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
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail