Obama’s beginning of the end

By: Eric Margolis   

In 1956, Britain, France and Israel colluded to invade Egypt to overthrow its hugely popular nationalist leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser. US President Dwight Eisenhower deemed the tripartite Suez aggression immoral and damaging to American interests in the Muslim world.  “Ike” ordered the British, French and Israelis to get out of Egypt at once – or else.  They got out.


Fast forward to 2010.  President Barack Obama demands Israel stop building illegal Jewish settlements around Jerusalem and on the West Bank.  Obama rightly concludes the ongoing agony of Palestine has turned the Muslim world against the United States.  It is also the primary cause of what Washington calls “terrorism.”  After the Suez invasion, Israel’s American partisans set about building an influence network that would ensure no American president could ever force Israel to do anything against its will.

Their brilliant success was again confirmed this week as Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of Israel’s rightist coalition, literally spit in Obama’s face, sneeringly rejecting the president’s pleas to create a viable Palestinian state. The US Congress and rightwing media actually applauded the public humiliation of their president and vice president.  How the mighty have fallen. Obama has shown himself utterly without spine, and terrified of the Israel lobby at a time when his political fortunes are plummeting.   The White House understands that America’s vital interests in the Mideast are being increasingly undermined by Israel’s adamant refusal to allow a workable Palestinian state instead of apartheid-style Arab Bantustans.

A triumphant Netanyahu made clear Israel would retain all of Jerusalem, settlement blocks around it, water resources, key roads, the West Bank high ground and the Jordan River valley. In short, “useful Palestine.” The rest, waterless scrub and slums, might be left to the Arabs. Nothing was said about Israel’s illegal occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights.

Even Obama’s shameful offer of a multi-billion dollar bribe to Israel of 20 F-35 warplanes and unlimited diplomatic support, in exchange for a flimsy 90-day building freeze, was contemptuously rejected by Netanyahu. He knows the US Congress would give Israel the moon if asked. The US has already given Israel at least $114 billion since its creation in 1947.

What does Obama’s humiliation mean?  His chances of being defeated in the next presidential election are growing.  Obama’s arch-rival, the pro-Israeli Hillary Clinton, is positioning herself to take over the Democratic Party from Obama.

The US diplomatic, intelligence and military establishment has got the message, loud and clear:  don’t mess with Israel.  The last US president who tried to restrain Israel’s West Bank colonisation, George H.W. Bush, failed to win re-election; his able secretary of state, James Baker, was slandered as an “anti-Semite.”  By caving in to Israel’s hard right over the West Bank, Obama sends a message of profound weakness to the rest of the world. He is signaling that Israel, not the White House, really makes America’s Mideast policy. Israel also increasingly influences US policy towards Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Iran and North Korea. The humiliated Palestinian Authority is shown as a helpless puppet of the Americans and Israelis, as rival Hamas has long charged.

Obama’s defeat suggests Israel now has “carte blanche” to move ahead and attack Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah, Syria, and eventually Iran.  In fact, Israel now seems to have the power to plunge the US into war against Iran whenever it decides the time is right and the risk worthwhile.

Since the US has become a helpless giant, it’s up to the rest of the world to end the suffering in Palestine. Brazil and Argentina have taken an important step forward by recognising a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 borders. The 2002 Saudi peace plan still offers all parties concerned the fairest, most practical road to peace.

The UN General Assembly should again endorse this plan and call for more pressure on Israel.  But Netanyahu and his fellow rightwing zealots are determined to hold on to every meter of the West Bank and Golan. Some far rightists want to expand Israel into Lebanon and Syria.  Israel’s refusal to compromise over Palestine is at the heart of its increasingly dangerous confrontation with Iran.

Obama’s shameful failure will haunt the world for decades.

Eric Margolis is a veteran US journalist.

NOTE:This is a cross post.


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  • IMRAN  On December 12, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Great analysis as usual Eric.
    The real key to a second term is how well the president has done three things:

    1. Maintained his base – Republicans = right-wing nut- jobs; Democrats = left-wing Wackos

    2. Recorded some major successes in his first term (Bush the tax cuts)

    3. Keep his word on key issues important to independent voters

    Yes,he will lose big time!

  • Paul Wolf  On December 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Great analysis. The UN General Assembly just did pass 6 pro-Palestine resolutions. Abbas is traveling around the world trying to get more countries to recognize Palestine as a state. I think the Western European countries will be key, as will Turkey, which can influence EU policy.

    The US could stop Israel in its tracks by cutting off supplies of spare parts for its military. Particularly its air force. Modern weapons need a continuous supply of spare parts, which are not easy to replicate.

    I recently saw a map of Gaza with all the settlements indicated. For some reason I thought they would be near the Israel border and creeping east. But they are dispersed everywhere, clearly Israel is trying to claim the entire territory as its own.

    • Summaya  On December 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      US try stop Israel?
      You kidding Paul?

  • Kathleen Curren  On December 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    “Obama’s defeat (90 day building freeze) suggests Israel now has “carte blanche” to move ahead and attack Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah, Syria, and eventually Iran. In fact, Israel now seems to have the power to plunge the US into war against Iran whenever it decides the time is right and the risk worthwhile.”

    • Archie Haase  On December 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm

      Kathleen — I think Obama’s days are numbered as president. In the case of GW Bush he was elected two times because his stupidity was useful to powerful and very bad parts of American society.

      Obama on the other hand will be replaced because he is not useful by either a right wing government leader equally as ignorant as Bush, or worse, a kind of Sarah Palin ignorance.

      This is when the United States will cease to exist as a global power and a vacuum will replace our leadership. What happens next makes me happy I am an old man.

      • Kathleen Curren  On December 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm

        Archie, there is a difference between Judaism which is a religion and Zionism which is secular and in many cases atheistic. Israel is a Zionist state which is condemned by many Judaic scholars and rabbis. The Jewish state as described in the Torah, is not a physical location with boundaries. Many people, including many jews believe that zionism ad judaism are identical. They are not.

        There is a vile lie, which stalks the Jewish people across the globe. It is a lie so heinous, so far from the truth, that it can only gain popularity due to the complicity of powerful forces in the “mainstream” media and educational establishment.

        It is a lie which has brought many innocent people untold suffering and if unchecked has the potential to create extraordinary tragedy in the future.
        It is the lie that declares that Judaism and Zionism are identical.

        Nothing could be further from the truth.

        Judaism is the belief in revelation at Sinai. It is the belief that exile is a punishment for Jewish sins.

        Zionism has for over a century denied Sinaitic revelation. It believes that Jewish exile can be ended by military aggression.

        Zionism has spent the past century strategically dispossessing the Palestinian people. It has ignored their just claims and subjected them to persecution, torture and death.

        Torah Jews the world over are shocked and pained at this short-lived dogma of irreligiosity and cruelty. Thousands of Torah scholars and saints have condemned this movement from its inception. They knew that the pre-existing good relationship between Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land was bound to suffer as Zionism advanced.

        The so-called “State of Israel” stands rejected on religious grounds by the Torah. Its monstrous insensitivity to the laws of basic decency and fairness appall all men be they Jewish or not.

        We of Neturei Karta have been in the forefront of the battle against Zionism for over a century.

        Our presence here is to refute the base lie that the evil, which is Zionism, in some way represents the Jewish people.

        The reverse is true.

        We are saddened day in and day at the terrible toll of death emanating from the Holy Land. Not one of them would have occurred if Zionism had not unleashed its evil energies upon the world.

        As Jews we are called upon to live in peace and harmony with all men. We are exhorted to be law abiding and patriotic citizens in all lands.

        We condemn the current Zionist atrocities in the Holy Land. We yearn for peace based upon mutual respect. We are convinced that this proposed mutual respect is doomed to fail as long as the Israeli state exists. We welcome its abolition in a peaceful manner.

        May we be worthy of true redemption when all men will join in brotherhood in His worship.

  • Archie Haase  On December 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    How do you deal (Kathleen) with parts of our American or British society who are are educated —– thinking strange things such as evolution is wrong, and sinful. Many of these folks have power in major institutions in the US and Britain.

    Or recently I learned educated folks with BS MS or Phd’s think the American Indian and the people of Afghanistan are a lost tribes of Israel in spite of DNA research telling us opposite.

    Is it no wonder people kill each other feeling no remorse.

    • Kathleen Curren  On December 12, 2010 at 6:05 pm

      Oops! I posted the Zionist vs Judaism stuff in the wrong place. Sorry, it should have been posted on the Wikileaks thread.

    • Kathleen Curren  On December 12, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      Archie I don’t deal with them. I dismiss them as a fringe element. Evolution is science and it is a mandated to be taught in public schools. The information is being taught. That’s what’s important. How people deal with that information is another story. Having been given the facts, it is up to each individual to determine for themselves what is true.

  • Varris Hasan  On December 13, 2010 at 9:33 am

    For a very long time Americans believed that an Afro-American or a
    woman will not make a good President. Obama’s failure re-inforces that
    belief. They can now try a woman. My suggestion ……Sarah Paulin.
    She is awefully good looking and hugging her would be a nice
    sensation. Ooooooooohmph. Our President recognised that when he first
    met her.

    So what if in intellect and statemanship she is lacking. She cannot
    be worse than , George Bush Jnr, whose ancestors are still living on
    trees and eating berries.


  • Tarek Rehman  On December 13, 2010 at 10:36 am

    We should realise by now that Israel will never give up its illegal occupation of Palestine no matter which US president is in power and not withstanding future UN resolutions.
    Power takes a backstep only in the face of stronger power.
    Muslim countries should realise that they have to be a technological power to challenge Israel. Nothing else will do.
    The reality is that the rich Arab countries are more concerned about a threat from Iran and each other than they are about Israel.So the Palestinians are alone in their fight.

  • Habib  On December 13, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    A grand coalition of white supremacists, male chauvinists , corporate
    world,media and Zionist lobby ..et al, is at work overtime, to turn
    Obama into a monumental failure and any would-be female prez a non
    starter, thus closing the doors of ‘White-house’ for non-whites and
    women, once and for all. FOX media group is at the forefront of this
    sinister campaign.Real face of America showing up ,under the false
    veneer of democracy and equality for all.Sadly enough they seem to be


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