by Jonathan Cook
Part 3 - Ringing off the hook
There is nothing unusual about what is happening in Germany. Jewish organisations are stirring up these “shitstorms” – designed to paralyse political and cultural life for anyone who engages in even the mildest criticism of Israel – at the highest levels of government. Don’t believe me? Here is Barack Obama explaining in his recent autobiography his efforts as US president to curb Israel’s expansion of its illegal settlements. Early on, he was warned to back off or face the wrath of the Israel lobby:
Members of both parties worried about crossing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Those who criticized Israeli policy too loudly risked being tagged as “anti-Israel” (and possibly anti-Semitic) and confronted with a well-funded opponent in the next election.
When Obama went ahead anyway in 2009 and proposed a modest freeze on Israel’s illegal settlements:
The White House phones started ringing off the hook, as members of my national security team fielded calls from reporters, leaders of American Jewish organizations, prominent supporters, and members of Congress, all wondering why we were picking on Israel … this sort of pressure continued for much of 2009.
He observes further:
The noise orchestrated by Netanyahu had the intended effect of gobbling up our time, putting us on the defensive, and reminding me that normal policy differences with an Israeli prime minister – even one who presided over a fragile coalition government – exacted a political cost that didn’t exist when I dealt with the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, or any of our other closest allies.
Doubtless, Obama dare not put down in writing his full thoughts about Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu or the US lobbyists who worked on his behalf. But Obama’s remarks do show that, even a US president, supposedly the single most powerful person on the planet, ended up blanching in the face of this kind of relentless assault. For lesser mortals, the price is likely to be far graver.