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Red Lines And Presidential Politics -- An Analysis

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1. Netanyahu has joined Mitt Romney in accusing Barack Obama of being too easy on Iran and too unresponsive to an ally, Israel.  

2. Netanyahu has acquiesced in the use of his image and words in a blatantly false and distorted media campaign that accuses Obama of being "cozy" with the Society of Muslim Brotherhood.  

3. Netanyahu has asserted that Obama has "no moral right" to pressure Israel not to attack Iran. What the Prime Minister leaves out is that such an attack would constitute aggression under international law and violate treaties to which both the U.S. and Israel are signatories. Under these circumstances it would be immoral if President Obama did not pressure Israel to hold its fire.   

4. When accused of interfering in the presidential elections, Netanyahu has replied, "This is not an electoral issue." I think there is a common interest of all Americans of all persuasions to stop Iran." The bit about this not being "electoral" is clearly disingenuous. If Netanyahu wants to hold an opinion about alleged common interests that is fine. However, if as the head of a foreign government, he publicly and repeatedly asserts that opinion in ways that aid one candidate for president over another, he has certainly made both himself and his opinion, an "electoral issue."

III. Conclusion

There is speculation that, if Mr. Obama is reelected, then Prime Minister Netanyahu's indiscreet behavior might result in "a sea change in U.S.-Israeli relations." Unfortunately this  is highly unlikely.  The system of "lobbification" is solidly in place at the national political level.  When it comes to Israel,  only two things are likely to change it:

1. Meaningful campaign finance reform that would free politicians from their present reliance on lobby affiliated contributions.   

2. The Israel-American connection becomes a voting issue such that continued blind support for Israel hurts a politician's chance of election.

Neither of these possibilities seem to be on the horizon.

It is the way the U.S. political system is run that makes politicians so vulnerable to  lobby power. The fact that there are some lobbies out there that have decent and humane goals is not sufficient to justify a system that otherwise does so much damage. For instance, under the present circumstances it is impossible to define the national interest in an objective way. As it stands, the national interest is replaced by the parochial interests of lobbies that are successful at suborning Congress and the White House -- Zionists pushing support for a racist and expansionist foreign power, Cuban-Americans carrying on a 53-year-old vendetta against the government in Havana, the NRA striving to protect the right of every American to own a submachine gun, and the like.   

In large part it comes down to money and how it is used manipulate leaders and parties. There is something age-old about this situation. It was the Roman Senator and master rhetorician Cicero (108 to 43 BCE) who said "Nihil tam munitum quod non expugnari pecunia possit." Translated as: "No fortification is such that it cannot be subdued with money."

That is still the rule by which lobbyists live.

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http://www.tothepointanalyses.com

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign
Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest
; America's
Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli
Statehood
; and Islamic Fundamentalism. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

His blog To The Point Analyses now has its own Facebook page. Along with the analyses, the Facebook page will also have reviews, pictures, and other analogous material.


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