Thursday, April 30, 2009

another step in the wrong direction

Lets remember God's covenant with Israel...

Genesis 12:3

I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you.

Let's remember God's warning to those who would try to divide the land given to Israel

Zechariah 12:2

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

Lets look at how this administration and its advisors do in a post-Christian world


Obama advised to suspend intelligence, military dialogue with Israel

WASHINGTON — A leading ally of President Barack Obama and critic of the Israel lobby in the United States has outlined a proposed U.S. campaign to pressure Israel that would suspend the intelligence dialogue between the two countries.

The timing is good.

Israel's "special relationship" with the United States has been low-hanging fruit for the unrelenting and politically victorious critics of the Bush administration's War on Terror which targeted militants in Iraq, Iran and Syria in coordination with Israel's security agencies.

Stephen Walt, a U.S. professor of international affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, who co-authored with John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago a controversial study on the Israeli lobby in the United States, has drafted recommendations for the Obama administration to pressure the new Israeli government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

Walt, regarded as influential in the U.S. diplomatic community, said the campaign should begin by administration criticism of Israel and support for United Nations resolutions that condemn the Jewish state.

"U.S. officials could even describe Israel's occupation [of the West Bank] as 'contrary to democracy,' 'unwise,' 'cruel,' or 'unjust,'" Walt wrote in the U.S. magazine Foreign Policy.

"Altering the rhetoric would send a clear signal to the Israeli government and its citizens that their government's opposition to a two-state solution was jeopardizing the special relationship."

Netanyahu was scheduled to fly to Washington to meet Obama in May 2009. But on April 16, the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported that Netanyahu was expected to cancel his visit amid an assessment that Obama would refuse to meet the Israeli prime minister.

"Within four years there will be a permanent settlement between Israel and Palestinians," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was quoted by Yediot as saying. "We don't care who the prime minister is."

Walt's report, titled "Can the United States Put Pressure on Israel: A User's Guide." marked the latest recommendations to the Obama administration to revise U.S. policy toward Israel.

In March 2009, a report by a bipartisan panel of foreign policy analysts called on the White House to pressure Israel as part of an effort to resolve the U.S. conflict with the Arab world.

The book by Walt and Mearshimer, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, generated controversy but also served to validate a growing alternative foreign policy consensus for a new administration elected in large part on the basis of the repudiation of the 43rd U.S. president.
But the book was also repudiated by such ideologically opposed former foreign policy officials as former Secretary of State (1982-89) George Shultz and former N.Y. Times correspondent and former President of the Council on Foreign Relations Leslie Gelb.

"Anyone who thinks that Jewish groups constitute a homogeneous 'lobby' ought to spend some time dealing with them," Shultz wrote in the U.S. News and World Report. "For example, my decision to open a dialogue with Yasser Arafat after he met certain conditions evoked a wide spectrum of responses from the government of Israel, its political parties, and American Jewish groups who weighed in on one side or the other. ... The United States supports Israel not because of favoritism based on political pressure or influence but because the American people, and their leaders, say that supporting Israel is politically sound and morally just. ... So, on every level, those who blame Israel and its Jewish supporters for U.S. policies they do not support are wrong. They are wrong because, to begin with, support for Israel is in our best interests. They are also wrong because Israel and its supporters have the right to try to influence U.S. policy. And they are wrong because the U.S. government is responsible for the policies it adopts, not any other state or any of the myriad lobbies and groups that battle daily—sometimes with lies — to win America's support."

Leslie Gelb wrote in the New York Times Book Review that the scholarship was shoddy and that the authors were biased. "More troublingly, [Walt and Mearsheimer] don’t seriously review the facts of the two most critical issues to Israel and the lobby — arms sales to Arab states and the question of a Palestinian state — matters on which the American position has consistently run counter to the so-called all-powerful Jewish lobby. For several decades, administration after administration has sold Saudi Arabia and other Arab states first-rate modern weapons, against the all-out opposition of Israel and the lobby. And make no mistake, these arms have represented genuine security risks to Israel. . . And on the policy issue that has counted most to Israel and the lobby — preventing the United States from accepting a Palestinian state prior to a negotiated deal between Israel and the Palestinians — it’s fair to say Washington has quietly sided with the Palestinians for a long time."

Walt warned against any immediate attempt by Obama to reduce the $3 billion in annual U.S. military aid to Israel. He said this would result in a battle with the Democratic-controlled Congress.

"There's a lot of potential leverage here, but it's probably not the best stick to use, at least not at first," Walt said.

"Trying to trim or cut the aid package will trigger an open and undoubtedly ugly confrontation in Congress — where the influence of AIPAC and other hard-line groups in the Israel lobby is greatest. So that's not where I'd start."

But Walt urged Obama to reduce U.S. strategic cooperation with Israel. He said the administration could suspend the dialogue between the Israeli and U.S. intelligence communities as well as that of the Israeli military and the Defense Department.

"Today, such a step would surely get the attention of Israel's security establishment," Walt said.

Walt also recommended that the United States reduce its procurement of Israeli defense equipment, another step that would not require congressional approval. Israel has sold a range of armor, munitions and platforms deployed by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Obama could instruct Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to slow or decrease these purchases, which would send an unmistakable signal that it was no longer business-as-usual," Walt said.

"Given the battering Israel's economy has taken in the current global recession, this step would get noticed too. And most of these measures could be implemented by the Executive Branch alone, thereby outflanking die-hard defenders of the special relationship in Congress."

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