One perplexing result of the Democratic win last week was for President Bush to start consulting with, an old family favorite former Secretary of State Baker and his Iraq Study Group (ISG) to help him with Iraq and middle east issues. While Baker served under Bush Sr., he has long been a favorite of Democrats like Pres. Clinton and Carter as well as John Kerry. The reason: his pro Arab, anti-Israel policies.
The American Thinker describes the ISG as :
The Iraq Study Group (ISG), a purportedly bi-partisan group chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, has been convening hearings and soliciting opinions from experts regarding the future course America should take regarding Iraq. This process has been taking place far from the glare of public lights – perhaps so as to not affect the midterm elections. However, now that the midterm elections are over, various leaks seem to have sprung. James Baker has been promoting his new book and actually tipped his hand a bit, as allusions have appeared in the press that the group will seemingly expand its mandate to cover the entire Middle East. If true, this has ominous implications for Israel, as various observers have indicated that the report will advise America to pressure Israel to make concessions to the Hamas-run Palestinian Government. This despite Hamas’ oft-stated goal (in its founding Charter) to destroy Israel
You remember Jim Baker he was the one, when he was Secretary of State said, “F**K the Jews, they didn’t vote for us anyway” Baker was also the one who during the first Gulf war told Israel to simply suck it up for the greater good and take Iraq’s Scud attacks without responding.
When Baker ran the state department under the first President Bush, he was famous for his distain of Israel and tilting American Foreign Policy toward the Palestinians.
Baker repeatedly blamed the government of Yitzhak Shamir, rather than intransigence of the Arab world, for the absence of a negotiated settlement. Appearing before the House Foreign Affairs committee in June 1990, Baker listed the phone number of the White House’s switchboard and angrily retorted, in reference to Israel, “When you are serious about peace, call us!” Baker also denounced Israel’s refusal to deal with alleged Palestinian “moderates,” stating, “with such an approach there would never be a dialogue on peace.” Heedless of the political realities, Baker organized a conference on the Arab-Israeli conflict in July of 1991, citing the participation of Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia as evidence that the Arab world truly desired peace – this even as the Palestinians, with the vocal approval of neighboring Arab states, escalated their intifada to unprecedented levels of violence. (FrontPage October 11, 06)
Another key member of the ISG is Ray Close, a former CIA Agent who is no friend of Israel. During the Hezbollah war he not only said that the response was disproportional, but basically accused Israel of a national policy of genocide:
The national philosophy (it is really deeper and more significant that just a military tactic) that underlies this devotion to massive over-reaction, and particularly its corollary, collective punishment, is obviously and demonstrably foolish and futile. It does not intimidate or deter the Palestinians, and it never will. (no quarter July 06)
Yesterday Debka showed how the Baker influence is already affecting policy
Israel, in contrast, will find itself high and dry in the Middle East. After being downgraded by the Lebanon War’s outcome, the Olmert government will be obliged to accept the crack of the American whip – at least until it can build a new security option that is not dependent on Washington’s new Middle East strategy. A clear-eyed evaluation of this prospect was ventured Friday, Nov. 10, by the new deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh, who urged Israel in a Jerusalem Post interview to prepare to thwart Iran’s drive for a nuclear capability “at all costs”. The chances of the international community instituting effective sanctions against Iran were not high, said Sneh. “My working assumption is that they won’t succeed.” If Iran is allowed to acquire the bomb, he said, many people will leave Israel because no one is keen to be “scorched.” Ahmadinejad will be able to “wipe out the Zionist dream without pushing a button.” The Israeli official’s comment was a rejoinder to the US ambassador to Israel Richard Jones’ dismissal of Israel’s ability to mount a military operation against Iran. Speaking to a select group of Israeli journalists on Nov. 7 – under cover of an anonymous “senior American official,” Jones warned Israel against attempting an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations because, in America’s opinion, it could not succeed. But no sooner had the deputy defense minister spoken, when the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem denied that Sneh had represented the views of Ehud Olmert. By this denial, the Israeli prime minister cut out the ground ahead his Washington talks from under any independent Israeli posture in its own defense, which might have offset the deep erosion in American support for Israel
I should mention that Baker and is ISG does have support from the Democratic Party, including people like John Kerry and Jimmy Carter. But when the President did not pay heed to the commission it became a big campaign issue. Years from now, the ISG will be pointed as one of the first Bush reactions to losing congress, and the first step in the Democratic Party’s selling out of Israel.