A Day in November

Rahm Emanuel is, so it seems, the American most hated by the leaders of Israel. He is considered the most dangerous opponent of the Netanyahu government in the White House. Behind closed doors, they shower him – if one is to believe the media – with anti-Semitic epithets. “Jewboy” is one of them. In Zionist usage, he is a “self-hating Jew”.

And lo and behold, here he is strolling around the Galilee in shorts. He visits the occupied Golan Heights, which foreign diplomats normally take great pains to avoid. The IDF flies him between its installations. He prays at the Western Wall. A good Jewish tourist from America.

Emanuel’s son has reached the age of Bar Mitzva; where better to celebrate than the Land of Israel, where his grandfather was a member of the Irgun – an outfit that the US administration would have branded a terrorist organization, like Hamas today.

In short, the self-hating Jewboy has revealed himself as a Zionist with a warm Jewish heart, an admirer of the IDF and a supporter of the annexation of the Golan Heights.

The visit was not, of course, a passing whim. It joined a long series of gestures by Barack Obama designed to win the hearts of the Jews before the upcoming congressional elections.

It seems that at some stage, months ago, Obama came to the conclusion that he had lost the first round of his contest with Binyamin Netanyahu, and that it would be better to live and fight another day.

He himself spelled it out in a conversation with Jewish leaders: at the beginning of his path in the Middle East he stepped on some landmines. He has learned his lesson.

The result was a campaign of sweet-talk and flattery:

He invited Elie Wiesel, Mr. Holocaust in person, to a private lunch at the White House. Perhaps they exchanged memories about some common experiences, like “How to accept the Nobel Peace Prize and keep a straight face.” Wiesel’s contribution to peace is one of the great mysteries of the universe. (My own opinion of Wiesel found its expression in a Hebrew word I invented especially for him: “Shoan” (something like “Holocauster’.)

After that, Obama met with several sets of “Jewish leaders” and told them about his unwavering support for the security of Israel, his admiration for Netanyahu and love for Israel in general. Never mind that just recently a major opinion poll has shown that these “leaders” represent mostly themselves – the great majority of the younger Jewish generation in the US opposes the policies of the Israeli government and is becoming more and more alienated from Israel.

Sending his No. 1 confidante to Israel in the guise of an ardent Zionist and extending an invitation to Netanyahu to come and visit him in the White House are further stages in this campaign.

What is the aim? Well, that is as clear as the mid-day sun.

On November 2, the 93rd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, elections will be held in the US. All the seats in the House of Representatives and 34 in the senate will be up for grabs.

For Obama, these elections are hugely important. In the worst case, the Democrats will lose control of one of the houses of Congress, making it impossible for Obama to get most of the laws he desires passed. The best he can realistically hope for is that the Democratic majority in both houses will be reduced, making the life of the President much more difficult.

AIPAC has already shown that it can have a big impact on election results. When the lobby decides to topple a member of Congress, that is the end of his political life. When the lobby concentrates its financial and political might on a certain spot, it is almost invincible.

Obama now needs all the support he can get in both houses. Therefore, he must neutralize the pro-Israel lobby. The expense of the Bar Mitzva party of the Emanuel family was a negligible price to pay for this.

When Obama says that he stepped on a landmine, he means the mine called AIPAC.

The phenomenon itself is nothing new. It repeats itself every fours years, and sometimes every two.

Since the first day of the State of Israel, all Israeli governments have been aware that an election year in the US provides them with unparalleled political opportunities.

Israel was founded in May 1948, half a year before the US elections. Harry Truman was in a critical situation. Many believed that he would be roundly defeated. He was in desperate need of money. Some rich Jews dug into their pockets and saved Truman, who won by the skin of his teeth.

All of Truman’s political and military aides advised him not to support Israel’s independence. But Truman recognized the new state (de facto at least) immediately after it was established.

From that day on, whenever the Israeli government needs US support for a controversial act, it waits for an American election year. This has almost always succeeded. The exception: a week before the 1956 elections, the Ben-Gurion government (urged on by Shimon Peres) invaded Sinai in cahoots with France and the UK. The Israeli leaders believed that no American politician would dare to oppose Israel on the eve of elections.

They were wrong. President Dwight Eisenhower, a former supreme allied commander, was supremely confident of his election victory. Therefore he ignored the Jewish lobby and, together with his Soviet colleague, presented Israel with an ultimatum. That got David Ben-Gurion out of Sinai and Gaza in a jiffy.

Those who hoped that Obama would prove to be a second Eisenhower were wrong. In spite of some resounding successes, his political situation is far from impressive. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has not improved his political health. As a realistic politician, he has decided that this is not the right time to take on the Jewish establishment.

Perhaps he remembered the sober advice of Niccolo Machiavelli: If you can’t kill the lion, don’t provoke it.

However, there is a huge landmine buried on the road to election day: the settlement freeze.

When Obama compelled Netanyahu to freeze the settlements officially in the West Bank (and unofficially in East Jerusalem, too), a ten-month period was agreed upon. This will come to an end in September.

When the time comes, Netanyahu will face immense pressures from the settlers and their allies to start building again. “What are you afraid of?” they will say, “two months before the elections Obama will not dare to lift a finger! And (quoting a Jewish sage) if not now, when?”

The situation in Israel will increase the temptation. It seems that “we have never had it so good”. There are no attacks. Our economy is booming. In spite of the criticism echoing around the world, Israel’s political standing is robust. Just last week Israel was accepted as a member of the OECD, the world’s most prestigious economic club. Obama has capitulated. When the army’s Homeland Command held extensive exercises this week, the people just winked and did not bother to run to the shelters.

The temptation to renew the building in the settlements will be strong. But Netanyahu will think about the day after. And so will Obama.

Indeed, what will happen the day after the elections?

Optimists believe that on that morning, a new era will start. No further elections are planned before November 2012, when Obama’s first term expires. For an entire year, at least, he will be free to act.

That is a “window of opportunities”. A wide-open window. During this time Obama can realize his hope of bringing peace and retrieve the position of the US in the Middle East. As an added bonus, he will also be able to vent his accumulated fury against Netanyahu.

According to this forecast, in this one year, from the end of 2010 to the end of 2011, the final act of the drama will be enacted. Obama will present an American peace plan, the pressure on the Israeli government will intensify, Israel will finally have to choose between peace and territories, peace will at long last be on its way.

But there is also an opposite forecast: Obama will continue to disappoint, as he has disappointed until now. He will already be thinking about the next presidential election and continue to be afraid of AIPAC.

This forecast has a lot going for it. When I was very young, my father admonished me never, but never, to yield to blackmail. He who pays a blackmailer once will continue to pay to his last day. A blackmailer never lets go of his victim.

(In the course of my life I have tried to adhere to this advice. My technique is this: when somebody tries to blackmail me, threatening to do me some harm, I imagine that he has already done so. This way, the threat loses its sting.)

AIPAC is blackmailing Obama, and until now it has been successful. It will go on doing so after November. Obama should face up to the idea and decide: no more.

Will he have the courage to do so? I don’t know. I hope.

Uri Avnery is a peace activist, journalist, and writer. Read other articles by Uri, or visit Uri's website.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 1:49pm #

    Nice spin on rahm’s visit, averny. Your little spiel provides a bit of misdirection about the rahm visit, like a good little zionist propagandist. You give the boy credibility. The facts are rahm and obama are not hated by the israeli leadership, they are quite well received. Both are playing their assigned role to the letter. What is rogered-rahm-jet doing in apartheid israel? He’s getting briefed on what moves the obama regime needs to take next. The Iran-Turkey-Brazil uranium deal has taken a lot of the wind out of the ziofascist aggression campaign against Iran and you guys need to revise strategy because you now look like mean spirited clowns to even the dullest knives in the drawer. Then there’s also the next falseflag(s) you guys are working on. The one against North Korea is working smoothly (if only those bloody Chinese and Russians would shut up, eh), obviously, you lot wont be letting your main method of propaganda support remain on the sidelines of your aggression against Iran.

    Ury averny is one of those zionists who say nice things and appear to be humanists, like simon peres, but reality is he is just another duplicitous used car salesman seling lemons and clunkers to the unwary.

    Blankfort wrote a good response to an earlier article this hasbara marketer wrote:

    “Hello Uri,

    I have just read your response to critics of your opposition to boycotting Israel [1] and, having long ago realized the limits of your activism and worldview, it held no surprises……”

    On Rationalizing Israel’s Dispossession of the Palestinians
    by Jeffrey Blankfort


  2. Gary S. Corseri said on May 29th, 2010 at 2:54pm #

    Uri Avnery certainly does not go so far as Jeffrey Blankfort does (whose article is cited in the comment above) in his condemnation of the Jewish state. However, it’s somewhat absurd to fault Avnery for not being radical enough or anti-Zionist enough. The point of his article above is to highlight the entanglements of the Jewish-American lobby (AIPAC), and Israeli and American politics. Avnery is not providing historical context for the existence of the Zionist state; his focus is on the “So You Think You Can Dance?” approach Netanyahu and Obama are trying to pull off as America barrels into the mid-term elections. Which of these two “leaders” can actually lead; can Obama finally deliver on “change we can believe in,” or will he cave–as so many have since Eisenhower–to Israeli and Jewish lobbyist pressure? Framing these central New World Order relationships in terms of a one or two year window of opportunity–for some significant change–may help focus the attention of the Left and anti-Zionists on what can be done now to prevent another AIPAC victory over the American electorate. Avnery has been an outspoken and incisive critic of the Jewish state for decades. His commentary may n0t be as pungent as some would prefer, but it is salty enough for most American readers and will at least provide entree into the gist of these arguments. Let’s not shoot ourselves in our Left foot and make our zeal for perfectly honed and comprehensive argumentation the enemy of good, sharp critical analysis.

  3. dan e said on May 29th, 2010 at 4:01pm #

    Usually Corseri’s writing elicites my admiration, but this time alas I find myself more in sympathy with Hayate’s position. My view of Avnery’s role in the political arena is similar to Blankfort’s. Avnery makes a lot of good criticisms but over the years has demonstrated an inability to get to the heart of the matter, thus remains mired in the realm of mythology.

    My problems with this particular article however do not arise from his overall stance re the Jewish State or the ZPC, but from his implicit claim to be able to read Obama’s mind and his assumption that US electoral politics works in ways that resemble how it’s discussed in the MSM.
    For instance, these two paras:
    “AIPAC is blackmailing Obama, and until now it has been successful. It will go on doing so after November. Obama should face up to the idea and decide: no more.

    Will he have the courage to do so? I don’t know. I hope.”

    In numerous preceding statements Avnery presents as fact his view of a “secret Obama” who has to be forced to do what the ZPC wants him to do, when the record shows that he’s always been more than eager to eat anything the ZPC/Izzy dishes out, his only questions being “where & how much”.
    In other words, Avnery has a completely unrealistic notion of how US politics & politicians in general, and Obama in particular, function.
    There IS no significant “political contest” going on; it was all decided long ago when they decided to let Obama be Editor of the Harvard Law Review. All else is epilogue, and all punditry, including Avnery’s ESP “kremlin-watching”, is a waste of time.

  4. bozh said on May 29th, 2010 at 4:14pm #

    For socialism, w.o. which there will never be end to fascism, it is a lot better to blame koreans for attacking koreans than to have world fascist union blaming china for attacking korean ship.

    I don’t know why world fascists have not blamed china? Is it that they didn’t think deep enough?
    Doing away with n.korea does not profit fascists that much. But doing away with china, wld be deathknell for building a humane society on our planet.

    Let us recall that sargon and other mesopotamian kingly gods were also known as the rulers of known world.
    Neither bush, nor clinton or obama are known as the rulers of known world, but angelina, brad pitt, clooney, madonna, streissand, netanyahu, liberman 1,2,3,4, and joan rivers might become that +plus be divine like sargon of akkad.
    Unfortunately, me being 92, i won’t be there to see it and celebrate it with my god-devil7xy.
    U didn’t think, did u, that god 7 x y is all alone out there? tnx

    BTW, that damaged ship sure looks as if made of pressed together cardboard, wood chips, and possibly mung beans?

    That’s the final solution: fascistic society on all of the planet or governance in hands of world plutos and the rest of us in perpetual servitude. tnx

  5. bozh said on May 29th, 2010 at 4:25pm #

    I no longer read what avneri writes. he apears to behave and think like a ‘zionist’ [means socalled].I.e., against ROR and one state. So, for me, his writings are no longe rof any interest to me. I don’t read any longer what chomsky say either.
    In the interest of building an humane societies, the time has come to boycott all land robbers. tnx

  6. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 5:40pm #

    Gary S. Corseri said on May 29th, 2010 at 2:54pm

    “The point of his article above is to highlight the entanglements of the Jewish-American lobby (AIPAC), and Israeli and American politics.”

    The point of avnery’s piece was to obfuscate the real entanglements and and waffle on with a load of “feel good” prose that really has little to do with a strategy for any real change. The same point of your commentary supporting this obfuscation, in fact.

    Want to prevent another aipac victory in the american elections, vote independent candidates who have explicitly rejected the influence of the zionist lobbies.

  7. Deadbeat said on May 29th, 2010 at 9:11pm #

    Gary Corseri writes …

    However, it’s somewhat absurd to fault Avnery for not being radical enough or anti-Zionist enough.

    I think it is absurd and downright disgusting not to CONDEMN Avnery and other Liberal Zionists. The soft sell from Liberal Zionists that has been bought by the Left these past 40 years or so has crippled it. It demonstrates that the Left cannot be trusted to adhere to principles of justice and anti-racism. The desires of Liberal Zionist is to gain institutional acceptance of their racist ideology by giving us the “old soft shoe”. Vigilance is needed to build the kind of solidarity needed to challenge Zionism — not the compromising of principles that is endemic on the Left.

  8. bozh said on May 30th, 2010 at 6:22am #

    DB, some ‘zionists’;i.e., land robbers just want a peoples’ land; do much expelling and some murdering and then take a rest or take it easy on robbed people.
    And call it leftist peace activism. tnx

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 30th, 2010 at 3:12pm #

    I think that any analysis that obscures the central truth,that Obummer is Zionist property and has been for years, and that Emanuel,his very first appointment, is the Dick Cheney ie ‘the shadow Shogun’of the Obummer Presidency, is pretty unhelpful. The little giggle of accusing Emanuel of being antipathetic to the Likudniks was just that famous ‘Jewish sense of humour’ allied with typical Zionist mendacity and deceptiveness.Obummer has been Netanyahu’s flunkey since day one, the Palestinians are still being crucified, Gaza is still besieged, Iran,Lebanon and Syria regularly threatened and the persecution of Israeli Arabs is reaching new depths of depravity.The rulers of the world still pull the strings through their money power, and destroy anyone who gets in their way, through slander, vilification, media assault and political destruction in the West or simple murder if you are an Arab or Moslem ‘two-legged animal’.