Hillary tells AIPAC, the occupation is hurting the US around the world
By: Philip Weiss
I think there was much to celebrate in Hillary Clinton’s speech to AIPAC. Couched in the usual pandering of the special relationship forever, and sanctions that “bite” Iran, she made a point of breaking the news to American Jews that the “status quo is unsustainable.” Yes, she said this had to do with “demographics,” a veiled form of racism involving the Palestinian birthrate, but she mentioned the “occupation,” and the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, and the inhuman blockade, and the need for Palestinians to have a “partner” for negotiation.
Most significant, it seemed to me, was her statement that in the ’90s she traveled the world and no one talked about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Now everywhere she goes it’s all that other countries want to talk about, first or second or third on the list of issues. “We cannot escape the impact of mass communications.” The internet. You and me…
I don’t have her words in front of me, but the clear implication was that Americans are at risk. If Palestinians are allowed to govern themselves — oh what a radical concept! — it undermines the “appeal” of extremists across the region. Failure to make progress on this issue arms extremists, she said. This is the Petraeus position, of course. Oh now I have a transcript:
[W]e cannot be blind to the political implications of continued conflict. There is a struggle between those in the region who accept peace and coexistence with Israel, and those who reject it and seek only continued violence. The status quo strengthens the rejectionists who claim peace is impossible and weakens those who would accept coexistence. That does not serve Israel’s interests or our own. Those willing to negotiate need to be able to show results for their efforts. And those who preach violence must be proven wrong. All of our regional challenges — confronting the threat posed by Iran, combating violent extremism, promoting democracy and economic opportunity – become harder if rejectionists grow in power and influence.
When you consider that AIPAC’s feverish executive director Howard Kohr had just said that a “reductivist” belief that resolving the Palestinian conflict is essential is simply wrong… When you consider that Alan Dershowitz last night and British Colonel Richard Kemp said that AIPAC must simply dismiss the Petraeus statement that the Palestinian issue endangers Americans… Well, Hillary was bringing cold hard truth to the AIPAC faithful. She went on at some length, in a vigorous, direct manner. By such fits and starts, Americans may at last reckon with the reality of the occupation.
The scene reminded me of Poe’s great story the Masque of the Red Death. They deny the plague in the castle as long as they can. It is outside in the streets. Then they have a masked ball to celebrate their survival and of course the plague is costumed and stalking the company from room to room. Israel’s plague, the crisis it faces through its imposition of apartheid rule — for a second I thought Hillary was going to use that word when she quoted Ehud Barak on the “inexorable mathematics” of the occupation; for Barak has used this word that an American politician cannot– is in the castle. The White House is giving the news to the influential elite. AIPAC president Lee Rosenberg looked stricken as Hillary left the stage.