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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/29/15

Netanyahu's having a better week in the Democratic Party than Hillary Clinton!

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Reprinted from Mondoweiss

Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
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Benjamin Netanyahu is back in the saddle again! When he comes to Washington next month, the Israeli Prime Minister will get a prize from the neoconservative thinktank, the American Enterprise Institute, and also -- shockingly -- be welcomed by the Democratic Party think tank, the Center for American Progress, which has close connections to Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic Party invitation was engineered by the Israel lobby group AIPAC, the American Israel Political Affairs Committee, according to the Huffington Post. This is clearly about Hillary Clinton and her presidential run, and her closeness to Haim Saban and his like. Should she win the presidency, there will be a widely-touted rapprochement with Netanyahu where we ostentatiously "clear the air" and "get off on the right foot."

Jewish Insider broke the story. On November 10, a day after he receives the Irving Kristol award at the rightwing AEI, he goes to CAP, a "left-leaning" thinktank and...

"...will discuss Iran, Israeli-Palestinian relations, regional concerns, and ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States, according to a news release."

Jessica Schulberg and Ryan Grim flesh it out at Huffpo:

"...the Israeli government pushed hard for an invite to the Center for American Progress and landed an event at the progressive institution on Nov. 10, the day after Netanyahu has a scheduled meeting with Obama. The embassy's push for the invite, sources familiar with the lobbying said, was joined by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which also applied pressure to CAP to allow Netanyahu to speak.

"'He's looking for that progressive validation,' said a former CAP staffer, 'and they're basically validating a guy who race-baited during his election and has disavowed the two-state solution, which is CAP's own prior work.'"

Other CAP staffers objected, Schulberg and Grim say, and Matt Duss of the Foundation for Middle East Peace is also quoted denouncing Netanyahu's "blatant anti-Arab race-baiting." Duss: "The idea that CAP would agree to give him bipartisan cover is really disappointing."

Netanyahu massacred 500 children and 500 women in Gaza last summer and has made a mockery of US policy on settlements and the holy two-state solution. Would CAP roll out the red carpet for Ahmadinejad? Putin? Assad?

And by the way -- for betraying his president and opposing the Iran Deal -- Senator Chuck Schumer received $90,000 from an AIPAC ally, Norpac, Eli Clifton reports. Not that Schumer did it for money. He did it for love and concern for Israel. A genuine and religious (and tragic) devotion inside American Jewish life.

Both the CAP news and the Schumer news are baldly about the Israel lobby inside the Democratic Party. It's just another flavor of the lobby next to neoconservatism, which is the influence of Sheldon Adelson and Norman Braman and Paul Singer on the Republican side, but it's really not that different. Hillary Clinton supported the Iraq War. She has a hawkish foreign policy. She maintains those views because of the influence of Zionists inside the Democratic Party -- donors of course, but also important people who just love Israel. The same reason that Barack Obama broke a demonstration against calling Jerusalem Israel's capital at the Democratic Party convention in 2012. He didn't want to alienate the Zionist establishment, including donors.

Ali Abunimah and Yousef Munayyer have both pointed out that the Obama administration has punished the Palestinians for the Iran deal -- loading up the Israelis with more military aid than ever. Abunimah says that the Obama administration is the worst White House for Palestinian rights ever, and Munayyer says that the Israel lobby didn't lose the Iran deal, it just played it for more influence.

I have a different analysis. Obama knows the story but he threw Palestine under the bus to get the Iran deal. The Israel lobby was taking a big hit on the Iran deal, but it's still around; and in order to win key Democratic votes, Obama had to buy the Dems by giving more money to Israel. That way the Democratic politicians could go to AIPAC and say, I had to support the Iran deal out of the American national interest, but look what I got for you.

The bottom line is that Jewish money overall is essential to the Democratic Party (more than half, even according to official media), and Jews who are concerned about Israel are all over the party leadership (Debbie Wasserman Schultz). It's a special interest that is very vocal for its issue -- loving Netanyahu -- and the only way to break it is for Jews and Democrats to rebel. The Democratic rebellion isn't gaining traction because the progressive voices are too young and too multiracial to have entered the elite; and the Jewish rebellion isn't happening because the progressive voices are young and censored.

But it's going to happen; and this is why I joined the movement. I've predicted there will be rebellions in the 2016 primary process. The sad CAP news makes me think that I am (as usual) early by a few years.

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Philip Weiss is a longtime writer and journalist in New York. He co-edits a website on Israel/Palestine,, which he founded in order to foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy. He is currently working on a novel about the US in Australia during WW2.

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