American support for Israel


Hagel gets warm welcome in Israel
By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post, 2014-07-17


In U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s first visit here
since the collapse of American-brokered peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians,
there was an unspoken, albeit unmistakable, return to the status quo.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon,
widely seen as being among the top spoilers of the Obama administration’s dogged effort to get a peace deal,
welcomed Hagel this week with ebullient warmth,
calling him a “dear friend.”

[Was not Hagel's nomination opposed by many American supporters of Israel
because some past comments of his were, to some extent, critical of Israel's conduct?
Guess he learned his lesson.]

There were only cursory mentions of the moribund peace talks,
which fizzled late last month;
the dominant theme was the United States’ enduring and growing commitment
to shield Israel from an ever-expanding array of threats.

["Ever-expanding"? I wonder why.
Could it have anything to do with Israel's refusal to negotiate with the Palestinians in a fair manner
(i.e., in my opinion, using the 1967 border as the starting point for the negotiations.
Everything after that, the "facts on the ground", was done unilaterally by Israel.]

“You have already made clear that the security of Israel is a top priority for you,”
Yaalon told Hagel on Thursday afternoon inside the Israeli Defense Ministry building in Tel Aviv.
“I’m particularly glad that this policy continues the tradition of
close relations between our governments and ministries.”

Referring to Yaalon by his nickname, Bogey,
Hagel made a cursory mention about
the “need for continued commitment to direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations”
for a two-state solution to the conflict.
But it came across as little more than an obligatory talking point
and was overshadowed by the enthusiasm both defense chiefs share
for the fruits of the multibillion-dollar U.S. investment ["investment"? Not my idea of an investment.
The payback for that investment has been on-going terrorist attacks.]

to build up Israel’s defenses against enemies near and far.

“Nothing speaks more clearly than
America’s concrete support for Israel’s defense,”
Hagel said,
noting that Washington has shared with Israel its most advanced platforms,
including the V-22 Osprey aircraft, the F-35 fighter plane
and sophisticated radar systems.
“That includes $3.1 billion per year in foreign military financing,
which is not only more than we provide to any other nation,
but the most we have provided to any nation in American history.”

It was hard not to see an air of vindication
in Yaalon’s tone and body language.

The Palestinians were to blame for the failure of peace talks, he argued,
for failing to “recognize Israel’s right to exist as a nation-state of the Jewish people.”
[Yeah, right.
And if the Palestinians recognize that right before the negotiations even start,
what bargaining chips will they have left in the negotiations?]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abaas, he charged,
had not been committed to a compromise.

“So that is why we failed again, not for the first time,” he said.

Abbas has recognized Israel’s right to exist,
but he balked at a recent effort to enshrine in legislation its identity as a Jewish state.

The peace talks, begun last summer under heavy U.S. pressure,
had highlighted areas of disagreement between Israel and its closest ally.
U.S. complaints about Israeli settlement-building suddenly had new resonance,
and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on the spot
to release long-held Palestinian prisoners.
Yaalon was the most openly hostile member of the Israeli cabinet,
but he was not the only member of Netanyahu’s coalition government
to resent the U.S. pressure to make concessions.

[Um, and what happened to those complaints?
It sure looks to me like they collapsed under pressure from the all-powerful American Jewish community.]

Yaalon on Thursday brushed off reminders that he had been quoted
as characterizing Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s efforts in the talks
as “misplaced obsession and messianic fervor.”

“I am responsible for what I say,” Yaalon said.
“I am not responsible for misquotations or misinterpretation.”

After their brief news conference,
Hagel and Yaalon regrouped at Hatzor air force base, an hour’s drive south of Tel Aviv,
where Israeli and American troops who will soon kick off a joint training exercise
displayed four missile-defense platforms.
They ranged from Iron Dome —
a midrange rocket interceptor that emerged as a game-changer in 2012
when Israel last launched a concerted offensive against militants in the Gaza Strip —
to platforms designed to knock out ballistic missiles.

“We are here to witness what we are talking about
when we claim about the unshakable bond between the U.S.,
as the greatest democracy all over the world,
and the state of Israel, the only democracy in our tough neighborhood,”
Yaalon told American and Israeli soldiers standing at attention.
Referring to the threat of missiles and rockets from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip,
Yaalon added: “We’ve got a challenge, but we can cope with it.”

Outside the tightly choreographed events,
politics and clashes in Israel and the occupied West Bank
further dimmed the prospect of regaining traction on peace talks.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel’s economy minister
will soon present Netanyahu with a proposal to annex a major area of the West Bank
that is home to several settlements.

In London, where he was meeting with allies on Syria and Ukraine policy,
Kerry signaled Thursday that he had not yet ["yet"] given up on reviving peace talks.
After Kerry met with Abbas and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni,
the State Department issued a statement saying that the secretary told both that
“while the door remains open to peace,
the parties must determine whether they are willing to take
the necessary steps to resume negotiations.”

A senior administration official, who was not authorized to speak on the record
and spoke only on the condition of anonymity,
said Kerry’s hasn’t lost hope that the dueling parties will come to recognize that
the security architecture envisioned
by the U.S. officials who drafted a framework for negotiations
is worth the compromises each side has been asked to make.

“The hope is that both sides will reconsider their positions
and return to negotiations sooner rather than later,”
the official said.

Before flying to Washington on Friday afternoon,
Hagel met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
The Israeli premier lamented that
the secretary was visiting during “turbulent times,”
which he blamed on closer contacts between Palestinian leaders in the West Bank
and those from the militant group Hamas, which runs Gaza.

“I think the Palestinians have to make a simple choice:
a pact with Hamas, or peace with Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“But they cannot have both.”

[And what did Israel do to promote a peace deal
before the PLO/Hamas pact was made?
Why should the Palestinians, or any rational person for that matter,
believe Israel will ever, on its own,
agree to make the 1967 boundary the basis for negotiations?]

Hagel sidestepped the issue of peace talks in his public remarks alongside Netanyahu.
Neither leader took questions from reporters.

“As you said in the United States earlier this year,”
Hagel told Netanyahu, quoting him,
“American support for Israel is at an all-time high.”

[So much for any thought that
America might be trying to restrain Israeli settlement growth.]

AIPAC Is the Only Explanation for America's Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy
by Stephen M. Walt
Huffington Post, 2015-07-22

The official name for Israel's latest assault on Gaza is "Operation Protective Edge."
A better name would be "Operation Déjà Vu."
As it has on several prior occasions,
Israel is using weapons provided by U.S. taxpayers
to bombard the captive and impoverished Palestinians in Gaza,
where the death toll now exceeds 500.
As usual, the U.S. government is siding with Israel,
even though most American leaders understand Israel
instigated the latest round of violence,
is not acting with restraint, and that
its actions make Washington look callous and hypocritical in the eyes of most of the world.

This Orwellian situation is eloquent testimony to
the continued political clout of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)
and the other hardline elements of the Israel lobby.
There is no other plausible explanation for the supine behavior of the U.S. Congress--
including some of its most "progressive" members--
or the shallow hypocrisy of the Obama administration,
especially those officials known for their purported commitment to human rights.


[A]s soon as fighting [between Israel and just about anyone] starts,
and even if Israel instigates it,
AIPAC demands that Washington march in lockstep with Tel Aviv.
Congress invariably rushes to pass new resolutions endorsing whatever Israel decides to do.
Even though it is mostly Palestinians who are dying,
White House officials rush to proclaim that Israel has "the right to defend itself,"
and Obama himself won't go beyond expressing "concern" about what is happening.
Of course Israelis have the right to defend themselves,
but Palestinians not only have the same right,
they have the right to resist the occupation.
To put this another way,
Israel does not have the right to keep its Palestinian subjects in permanent subjugation.
But try finding someone on Capitol Hill who will acknowledge this simple fact.

The explanation for America's impotent and morally bankrupt policy
is the political clout of the Israel lobby.
Barack Obama knows that
if he were to side with the Palestinians in Gaza or criticize Israel's actions in any way,
he would face a firestorm of criticism from the lobby
and his chances of getting Congressional approval for a deal with Iran would evaporate.

Similarly, every member of the House and Senate--
including progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren--
knows that voting for those supposedly "pro-Israel" resolutions is the smart political move.
They understand that even the slightest display of independent thinking on these issues
could leave them vulnerable to a well-funded opponent the next time they're up for re-election.
At a minimum, they'll have to answer a flood of angry phone calls and letters,
and, on top of that, they are likely to be blackballed by some of their Congressional colleagues.
The safer course is to mouth the same tired litanies about alleged "shared values" between Israel and the U.S.
and wait till the crisis dies down.
And people wonder why no one respects Congress anymore.


Unfortunately, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League,
the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
and assorted Christian Zionist groups
continue to exhibit a severe case of tunnel vision.
Because defending Israel no matter what it does is their main raison d'etre
(and central to their fundraising),
they are unable to see that they are helping Israel drive itself off a cliff.
Similarly, those pliant members of Congress who cravenly sign AIPAC-drafted resolutions
are not true friends of Israel.
They are false friends who pretend to care but are really only interested in getting reelected.

Historians will one day look back and ask how U.S. Middle East policy
could be so ineffectual and so at odds with its professed values --
not to mention its strategic interests.
The answer lies in the basic nature of the American political system,
which permits well-organized and well-funded special interest groups
to wield significant power on Capitol Hill and in the White House.
[Walt unfortunately omits the other basic reason for America's support for Israel--
Jewish domination of the media.
Is that a false accusation?
See what happened to (the late) Helen Thomas.]

In this case, the result is a policy that is bad for all concerned:
for the Palestinians most of all, but also for the U.S. and Israel as well.
Until the lobby's clout is weakened or politicians grow stiffer spines,
Americans looking for better outcomes in the Middle East
had better get used to disappointment and prepared for more trouble.


Clinton emails show how State Dept. undermined U.N. action on Israeli war crimes
U.S. government boasted it "deferred" the Goldstone Report through "political work," preventing justice for Gazans
by Jared Flanery and Ben Norton
Salon.com, 2015-11-19

The State Department devoted itself to, in its own words, “deferring” U.N. action on Israeli war crimes, “reframing the debate” about the atrocities, and “moving away from the U.N.”, according to numerous emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The messages, some of which are written by high-level State Department officials, expose the role of the U.S. government in undermining the international response to the 2009 United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, also known as the Goldstone Report — which the U.S. admitted was only “moderate,” but still opposed.


Throughout the long and delayed process in compiling the report, the U.S. and Israeli governments tried to stymie the investigation into atrocities committed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The final report was released on September 15, 2009 at a massive 452 pages, yet even then was criticized by human rights activists for not being thorough enough in its documentation of what the U.N. characterized as Israeli war crimes.

Publicly released Clinton emails reveal that the UNHRC, under heavy U.S. pressure, postponed consideration of the Goldstone Report from October 2 until March 2010. While the UNHRC ultimately endorsed the report’s findings on October 16, it took nearly six months for the body to urge the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council to refer the Gaza massacre to the ICC pursuant to 13(b) of the Rome Statute, which the U.S. then blocked.

An email from Harold Koh — then Legal Adviser to the Department of State and leading defender of the Obama administration’s predator drone program, now a professor of international law at Yale University, where he previously served as dean of the law school, who also previously taught international law at New York University — demonstrates that the U.S. State Department self-consciously and successfully obstructed endorsement of the Goldstone Report by the UNHRC.

In an October 2, 2009 message to Clinton advisers Jacob Sullivan and Cheryl Mills entitled “HRC Scorecard,” Koh enthusiastically declared that the “Goldstone-report [was] deferred through extraordinary political work by all of you.”

Koh boasted that the Clinton camp “ran the table” in the UNHRC, with a “stunning performance” from various governmental organizations. Undermining the release of the U.N. fact-finding mission shows the “State Department at its finest,” he exulted.

The State Department’s attempts to “defer” U.N. action on Israeli war crimes in Gaza are further evinced in a message from Michael Posner — a former assistant secretary of state who served as founding Executive Director of Human Rights First and is now a business professor at NYU. In a November 10, 2010 note, Posner discussed multiple trips he and U.S. government officials took to Israel in order to discuss the Goldstone Report with the Israeli government. Posner [revealed] the U.S. and Israeli governments worked together in order to “reframe the public debate” around Israel’s attack. He wrote:

“Our approach has been to offer our support and willingness to work with the Government of Israel to reframe the public debate from defensive (responding to Goldstone or Flotilla reports and resolutions at the UN, etc.) to a more pro-active narrative focused on the challenges of fighting an urban or asymmetrical war. We are having productive, and generally positive preliminary conversations about a possible GOI white paper that would: 1) set the context, outlining the challenges in fighting an asymmetrical conflict; 2) spell out the steps the IDF and other agencies have taken to address these challenges; and 3) identify ongoing challenges that Israel and other professional armies will need to address in the future.”


Fake News Versus No News
How Russia is pilloried while real news about Israel goes unreported
by Philip Giraldi
Unz Review, 2016-12-06


There is, however, another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches.
It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets.
Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby that oddly is not subject to the accountability afforded by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 even though it manifestly works on behalf of a foreign government.
That country is, of course, Israel.



Israel interferes in our politics all the time, and it’s never a scandal
by Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss, 2017-02-15


The Israeli interference in our politics
is the conspiracy in plain sight that no one in the media talks about
because they’re too implicated themselves.

The two top executives at the largest media company, Comcast, are pro-Israel;
one of them, David Cohen, raised money for the Israeli army.
Netanyahu’s speeches to Congress were written by Gary Ginsberg,
an executive at another media company, Time Warner,
but hey, that’s not an issue.
Four New York Times reporters have had children serve in the Israeli army.
One of them is columnist David Brooks,
who says that he gets gooey-eyed when he visits Israel.
He is one of several Zionists with columns at the Times.
Tom Friedman justified the Iraq War because
suicide bombers were going into Tel Aviv pizza parlors. (Huh?)
Yesterday Martin Indyk said on National Public Radio that
Jared Kushner’s strong Jewish background was an asset for his being a Middle East mediator,
a job that Aaron David Miller, who also has a strong Jewish background,
defined as being Israel’s lawyer.
Indyk, himself a mediator,
started a pro-Israel thinktank with Haim Saban,
an Israeli-American who was Clinton’s biggest funder
and who lately smeared Keith Ellison at a giant gathering at Brookings,
which he also helps fund,
as “clearly an anti-semite” and “anti-Israel;”
and Jake Tapper of CNN moved on to the next question,
presumably because smearing a public official in that manner is not news.
Saban is also chummy with Jeffrey Goldberg,
one of whose qualifications for being the best journalist in his generation,
according to the Atlantic’s publisher,
is that he served in the Israeli Defense Forces,
because he felt that America was unsafe for Jews.
One of Goldberg’s first hires as editor at the Atlantic
is Julia Ioffe, who hates Russia,
and who told a synagogue audience last year
after she was attacked as a Jew by Trump supporters:
“Personally I was kind of glad to see the outpouring of antisemitism”
because people had forgotten that Jews and Israel are the “underdog.”
At another NY synagogue, believing that he was speaking off the record,
Dennis Ross, the longtime White House “mediator” of the peace process, said that
American Jews must be “advocates” for Israel, not for Palestinians.
Again, not a scandal.
But when Rashid Khalidi, who wrote a book about
the U.S. being imbalanced in the peace process,
warned that neoconservatives would “infest” the Trump administration,
he was smeared up and down as an anti-semite.


The True Cost of Israel
U.S. support goes far beyond the official numbers.
By Philip Giraldi
The American Conservative, 2017-04-12

How The GOP Became A ‘Pro-Israel’ Party
By Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
Five Thirty Eight, 2017-12-08

The Republican party has moved from not supporting Israel enough,
in the eyes of many Jewish Americans,
to backing policies that now go further than
the positions espoused by many Jewish voters —
but are in keeping with the views of evangelical voters.

Typical of Republican sentiment [in the 1950s]
were the critiques of Israel published in The National Review.
Political philosopher Leo Strauss went so far as to write a letter in 1956 to complain.
The journal’s editor, Willmoore Kendall, acknowledged
there was an “anti-Israel bias among my colleagues,
and in Right-wing circles in general.”

Although Kendall emphasized that he did not believe that anti-Semitism was behind that bias, successive Republican presidents were eyed warily by many pro-Israel Jews well into the George H.W. Bush administration. Richard Nixon, though he supported Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, was believed to be a raging anti-Semite (a belief that was vindicated when tapes of his conversations were released decades later), and even Ronald Reagan’s support for Israel was questioned when he penalized the Jewish state for its bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactors.

By the end of the 1990s, though, attitudes began to shift, due largely to world events, changes in a major GOP constituency and changes in the Jewish community. Israeli politics also played a role.

The most pronounced turning point in GOP voters’ support for Israel
came after 9/11, as
increased U.S. military involvement in the Middle East resulted in
more pro-Israel policies percolating into the Republican agenda.

[That's pretty funny.
She has cause and effect reversed.]


Today, Israel is a voting priority for many evangelicals.
A 2015 poll noted that 64 percent of evangelical Christian Republicans
say that a candidate’s stance on Israel matters “a lot,”
compared with 33 percent of non-evangelical Republicans
and 26 percent of all Americans.

And evangelical Christian voters, unlike Jews,
represent a significant percentage of Republican voters.
Some 26 percent of the electorate identified in the 2016 elections as born-again or evangelical Christian,
and 81 percent of them voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton.
Capturing evangelical support is essential for Republican candidates;
as of 2014,
evangelical and born-again voters represented the plurality (45 percent)
of voters who are Republican or who lean Republican.


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