While the token of loyalty that the Israel lobby demanded from the Democrats on Wednesday was the undemocratic reinstatement of an affirmation of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, curiously another piece of doting flattery from the 2008 platform — “our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy” — has been dropped.
Allies cooperate and they also function with autonomy. The relationship that the Israel lobby insists on securing, however, is one of absolute subservience in which the United States bows without question to Israeli demands with no semblance of the mutual respect that real allies afford each other. If or when the U.S should attack Iran is, supposedly, a matter for Israelis to decide, so why bother with the pretense that Israel be called ‘our strongest ally’?
As for the notion that the U.S. has a vital role to play in mediating a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that’s a thing of the past.
Tony Karon writes: The Obama Administration essentially threw up its hands in December of 2010, forced to accept defeat after two years of trying to complete the peace process.
Today, there’s no prospect of achieving a two-state peace agreement through bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The only change to Jerusalem’s status quo currently underway is the expansion of Israel’s control of the eastern parts of the city it occupied in the war of 1967 — hardly a cause for concern among those who proclaim it the undivided capital of the Jewish State, even if it is routinely denounced as “unhelpful” by a U.S. State Department mindful of the damage that expansion does to the prospects for a peace agreement.
So it’s plausible, albeit unlikely, that the Democrats’ initial omission of any reference to Jerusalem could simply have been an oversight. After all, who in Washington talks to or about the Palestinians any more? When it comes to Israel, the only topic of conversation these days is Iran’s nuclear program.
A few Israeli intellectuals glumly warn that Netanyahu has effectively buried the two-state solution, and that the result will be eventual Palestinian demands for civil rights within a single, common polity. Even Ehud Barak, Netanyahu’s defense minister and fellow Iran hawk, warned early in 2010, “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”
Barak was describing the status quo in words that would bring a frenzy of denunciation if spoken in the U.S. domestic political mainstream. Apartheid, after all, is the South African term coined for the system of white domination in which black people were denied the rights of citizenship in the state that ruled over them — and it eventually prompted a campaign of international isolation and economic sanctions. The recent decision by South Africa’s post-apartheid government prohibiting products made in occupied territories from being labeled “Made in Israel” could be a portent of things to come in the wider international community.