Will Americans ever feel free to criticise Israel and not worry they are being anti-American?

This is the week of the annual AIPAC  conference in Washington. (AIPAC, America Israel Public Affairs Committee, the leading pro-Israel lobbying  group in the US) Every member of Congress will be there. They have to be, their campaign funds depend upon it. This is the gathering that demonstrates all too clearly – for those who care to look – the power of the Israeli lobby and the total grip that it has on the US Congress.

This is the week when the President of the most powerful country in the world kowtows to its ungrateful ally in the Middle East, and is made to look feeble and foolish by Benjamin Netanyahu, son of a militant Zionist, Arab hater, right wing bully boy, and the man most likely to plunge the world into chaos and economic catastrophe should he attack Iran, which he appears increasingly likely to do.

What is it with Americans? Why do they allow a foreign country to hold such sway over their legislators? What is it with President Obama that he doesn’t tell Netanyahu where to get off?  Does it really all come down to money? The simple answer is ‘yes’. It would be a very brave president that offended the mighty Israeli lobby in an election year, but that is exactly what Obama needs to do.

Netanyahu and his fellow travellers only understand tough talk, and any tough talking needs to be backed up by the threat of ‘adverse consequences’ for US relations with Israel if it were to undertake uncoordinated military action against Iran. Obama needs to make clear that sanctions have to be given time to work and make clear that he will not be pushed around by Netanyahu and his right wing cohorts.

America needs to wake up to the fact that it is being taken for a ride by the current Israeli administration. It must stand up to the Israeli lobby and take back ownership of its Middle East policy. For a country that has been brainwashed to believe that to be anti-Israel is to be anti- American, this is going to be a tough call, but a call that needs to be made – urgently.

It may be an election year Mr President, but the world is relying on you to say what needs to be said.

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