by James M. Wall
As soon as the Congress arrived back to do the nation’s business on January 5, it bowed to Tel Aviv.
Politico reports that “the House voted overwhelmingly [342 to 80] to rebuke the United Nations for passing a resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction, a bipartisan slap that also targets the Obama administration while signaling a rocky road ahead for U.S.-U.N. relations under soon-to-be-President Donald Trump”.
The encouraging sign, however, is that while 342 members supported the resolution, 80 members opposed House Resolution 11: Objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and for other purposes.
To see how your local House member voted, click on this link
Alternet examined that list and found that only four Republicans voted against the resolution, joining 76 Democrats who voted to support President Obama. Given a choice between Israel’s far-right government, 109 Democrats voted with Israel, while 76 stood with the UN and Obama.
Democratic PEPs (Progressive except for Palestine) stayed with Israel.
Former DNC chair, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, supported Bibi.
Even self-described progressive members of the party, including “Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin — who dubbed himself an ‘effective progressive’ and was described by The Washington Post as the ‘most liberal congressional candidate in a crowded field’ — voted for the anti-UN bill”.
Rep.Ted Lieu, a progressive Democrat from Los Angeles who has been perhaps the most outspoken critic of US support for the brutal war in Yemen, joined the Republicans in supporting the pro-Israel legislation.
PEPs are predictable in their fear of, or fondness for, Israel. But do not despair. Remember, the game is on; it is not over. The unknowns dominate the knowns.
Putin and Trump are clearly amigos. Bibi and Trump appear ready to create a new reality show, Three Amigos: Trump, Bibi and Putin. But trouble looms in this three-way bromance.
To update Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, “the Twitter game is on”.
In his December 29 column, Israel First or America First?, Pat Buchanan wrote: “Having tweeted, ‘Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching,’ and having named a militant Zionist [David Friedman] as his ambassador, [Donald] Trump is certain to tilt U.S. policy heavily toward Israel”.
Perhaps he will. But he may also be driven in a different direction when he discovers he is on the same pro-Israel glide path as the U.S. Congress. Trump prefers to glide alone, showering his affections and dislikes online through @realDonaldTrump.
The Palestine Chronicle editor Ramzy Baroud offers the silver lining that Trump’s egotistical needs just might inadvertently land him with the righteous in the new era of Trump.
The US blind support of Israel throughout the years has increased [Israel’s] expectations to the point that it now anticipates US support to continue, even when Israel is ruled by extremists who are further destabilizing an already fragile and unstable region
According to Israeli logic, such expectations are quite rational. The US has served as an enabler to Israel’s political and military belligerence, while pacifying the Palestinians and the Arabs with empty promises, with threats at times, with handouts and with mere words.
The so-called ‘moderate Palestinians’, the likes of Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority, were duly pacified, indeed, for they won the trappings of ‘power’, coupled with US political validation, while allowing Israel to conquer whatever remained of Palestine.
But that era is, indeed, over. While the US will continue to enable Israel’s intransigence, a Trump Presidency is likely to witness a complete departure from the Washingtonian doublespeak.
Bad will no longer be good, wrong is not right, and warmongering is not peacemaking. In fact, Trump is set to expose American foreign policy for what it truly is, and has been for decades. His presidency is likely to give all parties a stark choice regarding where they stand on peace, justice and human rights.
Trump will not do this out of some idealistic notion of human rights, a phrase that may not even occur to him. Trump is not good at subterfuge. He says what he thinks at 3 in the morning and puts it down in a 140-character tweet.
What he feels on a given day is not derived from a lobby. He follows the 16th Century proverb, “Every man for himself and the Devil take the hindmost.”
In this case, Trump may wake up one day and poke his finger in the eyes of the
Congressional poo-bahs who love or fear Israel and its deep-pocket supporters. How would he do it? He doesn’t even know yet. He only know that he is now The Man.
Trump is not the sort of man who wants Congress to pay obeisance to a foreign leader. Anticipating Netanyahu’s visit to speak to Congress in 2015, Independent foreign correspondent Robert Fisk wrote:
Congress members of both parties have grovelled and fainted and shrieked their support for Bibi and his predecessors with more enthusiasm than the Roman hordes in the Colosseum.
Last time Bibi turned up on the Hill, he received literally dozens of standing ovations from the sheep-like representatives of the American people, whose uncritical adoration of the Israeli state – and their abject fear of uttering the most faint-hearted criticism lest they be called anti-Semites – suggest that Bibi would be a far more popular US president than Barack. And Bibi’s impeccable American accent doesn’t hurt.
Adoration for others does not sit well with our New Leader. Be prepared for future Tweets making this clear in 140 characters.
The Trump Twitter game is on with both old and new tweets.
Last week, Vermont Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, stood on the floor of the Senate next to an enlarged copy of a Candidate Trump Tweet, posted in May, 2015.
The Tweet reads: “)I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.”
The Republican-controlled Senate, voting along party lines, has begun its repeal of Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act. It has revealed no plan for what will replace the ACA.
What care they for earlier Trump tweets?
One Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), does. He has warned Trump against relying so much on Twitter.
With all due respect, America cannot afford a Twitter presidency. Many Americans are afraid, Mr. President-elect, that instead of rolling up your sleeves and forging serious policies…that, for you, Twitter suffices.”
Schumer added, according to The Wall Street Journal, that if Trump attempts to adopt the “time-worn policies which benefit the elites, the special interests, corporate America — not the working man and woman — his presidency will not succeed.”
Schumer also took aim at Trump’s cabinet appointments:
. . .too many of his cabinet picks support the same, hard-right, doctrinaire positions that many in the Republican Party have held for years, policies that the American people have repeatedly rejected.
How will the Democrats handle the cabinet confirmations?
Politico reports that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell will take up six Cabinet-level confirmations hearings on one day, January 11. The jammed list includes attorney general, secretary of state, CIA director, education secretary, homeland security chief and transportation secretary.
While Democrats worry about the cabinet, Trump has his own priorities. On Friday, January 6, our next president was bragging about his previous life on the television reality show, The Apprentice.
Time for a Trump congratulatory word to a successor?
Hardly, remember this is Trump, whose daily focus is solely on himself. Two weeks to the day, before his January 20 presidential inauguration, Trump tweeted:
“Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT.”
“So much for being a movie star — and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich & Hillary.”
Schwarzenegger responded with his Twitter: “I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.”
The Trump Twitter game, Dr. Watson, is very much on.
The picture of President-elect Trump is by Gage Skidmore from Flickr. The picture of former Governor Schwarzenegger is from Wikipedia Commons by Nate Mandos.