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The Trump Administration has delivered yet another concession to Israel’s embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve of parliamentary elections: the Israeli military occupation of much of the Palestinian West Bank and of the Golan Heights will no longer be referred to in official U.S. government documents as an occupation. America’s so-called Ambassador to Israel is a former Trump lawyer named David Friedman who is more involved in serving Israel than the United States. He personally supports the view that the illegal Jewish settlements are legitimately part of Israel, choosing to ignore their growth even though it has long been U.S. policy to oppose them. He has also long sought to change the State Department’s language on the Israeli control of the West Bank and Golan Heights, being particularly concerned about the expression “occupied,” which has legal implications. Now he appears to have won that fight, to the delight of the Netanyahu government.
And the expunging of “occupied” might be only the first of many gifts intended to bolster Netanyahu’s chances. Senator Lindsey Graham, who also boasts of his close ties to the Israeli Prime Minister, intends to initiate legislative action to go one step further and compel the United States to actually recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory that was annexed after fighting in 1967, but which has not been recognized as part of Israel by any other country or international body. If a vote on the bill is pushed forward and goes as expected virtually unanimously as the subject before congress is Israel, it would hugely benefit Bibi. Some sources are also predicting that recognition of the Golan Heights could easily lead to U.S. government recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over much of the West Bank.
Israel’s election is scheduled for April 9th, so there is still plenty of time for additional mischief. There have even been suggestions in the Israeli media that Netanyahu just might escalate fighting with any one or more of a number of its neighbors to enhance his wartime leader credentials. That Gaza will be pummeled is a certainty and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria is probably also in the gun-sights. An uncorroborated report last week out of Israel claimed that Hezbollah is operating a “terror cell” in Syria close to the border with Israel.
AIPAC Takes Newly Elected Congress
Members, CNN’s Setmayer on Propaganda Trips to Israel
By Alison Weir
Newly elected Congressional Reps David Trone, Dan Crenshaw,
Elaine Goodman Luria, Tim Burchett, Denver Riggleman, and Susie Lee on a
December 2018 AIPAC trip to Israel. AIPAC’s educational arm spends about $10,000
a piece on these trips. By using a nonprofit entity, the Israel lobby gets
around a U.S. law intended to prohibit Congressional junkets funded by lobbying
January 03, 2019 “Information
– The Israel lobby has been busy taking a wide variety of government officials
and opinion makers on fully expense paid trips to Israel this month. The trips
cost in the range of $10,000
Six newly elected House members are on a 5-day visit to Israel, a delegation
of northern California “progressive leaders” are on a week-long trip, media
commentator Tara Setmayer has just returned from such a trip, and a delegation
of southern California progressive leaders returned from their trip earlier this
The House participants include liberals and conservatives, Jewish
representatives and Christian fundamentalists, Trump supporters and Trump
opponents: Tim Burchett (R-TN), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Susie Lee (D-NV), Elaine
Goodman Luria (D-VA), Denver Riggleman (R-VA) and David Trone (D-MD).
California participants are County Supervisors John Gioia and Joe Simian,
California Democratic Party Executive Committee Member Andrea Beth Damsky, and
unknown others. The delegations are named “Northern Pacific Progressive Leaders”
and “Southern Pacific Progressive Leaders,” but no one will divulge the rosters.
The AIPAC loophole
The trips are organized and funded by the
American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), the nonprofit arm of the
powerful Israel lobbying group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
AIEF was founded in 1989 “to advance the purposes of the American Israel Public
AIPAC is widely believed to be the most powerful organization in the US
lobbying Congress on behalf of a foreign country. An outgrowth of the 1939
organization “American Zionist Emergency Council,” AIPAC’s annual convention is
attended by ambitious politicians from across the political spectrum (see
“As a blogger and political analyst, I’m a little sad that Haley’s gone. She was the geopolitical gift that kept on giving”
The world is not shedding any tears now that Lil ‘Miss AIPAC, Nikki Haley, has finished her time puffing up her political resume at the U.N. To describe her performance as U.N. Ambassador over the last two years as strident and obnoxious would be a kindness.
Haley, simply put, was out of her depth as a diplomat, preferring to pre-run for President and shore up the support of the Israeli lobby in the U.S. rather than do her job with any modicum of honesty or integrity.
Her resigning quickly after the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is interesting, however.
While she has been, nominally, one of President Trump’s most public supporters she has also been instrumental in undermining Trump on foreign policy initiatives that do not comport with the wishes of her pay-masters at AIPAC.
While it is questionable how far Trump bows to the powerful Israeli lobby, no such questions should arise with Haley. She literally invites my nickname for her with every public pronouncement.
Neocons Never Die
So, what are the implications of this move by Haley less than thirty days before the mid-terms elections?
Well, the first part of this is obvious. The neoconservative/Never-Trump wing of the GOP, still smarting that their plan to hurt Trump by helping the Democrats scuttle the Kavanaugh appointment, are continuing to push the narrative that Trump has no control in the White House.
So, Haley, one of his best allies in the Administration, resigns suddenly to continue that appearance. It doesn’t matter that she apparently wanted out before year end. She could have held off until after the mid-terms to assist Trump in getting the GOP over the finish line with the House and Senate intact.
She didn’t do that. And if that doesn’t clarify for you just who she truly works for, then sadly nothing will.
Honestly, she has been such a caricature of a Neocon during her time miscast as a diplomat, anyone would be better than her short of Paul Wolfowitz or Dick Cheney,