Hatred for Israel is a deep and burning fire throughout the world. We should not be adding kindling wood to that fire. ~Pete Wehner

Via Kevin Sullivan

This probably exaggerates the extent and intensity of actual hatred for Israel “throughout the world,” but let’s grant that this is true for the sake of argument. Indeed, let’s say that this understates how hostile most of the world is. Does it then make sense for Washington to endorse every Israeli military action and encourage the perception that Israel may act however it wishes outside its borders because the United States will provide support and political cover? After all, it is such actions and the support Washington provides for them that contribute greatly to negative attitudes toward Israel and the United States. If the world is aflame with anti-Israel sentiment as Wehner claims it is, surely the greatest facilitators of the increasing hatred are the people here and in Israel who justify every excess, excuse every illegality, and overreact against most criticisms with accusations that the critics wish to betray Israel or that they wish for Israel’s destruction. “The yes-man is your enemy, but your friend will argue with you.” If hatred for Israel is as great as Wehner claims, neither Israel’s Western critics nor members of the administration are the ones responsible. It is the yes-men who have much more to answer for.

What is more likely to throw kindling on the fire: supporting Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon every step of the way, or denying the Israeli prime minister a photo opportunity on account of continued illegal settlement-building? What is going to do more to stoke genuinely anti-Israel attitudes: accepting and making excuses for the Gaza blockade and military operations in Gaza, or issuing sharply-worded statements expressing long-standing American disapproval of Israel’s settlement policy in the territories? The latter are minimal, almost meaningless acts that change nothing, while the former have severe consequences for the people directly affected by the policies and for Israel’s reputation in the world.

Wehner worries about feeding hatred for Israel, yet the administration he served supported the actions in Lebanon and Gaza without reservation. Wehner had nothing critical to say then. He expressed no concerns about the hatred these campaigns were fueling. Wehner complains about adding kindling to the fire, but under the previous administration they were throwing gasoline on it and he was not bothered. Not only are Wehner and his hawkish allies completely oblivious to the profound damage done by the policies they have supported over the last several years, but they seem to be unable or unwilling to recognize that there is absolutely no “animus toward Israel” in this administration. They apparently cannot understand that it is those who wish Israel well who are going to be most impatient with Israel’s mistakes. Indeed, the only people who seem to be acting as friends to Israel are those willing to argue against Israel’s short-sighted, isolating and reckless policies.