Wed Feb 7th, 2024 at 11:24:54 PM EST
How the Israeli military's destruction of Gaza's schools and universities is creating a lost generation | Arab News |
United States Policy Toward Israel: The Politics, Sociology, Economics & Strategy of Commitment |
Thesis Ph.D. in International Relations @LSE by Elizabeth Stephens in 2003 |
The irony of the US-Israeli relationship and the strength of Israel's negotiating position was attributable to the highly penetrated nature of the American political system and its susceptibility to influence from transnational actors. It was Tel Aviv not the administration that convinced the pro-Israel lobby and Congress not to oppose the sale. By communicating informally with their contacts in Washington, Tel Aviv prevented the mobilisation of Israel's congressional friends against the Jordanian arms deal. Israeli access and ability to influence government officials paradoxically gave Israel almost equal weight with the White House in the negotiations. In an all-out confrontation with Israel, Johnson was not guaranteed of success and may have expended considerable political capital and his personal currency as President in securing the support of the Senate in ratifying the sale. As will be shown, President Reagan's 1981 battle with Congress and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin over the AWACS sale to Saudi Arabia, vindicates Johnson's determination to secure Israeli compliance in the deal.
The Jordanian arms deal undermined the distinction between defensive and offensive arms sales and signalled a fundamental reconfiguration of America's role in the Middle East. A spiral of superpower confrontation by proxy was unleashed, whereby arms supplies to the region escalated as the regional states exploited their new found power over their patrons to secure an abundance of increasingly sophisticated weapons systems.
Washington's official policy of curbing arms supplies was further undermined by the revelation that Jordan was not an exception to the rule and that a number of friendly Arab states, including Lebanon, Libya and Saudi Arabia, had also received weapons from the US.
Members of the State Department were also concerned that "if Israel [were] unable to obtain its valid conventional arms requirements, those in Israel who advocate[d] the acquisition of nuclear weapons [would] find a much more fertile environment for their views." The extent to which this fear was replicated in the White House is unclear, but both Kennedy and Johnson made US inspections of Israeli nuclear facilities to ascertain the extent of Israel's nuclear capability, a prerequisite for agreement on conventional arms transfers.
Through accident as much as by design, three broad contours of Johnson's Middle East policy were firmly established by the eve of the 1967 war. The first objective was to create stability in the Gulfregion. This was to be achieved through the sale of nearly half a billion dollars worth of military equipment to Iran and Saudi Arabia to enable them to strengthen their monarchies against internal subversion and to defend the region against Soviet encroachment. The second objective was to promote Israel's security and deter it from seeking a nuclear capability. The third objective was to control the Arab radicalism that threatened to erode Western influence in the Middle East by decreasing aid to Egypt [Muslim Brotherhood] and isolating Syria's pro-Soviet regime. This policy was designed to strengthen pro-American regimes while avoiding official commitments and diplomatic entanglement.
Prelude to Crisis
Despite Washington's effort to buttress what it saw as the forces of moderation, Middle Eastern tensions were heightened in February 1966, when a new radical government, drawn from the minority Alawi sect, seized power in Syria. In seeking to consolidate its hold on power, the regime fell foul of Soviet blandishments and the temptation to substitute foreign adventures for domestic popularity. In so doing, Damascus was instrumental in accelerating the outbreak of the third Arab-Israeli war.
In an endeavour to establish popular legitimacy and support amongst the Syrian people, the government used Ahmad Shuqairi's fledgling Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in a "war of national liberation" that took the form of guerrilla raids into Israel across the Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese borders. For the Syrian leaders, the raids and the predictable Israeli reaction had the double virtue of putting both `reactionary' Jordan and `progressive' Egypt on the spot and forced Cairo's hand in concluding a mutual defence treaty with Damascus in November 1966. The treaty blatantly aligned the region's two most radical states with Moscow, and by implication, against Israel and the United States.
The explosive nature of the situation was heightened in November 1966 when Israel retaliated against the raids by attacking the Palestinian West Bank village of Es-Samu and killing 30 civilians. Johnson rebuked Eshkol for the severity of the attack and reassured King Hussein of his government's commitment to the territorial integrity of his Kingdom. The administration was so incensed that another democracy could behave in such a way that in the United Nations, the US ambassador Arthur Goldberg condemned both sides for the use of force and on 25 November refused to veto the UN Security Council resolution censuring Tel Aviv. American strategy appeared to have the desired effect when in January 1967 Eshkol reacted with marked restraint to a Fatah raid on Israeli territory. The effect was short lived, however, and the scale of Arab terrorist attacks and Israeli retaliation reached new heights on 7 April 1967 when the Israelis shot down six Syrian Mig-21s over Jordanian and Syrian territory without sustaining any losses themselves.
Israel PM Begin young Senator Biden on 1982 Lebanon invasion harsh treatment civilians women and children
New Senate funding bill would send $14 billion to Israel and cut all funding to UNRWA
Middle East Democracy Center Advocacy Director Seth Binder noted that multiple Democrats pushed for provisions supporting the two-state solution and Israeli compliance with international law, but these measures didn't make it into the text.
In a Twitter thread, Foundation for Middle East Peace president Lara Friedman broke down the details of the supplemental. "Bottom line messages of the bill from Senate leaders: - zero interest/concern for what Israel does w/ US weapons, or intends w/ respect to Gaza, two-state solution, etc - All hail King Bibi! - It's always good politics to sh*t on Palestinians, even when they're dying of starvation," she concluded.
The bill is not expected to make it through the House, as House Speaker Mike Johnson has declared it is "dead on arrival" due to provisions on the U.S.-Mexico border. However, Republicans are moving forward with a standalone bill that provides Israel with $17.6 billion for additional munitions and no aid for Palestinians.
This week, British Channel 4 reported that they have combed over a confidential Israeli document alleging that UNRWA workers participated in the October 7 attack. The outlet says the document "provides no evidence to support its explosive new claim."
Israel PM Begin young Senator Biden on 1982 Lebanon invasion harsh treatment civilians women and children
Joe Biden the Monster Inside
1982: Israeli Invasion of Lebanon | 27 April 2021 |
In public, Joe Biden tried to claim neutrality on the Israeli military campaign. In private, he was more enthusiastic about it than the Israeli prime minister.
In public, Joe Biden was neither a public cheerleader for nor an opponent of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. But in a private meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in June 1982, Biden appeared to support the brutality of the invasion even more than the Israeli government. As Biden's colleagues "grilled" Begin over Israel's disproportionate use of force, including by targeting civilians with cluster bomb munitions, Begin said Biden "rose and delivered a very impassioned speech" defending the invasion. Begin said he was shocked at how passionately Biden supported Israel's invasion when Biden "said he would go even further than Israel, adding that he'd forcefully fend off anyone who sought to invade his country, even if that meant killing women or children."
Begin said, "I disassociated myself from these remarks," adding: "I said to him: No, sir; attention must be paid. According to our values, it is forbidden to hurt women and children, even in war. Sometimes there are casualties among the civilian population as well. But it is forbidden to aspire to this. This is a yardstick of human civilization, not to hurt civilians."
The comments were striking from Begin, who had been notorious as a leader of the Irgun, a militant group that carried out some of the worst acts of ethnic cleansing accompanying the creation of the state of Israel, including the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre. The details of his exchange with Biden about Lebanon did not receive attention in the U.S. press. Instead, The New York Times focused on what it termed the "bitterest exchange" between Biden and Begin over the issue of Israeli settlements, which Biden opposed because, he said, it was hurting Israel's reputation in the U.S.
In public, Biden said he agreed with a draft Democratic resolution that said the 1982 Israeli invasion "dealt a severe blow" to "international terrorism" and reduced "Soviet influence" in Lebanon while offering, with U.S. leadership, "a new opportunity to build a lasting peace for the people of Lebanon and greater security for Israel."
Joe Biden your political life is sustained on lies and too much blood-letting of civilians and the innocent. Your position on Arabs, Muslims and African Americans is questionable.
Mood is angry as Menachim Begin meets US foreign policy panel Lebanon incursion
Menachem Begin to Joe Biden: I am not a Jew with trembling knees | Op-ed - 29 March 2023 |
Netanyahu's response to Biden's interference is in the proud tradition of Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin.
In a world where Iran continues to make good on its desire to build a nuclear bomb, with the Russia-Ukraine situation, with Saudi issues, for the Biden administration to decide to play hardball with Israel is out of place..
But - History often repeats itself.
On June 22 1982, Joe Biden was a Senator from Delaware and confronted then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin during his Senate Foreign Relations committee testimony, threatening to cut off aid to Israel. Begin forcefully responded,
"Don't threaten us with cutting off your aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history. Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid."
Senator Biden reportedly banged on the table with his fist, and Begin retorted,
"This desk is designed for writing, not for fists. Don't threaten us with slashing aid. Do you think that because the US lends us money it is entitled to impose on us what we must do? We are grateful for the assistance we have received, but we are not to be threatened. I am a proud Jew. Three thousand years of culture are behind me, and you will not frighten me with threats. Take note: we do not want a single soldier of yours to die for us."
Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the leader of the Revisionist movement, which both Begin and Netanyahu emanate from noted in 1940 that,
"We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmed agree with it or not."
There have been very scary scenes coming from Israel this week, yet, no matter what, the State of Israel is more important than solely the (very important) issue of judicial reform. For me, no matter what, I stand with Israel. That's how it should be for you, too.
AIPAC 1992 - United States and Jewish State of Israel Relations
April 6, 1992
Senators Biden and Mack addressed the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on issues which affect relations between the United States and Israel. Senator Biden is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while Senator Mack is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
C-Span transcript VWIW
we are about to commit a. And for whom we have the greatest hopes and aspirations for their success. Were I a Jew. There is no time in the last twenty. I would be more dangerous to the environs of the former Soviet Union. They are more in jeopardy today. Than twenty years ago and you all don't even look. But that is not malarkey. That's a fact. It's absurd notion to think that we can play games. We can play games of ego. About the issue of the absorption of Jews from Eastern Europe in the SO. And one of the other absurd notions use that Israel is a stumbling block to peace. For God's sake. What memories do we have it. I don't ask you to look back thirty years ago. I don't ask you to look back twenty. I don't ask you look back. Three years ago. I ask you to look back a year ago. What was happening here with Jews fighting Arabs. Was it non Arabs fighting her hands with the Arabs who in this room who anyone who is slightly informed. Could look you straight in the eye and say we're God to come down tomorrow. And physically relocate the nation state of Israel to another part of the world. There would be peace in the Middle East. It's an absurd. Damn notion.
And as a consequence of that absurd notion. We continue to perpetuate a policy in an attitude. That is not absurd. But that is an atrocity. And again I should say this to you but I'm going do. Some of you don't even make the case well some of you don't apologize. It's time. There is no for us to apologize for anything. Nothing at all.
I am a Jeffersonian in that I believe that the better idea will out that the American people are basically decent and if we keep reminding them of the facts the facts. They will understand. Ladies and gentleman. My heart is full of the sense of anguish right now about what we're doing in this country. What we're doing to ourselves. And what we are doing. To a relationship with a country that I made a prediction to you and those in the Israeli government will be offended my spot I predicted it Ernie. Years ago when there was the attempt to isolate Israel. In the early days of the last minute mark my words. Remember you heard it here. The more we laid Israel. Let's understand one thing. Israel has only one friend in the world. I spend more time that I want to admit these days to my constituents. With the NATO countries. And there ain't no friends there. There are NO it is the United States. And if the United States succeeds as it can in isolating Israel. You will watch. You will see. Whomever the Israeli government is concluding that they have no choice but to go it alone. I believe that's what happened to manakin begun. I believe that's why a policy was initiated with regard to Lebanon that. If they did not feel as though they had been abandoned. They would have never initiated. I could be wrong but watch, watch with the isolation results in in terms of domestic Israeli policy. Relative to the Middle East. Ladies and gentlemen. We should stop arguing in public my friends like Bob and others in this room and heard me say it my brother Jimmy is here with my brother Jimmy and IRA kids. If my father drove up the driveway and saw us fighting in the front yard we both got to help. We both had to beat him next. The way it worked the family. Argues ....
AIPAC 1992: Unbroken, Unrepentant, Unreflective, Unconscious and Unreal
IN TWO PARTS
Green for Goyim: Covering the AIPAC Convention with the "Wrong" Press Credentials
By Eugene Bird
It was the largest gathering ever held of committed American Jewish supporters of hard-line lobbying on behalf of Israel. A claimed 3,000 delegates from every state and all major centers of Jewish life in America gathered at the Sheraton ballroom in Washington in early April to hear both Democrat and Republican legislators and the vice president of the United States. Day Quayle opened his remarks by greeting "Fellow Zionists."
And the vice president was mobbed afterward by some of the 1,000 student delegates from more than 100 colleges around the nation. They wanted to shake his hand, to touch him, to shout words of encouragement. For what they heard was that this administration is as dedicated to a close relation with Israel as before the loan guarantee fight. They also heard from Israeli Ambassador Zalman Shoval and from Senators Joe Biden (D-DE), Connie Mack (R-FL) and Robert Kasten (D-WI) that the loan guarantee request would be left on the table in the Congress and definitely would be taken up later this year.
Senator Biden used stump-speech techniques, sometimes shouting and sometimes lowering his voice to a whisper to denounce the George Bush-James Baker policy toward the Middle East like an old-fashioned preacher.
Yet even he seemed to admit that everything has changed. One observer described his speech as defensive, brittle and unconvincing-whistling in the dark. And conversations with individual Jewish delegates revealed their uncertainty that the course laid down by AIPAC in support of Israel, regardless of the consequences for American foreign policy or for real peace in the Middle East, was wise or in the long-term interest of either Israel or of American Jews.
One said at dinner, "You know, no one should take Biden seriously here. He is a cheer leader. He helps us, of course, but does opposing the peace talks or ignoring them or disparaging them really make sense? I don't think so." Another remarked how many of her friends at home were divided over the peace talks. They know this is an opportunity that could be lost by the hard-line Shamir approach.
Press people were issued green cards if they were non-Jewish or from non-Jewish publications and white cards if they were of Jewish origin, giving them the right to attend the smaller AIPAC legislative and strategy sessions. The resulting coverage by both television and non-Jewish print media was both broad and superficial.
When Dan Quayle cited in his speech the many accomplishments of the administration on behalf of U.S.-Israeli relations, he pointed out that without Reagan-Bush:
- The great Soviet emigration (channeled to Israel) would not have occurred.
- The rescue of Ethiopian Jewry would not have happened.
- The "Zionism is Racism" resolution would still stand.
- Direct peace talks, on terms Israel "has rightly sought for 43 years" would not be a reality.
- And Iraq might be threatening Israel's very survival today.
But when he added, "I think you will agree: Ronald Reagan's presidency and George Bush's presidency have been good for Israel," there were a few audible boos from the audience. Yet he was affectionately mobbed a few minutes later and took 15 minutes to move out of the auditorium.
The bruised AIPAC organization has obviously recovered a lot since its stunning defeat last autumn. It still is capable of mustering votes and gaining a hearing for its peculiar arguments that ignore Arab concessions for peace and endorse Israeli seizure and retention of still more Arab lands to buttress Israeli security.
But the irrationality of such policies and the disillusionment of increasing numbers of American Jews with Israel's ideology of never-ending confrontation with its Arab neighbors may make even the most ardent AIPAC member pause to ponder: Are Bush administration officials or the hard-line hired guns of AIPAC the real "enemies of the Jews"?
Looking Back on the Middle East: James A. Baker III
"Senator Biden used stump-speech techniques, to denounce the George Bush-James Baker policy toward the Middle East like an old-fashioned preacher."
From the diaries ...
The great ally for decades of the United States. Only George Herbert Bush with Secretary of State James Baker III and Barack Obama with John Kerry had the courage to follow through on International Law and the UN Security Council resolutions to confront the state of Israel. Both the Republicans and Democrats lost the next bid for presidency in the election.
Bush's most publicized successes as President came in foreign policy. In an almost bloodless campaign, he authorized the use of military force to remove Panama dictator Manuel Noriega from power. And when in 1990 Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait as a possible prelude to invading Saudi Arabia, rather than fulfilling Margaret Thatcher's fears that he might "go wobbly", Bush instead put together a domestic and international political and military coalition that drove Hussein out of Kuwait in less than a month of combat and with a minimal loss of American lives.
Removing the Democrats from power became a major goal for PM Netanyahu, Israel lobby groups and to undo the nuclear deal with Iran sealed by the UN Security Council. The US has become itself a pariah state within the global community of nations and spreading terror across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Biden: No peace until region recognizes Israel's right to exist | JPost - 23 May 2021 |
Regional recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a two-state solution are the ways to peace, US President Joe Biden said.
"Until the region says, unequivocally, they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace," the president said.
In addition, Biden said: "We still need a two-state solution. It is the only answer."
Asked at a White House press conference if there has been a change in the Democratic Party's position on Israel, Biden said: "There is no shift in my commitment... to the security of Israel, period. No shift. Not at all... I think that, you know, my party still supports Israel."
Biden said that he urged Israel to stop the "inter-communal fighting that has extremes on both sides" in Jerusalem and to ensure that Arab and Jewish Israelis are "treated equally as Israeli citizens."
The US is going to "provide for security in the West Bank," along with its renewed economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority, he said, and it will work with other countries to rebuild homes in Gaza without allowing the funds to get to Hamas.
Biden said it is "essential" for PA President Mahmoud Abbas be recognized as the rightful leader of the Palestinians, as opposed to Hamas, which he pointed out is a terrorist organization.
Biden Administration's Middle East Policy | C-Span Video - 27 Jan. 2022 |
Brett McGurk, deputy assistant to the president and Middle East coordinator for the National Security Council, took part in a Carnegie Endowment virtual discussion on the Biden administration's foreign policy agenda for the Middle East and its pursuit of diplomacy and stability in the region. Topics included negotiations with Iran and its return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Syria and the Assad regime, the war in Yemen, and U.S. relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia. Mr. McGurk also addressed the growing influence of China and Russia in the Middle East.
IDF the World's Most Moral Armed Forces
Joe Biden losing the Hispanic and Muslim vote this year