I didn’t make it to the AIPAC Conference this year, but the cold wind that blew out of that gathering seems to have among the many returnees staggering back from Washington D.C., I have sensed a mind-numbing shell shock, the results of having endured an ignominious defeat.
Not only did President Obama not attend the conference, as presidential candidate Obama did, but his Vice President – once a steadfast ally on Israeli defense issues, made it clear that the Administration intends to apply greater pressure against Israel into making significant concessions to the Palestinians of a nature that could determine the future survival of the Jewish state.
And that’s not all. According to a report in the Israel national paper Ha’aretz, National Security Adviser James Jones was quoted in a classified foreign ministry cable as having said that: “The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question. We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush.” He then explained that the US, the EU and the moderate Arab states will jointly determine together what “a satisfactory endgame solution,” will be.
As if to confirm such a plan , U.N. Middle East envoy Tony Blair has been commissioned to design a new framework for a comprehensive Middle East, which, he has implied, may involve the resuscitation of the Arab League peace plan of 2002. That plan, which calls for Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank and the Golan Heights and the acceptance of millions of Palestinian refugees as Israeli citizens, has been regarded by every Israeli government – of left or the right – as posing an unacceptable threat to the Jewish character of the State.
Putting two and two together, there seems to be plenty of evidence for the view that Obama’s Administration believes, much like the Carter and Bush 1 Administrations before it, that the root of the Middle East conflict is not Arab rejectionism and unbridled support for terror, but Israeli intransigence. The ominous implication of the new policy is that decisions regarding the security and very survival of the Jewish state will be wrested from its government ‘s hands and handed over to foreigners.
These developments have worrying implications for the West, for the following reasons:
The second is that Iran will not see the U.S. Administration’s pressure on Israel as payback for the restraints on its own nuclear ambitions. Rather, it will see it as encouragement for the further strengthening of its resolve to confront the West. The suggested nexus between the elevation of Palestinian dignity and the pacification of Iranian aggression has no basis in reality. U.S. policy should recognize that the Iranians’ issue with Israel is not the way it treats Palestinians, but with the very notion of a Jewish state in itself.
The third is the significant damage such action can do in the unified resolve of the West to confront Muslim fundamentalism. With rising Muslim disaffection in the capitals of Europe and acquiescence and appeasement of domestic demands for equality, the last thing the West needs to be seen doing is dumping a Western ally who is such a potent symbol of democratic success. The psychological victory brought about by such humiliation can only strengthen the belief of Arab governments and Islamic European minorities, that the West can be defeated.
Nothing has happened yet and the Obama Administrations should be judged on what it does and ot on its proposals or unconfirmed plans. But in this time of uncertainty, as the West spins into a potentially disastrous cycle of appeasement and capitualation, we better understand that the chill emanating fromthe White House, may be the first frosty signs of a howling Arctic gale blowing at us from the future.