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Straight Talk on US/Israeli Relations

by Stephen Lendman Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at 11:28 PM


Straight Talk on US/Israeli Relations

by Stephen Lendman

Harry Truman recognized Israel minutes after its May 14, 1948 independence was declared. He was the first world leader to do so.

Weeks earlier on March 25, he met secretly with Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann. He pledged support. A special bond was established.

Strategic interests largely benefit Israel. Washington provides it more aid and benefits than all other nations combined. It's not because of historic binding ties.

A special relationship does more harm than good. It's counterproductive and lawless. It's financially, politically, militarily and diplomatically bankrupt.

Ambassador Charles Freeman says it's "been running on fumes for some time. It is now totally out of gas."

Freeman is former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He's one of five Committee for the Republic co-sponsors. It calls itself:

"Ad hoc group with the designated mission of analyzing the role of the United States as an imperial power and the consequences associated with empire in general."

Its manifesto warns of dangers associated with seeking empire. It's "a work in progress," it says. Its goal is clear. It's about educating Americans about what's at stake. It says:

"The American Revolution was a nationalist revolt against the British Empire."

"Our country was born as a defiant rejection of the legitimacy of imperialism." The "inevitable cost of empire" is too much to bear.

"Domestic liberty is the first casualty of adventurist foreign policy."

"To justify the high cost of maintaining rule over foreign territories and peoples, leaders are left with no choice but to deceive the people."

Freeman is very much right-of-center. He was Clinton's Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. Earlier he was Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

He's past Middle East Policy Council president. He co-chaired the US China Policy Foundation. He held numerous other public and private positions.

He serves as Atlantic Council lifetime director. In 1961, former Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter established it. It was done to support NATO.

Its past and current members include Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Schlesinger, James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, James Jones, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Holbrooke, Susan Rice, and an array of current and former top military officials.

In mid-January, he addressed the Middle East Policy Council. He and other speakers spoke on "whether the Obama administration can or should formulate a (Middle East) 'grand strategy,' and in either case how should policy-making address urgent (regional) problems."

He discussed the "US Grand Strategy in the Middle East. Is There One," he asked? His comments touched important nerves. They were hard-hitting and forthright.

Current and former officials rarely make them. They're seldom heard in Washington. Media scoundrels suppress them. They're vital and need to be made known.

There's been "no American-led peace process worthy of the name for nearly two decades," said Freeman. No prospect of resuming one looms.

"No one in the international community now accepts the pretense of a 'peace process' as an excuse for American protection of Israel."

US diplomacy is "perceived to be going nowhere."

Barring "fundamental changes in Israeli politics, policies, and behavior," America's longstanding strategic objective "of achieving (Israeli) acceptance (to) stabilize the region (is) now infeasible."

America abandoned trying. It's concerned only about "sheltering it from the need to deal with the unpalatable realities its own choices have created."

Israel wasted over 45 years spurning "land for peace." It "consistently demonstrated that it craves land more than peace, international reputation, good will, or legitimacy."

It's "isolated from its neighbors." There's "no prospect of reversing this." It has itself to blame.

Washington can do nothing to change things. It's true "despite the adverse consequences (for) American standing in the region and world."

Israeli politics reflect "blatant racism and Islamophobia." Occupation "kafkaesque tyranny" institutionalized "cruel and unusual collective punishment…."

Doing so "bred hateful resentment of the Jewish state in its region and throughout the Muslim world."

"One has to look to North Korea to find another polity so detested and distrusted by its neighbors and with so few supporters among the world's great powers."

No matter. Washington's commitment remains firm. "Regardless of how Israel behaves, it will allow no political distance between itself and the Jewish state."

"In the eyes of the world, there is none. Israel's ill repute corrodes US prestige and credibility not just in the Middle East but in the world at large."

Israel doesn't care about other nations' views. It sees itself as a "Hebrew-speaking politico-economic extension of Europe rather than part of the Middle East."

"Nor does Israel appear concerned about the extent to which its policies have undermined America’s ability to protect it from concerted international punishment for its actions."

Washington and other Israeli supporters "are far less likely to be able to hold back the global movement to ostracize Israel than in the case of apartheid South Africa."

"America may 'have Israel’s back,' but - on this - no one now has America’s back."

At the same time, Washington's support gives Israel a "qualitative edge to sustain its military hegemony over others in the region." What can't go on forever won't.

Supremacy "inevitably" is "ephemeral." It's especially true when dependent on external support.

Nations living by the sword seal their own fate. They doom themselves to perish by it. Palestinian liberating struggles won't end. Growing numbers of Jews of conscience are alienated.

"Jews outside contemporary Israel are coming to see (Israel) less as a sanctuary or guarantor of Jewish security and well-being than as a menace to both."

America committed much to Israel's success. "Yet it has no strategy to cope with the tragic existential challenges Zionist hubris and overweening territorial ambition have now forged for Israel."

"The hammerlock the Israeli right has on American discourse about the Middle East assures that, despite the huge US political and economic investment in Israel, Washington will not discuss or develop effective policy options for sustaining the Jewish state over the long term."

"The outlook is therefore for continuing deterioration in Israel’s international moral standing and the concomitant isolation of the United States in the region and around the globe."

"The bottom line is this. US policies of unconditional support for Israel, opposition to Islamism, and the use of drones to slaughter suspected Islamist militants and their families and friends have created an atmosphere that precludes broad strategic partnerships with major Arab and Muslim countries, though it does not yet preclude limited cooperation for limited purposes."

"The acceptance of Israel as a legitimate presence in the Middle East cannot now be achieved without basic changes in Israeli attitudes and behavior that are not in the offing."

"US policies designed, respectively, to pursue strategic partnerships with Arab and Muslim powers and to secure the state of Israel have each separately failed."

"The Middle East itself is in flux. America’s interests in the region now demand fundamental rethinking, not just of US policies, but of the strategic objectives those policies should be designed to achieve."

America's longstanding special relationship was ill conceived from conception. On many issues mattering most, the Israeli tail wags the US dog. It's true whether or not Washington's interests are served.

Both countries threaten world peace. Together they endanger humanity. Freeman stopped short saying so. At the same time, he knows binding ties do more harm than good.

Reconsidering bad policy is long overdue. Israel is more liability than asset. It's true no matter who's prime minister.

Israel's government is its most belligerent and hardline in history. It menaces its neighbors. It threatens world peace. Washington prioritizes advancing its own imperium.

An alliance based on militarism, belligerence, racism, and human rights abuses is crucial to end, not support. Nothing in sight suggests it's likely.

Freeman is rightly concerned. He understands impending perils. It's crucial to address them before it's too late. Few in Washington are frank enough to say so.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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