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May 22, 2011 5:15 pm

He Said It, He Meant It, You Applauded It

avatar by Arik Elman

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President Obama greets AIPAC board members. Photo: Ruvi Leider.

The image of the AIPAC, as developed by its detractors (and secretly embraced by many gleeful Jews in US and Israel) is one of the sabre-toothed tiger, ready to pounce and devour any American politician even suspected of being disloyal to American-Israeli alliance. It takes such an event as the one that took place today with president Obama as the main performer, to remind us all what a pussycat this “militant” and scary organization really is.

So desperate were the delegates to embrace and love their president, that they applauded Obama’s every placeholder statement about “unbreakable bonds” and “ironclad commitments”, “unprecedented cooperation” and “unwavering support”, as if there was a real possibility that Obama will express equanimity with Iranian nuclear program or question Israel’s right to exist.  They didn’t pause to realize that in his speech Obama had insisted that Israel continue to negotiate with the Palestinians despite the agreement between Fatah and Hamas, or that he pointedly refused to mention any kind of sanctions against the PLO for embracing genocidal Islamofascists as partners in government.

Moreover, they happily went along as he treated them (t0 borrow Obama’s own metaphor) “like Special Olympics, or something”.  Having presented a few days ago such a brazen and unapologetic plan for the dismemberment of a small democracy to the benefit of her sworn enemies that hasn’t been seen since 1938 in Munich, Obama simply claimed to have been misunderstood, repeated the main points of this plan verbatim, practically accused his critics of lying – and got a standing ovation in return.

The chief argument deployed by Obama in his quest to present himself as a victim either of stupidity or malignancy was simple and completely misleading – that “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” is “a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation”, and that he’s suffering the slings and arrows of his Likudnik detractors only because he said “publicly what has long been acknowledged privately”. At that, any true supporter of Israel who didn’t feel comfortable to boo his President should have left the room, rather then being treated like an ignoramus.

This “well-known formula”, which for Obama represents the only way forward, was invented by Bill Clinton in December 2000, just as the whole peacemaking edifice was crushing down around him on the heads of Jews and Arabs alike. Until then, the idea that Israel should agree to minuscule corrections of the “green line” and to compensate Palestinians even for that with the land it won in 1948, was completely foreign to Israeli peacemakers. One month before he was murdered, Yitzhak Rabin said: “The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines”.

After the bizarre spectacle of the Taba negotiations, where the representatives of the Israeli Prime Minister on the verge of expulsion from his office haggled with the henchmen of the main inciter and enabler of renewed Palestinian terrorism under the auspices of a lame-duck President, both Israel and the United States – under new management – had buried the “Clinton parameters”. As Ariel Sharon put it to the AIPAC conference on March 19, 2001: “Israel will not be bound by the record of past negotiations that failed”.
Neither Bush’s speech of June 24, 2002 nor the “Roadmap for peace” had included this “well-known formula”. In his letter to PM Sharon (April 14, 2004 – the letter that Obama keeps pretending does not exist), Bush had explicitly demolished “Clinton parameters” one by one, acknowledging the reality of Jewish settlement blocks, and saying nothing about “swaps”. In preparation for the Annapolis Conference in 2007, Bush had rejected the Palestinian demand to include this “well-known formula” in the draft resolution. Clinton’s poisoned gift would have remained buried, if not for the efforts of yet another Israeli Prime Minister, who at the moment of disgrace went out on a limb in search of any kind of legacy that does not include indictments. Needless to say, Olmert’s peace offer was disavowed not only by Netanyahu and his government, but by “Kadima” party as well.
Never since the beginning of the peace process back in 1993 was the Israeli government called upon to affirm this “well-known formula”. Never had the parliament of the Jewish state voted to accept it as a basis for the permanent settlement. And when the Israeli electorate had the opportunity to pass judgement over the parties and the politicians who were in favour of this “long-acknowledged” idea, it has summarily dismissed them from power. There’s no “there” there – just a mix of Clinton’s ad-libbing “diplomacy”, the desperation of two doomed Israeli Prime Ministers and Palestinian blackmail now transformed into American policy. By pretending that nothing happened, good people of AIPAC can perhaps sleep easily. Unfortunately, Israelis can’t.

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