The Case Against Blind Support For Israel

by lizard

In an attempt at insight, Rob Natelson tries to explain how the God/Jerusalem “flap” represents the friction between Democrat’s “collectivist” ideology and its lust for power. Naturally, this makes Rob think about the Russians:

The flap over “God” and “Jerusalem” in the Democratic platform reminded me of a dispute that raged when the USSR was threatening the world: Were the Soviets driven by their disproved ideology, or by more earthly motives such as corruption and lust for power?

The answer was “All of the above.” Ideology, particularly the Communist doctrine that the ends justified the means, served earthly motives, and earthly motives induced the Soviets to promote their ideology. When they were in conflict, the emphasis see-sawed back and forth.

There is a similar discussion among conservatives, moderates, and moderate liberals about weird leftism of the Democratic Party under Obama. Are they mostly about collectivist ideology? Or Chicago-style power politics?

As in the case of the Soviets, the answer is plainly “both.”

Later in the post, this ideology is described as “increasingly anti-Israel” because obviously all those ethnic-loving diversity pimps who form the ideological backbone of the Democratic Party love Muslims more than our bestest friends in the whole world, Israel.

What’s missing from Rob’s shallow analysis is the argument—which isn’t necessarily a leftist argument—that Israel is not our friend, and the relentless pressure to attack Iran is not in America’s interest.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey:

“I don’t want to be complicit if they (Israel) choose to do it,” Dempsey was quoted as saying by Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Friday, suggesting that he would view an Israeli attack as reprehensible or illegal.

He went on to repeat that although Israel could delay Iran’s nuclear project, it would not destroy it. He said that unilateral action might unravel a strong international coalition that has applied progressively stiff sanctions on Iran.

“(This) could be undone if (Iran) was attacked prematurely,” he was quoted as saying.

This isn’t the first time officials from the military establishment have gone public about what war with Iran could mean. They are, after all, the personnel tasked with fighting and dying once the bombs start flying.

Honestly, the political saber-rattlers on both sides are despicable creatures more concerned about what AIPAC can do to their cushy political careers than what a war with Iran will do to US soldiers.

Iran’s military response to an overt attack (they have already been attacked more covertly with nuclear scientists getting assassinated and cyber attacks from the US) would be significant, which is a very restrained way of saying WWIII.

It’s within the context of a looming war with Iran (being pushed by Israel) that I hope Obama gets four more years, primarily because Romney and Netanyahu are pals. And according to this NYT piece, they go way back:

The two young men had woefully little in common: one was a wealthy Mormon from Michigan, the other a middle-class Jew from Israel.

But in 1976, the lives of Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu intersected, briefly but indelibly, in the 16th-floor offices of the Boston Consulting Group, where both had been recruited as corporate advisers. At the most formative time of their careers, they sized each other up during the firm’s weekly brainstorming sessions, absorbing the same profoundly analytical view of the world.

That shared experience decades ago led to a warm friendship, little known to outsiders, that is now rich with political intrigue. Mr. Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, is making the case for military action against Iran as Mr. Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, is attacking the Obama administration for not supporting Mr. Netanyahu more robustly.


Today at Counterpunch, Jonathan Cook asks if the cozy relationship between the US and Israel is The Greatest Myth of American Politics. Here’s an excerpt:

Politicians may prefer to express undying love for Israel, and hand over billions of dollars annually in aid, but the US security establishment has — at least, in private — always regarded Israel as an unfaithful partner.

The distrust has been particularly hard to hide in relation to Iran. Israel has been putting relentless pressure on Washington, apparently in the hope of manoeuvring it into supporting or joining an attack on Tehran to stop what Israel claims is an Iranian effort to build a nuclear bomb concealed beneath its civilian energy programme.

While coverage has focused on the personal animosity between Obama and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the truth is that US officials generally are deeply at odds with Israel on this issue.

The conflict burst into the open this month with reports that the Pentagon had scaled back next month’s joint military exercise, Austere Challenge, with the Israeli military that had been billed as the largest and most significant in the two countries’ history.

The goal of the exercise was to test the readiness of Israel’s missile-defence shield in case of Iranian reprisals — possibly the biggest fear holding Israel back from launching a go-it-alone attack. The Pentagon’s main leverage on Israel is its X-band radar stationed in Israel but operated exclusively by a US crew, that would provide Israel with early warning of Iranian missiles.

A senior Israeli military official told Time magazine what message the Pentagon’s rethink had conveyed: “Basically what the Americans are saying is, ‘We don’t trust you’.”

Cook continues, giving specific instances of espionage and deceit. It’s worth reading.

Unless of course you think any criticism of the US relationship with Israel equates to anti-semitism, in which case, please report this post to the Anti-Defamation League for censorship.

  1. Moving Israel to Massachusetts, New Jersey, or Utah is one erasure we can likely only dream about, liz. Better location still: Fort Missoula or Heart Mountain, Wyoming might be a nice place.

    • CarNut

      Israel has already moved to America. It’s called New York City.

      • lizard19

        that’s an ignorant comment. consider this your warning.

        • KarNut

          What happens next, scary reptile?

          • lizard19

            you try posting a crude comment under my screen name, and I delete it.

            • BikeNut

              You better stay up all night, because the second shift is on its way. Or you can apologize for threatening a poster for stating the truth.

              • lizard19

                Max Bucks, the fact Jewish people live in New York has nothing to do with this post. have a nice day.

              • Actually, the Jewish population in New York was over a million people higher in the 1950’s. Will the establishment and stabilization of Israel, thousands of Jewish Americans have moved to there, not the other way around. A growing number of Jewish New Yorkers are Hasidim and other orthodox groups coming directly from Eastern Europe, and a large number of them view Israel itself as a blasphemous human creation attempting to imitate or counterfeit the promised Kingdom. That’s why the comment was ignorant.

  2. This is Just my Opinion, but why are we listening to a small majority if christian fanatics in our country. Here we go again using the Bloody history of a Two thousand year old book called the Bible, to define how we do business with other countries…. Muslim Countries

    First of all, yes we are friends of Israel, but we have been friends with Muslim countries for just as long, Maybe longer.
    Morocco, Turkey, Jordan are just a few of the countries that admire us enough to business with us, and have treaties with us.

    Should we stop sending money to Israel? NO! Israel is not the only reason a lot of other countries in the middle east mistrust us. They have been faithfully supportive of us in that area, but that doesn’t make what we have done in the past right as well.

    We have been meddling in the affairs of the Arab areas for just a little to long… and Obviously it is because of Oil Exports…And in some cases backing some horrible and notorious Dictators in Iran and Libya in the past. That’s on us, and we have to change that Mode of diplomacy. Our Muslim friends and nations have been sorely treated like stepbrothers and not true American Family members.

    1.If America is perceived as treating Palestinian Muslims and Israeli Jews equally, that would greatly reduce anti-American anger in the Muslim world. That’s one of the reasons we don’t put an embassy in Jerusalem, we have always supported a two state theory The city should belong to one side, or the other, or shared. That’s been a part of the negotiations since Carter was president, and it is this countries opinions only, but we have intentionally stayed out of. that argument, because it must be solved by those two countries first to move forward.

    As Long as Israel and Palestine waffle on this issue we are at risk, Al Qaeda taps into this anger to raise funds and recruit supporters for attacks against American targets.

    Israel has not been a useful ally for America in America’s recent wars; when America went to war against Iraq in 1991, Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003, America relied on its Arab allies (and European allies), not on Israel. Although Israel was prepared to help, it was too politically risky for America to ask for Israel’s help in fighting against Muslim countries.

    America doesn’t have a military base in Israel. America has several reliable Muslim Arab allies in the Middle East who has given us places to have bases in their countries. America has military bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Other Arab states, like Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia don’t host American military bases, but they have close military ties with America.

    So, We cant jump into this war between Israel and Iran on Israels say so alone. We have other partners in the area, who would rather we continue sanctions, and force Iran to the table of peace. These Muslim Allies are just as concerned that they will be bullied as Israel is, and their opinions are just as important…. so knock all this juvenile christian doctrine out the window… it doesn’t apply in this day and age.

  3. Pancho

    One of the things that should cause visible cognitive dissonance with the fundy and teeth-gnashing right wingnuts is the fact that Israel spies on us. We’ve caught some, passing top secret material to Israel through AIPAC, for instance (Larry Franklin) and another, Jonathan Pollard, was sharing US Navy secrets with Israel. While we whine about Russia’s support of al Assad,, in the UN and elsewhere, we neglect to take into consideration that the Russians have considerable trade with them and their only warm water military port is located there. Their situation, then, is remarkablysimilar to our own where we have bases, provide immensely expensive weapons systems, and support Israel’s worst policies with out own Security Council vetoes.

  4. One of your best posts, I would say. We are in complete agreement – some forces in Israel definitely want a war in Iran, and would prefer the US to take the brunt of the consequences. I think conservatives are making more of the split between Netanyahu and Obama than their really is, but any daylight between the two is a good sign. The US seems more interested now in aligning with the new populist Sunni states than with Israel. Ultimately I think the big Israeli mistake was allowing their relations with Turkey to erode so badly – in hard power Turkey is an equal to Israel, their soft power far exceeds the Israelis, and they have a stable government with support from the majority of their people – in other words, they are an equally potent ally without all the side effects. If Israel wants to get back their special relationship with the US, they need to start with repairing their relationship with Turkey.

    • lizard19

      Turkey has inserted itself pretty boldly into the Syrian civil war, and the folks I read have had a difficult time tracking what Erdogan thinks he’s going to get in return for it. Turkey had much more respect in the region before its involvement in Syria, now Turkey runs the risk of being seen as just another tentacle of NATO helping to soften up Syria so Israel can get its strike corridors against Iran established.

      I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the humanitarian corridors being floated for Syria correspond with the preferred route Israeli jets would take to strike Iran.

      • Who is Turkey losing respect from, liz? Erdogan is almost certainly gaining respect from Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt, all of whom have been offering support to other Sunni rebellions. What he is losing in return is the position as potential moderator between Iran and the West – but the last several years have shown that position to be rather worthless, as Iran will not give up its nuclear program, regardless of who it is negotiating with.

        Politically, Erdogan is of a similar cloth as Muhammed Mursi, and it reasonable for him to assume that an elected government in Syria would be similar. Having the three most
        populous countries in the Eastern Mediterranean ruled by democratically elected Islamists is not a dream scenario for the US (and terrifying for Israeli hawks), but it is a good situation for Turkey. A democratic Muslim Mediterranean, encompassing three of the great historical Islamic capitals, would be a powerful counterbalance to Shia dominance in Iraq-Iran and Wahhabi monarchism in the Gulf – with Turkey as the most established, richest, and most militarily powerful of them. That’s a pretty big incentive for Turkey (and Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia) to want to make this revolution happen.

  5. liz: way off-topic, sorry. this just crossed my twitter feed. Bush43 appears to apologize for <a href="torture:

    Well, I’m sorry for the prisoners, I really am. I think it’s humiliating. And it is, again — what the Arab world must understand is a couple of things. One, under a dictatorship, these — this wouldn’t be transparent. In other words, if there was torture under a dictator, we would never know the truth. In a democracy, you’ll know the truth. And justice will be done. And that’s what people need to know.

  1. 1 Turkey And Syria « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] a discussion from my Case Against Blind Support for Israel post, The Polish Wolf makes some comments that deserve some closer inspection. I’ll include […]

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