Appeasing Israel - At What Cost?
US President Barack Obama.
By Jeff Gates
Barack Hussein Obama’s June 4th speech in Cairo was awaited with keen anticipation by a global population of 1.3 billion Muslims outraged at the abuse that Zionism has long inflicted on its neighbors—with U.S. support. Ten weeks have since passed. The potentially positive impact of his remarks was immediately offset when he appeared the next day at the Buchenwald death camp in Germany. The timing of that Holocaust photo-op resolved all doubts about who stage-manages this presidency.
Media attention immediately shifted back to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the lead-up to the Cairo speech, Obama’s White House handlers enabled this right-winger to proclaim—from the White House—that peace with the Palestinians ranked a distant second to Tel Aviv’s concerns about Iran. Soon after the Cairo speech, Netanyahu reluctantly referenced a “two state solution”—though only under duress from Middle East envoy George Mitchell. Obama quickly portrayed as an “important step forward” this grudging referral to an agreed-to strategy.
In truth, Netanyahu announced several giant steps backward. Rather than agree to negotiate a two state solution, he set preconditions certain to preclude two states, leaving nothing to negotiate. Again negating the potentially positive impact from Cairo, Obama praised the Israeli leader even as he insisted that Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” where Jerusalem as “Israel’s capital will remain united.”
Netanyahu also insisted on Israel’s right to colonize even more Palestinian land by expanding the very settlements destined to preclude a viable Palestinian state. By applauding this defiant speech, Obama inflamed the very conditions that have precluded peace in the Middle East for more than six decades. In the ensuing ten weeks, Netanyahu’s stance has only further hardened—with Obama’s tacit approval.
Anticipating pressure to negotiate in good faith, Tel Aviv opened a three-front assault. First, Foreign Minister Avignor Lieberman (from Moldova) began talks in Moscow. By conducting diplomacy in fluent Russian, he showed that Israel could—and would—turn elsewhere for the “special relationship” that Tel Aviv has long enjoyed with the U.S.
Second, the Israel lobby opened a domestic assault on Obama by announcing, “Jewish leaders are deeply troubled by his recent Middle East initiatives.” The lobby also reminded Obama, a political product of Ashkenazi funding from West Side Chicago, just where his presidential bread is buttered.
Third, as soon as Middle East envoy George Mitchell opened talks with Damascus, the first negotiations since the U.S. withdrew its ambassador in 2005, Netanyahu gave a speech on Syria in which he made no mention of the Golan Heights (seized during Israel’s preemptive 1967 war) while including terms certain to ensure that peace with Syria would also remain beyond reach.
Yet again the Obama team appeased the Israeli leader. With no need to cite the high-profile Holocaust photo-op, the official Syrian newspaper noted simply, “This is the principle that always guides Israel when approaching the Zionist-Arab conflict. The Israelis see themselves as victims rather than the aggressor.”
By again failing to stand up to the Zionist state and its extensive lobby in the U.S., Obama once again enabled the very conduct that most endangers U.S. national security. While his words in Cairo promised a “new beginning,” his actions both before and after that speech signaled business-as-usual.
If he continues to placate Israeli extremists, his conduct may well induce another terrorist attack. Should another attack occur, recent history suggests that an orgy of evidence will point to Iran-backed Hezbollah while Israel again portrays itself as a hapless victim in need of U.S. protection from an “existential threat.” Absent presidential resolve to ensure that “special” is expunged from the U.S.-Israeli relationship, this entangled alliance will continue to ensure that the U.S. can be portrayed as guilty by its association with this enclave’s extremist behavior.
With his remarks, Netanyahu transformed the two state solution into a bargaining chip. By his insistence on terms that preclude a final settlement, he reconfirmed Tel Aviv’s commitment to sustain this conflict. By continuing Israel’s expansion of the settlements, he ensured that peace would remain beyond reach. Obama’s propensity to appease at time-critical junctures suggests he will continue on a course that invites more terrorism—either by Israel or by those provoked by U.S. support of its extremism.
Any objective assessment of this presidency would reveal its disproportionate pro-Israeli composition. Democrat Harry Truman, a Christian-Zionist, extended nation-state recognition to this Zionist enclave. Republican G.W. Bush, another Christian-Zionist, staffed his presidency virtually the same as Democrat Obama—with a vast cadre of pro-Israelis. With so little difference in perspective, it is little wonder there is so little difference in Israeli behavior. Or in the risks that this relationship imposes on the U.S.
This trans-partisan “insider” operation shares an allegiance neither to party nor president. Its only loyalty is to a shared covenant whose obligations to an expansive Greater Israel take precedence over U.S. interests. The scope and scale of this shared bias suggest that the only way for the U.S. to restore its security is to withhold funding for Israel, withdraw its diplomats and reshape its foreign policy around U.S. interests.
Should this latest occupant of the White House continue to act inconsistent with U.S. interests, this young Commander in Chief must be reminded why the Framers set such a low evidentiary standard for proving treason. As a former professor of constitutional law, surely he knows that a conviction for that capital offense requires only proof of “adhering” (or granting “aid and comfort”) to an enemy—whether domestic or foreign.
- Jeff Gates is a widely acclaimed author, attorney, investment banker, educator and consultant to government, corporate and union leaders worldwide, Jeff Gates’ latest book is Guilt By Association—How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War (2008). His previous books include Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street From Wall Street and The Ownership Solution: Toward a Shared Capitalism for the 21st Century. For two decades, an adviser to policy-makers worldwide. Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (1980-87). He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.