Ruptures in US-Israeli relations: Arab nations should push for Palestine state through legal means!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
Unfortunately, like Israeli policy, US-Israeli relations also target Palestinians and other Arabs. Hence their relationship is not genuinely legal.
There are visible ruptures in the “historic” US-Israeli relations in recent times, though President Obama and other US leaders as usual try to underplay the trend as maybe they want to hide the shame as usual with shrewd diplomatic maneuverings. Or, maybe American leaders really fear the Israelis and their agents spread across the United States, controlling US policies and diplomatic postures. It is for the first time since 1948 when Israel as a Jewish state with provision to expand its illegal territories for illegal proliferation of Jewish settlements against UN laws, was imposed on Palestine to create perpetual crisis in Mideast.
Even after Netanyahu criticised US foreign policy so openly and standing at the US Congress the White house has not made up its mind to protect the global prestige of America. On the contrary US officals think protecting US prestige lie sin promoting the Zionist interests, come what may.
Many White House officals seem to think that they have to tolerate the madness of Israeli leaders and regime committed to the destruction of Palestine, weakening of Mideast and killing of Palestinians and other Arabs. USA and Israel seem to jointly plan their joint policy for Arab nations.
Israelis, American Jews and American Zionists, ill-focused on Palestinians and other Arabs, want to continue enjoying the “special” relationship between USA and Israel. US presidents travelled all the way to Israel to declare the American support for Israel and, conversely, its nukes, their so-called “special relationship” based on conceit and military secrecy.
A hallmark of that “special relationship” has been its bipartisan nature, which has been reinforced by powerful lobbies working in unison on both sides of the political aisle. Such support made it possible for the United States to send Israel $121 billion in foreign aid between 1948 and the end of 2014—more than to any other country. The United States also backed Israel in its regional conflicts and vetoed or opposed United Nations resolutions critical of Israel’s occupation of and crimes in the West Bank.
One should know how Netanyahu has become very important for USA and Obama. The most recent rift created by US House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to invite Netanyahu, the head of the Likud Party, to speak before Congress on March 3 without consulting beforehand the White House or congressional Democrats has created discord that could, in turn, threaten the “special relationship”..
The division between Republicans and Democrats over Israel did not, however, emerge overnight with Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu. Indeed, the story begins before the founding of Israel. Generally, American Jews and Republicans share similar “values” of secret diplomacy and show of militarism as the key policy but during President Franklin Roosevelt’s era, most American Jews and American Zionists became Democrats, and he helped establish a policy of seeking blanket bipartisan endorsements for a Jewish state, using the threat of endorsing Republicans who favored a Jewish state to pressure the Truman administration into supporting its cause.
The Israel lobby in Washington evolved a grand strategy. After Israel’s founding in 1948, the coalition spun off into the American Zionist Council, a collection of 21 different Zionist groups, to lobby Washington; and in 1963, the council, which was under investigation for acting as a covert foreign agent, reincorporated as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It initially worked in tandem with the Conference of the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which had been founded in 1954: AIPAC lobbied Congress, and the Presidents’ Conference lobbied the White House. But by the 1980s, AIPAC was increasingly encroaching on the White House turf.
During most of the half century after Israel’s founding, both parties in Congress backed aid to Israel and supported its government as US Jews became economically strong and began asserting their “right to dictate” the US policy for Arab nations. For instance, in 1981, 36 of 46 Senate Democrats opposed and 42 of 54 Senate Republicans supported the sale of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft to Saudi Arabia, which AIPAC and Israel opposed. Americans used Jews as a major tool to coerce Arab nations to get what they want. The main change that occurred from the early 1980s to the early 2000s was the balance of power between Republicans and Democrats in the lobbying community and in congressional support for Israel’s government.
From 1948 until the early 1980s, Democrats were the main champions of aid to Israel in Congress. Democrats took the lead in pressing for Israel’s interests. But two developments tilted things toward the Republicans.
Likud was closer to the Republicans in its domestic policy and in its foreign policy, which stressed a less compromising stand toward the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors.
Since AIPAC’s strategy was always based on maintaining support for Israel’s government in Congress, initially, that meant working primarily with Democrats. But after 1980, that started to change. After 1994, AIPAC was dealing with a whole new world and closer to the Republicans and to the Likud Party in Israel. That began in 1982, when AIPAC chose a Republican as its president.
The first signs of partisan division over Israel began to appear in the 1990s. President Bill Clinton welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasir Arafat to the White House to sign the Oslo Accords, conservative but the Republicans sympathized with the Likud opposition to the treaty, as did some AIPAC leaders. In 1995, Congress Republicans, under pressure from Israel, passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which, by declaring Jerusalem an undivided city, threatened to undercut negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians over East Jerusalem. USA opposed East Jerusalem to be Palestine capital.
After Rabin’s assassination in November 1995, Republicans backed Netanyahu, who hired Republican campaign consultant Arthur Finkelstein to help him run his campaign in Israel’s 1996 election. During this period, most determined support for Israel still came from Jewish Democrats. But that began to change, too, after the US hoax called Sept-11, 2001, terrorist attack. Some Republican evangelicals, citing biblical texts, had always been supportive of Israel, but after September 11, Christian support for Israel fused with opposition to radical Islam. In 2006, evangelical minister John Hagee founded Christians United for Israel, which now claims to have two million members. These Republicans sympathized with the Likud Party and the religious parties further right that opposed a Palestinian state.
The Republican Jewish Coalition, which was founded in the 1980s but was mainly active in trying to win wealthy Jews over to the party, became active in promoting Israel’s conservative government. Funded by casino lord Sheldon Adelson, a big supporter of Netanyahu, it became a major player in the Republican Party. A generation of conservative Republican House members and senators introduced resolutions to allow Israel to annex the West Bank, to cut off all American assistance to the Palestinian Authority because it joined the International Criminal Court for justice, and to pressure the State Department to move the US embassy to an undivided Jerusalem.
After the breakdown of the peace talks last spring, the organization called for Netanyahu’s removal and for Netanyahu to cancel his visit to the United States. In the past, AIPAC was able to vanquish similar rivals such as Breira and New Jewish Agenda, but J Street has lasted and grown. It now has a following among Capitol Hill Democrats.
AIPAC’s budget dwarfs that of J Street, but the new organization has growing support among Democrats and Jewish Democrats. In a Gallup poll, 83 percent of Republicans compared with only 48 percent of Democrats said they sympathized more with the Israelis than the Palestinians.
In Congress, there is still bipartisan support for foreign aid to Israel. Last summer, the House passed by 395 to eight a bill that gave Israel $225 million in military aid to repair its Iron Dome missile system after the brutal war in Gaza, killing thousands of besieged Palestinians, including children. Neither USA nor EU has any sympathy for even Palestine children.
The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent. But the bipartisan consensus has been shattered over the negotiations that the United States, along with Great Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia, is conducting with Iran. In November 2013, the countries reached an interim agreement that set terms for a final agreement. If a final agreement is reached, it will not be subject to Senate ratification. And although Obama believes he can suspend Iran sanctions without congressional approval, he can’t permanently end them without congressional support.
After silencing the Palestine people with drone attacks, Netanyahu now wants to decide the future of Iran and US Iran deal. The Netanyahu government opposed the interim deal that the powers struck with Iran because it didn’t offer a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including its ability to produce civilian energy. AIPAC lobbied for a bill that would have required Iran to meet Israel’s stringent terms and would have required the United States to “stand with Israel” if Israel decided to terror attack Iran on fictitious claims. Obama threatened to veto the bill against Iran deal, should it cross his desk, in his State of the Union address.
This January, with negotiations nearing a final March 24 deadline, the same drama played out again. Anti-Palestine gang leaders from Republicans Kirk and Menendez introduced a bill threatening new sanctions if the negotiations didn’t bear fruit by the deadline. Obama has threatened to veto this measure as well.
Some of the Democratic support in Congress for the Iran negotiations is probably out of loyalty to the president. Israel, its lobbies and AIPAC stand isolated in USA, for the first time in Israeli history.
With the fracas over Netanyahu’s visit, the era of automatic bipartisan support for Israel’s government is drawing to a close, and with it, perhaps, the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel. Bipartisan support is also ending on an odd note since Democrats, who were once the staunchest supporters of Israel’s government have become its critics, while the Republicans, buoyed by evangelical fervor, have become its most enthusiastic backers. Role change has not made any headway in the resolution of Palestine statehood.
Although there have been strenuous efforts from various quarters is Washington where Israel plays very destructive role, to somehow patch up USA and Israel so Israeli interests are met in USA in the long term, the new relationship won’t be the same. .
Israeli leaders misused the bipartisan politics of USA and exploited Americans, the most educated people in the Atlantic, to get what they wanted, saying the US-Israel partnership transcends politics. And US leaders let the Israelis and Jewish lobbyists to get as maximum as possible from USA. Israel knows it simply cannot take the world for a ride with its illegal nukes without US support.
Now Palestinians cannot hope for an independent state by trusting Israel or its bogus talks, as they are meant only to prolong the occupation and perpetual crimes in Palestine. Firing toy rockets aimlessly into nuclearized Israel has no meaning.
UN has already accorded the Palestinians the statehood but without all powers and would sooner than later accord full membership as well. They need patience and the resolve to fight it out legally.
Arab nations should not sit and watch how and if the US-Israeli rift ends but try to help Palestinians make a home of their own on their own lands by approaching the International courts of Justice and crimes.
Time running out for Arab nations, running out for Israel as well!