If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the AIPAC conference isn’t a reason for the US to declare – finally – that they’ve had quite enough of the "special relationship," then nothing is. After ambushing the Vice President of the United States with an announcement that new "settlements" are in the works, the Prime Minister then took his anti-American jihad to the enemy’s very gates, in Washington, D.C., where he invoked what Cato policy analyst Justin Logan trenchantly described as "the fallacy of ’39":
"Seventy-five years ago, many leaders around the world put their heads in the sand. Untold millions died in the war that followed. Ultimately, two of history’s greatest leaders helped turn the tide.
"Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill helped save the world. But they were too late to save six million of my own people. The future of the Jewish state can never depend on the goodwill of even the greatest of men. Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself."
It’s always 1939 for Israel’s amen corner, and the Holocaust is always invoked as justification for whatever atrocities they’re whitewashing at the moment, but, really, one has to ask, if the Israelis are so damned independent-minded, why don’t they start "defending" their state all by their lonesome selves? That means we can pull the billions we send them – both economic "stimulus" and military aid, not to mention generous loan guarantees – or, better, yet, let the Israelis send those billions back. Then we’ll see how much actual substance is behind all the bluster, the boasting, the heroic posturing – exactly nil.
Referring to Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, Netanyahu averred that "Today an unprecedented threat to humanity looms large." Unprecedented? Really? Yet he’s old enough to remember the cold war well, a time when the Soviet Union and the United States faced off in a nuclear stalemate that nearly erupted into a hot war. Has he forgotten? I doubt it.
The Soviet Union possessed thousands of nukes: Iran, on the other hand, has yet to produce a single nuclear weapon, and, according to our CIA, they abandoned their nukes program in 2003. While they could restart at any time, presumably – albeit not without encountering the technical problems that seem to perpetually bedevil them – this is hardly the equivalent of the US-USSR nuclear standoff.
Yet we’re quite used to the hyperbolic language the Israelis routinely employ to describe the threats – real and imagined – faced by the Jewish state. To hear them tell it, a reincarnated Hitler is fiendishly planning a replay of the Holocaust, and the "existential" threat to Israel is imminent and unstoppable except through acts of war (sanctions, regime change, military action).
If this is true, and if Israel can only depend on itself for its defense, then what is holding the Israelis back? Why don’t they attack Iran on their own?
They don’t do it because they are completely dependent on the US, and such an attack would not only endanger US troops in Iraq but also plunge the entire Middle East into a war that would decimate American interests in the region and signal the end of the "special relationship" – a relationship based on mutual trust and understanding. That trust would be gone if the Israelis went after Iran without a green light from Washington – and the Israelis, who know what side their bread is buttered on (and who’s paying for the butter), would much prefer that someone else fight their battles. After all, it’s a strategy that’s worked so far.
Contra Netanyahu, the Israeli survival strategy has been the complete opposite of defiant independence and military self-sufficiency: they have been joined at the hip to the US military machine since the Reagan years, and they depend on us to keep their socialist economy from falling apart at the seams.
In return for such unusual generosity, Netanyahu and his fellow ultra-nationalists of the Likud party and its extremist allies are spitting in our faces, very publicly humiliating our public officials, and launching an all-out political attack on the interests of the very country they depend on for their survival.
This goes way beyond mere ingratitude – it indicates a very large gap between the values of the givers and those of the takers.
We hear much about the common aims and culture of the US and Israel, the mutual commitment to "democracy," and the many links that tie our two nations together,. Yet all this is suddenly swept aside when the characteristically Middle Eastern touchiness and hysteria of the Israelis is provoked – and it takes very little to provoke them.
As the Israeli Prime Minister put it in his speech: "Nothing is rarer in the Middle East than tolerance for the beliefs of others." Even rarer, however, is Israeli tolerance for the interests of their American patrons: we are expected to self-sacrificially put Israel first. American presidents have gone along with it for decades – and so no one should be surprised when they pull a stunt like the Biden ambush.
The Israelis are like spoiled children who’ve been coddled and indulged way beyond the limits of reason. If they don’t get what they want the outcry is deafening – and their agents and apologists are numerous, vocal, and well-placed enough in the US to make quite a bit of noise.
Senators McCain and Lieberman likened the dispute between Washington and Tel Aviv to a "family quarrel," and advanced the view that the dispute should never have become public. Aside from the fact that it was the Israelis who went public by blind-siding Biden, isn’t it long past time to apply a little "tough love" to our adopted child in the Promised Land – and maybe even cut off his allowance if he persists in what can only be described as the equivalent of juvenile delinquency?
As it stands now, the US is subsidizing and supporting the expansion of the Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians, while Israel is doing its best to drag us into a war with Iran, and ignite the whole region. The ensuing chaos would give cover to complete the goal of the extremist Likud-far right alliance: the establishment of a "Greater Israel."
This is a mission the United States should have nothing to do with, and the Obama administration knows it. Their response to Israeli intransigence is a good first step, but in order to make it stick they must go beyond mere rhetoric. The Israeli government can’t build settlements if we stop paying for them: they can’t threaten their neighbors, oppress an entire people, and maintain a working alliance with the West unless it’s with our active cooperation. Cut off their funding – and see how quickly they’ll turn, because they know their survival is at stake.