Two questions

Today I would simply like you to read the words of so-called “right-wing” MK Danny Danon, and then think about two questions.

Would the U.S. release individuals swearing to continue waging jihad in order to liberate their lands? Definitely not. The number of killers operating against the U.S. who received the death sentence [mostly extra-judicially — ed.] or who are being held in military prisons on life [or indeterminate] sentences is growing. And, of course, every U.S. leader knows that any individual who radiates weakness in the face of those who scorned American pride could end up losing his seat. Are U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s measures implying that they have lost their respect for us? Does somebody truly believe that the pain felt by families of terror victims hurts any less? Does somebody actually think American blood runs redder than Israeli blood? Where do they find the gall to ask us to release hordes of killers after we sent our best, for the sake of state security, to risk their lives for the sake of bringing in these terrorists, some of whom were holding ticking bombs?

Introducing the name “Pollard” into the equation is a cynical, harmful attempt to exploit certain Jewish values, including the value of “returning our sons to their land,” over others. For 29 years, Jonathan Pollard has languished in prison so the U.S. could teach its good friend in the Middle East a lesson. Our friend the U.S. is forcing us to try to complete an unfair equation: one prisoner for 426. One man, who paid his dues over dozens of years in prison, who is not a threat to society, for hundreds of menacing terrorists, several of whom committed murder or were complicit in the slaughter of hundreds of Israelis. We all want to see Pollard out of jail and in Israel, but not like this.

The questions:

1. When does the relationship Israel has with the US become too expensive for its benefits? Has it already?

2. Has Israel traded the independence it gained through its historic and agonizing struggle for a role as a satellite of the US? Is it already too late to regain it?

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One Response to “Two questions”

  1. Robman says:

    Speaking from my perch as a Jewish American supporter of Israel, who has been involved in grassroots Israel advocacy in a volunteer capacity for over a decade, my answers to these two questions are as follows:

    1. “When” is arguably about the time Obama took office five years ago. But certainly, no later than his re-election a year ago. I would recommend that Israel’s leadership take steps to “suspend” Israel’s strategic partnership with the U.S., as this has existed since the late 60’s, at least until Obama is out of office. If he is succeeded by someone with similar policies – e.g., Hillary Clinton – perhaps this is going to have to be permanent.

    In order to have a reliable supply of arms that Israel cannot produce herself, such as fighter aircraft, and for Israel to have a major power ally that could reliably run interference for Israel in international forums such as the UN, it may be necessary for Israel to re-align with some other power at the expense of the U.S. relationship. China is probably the best candidate for this role. This also would entail various risks – and so the terms of such a relationship would have to be arrived at with great care and caution – but I believe it could be made to work.

    We all hope it doesn’t come to that, but within the context of dealing with Obama and what he represents, Israel is going to have to risk losing the U.S.-Israeli alliance in order to save it, if it can indeed still be saved.

    This is not a decision that has to be made next week – or maybe it does? – but it must be given very, very serious consideration.

    2. Which leads me to my answer to the second question: NO.

    Quite the opposite.

    Though pulling away from the U.S. would certainly entail serious risks and costs, I would say that Israel has never been in a better position to do so than she is today.

    The real problem is Iran’s nuke weapons program. If and when that is dealt with decisively, Israel really is free to give Obama the finger. And Obama knows this, which is why he has spared no effort at restraining Israel on this matter.

    Historically, as would be the case for any small country surrounded by much larger enemies, Israel has always required a major power patron. These have been indispensible to the very survival of modern Israel from the very beginning of her history.

    Absent Stalin’s support of Israel with surplus arms supplied from his recently occupied Eastern Europe, Israel might very well have lost her war with the Arabs in the late 40s.

    Stalin turned on Israel shortly thereafter when he learned that, contrary to his expectations, Israel was not about to go communist and join the communist bloc. But fortunately, France – and to a lesser extent, Britain – stepped in to fill the breach.

    The ’67 war was won largely with French and British arms; French arms were particularly crucial in the air campaign that decided the war. Israel of the 50s and 60s could never have built the Mirage and Mystere warplanes she fielded then, a class of weapons no one else at that time would sell her, including the U.S.

    That the Arabs were able to co-opt France on the eve of that war via oil politics put Israel in very great danger. No one – NO ONE – would have re-supplied Israel a la ’73 if the war had gone the other way. The bad guys thought they had Israel politically on the ropes…but thanks to a sympathetic U.S. president Johnson, they were wrong.

    By ’73, again, Israel was heavily dependent on the U.S. Not only for military aid, but also economic aid, which was only phased out by the late 1990s. It would have been very hard to call Israel “indepedent” in those days. If Nixon had pulled a “DeGaulle” on Israel in ’73, who would have replaced the U.S. then? No one. Israel was extremely vulnerable then.

    Cold War politics – the fact of Israel as a U.S. client state opposite Soviet client states in the form of Syria, Egypt, etc. – kept that from happening.

    Today, Israel is more integrated into the world economy than ever before. The BDS movement, in real terms, has failed and is failing miserably. Israel has full diplomatic relations with an unprecedented number of countries, to include blossoming trade relationships with countries of a nature that would have been unthinkable thirty years ago, such as India, China, and Russia. She is hardly a “charity case”…she is now, among other things, the fourth largest arms exporter in the world.

    The real problem is not so much lack of potential for independence of the U.S. in real terms…rather, it is the mindset of some Israeli leaders – many, perhaps – that has grown so accustomed to this relationship with the U.S., that they can’t bear the thought of taking any genuine risk of losing it. It is this psychological dynamic that Obama takes advantage of.

    It is also the reason for what I often hear cited as the “unprecedented levels of military aid, intelligence/military cooperation”, etc., that has been claimed by Obama and admitted by some Israeli commentators. This “unprecedended” level of closeness has been intended very deliberately to accentuate the sense of dependence on the U.S., in order to increase U.S. leverage over Israel (I’m sure it is also used simply to spy on Israel as well).

    I also have no doubt, none whatsoever, that this recent set of votes on the UNHRC against Israel, in which the U.S. was the lone dissenter among some 47 countries, was stage managed by Obama. Even the Czech Republic voted “yes” on these, and they have been a very good friend to Israel, perhaps their best in Europe. You look at Obama’s behavior vis-a-vis Egypt, Turkey, and in the UN (where Obama was the very first U.S. president to not support Canada for a rotating seat on the UNSC), and one can clearly see that he likes to contrive situations in which the U.S. is the ONLY “friend” Israel has, so Obama can say, “Do what I demand, or you’ll be TOTALLY alone!”

    But I tell you all, this is smoke and mirrors. The day after telling Obama to piss off, the sky is not going to fall. As long as Iran is dealt with, there is nothing he can do that Israel cannot recover from. His standing both nationally and internationally is sinking lower every month. His entire presidency revolves around screwing Israel….and it will unravel over his failing to do so. That is what you must keep in mind. That is why you must – YOU MUST – defy him.

    It is not so much that Israel is “less” independent in real terms today than in the past. The real difference is that the U.S. now has a president that is using whatever degree of dependence on the U.S. that still exists as a weapon to undermine Israel as no president ever has before. Indeed, I would say that in the entire history of international relations, there has never been such an outright betrayal of one ally by another ally as what we’ve seen in the behavior of Obama towards Israel these past five years.

    Leaving out the issue of Iran, today’s Israel is no more or less vulnerable this way than say, South Korea, Singapore, or even Japan, but subjected to what Israel has been subjected to, ultimately, they would likely distance themselves from the U.S. as well (and indeed this is starting to happen in Japan’s case; South Korea isn’t very happy with Obama, either).

    You can stand up to him. You must. Once again, sorry he’s there; I myself never voted for him.

    Stout Hearts…AM ISRAEL CHAI,

    – Robman