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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/16/10

Israel and American Foreign Policy

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"Washington also provides Israel with consistent diplomatic support. Since 1982, the US has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, more than the total number of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members. It blocks the efforts of Arab states to put Israel's nuclear arsenal on the IAEA's agenda."

Why is it impossible to have a sensible, open debate in the United States regarding our relationship to Israel? The clearest example of why it is not possible occurred in 2006 when John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard published a white paper about the power of AIPCAC, the principal Israeli lobby in the US. The ensuing debate was not centered on the issues of the white paper, quite the contrary; both academics were accused of everything from lack of professionalism to anti-Semitism. The White Paper made very clear arguments about the power of AIPAC and their silencing of Israel's critics. Mearsheimer and Walt pulled no punches,

"For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread "democracy' throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?"

The authors received a drubbing and were quickly silenced. Alan Derschowitz as well as Eliot Cohen of John Hopkins both accused Mearsheimer and Walt of anti-Semitism and bigotry.

When Jimmy Carter came out with his book about the Israeli-Palestinian question, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, the debate again became about him, not the plight of the Palestinians.

Increasingly, the war in Iraq is being attributed to the Neo-Conservative wing of the Republican Party that had a very influential role in the Bush administration. For most of the world this has been obvious, but in the US it has been a taboo topic. Michael Kinsley is quoted as saying "the connection between the invasion of Iraq and Israeli interests had become 'the proverbial elephant in the room. Everybody sees it, no one mentions it.'" The Neo-Cons had for years been itching to invade Iraq. The general theory was that by changing the regime in Iraq, regime change would occur in Iran and Syria, clearing the way for a new Middle East and a much friendlier atmosphere for Israel.

What occurred on 9/11 gave them the opening they had been looking for, and they cunningly convinced the US population that somehow Iraq had some connection to 9/11. This was a blatant falsification of the facts advanced with the help of AIPAC and important supporters of Israel in the media. The Israeli angle for the war in Iraq is the mainstream explanation in much of the world but rarely discussed in the US.

America must be able to openly debate what has become the main focus of our foreign policy, and our largest benefactor of foreign aid. At the moment we are not able to do so. When academics or politicians question Americas support for Israel, they are branded as anti-Semitic. No member of either party is willing to openly question our relationship with Israel out of fear. Our academics are branded as anti-Semitic when they question the power of AIPAC. Something undemocratic has taken over a part of our government, and the most important part of our foreign policy. America has lost and continues to lose credibility in the world as many see US foreign policy in the Middle East as under at least partial control of Israel.

Let us imagine that the United States had "divorced' Israel 20 years ago, considering it a foreign policy liability. Would we have much better relations now with the Arab world? Would 9/11 have been avoided? Would we have avoided entering the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars? Would Israel have been forced to make an equitable deal with the Palestinians out of fear of being ostracized from the international community? Would the US have focused much more energy at the end of the cold war on improving relations with the nations of the former Soviet Union including Russia? Would the world be a better place?

The United States foreign policy has been hijacked, and our leaders and thinkers have been intimidated by a foreign government and its apologists. Somehow, discussion of the special American relationship with Israel has become taboo. This has been carried out by supporters of Israel who use the media and AIPAC to intimidate politicians, journalists and intellectuals. Our thinkers and leaders are afraid to openly discuss the US relationship with Israel out of fear of being branded anti-Semitic and being ostracized. This is a form of McCarthyism that must be immediately rooted out like the cancer that it is. American has lost part of its freedom of expression, our most sacred gift from our founding fathers, the cornerstone of our republic and our prosperity. It must be taken back.

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Robert Bonomo is a blogger, novelist and internet marketer. He has lived and worked in Madrid, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Kamchatka, New York and a few other not so interesting places. He has worked as a car salesman, land surveyor, media (more...)
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