So today the inevitable occurred, President Obama received support from the 34th Senator for the Iran agreement. There is now no way to override a Presidential veto, and the only open question is whether there will be enough votes to even pass the resolution of disapproval. The result was predictable from the start and anyone who has been reading me these past months know that is what I predicted. To this day I do not understand why either Netanyahu or much of the organized Jewish community walked into near certain defeat. Leaving aside the details of the agreement which are mixed, you do not take on a sitting President in foreign affairs unless your survival is at stake, and despite what some critics argue that is truly not the case here. Like everything else in the Jewish community no one either here, or in the US will take responsibility for the failure and resign.
It is now time to pick up the pieces and try to repair what is left of what use to be a bipartisan relationship. That will be very hard to do. Many bridges have been burned and in my opinion it will be hard to rebuild the consensus on Israel. The events of the last two months have like I predicted strengthened J Street and hurt AIPAC, something that many will be happy about, but it worries me.
A few other thoughts, first about the famous picture about of the Palestinian boy who was throwing rocks and a soldier tried to stop. There have been a number of good pieces written on the event especially by Asher Pfeiffer and by Ben Caspit, but I want to add a personal reflection. It was 40 years ago in November, that I was sent as a basic trainee to guard Joseph Tomb outside Shechem or Nabulas. Back then the territories were not considered as dangerous, since we had been in basic training a mere 2 weeks and were certainly not prepared. But I can still remember 40 years ago Palestinian kids throwing rocks at us, we just ducked since there was little we could do, the really sad part, I was a young man then I certainly am no longer, those same kids are certainly grown men with kids and maybe grandkids, and yet the cycle continues.
One last thought and that is toward Europe and the refugees. Europe is facing one of its greatest crisis. On one hand after World War II strict laws are in place that effectively force Europe to accept the refugees, and there can be no question under international law that the current wave is indeed refugees. On the other Europe is already feeling overwhelmed with its transplanted Muslim population, a population that has among other phenomena brought back anti-Semitism to Europe. Its a no win and everyone is paying the price for allowing Syria and Iraq to come apart. Below is my weekly radio show appearance mostly devoted to that topic.