Sunday 3 May 2009




AIPAC seems to be having trouble finding speakers for their upcoming summit ~ are they open to suggestions?

Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to head to DC to cover the upcoming AIPAC policy conference. It's being promoted as "three of the most important days affecting Israel's (no mention of America's!) future" and I'm looking forward to it. But only two weeks away, they seem to be having a hard time holding on to speakers. 
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not coming to DC for the conference. Evidently once President Obama made it clear he would not meet with Netanyahu on this visit, he decided to cancel.

He is trying to foist it off on President Shimon Peres (the Israeli presidency is a mostly ceremonial position) and even Peres has "not yet decided whether to accept the invitation." Strange.

Sending Avigdor Lieberman seems to be out of the question, so it looks like we'll have to make sure with a video-taped message. 

Now questions are being raised whether AIPAC is going to lose another speaker. Spencer Ackerman has asked whether Rep. Jane Harman will still speak at the conference now that she is embroiled in an the quickly unfolding espionage wiretapping scandal? He points out that she is slated to “explore the myriad foreign policy challenges facing the United States, Israel and the world.” Could be an awkward conversation as the scandal unfolds to say the least. 

Not to fear. I have been pushing AIPAC to invite Walt and Mearshimer to the conference to discuss their work. It would be great ~ it's not too late to send out the invites!

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), America’s pro-Zionist Israeli lobby group, will meet from Sunday 3 May through to 5 May to determine the Obama administration’s foreign policy for the coming year.

America’s foreign policy chief for the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will be speaking to the conference via satellite. Netanyahu will be flying in to Washington to meet with Obama on 18 May to discuss the outcome of the AIPAC conference.

While Netanyahu has made it quite clear that there will never be a sovereign Palestinian state, he and President Obama are likely to be at
loggerheads over Obama’s demand that Netanyahu at least keep up an appearance that Israel is willing to talk about peace ~ even if it doesn’t involve actually talking about statehood for the Palestinians.

Besides the Palestinian question, heading up discussions is likely to be Israel’s perennial Iran ‘problem’. Israel, who like to tell the world that Iran is a problem because it is seeking nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of bombing Israel out of existence, actually has a problem with Iran only inasmuch that Iran is now the only country of any influence that stands between Israel and its realization of their expansionist dreams of a Greater Israel that includes the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and south Lebanon up to the Litani River.

"We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria and Sinai." ~ David Ben-Gurion,

While discussions that are in full view of the world between Obama and his Middle East policy chief Netanyahu, are likely to be cordial and result in outcomes that are likely to seem mutually agreeable, behind the scenes Netanyahu will be sounding out Obama on the likelihood of US support if Israel made a preemptive unilateral strike against Iran and or Iran’s allies, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas

President Obama needs to tread a careful path. On the one hand he needs to show both his fellow Americans and the peoples of the world that he is a President that can bring America back from the dark inglorious days of the George W. Bush administration and he can only do this by seemingly being tough with Israeli demands and giving the appearance of not being so hardline on Iran.

On the other hand, however, Obama cannot upset the Israeli lobby too much and has already demonstrated his support for Israel when he did nothing to stop the Israeli carnage in the Gaza in December and January using President-elect protocols as an excuse for saying nothing while hundreds died.
In public, Obama is unlikely to give any succour to the Israelis with regard to attacking Iran with a view to regime change.

Netanyahu’s only option, therefore, will be to manipulate a casus belli which will result in Israel appearing to have no option other than to attack Iran and then, having done so, hope that Obama will see as fait accompli the necessity to support Israel against Iran albeit with the appearance of such support being given reluctantly.

The future of America’s Middle East foreign policy is likely to be determined at this upcoming AIPAC conference. Frightening, isn’t it.

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