Has Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu inadvertently undermined the Israeli lobby in the U.S.?
Whether you're fiercely supportive of the State of Israel (including the current government of Prime Minister Netanyahu), or you see the pro-Israel lobby in the United States as TOO powerful - distorting U.S. foreign policy in the Middle-East and undermining the U.S. war on terrorism - you're going to want to read this provocative piece in FOREIGN POLICY on line from David Rothkopf.
Rothkopf argues Netanyahu - by being blatantly partisan in this U.S. Presidential election - has actually undermined the clout of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States. And considering U.S. Jews don't vote in lockstep, and many dislike Netanyahu's ties to the U.S. Right, even the "leak" that President Obama supposedly rejected a meeting with the mercurial Israeli Prime Minister LOST its potency.
Here's Rothkopf's piece in FOREIGN POLICY, timed for Rosh Hashanah...
Apparently our president would rather go on Letterman, fundraise with 1% Jay-Z and hang out with "pirates" instead of meeting with our ALLY...Bibi knows the prez has backed the Arab Spring and it is going exactly how Bibi predicted. It's time to fire this president and start rebuilding our reputation in the rest of the world, we tried the hope/change and Peace thru Pacification and now the Middle East is on fire.
Have you forgotten that President George W. Bush called for democratic reforms around the Middle-East, and pressed the Israelis to allow an election in Gaza which unleashed some of these forces?
Have you forgotten that previous Israeli Governments disliked James Baker in the Reagan and George H. W Bush Administrations and Zbigniew Brzezinski in the Carter Administration; even Henry Kissinger in the Nixon Administration (himself a Jew), but those earlier Israeli governments never ever projected such a partisan role in U.S. domestic politics? Netanyahu has even alienated many U.S. Jews.
Have you forgotten that the current Administration was arguably dragged into the Arab Spring kicking and screaming? Did you forget the period last spring when the Obama Administration still expressed support for President Mubarak, even though it was pretty clear he was going down?
Have you forgotten the reports that the current Administration HAS provided the Netanyahu government with bunker-buster bombs?
Have you forgotten how some Republicans had urged President Obama to intervene more decisively on behalf of the anti-Assad rebels, even though the Administration has resisted... knowing that those rebels include many Islamist elements, arguably a greater proportion than existed among the anti-Khadaffy forces in Libya? Instead, the Administration has opted for more covert action at the Turkish--Syrian border, trying to channel weapons to the anti-Assad opposition that doesn't appear to be as rabidly Islamist. It's admittedly a difficult balancing act.
I also note that you never really refute any of David Rothkopf's points.
Let me make a prediction: Under ANY President, U.S. Middle-East policy will resemble a game of Twister, because - as I've noted before on this blog - you have an inherently irreconcilable contradiction between two American values: Championing democracy and majority rule (which, short-term, means Islamist governments in much of the Middle-East), and the general U.S. moral support for the State of Israel!
Thu, Sep 20, 2012 1:08pm
Mr. Loudell, I have not forgotten the list of history you posted above showing how all administrations have (and will always) walk a political tightrope in the Middle East. My memory concerning this administration and the Arab Spring is that they were very supportive of the Arab Spring and supported it... many "established" GOP'ers were supportive as well, but those "crazy" Tea Partiers predicted the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and warned it would become what we now have in the Middle East...chaos and rise of militant Islamists.
I believe Netanyahu is blatantly positioning against our current leader because he does not trust Mr. Obama to defend Israel if push comes to shove. George Bush, Reagan and probably Clinton would have, but neither Bibi nor myself believe this administration will lift a finger if Israel is attacked or if she attacks...Israel is on its own if they want to survive. Maybe this partisanship has weakened the Jewish lobby but Netanyahu thinks Israel is gone without the help from Romney and the US.
Thu, Sep 20, 2012 1:29pm
I believe even within a Romney Administration, some Republican foreign policy advisers would counsel Romney to discourage an Israeli attack on Iran for all the potentially negative consequences we've noted in this blog.
That said, I suspect either a Romney OR a second Obama Administration would SUPPORT Israel once such an attack became inevitable... a fait accompli... although perhaps for slightly differing reasons.
However, a hidden story right now: Oil markets saw a precipitous drop in oil prices Monday. Still unclear: Who dumped some 13,000 contracts of CME's West Texas Intermediate crude oil contract, and 10,000 contracts of the Intercontinental Exchanges Brent/BFOE crude oil contract into the international markets, taking the floor out beneath petroleum prices?
It has been suggested Catherine Ashton, lead negotiator for the Permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, had "constructive" talks with Iran's Foreign Minister, and these talks took place at the Iranian consulate, and THAT triggered this reaction.
IF this continues, we avert a crisis (for now), and oil prices will drop precipitously. That could reap big political benefits for President Obama's re-election, obviously.
Thu, Sep 20, 2012 3:50pm
Jewish support for Obama in Florida down 7 points from 2008.
"While Jews approve of how Obama is handling “the economy,” “health care,” and “national security” (by margins of 64%, 69% and 76% respectively), figures related to Israel are lower.
Thus, 74% would support Israeli military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program, an action the Obama administration has vehemently opposed at this stage in both public and private statements.
While Florida Jewish voters favor Democrats over Republicans on national security (by 66% vs. 27%), and on the economy (68% vs. 28%), the Democratic lead narrows significantly when voters are asked about the parties’ handling of US-Israeli relations (54% vs. 35%).
And, while Obama enjoys a 61% approval rating for his handling of the US-Israel relationship, Florida Jewish voters give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who has clashed repeatedly with Obama on several issues — a 72% approval rating in handling the relationship.
On Iran, 94% are “concerned” (79% are “very concerned”; 15% are “somewhat concerned”) about “the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.” A smaller majority (53% vs. 43%), believe it is unlikely that diplomacy and sanctions will stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. And 62% support US military action if diplomacy and sanctions fail. As already noted, an even higher number, 74%, support an Israeli military action, while only 17% oppose such an action."
Thu, Sep 20, 2012 6:49pm
EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! World's first pizza museum opens in Philadelphia!
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