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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 21,425

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What do Netanyahu's friends in Congress think of his now opposing a Palestinian State?

After hailing him as their go to guy on security issues in the Middle East, Netanyahu is now two for two in opting for permanent wars. Are Congressional Republicans and their Democratic Israel hawk partners prepared now to abandon a two state solution for Palestine and Israel, once again following Netanyahu's lead? What do Boehner, McConnell McCain, Cruz, Paul, Rubio, Menendez and Schumer have to say now? If a path to official statehood for Palestine is blocked, is there anyone who doubts that endless war and terrorism in that region would follow? Does the U.S. Congress still believe that Netanyahu better represents U.S. Security interests than the American President? It's not enough that Netanyhu was itching for one armed conflict, now he is courting two.

No one who actually has followed the multi-national negotiations about Iran's nuclear program seriously believe that the U.S. can back away from a pending negotiated settlement, follow that up with imposing harsher economic sanctions, and have the international community (including Russia and China) continue to honor ANY economic sanctions against Iran. It's a strategy that REMOVES whatever incentives there are for Iran NOT to develop nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it gives them all the more incentive to do exactly that because they will start bracing for inevitable war.

All the experts say that bombing can not stop Iran's nuclear program, just set it back a couple of years. Iran is an advanced technological state with the full capacity to reconstruct their nuclear program, if we bomb it, in sites impervious to American bombs. Why wouldn't they? Virtually the entire Iranian population will be furious at the West if we bomb them, they will want revenge. And there is nothing like actually having nukes to deter any aggressor from continually attacking you.

So what of it, all you American political leaders - Republicans included, who have at the very least given previous lip service to a two state solution, is Bibi still your guy? Or are you too chicken shit to speak up about America's own foreign policy until after Israel forms its next government?

The Future of U.S. Israel Relations

You will not hear any American or Israeli politician deviate from this script: “The U.S. Israel relationship is rock solid, and deeper than any possible disagreement between any two leaders.” True enough, but the rock solid relationship between Israel and the United States has fault lines running through it. How could it be otherwise? It's in the nature of rock itself for fractures to embed that may subsist for decades or generations without shifting, until accumulated stress creates a rapture. It is foolish for Israel's leaders to believe otherwise/.

The current Israel is not so old as countries go, it's age is counted in double digits, much like mine. Even so support for Israel has shifted in my lifetime. It has its ups and downs, in Europe certainly, but also here in the United .States. Support for a Jewish homeland was historically powerfully strengthened by, and Israel's rebirth as a nation itself is the direct result of, the evil that was the Holocaust. Antisemitism is many centuries old, but the Holocaust isn't. Still actual Holocaust survivors continue to die off, as time will always have it. Though what happened then will never be forgotten, it may not always be remembered quite as sharply for many as it still is today. History, unfortunately, is predictably layered with horrors, of greater and lesser brutality. All of them eventually age with time. Some do so quickly, others more slowly. The memory of each lingers longest in those whose direct ancestors were victims.

I was born in 1949, shortly after Israel itself and after the evil that caused the Holocaust was vanquished, the son of a soldier who participated in the liberation of death camps. I am not Jewish, but growing up on Long Island brought me Jewish friends, and familiarity with Jewish culture. My family wasn't very political nor was I while growing up. World issues were rarely discussed

The Holocaust was little more than 20 years distant back then but I usually only thought of it in the context of the Viet Nam War which was raging as I reached draft age, wondering could I really be a conscientious objector if I would have volunteered to fight Hitler? Israel captured my interest most then during two wars it became embroiled in with its Arab neighbors, the 6 Day War in June of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in the Fall of 1973. Oddly those seemed to bookend the peak years of the U.S. engagement in Viet Nam, which added to their seeming relevence. I supported Israel's in those wars unhesitatingly back them, linking those conflicts in my mind to the Jewish struggle for existence during World War II. I remembered only dimly at best when the United States actually opposed Israeli military actions during the Suez Crisis of 1956.

I knew little about Arab Countries or the Muslim world in general back then, aside from realizing that Egypt's Abdul Nasser was a leader of the non alligned nation bloc during the ongoing Cold War. It took another Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat, to awaken sympathy in me for people who previously I thought of mostly as adversaries of Israel. Like most Americans of my generation, I grew up inheriting strong sympathies for Israel, and I saw no good reason to question them.

That is how a “rock solid” relationship with another nation manifests: it rests on a foundation of widely shared essentially unquestioned loyalty that takes on the form of a self fulfilling prophesy, precisely because it is so widely shared. The aftermath of World War II cemented that status for Israel among several generations of Americans. Of course we also have shared values with Israel, of course there are strong and historic ties between our people. The same can be said even more so regarding America and France, but that didn't prevent a strong backlash of anti-French sentiments here when France was less than enthusiastic about the U.S. invading Iraq. The glow is off the French American relationship although we have mostly remained allies.

Israel counts on nonpartisan and widely felt American loyalty today, and it has good reason to be confident of that, today. But for how many tomorrows can that confidence extend? Israel counted on American support during the Yom Kippur War, in an existential sense it virtually depended on it. Israel still remains a mostly Jewish spot in an overwhelmingly Muslim region. 40 years after the Yom Kippur War unbending American support is just as essential to Israel as it ever was, maybe even more so. There is little reason to believe the same won't be true in another 40 years. But there are clear signs today that that the previous level of unquestioned support for Israel is beginning to erode among increasing numbers of younger Americans in particular.

That may not yet be apparent inside America's Halls of Power dominated as they are by the over 50 set. At least it hasn't been prior to Israel's current Prime Minister's willingness to exploit American partisan differences in service to his perception of Israel's interests, and seemingly his own short term political needs. A potent security threat to Israel lies below the surface, among younger generations of Americans who grew up exposed daily to horrors more recent than the holocaust, who increasingly see the state of Israel’s actions in regards to the Palestinian issue in far less than a wholly positive light. And who now see Israel's Prime Minister arriving in Washington in a blatant effort to undermine sensitive negotiations that America's twice elected (with strong youth support) President says is the last best chance to prevent Iran from acquiring the means to produce nuclear weapons.

Should those negotiations fail it seems probable that America will end up fighting a new war with Iran in support of Israel, with impossible to predict long term adverse consequences. If Peace is NOT given a chance, and America is plunged into a new round of Middle East wars before, in the eyes of many Americans, all other options are exhausted, what will be the fallout in long term American public opinion toward Israel? How will that effect future American support for that state whenever they need it again?

If support for Israel's Prime Minister is employed as a political club in the Republican Party's continuing domestic war against a President they never have accepted, when will support for Israel cease to unquestionably be nonpartisan inside an America where increasingly few issues remain above that fray? And how will THAT effect Israel's long term security?
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