It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel, and that it become far more careful about the extent to which it test the limits of U.S. patience and exploits the support of American Jews. This does not mean taking a single action that undercuts Israeli security, but it does mean realizing that Israel should show enough discretion to reflect the fact that it is a tertiary U.S. strategic interest in a complex and demanding world. – Israel as a Strategic Liability?, by Anthony Cordesman
It’s getting louder and coming from all quarters.
You don’t have to go back further than Lebanon 2006 (though you could), then walk forward.
Gaza attack without end, followed by an unending continuing humanitarian crises.
Settlements… continuing, then announced yet again when V.P. Biden is in Israel.
That’s before we even get to a shared Jerusalem.
The recent flotilla raid was just too much for many. This isn’t about IDF soldiers. Tzipi Livni is right. It’s about the Netanyahu government giving the order and knowing the situation, but doing it anyway and falling into a trap that has ensnared us all.
The are many reasons for not revisiting history. It’s just not helpful. Everyone realizes the horrible violence that has been delivered on Israel by bombs and attacks. But it now stands as backdrop to what we’re seeing happening in the present, especially in Gaza.
Andrew Sullivan proves the point about history today. Richard Cohen’s column from 2006 is Sullivan’s starting point.
The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.
Sullivan’s recent essays, beginning with his “Israel Derangement Syndrome,” illustrate the cumulative cost of Israel’s actions during recent historical times. Israel may have provoked another point of no return with the Gaza flotilla fiasco. Sullivan today:
I’m not going to go into the long and awful history of the way in which the Arab world has treated Israel from the get-go, but I am saying that to add to the original proposition an ongoing, unstoppable colonization of a further swathe of land won in wartime is obviously against the interests of the Jewish state, and compounds and deepens the resentment from 1948 and 1967 and 1974. Not to see this context, indeed to claim that any and all grievances against Israel’s existence – and, much more significantly, ongoing expansion – are entirely a function of Jew-hatred is to lose any nuance in diplomacy or human relations.
That’s where the Israelis have lost me and some others. It was revealed first by how petulantly even the Kadima-led government responded to Obama’s election. The Gaza war, conceptually defensible, was practically gruesome (Hamas and Israel share that blame), but the unapologetic, almost triumphalist and revengeful manner in which it was conducted and defended was and is shocking, as is the contempt for the wounded and dead on the Mavi Marmara. When your heart is hardened against the corpses of children buried in rubble, it is hardened too much. And the job of a real friend is to point this out, not to enable it.
There is no longer one side against the silent. There are two sides, both wanting to save Israel from herself, but it’s getting increasingly hard to do. Because if you’re friends can’t tell you when you’re screwing up so that you’ll listen and change, it’s likely your enemies will let you know in a way you won’t soon forget.
We’re entering a new moment in political analysis and rhetorical criticism where Israel is concerned and they brought it on themselves. We won’t see any courage in Congress for a while, but eventually that rock will be moved. The times and circumstances have changed and demand it.
The first action should be transparent declaration of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. You can’t have a nuclear-free Middle East, let alone hold Iran accountable, if a major player in the region is held to a different standard.