Two days ago I wrote about the dispiriting spectacle (to put it mildly) of an American president having to bend the knee in front of a group of his countrymen doing the bidding of a foreign country. I was referring, of course, to Barak Obama’s appearance before the American Israel Publics Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to put forward his side of the disagreement with Bibi Netanyahu.
Since then a couple of things have happened that put a far more alarming spin on the Obama-Netanyahu row.
The first was Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, which was received with fawning adulation by the brain-dead half of the combined houses (and by a good few of the barely functioning, no doubt.) Bibi is not a good actor. His technique – bombastic gestures, trills of uncontrolled emotion underlying the words, eyes lowered in faux modesty – died along with Queen Victoria. No-one takes such hamming seriously today and America has reason to be ashamed of its representatives for being taken in by such cheap vaudeville.
Bad taste aside, the abject sycophancy of the members of Congress clearly pointed to something beyond support for Israel. It doesn’t take particularly deep insight into the viciously partisan nature of US politics today and the unfathomable hatred that many Republicans have for Obama to understand that Bibi was as much a pawn as a king. In receiving him as it did, Congress was demonstratively spitting in the face of Obama. And Bibi was happy – delighted, ecstatic (take your pick) – to play his part.
The second was a short article I read by the astute political commentator Andrew Sullivan. In it, Sullivan quoted from a joint statement released by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a meeting between Netanyahu and Hilary Clinton last November. The statement included the following:
The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.” Those requirements will be fully taken into account in any future peace agreement. (Emphasis by Sullivan.)
Why then was Bibi so surprised and distraught by Obama’s use of the 67 borders phrase that he had to throw a temper tantrum in front of the world’s media? He had heard the identical words from Hilary Clinton less than six months previously – and his foreign affairs people had included them in its press release without demur.
The reason, it seems, is that it was all a scam; Bibi was playacting, as usual. Here’s my take:
What we witnessed this week was an elaborate hatchet job on Obama, cooked up by Bibi and AIPAC with the willing participation of the Republicans in Congress. Bibi wanted to forestall a new round of pressure from the Obama administration, his zionist lackeys in AIPAC needed to do their master’s bidding and the lobotomized half of Congress is only too happy to support an opponent of the president’s – even if that opponent is the leader of a foreign country.
I’m not necessarily saying that they sat down and planned it together; they didn’t need to. Their common interest is so clear that all it takes is a few nudges and a couple of winks for everything to fall into place. Deeply conservative and, in many cases, fundamentalist congressmen, ganging up with a rejectionist foreign leader and a power-mad lobby with dubious loyalties to discredit and damage a liberal president.
It sounds far-fetched, but that’s what happened this week.