Op-Ed: New Study: 'Preparing for a Post Israel Middle East'
Ted BelmanThe author is a retired attorney and the editor of Israpundit. In 2009 he made aliya and is now living in Jerusalem.
According to Franklin Lamb, Foreign Policy Journal, the pro-Israel Community is all hot and bothered by an alleged new study:
“It’s a paper entitled “Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East”, an 82-page analysis that concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel. The authors conclude that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community.”
The existence of such a study, even in draft form, is hard to credit as no corroborating evidence has been supplied. But what is certain is that the Arabs have long wanted Israel eradicated from the Middle East and that Lamb has been a notorious shill for them. See here and here and here. The same can be said of elements in the State Department, academia and current and past administrations.
This alleged study simply amplifies Obama’s intention from day one. The New York Times reported in April 2010, that Obama Speech Signals a U.S. Shift on Middle East.
When Mr. Obama declared that resolving the long-running Middle East dispute was a “vital national security interest of the United States,” he was highlighting a change that has resulted from a lengthy debate among his top officials over how best to balance support for Israel against other American interests.
[..] “Mr. Obama said conflicts like the one in the Middle East ended up ‘costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure’ drawing an explicit link between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism and terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.”
To show that Obama was not alone in this, it buttressed his message by quoting from Sec’y Rice, Gen Patraeus and Martin Indyk. It might just as well have quoted from The Baker Report, Z Brzezinski and Sec’y Clinton.
Actually this shift was a long time in coming. There have always been voices in the administration that viewed Israel as a liability rather than an asset.
Richard Holbrooke pointed this out in his recent article, “Washington’s Battle Over Israel’s Birth,” He quotes Secretary of Defense James Forrestal who made his case for non-recognition by saying “There are thirty million Arabs on one side and about 600,000 Jews on the other. Why don’t you face up to the realities” Holbrooke concluded:
[To] this day, many think that Marshall and Lovett were right on the merits and that domestic politics was the real reason for Truman’s decision. Israel, they argue, has been nothing but trouble for the United States.”
Then as now, Israel was opposed by the substantial anti-Zionist faction among leading Jews, [including] the publishers of both the Post and the New York Times.”
The problem that these anti-Zionist forces and their running-mates had, was that the American people strongly supported Israel and AIPAC was too powerful to take on. So they developed a plan to undermine AIPAC and discredit Israel.
The first salvo of which was the indictment of Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman of AIPAC in 2005 for espionage related charges. The case was dropped four years later, but the damage had been done to them and to AIPAC. To show how politically motivated the charges were, James Kirchick wrote in WSJ,
“If the offense were really criminal, half the Beltway press corps could be indicted. Mr. Franklin’s mishandling of classified documents deserved sanction, but 12 years in jail is far worse than the misdemeanor and fine meted out to former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger for stuffing secret documents in his clothing.”
Then, in 2007, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” by Mearsheimer and Walt, was published. Its central thesis was that, but for domestic politics, the US would have abandoned Israel long ago. They viewed the Israel lobby, AIPAC, as far too influential for America’s good. Israel was a liability rather than an asset. They totally ignored the vast power of the Saudi Lobby.
An alternative to AIPAC was needed to counter or undermine its influence, so in April 2008, J Street was formed. George Soros backed them as he did Obama.
It was necessary to cast J-Street as pro-Israel so the term had to be redefined. Thomas Friedman, Jeffrey Goldberg and Jeremy Ben-Ami each took up the challenge. I took their arguments to task in "Redefining What It Means to be Pro-Israel".
Thus the groundwork was laid for Obama’s “tough love”. He is not just undermining and weakening Israel in the name of being “pro-Israel” he is also attempting to undermine the support of the American people for Israel by suggesting that a settlement of the dispute satisfactory to the Arabs is in America’s strategic interest or that Israel’s intransigence is costing “US blood and treasure”.
The object of his exercise is to develop “normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries”, as the paper sets out.
Obama did not wait for his planned attack on Israel to begin doing so. His first telephone call after his inauguration was to Mahmud Abbas. His first foreign visit was to Egypt in June 2009 where he delivered his Cairo speech, titled “A New Beginning”, in which he praised Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood in an unprecedented and an ahistorical manner.
Contrary to the wishes of Mubarak, Obama insisted that the Muslim Brotherhood be invited, notwithstanding that Mubarak had banned them. Mubarak himself chose not to attend. A year and a half year later, Obama threw him under the bus and supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt.
In 2011, Obama joined forces with Qatar and Saudi Arabia in order to bring down secular Gadaffi of Libya. He was killed later in the year. According to theTelegraph UK, the Muslim Brotherhood expects to take power in this week’s upcoming elections just as their counterparts did in Tunisia and Egypt.
In line with all these moves, Obama has embraced Islamist Erdogan as his new best friend despite the fact that Erdogan has moved Turkey from being a friend of Israel to being a vociferous enemy of Israel, Barry Rubin wonders why:
“The fundamental problem with Erdogan is despite being embraced by the United States, he is an enemy of the United States, the West more generally, and Israel. He is on the side of radical, anti-American Islamists who want to wipe Israel off the map. So angry and passionate is Erdogan’s loathing of Israel that the leader of the opposition mockingly but pointedly asked if the prime minister wanted to go to war with the Jewish state.
“In contrast, the list of Erdogan’s dearest friends includes Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran, the repressive Sudanese dictatorship, and Syria (formerly the regime there; now the Islamist portions of the opposition).”
It should be no surprise to Rubin because that’s where Obama has been positioning the US.
Erdogan is no longer friends with Syria or Iran and is working with Obama to topple the secular Assad of Syria and replace him with another MB government under his wing. This objective is proving harder than originally thought, even with the considerable assistance of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
It would appear then that Obama is succeeding in his goal of achieving normal relations with the Arab world by giving it what it wants. But the MB is not kowtowing to him as he might have expected. The tail is wagging the dog.
Not only has he embraced the MB abroad he has embraced them at home also. So much so, that a stalwart five Congressmen, led by Rep Michelle Bachmann, asked for an investigation of whether US security was jeopardized as a result.. They received no support and were attacked for so doing even by their own party. Apparently the establishment of both parties is not prepared to challenge Obama on his new found friend”.
For some 12 years now, the Organization of the Islamic Countries (OIC) has been pushing the UN to criminalize the defamation of religion. The US resisted such blandishments and defended free speech. In March of last year, a compromise was arrived at. Resolution 16/18 of the Human Rights Council which deplores religious intolerance but doesn’t limit speech, was passed.
This was a vast improvement over the demand to criminalize defamation of religion. The US should have left it at that. Instead, she hosted a conference in December of last year on measures to combat religious “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization”, thereby putting the whole matter in play again. No matter how you slice it, any “measures” will involve the limiting of free speech.
Then in the Spring of this year, the Obama Administration began rapidly revising federal counter-terrorism training materials in order to eliminate references to Jihad and Islam. The Islamists, it appears, have used their influence to bring about this dramatic change. They even have succeeded in limiting what the FBI can say to its agents.
In the first three years of his administration, Obama has openly undercut Israel in the peace process and showed great disrespect to PM Netanyahu. He cancelled the assurances given by Pres Bush to Israel in 2004 which included secure borders, no right of return to Israel, and no return to ’67 lines.
He came out strongly against all settlement construction, demanded a construction freeze, and refused to acknowledge that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel or even that Jerusalem was in Israel.
Finally he proposed that the settlement be based on the ’67 lines with minor mutually agreed adjustments. This was totally in line with the demands of his new friends headed by Saudi Arabia.
Having gotten away with all this with little political damage, thanks in part to J-street and the main stream media, he instigated a change in the Democratic Party platform. The new platform, was silent on Jerusalem, silent on where the refugees must return to and silent on Hamas,
The previous platform provided “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel…It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths”, “refugees” should be settled in a future Palestinian state, not in Israel and “The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.”
The new platform also removed the commitment to maintain Israel’s military superiority.
In effect, these omissions removed traditional support for Israel’s positions, thereby aligning the American position with that of the Palestinian Authority,
The new platform also removed reference to God.
So loud and angry was the reaction expressed by the media and ordinary Americans that Obama did damage control by asking that the wording on God and Jerusalem be restored. Such amendment required a 2/3 majority vote. The Chairman had to put it to a vote three times in the hope of getting it passed. He finally declared it passed, though the lack of a 2/3 majority was clearly evident. The Democrats reacted with a chorus of boos.
What remained of the original amendments was that there were no longer assurances about what Hamas must do before acceptance, that the Palestinian refugees need not return only to Palestine and that the Democrats were no longer prepared to ensure Israeli military superiority.
The most threatening of these omissions was the one on refugees. Israel has long maintained, with full support from left and right, that there will be no return to Israel by the refugees. She considers it an existential threat and thus non-negotiable. The Democrats, led by Obama, couldn’t care less.
Finally, Obama has opposed Israel in every way possible to prevent her from attacking Iran. In the latest outrage, Obama assured Iran that if Israel attacked, the US would not be complicit and that if Iran would not attack US forces, the US would not join Israel in the attack.
As a result of Obama’s policies, Israel finds itself surrounded by countries ruled by a hostile Muslim Brotherhood from Tunisia to Turkey which are supported by Obama, alone in its fight against the Iranian bomb and friendless in the peace process.
It seems the anti-Israel constituencies in the US are making progress.
It takes great optimism or belief in the Almighty to be confident that Israel, a nation of seven million, can stand up to the hostile forces arraigned against it, including this administration, and avoid its eradication.
But confident, I remain.