William PFAFF End the Israeli-American Alliance

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

William Pfaff in his most recent column (replicated below) suggests that it is high time to end the Israeli-American alliance. At first blush, it sounds like an excellent idea, and in a sane world, it would be acted upon. However, we are not living in a sane world. Under the prevailing circumstances, let me assure you that there is no chance whatever that Obama does anything. Or his successor. It is out of the question. Pfaff is way too smart not to know that.

The underlying assumption that the US (Washington) is a separate

country, capable of independent action, is false. Washington cannot act. Technically of course the US is a separate entity, but in reality the White House and the Congress have been successfully suborned. Politicians and even the non-political policy-makers are entirely beholden to any agenda mandated by the Israel Lobby. The current “grass cutting” in Gaza proves this circumstance beyond any doubt.

American politicians are are falling all over themselves at the moment to hop on a plane for Israel to pay their obeisance. This is not a straw in the wind or an aberration. This is business as usual. As for the 2-state solution, that is now utterly impossible. With the death of Arafat, that option became a fantasy. Moreover, isn't it crystal clear that Netanyahu and Associates have no interest in such an outcome? They have all the cards; why should they fold? Who can stop them? No one has tried because everyone knows who is in charge.


End the Israeli-American Alliance

[William Pfaff ]

Paris, August 20, 2014 – Nearly every intelligent witness to the nearly seven decades of Israel’s alliance with the United States and Western Europe now understands that the affair needs to end.

In 1948 and the years that immediately followed, the alliance was the salvation of Israel and an obligation upon Western Europe. This was because of what had been done to Europe’s Jews during the war, and not only by the Nazis.

The Arab nations’ attempt to destroy the UN creation of a Jewish national home at the expense of the Palestinians was also widely understood, and granted a certain international sympathy, but in 1948 the Arab states carried little political weight against the array of West European states and the United States, at a moment when the cold war was beginning.

To American politicians, and European ones also, the electoral support of mobilized Jewish national communities was a force of consequence as well. The race between American and Soviet governments to be the first to recognize the new state was won by proclamation by Harry Truman, but Moscow was the first to grant formal diplomatic recognition to the new state of Israel, which it perceived as a possible ally in the Middle East.

Popular sympathy for Israel was widest among liberals in the United States and the European Left – which today is no longer the case. Anti-Semitism was still a force of consequence: America before and during the Second World War had done little for Europe’s persecuted Jews.

Today in the United States the endorsement of Israel and financial support from the American Jewish community remain important but diminishing factors in American politics. Liberal sympathies have moved leftward, hostile to Israel, most significantly among younger Jews and the elites of the community, with growing sympathy for the Palestinian cause and the international boycott and divestment movement, which opposes the advance of Jewish colonization of what is legally Palestinian territory, and now, above all, reacts against the ruthless methods of the Israeli government in suppressing Palestinian armed resistance in Gaza to the expropriation of Palestinian lands and property, and to Arab demands for civil rights.

Internationally, the all but unlimited support given Israel in its foreign and domestic policies by the United States does growing, if as yet cautiously expressed, harm to the American reputation in Western Europe and virtually everywhere else in the world – the developing world in particular.

This alliance is taken as identifying the United States as an oppressor nation and “imperialist” state, the latter judgment reinforced by American policies nearly everywhere in the non-western world since the war in Vietnam, immensely reinforced by American Middle Eastern interventions and the disastrous invasion of Iraq with its ruinous consequences for the Islamic world. America’s massive national as well as international clandestine intelligence and electronic interception activities now have given it the reputation of a quasi-totalitarian state.

The alliance of the United States with Israel has become internationally seen as an alliance of international lawbreakers, which literally is true because of the indifference both states demonstrate to the established norms and conventions of international justice. The United States facilitates the continuing aggressive and illegal Israeli annexation of territories assigned to the Palestinian people by the 1948 United Nations ruling that established a Jewish National Home in the British mandated colony of Palestine.

For Israel the alliance has become something more sinister, an inducement as well as license to international law-breaking. The war that has just taken place between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel began with deliberate provocation on both sides. Hamas activists contested Israel’s domination of Gaza, and invited military repression of a scale and degree of indiscriminate and illegal violence that would discredit Israel, and indirectly its American sponsor and arms supplier.

Israel’s response to this provocation was what Hamas expected, and for which it sacrificed (to date) over two thousand Palestinian lives, mostly civilian, and the destruction of a number of United Nations schools, hospitals and other installations, bringing upon Israel – and its American ally -- the expected international ignominy Hamas wished to invoke.

These actions also produced still another blow to the conscience of those individual Israelis and friends of Israel who for some sixty years have perceived that it is a posthumous triumph of Nazism to have turned the survivors of the Holocaust into persecutors of the Palestinians. It has also turned Americans into their accomplices.

It now is time to terminate the Israeli-American alliance. It has contributed to a profound corruption of both nations that in the end, when it comes to an end – and it will – may turn these allies into enemies, igniting in the United States an unforgiving anger at America’s exploitation, and against those responsible for the exploitation.

A former Israeli diplomat, Alon Pinkas, has recently written (in New York’s Jewish Week) of the alliance that “there is some confusion in Israel borne of an exaggerated sense of self-importance. The strategic asset in this equation is the U.S. for Israel, not the other way around. Since the fall of the Soviet Union there has been no struggle of superpowers in the Middle East.

He goes on: “As of today the U.S. is in the midst of redefining its regional interests, taking a clear – if slow – direction towards disengagement. The reasons relate to energy independence, a disappointment with the Arab world, a public opinion hostile to America's over-involvement in the world, and its attention and energy shifting to other corners of the globe. All of these have led the U.S. to reexamine its position, its role, and its interests in the Middle East.”

The time has arrived when this American administration (the better choice, since it has the freedom to act of a departing government) or the next can and should say to Israel that the time is overdue for it to conclude with the Palestinians a two-state settlement, on the terms that have been long negotiated, and are well known to both parties and the international community.

Washington should say to Israel’s leaders that Israel has a limited time to accomplish this settlement. If it is not done within that period, the United States will unilaterally terminate its military and political alliance with Israel.

It will end its financial and material aid, and terminate the cooperation of its military services with Israel. It will no longer support Israel in the United Nations other than on occasions when that support is clearly merited.

Israel’s formal and informal agencies of influence and political action inside the United States will be allowed to function only if they are properly registered as the agencies of a foreign government and their conduct made fully transparent. This should preclude illusions harbored by such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who on several recent occasions has threatened the White House that he can make Congress override the presidency because he controls Congress -- thus calling into question the patriotism of America’s legislators.


William Pfaff is the author of The Irony of Manifest Destiny, published in June 2010 by Walker and Company (New York) -- his tenth and culminating work on international politics and the American destiny. He describes the neglected sources and unforeseen consequences of the tragedy towards which the nation's current effort to remake the world to fit America's measure is leading. His previous books and his articles in The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and his syndicated newspaper column, featured for a quarter century in the globally read International Herald Tribune, have made him one of America's most respected and internationally influential interpreters of world affairs.