OPINION by Robert Fantina- One may be excused for thinking that the impossible has occurred: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may finally have pushed the United States too far. One might have thought that constant, ongoing violations of international law might have done it. But no, that didn’t interest the U.S. Perhaps the abominable and constant violations of the basic dignity and human rights of the Palestinians might have been the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Again, such issues aren’t important to the U.S. So what has the obnoxious and arrogant Mr. Netanyahu finally done to displease the mighty U.S? What transgression might be added to the crimes against humanity committed on his instructions that finally caused the U.S. to express displeasure with him? Are you ready? Here it comes: he violated political protocol.
Speaker of the House John Boehner invited Mr. Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress, not an unusual act in and of itself, since Mr. Netanyahu is the de facto employer of Congress, and is therefore within his rights to visit occasionally and give his instructions. What Mr. Boehner failed to do was to advise President Barack Obama, no fan of the Israeli Prime Murderer, that such an invitation had been made. Mr. Netanyahu’s faux paus was in accepting the invitation that did not have the blessing of the president.
So what are we to make of all this? Is this just an internal U.S. squabble between the GOP (Generally Opposed to Progress) – controlled House and Senate, and the Democratic president they despise? Is Mr. Obama simply looking for yet another peevish excuse to criticize the Republicans? No, it seems that perhaps this particular incident transcends such pettiness that is the hallmark of U.S. governance today. Generally speaking, there is total unanimity between all parties when Israel is concerned. After all, with the American Israeli Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) funneling over $12 million dollars into the election and re-election campaigns of current members of Congress, in both parties, what is there to disagree about? The Israeli lobby pays for certain legislation to be passed, and Congress is always happy to strike a deal with the highest bidder.
But now Mr. Netanyahu must endure the indignity of criticism by his own lackeys. Members of Congress are being encouraged to ‘skip the speech’; there is even a new hashtag by that name, which certainly makes it official. And no less a worthy than Vice President Joe Biden, always happily ensconced behind anyone who addresses Congress, has announced that unspecified travel plans will keep him from fawning all over Mr. Netanyahu when he comes to perform for Congress.
Back in his apartheid homeland, the news isn’t all that much better for the Israeli Prime Murderer. Members of his own, and the opposition, party are both criticizing the speech, saying that it is an ill-timed political stunt orchestrated to increase support for him as he approaches an election.
So why is he coming? His visit coincides with the annual Congressional Israeli worship fest, known as the AIPAC convention. There, Congress’s most prominent members will pledge their allegiance to the almighty dollar as doled out by the Israeli lobby. But that is not Mr. Netanyahu’s main motivation for coming to the self-proclaimed ‘land of the free and home of the brave’. No, the Prime Murderer has specific instructions for Congress that are sufficiently important to be hand-delivered. The U.S., along with several other nations, has been in long and delicate negotiations with Iran to prevent that nation from developing nuclear weapons. Why the U.S. feels it’s acceptable for Israel, a rogue state if ever there was one, to have such weapons, but not Iran, is a puzzling question for another essay. But Mr. Netanyahu does not support such diplomacy; no, the U.S. must vote for even stronger sanctions against Iran than currently exist. This is in direct contrast to Mr. Obama’s rare desire to use diplomacy over bombs, but that means nothing if Israel is displeased. And with the GOP controlling both houses of Congress, such new sanctions are a distinct possibility. This would scuttle the negotiations currently in progress, but Congress would have a victory over President Obama, and that would only add a sweet icing to the cake of bowing to Israel.
The result of this could be a brand new war, which the Republicans are always happy to wage, and which the Democrats seem equally as happy about, albeit with some pious and meaningless caveats. With U.S. soldier/terrorists currently busy in Afghanistan, and bombing various other sites in the Middle East, would anyone even notice another war? It’s business as usual for the U.S. Does anyone notice when Switzerland remains neutral in any war? Of course not, because that is simply the way things are. Another U.S. war is also simply the way things are.
The U.S. is in a better position than any other nation, or combination of nations, to change Israeli policies. By simply tying a few strings to the $3 billion dollars that it sends to Israel annually, Palestine could exist as a free, independent and peaceful nation. The U.S. would be less hated throughout the world, and the powder keg known as the Middle East would be diffused. Those strings would only follow the model that AIPAC uses with Congress: vote as we demand, or the money river will flow to your opponent in the next election.
Yet a Congress full of members whose major concern is being reelected, and keeping their high-wage, low-demand, benefits-rich jobs isn’t about to bite the apartheid hand that so generously feeds it. Why rock the boat, even if it’s floating in the blood of innocent Palestinians? And if the diplomatic car of negotiations with Iran is crashed by new sanctions, and some U.S. blood is added to that of Palestinians, well, as long as Congress is safely in the boat, there is really nothing to worry about. What if a member of Congress were to lose his or her job? There are only so many well-paid lobbying jobs for former members of Congress, where they can sell their influence. No, much better to kiss up to the Israeli lobby, and keep the current job.
Sadly for Mr. Netanyahu, things are changing. He no longer has a global blank check for his murderous oppression of Palestine. Oh, the U.S. still finances it, but that ugly duo, the U.S. and Israel, is finding itself more often sitting alone at every international party. It is only a matter of time before it must surrender to the inevitable, which is a free and prosperous Palestine. COUNTERPUNCH