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Monday, March 22, 2010

AIPAC panelists: When US separates from Israel, Arabs make more demands

This is Jennifer Rubin on one of Sunday's AIPAC panels.
Abrams made a different case: “The most important shift is in Washington.” He noted that in 1967, Israel won a tremendous, and the British left Aden, opening an era in which the U.S.-Israel alliance dominated the region. (”It took the 1973 war for the Arabs to learn that lesson.”) The question Arabs are asking now, Abrams said, is about what the American policy is on maintaining its dominance in the region. They want to know “whether the U.S. is prepared to maintain its position or let the region slip into a period of Iranian dominance.” On Iran’s nuclear ambitions specifically, Abrams reminded the crowd that the Obama administration says it is “unacceptable” if Iran gets a nuclear weapon. “But do they mean it’s unacceptable or just that it is a bummer?”

As for the Obami’s effort to separate the U.S. from Israel to increase our credibility with the Arabs, it is “no accident” Abrams said, that the Saudi’s 2002 peace plan, while not the basis for any viable peace agreement, would have ended with the recognition of Israel. When the Arab states realize that the U.S. commitment to Israel is unyielding and that they “can’t do anything about Israel, they begin to make peace.” If the U.S. should begin to change its position, Abrams cautioned, their attitude toward Israel will change as well. Then, Abrams added, citing Lee Smith’s book The Strong Horse, they will decide which is the weak and which is the strong horse in the region and act accordingly. How we act toward Israel affects how Arab states regard us. As we distance ourselves from Israel, the Arabs see that we “are proving to be an undependable ally.” So the place to determine the fate of the Middle East, he summed up, is “here.”

All the panelists in their presentations and the Q & A discussed the recent conflict and the “peace process.” Stephens noted that putting the “squeeze on our friends while coddling our enemies comes with a cost. Israel will take less risks for peace. The Palestinians are encouraged to make maximalist demands. Radicals in the region take comfort that the U.S. is slowly withdrawing.” Susser deemed the ruckus raised by the administration over a Jersulem housing project ”ludicrous.” The Obama team is focused on the “1967 file” — settlements and Jerusalem. But the Palestinians are still stuck on the “1948 file” — the right of return of refugees and “Israel’s being.” What’s working against us and serving as the reason that status quo is unsustainable, he says, are both the demography and the movement internationally to try to delegitimize Israel.
Read it all.


At 5:34 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - demography is a red herring and the reason an international movement exists to delegitimize Israel is because we haven't heard Israel's leaders defend Israel's national rights and assert Israel's just claims. Since they haven't Israel comes across looking like a thief in possession of stolen goods. If you don't have a good answer to your critics' charges, what do you think their response is going to be? Its not about better "hasbara." Its about saying Jews have a right to be in Israel and Israel should annex the lands it has to underline its claims to them.

If Israel is going to act weak and apologetic, the Jewish State is simply living on borrowed time. Weakness persuades no one, least of all the Palestinians, who have not budged at all from their "red lines", while they have seen the Jews destroy the Gush Katif with their own hands and beg of sharing Jerusalem with them. With that behavior coming from the Jews, you know whom the world sees as having a just cause?

I'd like to hear Israel's leaders tell us why Israel's cause is just. Its not a pretty picture.


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