News Release

Pressure on Israel?


Tonight, President Obama is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Netanyahu were among the speakers at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Professor of history and international relations at Boston University, Bacevich is an author whose latest book is The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.

He recently wrote the piece “How Petraeus could swing thinking on Israel: His belated recognition that U.S. and Israeli interests aren’t always intertwined has particular impact,” which states: “How long the United States can tolerate the denial of Palestinian self-determination is one question demanding urgent attention. Yet behind that question there lurks an even larger one: Is the progressive militarization of U.S. policy in the Greater Middle East — entrusting ever more authority to proconsuls like Gen. Petraeus and flooding the region with American troops — contributing to peace and stability? Or is it producing precisely the opposite result?”

Abileah is a national organizer with CODEPINK and a Jewish-American of Israeli descent who interrupted Netanyahu’s remarks Monday night. See: “CODEPINK Protests Netanyahu inside AIPAC Gala: Activists call for end to siege on Gaza and illegal settlements.”

Earlier Monday, a spoof news release distributed by CODEPINK, saying that AIPAC had called for an Israeli settlement freeze, was reported as fact by NPR and other major media.

Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. Her books include Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer. Bennis said today: “Despite a campaign commitment to making a two-state solution real, which would require real pressure to make Israel comply with international law, the Obama administration’s policy towards settlements has largely been limited to a series of polite requests of Israel. Request: ‘Please freeze settlements.’ Answer: ‘No.’ ‘Please freeze settlements.’ Answer: ‘No.’ ‘Please freeze just a few settlements.’ Answer: ‘No.’ ‘Please freeze just a few settlements, just for a little while.’ Answer: ‘Maybe … well … no.’ Then they stopped asking.

“Someone seems to have told the Obama administration that a series of polite requests equals pressure. It doesn’t. Real pressure looks like this: ‘Please stop settlements.’ Answer: ‘No.’ ‘Then, you know that $30 billion that Bush arranged for you from U.S. tax money, and we agreed to pay — you can kiss that goodbye.’ That’s what pressure looks like.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.