In his recent speech on Middle East policy, Obama became the first U.S. President to explicitly assert that a Palestinian state must be based on 1967 borders.
Although Obama’s reference to 1967 borders was not an unfamiliar position and was highly qualified — see here for a summary of the positions of past U.S. presidents and here for a discussion on whether Obama’s Mideast Speech signaled a true shift on Palestine — the move drew guarded praise from the left, but ire from the Zionist right, including the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
So, true to capitulationist form, the U.S. President quickly softened his already tepid position, grovelling before AIPAC just as he did the day after he clinched the Democratic nomination for President in 2008.
Veteran Middle East reporter Robert Fisk highlights one aspect of Obama’s collapse:
There was an interesting linguistic collapse in the president’s language over those critical four days. On Thursday 19 May, he referred to the continuation of Israeli “settlements”. A day later, Netanyahu was lecturing him on “certain demographic changes that have taken place on the ground”. Then when Obama addressed the American Aipac lobby group (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) on the Sunday, he had cravenly adopted Netanyahu’s own preposterous expression. Now he, too, spoke of “new demographic realities on the ground.” Who would believe that he was talking about internationally illegal Jewish colonies built on land stolen from Arabs in one of the biggest property heists in the history of “Palestine”? Delay in peace-making will undermine Israeli security, Obama announced – apparently unaware that Netanyahu’s project is to go on delaying and delaying and delaying until there is no land left for the “viable” Palestinian state which the United States and the European Union supposedly wish to see.
The day after Obama’s kowtowing to AIPAC, Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress where he delivered a speech that even the Israeli newspaper Haaretz described as “an address with no destination, filled with lies on top of lies and illusions heaped on illusions” — concluding that “the Americans will buy anything, or at least their applauding legislators will.”
Indeed, the speech was greeted by wild applause by the U.S. Congress, who gave the foreign leader more standing ovations than they could muster for the U.S. President. This, as a lone protester was violently whisked away.
Political Philosopher Andrew Levine asks the interesting question, “Are geopolitical considerations the decisive factor joining the United States and Israel or is American domestic politics to blame?”
Columbia Political Historian Joseph Massad reviews Obama’s lopsided rhetoric and asks, “Are Palestinian Children Less Worthy?”
Interviewing AIPAC attendees, Max Blumenthal just points a camera and lets the idiocy manifest:
Meanwhile the Egypt’s interim ruling council is opening its border with the Gaza strip, ending the blockade and allowing its residents some relief from what has been an open air prison. Now they will be able to import concrete to rebuild the homes destroyed by the brutal Israeli assault in 2008-9.
Characteristically, the Israeli right thinks such freedom for beleaguered Palestinians is a “dangerous development”.