Monday, November 13, 2006

No Arab, Palestinian Cheers for U.S. Democrats

by Nicola Nasser

"The U.S. veto at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against a draft resolution condemning the Israeli attacks against the Palestinian civilians on Saturday was exactly the timely reminder needed to alert Arabs to the fact that historically both Republicans and Democrats have been essentially united on a bipartisan agenda in the Arab world, particularly on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Sceptics should consult bipartisan voting record of Congress in recent years on Middle East issues.

Reviewing U.S. voting records at the UNSC reveals Saturday’s veto as the 30th anti-Palestinian vote and the 42nd anti-Arab out of more than 80 U.S. vetoes.

Both Democrats and Republicans are expected to play politics more than they will plan policies until they settle the leadership dilemma in 2008 election; the future of military occupations and peace making in the Middle East will have to wait until then.

Rep. Tom Lantos, the Democratic lawmaker set to take over leadership of the International Relations Committee of the House, told AP Wednesday: “You won't see a sudden change. We basically share the same goals and objectives,” he said, referring to Democrats and Republicans.

Dennis Ross -- who was a Middle East envoy for the elder Bush and successfully dragged Palestinian-Israeli years-long negotiation into its current deadlocked situation – said: “It is pretty clear the neoconservative agenda on regime change and democracy promotion will take a back seat to stability and less pressure on regimes to open up their political systems,” he said, to the relief of Arab governments.

This strategic alliance has pre-empted and will continue to pre-empt all American well-meaning proposals for a two-state solution, which nonetheless made their way into United Nations legitimacy by the Security Council resolution 1515. It was responsible for the demise of the peace process sponsored by Bill Clinton’ and his Democratic administration and now it has proved mainly responsible for the demise of Bush and his Republican two-state “vision.”

“It's clear the 110th Congress will continue America 's long tradition of staunch support for a strong, safe and secure Israel and an abiding relationship between the United States and our most reliable ally in the Middle East ," Josh Block, a spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Nov. 9.

With Nancy Pelosi as the would-be Speaker of the Congress, “Jewish activists and officials are confident that the U.S. Congress will remain strongly pro-Israel …I've heard her say numerous times that the single greatest achievement of the 20th century was the founding of the modern state of Israel,” Amy Friedkin, a former president of AIPAC, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). Pelosi has reiterated on record that the key issue in the Middle East is Israel ’s survival, not its occupation.

In the entire mid-term campaign, the Democrats have not offered one specific plan to address foreign policy grievances, neither in Iraq nor in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Israeli-Jewish factor figured very high in the Democrats’ campaign: Rahm Emannuel and Chuck Schumer are the new brains of American politics who were credited for their victory; they are both Jewish and ardent supporters of Israel with strong Zionist convictions on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

At least six Jews were among the 25 new Democrats sweeping into the House; that brings to 30 the total number of Jewish representatives. In the Senate, Jewish senators increased their numbers from 11 to 13 — a record high; “all but one of the Jews elected or re-elected to the House and to the Senate on Tuesday were Democrats or pledged to vote with the Democrats,” Cleveland Jewish News online reported on Nov 11. However the infiltration of the top echelons of the Bush administration by pro-Israel strategists is also a public knowledge.

The “independent” Jewish agenda is very well represented by the [former] Democrat Senator Joseph Lieberman, who waged a campaign against the will of the Democratic Party as an independent and prevailed as a de facto Republican candidate. He is Jewish, extremely pro-Israel and pro-war in Iraq and expected to be the most powerful power broker in the Senate for the next two years.

This state of U.S. foreign policy affairs in the Middle East is dooming historical friendships between Washington and several Arab regimes, discrediting thousands of Arab liberals who were inspired by the American way of life and creating the ideal political environment for extreme anti-Americanism. Arab disillusionment with U.S. hollow promises will reinforce the trend further."

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