“The dog that didn’t bark” is an expression from a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It was an important clue that led to identifying the criminal. It seems that the killer entered and left the estate grounds one night but without the guard dog barking an alarm at the intruder’s presence as expected. From this non-event Holmes reasoned that the dog must have known the killer and that clue led to solving the case.
There is an analogy to U.S. Mid-East policy where U.S. silence, i.e. our failure to “bark” when we should, in the face of outrageous events is also a clue to U.S. attitudes. We can contrast the significance of when the U.S. “barks” and when it is silent.
We observe that when Israel defends itself the Administration is very capable of promptly barking its disapproval. For example when Israeli forces entered Judea and Samaria to root out terrorist murderers, Colin Powell had no trouble barking at Israel in a nasty manner for them to get out and be quick about it, and such outbursts also carry an implied threat. When Israel began construction of its security fence this Administration was quick to criticize and, for a time, to punish Israel by reducing loan guarantees by some 300 million dollars. When Israel assassinated terrorist leaders, who had so much blood on their hands, the Administration was also quick to warn Israel to consider the consequences of its actions.
All this establishes that the Administration watches every detail of Israeli actions and is quick to issue public criticisms and warnings to distance itself from our only true ally. This serves to accentuate the contrast between criticism of Israel vs. its noticeable silence in the face of Arab crimes and pronouncements.
On the other hand when the U.S. fails to respond to Arab outrages against Israel, that silence is significant. For the record it is true that when Arafat’s killers slaughter innocent Jews in especially large numbers the Administration will serve up a perfunctory condemnation of the act, a growl, so to speak. But there is no holding the killers responsible nor any withholding of funds to the PA as was done for a while with Israel. The U.S. message is clear. No bark, no bite. The Arabs can safely disregard those pronouncements because it is only an empty public relations gesture in return for which Israel is expected to show gratitude, practice more restraint, and the killers again go unpunished.
U.S. silence is highly significant when Israel’s enemies make direct threats and issue inflammatory lies. When Saddam Hussein earlier threatened to “burn half of Israel” there was no American comment. Iran has repeatedly threatened Israel with annihilation once they acquire nuclear weapons and regardless of any Israeli peace with the Palestinians. No public denunciation from the administration. When Arafat, in Arabic, incites his people to continue to slaughter Jews - again silence. When Arafat displays his map of the Middle East with NO Israel - more silence. Arafat indoctrinates Palestinian children with murderous hatred of Jews along with layer upon layer of lies. Not only is there no U.S. criticism but Arafat’s PA continues to receive hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. When Egypt trains for its next war against Israel with U.S.-supplied weapons and incites its people with raw anti-Semitism - again more silence. When Saudi Arabia pours forth Nazi-type invective against Israel and Jews - continued silence.
Going beyond the above, the State Department conducts an even more active policy of a double standard against Israel. It not only ignores evidence of flagrant Arab crimes against Israel, but it demands that Israel accept these crimes without protest. Mr. David Bedein of the Israel Resource News Agency has published a list of 20 such actions by the State Department in his Aug. 4, 2003 article titled, Is the State Department on the Saudi Payroll? .
These are only a few of the many egregious actions that are constantly going on. And yet successive administrations, and the State Department, continue to behave like the dog that didn’t bark. Israel’s Arab enemies certainly observe all this and they may draw conclusions about the real attitudes of the U.S. administration.
The Administration’s cynical excuse is that they want to be “even handed” in their Mid East policy. One cannot be “even handed” between aggressors and the aggressor’s victims. The hard reality is that the administration is actually practicing a consistent double standard against Israel which is even worse than being unfairly “even handed.”
The question is what kind of game is being played here? In truth this policy has been in place from the birth of Israel. It is not hard to guess that the State Department, which leads our foreign policy, is maneuvering between two conflicting forces. One force is the pro-Israel sentiment among the American people and the U.S. Congress to support a loyal and democratic ally. The other force is pressure from the numerous Arab and Islamic governments, combined with our need for their oil. That would be bad enough but the gratuitous nastiness that often accompanies State Department actions towards Israel suggests that there is also an additional element of domestic anti-Semitism that exists independently of balancing conflicting geopolitical interests and independently of America’s national interest.
The Arabs are adept at this type of politics. Their posture is always that of pretending to be aggrieved victims of what they call “Israeli aggression” and their endless complaining that America uncritically supports Israel. And behind this is their perpetual threat of the Arab and Moslem masses rising up in outrage against American interests. As long as U.S. policy makers succumb to these threats, they will continue to be made and we will remain hostage to them.
But as with a cancerous growth, our failure to respond early and morally is leading to a metastasis of hatred from being directed mainly against Israel to now targeting other countries, including the U.S. We see it in Saudi Arabia which long supported terrorism against Israel but which recently has come under internal terrorist attack. The Saudis are now very strong to fight terrorism, but only inside their own kingdom. And the U.S. has long ignored anti-Israeli terrorism as long as it was mainly Israelis who were killed. Even in the early 1970’s when Arafat’s thugs kidnapped and murdered American diplomats Cleo Noel and George C. Moore in Khartoum, Sudan, U.S. policy even then was to play down the threat in the expectation that it would remain very contained and limited. Today we find ourselves becoming as much of a target as Israel.
Nevertheless our policy of selective silence remains largely unchanged. We still ignore the existential danger to Israel, our most loyal and most supportive ally. But we also deliver another unintended lesson to our enemies and to our few remaining friends. The lesson is that the U.S. will betray a loyal friend in order to appease an enemy in the hope that it will somehow work to our benefit. Egypt, Arabia, France, China, Russia and others all betray us and yet we call them friends and there is no price for them to pay. And then we wonder why so may nations feel entirely free to turn against us.
It would also be unfair to place all the blame on the morally corrupt U.S. officials and especially the State Department. Much of the blame must also be shared by the defective, and insufficiently assertive American Jewish leadership. They also resemble “The dog that didn’t bark” when they should have boldly spoken truth to power. The Jewish left in America makes matters even worse by masquerading as supporting peace even while they loudly “bark” their support for Israel’s enemies. Israel is our most loyal and most supportive ally; therefore those who betray Israel also betray America’s national interest.
Matti Friedman, former AP journalist, spoke at a BICOM dinner in London on January 26. His speech is an absolute must-read. (h/t Alex) U...
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