Presidential election season in the United States is obviously an especially good time to enlarge settlements in the West Bank and strike new roots in the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
The incumbent president reads a report about the establishment of a new outpost for the evacuees from Migron and stuffs another matzo ball into his mouth. The secretary of state hears that the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa is to be expanded and asks the spokesman to send out the usual response - the same one that was used for the Gilo plan and those of Har Shlomo, the Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah and Ras al-Amud.
"And what should I say to the journalist who asked for information about that other issue ... what's it called? Oh yes, the peace process," the spokesman remembers on his way to the door. "He said something to the effect that the Quartet's last deadline for presenting the positions of the sides on borders and security passed last week, and that the Israeli document was reminiscent of a grocery store list rather than positions." The secretary of state sighs: "Tell the nudnik that there's no one to talk to at present, and that you'll get back to him when the Passover holiday is over."
That's what an American administration does when it wants to do the best for Israel. Really? Does President Barack Obama not know that a two-state solution and expanding the settlements in the heart of the occupied territories are, as they say over there, an oxymoron? Does he not understand that Har Homa's constant encroachment upon Bethlehem and the penetration by right-wing extremists into Sheikh Jarrah are designed to wipe out the last chance for a reasonable arrangement in Jerusalem?
Does he believe there is a Palestinian leader who is willing to hold negotiations with Israel at a time when Jewish thugs, if they aren't busy chasing Palestinians off their lands, are setting fire to mosques or chopping down olive trees? Is the leader of the free world blind to the fact that when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks about two states, he is referring to a Palestine without the Jordan Valley, Gush Etzion, Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and, of course, without one grain of sand from the eternally holy soil of [the East Jerusalem neighborhood of] Shuafat?
Obama is not blind, and nor is he deaf or dumb. He is just another politician who has turned his back on the values with which he grew up and the people who believed in him, in order to remain in office.
In his new book, "The Crisis of Zionism," Prof. Peter Beinart tells the story of the black president who grew up in the heart of the Jewish community and betrayed the heroes of his moral values - Abraham Heschel and Stephen Wise, two liberal Zionist rabbis who dared to condemn the settlement enterprise and were pushed to the sidelines.
Beinart describes how Obama replaced talented advisers such as Dan Kurtzer and Rob Malley, who did not hide their concern over Israel becoming a binational state or an apartheid regime. The book describes the right-wing path which Jewish "leaders" - who never stood for election in the Jewish community - decided on for the president who won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in the last election.
If professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt once accused the Jewish lobby of harming American interests, the courageous book by Beinart charges it with undermining Zionist interests. The Zionist liberal from New York relates how self-important activists fought against the freezing of the settlements, and how power-hungry philanthropists enlisted Congressmen against the White House after it dared to criticize Netanyahu.
Beinart also warns of the accelerated manner in which the young generation of Jewish Americans is distancing itself from Israel as an occupying power - a country whose values are not theirs. To Jews with a true Zionist heart, he proposes boycotting products from the settlements (but to try and buy Israeli products ); to take action against American foundations that fund the settlements; and to replace the phrases "Judea and Samaria" and "West Bank" with "nondemocratic Israel."
At the beginning of October 1973, Lt. Benjamin Siman-Tov, a young officer in the Intelligence Corps of the Israel Defense Forces' southern command, wrote reports warning that the deployment of the Egyptian forces indicated preparations for a war. Only the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War prevented the officer from being sent to jail for "unseemly conduct under fire." Beinart has dared to wash Israel's dirty laundry in public and to criticize the president who is providing it with the washing powder. Because of this, right-wing activists, who are in effect post-Zionists, have begun burning the Siman-Tov of New York at the stake - the messenger who is warning of the terrible disaster engulfing the promised land.
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