The dog and its confused tail

Stephen Walt, co-author of the seminal Israel Lobby book, has a new blog on Foreign Policy.

His recent post on the Gaza conflict is instructive, especially the role of the Zionist lobby:

Several prominent bloggers (including Andrew Sullivan, Juan Cole, and Matt Yglesias) have taken note of Ehud Olmert’s remarkable statement claiming credit for getting the United States to abstain from the U.N. Security Council Resolution on Gaza, even though the United States had helped write it. Sullivan suggests that the episode reveals just how differently the government of Israel was treated compared to other governments during the Bush years.

He’s right, but this pattern of behavior didn’t start in 2001. As a number of participants have chronicled, the Clinton administration let the government of then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak determine the direction and pace of Arab-Israeli peace negotiations and Barak often treated Clinton and his aides in a remarkably peremptory fashion. Even Dennis Ross’s memoir The Missing Peace (which is generally sympathetic to the Israeli perspective), betrays repeated irritation at Barak’s highhandedness (see especially pp. 530-532, 539, 550-551, 578-580). The apotheosis was Clinton’s abortive meeting with Syrian President Hafez al Assad in Geneva in March 2000. Undertaken at Barak’s insistence, Clinton later complained to the Israeli PM that the meeting made him feel “like a wooden Indian sitting there doing your bidding.”

Jewish power and money wield incredible influence in the US. Even if Barack Obama wanted to seriously pressure Israel over its settlement project, I doubt whether the Zionist lobby would allow it.

For them, occupation and conflict is great for business.

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