News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Neoconservatives Say Israel=US; Expand War to Syria and Iran

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Neoconservatives Say Israel=US; Expand War to Syria and Iran

Many neoconservtaive writers are celebrating the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. As Glenn Greenwald doucments, they are also calling for an expansion of that invasion to include Syria and Iran. Greenwald (commenting on William Krstol's recent essay) focuses on the neoconservative assertions underpinning these calls for Israel to expand its invasion: Israel's interests are the same as US interests. ...

While others are floundering around looking for an answer, Greenwald cuts right to the chase and pinpoints the main actors in this growing tragedy. He isolates the influence of the neoconservative ideology, you are highlighting that aspect of what Col. Wilkerson calls the Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal. That is, while there are those who shy away from identifying the strange alignment of neoconservative thought with Zionism and Israeli interests, it is becoming painfully clear that there is indeed some form of collusion going on between these two camps, as well as people in high places in the US government.

The reason for shying away from such accusations is the unsettling notion that they will sound like a brand of anti-semitism. Indeed, I see this danger, but as many on Right and Left are learning, the accusation about such a cabal comes not only from traditional supporters of Israel outside Israel but also from inside Israel itself.

In a perfect world, I imagine, one would like to be the friend of all nations. Israel is right to seek the support and friendship of the US. But then so are other countries. The apparent partiality for all-things Israeli in US foreign policy belie the notion of what used to be called American fair play and giving everyone an equal voice and equal chance.

Referencing the sense of fair play, Helena Cobban, a long-time Mideast activist, who has written extensively on Lebanon, Hamas, and Israel writes today:

What I do know is that the international community as a whole also has a huge stake in all this. We have a stake in seeing a fair and sustainable outcome to all the remaining dimensions of the Israeli-Arab dispute. But we also have a stake in seeing the principles of international law implemented and strengthened at all levels. That includes in the content of the eventual comprehensive Israeli-Arab peace, which should certainly uphold rather than transgress international law.

It also includes in the application of a single standard of judgment to all the acts of violence unleashed in the continuing storm(s) between Israel and its neighbors.

There is another very simple and very important principle at stake here, too. Every single life snuffed out by the violence is equally dear, equally sacred. The lives of civilians, in particular, should all equally receive the concern of the international community.
Israeli interests in the US and in Israel have worked long and hard to manufacture an image that Israelis are "just like us," just like the people next door, and so on. Again, nothing wrong with this. But when it is combined with an equally concerted effort to paint others in "not like us," alien, and stereotypically villainous terms that effort begins to look like what is: self-serving obsequiousness in the halls of power.

As you know, the Israel lobby in the US is strong--the second largest lobby in Congress. With the religious Right, who see many things Israeli fitting into their end-of-times theology, the Israel lobby has an influence on US decision-makers that far outstrips any other interest group in the US.

Again, were this interest group based solely in the US that might not be politics as usual. That is tied to another country is certainly something to question and wonder about. No other country in the world has a voice in so many Congresspersons' throats as does Israel.

Defining why Israel's interests do not in any way coincide with US interests is not an easy matter. After the many years of careful and deliberate PR and media campaigns, it is almost a given that what affects Israel affects me or mine. That might be so--but it should not affect me in a disproportionately unjust way that I harm others who deserve the same respect as I pay Israel.

Coming to the conclusion that Israel's interests do not always or necessarily reflect US interests is not easy to make for people with little time to study foreign policy and the ways of propaganda. They are easily swayed and often take what their politicians do as representing their best interests.

Those who do have training and experience in the Mideast come to some very difficult conclusions concerning Israel. Ray Close, a former CIA analyst in the Near East division, as well as a Member, Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, recently wrote:
Open confrontation of Hizballah by the United States, allied with Israel, will have a powerful impact on the Iranian people, as well. Argue, if you will, that Iran is a known supporter of Hizballah and Hamas, and thus of international terrorism. That is a reality that none can deny. But let’s prioritize our national interests here. It is the people of Iraq and Iran on whom we depend not just for “regime change” in the short term, but for peace and stability (and resistance to terrorism) throughout the region in the decades ahead. It is the people of those countries whose trust and respect we must win. It is the trust and respect of those people that we have lost --- to a significant extent because we are identified in their minds with the narrow interests of Israel. Why is that so difficult for Americans to understand?
As you note, the importance of how closely the US aligns itself with Israeli interests affect not only US security but also the life and well-being of many in the Mideast. The US should return to its tradition of fair play and equal treatment. Don't be played like a rube in a game whose outcome is foretold in advance and which only enriches the deceiver.

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[xposted in most part in Greenwald's comment section]

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