OK Folks, time to put down the razor blades. Back away from the open window, despite rumors to the contrary, there is no Obama/Netanyahu Celebrity Boxing match going on. Israel/US relations are NOT at the lowest point in the past 61 years,and I spoke to someone in Tel Aviv an hour ago and he assures me that the sky is not falling.
People are pointing to recent statements out of the US Government to prove that the US is abandoning Israel. Lets look at the facts:
- Call for a two-state solution. Hillary Clinton was the first person associated with any administration to call for a two-state solution. She actually “outed herself” before her husband when he was the President. Bill quickly chimed in. George W Bush Called for a two state solution. Obama is continuing in that tradition. On the Israeli side, every Prime Minister after Rabin called for two states, that included Bibi the first time, and Bibi now.
- Dismantling Israeli Settlements. Since Jimmy Carter was president (maybe before), every US President has called for Israel to stop building and dismantle existing, settlements on the other side of the “green line.” Obama’s position is no different.
- Talks With Iran. President Obama’s policy of reaching out to Iran is misguided. Its the wrong approach for the United States and in the end may be very harmful to US allies in the middle east including, but not limited to Israel, but Jordan and Saudi Arabia also. These Iranian discussions are no way directed toward hurting Israel. There is no evidence that Obama is looking to trade our relationship with Israel for a new friendship with Iran.
George W.Bush did not want Israel to bomb Iran, neither does Barack Obama. Just as Menachem Begin destroyed the nuclear plant in Iraq over US objections 28 years ago, If Iran gets close to a bomb, Bibi Netanyahu will find a way to destroy their capabilities without US permission. Should this happen, Israel will be punished with a loss of arms deals, just as they were in 1981.
- America Outing Israel’s Nukes? The “big story” that broke yesterday that at a U.N. meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, said Israel should join the treaty which would require Israel to declare and relinquish its nuclear arsenal. “Universal adherence to the NPT itself, including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea, … remains a fundamental objective of the United States,” Ms. Gottemoeller told the meeting, according to Reuters. According to an Israel Foreign Ministry source the statement did not signal a significant policy change from the United States.
Israel has always given a “non-denial, denial of its nuclear capabilities. Whenever asked about the program, the answer given is “Israel will not be the first to introduce nuclear arms into a conflict.” The United States has always accepted this position and chances are they will continue to accept it.
A contact of mine in Israel suggested that the statement Gottemoller made had more to do with India and Pakistan than Israel, which makes much sense. The US wants Pakistan to forget about India and press the fight against the Taliban. Pakistan and Indian participation in the NPT may serve to ease tensions on their joint border and allow Pakistan to concentrate on the Afghanistan side of the country.
When you put together all of the recent “threats” of an American/Israeli divorce you are simply left with a basket full of same old, same old. That’s not to say that President Obama won’t end up betraying the long held friendship between Israel and the United States. I believe that concern is justified. But we won’t really know anything until after Bibi’s meetings with the US President in a week.
Until then, just like Chicken Little, if Israel supporters keep screaming that the sky is falling when it isn’t, no one will listen to us when/if the sky does indeed fall.