Saturday, May 21, 2011

Israeli interests do not equal American interests

Frankly, I am sick of Israel dictating the Middle Eastern policy of the United States. The leaders of Israel, most egregiously Benjamin Netanyahu, show a fine contempt for the government of this country. They seek to control the government through their influence with Republican legislators and the powerful lobbyists at AIPAC. In fact, in his meeting with President Obama this week, Netanyahu did not even seem to attempt to contain his disdain for the man. He is looking forward to being able to address the U.S. Congress next week where he will, no doubt, rally the Republicans, his natural allies, and appeal to rich donors and fund-raisers to put their money on the line to oppose Obama's efforts at a more even-handed policy toward the various countries of the Middle East.

President Obama's speech on the Middle East earlier this week showed a good bit of political courage in facing down the Israeli lobby by telling them the truth which they did not want to hear. Israel is an occupying power. Brutal domination over their neighbors and refusal to bargain in good faith for a peaceful two-state solution has lost them the respect of the world. Israel has become nothing more than a colonial power dealing in the humiliation of a subjugated people. This is not a basis for the lasting peace which they claim to want. Keeping the Palestinians "in their place" does not recognize the essential humanity and dignity of the Palestinian people, but it is corrosive to the Israeli character, as well.

The thing is, I feel quite sure that the majority of ordinary Israeli citizens are more than ready to find a solution that allows their neighbors to live in dignity and peace. It is the militaristic government of Israel that refuses to take that step.

Bejamin Netanyahu grew up in the United States and he is essentially a Republican. He is not happy with the current government here and seeks to undermine it at every turn, another good reason for not allowing him and his allies to dictate our foreign policy.

On the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. He seems a sensible man working for peace. He has eschewed violence as a tactic and has patiently worked to improve the conditions of his people without allowing the grievances of the past to dictate terms for the future. He is the kind of person that the Israelis could work with as a partner in peace, if they wanted such a partner, which, frankly, it doesn't appear that they do.

No wonder George Mitchell resigned from his position as mediator for a peace between Israel and Palestine. Until Israel acknowleges the reality of its precarious position in the world, mediation between the two seems impossible. And it seems unlikely that it will acknowledge that reality as long as it is blindly supported by American money and power. I think that both the United States and Israel would benefit from more of a separation. Let Israel, finally, stand on its own.

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