Friends Don’t Let Friends…

Things Steve Walt says about Israel should of course be taken with a grain of salt, but nevertheless, I think this point is well adduced in dismantling the “pro” or “anti” Israel debate.

The current President Bush is often described as the most “pro-Israel” President in history. Yet his policies have helped make Hamas stronger and more popular, and his cheerleading for Israel’s ill-advised war in Lebanon in 2006 ended up costing more Israeli lives and left Hezbollah in a stronger position in Lebanon. His policies also facilitated settlement expansion and made a two-state solution harder to achieve, and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 ended up improving Iran’s strategic position, which is hardly good for Israel. All this reinforces a point I made a few days ago: it is high time to redefine what “pro-Israel” means.

This quite right, and I’ll add that the tacit assumption underlying “pro” Israel support is that providing carte blanche to misguided Israeli endeavors is that US “permission” is more appropriately described as “money”, and ultimately, “involvement.” The more blindly the US supports a hawkish Israeli foreign policy, the more likely eventual US involvement becomes. Of course, this isn’t an entirely undesirable consequence for neoconservatives, who I’m sure would relish the opportunity to bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran, but the more saner of us should better recognizer the perils of this current policy. Even if involvement grows short of direct military assitance, it most certainly will mean increased military aid, which will in turn descrease the likelihood of peaceful solutions for US foreign policy goals in the area.

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