by JP Sottile
October 01, 2016
Antiwar.com

The Israeli lobby wins again! That’s the obvious takeaway from President Barack Obama’s historically large, but not quite unprecedented $38 billion “aid package” to Bibi Netanyahu’s supposedly intransigent government.

In Israel, the ten-year deal is seen as a solid, but not complete victory for Bibi. In the U.S., the deal looks like it’s the cost of doing business with Iran. Sadly, the deal also looks like a bad sign of things to come for the Palestinian people.

Shortly after the deal was sealed, President Obama’s farewell tour took him to the United Nations where he stated without irony, “Israel must recognize that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.” The utter toothlessness of his admonition was preemptively underlined by a fascinating online video posted by Netanyahu in which he claimed the Palestinians – not the rapidly encroaching Israelis – were the real outlaws. Apparently, they are advocating “ethnic cleansing” by hoping to reclaim pilfered land from illegal Israel settlements peppered throughout the absconded territory of the West Bank.

It’s an amazing bit of pretzel logic gleefully served up to a dwindling, demoralized crowd of two-state enthusiasts. The mustard came when Obama made his final, flaccid appeal to a now-buoyant Bibi regarding his not-so-subtle expansion of Israel’s ethnically-pure settlements.

Of course, this predictable turn of events confirmed what critics of Israel’s outsized influence have always believed – that when it comes to the State of Israel, the fix is always in no matter how badly the “special relationship” appears to be broken.

In 2006, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard University made a strong case that, as they wrote in the London Review of Books, the “Israel Lobby” surpasses all “other special-interest groups” in its ability to not just “skew foreign policy” away from America’s “national interest,” but it has also simultaneously convinced “Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.”

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