Prospects for peace
The appearance of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain this week before the American Israeli Political Action Committee comes as no surprise. In the US today it is impossible to be elected president without demonstrating to AIPAC unqualified support for the government of Israel.
But in making his obeisance to reality, Barack Obama went both too far and not far enough. Obama went too far by stating that Jerusalem must remain undivided and the Israeli capital; he went not far enough by failing to acknowledge and condemn the collective punishment of the Palestinian People by the Israeli Government.
By publicly demonstrating conformity to AIPAC’s line, Obama has damaged his standing in the world and with millions of progressive US voters.
Furthermore, Candidate Obama’s statements before AIPAC will discourage and demoralize those in Israel who are working for a just peace.
If he is elected and maintains the positions he took before AIPAC, an Obama Administration will not be able to serve as a fair broker in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
To reclaim his independence, Candidate Obama should make clear to the world that he condemns the collective punishment of the Palestinian People and that, if elected, he will not impose or accept preconditions on peace negotiations.
If he does not do this and becomes president, the prospects for peace in Israel-Palestine — the key to true security and to the US reclaiming the respect of people and governments around the world – will remain poor to nonexistent.