FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Benjamin Netanyahu: the Anti-American Obstructionist

by

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of an invitation to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress in March is an unacceptable interference in our domestic political arena and must be challenged.  It is simply not enough for the White House to indicate that there will be no meeting between President Barack Obama and the Israeli Prime Minister.  At the very least, the United States must take the next opportunity at the UN’s Security Council to forswear a veto on a resolution critical of Israel as well as signal a significant change in U.S. military assistance to the Israelis. The Israelis must be made to understand that the United States, the only ally that Israel has in the global community, will not tolerate its anti-American behavior.

Anti-Americanism in Israel is not exactly a new development, although Netanyahu has been more stubborn than his predecessors in conducting the policy.  In the 1950s, Israeli agents bombed a United States Information Agency library in Egypt and tried to make it appear to be an Egyptian act of violence in order to compromise U.S.-Egyptian relations. This was an act of terrorism designed to coerce the West not to improve relations with Cairo. 

In the 1960s, the Israelis told the United States at the highest levels that it would not conduct a pre-emptive attack against the Arab states, which is exactly what it did in starting the Six-Day War.  In the war’s opening days, Israeli fighter planes bombed the USS Liberty, leading to the deaths of 34 American sailors.  The Israelis claimed it was an accident.  If so, it was the best planned “accident” that I have ever observed.

In the October War in 1973, the Israelis did their best to compromise a cease-fire that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had carefully  orchestrated with the Soviet Union.  Israeli violations of the cease-fire led to Kissinger’s threats to intervene in the conflict if Israeli forces did not cease their military operations.  Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and its war crimes against the Palestinians led to the intervention of U.S. Marines, with terrible losses for the United States in the following year.  Israeli war crimes in Gaza this past summer have added to U.S. problems in pursuing a peace process in the Middle East.

President Obama has put himself at a disadvantage in dealing with the Israelis at this juncture.  He has the empathy to deal with both sides in the dispute, but lacks the tenacity of Kissinger or Presidents Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton to put pressure on Israel or to give Palestinian statehood the priority it deserves.  Even President George H.W. Bush was successful 25 years ago, when he halted loan guarantees for the building of Israeli settlements.

What should President Obama do?  Since the United States has insufficient non-military tools of influence, it is time to use our military assistance as a source of leverage.  The United States gives far too much military aid to Israel, which has not face a serious military challenge from the Arab world since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat courageously concluded a peace agreement more than three decades ago.  The Israelis, moreover, get generous terms for that aid that is not available to any other country in the world.

Over the past several years, Netanyahu has gone out of his way to embarrass virtually every U.S. official, including President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.  There are Israeli officials who believe that Netanyahu has gone too far this time.  The only way to lend some credibility to our concerns and the concerns of those Israelis is to adopt a tougher stand on issues of concern.  President Obama may find that there is more support than he expects, both at home and abroad for standing up to the intransigence of the Israeli Prime Minister.

Melvin A. Goodman is senior fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington, DC, and adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University.  He is the author of “Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA” and “National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism” as well as the forthcoming “Path to Dissent: The Story of a Whistleblower at the CIA” (City Lights Publishers, 2015).  He is the national security and intelligence columnist for Counterpunch.org.

Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University.  A former CIA analyst, Goodman is the author of “Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA,” “National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism,” and the forthcoming “The Path to Dissent: A Whistleblower at CIA” (City Lights Publishers, 2015).  Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
Joseph Natoli
The Politics of Crazy and Stupid
Sher Ali Khan
Empirocracy
Nauman Sadiq
A House Divided: Turkey’s Failed Coup Plot
Franklin Lamb
A Roadmap for Lebanon to Grant Civil Rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Colin Todhunter
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder
Michael Barker
UK Labour’s Rightwing Select Corporate Lobbyist to Oppose Jeremy Corbyn
Graham Peebles
Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger
Anhvinh Doanvo
Civilian Deaths, Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Drones
Christopher Brauchli
Kansas and the Phantom Voters
Peter Lee
Gavin Long’s Manifesto and the Politics of “Terrorism”
Missy Comley Beattie
An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck
Robert Koehler
Volatile America
Adam Vogal
Why Black Lives Matter To Me
Raouf Halaby
It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all
Rev. Jeff Hood
Deliver Us From Babel
Frances Madeson
Juvenile Life Without Parole, Captured in ‘Natural Life’
Charles R. Larson
Review: Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail