For Mideast Peace, Israel Must Cut Off U.S. Jewish Lobby

The time has come to make a decision: If the goal is integration into the region, then it is essential to break away from the Jewish lobby.

Saja Abu Fanni
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Saja Abu Fanni

We have a prime minister who was elected thanks mainly to donations from abroad. Some 98 percent of the donations that Benjamin Netanyahu received for the Likud primaries of 2005 came from foreign donors, most of them Americans. The phenomenon of raising money primarily from abroad repeated itself in last week's Likud elections. The foreign tycoons do not make do merely with supporting a candidate. They also help the citizens of Israel choose the correct candidate with the aid of a partisan press. The American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who of course has a warm Jewish heart, determines the social and political agenda of Israel by means of a far-right newspaper that he funds, which is distributed free. From time to time, we also hear reports of the various kinds of perks the prime minister enjoys, provided by these same wealthy donors. The paradox here is that some of the representatives appointed by these wealthy men from abroad have the chutzpah to take action to stop funding from non-partisan, civilian NGOs that contribute to society through human rights and pro-democracy activities.

This is part of a more worrisome phenomenon in which the nice lobby that is located thousands of miles from here is distancing us light years away from the possibility of establishing peace in the region. It was because of pressure from the American Jewish lobby that President Barack Obama decided to retreat from his demand that construction on the settlements be frozen as a condition for the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The Jewish lobby twisted Obama's arm at a time when the Arab world, which is undergoing stormy upheavals, expected him to show a reasonable measure of balance. Not only did the president of a superpower become irrelevant, but the peace process itself also got stuck. It is so deeply mired now that the hearts of even sworn optimists are filled with despair. Because of the money it wields and its organizational capability, the Jewish lobby is able to influence candidates for the American presidency, swaying them to fall in line with the most extremist policies that Israel has ever adopted. And by relying on the influence of the Jewish lobby, the Netanyahu government is continuing to show contempt for international law. This lobby is the perfect gift for the anti-Semites who use this conduct as an excuse for attacking "the Jews."

The truth is that without even noticing it the Arabs have reconciled themselves to Israel's existence despite the terrible suffering inflicted upon them. The problem is that many Israelis have not reconciled themselves to being here. Lust for America beats in their hearts and makes them crazy.

The difficulties in deciding between the (Middle Eastern ) "jungle" and the (American) "villa" leads those who conceived of the jungle idea to live, at least in their minds, in America. Those who want to live here, whether it is a "jungle" or a paradise, must first and foremost love the place and care for those who live here and their neighbors. The Arabic proverb says: "Put your close neighbor before your brother who is far off." But in Israel, starting with the war against Egypt in 1956 right up until today when there is such an icey attitude toward the Arab Spring, people have not heard of this saying. Israel must decide whether it is the bridgehead of all the crazy Westerners in the Middle East, or whether it will stand by the Arab people in their struggles against internal and external oppressors.

At the moment, the Jewish lobby has drawn up a treaty with U.S. neoconservatives, against anything that smells of freedom in the Middle East. The time has come to make a decision. If the goal is integration into the region, then it is essential to break away from the Jewish lobby. But apparently there are some who see America as the place where they will live after retiring from their years of service in the Middle East. Meanwhile Newt Gingrich (who hopes to be the Republican presidential candidate) and Sheldon Adelson can continue to fan the flames. What do they care? After all, it is not the blood of their children that will be spilled in the Middle Eastern jungle. Nor will the cries of pain of Arabs and Jews reach them behind the closed windows of the towers in Manhattan.

Read this article in Hebrew



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