Ronald Reagan Was “Anti-Israel” And Obama Isn’t (But Should Be)

It is a common meme among the American Right that Obama is anti-Israel. This despite Obama giving huge military aid to the Israelis, just like every recent American president, defending them at the UN, and doing little to nothing to stop anything the Israelis have done over the past few  years.

A lot of these memes seem to be based on Obama sometimes saying that Israel should maybe stop colonizing the West Bank, and maybe move towards making a just peace (nothing out of the ordinary for American presidents, but this one is black and has a foreign-sounding name, so that probably makes the Adelson-types angry).

We have, however, had presidents who did restrict the flow of aid and weapons to Israel when its behavior spun out of control. Here’s Ronald Reagan in 1982, following massacres in Lebanon:

haltsshipment

 

Reagan went even further in private conversations with the Israeli leadership, from Reagan’s diaries:

diaries

 

Reagan’s vice president, who later became president, was Bush Sr. Bush Sr. got into a pitched battle with Congress to actually delay aid to Israel to force them to come to peace negotiations. Here’s the press conference where he announced the delay, and bragged about taking on “1,000” Israel lobbyists.

Obama, on the other hand, waited for weeks of the Israeli offensive before condemning a single action (the shelling of a packed school being used as a shelter this morning). While he did this, the U.S. government has simultaneously been shipping weapons to the Israelis, in real-time.

In other words, Obama is much more pro-Israel than Republican Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr (and some would argue W as well). Yet he gets pilloried as the opposite by the Israeli and American right, which is probably at least partly driven by racism. The biggest losers? Palestinians. But Israel, ultimately, loses a well. A good friend is capable of taking away the keys when you’re drunk.






54 replies
  1. 1
    Yatsuno says:

    A good friend is capable of taking away the keys when you’re drunk.

    Not if APIAC is your enabler.

  2. 2
    chopper says:

    A good friend is capable of taking away the keys when you’re drunk.

    i get the feeling that, as to israel, it isn’t as easy these days to do so as it was even in the 80’s.

  3. 3
    gene108 says:

    Somebody had linked to this Washington Monthly article yesterday and it is longish read well worth the investment in time.

    The super short version is Newt slashed a bunch of professional subject matter experts, who worked on issues for Congress and handed the subject matter expertise over to lobbyists.

    I think the lock-step Congressional support for Israel, right now, maybe a result of Congresscritters basically getting their subject matter information solely from pro-Israeli lobbying groups, where as 25-30 years ago there were actual subject matter experts on Middle East policy, who could be relied on to give a balanced approach to the region.

    It really is spooky how lock-step both Congressional Democrats and Republicans are in their “unwavering support” for Israel. It really maybe a case of no subject matter experts exist anymore, in Congressional staffs, who can make a case against pro-Israel lobbying groups.

    EDIT: I think a lot of us underestimate how much 9/11/01 changed a lot of people’s VSP’s thinking in the cities that were attacked – NYC and DC – with regards to our own safety, WRT to the Middle East and that probably has some influence.

  4. 4
    catclub says:

    @Yatsuno: And will probably use KEY_ME to copy them and rob you later. Fun times!

    KEY_ME really is amazing/scary/horrifying if you thought your keys were relatively secure. In fact, keys are quite easily duplicated, and the lockpicking nerds always knew this.

  5. 5
    chopper says:

    @gene108:

    yep. it’s crazy how things have changed over even 15-20 years. the idea of morally, politically and monetarily supporting israel has become much more of a bedrock principle in america since then.

  6. 6
    gene108 says:

    @chopper:

    I think a lot of us on the Left really underestimate how much 9/11/01 scared the shit out of people and changed people’s world view of what needs to be done in the Middle East.

    I think there’s part of the collective brain of Americans that think, “fuck yeah, kill those Muslim terrorists Israel”. I mean, sure there was always an issue with the idea of hordes Muslim terrorists, probably since the 1972 Munich games, running around the world.

    But I think prior to 9/11/01, Americans felt you’d only run into Muslim terrorists overseas and we were safe.

    Knowing we are not safe really has gotten people to want to kill for the sake of fear and revenge. We are living out our hatred through Israel, as our own foray into that venture in Iraq proved to have cost us too many casualties for us to keep it up on a long term basis.

  7. 7
    srv says:

    Clearly, the pro-Israel crowd is more anti-Obama than they are pro-Israel. Does not speak well of Bibi’s intelligence playing to all that.

    Perhaps if Obama flew to Israel with Cuomo or something… Is Malia old enough to enlist with the IDF?

    I guess since everyone else is piling on Obama now, we contras have to man up for him.

  8. 8
    Roger Moore says:

    A good friend is capable of taking away the keys when you’re drunk

    A smart friend gets your keys when you start drinking. He sure as hell doesn’t keep buying you new cars after you wreck the old ones in drunk driving accidents.

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    Back in ’09 Obama made a big deal about a fresh start with the Muslim world. If you took it at face value, it was the right and necessary thing to say. And one particular thing people looked for in such a fresh start, from Israel’s biggest sponsor and supporter in international forums, was a change towards a less partial Middle East policy.

    For my part, I wasn’t expecting him to turn a supertanker around on a dime. But this looks like the same-old, same-old to a lot of us out here. While we’ve had plenty of reason to be happy with him on other matters, that’s been the biggest disappointment with Obama.

    I wonder, how is the public mood in America? Would I be correct in guessing that there’s rather more sympathy now for the Palestinian point of view than there used to be?

  10. 10
    Rob in CT says:

    Good post. I’m old enough to remember the late 80s squabble between Bush the Elder and Congress. Back then, the Republicans were kinda Israel-skeptical and the Dems were totally in the tank for Israel. Now both are, with the Dems having some second thoughts, which gets painted as Israel-hating. Ah, wingnuts.

    edit: my vague recollection is that Bush the Elder basically lost the fight, or won some small meaningless concession. If you look back at Israeli policy over the past ~30 years, it’s been steady: expand the settlements & refuse to concede anything significant. Bush ultimately accomplished nothing (but it was a nice try, IMO).

  11. 11
    Yatsuno says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I wonder, how is the public mood in America? Would I be correct in guessing that there’s rather more sympathy now for the Palestinian point of view than there used to be?

    There has always been a section of the American populace that has been sympathetic towards the Palestinian point of view. The real question is whether that point of view is growing. There seems to be a stranglehold by AIPAC on the MSM, so little infomation is getting through on the news media, but info is flying all over the Net. So changes in attitude depend on where your news is coming from.

    Personally Israel has been disgusting me for years. After Rabin was assassinated I knew peace would be a big challenge. Now it seems like a virtual impossibility.

  12. 12
    Rob in CT says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Some, but not nearly as much as some of us would like to see. There has definitely been a shift in elite opinion – it’s no longer the case that some pundit who criticises Israeli policy is successfully labeled an anti-semite. People have finally caught on to that bullshit. It helps that a lot of left-leaning American Jews have gotten fed up (to varying degrees) – Jon Chait & Ezra Klein just to name a couple of recent examples.

    The average Joe type? Well, I’m not really the guy to ask, but typically conversations rapidly go to “they both suck, why are we so heavily involved again?” This is in the context of affluent, relatively liberal Connecticut though. Poll data still shows strong pro-Israel opinion (just less strong than in the past).

  13. 13
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Amir Khalid: I don’t think there is more support than there was before. There may be support for Israel to not be so brutal and to stop the bombing. But that is support for Palestinians. There is no support for a Palestinian Cause if that cause involves the destruction of the state of Israel. None. Look for it. The best you get is some kind of hope that everyone somehow figures out how to get along.

  14. 14
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Amir Khalid: Obama almost certainly leans towards Israel more than you or I would like but he’s not the primary impediment. That’s Congress, in which a bipartisan consensus that includes a lot of progressive heroes insists on going all in. So long as that is the case, the wishes of the president are almost immaterial.

    All presidents, even W, have wanted to push Israel harder than they do. It’s institutional rather than ideological: Israel habitually is a pain in the ass of anyone trying to run a full diplomatic program around the world. Aside from humanitarian concerns, U.S. presidents don’t want justice in Israel/Palestine, they just want quiet.

    No matter who the president is, Congress impedes that. Congress has complete control over the aid that gets sent to Israel and anytime a president tries to do something to rein Israel in they pass resolutions affirming their intent to keep the money flowing and make the president’s life miserable in other ways.

    In the big picture I don’t entirely let Obama off the hook here. As I said, even given a free hand he’d lean too far in one direction for my tastes. But he really isn’t the proximate problem here.

  15. 15
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    This year in particular is an election year for the House and Senate, and there are a LOT of high-dollar Democratic donors who are also strong supporters of Israel, so I’m guessing the calculation is that the Obama Administration needs to publicly support Israel to try and win more seats in the November elections.

    Unfortunately, there’s only so much Obama can do to buck the system when the House and Senate are (literally) 100 percent behind supporting Israel. They control the purse strings, so he can’t cut off aid.

  16. 16
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Amir Khalid: My sense is that the US public is as polarized on the Israeli-Palestinian question as it is on every other hot-button topic. And, as is generally the case with social issues, we’re inching toward a more progressive view, with the hardcore wingnut contingent kicking and screaming along the way.

    What’s frustrating about this particular issue is that politicians in both parties are impervious to public opinion on it. It’s like gun control; a powerful lobby owns the politicians, and the will of the people be damned.

  17. 17
    Morbo says:

    @Amir Khalid: There’s a pretty clear generational divide forming on that question. Gallup polled last week on whether Israel’s actions against Hamas are justified or not, “justified” wins among those over 50 by at least 20 percentage points, while among those under 30 it’s 51% unjustified to 26% justified. While it’s about an even split on Israel, there’s very little sympathy for Hamas (an interesting change in wording in those polls, btw).

  18. 18
    beltane says:

    @Betty Cracker: As pathetic as the gun control debate is, it at least exists. When it comes to I/P, there is simply no debate at all. This stifling of all debate and discussion is what is incredibly frustrating

  19. 19
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Betty Cracker: I don’t think we are polarized very much. There is a strong “Israel right or wrong” contingent that oftentimes acts as if Israel is the only state that matters. There is another side that has humanitarian concerns for Palestinians. But that isn’t the antipole of “Israel right or wrong”. There isn’t a large group organized under the principle that the Palestinians should, say, have sufficient arms to stop Israel from doing what it wants in occupied and unoccupied territory. There may be groups pushing toward divestment, but those are humanitarian groups.

    One side wants to allow Israel to arm itself and looks the other way when the rhetoric of the situation implies that Palestinians are like rats to be driven out of Israeli territories. The other side is only going to participate if Palestinians agree to play nice. These two sides aren’t really poles.

  20. 20
    SteveM says:

    Obama is black, but the salient point is that he’s a Democrat. They’re going to say Hillary is an anti-Semite, too. Eeek! She kissed Suha Arafat!

  21. 21
    beltane says:

    @Suffern ACE: I’m not so sure about that. While the Palestinians themselves are largely the “unknown”, there is quite a bit of resentment towards Israel that seems to lie right below the surface of discourse. The strongest support for Israel I’ve seen comes from teabaggers and Jews. Non-Jewish liberals are often extremely critical but tend to keep their thoughts to themselves for fear of being labeled an anti-semite. I/P is one of the most taboo subjects in American today and people do not feel free to share their real thoughts on the subject. One thing that’s interesting is the low support for Israel among Latinos. I’m not sure what it means but it is something worth looking at.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Gator90 says:

    @Amir Khalid: I took a poll of one, and discovered that in the last couple weeks I have gained much sympathy for the Palestinian viewpoint, while at the same time losing any and all sympathy for Israel. I say this with some guilt, as I was a longtime defender of Israel and have only recently realized the unconscionability of its behavior as well as the ethical bankruptcy of the entire Zionist project.

  24. 24
    beltane says:

    @Morbo: Exactly. They won’t unanimously agree that water is wet but they are unanimous in their support of whatever Netanyahu does. Why?

  25. 25
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Suffern ACE: Good points. I guess where I see polarization is mainly between the “Israel can do no wrong crowd” and people who want to wash their hands of the whole damn mess. But you’re right; it’s more complicated than many of the divisive, impossible issues we confront.

    As an American, I don’t consider Israel any more special than, say, Uruguay, but it is painful to watch another country — any country — slowly commit suicide and take innocents and villains alike down with it. ETA: With my tax dollars, to boot.

  26. 26
    Tom Q says:

    @Betty Cracker: The difference with gun control is, there you have electoral outcomes (all the way back to the ’94 midterms, and as recently as the Colorado special elections) that have convinced office-holders that it’s dangerous to cross the gun enthusiasts. With regard to Israel/Palestine, there’s no case I can think of where someone lost an election for taking the perceived wrong side. It seems to be simply an article of faith that it WOULD be catastrophic for them to vote contrarily (plus, yes, there are big-money donors whose contributions would instantly dry up).

  27. 27
    sharl says:

    Ooh, just posted the following in an earlier thread, when this one seems more appropriate…

    I just learned today that Paul Findley’s 1985 (with revisions in 1989 and 2003) “They Dare to Speak Out” is available for free online – it’s available in various formats here. I’ve been browsing the 402pp .pdf version – a bit fuzzy but definitely legible – and it’s bringing back memories of just how long AIPAC has had a stranglehold on domestic U.S. politics.

    I read the hard copy book years ago, and what struck me then was just how much of a nationwide grassroots effort that whole lobbying campaign was (and presumably still is to some extent). It would have been bad enough if the campaign stuck to chucking out large amounts of money solely in Washington DC, and crippling Big Media they way they do. But they have done so, so much more.

    By the way, a bit on former rural Illinois Republican Congressman Paul Findley (from a 2002 Robert Fisk article):

    Paul Findley, who spent 22 years as a Republican congressman from Illinois, found his political career destroyed after he had campaigned against the Israeli lobby—although, ironically, his book on the subject, They Dare to Speak Out, was nine weeks on The Washington Post bestseller list, suggesting that quite a number of Americans want to know why their congressmen are so pro-Israeli.

  28. 28
    Suffern ACE says:

    @beltane: We may be at that point where we throw up our hands, but it won’t matter anyway. What people are frustrated with is that the Gaza/Hamas issue seems to come up every two years like clockwork, each time nastier than the last.

    I think what we were expecting when we signed up to be the Israeli patrons that someone else might step forward to be the counterweight on the Palestinian side. What we probably need is Palestine to become North Korea. What we are witnessing is what would happen if South Korea every two to three years moved a couple of miles north. Eventually, we’d kind of get tired of constantly solving a Korea crisis if South Korea refused to stay where it was. It would just be too risky to be come close to a broader war with China every two years.

    Unfortunately, there is nobody nearby who we can point to and say “We aren’t going to keep backing you, Israel, because you keep making us risk war with the Bigger Bad Than You.” If we do exit, it is simply going to have to be a moral choice and not a practical one, and we don’t really make moral decisions collectively very well.

  29. 29
    Mike with a mic says:

    In the past anti Israel views were either holocaust denying right wingers pissed at fdr, or race baiting minority democrats. Not the sort of crowd you want to be associated with. Both were marginalized for good reason, but the cost was making criticism of Israel something you don’t do in sane company.

  30. 30
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Amir Khalid: Judging by social media, yes. It probably helps that the suicide attacks of the 90s and early 00s are a distant memory now.

  31. 31
    Ivan X says:

    What we probably need is Palestine to become North Korea.

    I couldn’t agree more! That is exactly what we, and the Palestinian people, need.

  32. 32
    Ivan X says:

    What we probably need is Palestine to become North Korea.

    In fact, now that I think of it, when I toured North Korea, one of the places I got to visit was the former palace and now resting place of Kim Il-Sung (and now Kim Jong-Il). In there is a room of all of the Great Leader’s worldwide diplomatic efforts, with framed photographs of him shaking hands with every oppressive despot you ever forgot about. But the centerpiece of the room, and the largest photograph, was him shaking hands with Yasser Arafat. So who knows what kind of glorious peoples’ state could have come to be if Israel hadn’t poisoned him.

  33. 33
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    BDS Consumer

    I think it’s also helping that younger generations are more secular and less likely to buy into Christian Zionism. These people think that if the Jews fully settle Palestine, then Jesus will come back after the rapture. It’s a cousin of Fundamentalism and the hard right stuff that goes along with anti-gay, anti-diversity, whatever.

    Younger people (even younger Jews) don’t buy that stuff quite as much. I mean the side effects of all that stuff means believing you have no future except waiting to be swept up somehwere. They also see the effects in the neglect of the environment and worse-after all if Jesus is coming back, what use is it to be stewards of the land. That offends Millenials very much indeed.

  34. 34
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Hispanics are still despite Evangelical efforts, largely Catholic. The “rapture” and the dispensationalist stuff are Protestant teachings-not authorized by the Catholic church.

  35. 35
    James E. Powell says:

    In other words, Obama is much more pro-Israel than Republican Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr (and some would argue W as well). Yet he gets pilloried as the opposite by the Israeli and American right, which is probably at least partly driven by racism.

    It’s partly the racist bigotry, but it is mostly the Republicans trying to get a larger piece of the Jewish vote and campaign donations. They will never stop trying.

  36. 36
    StringOnAStick says:

    My Jewish husband has nothing but disgust for Israel, and that was true before this latest round of ‘mowing the grass/Palestinians. He sees a country of religious fundamentalists that is not democratic, and belligerent simply because it can be thanks to our unquestionably backing every damned thing they do.

    I recall being in the car and hearing about Rabin’s assassination, and we both agreed then that things were going to head south, probably for good. Sad to say, it looks like we were correct. By responding to the provocations of Hamas with punishment of the entire Gaza population and by spreading authoritarianism throughout Israeli society, Israel is guaranteeing that the political leadership of the Palestinians will continue to grow more radical as well. That serves the current Israeli leadership’s plans, since the more easily provoked the Palestinian leadership is, the easier it is for Israel to get away with these brutal campaigns.

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    Although, one quibble with your premise:

    We have, however, had presidents who did restrict the flow of aid and weapons to Israel when its behavior spun out of control.

    Reagan restricted aid when Israel invaded another sovereign country (Lebanon). Since no one in the US government seems to think of the occupied territories as anything other than Israeli land that the Palestinians are squatting on (even the ones who have been there since before the establishment of Israel), I would say that the two things are different from one another.

  38. 38
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Amir Khalid: Interesting perspective.

    From my point of view, Obama has done a lot to have a fresh start with the Muslim world. I cannot conceive of another US President going to Cairo to give the speech he did. And Bibi certainly seems to think that Obama has changed things with respect to the US support for Israel. I cannot conceive of an Israeli Prime Minister actively and publicly campaigning against a sitting US President and supporting his opponent the way Bibi supported Rmoney.

    Of course, Obama’s initiatives have not had the outcome he hoped. And as this Foreign Policy piece points out, Obama has done a lot to protect Israel. But he hasn’t been Bibi’s poodle. He refused to be pushed into a war with Iran. And one can imagine that Obama has been such a strong supporter of Israel not for political reasons but because he believes that by removing the factors that Israel cites for being intransigent, he’ll help make a permanent negotiated peace possible. Does he really believe that? Dunno.

    Remember that Gingrich’s money man – billionair[e] Sheldon Adelson – was a single-issue voter and only cared about unconditional support for Israel. Lots of money goes to candidates who are extremely vocal supporters of Israel.

    Lots of normal people in the US know little or nothing about the Middle East. They do know that we have always supported Israel, and that Jews are “the chosen people” in the Bible, and so forth – those things mean a lot. The national media has a very short attention span on most issues – and even less on foreign policy matters. Ukraine, Syria, and of course, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Iraq are mostly off the radar now. Gaza and Israel is likely to move off the radar soon as well – to be replaced by Ebola and the lawsuit against Obama and the upcoming election.

    Like others here, I can’t say how much Israel’s support has fallen and the Palestinians have risen. I would like to think that people realize the conflict is not black and white and that painting it that way will never result in a fair, peaceful solution.

    My $0.02. HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  39. 39
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Amir Khalid: I think the 2001 terrorist attacks caused Americans to think of themselves as in the same boat as Israelis, beset by implacable Muslim terrorists. That hardened American opinion considerably over the course of the Second Intifada in the early 2000s.

    That’s probably the reason the politicians’ support for Israel is so much more knee-jerk than it was even in the 1980s. It takes a long time to get over that sort of thing.

    I think we’re seeing some change, but it’s slow and largely under the media radar.

  40. 40
    AxelFoley says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    @Amir Khalid:

    This year in particular is an election year for the House and Senate, and there are a LOT of high-dollar Democratic donors who are also strong supporters of Israel, so I’m guessing the calculation is that the Obama Administration needs to publicly support Israel to try and win more seats in the November elections.

    Unfortunately, there’s only so much Obama can do to buck the system when the House and Senate are (literally) 100 percent behind supporting Israel. They control the purse strings, so he can’t cut off aid.

    This.

  41. 41
    Donald says:

    @srv: I don’t know about that. I think that on the right (note the qualification there), the anti-Obama feelings are motivated by the same underlying racism that motivates their support for Israel when it kills Palestinians.
    It’s the same thing, so the feelings are probably equally strong.

    The qualification is so I distinguish between the Obama critics to his right and those to his left. I don’t want to start up the usual argument about Obama on the left that people have here regularly. I just want to point out that it’s not the same thing that’s going on with the “secret Muslim born in Kenya” crowd. People who think that way are naturally going to side with Israel against the Palestinians, no matter what Israel does. In fact, the more violent Israel is the better they will like it.

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    But that is support for Palestinians. There is no support for a Palestinian Cause if that cause involves the destruction of the state of Israel.

    And, more than that, there is also a broad willingness to uncritically accept any claim by the Israeli right on the basis of “national security” whose practical result is to chip away at a Palestinian state. What, they need the security wall for their security? Well, up it goes, then. What, Palestinian ownership of East Jerusalem would put them at risk? Well, no East Jerusalem for them, then.

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    @beltane:

    As pathetic as the gun control debate is, it at least exists. When it comes to I/P, there is simply no debate at all. This stifling of all debate and discussion is what is incredibly frustrating

    The only thing I could see possibly changing this calculus is the fact that while Democrats have been happy to roll over and play along with the Israel Firster consensus, the Israeli government and its American supporters have increasingly been unwilling to leave the Democrats alone – and, especially since Obama’s election, have gone out of their fucking way to antagonize them and make it well known who they supported in American elections.

    I could see, maybe, the Democrats eventually concluding that rolling over for Israel is getting them nothing, and that they might as well chase the votes of people who’re disgusted by its actions – especially if those votes are highest among young and nonwhite voters.

    Even then, though, it would take decades for that to really affect U.S. policy, during which Israel would continue and step up its colonization.

  44. 44
    dmbeaster says:

    Guess who said this:

    For Israel, now is the time to lay aside, once and for all, the unrealistic vision of a greater Israel. Israeli interests in the West Bank and Gaza – security and otherwise – can be accommodated in a settlement (trading land for peace). Forswear annexation. Stop settlement activity. Allow schools to reopen. Reach out to the Palestinians as neighbors who deserve political rights.

    That noted anti-semite and Israel hater Sec. of State James Baker in a May, 1989, speech at the beginning of pappy Bush’s presidency as its major opening position. This was then defended by the administration following the predictable outrage from the usual suspects as follows:

    “We were not trying consciously to send a tougher, stronger signal to Israel. We were attempting to lay out in clear, precise fashion for Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab world the parameters within which a realistic solution must take place.”

    These officials pointed out that everything Baker said was a restatement of U.S. policy laid down by his predecessor, George P. Shultz, in a speech Sept. 16.

    The Israelis have been giving us the finger for almost 30 years concerning this rather basic suggestion that they stop annexing Arab lands. Asking them to stop is now defined as “anti-semitic” by the Israeli lobby.

  45. 45
    Cervantes says:

    @Mike with a mic:

    In the past anti Israel views were either holocaust denying right wingers pissed at fdr, or race baiting minority democrats. Not the sort of crowd you want to be associated with. Both were marginalized for good reason, but the cost was making criticism of Israel something you don’t do in sane company.

    When was this “In the past” period you’re talking about?

  46. 46
    Cervantes says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Unfortunately, there is nobody nearby who we can point to and say “We aren’t going to keep backing you, Israel, because you keep making us risk war with the Bigger Bad Than You.” If we do exit, it is simply going to have to be a moral choice and not a practical one.

    Not sure about “Bigger” but there are thousands of armed Islamists around the world — some armed with passenger planes — who have tried to kill us, partly because of our continued support for Israel’s actions.

  47. 47
    Cervantes says:

    @Gator90: I have to say, your being explicit about this, more than once, is admirable. Thanks.

  48. 48
    Cervantes says:

    @srv: I wouldn’t doubt Netanyahu’s intelligence, if I were you.

  49. 49
    flukebucket says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I wonder, how is the public mood in America? Would I be correct in guessing that there’s rather more sympathy now for the Palestinian point of view than there used to be?

    As for me personally I could not be more sympathetic. The idea that a nuclear power nation is mercilessly bombing what amounts to a neighborhood is so sickening that I can’t imagine seeing it any other way.

  50. 50
    mark says:

    This would have been during the siege of Beirut.

    In 1982 the Israelis had Arafat and the entire PLO leadership pinned down and were hammering them mercilessly. Reagan saved the PLO by sending in the Marines to evacuate them.

    In addition to the items mentioned in the post, the U.S. warned Israel that our military aid was only to be use defensively.

  51. 51
    Plantsmantx says:

    It just goes to show, one more time, that “twice as good” never really works.

  52. 52
    Plantsmantx says:

    I told him it had to stop or our entire future relationship was endangered. I used the word holocaust deliberately & said the symbol of war was becoming a picture of a 7-month-old baby with its arms blown off.”

    Whoa. You know what they would do if President Obama used this sort of language toward Israel?

    They would do exactly what they’re doing now.

  53. 53
    Rome Again says:

    The Pro-Israel propagandists are getting desperate. I found a a graphic on a Jewish friends Facebook wall yesterday (we are no longer connected, my choice) that said “If you don’t support Israel, you are a right-wing extremist” – I had not realized that following Bibi Netanyahu into battle and supporting the killing of hundreds upon hundreds of innocent women and children was left wing. WOW!

    I can’t even watch the news. the wall to wall lying is so transparent and obvious. . I gave up any belief in religion yesterday. I can’t support the people who are doing this awful killing.

  54. 54
    sandrahn says:

    my first time posting here–

    For yrs the GOP was dominated by the pragmatic “arabist” strain in its foreign policy leadership – Scowcroft, Bush Sr., Kissinger, Nixon – they were close to Arab govts – which is not necessarily a good thing–but their grasp of the middle east was better informed and more pragmatic than the Dems when it came to Israel & Palestine. There were many Republican mid-level and lower level diplomats & foreign policy experts with experience in the middle east, college degrees in the region’s history- many knew Arabic and other languages of the region. The Dems, by contrast, did not have their intellectual sophistication about the region. This knowledge enabled them to be Israel-skeptic and more aware of the Palestinian story.

    This is a huge reason that Arabs and Muslims in the US had for decades been a faithful GOP constituency. Long before the GOP was full of islamophobia and hatred of Arabs – Muslims & Christian Arabs as well had a party they supported and participated in. John Sununu is one among many of this older generation of Republican arab-Americans. James Abourezk was a rare Arab Democrat.

    In the 90s, the neocon Bill Kristol strain began to take over the party. By GW Bush’s first tenure, that strain had successfully purged the “arabist” diplomats and experts and elder congressmen like Bob Dole from influential positions in the party.

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