See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .It's almost a movie and novel story cliche-- the president or leader is under a lot of pressure, a usually arrogant, intense, impatient, almost hysterical military advisor tells him he has to do something very extreme-- use a nuclear weapon, drop bombs, intensify the conflict to a new level.
The reader or viewer can clearly see that this military guy is a stupid nutcase giving bad advice.
But the president is weak, indecisive, cowardly, whatever-- and he goes for the bad advice.
In the movies and novels, something always saves the day at the last minute, no, make that the last second.
Like the idiots who conspired with Bush to get us into the Iraq quagmire, the fools in Israel failed to plan ahead. Sure, Israel's superior military might enabled Israel to wreak massive damage. But, like the USA, Israel now finds itself in a situation where it is fighting an entity that fades away, lurking in the shadows, able to put the Israelis on the defensive, just like they did before Israel left Lebanon the last time, six years ago. Like superpower, like surrogate state.
The problem is, the USA wields so much power over Israel that Israeli politics is profoundly influenced by US policy. Bush policy has basically been simple-- let Israel do anything it wants to do. In some ways, the USA is like the parent and Israel, as dependent as it is upon the USA, for billions of dollars a year, in support, is like the child. And parents do LOVE their children. So it's no wonder that the US treats Israel kindly. The problem is, Israel has been misbehaving. Now, kids misbehave and, when they do, parents respond responsibly-- with love-- but responsibly. Sometimes kids misbehave because they misunderstand or get mixed messages from their parents. Sometimes the kids are troubled. Regardless, it is the job and responsibility of good, loving parents, to take the child in hand and deal with the bad behavior. Sometimes tough love is in order.
But, in a sense, the congress and the Bush administration are cowed by the voting power in influence of the American Jewry. Conspiracy theorists and anti-semites complain about the influence of the Jews in the media, about the Jewish neocons. Frankly, I don't think there's much to the media story. There are a handful of prominent Jews among the neocons-- just a handful-- but they are highly visible. The neocons are part of the problem. But they are not the main problem. The main problem is that for too many American Jews, Israel can do no wrong. They are loyal to Israel to a fault.
It is time for American Jewry to start acting like responsible, tough loving parents, when it comes to Israel. You may ask, how are American Jews in a parental relationship with Israel?
It's the congress, stupid. Congress-- both parties-- is cowed by the Jewish vote. It's small, but Jews are known for their strong turnout. And the several million Jews in the US have incredible power to make a difference in elections. It's not something Jews talk about much, probably because most politicians are so damned afraid of doing anything but what it takes to hold on to the Jewish vote. Being Jewish, I've watched how candidates who are diametrically opposed on most issues line up and trip over each other trying to prove that THEY are more solid in their support for Israel.
It is time for American Jews to face the reality that their kid-- their surrogate state-- is not behaving well and needs some tough love. It is time for American Jews to make it clear to politicians that their support for Israel needs to include report for responsible behavior. They need to advise politicians that Israel's leadership is making bad decisions. They must make it clear that they still expect the USA to be a loyal friend and ally to Israel, but that the USA will also start putting some limitations on Israel. Typically, the Israeli response is that they are an independent nation. That's bull. They are so dependent upon the USA, some tough love will have powerful effects.
Part of the problem is, of course, the Bush administration is worse than incompetent. It is criminally misguided, and is using Israel to further its chickenhawk goals,like a parent who uses his child to help sell drugs or shoplift.
That means that the leaders of American Jewry, and they are not that well established, nor democratically chosen, must take a leading role in redefining the relationship of American Jewry to Israel. It is time they told Israel that it cannot continue its use of gross force. It cannot continue killing Muslims. Today, it appears a Pakistani attacked a Jewish Center in Seattle. I take this to mean that the Israeli assault on Muslims in Gaza and Lebanon has put all Jews, all over the world, at greater risk. I believe the Isreali leaders who made the decision to invade Lebanon have put not only Israel, but all the Jews in the world at greater risk. And by continuing to support the actions of Israel, American Jews ARE guilty of aiding the Israelis.
There are some Jewish leaders who ARE willing to speak out. Jonathan Tasini, running in the NY senate primary, against Hillary Clinton, says,
The truth is that while people view talking about Israel-Palestine as the "third rail" of politics in New York, the more I think about it, the more I realize that there are a growing number of people in the Jewish community who are willing to speak up, out of love for Israel, about the dreadful occupation and the never-ending violence that is spinning out of control, in large part because the United States-"and politicians like Hillary Clinton-"continue to blindly pursue a one-sided policy in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a policy that is causing more death and sorrow for civilians on all sides of the conflict.and Tasini says,
A friend of Israel, not someone who simply seeks votes, would deplore the collective punishment employed by the Israeli army in Gaza. As Rabbi Michael Lerner has suggested, in the wake of the democratic elections that brought Hamas to power in Gaza, "Instead of narrowly focusing on Hamas's capacity to make war, the Israelis chose the path of collective punishment, a frequently ineffective counterinsurgency policy used to eliminate public support for resistance movements. In the height of the oppressive summer heat, Israel bombed the electricity grid, effectively cutting off Gaza's water and the electricity needed to keep refrigeration working, thereby guaranteeing a dramatic decrease in food for the area's already destitute, million-plus population. This act was yet another violation of international law that include[d] the arrests of thousands by Israelis and the shooting of Qassams at population centers by Hamas."