First let’s establish this: Benjamin Netanyahu is the prime minister of Israel, not the United States. One might think that would be apparent, but given the approbation his tirades receive from certain quarters here it doesn’t appear to be the case.
There’s been plenty of information and commentary on the new Iranian nuclear agreement, so I won’t go into details except to remind readers this is temporary. It cedes nothing but $7 billion in international sanctions out of $120 billion since 2010 — and that can be turned back on in a heartbeat — in return for halting some very bad behavior and providing unprecedented access. True, sanctions have severely damaged Iran’s economy but it’s still building centrifuges and nuclear infrastructure, so maybe we need to try something different, like talking.
It may eventually come down to air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but given the devastating consequences of such an attack on American interests, any president had better be damn sure every other possibility for resolution is fully scrutinized.
There are good reasons to shield Israel. It espouses many of the values we hold dear. But never forget Israeli objectives and American objectives, while often overlapping, are not indivisible. Israel’s unyielding belligerency toward its neighbors may work for it but it’s counterproductive to America’s goals, which include balancing tenuous relations with the 99 percent of the world that’s not Israel.
Here’s a question people should be asking: What other U.S. ally feels completely unconstrained haranguing the American president about our foreign policy? And gets away with it? But then Israel gets away with a lot more than just denouncing our efforts to bring some sanity to the Middle East. Its illegal nuclear stockpile; its illegal settlement policies; its illegal suppression of Palestinians. Where’s the outrage?
Can you imagine what the U.S. would do if Serbia had employed ethnic cleansing of Bosnians like Israel did when it destroyed more than 400 villages and drove 750,000 Palestinians into squalid refugee camps? Or if Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait like Israel did to Lebanon for 18 years? Oh wait! We did do something, just never in the case of Israel.
When Netanyahu lectures us, he can count on three disturbingly strange sets of political bedfellows to snap to attention. First are liberal congressional Democrats from Jewish strongholds like New York and Florida pandering to a community that wields power, money and political clout far out of proportion to its size.
Then you have Republican neocon right-wingers who have never met a war they didn’t like; you know, those stalwarts of “American exceptionalism” who squeal bloody murder at the slightest smudge on American sovereignty.
Finally there’s the 50 million Evangelical Christians who believe the “End of Times” can’t occur until Zionists smite their enemies and Biblical Israel is fully restored, at which point their feverish defense of Israeli militancy may well be self-fulfilling prophesy.
So, a strange brew of wampum, warmongering and weirdness. Just thought you should know where the noise is coming from.
Marty Moore is a freelance writer living in Port Richey.