years. As early as 1992 Binyamin Netanyahu suggested that the US should lead an “international front” to pre-empt Iran from becoming a nuclear power in “three to five years”.

In the same year, then Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told French TV that Iran was destined to acquire nuclear warhead capabilities by 1999. In 1995 an Israeli leak in the New York Times predicted Iran would assemble a nuclear bomb by 2000.

Mr President, if you want Israelis to like you, just ask your predecessor how he turned the biggest government surplus into the largest deficit.

The most recent assertion was made last September at the UN General Assembly, in a hilarious cartoon illustration presented by Netanyahu claiming that Iran was six months away from producing enough material for a nuclear bomb.

When Obama speaks at the International Convention Centre in Jerusalem to declare his commitment to the ethno-centric, racist state and vowing to protect the “Jewish state” from specious nuclear threats, he must not forget that a nuclear Middle East was born in Israel, not Iraq nor Iran.

Mr President, if you want Israelis to like you, just ask your predecessor how he turned the biggest government surplus into the largest deficit.

Sadly, Obama is sold on what seems to be a psychiatrist’s perverted notion that to promote peace he must first pledge US force for another Middle Eastern adventure. As such, Obama’s retinue should consider replacing policy experts with psychoanalysts to treat the Israeli penchant for conflict and diagnose its collective katharophobia or fear of peace.


A version of this article was first published in the Gulf Daily News. The version here is published by permission of Jamal Kanj.

 

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