Thursday, February 6, 2014

Robert Naiman, AIPAC, Snoozer

Robert "Flotilla" Naiman has returned sooner than expected, crowing about the "defeat" of AIPAC and pontificating that if AIPAC can be overridden on the Iranian issue, then maybe it can be overridden on the Palestinian issue as well. Because in the world of the Huffington Post, everyone who isn't a lefty peacenik is an evil war monger. Along the way he accuses AIPAC of wanting war in Syria (when Obama asked for their help) and references the hate site Mondoweiss.

His argument is that John Kerry is using the "good cop bad cop" strategy in order to convince Israel to make peace, the "bad guy" being the boycotters. Of course he ascribes false motives to Kerry:
"But if the Israeli government won't cooperate with U.S. peace efforts, then we won't be able to stop those 'bad cop' boycott people from increasing the Israeli government's international isolation.""
This is interesting because Naiman seems to be saying that it's okay to threaten Israel to make peace...something that I'm sure if it were directed Palestinians he would be freaking out about. For some reason he claims that this "drives AIPAC supporters...absolutely wild." Uh huh. I'm not an Israeli government official, but even I know that people have been using this boycott threat as "encouragement" for Israel to make peace for years now. Not that I am totally against it, I just know that it won't work. People don't make peace when they feel frightened, they make peace when they feel safe. Sure, boycotts are in the news right this second because of the perfect storm of the ASA and the Sodastream thing. But do you think we will still be talking about them as much in two months? Or four?

So anyway, Naiman then proceeds to turn the paranoia levels up:
"Is AIPAC going to demand that Congress make the administration do more to stop people from boycotting the Israeli occupation? It's one thing to insist that the U.S. government mustn't apply any pressure on the Israeli government to comply with U.S. policy. It would be quite another thing to demand that the Congress require the administration to apply more pressure on other governments and institutions to stop them from applying pressure on the Israeli government to comply with U.S. policy. Who could call for that with a straight face?"
(First of all, note the disingenuous implication that people only boycott "the occupation," as if such a thing were even possible.)

Second, why would AIPAC do that? Boycotting Israel is already illegal under US law. Nor is that AIPAC's row to hoe. And yeah, Naiman makes a good point. No one would call for that with a straight face, so AIPAC probably won't. But as Naiman is quick to moan about, AIPAC has a lot of pull in other areas of American life. They could lobby Congress to loosen trade restrictions on Israel or invest more in Israeli companies. Do you think Naiman and his pitiful little band could stop that? I have a feeling that would more than make up for all the memes of Scarlett Johansson that the BDSers spam on Twitter.

Naiman finishes his surprisingly short article by patting himself on the back (or in other areas) in classic BDS logic:
"Speaking as one of the "bad cops," I find the rap of the "anti-boycott" good cops kind of funny, in a good way. The official policy of the "good cops" is to denounce me and my friends, but the more we succeed in our efforts, the stronger their case. I guess in this instance, denunciation is the sincerest form of flattery."
Right, because you've had so many successes over the past almost fifteen years, right? Here's another thought: if you are getting denounced a lot, maybe there's a reason for it. But then again looking in the mirror has never been a habit of BDS supporters.

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