In today’s New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer notes the remarkable number of Congressmembers– more than 80–who are heading to Israel thanks to a program affiliated with AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying force.
Steinhauer sizes up the political backdrop– the White House has strained relations with the current Israeli government, and there’s more:
the Palestinians are weighing a request to the United Nations Security Council to support a bid for statehood, leaving Washington in the uncomfortable position of blocking such a unilateral move while supporting democracy movements in other Arab nations.
U.S. policy at the United Nations has historically been pro-Israel. There’s no debate about that. So it’s hard to see how this particular case would be “uncomfortable,” since it’s in keeping with a well-established pattern.
As for the supporting Arab democracy movements: Which one did the U.S. “support” when it really mattered? Not Tunisia, Bahrain or Egypt. Not Yemen. Not Saudi Arabia or Jordan. Certainly not Palestine. Syria? Not really. I guess you could argue that the Libya War is “supporting” something. But Steinhauer’s vision of the U.S. as ‘uncomfortably’ fitting its rejection of Palestinian autonomy within a prevailing policy of encouragement for Arab democracies is more media creation than diplomatic reality.