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A Defining Moment

Many observers of the rift between Israel and the United States see a defining moment, in which the national interests of the two countries are visibly moving apart.  I would note that the national interests have never been even close to identical, that the myth of Israel as a security asset to the US has been deliberately and falsely promoted, and that Israel has always been an expensive liability to the United States.  Those “truths” are just a bit more visible at the present time.

Some predict that President Obama, a methodical and patient man, will gradually turn the tables on Israel now that the public has become aware that the lopsided relationship is costing American lives on several battle fronts.  But I’m not buying that argument.  Earlier this week a letter signed by 300 Congressmen pledged commitment to the “unbreakable bond that exists between the US and the State of Israel.”  The public, God bless them, have no ability to overturn Congressional knee jerk support for Israel, and besides, the ability of the MSM to control the coverage of the issue means that most Americans will have no clue that there is any school of thought that Israel constitutes a liability.  Israel’s $3 billion from the US annually is untouchable, which means that the White House can exert no pressure on Tel Aviv.  At the UN, the US yesterday vetoed three resolutions mildly critical of Israel, one of which sought to affirm the Palestinians’ right to self determination (the vote was 45 to 1).  The US also confirmed this week a new $210 million arms sale to Israel (which will be paid for by the US taxpayer).  So much for punishment.

So what does that leave?  It leaves Americans like me and PJB and many of the readers of TAC seriously annoyed that the wag the dog continues but there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.  Expecting Obama to function as a deus ex machina to turn things around is completely unrealistic.  He is facing mid-term elections and the pro-Israel crowd in his own party can create havoc for him, ditto next year when the Dems begin to crank up for the presidential election.  The Republicans already appear to be turning the issue of Israel into one of their wedge issues for the upcoming elections, which means that the party of Lincoln will pretty much become the party of apartheid and Bibi Netanyahu.  The Ron Paul people are pretty much uninterested in foreign policy except that they are anti-intervention.  Where do we go?  Where do we hide?

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#1 Comment By Randal On March 26, 2010 @ 11:14 am

“The Ron Paul people are pretty much uninterested in foreign policy except that they are anti-intervention”

Surely “the Ron Paul people” are your best (only?) hope for any kind of resistance to the power of the Isreal lobby? That and the slow rise of a counterweight Arab lobby, I suppose.

Non-interventionism and opposition to the misuse of government and of taxpayers’ money must surely result in a hatred of the kind of national welfarism practiced by Israel. Mustn’t it?

If only something similar were on the horizon in the UK, to promise (however distantly) some relief from the omnipresent and omnipotent US lobby.

#2 Comment By Mad Doc MacRae On March 26, 2010 @ 11:17 am

As a Ron Paul person I’d point out that anti-intervention would essentially mean end that $3M in aid, further arms sales, and (probably ultimately) eliminating our presence in the UN – either fully or maybe just by not voting on anything (if that’s possible). Anti-interventionists are going to be your ally on this, but don’t publicize such an alliance because it’s pretty extremist.

#3 Comment By Jack Ross On March 26, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

Of course no serious screw-turning is going to happen before the midterms, but it could well happen after. You shouldn’t be so convinced that Obama has no cards to play. If nothing else, the Lobby is surely haunted by the specter of what would happen if its widely seen as causing Obama to lose re-election.

#4 Comment By DirtyHarriet On March 26, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

Obama seems to have done more than Bush (W). We know that there’s only so much he can do given the total and utter obeisance to Israel by 99% of Congress.

Never give up hope, Mr. Giraldi.

We are perhaps where G. Washington was before Trenton.

Chin up and soldier on..

#5 Comment By tz On March 26, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

I think you are completely wrong about the “Ron Paul” people. Who was against the Iraq war and the change from getting Bin Laden to nation building in Afghanistan?

Rothbard coined the term “The Welfare-Warfare” state. We detest both.

We (if I may presume) aren’t interested in micromanaging the world, or having the CIA assassinate people we find inconvenient. Or torture people. Or when some are where they ought not be in the first place get killed deserve special honors – those would be for any whistleblowers who would expose all that illegal activity.

Complain all you want about the Mossad raping our military and technology, politics, and economy. But where or when will you be when it is time to expose evildoing here. Something you could do. Something you could actually affect on principle?

Daniel Larison noted a parallel with Georgia – we said we supported them, and they became belligerent, and lost S. Ossetia when we wouldn’t take on Russia.

Bibi is likely to do something gravely evil. Something so shocking that the american people will react.

We will see what happens then. But as it seems some don’t care about any action the CIA does – not unlike what Israel does – why not just use the CIA to assassinate or meddle in Israel at the same high and classified levels that we use for torture and rendition?

The joys of total unaccountability.

#6 Comment By Philip Giraldi On March 26, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

Pace, Ron Paul people. Dr. Paul is one of a handful of congressmen who genuinely seek to do what is needed for the preservation of our Republic. And I completely understand that you are the only ones who might bring about genuine change in America’s foreign policy. I was merely commenting on the fact that your real focus is to restore constitutionalism in the United States and that for you foreign policy will most often be a secondary or derivative issue. For me, the warped foreign policy is the engine that drives many of our domestic problems, so I tend to look there first.

#7 Comment By TomB On March 26, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

Phil Giraldi wrote:

“So what does that leave? It leaves Americans like me and PJB and many of the readers of TAC seriously annoyed that the wag the dog continues but there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.”

It seems to me there’s two wags of our tail to worry about, one being us attacking Iran and the other just continuing to subsidize Israeli intransigence with its Palestinian issue.

As to the former while I’m aware of the recent transfer of bunker busters nearer the region as well as the recent, still seemingly categorical statements of people like Biden and Clinton about our not tolerating a nuked-up Iran, I still don’t believe Obama is so foolish to attack. Of course I thought Bush was probably bluffing with Saddam too because attacking Iraq was so stupid, so there’s that. But don’t you get the sense that Obama and Clinton and etc. are (thankfully) really kind of playing a word game with Israel here? Saying “we won’t stand for a nuked Iran or etc.,” while meaning essentially “you aren’t going to get us to attack unless you can produce irrefutable evidence that Iran doesn’t just have some nuke ambitions but indeed has a full blown nuke program in place, *and* that it is pretty much on the brink of getting such weapons….”?

And, it further seems to me, Obama also seems to pretty much have no problem telling the Israelis that he won’t cooperate in any strike of their own, which is almost certainly necessary for that to happen, so….

As regards our subsidizing Israeli intransigence with the Palestinian issue I agree that, substantially, we can’t help but continue to be wagged. However, no situation lasts forever and aside from *our* long-held position crumbling there’s more than one thing that can bring down the sham that’s been going on with this issue and that is *Israel* essentially crumbling, and I think one can see signs of that in the making, and certainly that’s where at least some logic leads.

That is, okay, so we are in essence trapped. But I think one can see that we need the pretense of saying we believe in a two-state solution over there more than the Israelis do. So *at a minimum* we insist on same, and that seems to have most everyone’s agreement here even, much less in the world community. And what this can seem to be slowly but inexorably doing, pace Lady MacBeth, is screwing Israel to the sticking place. Netanyahu and the not-totally crazies over there who know they need the U.S. twist and squirm like hooked eels on the subject, but as we are seeing just in these last couple of weeks the issue keeps getting ever more unavoidable: Does Israel agree to a two-state solution? Does it agree that to get a two-state solution it can’t have all of Jerusalem? Does it agree to get that it has to give up at least a lot of the West Bank?

And what can the insistence of that issue seem to be doing except forcing Israelis to confront themselves? Of course they have been very good at eliding their differences so far, and disguising them. But that unavoidable issue just keeps pressing and pressing and I think that eventually it’s going to lead to a huge internal conflict in Israel that will be the game-changer. In other words it won’t be the U.S. changing, it’ll be Israel. Maybe even “deciding” via a civil war, but at some point it will have to decide.

In this sense then time then to me at least is not on Israel’s side. Its Right thinks it has been so smart to cement in its program via the settlements and the U.S. support, but its bet has essentially been that Israel could eventually become either an apartheid state or an expulsionary one, and as that path has become ever more evident it also seems to be clearly unsustainable. *Either* to the world community or to the U.S.

Thus, indeed, what the Israeli Right needs now is not for the U.S. to stay where it has been at all, but instead *shift* its position. From supporting a two-state solution to supporting it as either an apartheid state or an expulsionary one. And I at least don’t see that as happening. (Although I have no doubt that some of Israel’s most fanatic partisans will try.)

In essence it seems to me that all that needs happen for change to come is for nothing much to change at all right now. The trajectory of the Israeli Right is taking Israel directly at the face of a cliff. Won’t hit it today, probably not tomorrow, maybe not even this year or next, but I don’t see that cliff-face moving.

#8 Comment By Ben On March 26, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

I am a Ron Paul supporter very much interested in foreign policy. We need to protect the nation, but our foreign policy should be just and fair to all parties. The hatred directed at us has manifested itself from our belligerence towards them. Case and point: sanctions on Iraq under Clinton took out 1 million Iraqis. Should they be pissed…you betcha.

#9 Comment By Jack Tracey On March 27, 2010 @ 11:41 am

“Pace, Ron Paul people”. LOL

Foreign and domestic abuses of power seem to wag one another. The external threat justifies internal control; internal control enables external mischief. Which one do you grab hold of? Does it matter?

#10 Comment By Adam de Angeli On March 29, 2010 @ 10:53 am

While I cannot speak on behalf of “the Ron Paul people” or the Campaign For Liberty, as a member of both I for one will NEVER support a candidate that would support the Israel lobby. And I am not silent about the issue. See my posts at

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Guess I’m overdue for another entry on the subject.