Implications for Israel in the US Global Retreat

June 13, 2013 12:48 am 0 comments

Samantha Power speaks at Harvard Law School in 2010. Photo: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons.

The appointment of Samantha Power as America’s UN ambassador combined with recent US foreign policy statements, reinforce concerns that the US administration is accelerating its policies of global withdrawal, engaging rather than confronting rogue states, and appeasing Islamic extremism.

Ms. Power is on record for dismissing concerns about the Iranian nuclear threat. In addition, whilst favoring greater US assertiveness in relation to human rights issues, she seems to have a somewhat jaundiced moral relativist approach, jointly bracketing Israelis and Palestinian “crimes”. On one occasion she even called for the US to intervene militarily on behalf of the Palestinians against the Jewish state.

Indeed, in an article published 10 years ago entitled “Why do they hate us?” Powers perversely compared US behavior to that of the Nazis. While describing as “ennobling and cathartic for Germany”, Chancellor Willy Brandt kneeling in the Warsaw ghetto to demonstrate atonement for the crimes of the Nazis, she implied that the United States should make a similar apology for its global policies.

In view of her exceedingly harsh former condemnations of Israel, the enthusiastic endorsement of her appointment by pro-Israel stalwarts such as former Senator Joe Lieberman, ADL head Abe Foxman, and Alan Dershowitz were somewhat perplexing. We hope that their confident predictions that she will confront the ongoing anti-Israeli onslaughts at the UN will be realized. But having regard to her previous statements on the subject, one would have expected of them at least to suspend judgment.

President Barack Obama was always upfront concerning his intention to reduce America’s global interventionist role and “engage” rather than confront rogue states. His recent choice of personnel reflects this.

Secretary of State John Kerry, a friend of Israel, has a checkered and messy foreign policy track record including a disastrous effort, immediately before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, to rehabilitate Assad whom he regarded as a reasonable open-minded leader. His naïve efforts to promote the peace process are respectfully tolerated by the Israelis and responded to with outright contempt by the Palestinians who mocked the $4 billion private investment project he recently unveiled. Last month, Kerry quietly waived the US requirements of Egypt to “implement policies to ensure freedom of expression, association and religion”, and approved a $1.3 billion arms grant to them. A few weeks later, the Egyptians displayed their appreciation by sentencing 43 NGO workers, including 16 Americans, to five year prison terms for having funded pro-democracy groups.

Obama’s Minister of Defense Chuck Hagel was an isolationist who harbored anti-Israel views and John Brennan, who heads the CIA, is the principal architect of the policy to appease Islam.

The so-called “Arab Spring”, enthusiastically welcomed by the Obama administration, substituted authoritarian dictators – some pro-Western – with more extreme Moslem Brotherhood fanatics and other radical Islamists who, despite reliance on American financial support, display utter contempt for US concerns.

The absence of international pressure from the US as a superpower in the catastrophic civil war in Syria has strengthened the extremists on both sides with the now probable outcome being an Iranian Hezbollah dominated Assad regime or rule by Moslem Brotherhood extremists buttressed by Al Qaeda.

US appeasement of Islamic extremism now also demands the exclusion of criticism of Islamic terrorism from the lexicon of Administration spokesmen. Thus, it is prohibited to bracket the role of Islamic fundamentalism with acts of terror orchestrated by jihadist elements. Despite the fact that 95% of global terror originates from Islamic extremist sources, one is continuously bombarded by meaningless clichés such as “Islam is a religion of peace” designed to understate and cover up the Islamic extremist element. To top it off, the administration has now initiated a campaign of “outreach” to US Moslem Brotherhood groups, even including elements under investigation for charges of supporting terrorism. This of course undermines the standing and influence of moderate Moslems.

These developments have severe ramifications for Israel. The United States is one of the very few countries where the public remains strongly supportive on a bi-partisan level towards Israel. Obama’s demonstrative display of warmth towards Israel early in his second term, as evidenced during his visit to the Jewish State, was undoubtedly largely influenced by the feelings of rank-and-file Americans.

The US global decline is deeply disconcerting for Israel. It is paralleled by the increasing power of China which has few shared values with us and maintains a purely pragmatic relationship, heavily influenced by the economic and political power of the Arab bloc. The Russian leaders, unlike their former Soviet counterparts, are not anti-Semitic but retain a strong alliance with Syria and even Iran.

Israel’s greatest concern is whether, with the likely failure of sanctions, the United States will fulfill its reiterated undertakings to resort to military action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The repeated articulation of “engaging” rogue states is regarded by many observers as a prelude to the US substituting its policy of preventing Iran from obtaining the bomb, with a wishy-washy containment approach which paves the way for Iranian regional hegemony or obliges other Arab states to seek to obtain nuclear facilities.

Yet, notwithstanding its global decline, the US remains the world’s greatest superpower and its relationship with Israel remains crucial for us.

It is thus incumbent on us to recognize and work towards two goals. The first is to remain aware that in this regional scorpion’s den, there is no mercy for the weak and we must rely solely on our own resources and strength to deter those states – Shiite and Sunni alike – which retain an obsession to destroy us.

That the IDF is today more powerful than it has ever been is the greatest reassurance for the nation. We can never rely on third parties and the current chaos with UNDORF on the Golan Heights, with the Russians offering to substitute for the Austrian withdrawal, underlines the imperative of self-sufficiency in defending ourselves.

The second goal must be to maintain and strengthen our relationship with the American people and Congress. If they continue backing our efforts to resist the barbarians at our gates, the Administration is likely to continue providing us with the needed military and technological support.

To achieve these goals we must impose greater discipline on our politicians and on ourselves. We must speak with one voice, especially in these times of intransigent Palestinian leadership when, for the foreseeable future, genuine progress in the peace process is virtually inconceivable. It is the height of irresponsibility for a deputy minister of defense to proclaim that a two state solution is off the table or to call for the annexation of all the territories. Such outbursts simply provide grist for those seeking to distance the US from Israel.

The government must continue its nuanced policy of strengthening the relationship with the US without conceding on issues that abet the strategy of our adversaries to undermine the State in stages and embolden Islamic extremists.

We would hope that our Jewish supporters and friends in the United States will continue encouraging the administration at all levels to support Israel in its struggle against its Islamic jihadist adversaries.

The writer may be contacted at ileibler@leibler.com. This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.