Thursday, February 04, 2016

Vic Rosenthal's weekly column:



So it turns out that the advice Hillary Clinton gets from her advisers regarding Israel is overwhelmingly anti-Israel:
…the stream of anti-Israel advice received by Hillary was much more comprehensive than that which came from just [Sidney Blumenthal]. In the entire batch of Hillary’s emails, you will be hard pressed to find a single email that is sympathetic towards the Jewish state, from any of the people on whom she relied. …

These emails seem to demonstrate that a huge segment of her close advisers and confidants were attacking Israel, condemning Netanyahu, and strategizing about how to force Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria at all costs.

Someone recently remarked that “soon the US will get a president from the SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine] generation,” and that this is true of younger staff members already. Clinton is old enough to know better, but it seems she is hearing only one side of the story.

President Obama, too, is a special case. He is ahead of most of his age group, probably because of his third-world anti-Western orientation. But soon most educated Americans will have absorbed what is becoming the conventional wisdom: Israel bad, Palestinian Arabs good. 

The universities are not the only institutions working overtime against us. The US media systematically underreports Arab terrorism: how many Americans know that since October 1, virtually every day has seen at least one murder or attempted murder of an Israeli Jew by an Arab? And much of the media implicitly or explicitly promotes the administration’s position that the reason the conflict continues is that “Israel is building settlements and won’t negotiate” – both false propositions.

There isn’t much that can be expected from over-educated academics, who live on a planet that exists only on the insides of their eyelids, and under-informed media people who care more about access to administration sources than truth. But what’s with the hard-headed political analysts that are advising the candidates? They are supposed to be developing policies that will advance the interests of the US in the world. Are they unaware that the world has changed significantly since the 1990s?

I have always believed that it was both in America’s practical interest and consistent with its values to back Israel. But until recently, it was possible to argue (and many did) that the need to guarantee the oil supply required the US to maintain good relations with the Arab nations – which implied that it had to continue to try to force Israel to abandon all the territory it had come to control in 1967.

But in the past decade and a half, several very significant events have occurred which have vitiated this argument. They are:

  •  Technological developments that have increased the oil supply, especially in the US and Canada, and have brought about a precipitous reduction in the world price of oil,
  • The burgeoning Sunni jihad against the West, and
  •  The advance of Iran in the region, aided by the splintering of its traditional enemy, Iraq, and by its recent diplomatic and financial gains from its humiliation of the US in nuclear negotiations.

America no longer needs to live in fear of the Arab ‘oil weapon’. At the same time, it is menaced by both the Sunni jihad pursued by groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and the Shiite one of soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. The US then has a very practical interest in fighting the Sunni jihad and restraining Iran, as well as supporting Israel – which is the key to defending Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt against the jihadists of both stripes.

The “domino theory” applies here. If Israel goes down, so do its neighbors – and so does the rest of the eastern Mediterranean region. And there is no doubt that the Sunni and Shiite jihads are pressuring Israel with an eye on Europe. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claims that the IS will “conquer Rome,” and it isn’t unimaginable that it might succeed.

The Obama Administration has taken a course almost completely opposed to America’s real interests, supporting the Muslim Brotherhood – part of the axis of jihad – allowing Iran a free hand in Iraq and Syria as well as failing to interdict its nuclear program, not taking serious action against the IS, and doing its best to force Israel to accept indefensible borders. 

Barack Obama not only won’t act against it, he refuses even to admit that jihadist Islam is a threat to the West.

Obama’s motives are opaque, but they are probably composed of anti-colonialist ideology, a strong pro-Islamic and anti-Western bias, historical ignorance, and cowardice in the face of terrorist threats (like that historically displayed by European leaders). Regardless of the reason, his policy can seriously damage the US in the long run, exposing it to the threat of terrorism and even nuclear attack. And if it is in the American interest to keep the entire Middle East from becoming a jihadist stronghold, a strong Israel is the best defense. 

So what’s wrong with Hillary Clinton’s advisers? Probably they are less concerned with the American interest than with personal interests. Although the Saudi regime is threatened by the IS, Saudi individuals are its biggest backers. They have a history of buying influence by paying off American functionaries – sometimes after they leave office, as in the case of Bill Clinton and of course Jimmy Carter. There are also persistent rumors that Hillary’s closest assistant and adviser, Huma Abedin, is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The continued anti-Israel (and essentially pro-jihad) American policy is profoundly immoral, contrary to traditional American values, and not justifiable in terms of Realpolitik or in any other way. Its practitioners are either antisemitic or corrupt, and if it is not changed, it may result in the destruction of the Jewish state and a triumph for the Islamic jihad. 

In that case, historians will write that if the first blow of World War III was struck on 9/11, its turning point against the West and toward Islam was the loss of Israel. Assuming anyone is left to write from a Western viewpoint, they will not be kind to those American leaders who sold Israel – and ultimately their own country – out.

A new American president will have the opportunity to reverse this irrational and dangerous policy. Here’s a tip for the folks advising Hillary and the other candidates: as my father used to say, the American people are not as dumb as they look. 



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