Thursday, March 18, 2010

American and Israeli Security Links

If the Zionist right harms U.S. national security, U.S. feeding of the Zionist addiction to force and expansion harms Israeli national security. 

The completely unsympathetic attitude of proponents of the Zionist right wing both in Israel and in the U.S. toward U.S. national security concerns strikingly exposes their special pleading and, for the American ones, their lack of patriotism. Over the long run, this should help greatly to overcome the taboo on critical thinking regarding the positions of whatever Israeli politician happens temporarily to gain office.

All of that is of course completely separate from the long-term security concerns of the Israeli people; perhaps now, Americans will slowly begin to comprehend this. Many reporters and historians in Israel, ironically, have long understood this and publish their thoughts regularly in the Israeli media. Americans would do well to read such essays, much of which appears in English.

It must come as a shock to carefully protected Americans to find out what open-minded Israelis think about the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Typical of a number of current Israeli writers, journalist Gideon Levy wrote in Haaretz on March 18, 2010:

Israel - addicted to the occupation, and showing symptoms of overdose and accumulated damage - has finally found a savior to rescue it from its plight. Israel's redeemer hasn't just stood idly by for 40 years, but has even facilitated the habit. However, it seems that change may at last be in the air....

The facts are clear: Israel has no real intention of quitting the territories or allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their rights. Israel does not truly intend to pursue peace, because life here seems to be good even without it. The continuation of the occupation doesn't just endanger Israel's future, it also poses the greatest risk to world peace, serving as a pretext for Israel's most dangerous enemies.

No change will come to pass in the complacent, belligerent and condescending Israel of today. That's why this difficult, thankless task has fallen on the shoulders of an ally, as only it has the power to get things started.

But politicians, whether Israeli, American, of any other nationality, have a perverse way of looking at the world. Whether or not they will use their power for good is never certain.  Perhaps the right will organize a campaign to slur Mr. Levy as a "self-hating Jew" or pass a Knesset bill to penalize Israeli newspapers that make disparaging remarks about politicians. Mr. Levy said little that I have not said repeatedly on this blog, but he is Israeli and published in Israel's most prominent newspaper. He just wants to live in a real democracy (for all the people, not just the Jews) built on a moral foundation. Is that really too much for Washington-Tel Aviv politicians to handle?

Over the short run, the self-centered self-pleading of the Israeli right and its American, ah, running dogs (?), contrasts so sharply with the professional aura of Petraeus (not whining about being insulted but factually, unemotionally laying out the threats of the U.S. pro-Israeli right wing bias [my language, not his]) that it provides unassailable cover for Obama, should he have the insight to take advantage of it...and help not just Americans but Israelis as well.

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