Israel and the US: Tail wagging the dog

November 20, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Posted in Human Rights, International Relations, World Politics | Leave a comment
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One of the many paradoxes of the recent mid-term elections in the United States is that foreign policy did not intrude into the campaign rhetoric even though the country is engaged in two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, even as Republicans continued to question whether President Obama was even an American citizen, the second-ranking Republican Congressman and Majority Leader-elect, Eric Cantor promised the visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would defend Israel against his own government–a promise that as Glenn Greenwald wrote in salon.com moved even the Jewish Telegraph Agency‘s Ron Kampeas to note:

I can’t remember an opposition leader telling a foreign leader, in a personal meeting, that he would side, as a policy, with that leader against the president.  Certainly, in statements on one specific issue or another — building in Jerusalem, or somesuch — lawmakers have taken the sides of other nations.  But to have-a-face to face and say, in general, we will take your side against the White House — that sounds to me extraordinary.

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And of course, the Obama Administration was not unduly pressuring the Israelis! A year ago, President Obama had demanded a freeze on Israeli settlements which extended even to what was blithely called “natural growth” of existing settlements. But on the very same day that Representative Cantor met Prime Minister Netanyahu, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton promised the Israeli leader $3 billion worth of fighter bombers in return for a 90-day moratorium in building settlements on the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem–that is to say a bribe of $3 billion to halt illegal activity and stealing other people’s land for 3 months! An act of appeasement if there ever was one, as Robert Fisk scathingly noted and an appeasement all the more egregious when the US economy is in the worst shape it has been since the 1930s and Americans everywhere are urged to tighten their belts. In the same week, as the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommended a wide-ranging plan to cut the federal deficit affecting virtually every sector of US society, there were no recommendations to cut aid to Israel. Cantor had, in fact, proposed last month that aid to Israel not be classified as ‘foreign aid’ to shield it from cuts even as Americans suffer cuts in welfare, farm subsidies, jobs, etc.

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It is clear that the newly-energized Republicans will be even more pro-Israel than the current administration (much as that might boggle the mind) even though Israeli repression of Palestinians is a direct threat to the national security of the United States as admitted by the top US general in Afghanistan, General David Petreus. When the Obama Administration has lacked the spine for a fight even when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, Republican gains in the mid-term elections is likely to ensure a continuing stalemate in the ‘peace process’ and effectively ruling out a two-state solution as illegal Israeli settlements make it impossible to construct a viable Palestinian state.

If ever a super-power is hobbled, it is here in the US relations with Israel. Unable to defend its own national interests, it has become a vassal of a smaller state!

Of course, as the history of peace negotiations have long illustrated, a two-state solution was never a viable option as the Israelis always demanded that the Palestinian state be non-militarized and Israel demanded control of acquifers. But as the Palestinian population continues to grow and they cannot be shunted out–Israel’s existence as a Jewish state becomes increasingly untenable.

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