"Neocons Vs. Reality, Again"
The American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka, last seen parroting Iranian propaganda at Israel’s Herzliya Conference, puzzles over the Obama administration’s support for a UN Security Council statement against Israeli settlements in place of the stronger UNSC anti-settlements resolution scheduled for a vote today (Ron Kampeas examines details here).
As to “what the heck the White House is thinking,” Pletka writes, “my bet is it goes something like this“:
Hmmm, trouble in the Arab world. Hmmmm, we’re being forced to support Arab and Persian citizens against their regimes. Hmmmm, how do we get back to a more “balanced approach”? Aha! The way we always do: Screw Israel. After all, the resolution the Palestinians are pushing is little more than cheap maneuvering. It certainly isn’t going to advance the peace. What the administration fails to appreciate is that this “feed the beast” move is going to have the effect that feeding the beast always has. It will be hungrier. So of course, the White House’s execrable “compromise” has only encouraged Israel’s (and our) enemies to up the ante.
Let’s look at the actual record, as detailed in a November 2010 Progress Report:
President Obama has significantly expanded trade between Israel and the U.S., and played an extremely important behind-the-scenes role in bringing about Israel’s acceptance into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a long sought-after Israeli goal. In September, Obama went before the United Nations General Assembly and challenged the international community to support Arab-Israeli peace, declaring that “Israel’s existence must not be a subject for debate.” He also assured the world that “efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakable opposition of the United States.” In comments made to The Progress Report in August, Josh Block of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee remarked, “Clearly the Obama administration remains deeply committed to the U.S.-Israel alliance.”
In terms of Israel’s security, the Wall Street Journal reported that “U.S. military aid to Israel increased markedly” in 2010, an effort that stems from policy directives the White House gave the Pentagon early in Obama’s presidency to “deepen and expand the quantity and intensity of cooperation to the fullest extent.” Speaking at the Brookings Institution in July, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro described in detail how the Obama administration is “preserving Israel’s qualitative military edge through an unprecedented increase in U.S. security assistance, stepped up security consultations, support for Israel’s new Iron Dome defensive system, and other initiatives.” President Obama raised the amount of U.S. military aid to Israel, making it the single largest expense in the 2010 foreign aid budget. He also authorized $205 million to enable Israel to complete the Iron Dome. Obama has significantly increased the level of strategic dialogue and the depth of intelligence coordination between the U.S. and Israel, particularly regarding Iran, a key Israeli security concern. According to one Israeli official, that coordination is now “even better than under President Bush.”
Since then, we’ve learned that, thanks to that intense coordination, outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan was able to report that Iran’s nuclear program had been set back several years.
As former Congressman Robert Wexler stated on a panel at Herzliya, the U.S. “has bent over backwards, during President Bush and even more so under President Obama, in attempts to secure Israeli security interests”:
When the Turkish government uninvited Israel to a joint military exercise campaign, what did Obama do? He withdrew the United States from the exercise, then what did he do? He brought the largest presence of US military personnel, they showed up to your [Israeli] ports, and we stayed for weeks, and then what did we do? We developed a coordinated anti-missile strategy with one purpose: to protect the Israeli people.
We have offered security package after security package after security package… We continue to engage on security issues and are not acknowledged for doing so.
Or maybe Pletka just has a different understanding of “screw.”
As to the settlement issue, it’s unfortunate that the Obama administration has been put into this situation, but let’s be clear on where the fault lies: It is Israel that is violating international law by colonizing territory it has militarily occupied. It is Israel that has refused to cease those activities, even when its key ally and patron, the United States, has made repeatedly clear that that refusal damages U.S. national interests.
And yes, the fault also lies with President Obama, for making the eminently reasonable and justifiable demand that Israel honor settlement freeze commitments it had already made, and then folding under domestic political pressure when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave him the finger. The U.S. is now in the humiliating position of possibly having to veto a UN resolution that essentially restates its own policy.
This situation cannot persist. If you haven’t noticed, the Middle East is changing, and quickly. The U.S. can either anticipate those changes, adjust its policies, and play a more productive role in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and thereby helping Israel integrate more fully into the region, or it can continue to bolster Israeli illusions of an unsustainable status quo, and thereby watch its regional influence continue to erode. And those Americans who continue to run interference for Zionism’s worst impulses are going to have to decide soon whether they want to be part of the solution, or continue to be part of the problem.