Friday, March 16, 2012

WW3 as a Distraction?

Palestinian faces off with IDF soldier        (c) Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images         

Click here for related story [Washington Times]   Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images

We note with dismay that Netanyahu's saber-rattling has become much more violent and virulent in tone -- apparently to shore up his domestic political standing  -- and perhaps to distract the US from the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  In his most recent incendiary comment, Netanyahu warns that Israel will unilaterally start WW3 by attacking Iran, with or without the consent of the US.

Of course, once he has launched such an attack, he presumes it is a given that the US would come t to Israel's assistance.  We're reminded of a grade school bully who wanders the yard picking fights, and then runs to the schoolyard proctor for protection when his victims fight back.

We recognize Israel's need to defend itself from its many enemies; but Netanyahu's extremist rhetoric threatens to tip the balance in the Middle East -- already on shaky ground from the Arab Spring upheavals.

We're not sure who our troops are defending 
We have been drawn into war in the Middle East on two fronts, at huge expense and with horrendous loss of life by our troops.

We initiated this involvement on advice that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and that Afghanistan was the haven for Islamic terrorists -- poised to repeat their attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Mr. Netanyahu may feel that since the governments of his Arab neighbors are in turmoil at the moment from their rebellious populations; thus, they might be too distracted to react should Israel launch a "preemptive strike" on Iran to destroy its nuclear bomb capability.

We believe his is misguided thinking, apparently from his perception that Israel's political influence in the US can and will dictate US foreign policy -- and military options.

Orthodox Jews protest Netanyahu's visit
Congressional leadership gave control of its podium to Netanyah so he could counter President Obama's resistance to Netanyahu's demands.

And, predictably,  our politicians rose in standing ovations to visibly voice their support for Israel -- lest they alienate their Jewish constituents or AIPAC.  

However, Netanyahu's support may be suffering a bit of resistance elsewhere -- from critics in his own country.

Jewish critics outside Israel voiced their views on Netanyahu's interference in US politics by demonstrating against his visit and his demands.

Jane Eisner of the British Guardian advised

"Netanyahu, don't be fooled by the applause.  Jews in the United States do not like finding themselves in the position of choosing between their President and the Prime Minister of Israel ... we like to see consensus, a smooth connection, the enunciation not just of shared values, but a shared approach to geopolitical challenges."

Michael Cohen of Foreign Policy Magazine notes

"The idea that Congress would openly side with a foreign leader against the President of the United States seems too far-fetched to believe.  Remarkably, however, something not dissimilar happened in Washington Tuesday.  The intention of [Netanyahu's] speech was to give Netanyahu a public forum to offer a rebuttal to President Obama's recent proposal for moving forward with the Arab-Israeli peace process."

We, as Conservatives, are now placed in the rather awkward position of supporting President Obama -- whom we frequently criticize, and opposing GOP leadership -- in whose judgment we are becoming increasingly uncomfortable of late.

Leading Conservatism in DC

Republicans, and Washington Think Tanks [Liberal and Conservative] have increasingly come under the political and financial dominance of Israel's lobbyists.

None are about to reject the large cash infusions and media pressure, and the results become fairly evident as our politicians cast their votes -- and incline us to another unwelcome conflict in the Middle East -- "to protect Israel."

Some say that the origin of much of this lobbying cash comes from the $4 Billion Congress authorizes for foreign aid to Israel each year; but that has never been confirmed.

As a footnote, we recognize that Netanyahu's fiery rhetoric also serves as a distraction from President Obama's proposed peace process tied to a "settlement negotiation".

Obama seeks a two state solution accommodating both Israelis and Palestinians-- with a a return to the 1967 borders and the blocking of further influx of Israeli settlers into established Palestinian territory.  Moderate Palestinian leaders are ready to work with the Israelis for a peaceful settlement.

This territorial issue has been at the heart of much of the hostility directed at Israel by its Arab neighbors for the last 50 years or so, and a negotiated agreement in the current political climate would go a long way towards bringing peace to the region.

Our preference is to avoid another major conflict in the Middle East, particularly one that was initiated as a distraction while Israeli settlers moved into the West Bank.