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Free America from Israeli lobby

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David Ben-Gurion (First Prime Minister of Isra...

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Stephen M. Walt is a professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of “Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy” and, with co-author John J. Mearsheimer, “The Israel Lobby”. Excerpts from his article

“It is true that both states [US and Israel] are formally democratic, but there are also fundamental differences between the two countries. The United States is a liberal democracy, where people of any race, religion, or ethnicity are supposed to enjoy equal rights. Israel, by contrast, was explicitly founded as a Jewish state, and non-Jews in Israel are second-class citizens both de jure and de facto. To take but one example, Palestinians who marry Israeli Jews are not permitted to become citizens of Israel themselves. This may make sense given Israel’s self-definition, but it is wholly at odds with deep-rooted American values.

Just as importantly, Israel’s democratic status is undermined by its imposition of a legal, administrative, and military regime in the occupied territories that denies the Palestinians their basic human rights, as well as by its prolonged, government-backed effort to colonize these conquered lands with Jewish settlers. Like all colonial enterprises, maintaining Israeli control of the occupied territories depends on heavy-handed coercion. Such behavior is at odds with core American values — as U.S. administrations of both parties have said repeatedly, if not forcefully enough”

How Israel is not a strategic asset for USA

“…is that Israel is a unique strategic asset, implying that unconditional support for Israel makes Americans safer at home. For example, he claims that Israel maintains stability in the eastern Mediterranean. But that is not true. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 made the region less stable and led directly to the creation of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia. The United States eventually had to send troops into Lebanon because Israel had created such a mess, and that decision led to a suicide attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in which 241 American servicemen died. Similarly, Israel’s assault on Lebanon in 2006 killed more than a thousand Lebanese (many of them civilians), inflicted billions of dollars of property damage, undermined the U.S.-backed “Cedar Revolution,” and enhanced Hezbollah’s political influence within Lebanon.

Finally, Israeli control of the occupied territories led directly to the first and second intifadas and the brutal 2008-2009 war on Gaza — all of which created enormous popular blowback in the region. None of these events were in America’s strategic interest, and they belie the claim that Israel is somehow bringing “stability” to the region.

Israel’s limited strategic value is further underscored by its inability to contribute to a more crucial U.S. interest: access to oil in the Persian Gulf. Israel could not help preserve American access to oil after the Shah of Iran fell in 1979, so the United States had to create its own Rapid Deployment Force, which could not operate out of Israel. When the U.S. Navy was busy escorting oil tankers during the Iran-Iraq War, Israel did nothing to help, and it remained on the sidelines in the 1991 Gulf War as well. In fact, after Saddam Hussein fired Scud missiles at Israel in a failed attempt to provoke it into joining the war and disrupting the Gulf War coalition, the United States had to divert military assets from that fight in order to protect Israel. As historian Bernard Lewis (a strong supporter of Israel) remarked afterward, “The change [in Israel’s strategic value] was clearly manifested in the Gulf War…. Israel was not an asset, but an irrelevance — some even said a nuisance.”


Written by S Ibrahim

May 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm

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