Before the crowds grab their torches and pitchforks, I should make the statement that I am a Jew (not practicing) and that I fully support the right of Israel to exist as a nation. My father, three of my siblings, and many other members of my extended family live there. In other words, I’m about as pro-Israel as it gets, but I’m also supportive of a two-state solution or anything else the two sides can agree on to end decades of violence. Yes, I know that it’s a long shot, but we have to keep trying to make it stop.
A huge part of the problem in the Middle East is that you have outside forces meddling in the region and as I’ve repeatedly said before, there’s a scary alliance of the defense industry lobby and End Times prophecy Christians who have a vested interest in making sure that conflict rages on. That’s not to say that without these forces Palestinians and Israelis wouldn’t continue to clash, but I think there would be a considerable reduction in the tensions.
As it currently stands, Israel (like much of the United States) is being run by the far right and our own politicians are kissing Benjamin Netanyahu’s backside and going along with his demands for military action against Iran. Speaker John Boehner is going to Israel at the end of this month – which also happens to be the deadline for a peace deal with Iran – but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, right?
Of course, President Obama has had enough of Republicans meddling with peace talks and he’s ready to show them (and Netanyahu) that he’s serious:
The White House on Thursday sharply criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tactics during his reelection campaign, warning that they could alter U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinian bid for statehood.
Netanyahu, who won decisively, appeared on Thursday to walk back his repudiation of a two-state solution with the Palestinians made just days before the election. But the White House’s comments indicate that Netanyahu’s campaign further strained already-tense relations between Obama and the Israeli prime minister. (Source)
Benjamin Netanyahu is the darling of the far right here in the United States, and between him and Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham, they’re absolutely intent on a war with Iran no matter what. In fact, Sen. Graham has threatened to cut our funding to the United Nations should any sanctions against Iran be lifted, which is further proof that the hawks in Congress are intent on sabotaging any sort of reasonable deal between the countries. These politicians aren’t loyal to the United States, they’re loyal to radical Christians (who believe that a huge war in the Middle East is necessary to bring about the biblical End Times), defense contractors, and Benjamin Netanyahu.
For decades, Israel has been our ally in the Middle East and we’ve sent them billions of dollars in aid. While I’m not going to debate the pros and cons of that relationship on the region, it’s worth pointing out that the Israeli government understood their role and didn’t directly snub a sitting president in the way that Netanyahu has done recently. Along with GOP lawmakers who want President Obama to kowtow to him, Netanyahu has basically become the leader of the Republican Party and has begun to meddle in the workings of our government, which is utterly unacceptable.
Foreign aid to Israel and other countries is a tiny drop in the federal budget, but cutting those few billion dollars would still serve to show Benjamin Netanyahu and hard-liners in their government that we won’t continue to allow the undermining of a peace deal or the contempt he has shown our president. Like the United States, most of the people in Israel are good people – and they do a far better job of turning out to vote than we do. Unfortunately, so long as the hawkish, right-wing Likud Party controls Israeli policy and Benjamin Netanyahu is allied with Republicans who want war no matter what, there’s no point continuing to pretend they’re our best friends.
As much as it pains me to say it, perhaps our relationship with Israel should take a little time out until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remembers which country he’s in charge of.
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