There’s been a mammoth splash of commentary about Petraeus’s comments about Israeli intransigence threatening American lives. This is supposedly an indication of a rift between Israel and America and a change in policy. The rift will purportedly lead to an end to Israeli irredentism and a change in Obama’s policy towards Israel-Palestine. Otherwise it’s largely irrelevant.
In this narrative, Jewish ethnic interests, nebulously conceived or defined except for what’s foggily visible in polls, blindly support an Israel/Jewish/Zionist Lobby that’s bad for Israel and bad for Jews and pretty crappy for the Zionist project, too. Pick a blog at random. It’s the same stuff. I would say it’s old news by now, but it’s not, because th torrent of comment about the Lobby it let loose is still flowing wildly.
I’d be more scathing about it but a lot of it has been by people I like and respect. Actually, I think Petraeus’s comments are meaningless vis-a-vis a “split” between Israel and the US, as is Biden’s fury. Witness Hillary Clinton’s surreal performance at AIPAC. Or try to witness it, I closed the YouTube window after two minutes.
Is this the sign of incipient change? Not a chance. Settlements will continue to be built, and the struggle will turn into an apartheid struggle. Jeffrey Blankfort, god-knows-why-but-widely-cited, writes,
The gravity of the situation was not lost upon Israel’s new ambassador, American-born historian, Michael Oren, who, in a conference call with Israel’s US consulates, reportedly expressed the opinion (which he now denies) that this was the worst crisis in US-Israel relations since 1975.
Really? What’s the gravity of the situation? Will the US cut off military aid? Will the US risk an Israeli civil war by ordering Netanyahu to withdraw to the ’67 borders? Does anyone really see this happening in the short-term, under the Obama presidency? Does this seem anymore like a reasonable strategic or tactical vision? How can we exploit the differences between Prussians and Traders to achieve a just settlement in Palestine? By lining up behind Petraeus and his saccharine concern for the American underclass he sends off to die and kill in Baghram and Baghdad?
Is what’s called “support” for Israel a curable sickness afflicting American Jewish culture? Of course it is. Is there an ethnic ideological component behind the Lobby? Sure, but alongside a capitalist component. Both must be fought simultaneously. And that means thinking harder and working harder, and investing efforts in securities that are more likely to yield something decent than the latest lover’s tiff in Tel-Aviv and DC.