Friday, March 12, 2010

Israel's Threat to U.S. Security

Is Washington finally waking up to the real significance of its mindless capitulation to the militarist Israeli right wing?

Biden to Netanyahu, as recounted on Politico on March 11:

“This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden castigated his interlocutors. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”

On one level, Biden does now seem to get it: when the US is fighting, by his count, three separate wars simultaneously against Muslim enemies, its association with what is perhaps the world’s most blatant state policy of repression of an ethnic group (that happens also to be Muslim) is tactically dangerous for US troops because it provokes hatred of the US and volunteer violence against those US troops (which Americans are pleased to dismiss as “terrorism.”) Attacking US troops who are interfering in your internal affairs is not terrorism, but there is a second part to the danger that Biden evidently did not mention: the probability that the US kowtowing to the Israeli right in fact will provoke terrorism (i.e., random attacks on US civilians). More significant to my mind is the third level: the general threat to US security of alienating global Muslims.

Meanwhile, UNIFIL reported on March 11, according to Now Lebanon and many other non-US sources, that the daily Israeli aerial violations of Lebanon’s border are increasing in frequency. The U.N. "peacekeeping" forces, denied the armaments necessary either to defend themselves or the integrity of the Lebanese border, can only watch helplessly. Reminding the population of the horrors of Israel’s summer 2006 effort to destroy civilian infrastructure in Southern Lebanon, such terror tactics can only heighten tensions and redouble Hezbollah’s efforts to obtain the ability to defend Lebanon’s security. As with the creeping ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the military threats against Lebanon illustrate Israeli steps to change the situation on the ground under the cover of chatter about peace talks. How such behavior can quickly transform into a threat to the US is suggested by the 1983 killing in Lebanon of over 200 U.S. soldiers who, under the cover of a “UN peacekeeping mission,” facilitated the on-going Israeli invasion begun in 1982.

Note carefully that none of this speaks to the issue of supporting Israel’s existence. Obama could probably become the most popular leader in the Arab world by cementing Israel’s position in the Mideast as a moderate, non-violent state living within its 1967 borders. Such an Israel, still holding a regional nuclear monopoly, would most likely be seriously challenged by no one. The issue of recognizing Israel’s right to exist is long past. The Israelis won that fight hands down (though they could, if they remain on their current violent track, put the issue back on the table).

The argument today is whether Israel must compromise, as described above, or whether it can become a mini-empire on the basis of American kowtowing and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Israel’s own defense minister just warned in clear terms that the price for the second choice will be the death of Israeli democracy. That would be unfortunate. Whatever one may think of the current right wing Israeli regime, the original pioneering spirit of the European Jews going to the Mideast contained much that was admirable, including, before 1948, frequent examples of Jewish-Arab good neighborliness. The historical precedent for integrated village life exists, if only in distant memories.

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