Obama, Israel and… Congress

As Mort the Sport (MTS) has already said, hopefully Obama will continue to hold firm on his “demand” that Israel discontinue building settlements.  Unfortunately, he will meet some “unlikely” resistance.  A number of members in Congress have signed onto a letter that asks Obama to keep his disagreements quiet.  They want the negotiations to be private.  And others in Congress have been even more forceful.  I don’t see why we need to keep criticism under wraps.  When Israel tells us that they are going to do whatever they want, the world should be able to see that.   And when we criticize Israel for continuing to build in Palestinian territory, the world needs to see that too.

And if anyone thinks that we shouldn’t be telling Israel what to do, I think Glenn Greenwald dispels that better than anyone.

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2 Responses to “Obama, Israel and… Congress”

  1. Mort the Sport Says:

    I meant to comment on this earlier. I actually read the Greenwald article before you linked to it above. He is extremely insightful about Middle East policy issues. He deftly argues that Obama is completely in the right about putting pressure on the Netanyahu government to stop settlements. As I’ve said earlier, I’m siding with Obama on this one. Congress seems extremely beholden to the pro-Israel lobby. What’s the background on that? Is it an extremely vocal Jewish-American group, or is it something else?

  2. I think there are (at least) a few things in play here. There is a group known as AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) that has a lot of influence in Congress. And they throw around a lot of money, either in favor or against a candidate.

    There is also the religious aspect of it that has to do with the connection between Judaism and Christianity. Especially the idea that Israel must exist for Christ to come back.

    And finally, there is a cultural aspect in which any time there is criticism of Israel there are allegations of anti-semitism. So most of those in the public eye (especially politicians) don’t want that label so they bend over backwards in deference to Israel. In fact, there was a book about AIPAC called The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. The two guys that wrote it were torn apart for the book (it actually came out as a report first, and then they published it as a book) and were accused of being anti-semites.

    Of course, there is an extensive Wikipedia article on this.

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