The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
Not my opinion...but I think this paper is a huge discussion piece and so I post it. Just because my family is 1/2 Jewish does not mean I should steer clear of this topic...it's politics and politics is fair game
GOOD SUPPORTING LINKS:
I wanted to post this the other day. But i hesitated because there is always someone ready to yell anti-semitism...I have yelled it myself to be honest.
Politically, there is a huge difference between anti-semitism and reality. Anti-semitism is being racist against the Jewish people with opinionated bias. But discussing Jewish policy/politics can make anti-semitism rear it's ugly head....it should not. NEM questioned my Jewish sentiment in another post today...sorry NEM...but i feel this issue needs to be discussed. Discussing it does not make one biased or racist...so please...no offense to anyone here...just some facts used to make an opinion. How do you see it?
It is going to take a little time to get back to you on this one, but I thank you in advance for sharing.
2/3's of it is footnotes...so it's not bad. I read it rwice and I go over the footnotes now when I have time.
I absolutely agree that it is fair game to discuss Israeli policy and US policy toward Israel without being in the least anti-Semitic. I've criticized both myself and I'm Jewish and many Jews have done the same...
That said, it's worth putting yourself in Israel's shoes for a bit. Israel is paranoid and with good reason. First, many of its citizens have first hand seen the genocidal aspects of anti-Semitism. Second, Israel is a very tiny country. In the early years, if the Arabs could ever have gotten their act together, they could have overrun the entire country in a matter of hours.
Now, as for the US position. What is the right attitude toward Israel? Toward the Palestinians? Does any American doubt that we'd like to see peace in the region, and two separate states, living in peace, if not harmony? I think it's pretty obvious and it should be obvious to the Arab nations as well.
Do we favor Israel? Yes. But we do not favor an Israeli victory in the Middle East, only Israeli prosperity and survival. The Arab and Islamic nations neighboring Israel have populations of tens of millions and they sit on incalculable wealth.
Israel has a population of 6.2 million, including more than a million Arabs. It has no oil wells, in fact, no natural wealth except for the talents of its citizens. It is also the Middle East's only Democracy. But given the hostility of its neighbors, it could not survive without our military help.
So we give the necessary military aid and Israel sometimes uses it in ways we don't approve of. But Israel is not the 51st state. It is a sovereign country, governed not by us but by its own people, and they act in the interests of their country as they see those interests.
Their interests do not always coincide with ours. But then, can't that be said of all of our allies? We agree on a great deal, and disagree as well. However, even single individuals can contain conflicted opinions within their own skulls--so it should be no surprise that nations, even friends, don't always agree.
We could, I suppose, tell Israel no more arms if you don't sit down and sign what we think is a good peace treaty with the Palestinians. After all, Israel is not in a position to defy us. We are its only significant source of arms. But to what extent does that give us the right to dictate its foreign policy?
The bottom line is, we are heavily invested in Israel in just about every way you can name: militarily, politically, economically, historically, psychologically, and even emotionally. It is not just our single ally in the region, it is our protégé, almost our offspring.
And so the consequences of allowing it to be defeated and overrun would bee far-reaching, and not just in the Middle East. That event would have a profound effect on how we (and the rest of the world) view us as a nation. In my opinion, it would be an indelible stain on our integrity and our moral stature. We would have trouble claiming to be the world's beacon of freedom, and convincing anyone that our word mattered.
The current generation of Americans did not volunteer to be part of this situation. We inherited it, as we have inherited so much else--our values, our form of government, our image of ourselves as a country. Our support of Israel has become, for better or worse, an integral part of who we are as a nation. In my opinion, supporting Israel is an admirable act, despite the troubles that come with it.
Is our support for Israel the most far-reaching bone of contention between us and the Muslim states? I don't think so. It's true that thousands of Palestinians were forced to (or chose to) leave Israel when it was founded, and they have a legitimate complaint, a complaint which, by the way, the rest of the Muslim world has not addressed.
But how far back in history should we go to address the complaints of people who got a bad deal? After all, Israel was the Jewish homeland for thousands of years before they were forced to leave it. Which claim to this pathetic little strip of land is more valid? Before we answer that question, we'd better give some thought to the claims of the Native Americans and the African slaves.
But as I said, I don't think Israel is the precipitating factor in our current conflict with the Muslim world. I think that Western culture is the real battleground. It's bad enough, from the standpoint of the traditional Muslim, that Western countries thrive despite the fact that they don't worship Allah and indeed have written into law a thousand doctrines that conflict with Muslim law, even mock it.
What is really unbearable is that Western culture is highly contagious. It spreads easily, overwhelming whatever other cultures it contacts--including traditional Muslim culture, and it does so on the doorsteps of these cultures. It crosses the oceans with alacrity. It flies through the skies on the wings of our technology and our business dominance.
Fundamentalist Muslims aren't blind or stupid. They have seen the danger to their own values, their own way of life, their own religious beliefs, and they have accurately assessed it. They have concluded that if not fought with everything they have, it will destroy them. Utterly and forever. Indeed, the process is already far advanced. I would guess most know it is a losing battle.
So what we are facing is a wounded animal on the verge of extinction, fighting for its life as though it has nothing to lose, which is an accurate assessment. It wants us--not just the US, but the West--out of Muslim territory and it wants us to take our culture with us. (And it hates Israel, because, in addition to everything else, Israel is an outpost of that culture.)
It is a horrendous reality, from the Muslim point of view, that the rest of the world is filled with prospering unbelievers. But it is absolutely intolerable that these unbelievers come to the Muslim world, to enchant and mislead the people so that they abandon their traditional beliefs.
And the solution? The real solution is time. All you have to do is skim through history to see that in 20 or 30 years, everything in the Middle East will have changed--evolved--into something entirely different. It's happened a hundred times in that very place.
But for now, we're doing just about the only thing we can, which is to make sure Israel is never seriously threatened and to bend our efforts toward a peace everyone can live with. The best way to deal with people who think they have nothing to lose is to give them something to lose and make sure they don't want to lose it.
We're seeing that right now in Palestine, even with the sworn enemy of Israel, Hamas. Yes, it wants to liquidate Israel--but not as much as it wants to have a country of its own, to govern it successfully and to provide for its people. In that sense, it was very useful that Hamas won the Palestinian election, because the victory saddled it with the responsibility for a nation, a responsibility it must exercise with reasonable wisdom or lose office.
Palestine in 1948
I , also, pointed out that the Palestinians were offered a comple state of their own, just like Israel, in 1948 by the UN, but the Palestinians refused, saying they would drive the Israelis to the sea....
This may be true, but is it material two generations later?
Also in 1948:
- Television was new and in few homes
- Today’s $10 pocket calculator was more powerful than a digital computer which costs 100’s of thousands and could only operate for a few hours before a tube would burn out.
- The transistor was a laboratory curiosity
- $6000/Yr was a good salary
- Stalin was alive and so was Einstein
- It would be a year until the Soviet Union tested the A-bomb
- It would be a year before there existed the Peoples Republic of China
- Havana Cuba was Sin City and Castro was a child
- There were no Jet liners
- and so on and so forth…
That is one of the very best posts I've ever seen in this forum. You gave the reality of the situation...more information in your post than 20 links could provide... posts like that I could read all day long...thanks.
A valid point NEM...interesting how close and yet far this situation is to being resolved. If the past could be remembered and forgiven at the same time we might see something. Religion seems to be the biggest obstacle to forgetting the past...unfortunate how Religion which is all about faith, love, sacrifice and devotion gets in the way too many times.
Our leaders and button pushers don't seem to be representing our wishes and desires anymore....politics throughout the world better be prepared for a total shakeup by the people...thanks for the input.
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