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12 March 2010

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Jackie

Sir,
You know they won't call, they are not serious. I hope Hillary had a good time chewing out Netanyahoo. I know I would. But it probably didn't happen.

FDRDemocrat

You should negotiate when you have a strong hand and for Israel that is now. Time is not on the side of Israel. I hope calm strategic minds over there realize that. The US has shot its bolt.

graywolf

Sir:
I can appreciate your cynicism about Israel.
You apparently have much experience with the Israelis and their strange concept of "ally" (ie. USS LIBERTY, espionage, etc.)
I have NO ties to Israel or any Jewish organization.
BUT, what is the alternative?
In the Middle East, Israel seems to be the least bad choice.
It is, at least, a western-style democracy.
AND we've sunk a helluva lot of money into Israel.

Jose

This is embarrassing...

walrus

FDR Democrat, I don't believe that the U.S. has shot its bolt. What concerns me is that the U.S. may be asked to think it has shot, or is about to, shoot its bolt.

What does Col. Lang think?

To my way of thinking, Bombing Iran is counter productive for America, unless one wsnts to posit Krisatlnacht and the unleashing of Beckists and Hageeists, which even I would not want to predict

Trent

FDR, time is not on the side of ISR because of the shifting demographics? My take is nobody in ISR has that foresight and they are happy to stall any and all negotiations (with the Palestinians/Syrians) until they have constructed housing on every inch of JTown and the West Bank.

Rider

I would not have believed Obama could damage our credibility in the ME more than Bush did, but he has and for years to come. US-Israeli policy is no place for a president with Obama's tendency toward quick compromise and appeasement. Netanyahu has been rubbing Obama's nose in it ever since Hillary's dumb statement the last time she was there. Our credibility has now been damaged beyond the point where things like showing up late for dinner or chewing the PM out on the phone are going to make any difference. This is going to get worse until WE get serious.

Patrick Lang

Trent

This is clearly the case. Even those among the Israelis who once hoped for an equitable peace now seem to have given up and appear to accept a future in which they rule over the Palestinian helots. Israeli treatment of their subject population has become so offensive that I resolved two years ago that I will never go there again. pl

Patrick Lang

walrus

Logically there would be some danger of such a backlash but it is not evident to me. pl

Patrick Lang

graywolf

Israel is a very small place. I think it is strange to think of choosing between this country of a few million people on the one hand and a region and cultural "continent" of hundreds of millions of people. Why should we be expected to make such a choice? Israel is a foreign country that makes it very clear as it just did again that it does not identify with, or trust the US and people like you and me. We have put a lot of money into Israel and American Zionists have put a lot of money into the place as well? True. These are "sunk costs." We should demand the amount of deference from Israel that our protection and financial aid justify. pl

Patrick Lang

walrus

The Israeli/Palestinian mess is one place where we have not "shot our bolt." The problem is of a scale that we can still handle and the Israelis are completely accessible to our reach if we had the nerve to stretch forth our arm and ignore those whose orientation is not here. pl

Cold War Zoomie

In the Middle East, Israel seems to be the least bad choice. It is, at least, a western-style democracy.

Graywolf brings up a very interesting point here. Is a "western-style democracy" always a better ally by default? I think our allies should be chosen based on what relationships promote our national interests abroad. Are we to rule out other ME players like Jordan simply because they have a monarchy with comparable power to a parliament? I think not. As long as an ally is not some brutal dictator stomping on human rights, I don't care what form of government they have if our relationship is actually productive. And that includes monarchies where the people may not enjoy as many liberties as North Americans and Europeans. That's for them to work out.

Clifford Kiracofe

Getting serious would mean bringing Israel to firmly and permanently to heel. This involves neutralizing the Pro-Israel Lobby in the US.

Ike brought Israel and the US pro-Israel Lobby to heel in 1956.

Serious means a full scale NIE on Israel. Serious means cutting off economic and military support to Israel. Serious means halting the sale of Israel Bonds in the United States and removing any tax exemption on them. Serious means requiring AIPAC and all similar organizations "pro-Israel" organizations, including Christian Zionist orgs like CUFI, to register with the Justice Department (and appropriate House and Senate authorities) as foreign agents.

Serious means a full blown nationwide counterintelligence effort against Israeli operations against the US. If this means arresting and trying for treason or espionage or etc. certain members of Congress and the Executive Branch, so be it if there is evidence that have committed such crimes. Same applies to Christian Zionist and other support networks and organizations for Israel.

Serious means for US officials to cease referring to Israel as a "Jewish state." Serious means a one-state/democratic state solution for Jews, Arabs, and whomever else.

Per demographics, as the Arab population increases at a faster rate than the "Jewish", Israel will cease to be a so-called "Jewish state" (Jewish majority or whatever) at some point down the road.

This inevitable condition may well be avoided by the Israeli's launching a mass ethnic cleansing operation (more than the present one) against all Arabs in Gaza, West Bank, and "Israel." The concept would be to push them out into Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and so forth. Such a mass ethnic cleansing operation could take place within the context of a Middle East War...involving Iran or whomever....

Lb

The only thing that Israel has going for it is fear; i.e., its nuclear capability, not its people nor its politics. And, thanks to that, it doesn't need us nor our financial aid. So, let's acknowledge the truth: when Iran has an equal nuclear force, Israel has nothing no matter how much of the West Bank it builds upon. Instead of taking advantage of its present position to pursue diplomatic solutions, such as treaties, it thumbs its nose at foe and friend alike (and unfortunately, in its hubris, it has more of the former than the latter). It is time for the USA to sit the Israelis down and tell them to either negotiate a solution with the Palestinians or forego our largesse.

grae castle

your clarity on this subject is always welcomed.

i only wish there were hundreds more with your knowledge and perspective walking the halls of congress, evangelical churches and wall street that would "stretch forth" and cast off this shackle of "oh poor pitiful us".

i think we've paid too high of a price by far to apply salve to a wound we didn't inflict.

peace is possible - we just need to be on the right side when it finally arrives (with or without the US leading the parade).

Dan M

It's simple really. For starters, withold $100,000 for each new housing unit announced beyond the green line. 1,700 new units announced in the past week would mean a $170 million chunk off the top right now.

Won't happen, of course.

Redhand

Even those among the Israelis who once hoped for an equitable peace now seem to have given up and appear to accept a future in which they rule over the Palestinian helots.

Nice analogy to the helots. It fits.

I don't see how any thinking American can consider the State of Israel our "friend." To me the relationship is more like that of a highly dysfunctional parent and child, given Truman's leading role in the creation of The Jewish State. Israel is a child whose upbringing has been hideously mismanaged.

The youngster we doted on and armed against the local bullies in the 50s and 60s has grown beyond a rebellious teen in the 70s into a vicious thug whom we continue to enable despite the innumerable crimes he has committed.

Sabra and Shatila in 1982, where the Israelis used Christians to do their dirty work, are eclipsed by the latest Gaza incursion, where the Israelis killed civilians openly, directly and shamelessly.

Today we are like the sick parent who still "loves" his child, and continues to support him without reservation despite the fact that he's turned into a monster. Given our "unconditional love," its no accident that our progeny openly disrespects us, steals from us at every opportunity, and mugs the locals in his neighborhood (again) while we visit just to show us who's really in charge.

Nothing will change in the relationship between the two states until we stop propping up Israel with unlimited money and diplomatic backing. We're way past the need for "tough love." It's time to disown them, then see whether they start behaving.

However, I am convinced this will never happen: we don't even have the nerve to threaten it.

jonst

LB wrote: ". It is time for the USA to sit the Israelis down and tell them to either negotiate a solution with the Palestinians or "forego our largesse"

I disagree with you. It is simply time to ""forego our largesse" (sic)

Walk away. I don't particularly care what happens there one way or another. And I think that attitude would, actually INCREASE our influence in the region.

I was struck by something Tom Englehart wrote the other day over at TomDispatch


>>>>Modesty in Washington? Humility? The ability to draw new lessons from long-term experience? None of the above is evidently appropriate for “the indispensable nation,” as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once called the United States, and to whose leaders she attributed the ability to “see further into the future.” None of the above is part of the American arsenal, not when Washington’s weapon of choice, repeatedly consigned to the scrapheap of history and repeatedly rescued, remains a deep conviction that nothing is going to go anything but truly, deeply, madly badly without us, even if, as in Iraq, things have for years gone truly, deeply, madly badly with us.<<<<<

We have a deep and growing crisis on our hands here at home. When the Soviet Union existed you could make a plausible (not sure I would buy it in the long run but it was "plausible") argument we had some strategic interest in the region. You know...they backed Syria we backed Israel. No more.

Charles I

I'm with Clifford, but at this point all I can come up with is that if the Israelis succeed in ethnically cleansing Jerusalem at least there won't be anyone else directly in the blast zone at ground zero when the technology arrives. . .

Graywolf, I'm a complete liberal bleeding heart, anti-imperialist, human rights thingy, but I've come to Pat's position.

What moral superiority is there between voters whose state rampages and oppresses others outside its borders in a nutty colonial imperative vs non voters whose governments confine their abuses to their own people within the borders drawn for them last century? And who don't demand that you bend over and spread 'em whilst they rob and emasculate you.?

Once again my fellows, I implore you to start working on your family, peers, neighbours, newspaper letter editors, and legislators outside of this fine forum. I have found the first three groups are largely ignorant and amenable to the most basic exposition of the facts and diplomatic record. However entrenched the media and our governments, at least here in Canada there is a perceptible rise in the number of people able to see and speak clearly on the financial, political and moral costs of Israeli chauvanism to all of us, including those Israelis we wish nothing but peace. We still get the usual antisemitic hectoring, but more people are openly calling that for what it is - the-king-wears-no-clothes hypocritical bullshit. But the vacuum must be filled everyday by disparate people operating without the overarching organizational and political resources of Israel's enablers.

mo

"Call us when you get serious"

Said the Israelis to the US?

Lets be honest, for all the effrontery, hurt feelings and disrespect what exactly will Israel suffer as a result of this act?

Baker and Albright suffered the same indignities.

Consequences anyone?

fanto

Colonel, I am curious if any congressmen/senators read your blog; I am sure AIPAC monitors do watch and listen. But - is there any indication that the groundswell of indignation (about our only 'democratic, western-style' ally in the region)is registered by the leading US - olicharchy ?

Dan M

Haaretz today. (They just don't get it, and I suppose, why should they?)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1156095.html

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said he was surprised by the U.S. administration's public condemnation of his government over Israel's announcement that it would construct 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said the crisis appeared to be orchestrated by the U.S. administration, as Netanyahu apologized to U.S. Vice President Biden and believed that the crisis was behind the two allies."

Ali Mirza

Hasn't the middle east region been considered strategically important since at least the end of WW2. I would think that real geo-strategic imperatives exist for US involvement in the region.

Israeli influence (AIPAC et al) in the US aside, is it possible that nuclear blackmail also restricts US/EU options. I refer to the so called Samson option, or could that be just a ruse/conspiracy theory. The link below is to an excerpt from David Hirst's book 'The gun and the olive branch'. The relevant part is near the end of the excerpt. It quotes Martin Crevald whom I have heard of but not read in any great detail.

My apologies if my comment sounds naive.
And of course my deepest thanks to Col. Lang, this blog has been an education for me.

Ali Mirza

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/sep/21/israelandthepalestinians.bookextracts

Phil Giraldi

Clifford and Colonel Lang have nailed it. Treat Israel like we would any other foreign country where we don't have a compelling national interest. Cut off all the aid and special tax breaks, force the lobbyists to register and put Jane Harman in jail where she belongs. Too bad Lantos is no longer around. Enough of this BS, but instead we will be getting Hillary at AIPAC saying all the right things. She should instead be saying that Israel and all the Quislings in congress and the media that give it a free pass are at the core of our foreign policy mess.

Fred

Just cut the aid, Obama can tell those who'll howl in Congress that we need to balance the budget somehow. If they want the money back in the budget, they should promote a foreign aid tax. I'm sure both ideas will go over well in D.C.

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