Israeli Prime Minister tightening connections with
US Republican party
Wednesday September 21, 2011 17:29 by Alaa Ashkar/Saed Bannoura -
IMEMC & Agencies
According to a report published Wednesday by the New York Times
newspaper ahead of Wednesday's meeting between US President, Barack
Obama, and Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Obama
administration has solicited the assistance of Netanyahu to influence
the Republican party in Congress on the Israel-Palestine issue.
The Israeli government and its supporters in the US have for decades
worked to exert influence on both Democratic and Republican members of
Congress. Over 80 Congressmembers of both parties visited Israel during
the August recess this year, in the only lobbyist-sponsored trips that
are allowed by the US Congress.
During that trip, Obama's request
to Binyamin Netanyahu that he help influence Republican members of
Congress to support a $50 million aid package for the Palestinian
Authority became apparent.
One of the members of Congress who
attended the meeting with Mr. Netanyahu in August, Representative
Michael G. Grimm of New York, a Republican, said that it was carefully
explained to the delegation that the money would be used for training
Palestinian police officers who work closely with the Israeli
As the diplomatic showdown at the UN begins this
week, its clear that Obama needs Netanyahu to be able to pass any
decision in the Congress, the paper reported.
Zionist Republican Congressmember Eric Cantor made clear that the
Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations this week will
hinder any future aid to the Palestinian Authority from the US
The US has pledged to provide Israel with $30 billion
in aid money over the next ten years. This does not include military
contracts and loans that are not required to be paid back. No equivalent
pledge has been made to the Palestinian Authority, who have received
$150 million from the US this year (which is approximately 5% of the
amount of money given by Washington to Israel this year).
According to the New York Times analysis, Netanyahu’s intervention in
Congress underscores an extraordinary intersection of American diplomacy
and domestic politics, which is the result of an ever-tightening
relationship between the Israeli government and the Republican Party
that now controls the House.
On Tuesday, one of President Obama’s
potential rivals for the presidency in 2012, extreme conservative
Governor Rick Perry of Texas, delivered a speech in New York criticizing
Obama’s stance toward Israel as “naďve, arrogant, misguided and
dangerous.” Mr. Perry said that he would soon be a guest of Danny Danon,
the hard-right deputy speaker of the Israeli Parliament.
analysis by Times reporters adds that the relationship between the
Israeli government and the Republican Party has significantly
complicated the administration’s diplomatic efforts to avert a
confrontation at the United Nations this week over the Palestinian bid
for full membership as a state. This relationship. the reporters say,
has limited President Obama’s ability to exert pressure on Netanyahu to
make any concessions that could restart negotiations with the
For the Republican party, the analysis continues,
their relationship with the Israeli government has created what many in
the party see as an opportunity. According to the New York Times,
"Mindful of Mr. Obama’s strained relationship with Mr. Netanyahu and
emboldened by a special election victory last week in a heavily Jewish
Congressional district in New York, Republicans hope the tensions
between Mr. Obama and Israel — underscored by the latest developments at
the United Nations — will help propel future political victories for
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