On just the second day of his first term, Barack Obama appointed former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as his special envoy for Middle East peace and boldly asserted that his administration would “actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” Though Obama possessed both good intentions and an understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict more nuanced than
any of his predecessors’, his once-coherent strategy quickly veered off-course. Far from being an “honest broker” for a just peace, the Obama administration has only enabled Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.
At the outset of Obama’s second term, here is the first hard-hitting analysis of why the administration has entirely failed on this issue—in part because of Obama’s wrongheaded obeisance to Israeli policy and its US advocates. Though Obama had expressed sympathy for the Palestinians’ plight early in his career, the 2012 US Presidential election saw the two candidates crassly vying to outdo one another in expressing unconditional support for Israel. Yet despite the strength of the Israel lobby, Ruebner argues that the growing numbers of Americans who are dissatisfied with their government’s policies towards Israel-Palestine can exert pressure and create real change.
Josh Ruebner is the National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He founded and directed Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel, which merged with Jewish Voice for Peace.