The torrent of scorn one hears in Israel about U.S. President Barack Obama and the Nobel Prize Committee's decision to award him the peace prize is more mockery than anything else.
Three Israelis have been awarded the esteemed prize: Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. What has become of them? The first isolated himself after getting Israel stuck in the Lebanese quagmire, the second was murdered by a Jewish fanatic who paved the way for a right-wing government, and the third, the "architect of Oslo," became the national cheerleader of the occupation.
And today? Can anyone point to a single Israeli statesman who deserves praise for his contribution to peace? And when was the last time more than several hundred Israelis gathered at Rabin Square - always the same crowd - to cry out for peace?
We are the last ones who should complain about the inaction of foreigners in anything that has to do with our conflict. One needs considerable Jewish chutzpah to elect a right-wing government and then expect the goyim to rescue us from it.
The nature preserve that remains of the Zionist left expressed disappointment that Obama did not condemn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly following his refusal to freeze the settlements. On the other hand, among the centrist public opinion and in the media, the leader of little Israel was commended for his "victory" in the battle against the president of the most powerful nation in the world.
While Obama is promoting universal dialogue based on hope for a better future, combating racism and improving human rights, in Israel they were impressed by Netanyahu's use of the Holocaust and horror.
Those in the know promise that the report Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is preparing on the situation in the territories and progress in the peace process will wipe the smile of victory off Netanyahu's face. They say the document will reveal that Netanyahu's "Bar-Ilan declaration" in support of a two-state solution is empty of substance.
In the words of Ehud Barak to describe what he did to Nobel Prize laureate Yasser Arafat, the report will "expose the real face" of Netanyahu.
Then what? Will Obama call the U.S. ambassador to Israel back to Washington for consultations? Will he ask Congress to back economic sanctions against Israel?
How many members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, would support a harsh line against Israel? Next year, all the members of the House and a third of the Senate will run for reelection. Even the greatest supporters of peace among them will not risk being blacklisted by the wealthy Jewish lobby.
According to a survey that was disseminated on Capitol Hill by Jewish groups, the little settlement crisis has shrunk Israelis' support for Obama down to 4 percent. Essentially it is hard to complain about the American politicians.
If the erosion of the Jewish character of Israel does not cause the Jews in Manhattan to lose any sleep, why should it affect a Catholic member of Congress from Massachusetts? If Israelis themselves feel comfortable living with the conflict, why should the Americans go out of their way to end it?
Even if we assume that this old dream of the left comes true and the new peace prize laureate moves from speeches on two states for two peoples to real actions against the occupation, can anyone promise him that this will be enough for Barak and the other four Labor ministers in the coalition to shake off their servility and break up the government? And if this happens, how many seats in parliament will an Israeli leader get if he seeks to adopt the fundamentals of the Obama framework for a peace arrangement: End Israeli occupation that began in June 1967? What are his chances of making it to the Knesset at all?
With or without a Nobel Prize, Obama will not evict us from the territories by force. The United States can also make do without peace between Israel and the Arabs. Even if it seems to the Israelis that they are the center of the world, when the American voter, and even history, judge Obama, the end of the Zionist project will not be one of the top criteria.
Luckily we have been blessed by an impressive group of straight-thinking scientists like Prof. Ada Yonath. When no woman or man in Israel is worthy of praise for their contribution to peace, we will just have to make do with the brave words of reconciliation of the Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry.
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