The moderate camp in Israel – the one that is longing for an agreement with the Palestinians – can forget about the United States. Help for a peace-seeking Israel will not come from there. After the embarrassing parade of presidential candidates at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention this week, which was little more than a show of fawning to the Israeli government, we can conclude it is likely that none of the candidates will lift a finger to promote a just peace in the Middle East if elected president. While their speeches paid lip service to the right-wing, pro-Israel lobby, one cannot ignore the tone of their remarks – and especially their content.
One after the other, each candidate (except for Bernie Sanders) competed to shower inflated promises and sticky compliments on Israel, while blatantly ignoring the reality. Hillary Clinton even mentioned Golda Meir – one of the key figures responsible for the lack of peace – as a shining example.
Donald Trump went even further. He stated that Palestinian society glorified the murder of Jews, and promised an automatic veto of any attempt by the international community to reach an agreement through the United Nations. The Israeli right-wing was speaking from his lips; indeed, his speech could have been written by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
American Jewry will continue to be trapped between being a symbol of a protector of human rights and supporting the Israeli government and state, granting it unconditional legitimacy to continue the occupation.
But in Israel, these remarks should raise more serious concerns. Another four or even eight years in the White House, during which time Israel can keep doing whatever it wants in the territories, is very bad news. Another American president who makes no real effort to bring an end to the occupation – and that has been the case with almost all U.S. presidents thus far – would be a disaster.
Israel has been left to its fate. In the absence of a U.S. president who will do what he or she must as the leader of the greatest power on Earth, Israel will have to act alone. This is what happened when Israel made peace with Egypt, and also with the Oslo Accords. But the prime minister at the helm of Israel’s government in recent years is a serial rejecter of peace, a man who is certain the status quo can go on forever and does not see the critical damage it is doing to Israel – which is increasing at an alarming rate. That is very discouraging, and must inspire the establishment of a real alternative in Israel.
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