Friday, October 31, 2014

Cracks in US/Israeli Special Relationship?

Cracks in US/Israeli Special Relationship?

by Stephen Lendman

On March 25, 1948, Harry Truman met secretly with Chaim Weizmann. He later served as 2nd Chairman of the Provisional State Council of Israel and its first president. A largely ceremonial post. 

Truman pledged support for the future Jewish state. Minutes after midnight on May 15, 1948, America was the first country to extend recognition.

A special relationship began. Thereafter it grew financially, politically, militarily, diplomatically, and counterproductively. 

On many issues mattering most, the Israeli tail wags the US dog. Whether or not Washington's interests are served.

Israel benefits most. America loses more than it gains. Serious reassessment is needed. It's long overdue. Both countries threaten world peace. United they endanger humanity.

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."

The special relationship continues. Solid for decades. More recently like a bad romance. Obama and Netanyahu clearly dislike each other.

In a November 2012 press conference, an open microphone caught former French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying "I cannot bear" Netanyahu. He called him "a liar."

Obama responded saying: "You're fed up, but I have to deal with him every day."

According to Netanyahu:

"Leaders are tested at times of differences with our allies, even our closest allies. We face huge challenges." 

"As prime minister, it's my duty to insist on Israel's vital interests and to ensure its security and future." 

As long as he remains prime minister, relations with America and other nations won't be easy. His bluster wore thin long ago.

In 2011, he lectured Obama on Jewish history. He has a knack of making more enemies than friends. He alienates associates around him.

He heads Israel's most extremist ever government. Racist, repressive, neoliberal and fascist. Democracy is pure fantasy.

He's arrogant, abrasive, duplicitous, thuggish, and dangerous. An embarrassment to legitimate governance. Why Israelis put up with him they'll have to explain.

One observer urged him to "set red lines on his malice toward Obama." Israelis and many others deplore his bluster. 

He's gone out of his way to alienate support from his closest ally. An unnamed Israeli official said he caused "profound" damage in relations with Washington.

He's irresponsible. Oversteping traditional boundaries. According to a Bulgarian proverb:

"When God wants to punish someone, the first thing He does is take away his brains."

Bibiism is a state of mind. Reflecting his hardline world view. Rejecting opposing views. Engaging in confrontational politics

Never missing a chance for a good fight. Avoiding reconciliation and cooperation.

It's hard putting up with his antics. Former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley witnessed nine face-to-face meetings with Obama. 

There's "a lack of rapport between these two men," he said. "They don't like each other very much. Plus, there are serious differences between our interests and Israel's."

On October 28, Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg headlined "The Crisis in US-Israeli Relations Is Officially Here," saying:

"The Obama administration's anger is 'red-hot' over Israel's settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama's understanding of the Middle East." 

"Profound changes in the relationship may be coming." Goldberg quoted an unnamed "senior administration official" calling Netanyahu "a chickenshit."

Goldberg called him "the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most."

US and Israeli officials discuss each other privately. In less than amicable ways. "(A)nother sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis," said Goldberg.

Relations between the two administrations is worst ever, he added. Likely worsening further after Tuesday's mid-term elections, he believes.

"By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program," he said.

In 2012, Netanyahu campaigned openly for Mitt Romney. Welcoming him to Israel during a campaign visit. Appearing with him in Republican ads.

Goldberg largely blames him for strained relations. He's "written off" the Obama administration.

According to one unnamed US official, " 'red-hot anger' at Netanyahu" persists.

"(F)or pursuing settlement policies on the West Bank, and building policies in Jerusalem…"

"Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and 'Aspergery,' " said Goldberg.

He hadn't previously heard Netanyahu called a "chickenshit." The unnamed US official explained, saying:

"The bad thing about him is that he won't do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states." 

"The only thing he's interested in is protecting himself from political defeat…He's got no guts."

Another unnamed senior Obama official expressed similar views. On peace process hypocrisy, settlements, Iran, and "near-pathological desire for career-preservation."

Netanyahu went way out of his way to "let the world know that it will quicken the pace of apartment-building in disputed areas of East Jerusalem," said Goldberg.

And express "contempt for the Obama administration and its understanding of the Middle East." 

In part, to mobilize his base. Ahead of possible 2015 elections. On October 27, he called critics of his East Jerusalem settlement construction policy "disconnected from reality."

Both countries disagree on major issues. Like all close allies. At the same time, Goldberg can't recall "a period of sustained and mutual contempt."

Much relates to Netanyahu's "periodic explosions of anti-American condescension," he said.

Months earlier, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon called John Kerry "obsessive and messianic." 

He denounced his peace plan. Calling it "not worth the paper it was written on." 

"(S)imply not connected to reality," Calling him "not an honest broker." Wishing he would win "the Nobel prize and leave us alone."

During Ya'alon's recent Washington visit, Kerry and national security advisor Susan Rice refused to meet with him. According to Goldberg:

"Netanyahu, and the even more hawkish ministers around him, seem to have decided that their short-term political futures rest on a platform that can be boiled down to this formula: 'The whole world is against us. Only we can protect Israel from what’s coming.' "

On October 30, Kerry expressed concern about escalating tensions across Jerusalem and particularly surrounding the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount."

He referred to violence following its closure. After radicalized right-wing rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot and seriously wounded. 

Before Al-Aqsa's Friday reopening, Kerry added:

"The continued commitment by Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians to preserve the historic status quo at this holy site is critical. Any decisions or actions to change it would be both provocative and dangerous." 

"The Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount must be re-opened to Muslim worshipers and I support the long-standing practices regarding non-Muslim visitors to the site, consistent with respect for the status quo arrangements governing religious observance there."

Following Friday prayers, protest marches are expected throughout the West Bank, Tensions remain high.

Jerusalem's Fatah chapter called for a day of rage following Mutaz Hijazi's murder. Israeli police blamed him for killing Glick.

Despite no evidence proving it. Denying him due process. Murdering him in cold blood. It's longstanding Israeli practice. He never had a chance.

According to Fatah's Jerusalem secretary-general, Adnan Ghaith, killing Hijazi was an Israeli "act of terrorism." 

Its "crimes are systematically increasing to target Jerusalem through killing, detentions, assaults, demolishing houses, and preventing worshipers from praying inside the compounds of the Al-Aqsa mosque."

Persecuting Palestinians led directly to Glick's shooting, he added. East Jerusalem residents live in Israeli stolen territory.

They're non-citizens. Subject to permit permission revocation for remaining away from the city beyond a specified period. With no right of appeal.

Treated like nonpersons. Discriminated against in all aspects of their lives. Including housing, employment, healthcare, education and other vital services.

Separation Wall blockage denies them access to West Bank services. Jerusalem is legally considered an international city. A corpus separatum (separate body) under a UN Trusteeship Council.

At the same time, East Jerusalem is recognized as Palestinian territory. Israel's annexation is illegitimate.

Nothing is done to change things. Longstanding injustice prevails.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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