True Friends of Israel?

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Michael Desch in an oped today suggests that during election season, everyone wants to be a true friend of Israel which they incorrectly think means tilting substantially one direction in Israel’s ongoing struggle for security and acceptance within a very tough neighborhood.
But I agree with him that Israel doesn’t need and (from my discussions with Israeli government officials) doesn’t want lopsidedness from the US or from the diaspora Jewish community in America. They need smart thinking and support for a process that will preserve a Jewish democratic state in Israel and help lead to normalization and stability with the Arab world.
Desch writes:

As longtime State Department Middle East adviser Aaron David Miller reminds us in his new book, “The Much Too Promised Land,” “it’s hard to compete and be successful in American politics without being good on Israel.” And so when the AIPAC annual conference coincides with a presidential election, as it did this year, these speeches become bidding wars to demonstrate the fervor of the candidates’ support for the Jewish state. Sen. Barack Obama declared himself the “true friend of Israel.” And Sen. John McCain set the late Sen. Henry Jackson’s uncompromising pro-Israel stance as his “model of what an American statesman should be.” For both, friendship with Israel means embracing the notion that the Jewish state faces dire threats that require unwavering American support.
But the mark of real friendship, as abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher put it, is “to speak painful truth through loving words.” By that criterion, neither of the presidential candidates qualifies as Israel’s true friend. Rather, it has been individuals like former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretaries of State James Baker and Henry Kissinger who have been Israel’s real friends. As public officials, they had a realistic view of Israel’s situation and were willing to criticize the Jewish state and push it at critical junctures in its history for it own good.

My take is a bit different than Michael Desch’s. I have heard Prime Minister Ohlmert, Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon, former Deputy Minister of Defense Eprhaim Sneh and others who are hard-edged and tough about Israel’s interests advocate for a two-state solution that to me seemed authentic. We also now know that Israel has been working out the plans to negotiate with Syria via Turkey. A good move in my book.
America doesn’t always need to be tough on Israel. Sometimes we need to offer criticism — like on settlements and road blocks. And sometimes we need to see that we ourselves are the roadblocks to progress.
The best friends of Israel will be pragmatists, realists, willing to engage in a no false choice process that presents wins and compromises for both sides of the Israel-Palestine standoff.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

35 comments on “True Friends of Israel?

  1. Kathleen says:

    Post-American Israel —Dominique Moisi
    Israel will be forced to confront the reality of Palestinian despair, which the unique relationship with America has allowed it to obfuscate and evade for too long
    Israel is one of the only places in the world where George W Bush can be greeted with real enthusiasm and even affection. The most unpopular American president in recent history thus relished his recent triumphal welcome in Jerusalem, where he was the guest of honour of the International Conference planned and devised by Israeli President Shimon Peres on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Jewish state.
    Historical revisionism was near the top of the agenda, with the United States portrayed as Israel’s most faithful supporter and ally since 1948. But in fact, George C Marshall, the US secretary of state in 1948, sought to prevent President Harry Truman from recognising Israel. Likewise, the Suez crisis of 1956, when the US thwarted a joint French, British, and Israeli plan to seize the Suez Canal, was presented in a politically correct light, as were Henry Kissinger’s complex diplomacy during the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
    The hugging and kissing between Bush, Peres, and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert were undeniably moving, but they were also troubling — and not only because serious references to the Palestinians were, for the most part, not on the agenda. One had the feeling that this was something akin to dancing on the Titanic — the culmination of a privileged partnership at its tipping point, a grand gala for something that was about to disappear.
    This is not only a matter of leaders — Bush and Olmert — on their way out. Beyond the celebration of eight exceptional years of “unique friendship” under Bush, it also seemed clear that the 41-year-old special relationship inaugurated by the Six Day War in 1967, when the US became Israel’s main backer, might be coming to an end.
    The next US president, whether he is Barack Obama or John McCain, will certainly maintain the close bilateral alliance. But it will not be the same: even if America remains an indispensable nation, it will no longer be the only one. While Bush was in Jerusalem, so was India’s Lakshmi Mittal, the king of the world’s steel industry. If Bush was the departing present, Mittal represents the incipient future, in which America will have to share influence with emerging powers such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, and eventually, if its members get their act together, the European Union.
    In fact, Israelis are already debating the meaning of the emerging post-American “multi-polar world” for their country’s security. Will it really be such a bad thing, or might it hold some redeeming value?
    The close bond between Israel and Bush’s America can in retrospect be seen as a mixed blessing — a special relationship that contributed to the declining attractiveness of both countries. Israel, rightly, may not be ready to exchange US support for that of any other power, but Israeli leaders, having kept all their eggs in one basket for so long, will now have to factor not only American concerns and interests into their decision-making, but those of the other powers as well.
    Thus, the problem for Israel is not to replace the backing provided by “300 million Americans”, as Bush put it in Jerusalem, but to add to it the sympathetic interest of more than three billion Chinese, Indians, Russians and others in Israel’s future in a pacified Middle East. The question is not so much one of substituting alliances, but of creating a complementary system of security.
    In their effort to achieve international respect and legitimacy as responsible stakeholders in today’s evolving international system, countries such as China, India, and even Russia have a greater interest in stability than in global confusion. For them, a nuclear Iran led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is seen more as a threat than as a card they can play, even if their actions thus far in regard to Iran do not always match their long-term strategic interests.
    In fact, when it comes to deterring Iran from developing nuclear weapons — or, for that matter, exerting pressure on Israel and the Palestinians (including Hamas) to reach a compromise — a group of powers such as the US, China, India, and Russia might produce better results than a sole superpower imprisoned by its own contradictions and limitations.
    Israel’s nimble society and economy seem perfectly designed for the post-American era of political and economic globalisation. Equally important, Israel will be forced to confront the reality of Palestinian despair, which the unique relationship with America has allowed it to obfuscate and evade for too long. –DT-PS
    Dominique Moisi, a founder and Senior Advisor at IFRI (French Institute for International Relations), is currently a Professor at the College of Europe in Natolin, Warsaw

    Reply

  2. Morton says:

    “They argue that Israel is often a strategic burden, not an asset,
    pointing to the 1991 Gulf War as an example, when the Israel-U.S.
    alliance hindered the U.S. in building a coalition of forces.”
    Who knew? Maybe they were a hindrance. Seems to me that the
    coalition came together pretty darn well and Israel a few scuds and
    gas scares for the team.

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  3. WigWag says:

    Who would have guessed it. Where do you think prominent critics of US policy towards Israel, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt spent the day yesterday. That’s right, lecturing at Hebrew University in of all places, Israel. It’s awful hard to reconcile that with so many of the opinions expressed here that assure us the AIPAC has muzzled these two critics of Israel so effectively. For those open minded enough to read it, here’s a snippet from today’s Haaretz:
    Last update – 23:21 12/06/2008
    ‘Israel Lobby’ authors in Jerusalem: Ahmadinejad not inciting to genocide
    By The Associated Press
    JERUSALEM – Two prominent American professors who sparked an uproar with their best-selling book critical of the powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington, remarked Thursday that they felt that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be wiped off the map was not in fact incitement to genocide.
    About 200 students and faculty members crammed into a stuffy lecture hall at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and grilled John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt for more than two hours about their harsh findings in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, published last year.
    In the book, the pair argue that pro-Israel special interest groups have manipulated the U.S. political system to promote policies that favor Israel, while running counter to American interests. They argue that Israel is often a strategic burden, not an asset, pointing to the 1991 Gulf War as an example, when the Israel-U.S. alliance hindered the U.S. in building a coalition of forces.
    Then they took questions, as the classroom erupted in excited conversation. The exchange was mostly cordial, with the American professors eliciting some laughs from the crowd, but at times it got testy.
    At one point, 25-year-old international relations student Liad Gilhar accused the professors of distorting facts and providing fodder for anti-Semites. “You need to choose your words carefully,” Gilhar said.
    Not all in the audience were hostile.
    Korina Kagan, a political science lecturer, said she essentially agreed with their thesis and was appalled by the attacks against them, especially from academic circles.
    Feel free to e-mail your apologies to AIPAC at your earliest convenience.

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  4. David says:

    Here’s hoping wiser, don’t-bomb-Iran minds prevail in Israel. And here’s hoping the reactionary Israel bozo who said an attack on Iran is imminent doesn’t succeed in undermining Olmert, who seems to me to be at least more sensible than the hardliners in his party. We are so bound to Israel at this point that whatever they do will take us with them, and we appear to be utterly incapable of urging them in wiser directions with honest critiques. But then our moral authority is non-existent at the moment, thanks to Cheney/Bush,

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  5. WigWag says:

    Carroll, why did you forget to mention that a chief sponsor of the increase in aid to Israel is your hero, Barack Obama?
    As a matter of fact, this increase in aid was actually proposed by President Bush last year. The Democrats in the House and Senate deliberately delayed announcing the increased aid until their party’s nominee became clear. Why? So he could take the credit. That’s right, Carroll, the Democrats are making this move now at the behest of the annointed one, Senator Obama.
    You must be so proud.

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  6. Morton says:

    It’s interesting to me that only the worst facts about Israel are
    presented here. Carroll’s post is a good example: “Eternal welfare
    babies and money hustlers.” However, she ignores the more
    positive news as presented in her own source CRS. She also
    ignores the Egyptian aid (mentioned in her own post) which is sort
    of a bribe to make peace with Israel, but never asks why the
    Egyptians need to be bribed to make peace?
    Left out of the discussion, also, are the billions we spend and have
    spent to protect Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Saudi Arabia, etc.
    I guess source shopping is the game without regard to any even-
    keeled presentation. It’s too bad that discussions here (especially
    about Israel) take place at such a low intellectual level.

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  7. Carroll says:

    LOL…direct aid to Israel use to be 2.4 billion with about 600 million being economic aid.
    So much for Israel giving up their “economic aid when their overall aid from us went up by half a billion.
    Eternal welfare babies and money hustlers.
    US Increases Military Aid to Israel 25 Percent
    Jul 30, 2007 … The United States has announced a 25 percent increase in annual military aid to Israel, along with a continuation of defense aid to Egypt …a new agreement gives Israel 30 billion over 10 years.
    http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-07-30-voa56.cfm – 39k –

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  8. Amir says:

    I think USA is only a humble servant of Israel
    It is the reason of its politicians. They favor Zionists interests to their homeland

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  9. WigWag says:

    Dan Kervick, as speculation goes, your comment is very interesting. It could even prove to be true. I just have two quibbles.
    1) You say, “Israelis believe Arabs are a weak, inferior race and that Palestinian Arabs are a particularly doltish variety of Arabs.” Do you have any citations for this or are you just making it up to bolster your argument? And what exactly are you suggesting? Do 100 percent of Israelis feel this way? 80 percent, 45 percent? Is it just the political leadership who feel this way? Or do just Likudniks believe this? What about Shimon Peres, is this what he thinks? What about Amoz Oz, are you suggesting this is his opinion as well? Do all Israelis who immigrated from the Diaspora feel this way or just those from Arab countries? What about the Ethiopian immigrants, do they all believe that “Arabs are a weak and inferior race,” do 50 percent of them believe that? If you can defend this particular comment, I will be surprised.
    2) Critics of Israel frequently site the experience of American Indians when talking about the Palestinians. But of course, the vast majority of people now alive anywhere on the planet are descendended from people who kicked other people off their land by force. Almost everyone in the world is living on land confiscated from others. That includes Arabs and Israelis, Americans and Europeans. And as for religious beliefs, most people who are practicing a religion, practice a religion that was forced on their ancestors by threat of violence.
    As for your comments about Iran, I hope you’re wrong, but you might be right. As long as we’re speculating, here’s my predicition. The candidate most likely to attack Iran is Barack Obama.

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  10. Morton says:

    And, more recently from the CRS…
    “For many years, U.S. economic aid helped subsidize a lackluster
    Israeli economy, though since the rapid expansion of Israel’s hi-
    tech sector in the 1990s (sparked partially by U.S.-Israeli scientific
    cooperation), Israel is now considered a fully industrialized nation
    with an economy on par with some Western European countries.
    Consequently, Israel and the United States have agreed to gradually
    phase out grant economic aid to Israel.”

    Reply

  11. Morton says:

    “They then launched a military campaign in 1948 that carved out a
    state that was larger than the one granted by the partition plan. ”
    They were attacked. Remember, Dan?

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  12. Dan Kervick says:

    Israel has been fighting a single, long, protracted war against the Arabs for almost a century now, with the focus on the Palestinian Arabs. And the fact is that as much as Israelis sometimes show fatigue, and sometimes complain about the endless violence in their lives and the feeling of insecurity, Israel has been steadily winning this war, little by little. Israelis thus has little incentive to stop the war until they have achieved their war aims, which are so far incomplete.
    They first succeeded, after decades of fighting, in gaining international support for a state based on a UN partition proposal. They then launched a military campaign in 1948 that carved out a state that was larger than the one granted by the partition plan. That state was recognized. And since the war in 1967, they have been “settling” parts of the West Bank, and incorporating the West Bank, little by little, into Israel, while making living conditions as intolerable as possible for the people in those parts that have not yet been incorporated. It’s a grueling process, but the long term trend is in the direction of successful enlargement, and a slow, gradual takeover of “Judea” and “Samaria”. The only pieces of land Israelis have ever given up are pieces they didn’t covet anyway. The Sinai isn’t part of their ancient home, for example; it’s where they are said to have wandered for 40 years to get home.
    Israel has made peace with Egypt and with Jordan, which means the Palestinians’ circle of allies has been contracted. At great cost, they succeeded in getting the Palestinians out of Lebanon. They then succeeded in getting the US to get rid of Saddam, another Israeli nemesis, and Iraq now appears on track to become a permanent US military outpost and dependency. At some point, they and the Americans will make their move on Iran, which will probably succeed ultimately – again at great cost – in cutting the legs from under Syria and Hizbollah. They will then be able to get a peace deal with Syria on terms favorable to Israeli desires, solve the Hizbollah problem on their northern border, and leave the Palestinians with even fewer friends. Israel also has a large arsenal of nuclear bombs, which means that in the final analysis nobody is in the region has sufficient power to resist them.
    Given these trends, there is no reason for Israel to make any sort long term deal with the Palestinians that requires handing hand over the coveted West Bank to a Palestinian state. For diplomacy’s sake, they can continue to make gestures and offers, secure in the knowledge that these are never going anywhere, given the irresolute behavior of the international community, and the favor they enjoy from the US. Israelis believe Arabs are a weak, inferior race and that Palestinian Arabs are a particularly doltish variety of Arabs. They believe that if they just keep up the fight for as long as it takes, they will win everything ultimately. They may cry sometimes, but they cry and shoot. They take a long terms view. And they believe in a might makes right philosophy. Every success they achieve only convinces them that they want it more, and are entitled by the ancient laws of conquest to what they want.
    So, I’m not sure what “hard truths” Americans can credibly tell the Israelis. The only hard truths that need to be learned are the ones that need to be conveyed to American milquetoasts who never stop believing in the “peace process”, and never stop believing that Israelis can be dissuaded for pursuing their interests and desires while they are at the same time shown unconditional and unalloyed “friendship”. Inwardly, the Israelis are laughing at us.
    Any US policy which is based on undying, unconditional friendship is going nowhere. If one is really determined to create a Palestinian state that isn’t some sort of idiotic joke, then Israel would have to be actively opposed. But that is never going to happen. So I think we can see where this is going. Eventually the Palestinians will be routed. They will lose all of their allies. Many will move elsewhere. Some may be forcibly transferred out of the West Bank under cover of a major war, which is a predictable occurrence in the region. Those that remain will accept life in a handful of tiny reservations, once dreams of an actual state are no longer viable.
    100 or 150 years from now people will remember that there was a large Arab population in the place that used to be called “Palestine”. They will say, “Wasn’t that awful what was done to them? Tsk, Tsk”. They will engage in the usual rituals of remorse and expiation, just as we do in America over the native Americans we transferred, decimated and eradicated – now that we have finished with the transfer, decimation and eradication job. It is cruel to the Palestinians to pretend that there is really anything behind US lip service to the goal of a Palestinian state.

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  13. Mayank Chamyal says:

    Israel has one of the best population in terms of scientist and intellect, I think they should get protection from the Arabs those who have waged war in the name of religion since the time of Mohammad (Who himself waged war for religion ). Do we found the religious leaders fighting war to convert people to there religion or simply doing ethnic cleansing……. Not the Christ nor Buddha or for that matters in Hinduism….

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/search/?q=%22American+economic+assistance+-Israel%22&t=dc.subject&o=&system=CRS&start=20&pageSize=10&sort=default&view=
    COPYRIGHT Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs
    SUMMARY
    Israel is not economically self-sufficient, and relies on foreign assistance and borrowing to maintain its economy. Since 1985, the United States has provided $3 billion in grants annually to Israel. Since 1976, Israel has been the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, and is the largest cumulative recipient since World War II. In addition to U.S. assistance, it is estimated that Israel receives about $1 billion annually through philanthropy, an equal amount through short- and long- term commercial loans, and around $1 billion in Israel Bonds proceeds.
    “”U.S. aid to Israel has some unique aspects, such as loans with repayment waived, or a pledge to provide Israel with economic assistance equal to the amount Israel owes the United States for previous loans.””
    Israel also receives special benefits that may not be available to other countries, such as the use of U.S. military assistance for research and development in the United States, the use of U.S. military assistance for military purchases in Israel, or receiving all its assistance in the first 30 days of the fiscal year rather than in 3 or 4 installments as other countries do.
    In addition to the foreign assistance, the United States has provided Israel with $625 million to develop and deploy the Arrow antimissile missile (an ongoing project), $1.3 billion to develop the Lavi aircraft (cancelled), $200 million to develop the Merkava tank (operative), $130 million to develop the high energy laser anti-missile system (ongoing), and other military projects.
    In FY2000 the United States provided Israel an additional $1.2 billion to fund the Wye agreement, and in FY2002 the United States provided an additional $200 million in anti-terror assistance.
    For FY2003, the Administration requested $600 million in economic, $2.1 billion in military, and $60 million in migration resettlement assistance.
    MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    Reuters reported on December 17, 2002, that Israel had requested $4 billion in military grants and $6 billion in economic loan guarantees. The military grants will enable Israel to prepare for a possible war with Iraq and to cover expenses of the Palestinian uprising. The economic loans are needed to bale out Israel’s struggling economy. Prime Minister Sharon apparently requested the funds during his November visit to the White House. The grants and loan guarantees will be in addition to Israel’s regular $3 billion in annual foreign assistance.
    President Bush withheld disbursing a portion of the FY2002 supplemental appropriations bill, P.L. 107-206 (H.R. 4775, S. 2551), including $200 million in antiterrorism Economic Support Fund (ESF) grants for Israel. The House of Representatives added the $200 million anti-terror funds to the FY2003 foreign operations appropriations bill.
    BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS
    Since 1976, Israel has been the largest annual recipient of U.S. aid and is the largest recipient of cumulative U.S. assistance since World War II. From 1949 through 1965, U.S. aid to Israel averaged about $63 million per year, over 95% of which was economic development assistance and food aid. A modest military loan program began in 1959. From 1966 through 1970, average aid per year increased to about $102 million, but military loans increased to about 47% of the total. From 1971 to the present, U.S. aid to Israel has averaged over $2 billion per year, two-thirds of which has been military assistance. Congress first designated a specific amount of aid for Israel (an “earmark”) in 1971. Also in 1971, economic assistance changed from specific programs, such as agricultural development, to the Commodity Import Program (CIP) for purchase of U.S. goods. CIP ended in 1979, replaced by largely unconditional direct transfers for budgetary support. The 1974 emergency aid for Israel, following the 1973 war, included the first military grant aid. Economic aid became all grant cash transfer in 1981, and military aid became all grant in 1985.
    Beginning in the mid-1970s, Israel could no longer meet its balance of payments and government deficits with imported capital (gifts from overseas Jews, West German reparations, U.S. aid) and began to rely more on borrowed capital.
    Current U.S.-Israel Aid Issues
    Wye Agreement Supplemental Aid
    Israel requested $1.2 billion in additional U.S. aid to fund moving troops and military installations out of the occupied territories as called for in the October 23, 1998 Wye agreement. Israeli Finance Minister Yaacov Neeman arrived in Washington in November 1998 to discuss the new aid (Neeman resigned in December). Following the December vote to hold new elections in May 1999, Israel put the peace process and the withdrawals on hold. In February 1999, the Administration requested $600 million in military aid for Israel for FY1999, and $300 million in military aid for each fiscal year 2000 and 2001, to implement the Wye Agreement despite the fact that Israel was not completing the called for withdrawals. The President vetoed H.R. 2606, the FY2000 foreign operations appropriations bill, in part because it did not include the Wye funding. On November 29, 1999, the President signed the consolidated appropriations bill, H.R. 3194 (P.L. 106-113), which included, in Division B, passage of H.R. 3422, the foreign operations appropriations bill. Title VI of H.R. 3422, introduced in the House on November 17, included the $1.2 billion Wye funding for Israel.
    go read the rest, it’s several pages)
    Here is a shorter summary of how much Israel has taken out of Americans pocket:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1209/p16s01-wmgn.html
    Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US
    By David R. Francis | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
    Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today’s population, that is more than $5,700 per person. …………….

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican Jun 11, 9:50PM – Link
    Anyone else notice that this Wigwag clown seems to be an exact clone of past Israel apologists that have posted here? The rhetoric is the same, the arguments are the same, and even the insults are the same.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Think about it and it will come to you who wig wag is.
    Remember?
    First he was a American, then he was an Indian who had trecked across the ME, then he was a Canadian, then he was working for a charity in NY, then he supposedly was moving overseas, then was going to get married…he had about a dozen different names and lives he posted under and he stalked you and I around, hanging on our every comment just like he is doing now. Must have been a year or so ago, the same time period MP was with us. If you go back in the acheives you can probably recongize all his old names.

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  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I must have been here in a past life, POA. I am your worst nightmare come true.”
    Don’t flatter yourself. Gnats are an irritation, nothing more.

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  17. samuel burke says:

    Rabbi Stephen Wise
    As late as 1943, while the Jews of Europe were being
    exterminated in their millions, the U.S. Congress proposed to set
    up a commission to “study” the problem. Rabbi Stephen Wise,
    who was the principal American spokesperson for Zionism, came
    to Washington to testify against the rescue bill because it would
    divert attention from the colonization of Palestine.
    This is the same Rabbi Wise who, in 1938, in his capacity as
    leader of the American Jewish Congress, wrote a letter in which
    he opposed any change in U.S. immigration laws which would
    enable Jews to find refuge. He stated:
    “It may interest you to know that some weeks ago the
    representatives of all the leading Jewish organizations met in
    conference. … It was decided that no Jewish organization would,
    at this time, sponsor a bill which would in any way alter the
    immigration laws.”
    http://jewsagainstzionism.com/
    …”Our Shomer ‘Weltanschauung,”‘ Hashomer Hatzair, December
    1936. Originally published in 1917, Brenner, Zionism, p. 22.

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  18. WigWag says:

    I must have been here in a past life, POA. I am your worst nightmare come true.

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  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Anyone else notice that this Wigwag clown seems to be an exact clone of past Israel apologists that have posted here? The rhetoric is the same, the arguments are the same, and even the insults are the same.

    Reply

  20. arthurdecco says:

    Carroll said: “I don’t support Israel and do think it is a little midget nazi state…that’s pretty obvious to sane people.”
    I agree with you, Carroll. But I’d qualify your last statement by adding the word “informed” to your sentence: eg, “…that’s pretty obvious to ‘informed’ sane people”. Some sane people just don’t know what’s going on in Palestine.
    Predictably, Wig Wag thinks we’re both mentally ill to consider Israel less than a flowering democracy and a bastion of good will and honest intentions, let alone “a little nazi state”.
    Who’s crazy?
    Is it those of us who are paying attention to and recording the never-ending, deliberate crimes committed against Palestinians, the people who actually own the land apartheid, racist and war-mongering Israel insists on stealing, or those who defend, however ineptly, the indefensible acts of war directed against the legitimate civilian population of Palestine who have armed themselves mostly with rocks, Kalishnakovs and home made rockets in response to the overwhelming military superiority of the “little midget nazi state” of Israel that wishes them ill?
    Btw, Abe Bird, could you pack any more lies into a single post? I have to say that I can’t remember a larger collection of gooey poo typed by one person in all my time reading online. And I’ve read plenty of poo and goo online, lemmee tell ya! Cognitive Dissonance could be your middle names!

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  21. JohnH says:

    Definition of aparteid: “segregated political system: a political system in South Africa from 1948 to the early 1990s that separated the different peoples living there and gave privileges to those of European origin.” Hmmm.
    How can you have a “Jewish state” that is by definition not aparteid? Even inside Israel, the system separates the different peoples living there and gives privileges to those of Jewish origin, particularly those of European heritage. Carter was actually being diplomatic by understating the problem. Israel protests, of course, in an attempt to contradict the obvious reality inherent in the very definition of the “Jewish state.”
    America is unlikely to be tough on Israel–ever. But Israel’s neighbors are doing Israel a genuine favor by taking matters into their own hands. As they build a deterrence capability, Israel will soon come to realize that the only solution is by talking, not by trashing the neighborhood.

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  22. EA says:

    To someone with less expertise in Israeli/Palestinian affairs than WigWag, DonS, Linda, et al the fact that Carter has spoken the way he has, calculatingly or not, is significant.
    Most of my own impressions over the past two decades have been framed by a very one-sided stance in the media: pro-Israel. That isn’t true anymore. An unquestioning pro-Israel stance is itself questioned; and done so by a high-profile person like Carter.
    So when WigWag states, “[Carter’s action] diminishes his relevance greatly”, this may apply to the specialist (WigWag), for his/her mind is already made up, but not to the generalist (me). When the tipping point of opinion among the generalists re: any topic is reached change happens. That change means scrutinizing Israel and our (the US’s) stance toward it.

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  23. DonS says:

    Abe, English not your native tongue? How about nationality? I know you think you are dispensing facts for the benefit of us rubes, but sometimes affiliations really do matter?

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  24. Abe Bird says:

    JamesL>”America is not tough on Israel… As tough on Iraq, Iran, Syria and other countries. America is shoving $3B a year to Israel… genocidal treatment of Palestinians… ”
    * I’m bored in front of accusations as of JamesL. I would like him to talk sense and be streaked by facts and not rumors, but all I see beyond his words is some deep distanced hate, un willing to meet with the reality in the ME, ignoring facts.
    First American should not and can’t be “tough to Israel as to Iran” because of the difference of nature, behave, concept etc. between both. And for that matter I put all the other states he mentioned under the term of Iran. Iran is an extreme Islamic totalitarian state which exports her Islamic terror help to the Shiite minorities all over the world, mainly to Lebanon, Iraq (and in the 90’s even to former Yugoslavia). Iran is aggressive state which assists other Islamic terror organizations, whether or not they are Shiites. They also help the Arab Palestinian terror groups as other Sunni groups in Asia (Afghanistan too), Europe, Africa and America’s. That’s the main difference between both states. Israel is of course none of these.
    Second, as for the American military assistance to Israel. Let me break that myth for ever. It is the US interest to sell arms to Israel for many reasons, I’ll give here three: Giving US military industries a bloom, a tool to hold Israel close to the US interests, the US has it own military arsenal in Israel to use in the ME (it protected by the Israelis and guarded by Americans).
    Let me remind you that Israel doesn’t get “money” from the US but loans, and she pays back any dime on time. The US interest is to sell arms to Israel because Israel improves these arms, finds ways to make them cheaper and of course gives back operative and combatant information in order to adjust the equipment. Any way, it’s not only the US to sell military products to Israel, but the vice versa too. Israel sells many military and scientific inventions, equipments and developments to the US and so helps her in creating improvements (thousands!) in her own military arsenal. If we sum up all the goods I’m not sure that the US assistance to Israel is more expensive than the Israeli assistance to the US.

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  25. Abe Bird says:

    Why “speak painful truth” if this is not the issue at all? When to states talk to each other they “speak interests”. The matter is not telling Israel to speak with the Palestinian and achieve compromise; the problem is that there is no one on the Palestinian side that can give peace to Israel in any condition and constellation. The US knows that Israel has any right to reject or to accept any peaceful offer solution; they also know that she won’t be able to push Israel into any false peace solution. Israel national interests are Israelis choice first. Any cut and run, as Oslo accord, will push the partners again to encircled war.
    Unfortunately you’ll have to understand that the Arab Palestinians don’t want the Jewish Palestinian to have their own free national state in the ME. They say it time and again mainly in Arabic, so their message doesn’t approach the Americans’ ears.
    http://memri.info/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA44208
    http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/669.htm
    http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1745.htm
    http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1739.htm
    http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1738.htm
    http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1722.htm
    http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1710.htm
    You can’t make peace with these kind of people !

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  26. WigWag says:

    Now Carroll, how would you know what’s “obvious to sane people?” It’s hard to fathom what part of sanity you might actually be acquainted with.

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  27. Carroll says:

    Ho hum…’68 – 2008 same old, same old Israeli song and dance. “the ritual is meaningless” indeed is right.
    Extract of conversation with Head of the European Department, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from Foreign Office letter dated 2 April 1968:
    “Apnar said he wanted to make it clear to me that…whatever his Minister had said in the talk with Mr Stewart, two things were quite definite…Jerusalem…must remain a united city under Israeli rule…[and indeed that] the whole idea of a negotiated settlement was a complete non-starter…He said these were not just his own views but the virtually unanimous views of the Israeli people…
    I asked what, in that case, was the purpose of talks such as we had just been holding.
    He answered that these were a ritual that had to be gone through because of pressures on Israel from Governments such as the British Government and from the world press but the ritual was really quite meaningless.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Actually I have a hard time buying that it is the US zionist alone that are responsible for Israeli hard lines and that Israelis actually want peace….it is, after all, the Israeli government that is commiting the war crimes and maintaining the occupation and expanding the settlements. AIPAC and Israel look to be one and same for all intents and purposes.
    I don’t support Israel and do think it is a little midget nazi state…that’s pretty obvious to sane people. I guess we just wait and see how this all ends. One thing I am convinced of is neither the US nor Israel can keep Israel going indefinitely unless something changes.

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  28. DonS says:

    Diane, you are right to point out the doomed-to-fail scenario of withdraw and collapse that the Israelis engineered.
    As far as agreements, who can envision one that doesn’t have some peacekeeping arrangements. Contrary to WigWag, though not willing to project the “absolute guarantees” she demands, I have a bit more limited faith in human ingenuity, if the will is there on BOTH side”), to create a viable mechanism (screw this “we have no partner for peace” BS; its the inverse of the “Israel’s right to exist” ploy — throwaway negotiating “terms”)
    Given the billions that the US wastes in Iraq, surely a contribution to a appropriate peacekeeping for for our dear allies the Israelis shouldn’t be too hard to scrape up.
    And why exactly should we expect that Israel should be more exempt from “Jihadists” threat than anywhere else, the U S included?

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  29. WigWag says:

    Don S, it takes two sides to make peace. No one thinks Israel will accept a deal that provides less than absolute security. It’s hard for me to fathom how that security can be provided. The Europeans are not competent to provide it. Nato is overstretched. The Americans are overstretched and our involvement would incite the Jihadists. Tom Friedman’s suggestion of involving the Jordanians is interesting but doesn’t offer much more than that. Do you really think Israelis will agree to a peace agreement without absolute guarantees that they won’t be attacked by rockets? I don’t. If there is some way to provide the Israelis with the type of security they will require, I would love to hear it.
    Diane, regardless of the exact wording of what Carter said and regardless of whether he is right or wrong, he was being deliberately petulant. Carter is not stupid. He knew the response his words would inspire. And he got precisely the response he was looking for. It’s why (like him or hate him)one side will no longer take him seriously. At the very least, it diminishes his relevance greatly.
    You’re right about the unilateral withdrawl from Gaza and the ramifications of that. People don’t remember it, but the period in between the first and second intafadas was a period of peace and relative prosperity in the West Bank. Israeli troops had been almost completely removed from Palestinian population centers and trade between Israel and Palestine was vigorous. Could it happen again? I hope so. But as Desch himself points out, Israel is flourishing. It’s economy is booming (compared to the US or Europe for example)and it’s security situation is far better than many people believe. What exactly is Israel’s motivation to take a chance on a settlement without an iron clad guarantee of security? Where is that iron clad guarantee of secuirty going to come from? I would like to be optimistic, but I can’t find any reason to be optimisitic. It’s quite sad that the Palestinians will continue to suffer so much. But hand wringing won’t change that. Israel will do what’s in it’s interest just like every other state in the world. Unless peace with Palestine offers more of an upside than a downside, it won’t happen.

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  30. Diane says:

    I was trying to say what Don S said.

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  31. Diane says:

    WigWag:
    He didn’t say Israel was an apartheid state. He said Israel is creating an apartheid system in the Occupied Territories.
    As to how you enact a peace treaty with the Palestinians, you do it by negotiating with them a peace treaty that the non-looney majority on both sides can live with.
    (Rather than doing what was done in Gaza, ie unilaterally withdrawing settlers, but without agreeing mechanisms with the PA that would allow normal interaction to develop between Israel and Gaza, and while retaining indirect control over the area by a blockade around its borders and coast; and publicly boasting that the withdrawal of the settlers from Gaza is not intended to be a step toward peace but is meant instead as a kind of “formaldehyde” that gives Israel a breathing space to continue evading final status talks and to quickly insert more settlers into the West Bank, seizing land there – particularly in the Jerusalem envelope and Jordan Valley – which it is much more interested in annexing than it ever was in Gaza, where settlements were very costly to protect in terms of both money and manpower).

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  32. DonS says:

    WW “If an agreement is reached, who can guarantee that the peace will hold and the rockets won’t come.”
    Cart before horse. Conclusions based on hypothetically assumed antecedents. Agreements don’t preclude normal and reasonable rights of self defense; same rules as other so-called civilized states play by.
    Naughty Jimmy Carter for calling a spade a spade.

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  33. JamesL says:

    Steve> America doesn’t always need to be tough on Israel.
    Problem is, America is not tough on Israel. I can’t think of a single example of America being tough on Israel in the same way that America has been tough on Iraq, Iran, Syria, and any number of other countries. Israel gets a pass. Where is the real toughness of “tough” words spoken while at the same time America is shoving $3B a year to Israel. Words are cheap. “Tough” would be withholding the $3B and instituting a trade embargo on Israel for its many actions counter to international law, and its genocidal treatment of Palestinians, treatment which totally contradicts both American ideals and international norms of acceptable behavior. “Acquiescent” is the word that applies to America’s treatment of Israel.
    I appreciate your views Steve, but I don’t know how you can make that statement with a straight face.

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  34. WigWag says:

    Steve, I think that most of what you say here is on target and Desch op ed in the Chicago Tribune is smart.
    I do have a few small quibbles. Whatever the merits of Jimmy Carter’s arguments are, implying that Israel is an apartheid state does not fit into the category of painful truths spoken through loving words. Calling Israel an apartheid state was a deliberate incindeary comment designed to titillate readers and sell books. Whatever Carter’s motivations and whatever contributions he might have to make, he has effectively removed himself as a person that Israeli leaders will take seriously. Many members of the American Jewish community still view Carter fondly and when he spoke about his book at Brandeis University, he was warmly received. But as an interlocutor, his time has past.
    It’s hard to imagine how any peace agreement with Palestinians will be enacted. Israelis don’t want rockets from the West Bank poruing into Israel any more than rockets pouring in from Gaza. If an agreement is reached, who can guarantee that the peace will hold and the rockets won’t come. The Europeans have proven themselves to be incompetent at peace keeping and border security. Will Americans want our troops there? I doubt it.
    Peace with Syria; maybe. Peace with Palestine; doubtful (unfortunately)

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  35. Mr.Murder says:

    There’s a solution to the palestenian problem.
    Model them on Florida.
    Let them vote,
    then ignore the votes if they don;t go the way you want.
    Like in the 2000 election, or the 2008 Primary race.
    One man/half vote is people too! Good people!

    Reply

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