JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ISRAEL’S FEAR AND LOATHING OF THE NEW U.S. RELATIONSHIP   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
 
POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

 

“Israel’s alarm at the deterioration in its relations with the US is palpable.”

I don’t know about Israel’s alarm, but the “deterioration” part has elements of delusion.

George Bush was without question the most inept man ever to be president.

Apart from many other bits of evidence supporting that assertion, we have his relationship with that colossal bulk of corruption and murder, Ariel Sharon.

The relationship as perceived under these two had no basis in a real world. Israel got to do everything – every dirty trick, every killing, every arrogant piece of behavior – that its corrupt leader could dream of, and that pathetic lump, Bush, just nodded. That even went so far as the extreme abuse, and distinctly possible assassination, of Arafat.

Well, now we’re back to a more realistic situation so far as the American President goes, a man is in power who, despite serious shortcomings, is intelligent and hardworking.

Unfortunately, on the other side of the relationship, Israel has absolutely hit bottom for the intellectually and ethically squalid in Netanyahu. I’m not sure it is possible to find a prominent Israeli with a more grotesque combination of arrogance, dishonesty, and low-life cunning. He’s fooling no one. His skills as a statesman are zero.

Despite many faults in the American psyche, there is a kind of fundamental decency – which, once aroused, is very powerful. Israel has pushed things to the very limits, and once that deep sense of decency and fairness is aroused, I do think the relationship will rapidly deteriorate, perhaps never to recover.

And whose fault will that be?
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“A majority of Israel’s Jewish population is of Middle Eastern and North African origin (including, partly, your commenter). So what ‘White man’s burden’ are you referring to? “

Is that dishonest or naive?

Virtually all the founders and most of the prime ministers have had European or American roots, especially European.

And Israel itself is a secular Western society. Nothing about it – from flag to uniforms or political parties – reflects the Mideast.

The only exception is the Orthodox, a people much despised even in Israel for their imposing values on others and shirking responsibilities like military service.

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Well said, David Seaton.

And not only the United States: Israel has never flinched from doing just as it pleased for its often narrow idea of its interests, everything from creating illegal nuclear weapons to assisting the old South Africa to become a nuclear power briefly.

America has been on a one-way trip to nowhere for decades in its relationship with Israel.

It has suffered oil embargo, been dragged willy-nilly into wars, seen Israel abuse the use of the weapons it sells it, suffered Israeli black-ops like the attack on the USS Liberty, and the most damaging imaginable spies like Jonathon Pollard.

It launched the infinitely costly and largely pointless war in Iraq mainly for Israel’s benefit. Yet all it receives from Israel is arrogance, bad advice, and more abuse.

It has stoked the fury of a hundred million Arabs – and all unnecessarily.

A fair policy calls for a fair settlement. Israel’s idea of peace never changes: it is always, I get this and that and the other thing, and you must recognize me and recognize me as a “Jewish state” and you get pretty well nothing.

Israel and Palestine should resemble all the early maps drawn up as parts of the founding documents, not the grotesque distortion we see now. And ethnic-cleansing in Jerusalem and the West Bank must stop. Israel’s insistence on carrying on that way is breeding more resentment and sense of injustice and future horrors than any of us can imagine, but clearly Israel does not have the basic control over its own affairs to stop. The U.S. must do that for them.
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“That Israel is a Western society–not shooting adulterers and homosexuals, allowing diverse religious practice–should not be held against it. I assume you yourself are not interested in moving to a Sha’aria-run republic.”

Comments do not come much more inaccurate or beside the point than that.

It reflects the kind of one-upmanship thinking that has driven Israel on an insane course for decades.

First, I don’t hold being Western “against” Israel. The writer should point out where I did so before making such a ridiculous statement.

My point, had he read what I wrote before answering, was that Israel very little resembles something natural in the Middle East, a point I made in answering someone’s disingenuous claim that the majority of Israel’s people had Middle Eastern or African roots.

Second, where I live or choose to live has nothing whatever to do with the problem confronting the world. It’s as irrelevant as the atmospheric composition of Neptune.

Several million Jewish people have chosen this place, yet they refuse to make any realistic effort, any meaningful sacrifice, to make what they have stable and realistic and fair.

Right now, Israel is a fantasyland supported by the greatest level of subsidy from abroad in all history. Its current shape reflects levels of abuse and injustice which cannot be sustained, and others are paying the bills.

Israel, as it exists, is not long-term viable. Its economy is a hot-house thing, for example exporting tomatoes after using some of the world’s most expensive water. It’s a garrison state, not sustainable long-term. It has every neighbor hating it, and behaves as though there were no tomorrow or future reckonings. It drifts along on visions of Greater Israel, and everyone else is supposed to be willing to pay the immense bill to make it happen.

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