Screen Shot youtube video of Obama Speaking at AIPAC
Here's the latest salvo, from FLAME, a rabidly right wing, pro-Israel, anti Palestinean organization:
Here's the good news: The U.S. vetoed the Security Council resolution---standing its ground as the sole dissenter among 15 current Security Council members. For this outcome, we can thank pressure on the administration from the U.S. Congress, Israel, and citizens like you and me, who urgently called and wrote to our representatives last week. Because make no mistake: President Obama and U.S. Ambassador Susan Ricedidn't want to do it---they did everything they could to avoid exercising that veto.
Right to the last moment, Rice and the U.S. State Department were trying to convince the Palestinians to withdraw their resolution in favor of a softer version that would "merely" rebuke Israel for constructing new settlements in seized Arab lands. But the Palestinians refused, and, as this week's FLAME Hotline makes clear, Ambassador Rice's bitterness at having to exercise the U.S. veto was palpable. In fact, she stated that she agreed Israel's recent construction is illegitimate.
In our world today, military and economic power only get a nation so far. Key to real influence and power-- the ability to get other nations, people and organizations to act in a preferred way-- more and more depends upon "soft power." That kind of power comes from good will, good reputation, belief that a nation is acting in good faith.
My friends, Israel is under siege, and its ability to withstand international criticism and physical attacks from all sides is threatened as never before. Not only is the Arab world seething, but Israel stands to lose its peace treaties with its close neighbors, Egypt and Jordan. To make matters worse---much worse---thanks to President Obama, Israel is being abandoned by its most trusted ally, the United States.The letter goes on to raise the issue of the divestment campaign against Israel, one modeled after the divestment campaign that was used against South African Apartheid. The fundraising letter, aimed at scaring American Jews into donating money to FLAME, goes on to cite an article:
The U.N. veto and the real headline By Jennifer Rubin, "Right Turn" (blog), washingtonpost.com, February 18, 2011Here's the key excerpt:
"The U.S. did not merely exercise a veto, it issued a statement that was unprecedented in its one-sidedness and harshness. As The Post reported:American Jews are an independent bunch. Historically, they have voted 75-80+% for Democrats. Letters like these, combined with rhetoric like Ms. Rubin's make it clear how right wingers and Israel Hawks are attempting to exploit the disastrous, immoral situation the far right, often Religious extremist groups in Israel have created.
U.S. Ambassador Susan E. Rice said that the U.S. veto should not be seen as an endorsement of Israel's settlement policies, which the Obama administration has repeatedly denounced. But she said adoption of the resolution "risks" undermining U.S.-led efforts to pursue a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians."We reject in the strongest term the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activities," Rice said after the vote. "For more than four decades Israel's settlement activities have undermined Israel's security and eroded hopes of peace and security in the region."
But she added: "Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides and could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations."
Remarkably, not a single pro-Israel group made much notice of that. Not even one chastised the administration for singling out Israel--the party that repeatedly has offered a peace deal, that offered a ten month freeze, and that engaged in direct negotiations -- while foregoing any hint of criticism of the Palestinians who walked out of talks, refuse to recognize the Jewish state, and continue to incite terrorism.
Sure, the U.N. once again has proven itself to be a hot-bed of anti-Israel rhetoric. But let's be clear what really happened this week. The U.S. representative, while reluctantly casting a veto, joined the pack of jackals that seek to make Israel the culprit for all that ills the Middle East. Shouldn't THAT be the headline?"
There is an almost united front in support of Israel in congress because most legislators are afraid to stand up to AIPAC, afraid to be accused of antisemitism by the ADL if they criticize Israel. Perhaps now is the time to ask your legislator if it's a good ideas for the US to use all it's diplomatic negotiating options before exercising vetoes that cost enormously in terms of soft power.
The Middle East is going through enormous, earth shaking changes. The US must have the flexibility to adapt to those changes and Israel better get used to adjusting too-- to the Mid-east changes and the US changes. And hopefully, as the American people see the revolutions take down the tyrants the US and Israel supported, they will CALL FOR the US and Obama and the State Department to change the way it obediently supports Israel.
The newly freed people of Tunisia and Egypt and soon to be freed people of Libya, Bahrain, and perhaps Syria, Saudi Arabia and beyond will not settle for the US policy we've perpetuated all these years.
Israel will not survive with its current policies and leaders. The US will be acting as a good ally if it forces Israel to end the settlements and take real steps towards peace. That will make right wingers apoplectic. So be it. May the congress and the Whitehouse have the wisdom and courage to do what is best for the US, Israel and the Palestinians.