Although I do not think it, peace in the Middle East, “justice” for for the Palestinians who were displaced in 1948, “justice” and a secure homeland for the Jews who were nearly exterminated in the 1940s, and so on, can be achieved in 2017 or even that it will dominate the global agenda in 2017, I suspect that the last week of 2016 and the first few of 2017 will be full of theories about why President Barak Obama decided to not veto the regular UNSC resolution that condemns Israel for illegal settlements in the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria if you wish.
I chalked it up to spite, to, as I said, being a reflection of “President Obama’s personal distaste for prime Minister Netanyahu and [giving] him (Obama) a chance to be mean, petty and vindictive and slap the very popular Netanyahu in a way that will be hard for Trump to undo.“
But, in an opinion piece in the Commentary section of the National Post, Lawrence Solomon, an author, environmentalist, global warming skeptic and staunch supporter of Israel takes a different course: “follow the money,” is his explanation.
“Israel has been compromised as never before,” Mr Solomon writes, “with the United Nations through Obama’s manoeuvrings having declared that Jews have no right to live in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, which they have inhabited for the greater part of 3,000 years, and that Israel has no rights to its holiest sites, including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount … [but] … Winning Jewish support wasn’t especially important to Obama and other Democrats in terms of votes — Jews represent just two per cent of the U.S. electorate, generally making their numbers inconsequential at the ballot box. But Jews are hugely important — even decisive — in their political giving. The Jewish two per cent — which is overwhelmingly liberal — accounts for about two-thirds of all donations received by the Democratic Party. Put another way, the Jewish two per cent donates twice as much to Democrats as the non-Jewish 98 per cent … [however] … The importance of Jewish money to Democratic fortunes explains why Obama waited to make his moves against Israel until after his two presidential campaigns and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, whom he hoped would preserve his legacy. If Jews understood his real intentions toward Israel, Obama knew, many would withdraw their financial support.“
Much of Lawrence Solomon’s column concerns “Alan Dershowitz, the famed Harvard professor, legal scholar and criminal lawyer whose judgment American Jews have long trusted and respected,” and his comment, in the wake of the US abstention in the UNSC that he, and through him American Jews, had been victims of a “bait and switch” tactic.
I have not “fact checked” Mr Solomon’s contention that Jews give ⅔ of the money that the US Democratic Party raises but a simple Google search produced …
- US Jews contribute half of all donations to the Democratic PartyUS Jews contribute half of all donations to the Democratic Party; and
- ‘JTA’ reports that as much as 2/3 of Democratic money comes from Jewish donors
… so I’m guessing he’s not too far off. And other sources agree that Jews constitute approximately 2.2% of the total U.S. population so the money is indeed very, very important to the Democratic Party.
So, was that all it was, for almost eight years: a “bait and switch” campaign to gather Jewish money and then, at the last minute sell Israel out to the Arabs?
It is one, plausible, explanation, but:
- The animus between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu has been evident for a long time and I am not about to discount the importance of personal dislikes in grand strategy;
- The “two state solution” has been a cornerstone of US policy for decades but, as an Article in Foreign Affairs notes, “the two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians has been taken off the table” by Netanyahu as he, personally, reshapes the Israeli political landscape. The new, Israeli, narrative can be seen here ~ it is, being an Israeli position, extremely one sided but it has, I think, considerable (majority) support in Israel and, possible, amongst American and Canadian Jews, too; and
- Good old fashioned realpolitik says that nearly 360 million people who live in the Arab League states must, sometimes, count for as much as the six million Jews who live in Israel (out of a population of 8 million) and the six million more Jews who live in the USA.
Where would I put “Jewish money” on the list? Number three, I think.
- I think Prime Minister Netanyahu’s changes in policy have had a HUGE, and hugely negative impact in the US State Department and in many of the think tanks that help to shape and guide US policy. Many, many Americans are firmly wedded to the “two state solution” as being the only partway to peace. They have President Obama’s policy ear, as they probably should;
- Realpolitik matters, from time to time, and this ~ the changing of the political guard ~ could well be one of those times;
- Jewish money was a key to Democratic Party success for many, many years; and
- President Obama just plain doesn’t like Prime Minister Netanyahu and he decided to screw him as a parting shot.
But, Lawrence Solomon’s thesis does make one go “Hmmm.”