Barack’s Buckdance for the Israel Lobby

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Brotha Barack’s Safe Negro tour makes an obligatory stop today to pander and buckdance in blackface for the Israel Lobby’s political action arm: AIPAC.   

AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), as Ari Berman has written in the Nation is “the leading player in what is sometimes referred to as “The Israel Lobby”—a coalition that includes major Jewish groups, neoconservative intellectuals and Christian Zionists. With its impressive contacts among Hill staffers, influential grassroots supporters and deep connections to wealthy donors, AIPAC is the lobby’s key emissary to Congress. But in many ways, AIPAC has become greater than just another lobby; its work has made unconditional support for Israel an accepted cost of doing business inside the halls of Congress.  AIPAC’S interest, Israel’s interest and America’s are perceived by most elected leaders to be one and the same.”

Barack Obama doesn’t support the entire AIPAC line but he doesn’t significantly depart from it either.  He intuitively understands the price he must pay to ascend to the Presidency. According to Jewish Week, “The [Obama] Campaign has…signed on a leading Jewish Mideast expert, Dan Shapiro, a former National Security Council official in the Clinton Administration.  Shapiro is leaving his position as a top aide to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla) for a…role doing Mideast policy and Jewish outreach for the Obama campaign.”  

Gotta admire Brotha Barack for getting all his ducks in a row and stealing prominent Jewish fundraisers like David Geffen and George Soros away from Hillary.  He plays political chess masterfully and executes his moves deftly. Anybody who still believes that the brotha wasn’t planning a run for President from the moment he stepped on the national stage in 2004 is a damn fool. This shit didn’t just happen, it was methodically planned like a new Microsoft product launch.  His flacking for Israel and his votes on the Senate floor are as calculated and cynical as every word in the Audacity of Hope.

M. J. Rosenberg has written on TPM Cafe, “A new voice like Obama really has no need to adopt the me-too policies on the Mideast that have been de rigueur for 30 years.  The status quo types are not going to support him anyway but the overwhelming majority of pro-Israel (and that means pro-peace) Jews will.  By that I mean the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community which, according to the AJC poll, is the most anti-Iraq war segment of the population.  They are not neocons, not on Iraq, not Israel.”  I wish I could believe that.  Obama’s actions during the latest Israel/Lebanon conflict contradict that presumption, underscore his compliant “Me-too” attitude, and sour my disposition towards his Presidential bid.  

Israel’s actions last summer toward Lebanon were unnecessary and constituted war crimes in violation of international law.   Israel’s government has been swapping military hostages for decades with the Lebanese and the illegal seizure of two more Israeli hostages became a convenient pretext for war to Israel’s new Prime Minister.  Obama rubberstamped Israeli war crimes when he said, “I don’t think there is any nation that would not have reacted the way Israel did after two soldiers had been snatched.  I support Israel’s response to take some action in protecting themselves.”

As a reasonable person, I do not argue against Israel’s right to exist or that it has a right to defend itself when attacked.  The Lebanese government is not blameless here nor is the Iranian backed paramilitary organization Hezbollah.  What I contend is that Israel defend itself in conformity with international law, something it has categorically refused to do for decades.

Obama voted for a manifestly fraudulent nonbinding Senate resolution that Stephen Zunes has said, “reinterpret(s) the United Nations Charter by claiming that Israel’s attacks on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure is an act of legitimate self-defense under Article 51 despite a broad consensus of international legal scholars to the contrary. In short, both Democrats and Republicans are now on record that, in the name of “fighting terrorism,” U.S. allies—and, by extension, the United States as well—can essentially ignore international law and inflict unlimited damage on the civilian infrastructure of a small and largely defenseless country, even a pro-Western democracy like Lebanon.”

Obama’s fraudulent vote and his endorsement of unilateral war should be all the proof one needs that his perspective is warped and his focus on just and equitable conflict resolution in the Middle East will be lacking as President. When Africa cries out for help, brotha Barack, like Colin and Condi before him, will be too preoccupied with “more important” whitefolks problems to deal. As a freshman Senator and imperialist in training, he learned his lessons well. This is the real reason why our white brothas and sistahs in the beltway establishment can’t curb their enthusiasm for Barack.  

However, if that isn’t enough for you, consider this:  Obama’s address today to AIPAC called for “preserv[ing] our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing to work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs.  This would help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as Close as Gaza.”  Consequently, this is a recipe for generous military subsidies to keep the Israeli Defense Forces armed to the teeth and a continuation of Israel’s unjustified militarism toward its perceived enemies.

This speech does more to call into question Obama’s blackness more than any single address he has given because it is nothing but blackface minstrelsy calculated to appease wealthy and influential actors interested in keeping the status quo in place. The brotha has sold his soul for a chance at Presidential power and he clearly hasn’t sold it to blackfolks.   The speech is standard AIPAC friendly boilerplate that national candidates on the make give at one time or another.  

Lately, there is always some Iran and Ahmedinejad bashing, a commitment to large military subsidies, and a tacit acknowledgement that we will look the other way when they do their dirt to the Palestinians and Lebanese. Moreover, unless he commits to Israeli military supremacy, he’ll never be able to compete with Hillary in the money chase of which the Jewish community always plays an integral part on the Democratic side of the aisle. 

Jewish Voice for Peace, a California based peace group has written, “Massive military aid promotes militarism, which has led to a reliance on military, rather than diplomatic means to work for a solution to this ongoing [Israel vs. Arab] conflict.” Like Iraq, imposing a military solution has solved nothing between Israel and its neighbors and has increased instability in the region.  

Jewish Voice for Peace has also written that, “Furthermore, when our government arms proponents of massive human rights abuses, we become complicit in their crimes and hated by their victims. U.S. support of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and its abuse of human rights undermines any moral authority to criticize human rights abuses in other countries. And it shreds the U.S. of any credibility in acting to promote peace in the region.”   

Last month, a movement was afoot in Oslo, Norway by 40 nations to ban the cluster munitions that proliferate in current conflicts, which continue to kill and maim people long after the battles are over. Human Rights Watch has documented that “Israel used cluster munitions containing some 2.6 to 4 million submunitions in Lebanon, the majority of which were produced in the United States. Israel’s use of cluster munitions was the most extensive anywhere in the world since the 1991 Gulf War.” The United States opposes this effort and there were no calls from either the Obama or Clinton camp for U.S participation because neither will sacrifice their ambition to sit in the Oval Office for peace.

It is a violation of U.S. law to provide military aid to governments, which consistently give short shrift to human rights as defined in international law. Israel is always given a pass no matter what it does or how many civilians it illegally targets and kills. Both Obama and Hillary could have stepped up at anytime to pressure the Administration to cut off military aid to Israel and prevent the atrocities that routinely occur in the Palestinian territories or in Lebanon because of Israel’s over-the-top defensive posture.    

It is all very Orwellian to me. Indeed, “War is Peace” to all of the leading contenders for the imperial power of the Presidency. A showdown is developing in Selma, Alabama this weekend in the continuing battle for the black vote between Hillary and Obama. They both need to be seen paying homage to Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement’s direct action campaign, which culminated in “Bloody Sunday” and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.     

Whatever both candidates say will be more empty rhetoric that quotes Dr. King without adhering to the spirit and substance that he advocated. “The stability of the large world house which is ours will involve a revolution of values to accompany the scientific and freedom revolutions engulfing the earth.  We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing”-oriented society to a “person” –oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” That’s the message Obama needs to embrace instead of embracing more war. He never will because he is lost to us forever.

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41 thoughts on “Barack’s Buckdance for the Israel Lobby

  1. This is my first time to your blog and I am enjoying reading through all of your posts. Thanks for providing some insight and some laughs.

    I’m still getting caught up on your writing–have you posted anything about those folks (white journalists) who are “concerned” by the fact that Obama attends an Afrocentric church with “strange” doctrines?

  2. Anonymous

    What are you trying to say exactly here? That Obama and Hillary are traitors to peace. Do you think that any Republican who might become president would do a better job of balancing our Mideast obligations? I’ve seen what the Republicans have to offer. I’ll take my chances wih Barack.

  3. The brotha has sold his soul for a chance at Presidential power and he clearly hasn’t sold it to blackfolks.
    Amen.

    The “FOR SALE” sign was out on the lawn the minute he won the Democratic Primary that eventually led to his election to the U.S. Senate.

    Total commitment to Israel’s defense is not balancing our “Mideast obligations.”

  4. Tom

    Who knows. I hope we dont get Clinton, the Clintons practically gave away every single government appointment to AIPAC and they make AIPAC members really wealthy. Pat Buchanon looks more attractive everyday…LOL

  5. Excellent post….

    Obama as President would be business as usual. He is saying one thing, but doing something totally contrary to his message. He is trying to sell himself as “an outsider”….someone who has not been a part of the Washington establishment, yet he is cozy with all of the shady lobbyists who support policies that are not in our best interest.

    Every U.S. President Post-WWII has been under the control of Israel. In fact, we need to start calling Jerusalem the capital of the U.S…. and not Washington DC. They have so much control over the U.S., that they can write & legislate policy in their Congress that we have to adhere to….because it often becomes U.S. Foreign policy. And they do it more effectively than our own Congress. Israel is the only country that I know of that has that kind of power over another supposedly sovereign State.

    Obama would be no different…. neither would Hillary or anyone else from the 2-Party dictatorship.

    This is why I don’t care for any of the candidates.

  6. Darrylm

    What flavor is the Obama hater-ade you folks are drinking ?

    The guy has done everything we want our black young men to do:
    go to school,
    get married BEFORE having children;
    commit himself to public service;
    and you niggas just live to tear him down.

    That is really sad. No wonder the snake oil people like Jesse Jackson (jr and sr), james meeks, al sharpton, etc remain able to live in luxury without having real jobs.

    If Barack had taken his Harvard Law degree and gone to a downtown law firm and made mega bucks, you folks would be hating on that too.

    Really a shame…………..

  7. Denise

    Plenty of snake oil pimps have passed through Harvard Law school. And, check this: some absolute dummies have “gamed” their way through, also. I’ve seen both.

    I’m not suggesting Obama is either one of those. In fact, I’m sure he’s no dummy. But HLS doesw not – and should not – represent an automatic pass (for me, anyways) to anything .

    Blind loyalty to anything, especially race, is dangerous. I’m glad the black community is having a healthy debate about Obama.
    He can take the scrutiny; and if not, then he doesn’t belong in this spotlight.

    I’m curious, how many white women have been blasted for not throwing support behind Hillary. Show me where she’s getting her white girl pass based on Yale, or motherhood, or whatever.

    I think most of the debate is focused on her character which is exactly what the Obama debate is and should be about.

  8. Anonymous

    How do you KNOW? I know you think, assume or hope this (that Obama is like everyone else) is the case, but how do you know? You don’t, I think. You are a skeptic, I hear you; so am I. But, you’re also something more – a pessimist – and there, I’m afraid, I cannot join you. I have been black every day of my life in America, but I’ve never been a pessimist.

    Your job is to make all the candidates indistinguishable on this issue, or perhaps to make Barack more of the same. You claim Chi-town roots, so you get to be a hometown skeptic of his rise. Very interesting.

    Before yesterday, I’d never read your blog. I got to it via technorati. But having read your previous posts, I notice in October 2006 a certain Ron Lester of Washington, DC was very interested in you contacting him. As Barack has risen in the polls, so has the specificity of your criticism. Why the correlation? And, what did Mr. Ron Lester?

    Look, I’m from TN and you’ve made some past comments about a certain senatorial candidate from these parts that I happen to agree with. I agree with your recent assessment of Martin O’Malley on the death penalty. I just can’t get a handle on why you seem to afford Obama no slack.

  9. Anonymous

    OOps. That last sentence in para 3 should read, “And, what did Mr. Ron Lester want?

    By the way, why aren’t you signed up for blogads? Matt Stoller, of myDD posts here. Ask him how you can become a member of the blogging, progressive left financially.

  10. Darrylm

    Sounds like “skeptical brother” is on the same plantation as those colored folk is down in South Carolina.

    Deys likes bein’ in da big house, and will do anything to please massa, even tear down their own.

  11. yogo

    Oh, so now those who aren’t drinking Obama’s kool-aid are house n—-s? Obama and his supporters are Field Ni—s? That’s mighty rich.

  12. Let’s not lose sight of what is really the issue here, namely that Barack Obama is a presidential candidate and as such he HAS to sell himself to monied interests under the current way that things work. If he doesn’t he is gone. There already has been at least one Democratic presidential candidate drop out of the race BEFORE THE FIRST VOTE WAS EVEN CAST. Think about that. What kind of democracy do we have when a candidate gets knocked out of the race without any votes being cast? That’s not much of a democracy is it?

    This is a corrupt, soul-stealing, indefensible system and we have to change it or we deserve what we get. Every single person interested in real democracy should be working to ger 100 percent publically financed campaigns ASAP.

  13. SiropMiel

    Skeptical Brother is seeing clearly, I see. Now he has to look into Al Franken’s position on Israel / AIPAC, 911 etc.

  14. gladdie

    It’s a huge disappointment to see Obama pandering to AIPAC. I had hoped he was one of those people who supported Jimmy Carter’s point of view as detailed in Carter’s book, “Palestine-Peace Not Aparteid”. Carter said some members of Congress secretly agreed with him but he refused to name them because “it would be the kiss of death” as far as their political careers. So sad. Obama had the chance to really make a difference.

  15. Anonymous

    First of all, if you read the text of Obama’s AIPAC speech, you would see that he says some tough things to Israel. Secondly, as AIPAC speeches go, he panders less than any candidate who has spoken before them from either party. As far as I’m concerned, he who panders least, panders best.

    Secondly, Jewish Americans are a group that votes 75-80% of the time for democrats. No other non-black group (not Hispanics, no one) votes for Democrats in that proportion. That proportion has only risen with the disastrous Bush administration. They also give a disproportionate amount of money to democrats.

    You guys want to live in La-La land go ahead. But, as a card carrying member of the reality-based community, I prefer to live in truth, and the truth is Barack Obama is the only candidate who has a chance to unite the progressive, netroots and minority communities. That unity will be a force for change and for good in this country and throughout the world. I’ll hang my hat on that any day of the week.

  16. denise

    I think the only folks in LaLa land are those who honestly believe that “united communities of interests” are going to share power (which the notion implies) with black folks after gaining access to our coveted voting block.

    Sorry, but this campaign still looks like business as usual. You know, same soup , only this time it’s being served up in a brown bowl.

  17. dblhelix

    Anon: And, what did Mr. Ron Lester want?

    What is the point? Is this any of our business?

    denise: I think the only folks in LaLa land are those who honestly believe that “united communities of interests” are going to share power (which the notion implies)

    no power, just blogads. :-)

    YPB Guide: come on people, does an entire BLOG have to be about … or how a poor black kid died from not having enough dental insurance?

    A poor Black kid, Deamonte, living in and out of a homeless shelter in Prince Georges County, model of Black affluence.

    The county’s hospital for the indigenous is on the brink of insolvency. Also at issue in the MD GA is a paltry $2 mill to expand public clinics.

    If Deamonte’s personal story is not of interest, then here is something that perhaps is. The homeless shelter is about 1-2 miles from my home. I do a lot of work in this area, including community organizing.

    Here is what I see: working-class and lower-income Blacks in the area are dropping out of the system. Nobody cares about them, so they don’t care about YOU and your interests. I have all the stats for the area — date of voter registration, age, voting history. All of the folks I work with are in their 70s & 80s. Otherwise, it’s White kids from the nearby univ energized by outrage over rising tuition. When the older folks are gone, I guess the college kids will be in charge, because cousin Pookie didn’t get off the sofa for Kweisi, and I’m betting Pookie isn’t getting up for Barack, either.

    So if we are not going to talk about these things, then what?

  18. Amen, dblhelix:

    When I read Deamonte’s story, all I could remember was that his district is represented by Corporate Whore Albert Wynn. And he voted on the Medicare bill that limited, if not shut off that kid’s access to proper dental care.

    We damned sure had better be having these discussions. Obama has to earn his votes from Black people. Shouldn’t get a pass because he’s a brotha.

    And yeah, I’ve heard some white women saying Hillary’s getting no play from them either, just because she’s a woman. In fact, those women are looking more at Obama as an alternative to Hillary.

  19. Anonymous

    First, African American Political Pundit : you are in no position to be asking for a name to go with anything. I accept your pseudonym. Why not accept mine? Just what is your ‘gut feeling’ anyway? Come on out of the closet and say it.

    Second, I always ask questions about the people pseudonymously blogging for or against a candidate. If I follow the IP address and blog registration, I usually find some very interesting info.

  20. dblhelix

    Fool me, indigenous should read indigent. The indigenous people of Prince Georges, say pre-’68-’70 are white republicans, LOL.

    TPJ: the shelter is probably just over the line in Van Hollen’s MD-08 due to the funny way the lines were drawn in ’02, but it’s still part of Wynn’s ‘legacy’ — and he’s got a hand in all local issues for the county as well.

    Re: BQ support — I do find a good bit of support here from white women, even across party lines — but the area is probably not representative. My state senator is an ex-ambassador from the Clinton administration; consultants to the DLC are at the university down the street (also home to Ron Walters, btw), and so on.

    On earning votes — the bar is very high (for all candidates) in getting anything beyond the ‘supervoters’ to the polls. People are plain old tired of the ‘drive-by’ campaigning every four years, from local to higher-level office. I think things have changed a lot since Barack was an organizer (too much drive-by, too much GWB) and local pols seem to be content with only dealing w/ a small number of voters — they don’t want to work very hard. I’ve made some arrangements w/ local community leaders to work on political education/action w/o any of the politicians involved early on, so it’s agenda first, candidate consideration later. I think it’s a fair deal, so I’m willing to give it a shot.

  21. Marvin Jones

    Your critique of Obama’s business as usual attitude toward foreign policy rings resoundingly true. Two questions: what is driving his campaign. is it really “charisma” or is his candidacy , fundraising support by Geffen , Soros and others part of a larger chess match between those within the Democratic party who hate the Clinton’s. It is often said Obama came out of nowhere -certainly he- Obama- is not organic to the black struggle: a la Jesse, or Julian Bond etc.

    Obama’s character, who willl appeal to blacks on the basis of skin color , and who will appeal to whites as multi-racial proto raceless black, has the ring of a narrative created by Hollywood or professional fund raisers. This brings me to the second question: what interest do blacks have in a candidate who happens to be black who is unable to set foot off a kind of ideological plantation . I mean to say in what sense does Obama differ from Colin Powell or Con-do-leeza Rice.

  22. Marvin,

    He differs in several respects from Condi and Colin. The biggest way he differs is because he is conflicted by the ideological tradeoffs he has made to ascend to the next level. Neither Colin or Condi are similarly conflicted.

  23. Anonymous

    Marvin,

    In what way does Hillary Clinton differ from Colin Powell/C. Rice?
    Hillary like Condi hues to a ridiculous Iraq line to demonstrate her toughness. Like Powell, she is used to shield those around her from judgement.

  24. I predicted that Barack Obama would got to AIPAC and say something substantially similar to what Hillary and Edwards had said, and for one reason: Otherwise he was politically toast.

    I think there basically were two possible relationships toward the Israel lobby for Obama: the successful Democratic presidential candidate model and the Jesse Jackson model. Once Jesse was perceived as insufficiently pro-Israel, it was a millstone around his neck to almost as great a degree as being Black was.

    Even a white anti-Israel candidate would have no chance in 2008, so Barack did the only thing he could do without throwing away all of the money that people have been investing in his campaign. He kissed the ring, passed the test, and moved on to the next hurdle with his campaign intact. Otherwise, he’d be on the slow bus back to Illinois right now.

  25. Rick

    Obama Under Fire for saying “no one is suffering more than Palestinians”
    http://video.msn.com/v/us/v.htm?g=c65444e9-b8f1-45da-9fcf-f4cb71f3581e&f=34&fg=rss

    apparently, that statement is not going over too well with some in the Jewish lobby.
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/3/15/19238/7557

    wondering how many blacks in this forum really give two craps about the plight of the Palestinians, but are rather using this issue (or any issue) as a platform to communicate their bias that they just don’t like Obama? no matter, i guess his campaign manager put him up to these most recent statements…or maybe his wife!!!

    Rick

  26. impartialview

    The pro Palestinians US Policy & the Arab oil lobby

    Why do Arabists propagandists keep talking about “pro Israel” US policy?

    Not any other nation, was and is so active in attempting to create a ‘Palestinian’ state [even though there was never an Arab sovereign state in Israel ‘palestine’, in history.

    Tell me one Arab country that was so much on behalf of a ‘Palestinian’ state, not to mention that ‘Palestinian plight’ is mainly [1] due to the Arab leaders’ behavior since 1948 of playing with this Arab population [that are refered to as “Palestinians” since the 1960’s], it’s historical terrible “interset” in keeping them in shambles, as a cynical propaganda tool against Israel, and [2] their own self destructive hatred & Jihad.

    Sure the most powerful lobby in America, the Arab Saudi oil is pushing to that too, yet it’s US’ will to go ahead with it , especially in a clear goal to eradicate another one of Jihadists’ favorite excuses in their war on the infidels, that goes on with or without excuses anyway.

    Or is it that supporting ALSO Israel is still not “good enough” in anti Israel bigots of the fascists in the Arab Muslim world?

    PS

    1) Simply put: Supporting Israel means, shielding it’s innocent citizens from genocide by “good tolerant neighbors”.

    2) What “logic” do anti Isreal bigots use to “explain” How could it be that even one Zionist-activist could have supported the Iraq war, since it’s an obstacle against acting on Nuclear Iran [that wants a global Islamic empire by force]?

  27. PaulO

    Obama knows to even have a shot at the presidency he, like everybody else has to support absolutely everything AIPAC wants.
    So criticizing him for doing exactly that is pretty pointless. I’m just hoping that whoever gets elected has a hidden agenda to expose these groups for the way they undermine the security of millions. Don’t forget all politicians have the unnofficial mandate to renege on promises.

  28. I am skeptical too. Everyone I know says “let him get elected first, then see what he does, blah blah blah” To hell with such nonsense. Why should Black Americans be held at a distance by Obama?
    Why the finger-wagging and insults such as the Father’s Day speech? Why this maniacal devotion to a mythical American narrative that renders white America blameless?? So far as I am concerned, the man is manifestly transparent- a safe, non-threatening empire pushing poster boy for the corporate shot-callers.

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