American Jews and Israel’s Future

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jerusalem.jpgA new poll released last week from J Street, the self-proclaimed “pro-Israel, pro-peace” political action committee, contained very promising data regarding American Jews and their views of the Middle East peace process. The poll found that, of 800 American Jews surveyed, 76% believed that Israel should negotiate with its enemies, and that 81% would support any peace deal the Israeli government made with an Arab state.
These numbers are very important in light of Israel’s recently begun peace negotiations with Syria (mediated by Turkey), in addition to the invitation of Israel to the French-sponsored conference of Mediterranean nations that convened in Paris this earlier this month, Israel’s tenuous cease-fire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and Israel’s recent, painful prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, analyzed wonderfully by the Director of New America’s Middles East Initiative, Daniel Levy.
The talks with Syria, in particular, are a sign of progress and also a sign both Israel and Syria recognize the importance of a negotiated peace instead of escalation and war. These negotiations come even after Israel’s bombing of s mysterious site in Syria in September of last year, and Israel’s summer 2006 war against the Syrian-supported Hezbollah in Lebanon.


Almost as importantly though, these negotiations run counter to the wishes of the Bush administration to isolate Syria. If nothing else, this means that Israel (and American Jews, it would seem) have weighed different options, and chosen their regional interest over the expressed wishes of its largest and most powerful supporter. And in Gaza, it means that Israel recognizes that security assurances for both Palestinians and Israelis are necessary to pave the way for a durable peace, or even for sustainable negotiations.
Negotiations with Israel’s enemies also send a clear message about American Jews (of which I am proudly one). For quite a while, there has been a perception that American Jews are stauncher conservatives, especially on issues of security, than many Israelis. In a February poll done for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, 64% of Israelis (and even 48% of conservative Likud party members) favored direct talks with Hamas about a cease-fire and the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. These numbers, until Wednesday’s J street poll release, would have been deemed impossible among American Jews.
The J Street poll would seem to imply that many American Jews agree with their Israeli co-religionists. Yet conventional wisdom holds that American Jews are more conservative on security issues than Israelis. This perceived conservatism has led in part to suspicion of politicians who are viewed as “weak” on Israel and a consequent hardening of positions from politicians on both sides of the aisle.
This is particularly true of Senator Barack Obama, who in a speech to AIPAC in June argued that Jerusalem must remain undivided, a position that even George Bush has not taken. This approach is counterproductive and cannot bring the peace and security Israelis, Palestinians and Americans desire.
For many American Jews and numerous non-Jewish supporters of Israel in this country, it is difficult to see Israel compromise with former and current enemies. There is an intense (and historically justifiable) belief among American Jews that Israel must be responsible for its own security, and can only do this through force. This military recourse has proven all too necessary several times in the past, but is not a long-term solution. Indeed, the toll of keeping a nation at arms, either on active duty or on reserve, places an incredible economic and psychological burden on the Israeli people.
In order to ensure that Israel exists and continues to thrive, it cannot live in a state of eternal warfare. This means above all else that Israel’s Arab neighbors must recognize the right of Israel to exist.
Yet it also means that Israel cannot be an isolated outpost in the Middle East, but rather an integral part of the Middle East itself. To get what it wants, Israel must deal with its neighbors, it must negotiate, and when necessary it must compromise. Israel and many American Jews have already recognized this fact; it is time that public perception caught up.
–Andrew Lebovich

Comments

18 comments on “American Jews and Israel’s Future

  1. David S says:

    As I mentioned in a response to another post, the Palestinians have far much more power than all of you give them credit for. And the global perception of them (not mine, for the record) as a people whose leaders steal humanitarian aid for their own purposes and buy weapons while their citizens are starving without adequate health care does not help. (After all, how much money did Arafat stash away?)
    Moreover, Palestinians (and many Arab nations) consider this a Jew vs. Muslim conflict. It is not a religious conflict, it is a political one. There is no reason to consider an American, Argentine, or Russian Jew as the enemy of whatever the Palestinian political cause may be. Yet such is the case, which is why so many people are turned off by Palestinian rhetoric even as they live in poverty.

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  2. Sweetness says:

    Wigwag writes: “The Palestinian position looks bleaker than ever.
    Without allies who are motivated to act, and with Iran’s influence
    neutralized, it’s hard to see how the Palestinians will have any
    leverage at all. Their sad position is likely to get sadder.
    Frankly, I think their only hope is that the Israeli left gains some
    traction and convinces the Israeli electorate that a fair resolution is
    in Israel’s interest. But I admit that is a very thin reed indeed.”
    Well, there is one other issue: What happens to the moral fiber of
    Israeli society if it’s left to rule over a people who aren’t full
    citizens? They may not be a physical threat to Israel, but the
    situation will become a spiritual/ethical threat to Israel. So the
    Palestinians’ allies may become the Israelis who don’t want to see
    their own society blighted by this unhealthy relationship.

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  3. Paul Norheim says:

    But the last sentence quoted was not so bad: “Swapping one
    quagmire for another is hardly a brilliant foreign policy.”

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  4. WigWag says:

    “The Afghans are a people who rather enjoy fighting.”
    There is only one word to describe this quote from Charlie Reese. That word is “bigoted.”

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  5. pauline says:

    Quagmire Exchange
    by Charley Reese
    July 26, 2008
    If Barack Obama’s idea of ending the occupation in Iraq is to transfer most of the troops to Afghanistan, he won’t have accomplished much. He’s right that we should not be in Iraq, but we also shouldn’t be in Afghanistan.
    Our sole interest in Afghanistan should be to get Osama bin Laden. After that, we should bring our guys home. It’s none of our business what kind of government Afghanistan has or if it even has a government.
    In case you’ve forgotten, the northern warlords seized Kabul after the Russians left. Their looting and brutality caused many Afghans to look with favor on the young men of the Taliban. The Taliban whipped the warlords and began to rule the country with their iron-fisted version of Islam.
    It’s no mystery why they extended a welcome to bin Laden. He had played a prominent part in the fight against the Soviets. He was a wealthy young man and could easily have spent his time in the world’s best resorts. But he picked up a rifle and his checkbook and fought against the Russians.
    So when the Bush administration demanded that they hand over bin Laden, the Taliban refused. It was in part a matter of hospitality. The laws of hospitality in that part of the world obligate you to defend your guests. The Taliban didn’t have a chance. The country had been in a state of war for nearly two decades, and much of it was just rubble salted with land mines.
    We bribed the warlords to provide the ground troops while our air power, guided by Green Beret or Seal spotters, bombed the bejeebers out of them. The Taliban had no air defense. It was all over pretty quickly, except for two big flubs.
    The leader of the Taliban escaped, as did bin Laden. By then, the Bush administration had turned its attention to Iraq and Saddam Hussein, who had no truck with terrorists or with the attack on the U.S. Saddam supported the Palestinians in their struggle for independence, but he disliked the Syrian government and hated the Iranians.
    Nevertheless, the Bushies were determined to invade Iraq, and consequently both the Taliban leader and bin Laden remained free. And they are still free. The kernel of this nut is that the people who planned the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were inconvenienced but not punished. In the meantime, President Bush’s obsession with Saddam cost 4,000 Americans lives and landed us in a quagmire.
    Now, five years later, the Bush people are wringing their little hands that the situation in Afghanistan has gone to Hades, and in typical American fashion, both Bush and Obama seem to think the only answer is more troops. It’s funny, in a morbid sort of way. Bush was wood-post ignorant of Iraq, and apparently Obama is wood-post ignorant of Afghanistan.
    The Afghans are a people who rather enjoy fighting. It’s been said that if they run out of foreigners to fight, they will fight each other. It would take more troops than we have to occupy Afghanistan, which is about the size of Texas. It is run by the warlords and is a major producer of opium. Corruption is rampant.
    Obama needs to be forced to come clean and spell out in specific detail exactly what he wishes to accomplish in Afghanistan and how much blood and treasure he’s willing for the American people to spend to get it. He needs to be forced to tell the American people what, if any, benefits they will get in exchange for the lost lives and tax dollars.
    Obama is younger, smarter and better educated than John McCain, but that said, he is your standard political liberal and opportunist. Swapping one quagmire for another is hardly a brilliant foreign policy.
    from –
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/reese/reese482.html

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  6. Saint Michael Traveler says:

    The Jerusalem Dilemma: Jews, Christians and Muslims
    Obama stated that Jerusalem would remain the capital of Israel and that he would not see the city divided. The issue of Jerusalem is complex and can not be made by Senator Obama or Israel alone. What are the options?
    - The two-state models for Palestine and Israel
    - Federal State of Israel-Palestine
    The two-state models for Palestinian and Israeli is not working. Many experts on the Middle Eastern politics and people would suggest that a two state solution in not viable model. We have struggled with it for nearly 60 years.
    Should we be looking at the region as a Federal States with one government elected by all of the people? This model may have a much better chance of survival as a solution for both Israeli and Arabs.
    We have been forced into one box by the Israeli Lobby; we need to look outside of this box. We can’t afford war after war to support a failed two-state model.
    Both Jewish and Palestinians have paid a high price for a failed system to consider the human side of the Israeli-Jewish struggle for a lasting peace.
    I suggest that only as one nation, Federal State of Israel-Palestine, the peace may endure. We, Americans, have failed to see the both side of the struggle for a lasting peace. As Semitic people, they have common historical and religious heritage.
    Obama made it clear that Jerusalem would remain the capital of Israel and that he would not see the city divided. Those who advocate one-state solution as a Federal State would also suggest Jerusalem as the capital of the Federation.
    The advocates for one-state solution stress that under a two-state solution, Jerusalem can not be the capital of Israel. This city is religious holy city belonging to Jews, Muslims and Christians. This city should not be controlled by a theocratic Jewish state; in that case, it should be an open international city.

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  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Pauline, thanks for your quote and link to Charley Reese`s
    article. And especially these paragraphs:
    “When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia withdrew its army
    from Eastern Europe and dissolved the Warsaw Pact. The United
    States should have dissolved NATO. Its sole purpose vanished
    with the Soviet Union. It has no enemy, unless fools in the U.S.
    create one. The American politicians have used it in the
    Yugoslavian Civil War, and now has it involved in the
    Afghanistan insurgency. Why the Europeans put up with this
    nonsense is beyond me.”
    Beyond me too. When I saw that NATO mentioned “paragraph 5″
    just days after 9.11, I got worried.
    Since the US is, and has been, involved in so many conflicts in
    different parts of the world (and since it does not exactly act
    wisely everywhere), this represented a turn towards a
    completely new game with new rules.
    From now on, NATO may become a hostage, trapped in the
    middle of any kind of foolish local or geopolitical game, and get
    involved virtually anywhere when some political, religious or
    criminal group reacts with revenge (justified or unjustified)
    against (sometimes wise, sometimes unwise or brutal) US
    actions.
    This increases the risk for certain regional, or even local crisis
    to grow into something much bigger and more unpredictable.
    Further:
    “President Bush’s war on terror is a false metaphor, and a
    dangerous one at that. There is no terrorist army or air force.
    There are some gangs of criminals. What the president did when
    he adopted this specious metaphor about a war on terror was to
    commit the United States to perpetual war.”
    Obama is asking for more American and European troops in
    Afghanistan (i.e. removing some troops from Iraq to
    Afghanistan). He is also hinting about attacks in northern parts
    of Pakistan.
    I think this may be a huge mistake (even bigger than the
    mistake the Russians made by attacking Afghanistan in 1980,
    thanks to the manipulations of Brzezinski, with Jimmy Carters
    approval).
    But what we should really be looking for, is whether Obama, if
    elected, will redefine these fightings, or accept and continue the
    Bush strategy called the “war on terror”.
    All this – possibly under the war-on-terror umbrella – with
    9.11. absurdly serving as a surrogate for both Holocaust and
    Pearl Harbor, may increase the risk of a fire (not a “cold”, but a
    hot war this time) from Somalia via the Middle East to Pakistan
    (or even India), with Europe, Russia and other powers dragged
    into it, and with unintended consequences beyond our
    imagination.
    I agree with those who say that solving the Israeli/Palestinian
    conflict will improve the situation. Oil and energy resources is
    also a big part of this. So is religion and blind idealism. But the
    first thing a new president of the USA should do, is to declare
    the “War on Terror” as a megalomanic and dangerous strategic
    mistake.

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  8. WigWag says:

    The difference, JohnH, is that in Israel (unlike the United States)everyone serves (except the ultra Orthodox and some Israeli Arabs-most Druse serve most Bedouin don’t). In Israel, the IDF is not divorced from the population like the US military largely is. There is a huge constituency in Israel for a peace dividend; much bigger (percentage-wise)than in the US. Israelis (who serve in their country’s military reserves into their fourties) would love to devote less time to military service.
    Also while Israel’s defense industry is an important part of the economy it is not a critical part. Remember, Israel still has a larger per capita income than Saudi Arabia (even with oil prices at these levels) and their per capita income actually approaches that of Spain and Portugal (both in the EU). Their pharmaceutical industry is growing; Teva just purchased the US pharmaceutical company, Barr Laboratories. Warren Buffet recently bought an 80 percent interest in ISCAR for $4 billion and Israel’s high tech industries are thriving.
    Israel has some of the best research universities in the world. In fact, if you open up the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, you will find that the lead article (which happens to be on the effect that various types of diets have on cardiovascular risk factors) is from an Israeli team at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva in the Negev desert.
    As for your comment that the IDF or the Israeli defense manufacturers will be hired as special forces for the “Empire” it’s not the empire you should be worrying about. You’re right, the Israeli defense industry itself, won’t suffer much if Israel’s military spending declines as a result of a peace treaty with Syria or de facto peace with Lebanon. China and India have been very large purchasers of Israel’s military hardware and so has Turkey and Taiwan. In fact it has been said that China’s hunger for Israeli made armaments is almost insatiable. This makes the Israelis as much “a peaceful member of the global community” as any other country with a large defense industry (US, Russia, Great Britain, France, Italy). No more, no less.
    Frankly, Israel doesn’t need US economic aid (which Senator Obama wants to increase significantly)and most of the military aid they get from the US goes to purchase products from American defense manufacturers.
    I think you could make an argument (only in part tongue in cheek)that American companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin will suffer more if there should ever be an Israeli peace dividend that the Israelis would.
    As for your use of the word “orphaned” to describe the Palestinians if Israel and Syria sign a peace accord I think it’s apt. Sad but apt.
    Look, no one can predict the future and my analysis may be complete hog wash. But I do think the Palestinians best chance to make a good deal might be to make peace with Israel before the Syrians do. But it’s hard for me to imagine this happening. Both sides will need to make painful compromises and neither of those sides will make compromises unless they have to.
    I just don’t see what leverage the Palestinians have. An Israeli peace treaty with Syria and de facto peace with Lebanon will be disasterous for Palestinian aspirations (that’s one of the reasons that Arafat, when he was alive, denounced any mention of Israeli peace talks with the Syrians.) There may be lots of other potential scenerios, I just don’t see any other realistic scenerios.

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  9. JohnH says:

    I answered my own question–the IDF won’t be orphaned. They will be hired as special forces for the Empire. Elements of the Israeli government already serve this role in many places, doing the dirty work that Washington doesn’t want to risk having traced back. Sadly, the prospects for Israel becoming a peaceful member of the global community, even after successful peace talks, are almost nil.

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  10. JohnH says:

    Wigwag–There is one group besides the Palestinians that will be orphaned if Israel reaches a peace settlement with Lebanon and Syria: the IDF. What happens to them? Will they allow Israel to enjoy a peace dividend? Since much of Israel’s economic and political establishment somehow depends on a strong IDF, will they find a way to gin up new external threats? Remember what happened to America’s peace dividend?

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  11. WigWag says:

    Re the post with the comment from Charlie Reese, ruining our relationship with Russia has been one of the most unnoticed but deeply destructive parts of the the Bush Administration. That so called Russia expert, Condi Rice is mostly to blame. It’s not just the anti missile system in former Soviet satellites that won’t work anyway. Its also expanding Nato right up to Russia’s borders by incorporating former Soviet Republics and it’s our behavior in Kosovo (recognition)which may or may not have been morally correct, but was illegal and was a terrible slap in the face to the Russians. There is no reason the Russians should help us with anything. Not with Iran, not with nuclear non-proliferation, not with anything. After all, who feels like working with or coming to the aid of someone who spits in your eye.
    When everyone was genuflecting to Senator Obama over his comments in Germany, I couldn’t help but notice that the Senator’s comments were precisely the same as would have been made by any President since World War II except the current President Bush. There was nothing original about them.
    When he’s elected, the place in Europe that Obama could have a really positive impact is in US relations with Russia. But that will require the reversal of several of the Bush policies mentioned above. I am afraid that the liberal internationalist crowd that he has surrounded himself might be willing to relent on the missles (I hope so)but will not be willing to reverse the Nato expansion or the Kosovo recognition. This means relations with Russia will stay as dysfunctional as they are now. I am also afraid that Obama’s particular brand of foreign policy advisors will be even more aggresive at lecturing the Russians about their relationship with the Georgians and other former Soviet Republics. This won’t take US/Russian relations in a positive direction either.
    Paul Norheim, An Israeli or an American or an Israeli/American attack on Iran would be a tactical mistake that would be so monumental that it is hard to overstate it. There would be absolutely no winners only losers.
    Innocent Iranians would be killed; innocent Israelis would have rockets from Lebanon and perhaps from Iran pouring down on them; Americans would be involved in yet another unnecessary war with all of the costs (human and monetary)that it entails; Europeans, Asians, Americans, everyone would see an enormous hike in oil prices that would take a world economy, already in recession, and make it much worse. Sunni/Shiite relations would deteriorate still further because obviously, such an attack would occur only with the full acquiecense of the Saudis and other Arab leaders. The Palestinians would suffer because high oil prices that enrich Arab despots would insure that these regimes pay even less attention to them.
    The only potential winners are the Russians, the Norwegians and a few large oil companies that would see oil prices explode and profits go up still more.
    And all for what? If Iran actually gets nuclear weapons (a big if)Israel can already deter Iran with it’s nuclear weapons. If they are afraid of a first strike wiping them out, the US could and would provide a second strike capability. This means that fear of an Iranian attack is ridiculous, regardless of any nasty comments Iranian leaders might make.
    If Nato could deter the Warsaw Pact for 40 years, Israel, the United States and Nato can deter an Iranian attack until the end of time. It means that no one can ever take anything off the table when commenting on how they would respond to an Iranian attack, but attacking Iran should never be necessary.
    Attacking Iran would not only be wrong, it would be dumb, dumb, dumb.

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  12. pauline says:

    July 26, 2008
    Pull the Plug on the War State
    by Charley Reese
    Hopefully, the next president, whoever he is, will have sense enough to realize that an anti-missile site in Eastern Europe is not worth rekindling the Cold War with Russia.
    Though the press pays little attention to it, the Bush administration has already practically wrecked relations with Russia by insisting on adding the Eastern European countries to NATO and siting his anti-missile system in the Czech Republic and in Poland. The Russians are right that it represents a threat to their security.
    President Bush’s lame excuse that the system is designed to protect Europe from Iranian missiles is no doubt another deliberate lie. I can’t think of any reason whatsoever for Iran to attack Europe, and I’m sure the Iranians can’t, either. Iran hasn’t attacked anybody for more than 100 years. They would have absolutely nothing to gain by firing a few missiles at Europe. It doesn’t make any sense at all.
    Nor does it make any sense to add the small countries of Eastern Europe to NATO. This was a war-fighting alliance set up at the end of World War II specifically to deter and, if necessary, go to war with the Red Army. The Soviet Union set up its own alliance, the Warsaw Pact.
    When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia withdrew its army from Eastern Europe and dissolved the Warsaw Pact. The United States should have dissolved NATO. Its sole purpose vanished with the Soviet Union. It has no enemy, unless fools in the U.S. create one. The American politicians have used it in the Yugoslavian Civil War, and now has it involved in the Afghanistan insurgency. Why the Europeans put up with this nonsense is beyond me.
    As for including little countries, that’s a strategic blunder. Do you think that if the Russians one day launched nuclear missiles at the United States that Poland and Lithuania would go to war against their large neighbor? Will France become a nation of teetotalers?
    In fact, including small countries in military alliances is worthless posturing. All you do is allow the little country to get you into trouble by its bad behavior. The little country is confident that its big ally will rescue it if it goes too far in antagonizing its larger neighbors. It’s like a spoiled brat with a bodyguard. Sixty years after its founding, Israel is still at war with most of its neighbors precisely because it has no incentive to make a sensible peace. Why should it? It has its American attack dog. The only peace treaties it has signed are with Egypt and Jordan, both of which the U.S. bribed to make peace. Bribe or not, in both cases it’s a cold peace.
    Believe it or not, we are not at war with any nation at the present. We made war on Iraq, but that has long since become nothing but an occupation. We are occupying or trying to occupy Afghanistan, but other than that, we are not at war. Why then do we need military alliances? Why do we need troops in Korea, Japan and Germany? Or, I hasten to add, Iraq and the Persian Gulf?
    President Bush’s war on terror is a false metaphor, and a dangerous one at that. There is no terrorist army or air force. There are some gangs of criminals. What the president did when he adopted this specious metaphor about a war on terror was to commit the United States to perpetual war. Ask your local warmonger how he defines victory in the war on terror. Ask why when Iraq was very violent we couldn’t leave, and now that it’s less violent, we can’t leave. Ask him how he defines victory in Iraq or in Afghanistan.
    We really have neither a republic nor a democracy. We have a war state and an empire. We should pull the plug on both.
    see –
    http://www.antiwar.com/reese/?articleid=13200

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  13. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag, this is one of the most interesting and constructive
    comments I`ve read on this topic here for a while.
    Especially your reflections on tactics and power balance (and
    imbalance) in the ME seem convincing. The big X-factor that
    may change much of this however, is of course a possible
    attack on Iran.
    You (and JohnH) may be right in your speculations regarding
    Israel`s new willingness to negotiate with Syria and deal with
    Lebanon (realizing their neighbors` increased ability to harm
    Israel). But if Israel really intends to attack Iran, these
    negotiations and dealings may also be parts of the preparations
    (trying to avoid some of the unintended consequences, related
    to Iran`s allies there). We`ll see.
    Anyway, kudos for your contribution – and I hope that others
    will respond to this.

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  14. WigWag says:

    I think Andrew makes some interesting points in his post. In the interest of comity and getting away from the same old tired food fight where Israel’s critics attack Israel and Israel’s supporters attack Israel’s critics, I am going to try to look at things at least a little differently. Maybe, just maybe, this will lead to a more civil and perhaps more informative dialog.
    I think JohnH (who I almost never agree with) may be exactly right. I think Israel’s new found interest in reaching a peace accord with Syria and Lebanon may be because Israel has more powerful weapons pointed out it than ever before. The risks of military confrontation are higher so their interest in negotiation is somewhat greater.
    And I think Israel and the United States have no one to blame but themselves for this predicament. Israel was in a far better position when Sadaam Hussein was in power. Iraq and Iran were preoccupied with each other and hated each other far more than either of them hated Israel. Neither Iraq or Iran knew precisely what the other side’s military capability was and this made them even more attentive to focusing on each other instead of Israel or the wider Middle East.
    I don’t think that the United States attacked Iraq because of Israel but I do think that Israel and it’s supporters encouraged the decision and were deligjted when the invasion took place. From Israel’s perspective, this was a stupid tactical blunder that has left them weaker not stronger. After the US invasion of Iraq it became apparent that Iraq was a paper tiger with no weapons of mass destruction and no sophisticated delivery systems. Despite all of it’s bluster, Iraq wasn’t really a threat to either Israel or Iran.
    The net result of all of this is that the balance of power between Iran and Iraq was shattered and Iran was dramatically strengthened. It is only because of the elimination of Iraq that Iran can now focus on adventurism in the wider region. Since the elimination of Saddam, Iran has shipped more missles than ever to Lebanon and can focus its vitriol in a more focused manner on Israel.
    Because of all of this, Israel now sees an advantage in making peace with Syria and neutralizing Lebanon. But for the Iraq war, there never would have been negotiations with Syria over the Golan Heights. Now those negotiations are likely to succeed. My bet is that within a year, Israel and Syria will have a peace agreement and Israel will start to withdraw from the Golan Heights. Once this happens, settling the Sheba Farms dispute will be a cinch because the Israel could care less about Sheba Farms.
    Eliminating this issue will end, once and for all, all outstanding disputes with Lebanon. Israel will have peace treaties with all of its neighbors (de facto or de jure) and as a result, Iran’s influence will diminish. But for the invasion of Iraq, Israel would never have had to make these compromises. I hope that the Israeli’s keep the law of unintended consequences in mind before they attack putative Iranian nuclear sites.
    Of course when the music stops there will be one group left still standing with no chair in site, and that group is, of course, the Palestinians. Once Israel has peace treaties with all of their neighbors, the Palestinians will be more isolated than ever. Who will be left to support them?
    Their Arab neighbors could care less about them, at least the Arab governments could care less. While the Arab street might care, high oil prices mean that repressive Arab regimes will be able to buy off their streets well into the future.
    The Europeans may pretend to care, but when it comes to playing a consequential role in the world, the Europeans are invariably AWOL. Besides, the current line up of leaders of major European nations is more pro Israel than at any time in the last 20 years (Merckel, Brown, Sarkozy, Berlusconi.)
    Senator Obama has already demonstrated that he knows where his bread is buttered. Anyone who thinks that he will stand up for the Palestinians is living in a dream world. (I still think Clinton might have; you know a Nixon goes to China kind of thing. But I admit it’s pure speculation.)
    The Russians, Chinese and Indians, focused as they are on economic development, could not be less interested in the plight of the Palestinians.
    So really, the only allies the Palestinians will have, are a few angry commentators at the Washington Note (okay, that might be a slight exageration) and the Israeli left.
    Israel can easily interdict powerful missles that Iran might want to ship to Gaza They have already shut down the sea routes and the only other way to get those weapons into Gaza would be through Egypt. But of course the Egyptians hate the Iranians as much, or more, than the Israelis do. Hamas will be left with the crude (but improving) rockets that it already has that induce alot of fear but are incapable of producing alot of destruction. With its other potential adversaries neutralized, Hamas will become more of an annoyance to Israel than anything else (actually it already is.)
    The Palestinian position looks bleaker than ever. Without allies who are motivated to act, and with Iran’s influence neutralized, it’s hard to see how the Palestinians will have any leverage at all. Their sad position is likely to get sadder.
    Frankly, I think their only hope is that the Israeli left gains some traction and convinces the Israeli electorate that a fair resolution is in Israel’s interest. But I admit that is a very thin reed indeed.

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  15. pauline says:

    Carroll wrote:
    “Israel doesn’t want peace. They want Greater Israel on Palestine land and dominance in their region courtesy of Daddy Warbuck’s taxpayers.”
    Amen. . .in my religion.
    If one considers all the d*mn dirty money that war “creates”, the money-grubbers in DC don’t want peace either. So, what does the average joe or jane citizen do when the 51st state wants us to spend our money and our lives, while our so-called elected “leaders” want to make ga-zillions
    from contracts with dod and pentagoner.
    Case in point. Didn’t Di Feinstein’s hubby’s firm get multi-multi-million dollar contracts — all because of the Iraqi war — even though this guy had no real experience in what he was “contracting?! And would she then be thrilled to bring our troops home and help end this human and financial disaster?
    Oh, sure. . .Di. . .you’re just so sincere. The problem is your mask has fallen off and it’s exposing your true ugliness.
    don’t think so? see –
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/22/MN310531.DTL

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  16. Carroll says:

    Israel doesn’t want peace. They want Greater Israel on Palestine land and dominance in their region courtesy of Daddy Warbuck’s taxpayers.
    Israel is and always has been the scorpion on the frog’s back. They aren’t going to make peace much less dismantle their settlements and give back the Palestine land until they are “forced” to do so.
    A more important poll than J-Street is the Univ of Maryland’s World Opinion poll that showed 81% of the universe and 71% of Americans wanted a ‘even handed” approach to Isr-Pal and for the US to not take sides in the conflict.
    If the US wasn’t siding with Israel because of the jewish lobbies and Israeli agents in our US congress this deal would have been settled long, long ago.
    All this crap about recongizing Israel’s right to exist is just that..crap…a cover to continue their land grabs in Palestine.

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  17. ... says:

    hi andrew.. i don’t agree with your conclusion in this line >>In order to ensure that Israel exists and continues to thrive, it cannot live in a state of eternal warfare. This means above all else that Israel’s Arab neighbors must recognize the right of Israel to exist.<<
    israel must recognize the right of the arabs to exist, not only in a cut off ghetto called gaza… always suggesting the onus is ultimately on the arabs is incomplete…israel has nuclear weapons while not wanting others in the region to have them… does that strike you as equal?? some folks see thru these imbalances and see them for what they are.. i agree with JohnH conclusion which he puts in the form of a question…

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  18. JohnH says:

    It has been true for decades that “In order to ensure that Israel exists and continues to thrive, it cannot live in a state of eternal warfare. This means above all else that Israel’s Arab neighbors must recognize the right of Israel to exist.”
    My reading is that Israel’s neighbors have been willing to do this for some time (Egypt and Jordan did it years ago). What has been missing is Israel’s willingness the deal with its neighbors, to negotiate, not dictate terms.
    What has changed so that Israel is now willing to negotiate? Could it be that Israel now realizes that its neighbors have enough missiles to inflict significant damage on Israel and that Israel can no longer trash the neighborhood with impunity? Is force the only thing Israel understands? Could be.

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