Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Measuring politics by standing ovation: Netanyahu addresses Congress and pushes the same old right-wing agenda


Honestly, how does it matter that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu got 29 standing ovations, four more than President Obama got during his 2011 SOTU address?

Are we measuring political popularity by standing ovation?

And does this really indicate anything other than that the generally right-wing pro-Israeli lobby is immensely influential and that weak-kneed Sens. and Reps. will kowtow to Likudnik demands for fear of appearing to oppose that lobby?

And that Netanyahu is a powerful orator?

(As Think Progress notes, he got a standing ovation for saying that Israel doesn't occupy the West Bank. In other words, he got a standing ovation for telling a massive lie. And all those standing and applauding didn't seem to have a clue. Indeed, they only brought shame on themselves for doing so.)

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Because, otherwise, all Netanyahu espoused was the same old hard-line position -- a domineering Israel that refuses to make concessions -- that has done nothing to secure anything even resembling a lasting, sustainable peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Sure, Israel will be "generous on the size of the Palestinian state," but the devil, as they say, is in the details -- and it's all about "where we put the border." And Netanyahu stressed that Israel will not, if he has his way, go back to its pre-1967 borders, even though Obama, breaking somewhat from previous U.S. policy, stated in his Middle East speech other day that those borders would only be a starting point for negotiations.

That isn't nearly good enough for Netanyahu and the Likud and their mostly right-wing American allies, of course, even though that would certainly be a good starting point that could ultimately lead to an acceptable compromise.

Because, of course, they only want peace on their terms.

Now, I'm generally pro-Israel myself, but I'm not certainly not pro-Netanyahu's Israel, and certainly not for the sort of peace they want. I used to think that it might just take a conservative like Netanyahu to make the necessary concessions to secure peace, but it's been clear for a long time that Israeli conservatives want no such thing and that there will never be a genuine peace agreement as long as they're in power.

It doesn't matter how many standing ovations Netanyahu gets. He's a bully, not to mention a liar, and Israel under his leadership is itself a bully -- a bully with a military that seeks to advance its interests through force.

President Obama knows better. Obviously, Congress does not.

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