FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Benjamin Netanyahu: the Anti-American Obstructionist

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.

More articles by:

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 and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. and A Whistleblower at the CIA. His forthcoming book is American Carnage: Donald Trump’s War on Intelligence” (City Lights Publishers, 2019).  Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org.

March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
Dean Baker
In Praise of Budget Deficits
Howard Lisnoff
Want Your Kids to Make it Big in the World of Elite Education in the U.S.?
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Foreign Policy is Based on Confrontation and Malevolence
John W. Whitehead
Pity the Nation: War Spending is Bankrupting America
Priti Gulati Cox
“Maria! Maria! It Was Maria That Destroyed Us!” The Human Story
Missy Comley Beattie
On Our Knees
Mike Garrity – Carole King
A Landscape Lewis and Clark Would Recognize is Under Threat
Robert Fantina
The Media-Created Front Runners
Tom Clifford
Bloody Sunday and the Charging of Soldier F
Ron Jacobs
All the Livelong Day      
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail