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Haaretz - America, stop sucking up to Israel By Gideon Levy

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  • Paul
    Haaretz - Last update - 08:21 01/11/2009 America, stop sucking up to Israel By Gideon Levy http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1124928.html Barack Obama has
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2009
      Haaretz -
      Last update - 08:21 01/11/2009



      America, stop sucking up to Israel By Gideon Levy

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1124928.html



      Barack Obama has been busy - offering the Jewish People blessings for
      Rosh Hashanah, and recording a flattering video for the President's
      Conference in Jerusalem and another for Yitzhak Rabin's memorial rally.
      Only Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah surpasses him in terms of sheer output of
      recorded remarks.

      In all the videos, Obama heaps sticky-sweet praise on Israel, even
      though he has spent nearly a year fruitlessly lobbying for Israel to be
      so kind as to do something, anything - even just a temporary freeze on
      settlement building - to advance the peace process.

      The president's Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, has also been busy,
      shuttling between a funeral (for IDF soldier Asaf Ramon, the son of
      Israel's first astronaut Ilan Ramon) and a memorial (for Rabin, though
      it was postponed until next week due to rain), in order to find favor
      with Israelis. Polls have shown that Obama is increasingly unpopular
      here, with an approval rating of only 6 to 10 percent.


      He decided to address Israelis by video, but a persuasive speech won't
      persuade anyone to end the occupation. He simply should have told the
      Israeli people the truth. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who
      arrived here last night, will certainly express similar sentiments:
      "commitment to Israel's security," "strategic alliance," "the need for
      peace," and so on .

      Before no other country on the planet does the United States kneel and
      plead like this. In other trouble spots, America takes a different tone.
      It bombs in Afghanistan, invades Iraq and threatens sanctions against
      Iran and North Korea. Did anyone in Washington consider begging Saddam
      Hussein to withdraw from occupied territory in Kuwait?

      But Israel the occupier, the stubborn contrarian that continues to mock
      America and the world by building settlements and abusing the
      Palestinians, receives different treatment. Another massage to the
      national ego in one video, more embarrassing praise in another.

      Now is the time to say to the United States: Enough flattery. If you
      don't change the tone, nothing will change. As long as Israel feels the
      United States is in its pocket, and that America's automatic veto will
      save it from condemnations and sanctions, that it will receive massive
      aid unconditionally, and that it can continue waging punitive, lethal
      campaigns without a word from Washington, killing, destroying and
      imprisoning without the world's policeman making a sound, it will
      continue in its ways.

      Illegal acts like the occupation and settlement expansion, and
      offensives that may have involved war crimes, as in Gaza, deserve a
      different approach. If America and the world had issued condemnations
      after Operation Summer Rains in 2006 - which left 400 Palestinians dead
      and severe infrastructure damage in the first major operation in Gaza
      since the disengagement - then Operation Cast Lead never would have been
      launched.

      It is true that unlike all the world's other troublemakers, Israel is
      viewed as a Western democracy, but Israel of 2009 is a country whose
      language is force. Anwar Sadat may have been the last leader to win our
      hearts with optimistic, hope-igniting speeches. If he were to visit
      Israel today, he would be jeered off the stage. The Syrian president
      pleads for peace and Israel callously dismisses him, the United States
      begs for a settlement free ze and Israel turns up its nose. This is what
      happens when there are no consequences for Israel's inaction.

      When Clinton returns to Washington, she should advocate a sharp policy
      change toward Israel. Israeli hearts can no longer be won with hope,
      promises of a better future or sweet talk, for this is no longer
      Israel's language. For something to change, Israel must understand that
      perpetuating the status quo will exact a painful price.

      Israel of 2009 is a spoiled country, arrogant and condescending,
      convinced that it deserves everything and that it has the power to make
      a fool of America and the world. The United States has engendered this
      situation, which endangers the entire Mideast and Israel itself. That is
      why there needs to be a turning point in the coming year - Washington
      needs to finally say no to Israel and the occupation. An unambiguous,
      presidential no.
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