This time we should reach for what’s best within ourselves. If we do, when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations — an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.
— Obama’s speech before the General Assembly, September 23, 2010
When Barack Obama uttered these lines, the assembled delegates rewarded him with a standing ovation. That was last year’s promise. This year, Obama is promising to veto a Palestinian state for reasons that he has yet to clearly articulate. The president could always come out and explain his dramatic change of heart in plain language – but that might prove a little embarrassing. When it comes to matters of state, plain language can have a disastrous impact on America’s standing in the world. In the midst of the great Arab awakening – this single veto will not be cost-free. Lest we forget, this is the same president who supported Mubarak before he supported the Egyptian revolution. So let it never be said that Obama is inconsistent. He’ll always do the right thing when it’s convenient.
But that’s neither here nor there. If Obama was to speak plainly, we know exactly what he’d say.
“I was for the Palestinian State before I was against it. What the world needs to understand is that I am not the president of AIPAC – I’m just POTUS and I want a second term. Before casting the first stone, compare my poll numbers to the reception Netanyahu got in Congress after he refused to halt the construction of illegal settlements.”
“Even after I cast my veto, I expect Republicans and members of my own party to accuse me of throwing Israel under the bus for not imposing sanctions on the 150 states that are likely to support the Palestinian state.”
“I’ve seen the BBC polls. I know that people around the world support the justice of the Palestinian cause. I’m also aware that most Americans favor universal recognition of an independent Palestinian state. To be honest, I share their sentiment. It’s a rational and sensible position to take – if it doesn’t affect your job security.”
“Unfortunately, I’m not a private citizen. When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, acting on my conscience is not a privilege accorded the President of the United States. I share the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people and I yearn for their freedom but there is not a damn thing I can do about it. One way or the other, every president and every senator and every congressman has to answer to AIPAC.”
“As President of the United States of America, I have to do what I have to do which is pretty much what I’m told to do by the Israeli Lobby. I’ve got to parrot the line that direct negotiations must be given a chance knowing full well that after two decades of negotiations, Israel has done nothing but create obstacles to a two state solution. I’m obliged to feign Ignorance of the fact that the number of settlers in the West Bank have tripled since the Oslo agreement. My assigned duties require me to constantly raise a fuss about the illusionary security threats to an expansionist apartheid state that has a nuclear arsenal capable of destroying the entire Middle East. Part of my job is to get along with psychotic dispensationalist congressmen and senators who believe that a ‘peace-loving’ Israel was doing God’s work when it murdered 1,500 Palestinians and demolished the entire infrastructure of Gaza in operation Cast Lead. And after doing the obligatory dog and pony routine, I’ve got to sign the annual three billion foreign aid check to a country that has a per capita income that earned it the right to join the Organization of Economically Developed Nations.”
“Seriously, what choice do I have in the matter? It’s part of my job description. If I don’t follow through with my marching orders, I won’t have to answer to the Republicans; my White House eviction orders will come from my own party.”
“Deep down, I’m hoping my veto will inspire responsible governments around the world to internationalize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As long as America monopolizes and dominates the ‘peace process’ – there will be plenty of ‘process’ but there will never be peace. So to those of you who understand the dynamics of American domestic politics, I beg you – take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict off my plate before AIPAC sets the dogs on me. Call me a hypocrite if you must but don’t call on me to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; I’m not Jimmy Carter and I don’t want to change my address before 2016.”