Monday, January 05, 2009

The United States only has one Israeli advocate at a time

Obama has Tzipi Livni to say about 500+ dead in Gaza. This does not make him a bad guy. It just makes him the incoming President of the United States.

American politicians do not speak out in defense of Palestinians because there is no powerful, organized Palestinian constituency which might provide some incentive for doing so. On the other hand, the American Jewish community is large, wealthy, and influential. My impression is that they also tend to be rather reactionary when it comes to Israeli policy: you do not criticize it. You do not criticize it because of the Holocaust, but you also don't criticize it because you "aren't there" and therefore have no right. This must have been a piece of social engineering dreamed up by the Israeli state, and passed on to American Jews via intermediaries based here. It's my only explanation for how these American Jewish groups -- and I don't know if they are the majority, but they seem like it -- are so willing to back Israeli policy so uncritically. There is far more diversity of thought in Israel on these subjects than there is in the US.

Anyway, this is why I do not care about politicians, even black presidents of the United States. They are important to me to the degree that they are important to ordinary people -- but that only speaks to how impressed I am by ordinary people. They have no intrinsic value otherwise; as I say, they are mere barometers of what is happening within their societies. US politicians love Israel because they love winning elections, and they are not going to do that by antagonizing the groups best positioned to assist them. They are never free to do what is right except by coincidence.

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