On September 17, the New York Post quoted Henry Kissinger saying:
"In 10 years, there will be no more Israel. I repeat: In 10 years, there will be no more Israel."
He didn't mean Israel will self-destruct or collapse. His view mirrors the combined assessment of 16 US intelligence agencies. Months earlier, its report headlined "Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East." It wasn’t released publicly so no link.
It concluded that Washington's national interest is at odds with Israel. The so-called special relationship is counterproductive. What benefits Israel geopolitically often harms America.
It's time to stop letting the tail wag the dog. America loses more than it gains. Serious reassessment is long overdue.
In their book titled "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue that Israel is "increasingly a strategic liability....It is time for the United States to treat Israel not as a special case but as a normal state, and to deal with it much as it deals with any other country."
Doing so "means no longer pretending that Israel and America's interests are identical, or acting as if Israel deserves steadfast US support no matter what it does."
James Petras said "(t)he US-Israeli relationship is the first in modern history in which the imperial country covers up a deliberate major military assault by a supposed ally."
He referred to the 1967 USS Liberty attack. Israel bombed and strafed it. Dozens of US seamen were killed. Around 170 were wounded. The vessel was heavily damaged. Israel got away with murder. It wasn't the first or last time.
It's time to cut ties and move on. In May 2008, former US official Richard Holbrooke headlined a Washington Post op-ed "Washington's Battle Over Israel's Birth," saying:
In early 1948, Washington witnessed an "epic struggle." Behind the scenes, policy makers wrangled over how to respond to Israel's May 14 declaration of independence. Influential Truman officials shared opposing views. Lesser ones favored recognition.
Notable ones against included Defense Secretary James Forrestal, diplomat George Kennan, Defense Secretary Robert Lovett, presidential advisor John J. McCloy, defense strategist Paul Nitze, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and General George Marshall, whom Truman called "the greatest living American."
On May 12, Truman held an Oval Office meeting. Supposedly it was to resolve things. Marshall, Lovett, and others made the case for delaying recognition. By "delay," they meant "deny."
Truman asked Clark Clifford to be present. At the time, he was a young aide. He argued for recognition. Marshall was furious. When Clifford finished, he said:
"I don't even know why (he's) here. He is a domestic adviser, and this is a foreign policy matter. The only reason (he's) here is that he is pressing a political consideration."
Truman was up for reelection in November. Polls showed Republican Thomas Dewey ahead. Winning the Jewish vote was important.
After the meeting, said Holbrooke, Marshall wrote "an unusual top-secret memorandum….for the historical files." He wanted his view on the record, saying:
"I said bluntly that if the President were to follow Mr. Clifford's advice and if in the elections I were to vote, I would vote against the President."
His comment was stunning. Marshall was a consummate diplomat. He was Truman's Secretary of State and Defense Secretary. Forrestal reflected his view and other recognition opponents, saying:
At issue is oil, numbers and history. "There are thirty million Arabs on one side and about 600,000 Jews on the other." He told Clifford: "Why don't you face up to the realities?"
It didn't matter. It was a done deal. Truman decided earlier. On March 25, 1948, he met secretly with Chaim Weizmann (Israel's first president). He pledged support for the future Jewish state. Minutes after midnight on May 15, 1948, America was the first country to extend recognition.
Holbrooke said many believe Marshall, Forrestal, Lovett, and others were right. "Israel, they argue(d), has been nothing but trouble for the United States."
Holbrooke tried having it both ways. He said it didn't matter whether Washington extended recognition then or not. With or without it, Israel was created right or wrong.
Failure to offer support might have jeopardized its survival. "Truman's decision, although opposed by almost the entire foreign policy establishment, was the right one….despite complicated consequences that continue to this day…."
Rethink time is long overdue. Perhaps it's happening behind the scenes. In April 2010, The New York Times headlined "Obama Speech Signals a US Shift on Middle East," saying:
He said resolving the longstanding Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a "vital national security interest of the United States." At issue was balancing support for Israel with other regional interests.
At the same time, General David Petraeus told Congress that lack of progress created a hostile environment "within which we operate."
At the same time, administration officials then and now insist US support for Israel is unwavering. Close cooperation is policy. Perhaps what goes on secretly is less rock solid than earlier.
At the time, AIPAC publicized letters to Hillary Clinton signed by 76 senators and 333 House members. They urged the administration to defuse tensions.
In addition, World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder published an open letter to Obama asking:
"Why does the thrust of this administration's Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks?"
Netanyahu expressed support. He omitted saying Israel bears full responsibility for longstanding conflict conditions. For over 40 years, so-called peace talks went nowhere.
Israel obstructed them. It still blocks resolution. It demands. It doesn't negotiate. It expects unconditional acquiescence. Palestinians never had a willing peace partner and don't now.
Maybe Kissinger is right. Privately and secretly perhaps the dog is beginning to bark. Anti-Israeli sentiment gained adherents for years. Many Jews are fed up and say so. US and Israeli ones are vocal. Expect new supporters to join their ranks.
Growing numbers of ordinary people and analysts know Israel menaces regional peace. Perhaps policy makers admit privately that it's more liability than ally.
Change comes incrementally and imperceptibly. Breaking or substantially pulling back from longstanding ties won't come easily or quickly.
Israel is notorious for dirty tricks and unprincipled tactics. It’ll do anything to get its way. It may take a future US leader with chutzpah enough to challenge what none so far dared do. One day, expect it. When, who knows.
Maybe Israel will help out by shooting itself in the foot once too often. Occupation harshness has shelf life limitations. Pressuring Washington for favors harming US interests can't go on forever. Push has an appointment with shove. We'll know when at the moment of truth.
On September 24, Al Haq published a Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) joint statement. It's titled "Oral Statement of Culture of Impunity in Israel."
It covers longstanding Israeli crimes against humanity. It highlights what's too intolerable to let go on. Whatever strains exist between Washington and Tel Aviv, Palestinian grievances are longstanding, grave, and destructive of an entire people.
Al Haq represented 10 other PHROC organizations. It presented their case and its own at the Human Rights Council's 21st session. It argued that conditions in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories are intolerable.
It said impunity granted Israel lets international crimes go unpunished. Palestinian victims get no "semblance of justice." Facts on the ground demand corrective measures. Delay no longer washes. Action is needed now.
The joint submission was titled "Escalation in Forcible Transfer and Demolitions in Area C." It comprises over 60% of the West Bank. Israel exerts total control.
It calls Palestinian land sovereign Israeli territory. Land theft is policy. Israel acts extrajudicially. It does whatever it wants. It gets away with it because world leaders turn a blind eye. Instead of denouncing what's lawless, support if extended.
Its policies are extreme enough to make some despots blush. How do you characterize unconscionable oppression. Nonviolent Palestinians are terrorized for not being Jewish.
Their land, homes and other property are stolen and/or destroyed. They're denied their own resources. Free movement, expression, and assembly are prohibited. Building on privately owned land is criminalized.
Ethnic cleansing is policy. So is institutionalized racism. Fundamental international laws are spurned. It's long past time to hold Israel accountable.
Alarm was expressed about its culture of impunity. Virtually all Palestinian rights are denied. They face "violent intimidation, severe restrictions," and denial of their self-determination right. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) called granting it "one of the essential principles of contemporary international law."
The UN is responsible for protecting and promoting universal human rights. It's obligated to act against international law violations. From inception, it failed to do so repeatedly.
Al Haq and other PHROC organizations want the Human Rights Council to address systematic Israeli lawlessness. Action is needed now. Enforcing accountability is essential.
No one is above the law - no nation, organization or individual. Member States are obligated to act. It's high time they fulfilled responsibilities they're sworn to uphold. Delay, whitewashing crimes, and excuse making no longer wash.
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|William A. Cook|