Scattered Notes On Obama’s May 19 Middle East Speech

A Few Scattered Notes On Obama's May 19 Middle East Speech

by Faramarz Farbod on Monday, May 23, 2011 at 2:47pm




As expected Obama’s speech did not deviate from the longstanding US counterrevolutionary policies in the region, which include full backing for both (1) the Saudi petro-feudal order, (2) the Usreal ongoing ethnic cleansing, terrorism and apartheid in historical Palestine. Unsurprisingly, Obama also assured the autocratic friends of the US in the region that it will use military violence and neoliberal economic policies in order to derail, co-opt, and prevent the Arab democracy movement from succeeding in changing the nature of politics in the region.

Concerning the Palestine question Obama nearly completely capitulated to Netanyahu's agenda. Here are some examples:

(1) Obama demanded that Palestinians become Zionists, forgetting the right of return, and accepting discriminatory/apartheid-like Israeli policies (i.e. accept that Israel is "a state of the Jews");

(2) Obama remained completely silent on the fact that as he spoke Usreal was busy wiping out Palestinian existance. Instead Obama went on absurdly to demand that those being wiped out nevertheless acknowledge the right to exist for the Jewish State;

(3) Obama subjected the internationally recognized right of Palestinians to the entire Occupied Territories to Israeli negotiations and veto (i.e. the so-called "mutually agreed [land] swaps") thereby backing Bush Jr's illegal 2004 commitment to the same brutal policy and dooming any prospect of even a minimally just settlement;

(4) Obama condemned all manners of resistance to Usreal violence be they non-violent (i.e. BDS movement), symbolic (seeking the Sept UN vote on recognition of a Palestinian state), violent (Hamas, etc.), while insisting shamefully on a full Palestinian capitulation by urging a return to an admittedly failed, miserable, and humiliating (see Palestine Papers) "negotiation table".

 Lastly, concerning the chasm between Obama and Netanyahu: the root of the difference is that the US favors a 2-state solution but Israel does not. Increasingly, the US elite have come to see the resolution of this conflict as serving the US "national" interest. The ongoing Arab Spring further exacerbates this tendency: The US backing for an Israel that refuses peace and becomes ever more isolated in the world imposes a heavy burden (including military ones) on the US Empire. It is important to note that US does not care about the plight of the Palestinians as such one bit. That is why it is willing to give a nuclear-armed Israel every advantage it can in the so-called "negotiations" with the pitifully kept poor and unarmed Palestinians. The US is perfectly fine with and actually prefers a weak, dependent, and demilitarized Palestinian state beholden to the familiar neoliberal imperial order. The problem is that an ethnocratic Israel that is driven by Zionism seeks more than the familiar neocolonial client relationship with a future Palestinian state; rather, Israel is bent on expansionism to the extent permissible. The US has been supportive of that project but is becoming painfully aware of the costs an Israeli Sparta imposes on its presence in the region (including military ones as noted by the top US military commanders).  So, I suspect the US policymakers are furious at Israel behind closed doors but are as yet unable to pressure Israel openly.

The task of those of us in the US who favor a just foreign policy concerning the question of Palestine should be to increase the social cost of US support for Israeli state terrorism at home to enable US policy elites to openly and effectively push Israel away from its expansionism. 

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