Enough is Enough

As sick of the health care debate as I am, there is still something worse- the Israeli/Palestinian issue:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday that Israel had sent a “deeply negative signal” aboutthe U.S.-Israeli relationship and urged him to take immediate steps to demonstrate it was interested in renewing efforts at a Middle East peace agreement.

Clinton spoke to the Israeli leader by telephone. Her call, made in the wake of the embarrassment suffered by Vice President Biden this week when Israel announced it would build 1,600 housing units in a disputed area of Jerusalem, was an unusually tough message for the longtime U.S. ally. It came two days after Biden condemned the action which was announced while he was in Israel, and demonstrated that Netanyahu’s efforts to mollify the administration have fallen short. He has claimed that he did not know the announcement was coming but has not canceled the project.

Relations with Israel have been strained during the Obama administration, and Biden’s trip was intended as a fence-mending mission. Now it has led to the biggest crisis between the two countries in two decades.

I don’t think you can even pretend that Israel is negotiating in good faith anymore, although I’m sure Marty Peretz at the TNR and Commentary magazine are trying to argue just that. And quite frankly, I think it would be good for the US, Israel, and the entire world if maybe we didn’t have that “special relationship” with Israel anymore. It drags us into their corner and pits us against much of the Middle East, and it gives the Israelis the arrogance to behave the way they have the past few years.






79 replies
  1. 1
    Zam says:

    I think Israel knows they can do whatever the hell they want and get away with it. They know how strong the Israeli lobby is in this country and figure if someone did abandon them it would be a sure ticket out of office. I hope someday a second term president has the balls to do what is right.

  2. 2
    DBrown says:

    Israel is too important for the rapture for US chritisans not to rupture the US bonds … until the end of days, that is.

  3. 3
    demkat620 says:

    The only way they will stop is to cut off their aid.

    Which ain’t gonna happen. I don’t know what they could do to make people over here want to hold their feet to the fire.

  4. 4
    Tattoosydney says:

    It’s possible (and I stress only possible) that some other countries are slowly coming to the view that the Israeli government is not always acting in good faith:

    Foreign Minister Stephen Smith yesterday made clear Australia opposed Israel’s plans to build 1600 units in the face of Palestinian objections. ”This is a bad decision at the wrong time, and it’s not a helpful contribution to the peace process,” Mr Smith said. The criticism follows a difficult few weeks in Australia’s relations with Israel, after an alleged Israeli hit-squad used forged Australian passports to enter Dubai and assassinate a Palestinian militant.

  5. 5
    Jody says:

    Given how far off a cliff we’ve gotten it might behoove us to be a bit more concerned with getting our own house in order than to continue to subsidize Israeli dickishness.

    But, as has already been said, the holy land is too important to the doomsday cultists. They’d let ’em genocide the place up and you’d never get a peep from the folks in power. Being against the Israel lobby AND objectively pro-Islam? Nah. Guh. Happen.

  6. 6
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    It’s that godamned Netanyahoo pissing in Obama’s punch, just like he used to do with Bill Clinton. You can thank Hamas who decides Israeli elections to get dipshit neocon Likudites into power. The bullshit never ends there, or here.

  7. 7
    Cat Lady says:

    Pissing off Joe the Biden, longtime Friend of Israel, may have been a bridge too far. That was really, really, really stupid for Israel to do. Blowback time.

  8. 8
    JenJen says:

    I’d bring up Sarah Palin and her USA-Israel flag pin she likes to sport, if it were appropriate to the discussion. Since it isn’t, I won’t.

  9. 9
    some guy says:

    Countdown to accusations of antisemitism: 5…4…3…

  10. 10
    PeakVT says:

    The other Cole has a couple of posts on Biden’s trip. Highly recommended.

  11. 11
    cbear says:

    I think it would be good for the US, Israel, and the entire world if maybe we didn’t have that “special relationship” with Israel anymore.

    No shit, Sherlock John.

  12. 12
    Violet says:

    @Zam:

    I hope someday a second term president has the balls to do what is right.

    Given how Obama is acting now, if he does get elected for a second term then he may be a president who will do something. Until then, Israel knows the US won’t do anything.

  13. 13
    bernard says:

    Israel will do as it always has, thank you very much. So what else is new. i often wonder if Americans ever think how much the “special” relationship costs.

    but it doesn’t matter, anyway. Israel will continue to do whatever it decides to do. somethings never change and Israel is never going to live with the Palestinians. for the last 50 years it has been that way. why would it change?

  14. 14
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Jesus Christ. Fuck Israel. Seriously. I’m tired of them thinking they can get away with doing whatever stupid shit they want, and that we’ll always be there to bail them out. Just once, we shouldn’t.

  15. 15
    cat48 says:

    BiBi is being excoriated by the Israeli press. I have been reading about this all day. Biden & the WH evidently had a hissy fit and let BiBi know he had really messed up this time. He also got several calls from foreign ministers that same nite rebuking him. According to Israeli press, Biden told him privately that he was putting our troops stationed in the ME and the U.S. security at risk by his actions. Who knows how this will end. The next step in the process would have been for Obama to visit in a few months to speak to the Israelis directly, but I don’t see that happening now. Good to see the Secretary is on board with the WH as she always is. I’m sorta glad it happened though because it puts BiBi on the defense.

  16. 16
    chopper says:

    god, do i hate netanyahu.

  17. 17
    wasabi gasp says:

    But they housesit our portal.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Tazistan Jen says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Pissing off Joe the Biden, longtime Friend of Israel, may have been a bridge too far. That was really, really, really stupid for Israel to do. Blowback time.

    I agree, and Hillary, too.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    I will say one thing: the nice thing about having it happen to Crazy Uncle Joe is that you just know he ripped Bibi a new one on the spot.

  21. 21
    Tax Analyst says:

    John Cole:

    I think it would be good for the US, Israel, and the entire world if maybe we didn’t have that “special relationship” with Israel anymore

    Agreed. And let me add that I’m more than a little tired of U.S. politicians like Lieberman and Feinstein carrying water for AIPAC as though those folks speak for all American Jews. I can tell you personally that they do not.

  22. 22
    Paddy says:

    28 years I’ve known Jeff, and he’s always been a knee jerk defender of Israel. Today when they announced what Sec Clinton said, Jeff muttered, “It’s about damn time someone stood up to them.” If he had burst into flames it would have surprised me less.

  23. 23
    Claudia says:

    “Tepid” seems to be the most common descriptive word of Obama&Co. Spineless is more like it. Whatever noises they make at Israel, the US in fact will do nothing except ship more weapons and send money.

  24. 24
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I think it would be good for the US, Israel, and the entire world if maybe we didn’t have that “special relationship” with Israel anymore.

    Agreed, but the “special relationship” is dug in like — let’s see if I can channel Dan Rather here — a tick on a hound. Pro Israel resolutions tend to pass on the order of 420-5 or the like. And this despite the fact that Israel has quite flagrantly told the U.S. to go fuck itself twice in just the short time Obama has been in office, once right to the Vice President’s face. There is a better chance we’ll get single payer health care in the near future than that the “special relationship” will go away.

  25. 25
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @Claudia: What dem would you like to see replace Obama?

  26. 26
    Big City Mary says:

    Balfour was bad policy then and is bad policy now, if for no other reason than Zionism has created a population of Jews who have become exactly the type of people that Zionism was meant to protect them from.

  27. 27
    slag says:

    @cat48:

    Biden told him privately that he was putting our troops stationed in the ME and the U.S. security at risk by his actions.

    This! Goddamn, if nothing else, I want people to start bringing this issue up. The status of our relationship with Israel is making us less safe. Why are we ok with that?

  28. 28
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Claudia: So…because Clinton called Israel on their shit, the Obama administration is spineless? Need clarification.

  29. 29
    bayville says:

    @demkat620:

    …cut off their aid

    Then Israel would just get aid from its other allies in the world….um……um……..um……….uh…………..um……..

    ……..I can’t think of one of the top of my head but I’m sure Israel has another wealthy, staunch ally.

    Otherwise, the U.S. would have a pretty good poker hand to play with.

  30. 30
    DougJ says:

    @Claudia:

    Unlike what the brave Niall Ferguson would do.

  31. 31
    richardo cabeza says:

    According to the Israeli press, Biden told him privately that he was putting our troops stationed in the ME and the U.S. security at risk by his actions.

    That’s what the message on 911 should have been: Apartheid Israel (AI) is a direct threat to the US. Instead of evaluating the US military empire overseas and the US relationship with AI, Chimpy did his usual historically epic fail which virtually doomed the Two State Solution.

    ChimpCo’s strategic failures will be felt for generations around the planet. Republicans Win!

  32. 32
    nancydarling says:

    Does any one know what percent of Jewish settlers in the West Bank are recent immigrants to Israel? I remember seeing an interview with some of them several years ago. They were fundamentalist loons and definitely had Brooklyn accents. They were willing to resist with violence if the Israeli government tried to move them. I know there is a deep divide within Israeli society over the settlements and I wonder if it cuts along more recent immigrants vs Sabras, etc. Many of my Jewish friends are as deeply disturbed as I am about the direction all of this is taking. I also wonder what role water plays in all of this. I believe that the aquifers for that area are under the West Bank.

  33. 33
    Alan says:

    There was a time when I supported Israel in practically everything. But my mind was clouded by religion. Since letting go of God, I can now see what the tension is about. These people promoting and building these settlements are nothing more than religious fanatics. I feel sorry for secular Jews who live there.

  34. 34
    ellaesther says:

    @Cat Lady: A) I call him Joe the Biden too!! Like, all the time!

    I’ve been writing about this a lot this week (see above links!) — I think it mattered that Obama sent Biden, specifically Biden, even before it became a mess, and now that it’s a mess? I think it matters even more. And then today I loved MJ Rosenberg’s piece at Media Matters today. Among the many smart things he says there is this:

    First, it occurs to me that the Israelis may not be as worried about Iran’s nuclear development as they say they are. They say it is an existential threat, one that poses the possibility of the total destruction of Israel. But, if they really believed that, would they have sabotaged a summit with Vice President Biden designed to coordinate actions to deter an Iranian bomb? Would they have blown up the summit over settlements? Because that is what they did and it indicates that the Iranian threat may be is less important to the Netanyahu government than keeping the settlers happy, even at the price of disrupting joint US-Israeli efforts to counter Iran.

    It’s worth reading the whole thing but bottom line, the complete cluenessness and losing-of-the-plot that Israel has been demonstrating lately is the first thing to give little old American-Israeli me hope in years, because between that and who this President is, I feel like for the first time in years, there’s a possibility of America finally forcing someone’s hand, somehow.

    Note: I said a possibility. I could be proven wrong, or someone could try to achieve movement and fail. But this is the first true window of opportunity that I’ve seen cracked open in time out of mind.

    ETA: one link removed to get past moderation

  35. 35

    Why the hell is Israel allowed to behave like the 6’10” bully in the playground smacking around the 4′ 10″ America? I mean come on people what is up with that? Surely the Jewish lobby in the US isn’t that powerful for FSM sake?

  36. 36
    stickler says:

    Claudia:

    “Tepid” seems to be the most common descriptive word of Obama&Co. Spineless is more like it. Whatever noises they make at Israel, the US in fact will do nothing except ship more weapons and send money.

    I’m not so sure I’d use the word “tepid.” Hillary apparently
    had a testy phone call with Bibi, and Biden talking tersely about “putting our troops in danger” is pretty well off the diplomatic reservation.

    But you’re right to suspect that this won’t end with any serious action taken on our part. On the other hand, Israelis know damn good and well that they’d better not lose Uncle Sugar’s support, and they’ve turned on Bibi before. Maybe it’ll happen again.

  37. 37
    ellaesther says:

    @cat48: Yes. This. Also.

  38. 38
    Alan says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: The Jewish lobby is populated with fundamentalist Christians. They’re as much to blame as Jewish religious fanatics.

  39. 39
    ellaesther says:

    @Cat Lady: (following is in moderation and editing doesn’t help, so I’m reposting with fewer links. Fingers crossed).

    A) I call him Joe the Biden too!! Like, all the time! I’ve been writing about this a lot this week (see above links!)—I think it mattered that Obama sent Biden, specifically Biden, even before it became a mess, and now that it’s a mess? I think it matters even more. And then today I loved MJ Rosenberg’s piece at Media Matters today. Among the many smart things he says there is this:

    First, it occurs to me that the Israelis may not be as worried about Iran’s nuclear development as they say they are. They say it is an existential threat, one that poses the possibility of the total destruction of Israel. But, if they really believed that, would they have sabotaged a summit with Vice President Biden designed to coordinate actions to deter an Iranian bomb? Would they have blown up the summit over settlements? Because that is what they did and it indicates that the Iranian threat may be is less important to the Netanyahu government than keeping the settlers happy, even at the price of disrupting joint US-Israeli efforts to counter Iran.

    It’s worth reading the whole thing but bottom line, the complete cluenessness and losing-of-the-plot that Israel has been demonstrating lately is the first thing to give little old American-Israeli me hope in years, because between that and who this President is, I feel like for the first time in years, there’s a possibility of America finally forcing someone’s hand, somehow.

    Note: I said a possibility. I could be proven wrong, or someone could try to achieve movement and fail. But this is the first true window of opportunity that I’ve seen cracked open in time out of mind.

  40. 40
    ellaesther says:

    Also, not for nothing, but if you all feel this way (and I believe that you do) please call or write to the White House, the State Dept, your Senators and your Representative and tell them so.

    And if you’re Jewish MAKE SURE YOU MENTION IT!

    And if you’re interested in organizations that are doing the real work to try to bring this madness to an end, both here and in Israel/Palestine, here’s a list.

  41. 41
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @ellaesther: Can I convert to Judaism for one day?

  42. 42
    Johnny B says:

    Thanks for saying this, John. Although I suspect you may now be labelled anti-semitic by the some of the same people who brought us the Iraq War. We desperately need to unlink our nation from that region, but, alas, I suspect we are going to stay on the ride to the bitter end. And the end will be bitter.

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    @nancydarling:

    Does any one know what percent of Jewish settlers in the West Bank are recent immigrants to Israel?

    I’m curious about the same thing, but Google let me down. I always get the impression that it’s pretty high and that many of them immigrate so they can live in a settlement.

  44. 44
    Elisabeth says:

    @Alan:

    I don’t think it’s so much about letting go of God; it’s about people being educated about the lack of basic human decency in the craven way Israel has treated the Palestinians. The government has given the Simon Wiesenthal Center permission to build on top of an ancient cemetary known to contain sacred Muslim graves. The other Cole has a column that includes a petition to stop the expansion/desecration.

  45. 45
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Zam:

    I hope someday a second term president has the balls to do what is right.

    Be careful what you wish for. Even odds that ballsy second-termer would choose to nuke the entire Middle East — hopefully, but not necessarily, after withdrawing American troops — on the grounds that all them sand jockeys are indistinguishably treacherous and a general burden on the world’s patience. And half the National Review board would shake their heads sadly and type up long editorials explaining that, hard lines on the “good Jews”, but reclaiming America’s inherent spot at the top of the pyramids must require difficult choices.

  46. 46
    John O says:

    You, John, are clearly an anti-Semite.

    (This, also.)

  47. 47
    Nick says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Obviously if Obama had a spine, we’d be unilaterially bombing Tel Aviv.

    Seriously, like I’ve been saying, you can’t please some liberals…so don’t even bother trying.

  48. 48
    Nick says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Why the hell is Israel allowed to behave like the 6’10” bully in the playground smacking around the 4’ 10” America?

    Because Florida is a swing state.

  49. 49
    Ecks says:

    I can’t remember where I read it, but I’ve seen the argument made that the Israeli government has the settlements heavily subsidized as cheap housing, so quite a few of the people moving into them are just looking for an affordable place to live, rather than being overly religiously motivated (though there are certainly those too). If true, this makes it a far more bureaucratic and inane evil.

  50. 50
    tyrese says:

    oh, god, i stopped reading anything about Israel/Palestine years ago. Both sides act like douchenozzles, have acted like douchenozzles my entire life, and I have no interest in reading about the particular details of this week’s douchenozzlery.

    I view the Is/Pal conflict much like I would view a decades long feud between Jesus Quintana from The Big Lebowski, and Buck from Kill Bill Vol. 1. Don’t care, hope they both lose.

  51. 51
    MTiffany says:

    @cat48:

    Who knows how this will end.

    The same way this Israel BS always ends — with dead Palestinian children.

  52. 52
    Ecks says:

    Don’t care, hope they both lose.

    This is an entirely probable outcome.

  53. 53
    Kiril says:

    You know, aid to Israel is authorized every year through an earmark. Don’t we hate earmarks now? I forget. Where’s John McCain?

  54. 54
    ellaesther says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Don’t know if you’re still around SP, but hey, surely you know a Jew or two who are on the side of the angels! Rope them into calling/writing.

    If you don’t/would rather not, you can always go with “I am a tax-paying American citizen who is deeply concerned about this country’s security interests, and I fear that the constant grinding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a threat to those interests. As much as I believe that Israel and the Palestinians need a durable peace, I believe America needs it, too.”

  55. 55
    Kiril says:

    @Mnemosyne: Actually, many of the emigres from the former Soviet Union were sent to settlements by the government. I guess it’s a common thing.

  56. 56
    ellaesther says:

    Also, to anyone who might cry anti-semitism, here’s the response of one America-Israeli Jew (me!) who has lived, studied and written about the issue for a quarter of a century (because I’m old. And a geek. I’m an old geek):

    On anti-semitism and criticism of Israel.

  57. 57
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @ellaesther: I’ve got a friend named Moses. Surely he has to count!

    (Even though he is atheist)

  58. 58

    I don’t think you can even pretend that Israel is negotiating in good faith anymore

    According to all the BJ traditions, this makes you an anti-semite.

  59. 59
    DougJ says:

    @ellaesther:

    Self-hating Jew.

  60. 60
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Is it possible that there’s a generation gap on Israel? Because I feel like they’ve alternated being provocateurs and bullies and general jerkwads since I became aware of their existence as a country in about 1983 or so. But there’s this undercurrent in the media and in the political classes that still sees Israel as scrappy and plucky and constantly on the brink of destruction, which just doesn’t match up with how they behave, IMHO.

    (And, yes, I know that the people of Israel are not the same as their government, and that the most principled critic of right-wing Israel is left-wing Israel, so I always need to amend my initial remarks every time the subject comes up.)

    To trivialize, maybe there’s a contingent out there that still sees Israel as the New Orleans Saints. My sense is that they’re much more like the Dallas Cowboys.

  61. 61
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @FlipYrWhig: What I wonder is if there is a generation gap specifically among American Jews. I sometimes get the feeling that it’s similar to the one over Castro between young and old Cuban Americans. That’s actually the one hope I have for bringing some sanity back to our policy; the Jewish lobby may evolve and see the issue differently.

  62. 62
    tc125231 says:

    I don’t think you can even pretend that Israel is negotiating in good faith anymore

    Well hell. When you’re right, you’re right.

  63. 63
    Kennedy says:

    And quite frankly, I think it would be good for the US, Israel, and the entire world if maybe we didn’t have that “special relationship” with Israel anymore

    This. What the hell do we get out of our relationship with Israel anyway? What other ally do we have in which the ally does whatever the fuck it wants and expects us to support their every action?

    And Netanyahu is a dick. Someone needs to call his bluff. It’s like he’s picked up on the emo left’s mantra: anytime the administration issues a statement, he thumbs his nose and shouts, “Just words!”

  64. 64
    TuiMel says:

    @Nick:
    Oh, that we could end that “special” relationship with Florida.

  65. 65
    Michael says:

    I liked pre-1973 Israel. Prickly, semi-socialist, dabbling with both sides in the Cold War and run by Sabras who had common sense.

    Ever since the Fundevangelical filth started getting deeply involved there in order to fuel the End Times “death to all but Christians” eschatology of their bizarre spin on a bronze age semiliterate goatherd death cult, Israeli conservatives have been going off the rails with racism and irrational actions in order to placate their paymasters.

  66. 66
    Honus says:

    @slag:
    Because most people in this country feel that’s what our troops are for. To much of our electorate, defending Israel=defending the US

  67. 67
    Mjaum says:

    I truly hope that the Israel government keeps pissing off the US. After all, incensed americans are so much more important than incinerated palestinians.

    Am sad now.

  68. 68
    ellaesther says:

    @DougJ: Godless heretic.

  69. 69
    ellaesther says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Good heavens, if we were to disallow Jewish atheists from being counted as Jews we’d be in real trouble. Atheist-schmatheist — a Jew’s a Jew! (To many Jews’ chagrin).

  70. 70
    Redshirt says:

    I am sick and tired of so called “sacred ground”, and that’s what all this crap is really about, since it’s a stinking desert with very little land worthy of living on. Religion once again making the world a far worse place.

  71. 71
    Svensker says:

    @Redshirt:

    Em, not really, although religion qua religion has certainly played a part. It’s more just standard issue human tribalism run amok.

  72. 72
    bob h says:

    Perhaps the next shipment of cluster bombs could be held up?

  73. 73
    Redshirt says:

    @Svensker: How do you figure? The reason this issue is so explosive is not simply land/water rights, but Holy Land rights. If Judaism/Christianity/Islam didn’t all share Jerusalem as Holy Lands, I’m sure this issue would be far more solvable.

  74. 74
    Taobhan says:

    I doubt seriously that the “special relationship” is going to change unless and until the Israeli military attacks and kills American armed forces. Oh, that already happened on June 8, 1967. Forget it then – if a military assault doesn’t call for a re-evaluation of the “special relationship,” then it’s never going to happen.

  75. 75
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    What the hell do we get out of our relationship with Israel anyway?

    A powerful military outpost run by whites of European descent on the edge of the Islamic world.

  76. 76
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @wasabi gasp:

    But they housesit our portal.

    lolz

  77. 77
    John says:

    The Administration is pretending it’s offended and thinks it will satisfy those Americans that demand satisfaction for the insult with these perfunctory finger-waggings. Nothing will change. We shouldn’t be the ones on calling them, it should be the other way around.

  78. 78
    Krbon says:

    Isreal and the neo-cons are beyond jointed at the hips.

    They’re practcally the same group.

  79. 79
    the pair says:

    “[A]nymore”? That implies they ever were. I forget the exact quote, but the entirety of the ‘Peace Process’ has been “arguing over how many slices everyone should get while Israel is eating the entire pizza.” To rephrase another worn out excuse in a more realistic context, the Palestinians have “never had a partner for peace.”

    None of this is anything new. Think back to Clinton’s last ditch effort and his thoughts on Bibi:

    “Just who does he think is the f__king superpower here?”

    You’ll have to go back to the Suez and Eisenhower to find an American politician of any substance that stood up to Israel’s land grabbing; and even that had more to do with tensions with Russia and Hungary than any altruistic desire for “peace.”

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