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Kevin Drum at Political Animal introduces us to the new verb in Israeli government circles: Lecondel, to Condel (from Condoleezza Rice) – “to come and go for meetings that produce few results.”

The BBC reports from the Arab League summit: Saudis to attend Mid-East summit

Saudi Arabia has said it will attend next week’s meeting on the Middle East at Annapolis in the US.

Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said he would go to the Maryland summit but that there would be no “theatrical show” with Israeli officials.

So, why are there no results expected?

From the BBC again: US storm over book on Israel lobby

The power of America’s “Jewish lobby” is said to be legendary.

Commentators the world over refer to it, as though it were a well-established fact that US Jews wield far more influence than their numbers (2% of the population) would suggest.

But this presumed influence is also a delicate issue in the US, and is rarely analysed.

How does the lobby work? Is its power truly legendary, or just a legend?

Two US academics, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, have set out to answer those questions, and triggered a firestorm of controversy as a result.

Their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which builds on a 2006 article in the London Review of Books, says the reasons for US support for Israel need to be explained.

America spends $3bn a year in largely military assistance – one-sixth of its direct aid budget – to help a prosperous, nuclear-armed country, and strongly backs Israel in negotiations on Middle East peace.

But according to Mearsheimer and Walt, the US gets remarkably little in return.

There really isn’t a Jewish lobby, per se, but a Likud lobby. The actions of the AIPAC [American Israeli Political Action Committee] and the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] are in support of the political platform of the Likud Party, not Jews or Israelis. This creates problems for both the US and Israeli governments and leaves a lot of people out of the “democratic” process to move forward towards peace.

There has been no consistent policy by the US even in the area of elections. The Palestinian elections that selected the Hamas party are called flawed and the US wants new elections, but if the Lebanese have new elections as provided for by their constitution and parliamentary system, such elections would be undemocratic, apparently because most people think that Hezbollah will make significant gains. So, the only good elections are those that elect the people that the US wants elected, not those that the voters want.

When the Israeli government and its supporters say there is no one with whom to negotiate, they really mean that the current Palestinian leaders are not going to just agree with the Israeli position, but may actually want real negotiations. The Israeli government seems to be following the Hedgemony’s line – first you agree to all my demands, and then we can talk.

After doing nothing for almost seven years, the Hedgemony decides to hold a conference in its last year. Nothing will happen because everyone realizes that there is no real desire to negotiate by anyone. This is just a public relations exercise, an exhibit for a Presidential library.


1 Fallenmonk { 11.26.07 at 6:50 am }

Condi is trying to very hard to create some kind of legacy but like everything else she has done it will fail. The people in the Middle East know that there is going to be a dramatic shift in the U.S. political scene in the next 12 months or so and they have no interest in bargaining with the current bunch. They, like the rest of the world, see this administration as a failure and untrustworthy. They know that everything these people touch becomes a failure and want no part of it.

2 Bryan { 11.26.07 at 1:30 pm }

She hasn’t established herself with the leaders in the area, and the two primary leaders in these discussions have only minority followings in their own areas.

This is too little, too late, and the ground hasn’t been prepared for a break through.