Israel: For your sake and ours, just say, “NO” to Obama

Just say, No

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

Israel: For your sake and ours, just say, “NO” to Obama

“Israel Hayom” – Israel’s most read daily paper

April 6, 2012

Israeli leaders are able to repel President Obama’s relentless pressure to refrain from pre-empting Iran, Hizballah and Hamas; to freeze Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria; to retreat to the 1949 cease fire lines, including the repartitioning of Jerusalem; and to placate Mahmoud Abbas, while ignoring the PA hate-education, non-compliance and terrorism.

In contrast to the ironclad US public and Congressional support of Israel, negative presidential pressure has always been part of US-Israel relations.

Therefore, contemporary Israeli leaders should emulate Israeli Prime Ministers who served from 1948 (Ben Gurion) to 1992 (Shamir).  While they rejected – in most cases – presidential prescriptions for Israel’s national security, bilateral strategic cooperation surged unprecedentedly in spite off, and probably due to, their steadfastness.

The 1948-1992 Israeli leaders realized that presidential pressure came with the job; that saying, “No” was critical to Israel’s posture of deterrence; that rebuffing pressure would upgrade bilateral relations. In most cases, they did defy pressure.  They were not concerned with popularity and convenience, but with respect and conviction-driven vision. They did not alter strategy to elude pressure.

For example, in 1948, the US imposed a regional military embargo, while the British supplied arms to the Arabs, to force PM Ben Gurion to accept a UN Trusteeship instead of declaring independence. The US demanded to end “occupation” in the Negev, to internationalize Jerusalem and to absorb and compensate Palestinian refugees.

According to the first US Ambassador to Israel, James MacDonald (My Mission in Israel, Simon and Schuster, 1951, p. 49), “[Ben Gurion] warned President Truman and the Department of State that they would be gravely mistaken if they assumed that the threat would force Israel to yield on issues considered vital to its independence and security….”  Ben Gurion’s defiance forced the US to reassess its policy toward the Jewish State and recognize its strategic viability.

On May 26, 1967, President Johnson warned Prime Minister Eshkol against preempting Egypt and Syria: “Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go it alone.” Eshkol defied Johnson and Israel’s military devastated Egypt, which aimed to topple the pro-US regimes in the Persian Gulf. The US concluded that – irrespective of differences over the Arab-Israeli conflict – Israel was capable of pulling chestnuts out of the Middle East fire, for the US, without a single American boot on the ground.

On December 20, 1981, Prime Minister Begin summoned the US Ambassador to Israel and reproached him: “On June 7, we destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor near Baghdad…. You announced that you were punishing us [by imposing a military embargo and canceling military procurement in Israel]….  Not long afterwards – after a slaughter was committed against our people….we bombed the PLO headquarters in Beirut…. You suspended delivery of F-15 planes.  A week ago, the Knesset passed the Golan Heights Law.  Once again, you declared that you are punishing Israel…. Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic?

You have announced that you are suspending consultations on the implementation of the memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation….The people of Israel has lived 3,700 years without a memorandum of understanding with America, and it will continue to live for another 3,700 years….” (Lord Willing)

In 1982, Begin rejected the Reagan Plan for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.  However, an expanded memorandum of strategic cooperation was concluded in 1983. In 1991, then Secretary of Defense, Cheney, thanked Israel for bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, which spared the US a nuclear confrontation with Iraq in 1991.

Prime Minister Shamir had his share of clashes with Presidents Reagan and (especially) G.H. Bush. However, a 1988 agreement significantly upgraded strategic cooperation, and a series of 1991-2 Congressional initiatives further enhanced bilateral relations, in spite of the White House.

On a rainy day, the US prefers a defiant ally over a “punching bag!”

US-Israel relations have not evolved around the Arab-Israeli conflict, but around shared-values and mutual regional and global threats and interests.  While rebuking Israel over the Arab-Israeli conflict, the US has recognized Israel’s unique contribution to countering-terrorism, missile defense, intelligence gathering, battle tactics, the upgrading of US defense and commercial industries (expanding employment and exports), deterring anti-US rogue Arab regimes and supporting weak pro-US Arab regimes.

Submission to Presidential pressure while ignoring the unique support of the Jewish State by the American people (71% according to a February, 2012 Gallup poll) and by the co-equal, co-determining Congress (about 75% and 80% in the House and Senate respectively), would amount to a slap in the face of US democracy, undermining Israel’s most vital interests.

In face of the clear and present Iranian threat, will Prime Minister Netanyahu learn from history by following in the footsteps of the 1948-1992 defiant statesmen, or will he subordinate Israel’s survival to White House pressure?

Shabbat Shalom, Happy Passover and Easter,

“Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative”

www.TheEttingerReport.com

 

Pruden dissects Obama, Netanyahu and Useful Idiot American Jews

PRUDEN: A Come-to-Moses moment at hand   
By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times
Friday, May 13, 2011

The State Department, which has never been particularly friendly to Jews, is getting a little cover for its unrelenting deference to the enemies of Israel. The Jews eager to cover for the diplomats are the weak, the naive and, alas, the familiar.

They’re the liberal, mostly Democratic, Jews offended by the “aggressive” Israelis who understand what’s at stake in the Middle East. They’re embarrassed by and resentful of the “righteous Gentiles” eager to help Israel prevent a second Holocaust, this one in the Middle East, rather than to contribute to building another Holocaust museum later.

Israel once united the contentious factions of American Jews, but now the mere existence of Israel exacerbates tension between the realists and the deaf, blind dreamers. Nevertheless, a “come-to-Moses” moment is approaching. Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, fresh from his kiss-and-make-up session with the terrorists of Hamas, is coming to New York City in September to press the United Nations to recognize an independent Palestinian State.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Washington next week to address a joint session of Congress and to meet with President Obama. Maybe they’ll talk about that. The occasion will give Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu, in diplo-speak, “An opportunity for the United States and Israel to review the full range of issues, from Iran to the regional change to the peace process.”

If the past is the usual reliable guide, the White House and the State Department will actually see this as an opportunity to pressure Israel to submit to further accommodation to those who want to “wipe Israel off the map,” in the vow of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran and the chief enabler of Hamas.

Mr. Obama himself is all aquiver working on his speech, probably to be delivered next week, eager to speak softly and carry small convictions made of strawberry Jell-O. The Wall Street Journal reports that he will urge Muslims to “reject Islamic militancy in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and embrace a new era of relations with the United States.” Ah, if only.

But it’s not just the Jews who get the back of his hand. There hasn’t been a peep out of the White House since a dozen Egyptian Christians were killed and scores injured by violent Muslims last weekend. Christian homes and businesses were trashed and burned. The pope condemned it; Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned it. Nothing from the president, though there’s White House precedent for condemning burning churches. (Bill Clinton once condemned the burning of black churches in Arkansas even when nobody had burned any churches in Arkansas.)

Some American Jews who are fed up with the passivity, or worse, of well-established advocacy groups are splitting to establish new organizations with an appetite for the red meat that is the diet of everyone else in the Middle East. One particular target is the confederation of local Jewish Federations that, no doubt well-meaning, offer aid and comfort to those who mean Israel nothing but ill.

In New York City, writes Jonathan Rosenblum, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and the Hebrew daily Maariv, a Jewish Federation affiliate on the Upper West Side supports organizations promoting boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel. In Washington, the Federation funds an anti-Jewish theater troupe called Theater J, whose recent offerings include a play about Israelis as modern Nazis. A Southern California chapter contributes money to send students to Israel to be treated to scolding lectures by Hamas speakers.

This Jewish cover for anti-Israel initiatives is no doubt welcomed by Arabists in Foggy Bottom, where skepticism of Jews is part of the established old order. In his biography of Harry S. Truman, David McCullough tells of the fierce and bitter State Department resistance to recognizing the state of Israel at its founding in 1948. “The striped-pants conspirators,” Mr. Truman called the men just below George C. Marshall, the secretary whom the president regarded as something of a saint. “Some White House men … believe that a number of positions taken by career men on this matter were based on anti-Semitism, not diplomacy,” wrote one prominent pundit. Men at the State Department accused the president’s men of being more concerned about Israel than American security.

Six decades later, some things have changed, but not all. One thing that has changed is that there’s no one remotely like Harry S. Truman, a president fully at ease with the true character of the country he leads, in charge at the White House.

• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.