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Paul Craig Roberts | Takimag.com | December 02, 2009

HappyObama

It didn’t take the Israel lobby very long to bring President Obama to heel regarding his prohibition against further illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Obama discovered that a mere American president is powerless when confronted by the Israel lobby and that the United States simply is not allowed a Middle East policy separate from Israel’s.

Obama also found out that he cannot change anything else either, if he ever intended to do so.

The military-security lobby has war and a domestic police state on its agenda, and a mere American president can’t do anything about it.

President Obama can order the Guantanamo torture chamber closed and kidnapping and rendition and torture to be halted, but no one carries out the order.

Essentially, Obama is irrelevant.

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AIPAC becomes foreign agent dominating American foreign policy while disguised as domestic lobby.

By Jeff Gates | Information Clearing House, July 19, 2009

LOUISIANA – In the early 1960s, Senator William J. Fulbright fought to force the American Zionist Council to register as agents of a foreign government. The Council eluded registration by reorganizing as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC has since become what Fulbright most feared: a foreign agent dominating American foreign policy while disguised as a domestic lobby.

Israelis and pro-Israelis object when they hear that charge. How, they ask, can we so few wield such influence over so many? Answer: it’s all in the math. And in the single-issue advocacy brought to bear on US policy-making by dozens of ‘domestic’ organizations that now compose the Israel lobby, with AIPAC its most visible force.

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Obama Won’t Have to Kiss AIPAC’s Ring — Progressive Alternative to Hawkish Mideast Policies Emerges

By Alexander Zaitchik, AlterNet. Posted January 12, 2009.

A new wave of progressive Jewish activists are challenging the dominance of AIPAC and other hawkish groups on Gaza, Israeli settlers and even Iran.

Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza has pushed to the fore with ferocity one of the great campaign debates of 2008: How will Barack Obama approach the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? The president-elect has stated repeatedly that achieving a final settlement will be an administration priority, but beyond that oft-expressed campaign commitment swirls a constellation of increasingly urgent unkowns. Will he choose a Mideast envoy with at least a shred of credibility on both sides? Will he negotiate with Hamas? Will he spend the needed political capital to revive the rotting corpse of the peace process? Is resuscitation even possible?

Normally, a very constricted beltway political wisdom on Israel, as embodied by AIPAC, would set and guard the parameters of the debate over these questions. But the landscape of organized Jewish political power in America is changing. Even as John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt were coming under heavy fire for their 2006 analysis of the traditional American Israel Lobby, a liberal pro-Israel countermovement was forming in utero. Today, that movement is not only walking and talking, it is mounting a vigorous challenge to the dominance of traditional groups like AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League. Together with a growing number of voices within the foreign policy community, it is pushing Obama to initiate a strong and fresh approach to the region during his busy first 100 days.

As we wait to see how this debate shapes up, it’s worth revisiting what we know about Barack Obama. In his personal life, he has exposed himself to both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide like few other incoming presidents. At the University of Chicago, he cultivated a friendship with the Palestinian-American scholar Rashid Khalidi, through whom he also came to know the late Edward Said. He visited the slums of Ramallah in the West Bank on his own initiative, after which he told an audience in Muscatine, Iowa, “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.” During the primaries and presidential campaign, these facts fueled the hopes of Palestinians and Americans hungry for a more balanced approach to the region. It also became grist for Republican (and Likud) fear and smear campaigns that warned Obama was an Israel-hating stalking horse for Hamas and a kissing cousin of Louis Farrakhan.

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