How much of that is true when put to an honest, objective an impartial evaluation?
They are all true.
Since 1962, when US President Kennedy authorized sales of Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to Israel, Israel has had the status of a close American ally, receiving billions of dollars in military and economic aid.
Strategically, Israel has “51st State” status, along with other small but significant countries like Denmark and South Korea1)
According to a calculus performed by If Americans Knew, an independent research and information institute focusing narrowly on the Israel-Palestine conflict, the total grants and loan guarantees for Israel is roughly 5.5 billion per year.
So the complete total of U.S. grants and loan guarantees to Israel for fiscal 1997 was $5,525,800,000.Even if the number differs, varies or combines figures, often cited numbers of 1.2 to 1.8 billion and the IAK number of 3 billion in grants alone indicate the strategic importance of Israel to the United States.
Under such conditions USA cannot be expected to act as an honest broker. Accusations of double-dealing in Washington with regards to the Israel-Palestine conflict, posing as negotiators while feeding the hubris of an overgrown war machine, are as obviously true as accusations of Israeli double-dealing when comes to Palestinians, and as accurate as reports of Palestinian aggression.
USA and Israel has fostered what is called a "special relationship."
It is the nature of things: Geopolitics is not a game for the faint of heart.
1) Denmark no longer due to its strategic placement near the Baltic Sea, but due to USA's monitoring station on Greenland, Thule Air Base, for which reason Denmark will indefinitely be tied to USA as a crucial strategic partner. The common wisdom is that the home of the 821st Air Base Group is no longer geopolitically relevant after the end of the Cold War, but the 2008 Georgia-Russia crisis should be sufficient to prove otherwise. The real reason, however, TAB is an essential installation to USA, is that it provides the best location for the kind of monitoring required by the anti-ballistic missile program. South Korea is obviously a key strategic partner, because it marks the end of Communist China's reach to the South.
Why does USA support Israel?
The question becomes: Why does USA support Israel?
As already suggested USA supports Israel for strategic reasons, but that is not an entirely sufficient explanation.
It raises more questions: What specific strategic reasons? Have the strategic aims changed since Israel was founded and acknowledged by President Truman in 1948? Are the strategic interests reality-adequate, or do they reflect the Cold War scenario in which the alliance was formed?
Finally, there are frequent rumors of a strong and relentless Zionist lobby in USA, and of widespread support from the Christian Right.
To answer these questions, it is important to realize that Israel was not a key strategic interest when founded in 1948. For all we know USA did not put pressure on Britain to withdraw its forces, lift the British mandate and declare Israeli independence.
To Truman the Middle East Conflict was a conflict of minor importance, and the Jewish Zionist pressure a nuisance.
In 1956, when Israel attacks Egypt for control of the Suez Canal, with the support of Britain and France, USA threatens Britain with oil sanctions and forces an end to the war. USA also announces it will not sell arms to Israel because it fears confrontation in the Middle East.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The year after, fearing a strong Soviet presence in the Middle East, USA announces the Eisenhower doctrine under which USA will offer military and economic aid to any Middle Eastern nation threatened by communism.
The CS Monitor Timeline summarizes the Six Day war like this:
1967 Six-Day War. Israel launches strike against Arab neighbors, capturing Jerusalem, the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. It is the last time Israel will fight without US-supplied weapons. UN calls for Israel to withdraw. Israel refuses.In the following 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel over the Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula, US airlifts $2.2 billion in emergency aid and weapons, turning tide in Israel's favor. In return, Arab states cut US oil shipments.
This pretty much explains why Israel, all of a sudden, becomes a key ally to Israel. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, immediately followed by the hostage crisis, where Iranian students rush into the US Embassy in Tehran and take 66 Americans hostage for 15 months, the deal is pretty much sealed.
US aid to Israel reaches a peak of 34 percent of total US foreign aid.
USA, having already drawn enmity from the Arab states and from Iran, is now obliged to support Israel as its closest ally in the region. The Cold War dynamics morphs into a war on terrorism scenario lurking dormant under the nuclear and ideological stand-off with the Soviet Union.
We must assume that already by then contingency plans for total conflict with the combined forces of Islamic nations are drafted.
Does Terrorism Constitute a Geopolitical Threat?
This answers most of the relevant questions about the US-Israeli ties. The strategic interests and investments have changed drastically since the birth of Israel. The strategic interests must be considered reality-adequate for the time, even if subsidiary to other geopolitical interests.
It leaves the questions of whether or not the strategic investments are still reality-adequate and, if so, to what extent.
The overall scenario, before the Pan-Arabic Revolt in 2010-2011, there were very few geopolitical threats to USA left in the world. The Soviet Union had crumbled, leaving only one dictatorship in Eastern Europe, Belarus, and with the Balkan conflict reduced through Albright’s intervention and the division of former Yugoslavia into separate states.
North Korea, Iran and, to some extent, Syria remained hostile to USA. Lebanon was a critical issue due to the power of the Muslim Brotherhood, which could be found siding with Iran in a conflict. Hamas, of course, was also considered a problem, but hardly a geopolitical threat.
Even if terrorism poses a threat to a nation or multiple nations at a time, and even if it is applied for political purposes, and even if it could theoretically cause mass destruction that would morph it into a geopolitical threat, it does not necessarily equate a geopolitical threat.
The assault on 9-11, however, must be considered an attack of such magnitude the forces behind it deserve to be labeled a geopolitical threat. Not only were the twin towers of World Trade Center destroyed, causing the loss of approximately 3000 human lives, but Pentagon and Air Force One were also targeted.
How USA Plans It’s Strategic Movements
In such a scenario it is not suspicious in itself that USA considers its options for asserting itself globally with military muscle. What USA did was, most likely, to upgrade a number of countries from potentially threatening to threatening, from the calculation that a regime unstable enough to potentially fall to Islamists was too much of a risk.
This has very little to do with the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq: Afghanistan in itself did not constitute much of a geopolitical threat, but the Taliban regime threatened instability in the region, with Pakistan – a country that wields nuclear weapons – being at serious risk of Islamization.
Afghanistan was a good place to place the enemy. It is doubtful that Afghanistan was invaded to pursue Osama bin Laden. A high ranking CIA operative in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden has written a book about the bungled effort and performed live on 60 minutes explaining how orders from “the highest place” stopped him and his team from taking down Osama bin Laden, even as they had his camp in their sights.
Likewise, it is inconceivable that Afghanistan was invaded as retaliation or out of sympathy for the Afghans, for that matter. USA simply does not plan and execute its military strategies in this fashion. To the one schooled in modern history there is a certain element of transigence in the way Pentagon operates.
The international community is often, in strategic contexts, called a “geopolitical chessboard”. Analyst of the new mode of operation after the Cold War, however, compares it more to the Japanese strategy game go, where the objective is to secure maximum mobility for your own forces while hampering the mobility of the opponent.
Wolfowitz, when in Washington’s good graces, famously admitted that Iraq was chosen as an attack point, because it contained oil. What he meant was not that Iraq was attacked to steal or gain easy access to the natural oil resources in the simple meaning of the word, but that the presence of oil was an important motivator for Iraq and not some other Middle Eastern country to become the foothold of US imposed democracy.
The economic calculations with regards to the Iraqi oil was the influence of the liberation of the oil well on the overall oil prices, as well as the access to drilling for US companies, which would fuel the American economy to perpetuate the neo-conservative goal of perpetual motion, largely perceiving USA as a freedom machine along the lines of the Manifest Destiny ideology.
When comes to Afghanistan the country holds rich mineral ressources and an excellent location for a secure oil pipe line from Central Asia. It is called converging interest, when ideological and strategic projects also feeds a dwindling purse.
The Neighbor of My Enemy is My Enemy
Equally important: Iraq is the neighbor of Iran. It is said so often about geopolitics that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” most people are aware of this principle. Fewer are aware of the principle that “the neighbor of my enemy is my enemy too”, simply because it provides an attack point.
To further illustrate this, consider how USA did not make a move against Iran after the hostage crisis, but solved it through bartering hostages for weapons in violation of the US protocol against delivering weapons to hostile regimes, a transfer known as the Iran-Contra affair. Then she followed up with a proxy war.
Following the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, USA did not move against Kenya or Tanzania, but rather expanded its campaign against Somalia by sending in forces from the US Joint Special Operations Command and by funding the Ethiopians.
Strategic calculus is based on three factors: Resources, firepower and logistics, in common military jargon “fire and mobility.” Mobility, however, must be understood in broader terms, since logistics comes into play in all war scenarios. In many high level conflicts such as the Crimean War, The Patriotic War of 1812 and on several fronts in Second World War, logistical breakdown paved the way for defeat or at least degrading of forces.
In very simple terms a war faring nation must have multiple and interconnected landing points for troops, planes and equipment to secure mobility. This is why USA has around 10 aircraft carriers and 1000 permanent military bases around the world.
The Contingency Plan for Everything
This leads to Israel as a permanent military installation for USA and its extended arm in the Middle East. Being in principle a democracy, an industrious one and relatively liberal when comes to social issues, not too dissimilar from Europe in attitudes (Israel competes in the European Song Contest), Israel has enough similarities to make for a reasonably good match.
On top of that, Israel is positioned between three continents or sub-continents, Africa, the Arab Peninsula (sub-continent) and Europe. Europe was, from the very ending of the Second World War, selected by USA as a buffer against the Communist domino game. Fearing Europe would be swallowed up or wander off, USA forged the Transatlantic Alliance with NATO as an effective extension of the US Army.
The Marshall Aid that reconstructed Europe was a policy with several advantages, from trade relations to a general protection against repetition of the two devastating world wars, and as such also a noble dimension. USA was an instrumental backer of the European Union that has miraculously kept Europe safe from inner war in over 65 years, and it is to USAs credit that the “beggar thy neighbor” policies of Europe that has cursed the continent to so many futile wars were finally brought to an end.
However, with the rise of Europe as an invaluable partner in business and in war, Europe’s security became Washington’s headache too. Israel serves not only as a bridgehead to the Middle East, but as a buffer to Europe’s soft underbelly.
Nobody seriously expected an Arab or African attack on Europe in the previous century. Israel was, on top of other strategic interests vested in it, just a piece in a puzzle, a centrally positioned cog in the machinery constructed to secure American dominance in any global conflict.
As a high ranking military spokesman stated during the Bush administration when asked if USA had a contingency plan for war against Europe: "We have a contingency plan for everything."
A Little More Hated Than Needed
In the Contingency Plan for Everything Israel plays a key role. Still, the Middle East conflict remains a headache for Washington, because however wary Washington may be of Islamism in The Levant, and however much enmity, latent or operative, characterizes USAs relationship with the region, Israel is a little too much the enemy of Muslims.
Regardless of what you may think of USA a few things are solid about the country’s geopolitical involvement: As fiercely opposed and ruthless USA is to her enemies, as loyal she is to those who do her bidding. This is a key factor in Pax Americana, the equivalent of “leave no man behind”, which resonates as deeply in the hallways of military planning as “don’t tread on me.”
Israel has enormous signal value to USA, so she cannot really let down “the sole democracy in the Middle East.” Of course, all this may be hypocritical in the light of US operations to stop democracies, namely the first Islamic democracy in Iran and the first socialist democracy in Chile. If the ideological values and, namely, the economic order and agenda of a democracy do not serve the US quest for world dominance, even relatively meek or weak opponents may soon enough be upgraded to enemy status.
For Israel this means that their alliance with USA is a shaky one, always dependent on the range and substance of US economic and military power, and on opinion polls within the nation. Should USA change her agenda – which nothing right now indicates – Israel could become more of an inconvenience than a productive investment.
When all is said and done Israel remains a key strategic ally to USA and all calls for Israel to be annulled as a historic error or due to non-compliance with UN resolution upon UN resolution must be considered pure rhetoric in the face of a tragic and dilemmatic geopolitical imperative.
The Israeli Interests at Stake
The best thing to hope for, when comes to peace in the Middle East and acknowledgement of the rights of Palestinians, is a two-state solution. Regardless of what one may read in the media, this solution is not supported by Israel, and for a set of obvious reasons:
First of all, Israel wants to diminish the number of enemies and potential enemies, and the prospect of having a hostile, possibly Islamist state right outside its borders, does not quieten Knesset. That is understandable.
For as long as Hamas has a charter that calls for the eradication of Israel and all territory in possession of Palestinians, forget about that option even as a diplomatic talking point.
Secondly, Israel obligates itself with the Law of Return to make any Jew who applies and can prove their Jewishness, a citizen.
The Law of Return is critical when comes to understanding Israel, because it motivates the policy of expropriation and settlement in the occupied territories. In addition to citizenship Jews have the right to habitation and other social goods.
The Law of Return is pretty much a part of the Israeli birth myth, its Zionist legacy, and as such it is both unconstitutional and discriminating, and a part of the fundamental principles and rationalizations for the modern state of Israel.
Thirdly, Israel simply does not want to let go of territory and be diminished as a nation. The division is made further difficult because the division would carve up Israel, having its enemies or potential enemies residing north and south.
It would, effectively be two Palestines, not to speak of the issue of Jerusalem, its holy places and transitional responsibilities to provide infrastructure. On the Palestinian side, the rightful owners of the land are diminished to - 63 years and lots of lost progress later - to possess only 20 percent of the original contested land, and to be divided in two sectors highly dependent on Israeli infrastructural support.
Indefinite Funding For an Oppressive Regime
In order for Israel to accept such a deal it would have to be forced. That cannot happen as long as USA provides the funding and equipment for the military apparatus that conducts the oppression of Palestinians, the destruction of infrastructure and the enabling of Jewish settlers to take permanent residence on Palestinian soil.
Speaking to a Palestinian elder, one of the heads of a large Palestinian family in Jerusalem, I was equally surprised to learn his eldest son was married to a Jewish woman and Christians were permanent occupants of his guest house, as I was to hear him say:
“I think that if only foreign powers could stay out of the conflict, Israelis and Palestinians could work it out for themselves.”Nobody mentioned, nobody left out, but it goes without saying that he meant both USA with its blind fuelling of a relentless war machine that may only have a faint theoretical purpose in a very distant future, and the belligerent rhetoric of Islamic groups in the MENA region, inducing a state of paranoia and Panic in Knesset, where it knows no better than to sow the seeds of its own destruction.
Knowing that Israel will secretly foil any attempt to make peace, while publicly declaring otherwise, and that USA will make every possible attempt to negotiate peace, while indiscriminately fuelling the Israeli oppression, the parties inside the Palestinian camp, Fatah and Hamas, have grow equally frustrated, corrupted and incapable of good governance.
Palestine is locked in a conflict, where their weapons and military discipline – Palestine does not have an army – are hopelessly inadequate against one of the most well trained and unscrupulous military forces in the world.
A report drafted by intelligence students in the American army stated, trying to answer if US military presence in the territories would be a viable option, that the IDF is so skilled it could launch attacks on US soldiers under false flag, masquerading as Palestinians, and that it was ruthless enough to do it.
Such an assessment coming from a friend and close ally should illustrate how hot a potato Israel has become, considered a loose cannon on the deck even by its main patron.
The Danger of Pan-Arabic Escalation
Withdrawal of funding for military operations is one way to stop the escalating conflict, so far claiming over 1000 Israeli lives since 1994, and almost seven times as many Palestinians, many of which are only children and. But even cutting the grants and loans from the US budget on its own would hardly create the diplomatic equilibrium required.
The threat of overwhelming force is also counter-productive. Imagine if Israel was on its own, with the back against the wall, abandoned by its patrons in Washington and by the lukewarm supporters in racist Europe, which facilitated Zionism through centuries of persecution culminating in Holocaust: In such a desperate scenario, threatened by a coalition of Arab forces, a nation with a history as the Jewish one would be more likely to fight to the death.
In the Six Day War, Israel fought off three invading forces without significant American or European support. Israeli military planners are experts in counter-strike, and no doubt Israel also has a contingency plan for an all-out assault and one that involves the use of nuclear arms, even if it may not be a Contingency Plan for Everything.
Neither direct support nor total withdrawals of moral support are solutions. Those who hope for the Arab Revolt to produce reasonable leverage for the Palestinians should consider that the populations in MENA by and large hold such animosity against Israel it could cloud their judgment.
With regards to the PR war surrounding the issue, many Americans and Europeans now believe that the dictators they, until recently, refused to believe were funded and supported by the West, were put in charge as a lesser evil with the greater evil being Islamic fundamentalism.
USA and Europe are scared out of their minds about Pan-Arabism, so while they – under the new winds blowing – support the Arab Revolt for its democratic agenda, hoping to undercut Islamism before it grows to a level where it cannot be countered without mutual economic destruction, Pentagon and NATO are also going to make support for future democratic regimes in The Levant conditional of cooperation with Western regimes on the Israel issue.
The Arab Revolution Changes the Game
The reality of the history of the Middle East is that the dictators were put in charge to keep the region on its heels or at its toes, reaching for a development and a status it was never supposed to achieve, and fearing the swift and merciless replacement facilitated by American invasion or by nefarious scheming, from CIA assassination to proxy war.
USA leads a persistent under-the-radar war against Pan-Arabism and OPEC in particular, and breaking the oil cartel is important for both economic and strategic reasons, since oil is a weapon of mass destruction with a staggering power to undercut any military undertakings of the West.
The campaign must be largely considered a failure, but parties inside USA still believe in the cause and stand ready to revive it, in case they gain political clout to carry it out.
Before the Arab Revolt Washington had managed to carry out another agenda: Most countries in the world, including the Arab nations, acknowledged Israel’s right to exist.
This consensus is now in the wind, as the revolutionary storm unsettles country after country, leaving the experts guessing about the outcome. The outcome is not as uncertain as most people think of it: The Islamic world is Islamic now, under Western leaning dictators among who Gadaffi was one and Mubarak another and they will be Islamic and largely anti-Zionist under various democratic governments, as they come into place.
For Israel this spring has been very disturbing, as they can look forward to be pressured by democratic regimes, and USA will have a much harder time using the stick to threaten the Arabs into compliance. Again, it is a part of the communication aspect of war, the pretext. It is infinitely much easier to rally support for a war against a dictator, as we saw in the case of Saddam Hussein, than a relatively cooperative leadership of a democratic nation.
Therein lies the hope for Palestine that now shines with renewed power, but also a new set of risks: Risk of overreaching, and risk of the revolutions backfiring, turning into repetitions of the Iranian revolution with what that entails of nationalism and Islamism, and oppositely the risk of the Western powers becoming so intimidated they run backwards into full and unequivocal support of all Israeli policies.
As the Palestinian grandfather told me over tea: It does not necessarily become easier to negotiate, when there are numerous and powerful interests vested.
The Picture is Changing in the PR War
It will take restraint from both sides of the emerging negotiation table for a peace deal to be worked out. So far extreme attitudes from the rebellious Arab and African citizens have not been enough to dissuade the majority of Westerners to support the new Pan-Arabic democratic movement. There is something extremely compelling to Westerners about such revolts. As much as the establishment in the Western countries hates protests in their own countries, the pro-democratic movements remind them of their own history, from the French and American Revolution up to the liberation of the Eastern Block and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union.
American polls show that the vast majority of Americans side with Israel, but that the number of Americans showing sympathy for the Palestinian plight is growing, if slowly over the past years. Surveys from Europe indicates that the development is faster, and that more are informed about the Middle East conflict, and more accurately informed, and that Israel has lost its privileged status as beyond reproach.
This coincides with, and is likely caused by, a renewed effort to communicate the Palestinian side of the story. Blogging and Internet portals can take a lot of credit for increased positive exposure. Number crunching, producing illustrative graphics and historical accounts cannot be overestimated.
Simply listing death tolls and trying to urge sympathy by graphic depictions of victims – the sentimentalist approach – simply does not have enough media impact, particularly not in a complex and multi-layered geopolitical conflict with religious and racial undertones. It is too easy for Western viewers to dismiss things as propaganda.
The new communication efforts are also characterized by improved formatting, layout and design, which plays a huge role in creating trust. The journalistic approach, format and discipline – such as it is displayed by Al Jazeera – are superior to rhetoric, because it does not need translating into the debate language of the West.
Similarly, approachable and appealing designs on blogs and websites tracking the Middle East conflict increasingly signals production value and production values mean that someone with time and resources is willing to invest.
All these elements are required in order to frame the story, which is the most essential factor in balancing the scales for an equitable negotiation process. In a political battle framing the story is the equivalent to elevated position or air power in military conflicts. The part that can frame the story holds the upper hand, and so far Israel has been absolutely dominant in that arena.
This is changing, but if the freed people and the new governments in the Arab world take a frightening posture, trying to resolve the issue with intimidation or application of force, the economic and military cards are still stacked against Palestine.
Just like Palestinians must accept the unacceptable – having their country stolen from under their feet, and being offered noting but small portions of devastated land to start anew from, all with the support of superpowers and enforced by a UN resolution – the Israeli must be brought to understand that the price they pay for their new Promised Land is that they too must accept what they perceive as absolutely unacceptable.
Until a comprehensive peace has been achieved between the new East (including China and Russia) and the West has been achieved, and for as long as Westerners perceive Islamic nations as a potential threat, one cannot hope to persuade Washington that Israel is not an important ally.
However, it is very obvious that Israel is an indefensible and very disturbing ally, and ultimately an ally that may not be as important as it has come to believe.
Christian Right and Zionist Lobby
The last question I have left to answer is that of Zionist Lobby and Christian Right support for Israel. Christian Right support is a fact, both when comes to promoting Israel as a political issue, to the ability of the issue to direct voter support from Evangelicals, and when comes to financial support.
From the early 1980s a large transnational movement of Christian Zionists promoted the concept of Exodus II, arguing that in spite of the fact that Herzl was an atheist Jew, the fact that Israel was founded upon a row of crimes against humanity perpetrated against Palestinians and rampant terrorism against Britain, it was established on heavenly mandate, not UN mandate.
The events on Earth today, according to this school of Evangelicals, remains a reflection of God's will, and the illegal settlements fulfilment of prophesy, and proof of the End Times, and so forth. You may say that to Evangelical Zionists Israel's re-emergence after 2000 years of diaspora represents the last tangible sign of God.
The question of holy places, also on the behalf of Jews to whom the Evangelicals have approached a fatherly protective role, would stimulate renewed involvement. Paradoxically, that may matter much less to modern day Israeli Jews than the question of having their capitol divided, but for as long as the Christian Right is a powerful factor in USA irrational issues hold dysproportional weight.
The same goes for devout Muslims, but making holy sites a key issue is an effective show-stopper and ultimately an emergency button that can be pushed by both parties: Israel, Palestine or both parties simultanously, used it foil Clinton's attempt to negotiate a peace deal. That is not to say that any of the summits have ever been remotely close to achieving an accord.
The question of Zionist Lobby is more difficult, because naturally it exists, but it is difficult to track actual support, financial and political, from leading Jewish members of society. The project violates, to a certain extent, a taboo against raising the question of Jewishness and loyalties. Using the political climate, or the media temperature, as an indicator of the power of the Zionist Lobby, is not very accurate.
To illustrate how powerful Jewish Interest is in the West, the best indicator is that in several countries in Europe Holocaust denial is equated with hate speech and punishable by law. This may seem reasonable, considering Europe's troubled history of anti-Semitism and violent persecution, but in none of these countries anti-Semitism directed at Jews - except for incidents of Muslim assaults - constitute a problem, except for the occasional and marginalized mad man spewing neo-Nazi rhetoric.
Jews in Europe, like in America, are generally well liked, considered reliable and productive members of society, and indistinguishable from the Christian or atheist. The problem of anti-Semitism is only noticeable, when it comes to Muslims, who suffer real discrimination and are subjected to actual violence. This, however, is systematically underreported and hate crimes rarely prosecuted as such, and when it occurs, generally neglected, even if EU rules demand that countries file reports on hate crimes.
Hate speech against Muslims, however, are sometimes prosecuted, but the penalties are weak, and being sentenced with such a fine does not produce social ostracization, as it is often members of Parliament who receive them. One cannot make direct comparisons between Europe and USA, but considering that both places have the same issues with Islam, and considering that Europe is more sympathetic to Palestine, it is probably fair to say that only because America's ardent belief in free speech is the only reason it differs on the issue of anti-Semitism against Jews and the issue of Holocaust denial.
However, as a general observation, wild speculations about Zionist conspiracies are not advisable, partly because they tend to involve unsubstantiated allegations and lead in the direction of anti-Semitic propaganda, for instance the dissemination of the false flag "Jewish" manual for world control, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and partly because it is self-defeating: Using powerful lobbyism is a convenient excuse to overlook on one side the actual strategic interests vested in Israel as a geopolitical player, and on the other flaws, errors and shortcomings in the public diplomacy for peace or, when that is the case, for the Palestinian view.
Part of the reason why so many Westerners are silence about the issue, is because fatigue has set in. The audience responds with the same indifference to repetition of arguments and news about deaths as they do to recurring bombs in Iraq, drone attacks on the Afghan-Pakistan border or suicide boms in Pakistan.
Another underlying reason is that disingenous attitudes are detected on both sides: On one side unbridled greed and on the other side grievance driven vindictiveness. However understandable or justified many Westerners are on the fence.
One of the best examples I can give, as an illustration to both sides, and to supporters on both sides, is the words of a friend who admitted:
"I have stopped giving a damn about Israel. The other day someone said something anti-Semitic about Jews, and while I would usually have protested, I didn't say anything, because I am so sick and tired of what the Israelis are doing."This muddled, conflicted attitude, the cruel indifference and the underlying desperation over struggling with a Gordic Knot, goes a long way to explain the global under-involvement in a conflict of such principal importance. The consequence is, ultimately, that neither side will benefit. A statement like this cannot be understood as active participation or support for the Palestinian view.
To the warning of Israeli Zionists they are, as Norman Finkelstein points out, to some extent, responsible for the growing anti-Semistism. To the warning of Palestinians, their grievances can only be diminished by involvement of the international community, as I think I have explained here.
Ultimately, the conclusion is that for a peace process to take place, peace has to be the real agenda of both parties in question.
The way the dices landed, there is only one way to accomplish a durable peace in the Middle East – and there are hundreds of ways to fail.