Pro-Israel?

January 19, 2009

I like this from Steve Walt:

“As for Carter, consider what former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami writes in his excellent book Scars of War, Wounds of Peace:

‘Carter did not hesitate to criticize Israel publicly, threaten her and even put pressure on her. As it turned out, it was this kind of President—George Bush [the elder] in the later 1980s is another case in point—who was ready to confront Israel head on and overlook the sensibilities of her friends in America that managed eventually to produce meaningful breakthroughs on the way to an Arab-Israeli peace’

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.”

Read the whole post at FP. Walt is in the middle of a debate with David Rothkopf (and other “pro-Israel” hardliners).

But isn’t that always the case? If you don’t support the hardest of the hardliners in government, you get accused of being a traitor, or anti-American, or anti-Israel? I mean, do these people really think that in the crevices of their hearts, critics of Israel’s war in Gaza or the 2006 war in Lebanon hate Israel and support Iranian-backed terrorists? I’m sure there are some nutbars out there who do, but really, people like Steve Walt?? Is it so hard to consider that maybe, just maybe, the use of military force in cases such as the invasion of Iraq or Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon or the Vietnam War actually undermined the US or Israel’s security, and carried costs that outweighed gains? That military force is not cure-all for every problematic security situation in the world? That every critic of military force in every case is not an appeaser modeled on Neville Chamberlain? That there is a difference between the prudent use of force and being a hippie incense-burning peacenik who thinks we can overcome Hamas with hugs and love letters? Just sayin’.

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