Thursday, May 21, 2009

More Obama-Netanyahu follow up

Analysis of the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu keeps coming in. Here's US Campaign Steering Committee member Phyllis Bennis at the Institute for Policy Studies, arguing that there's not yet change we can believe in U.S. policy:

"This was a first meeting; at least in public, both politicians were playing primarily to their home audiences. The indicators so far were disappointing. But this was only round one. What happens next, privately and publicly, will be determined largely by the level of pressure that is brought to bear on Obama.

We know the capacity of Israel's U.S. supporters to raise that pressure. The question for us is how to challenge it, for diplomacy instead of threats towards Iran, and an end to U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid and for a U.S. policy based on equality for all. We have to raise our own claims — regarding Iran and Palestine — based on holding Obama to his own promises — for a changed foreign policy, for an end to the mindset that leads to war.

There's a lot of work ahead."

Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti argues in the Los Angeles Times that if President Obama doesn't act for a two-state solution now, it will be never:
"It's now or almost certainly never. If Obama lacks the political will to stand up to Netanyahu now, he will lack the capacity later. And by the time Obama leaves office, it will be too late to salvage anything more than an archipelago of Palestinian Bantustans. We Palestinians seek freedom, not apartheid, and not the sort of Potemkin villages on the West Bank that Netanyahu is trying to package to the West as visionary economic boomtowns for desperate Palestinians."
US Campaign Steering Committee member Bill Fletcher, Jr., agrees:
"The recent Israeli elections have put into place an administration completely hostile to a peaceful settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu's refusal to speak to a two-state solution and instead to discuss economic advancement of the Palestinians is reminiscent of those in the early 20th century who held that African Americans should not challenge Jim Crow segregation but should rather improve themselves economically, as if economic advancement can happen for an oppressed people in the absence of political freedom."
US Campaign Steering Committee member Adam Horowitz is wondering whether talk of the two-state solution will be replaced by the "side-by-side" solution. Meanwhile, US Campaign National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner writes in the Detroit Free Press that there is a gap between the Obama's rhetoric on budgetary responsibility and reality when it comes to U.S. military aid to Israel:
"As President Obama has stated, “We can't sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars, on programs that have outlived their usefulness or exist solely because of the power of politicians, lobbyists or interest groups. We simply can't afford it.” In regard to U.S. aid to Israel, this is true as much from a budgetary standpoint as it is from a moral one."
Don't just sit there! Get involved in the conversation. Let us know what you think about Obama and Netanyahu. And get involved in the work that is ahead to transform peace rhetoric into human rights reality.