Small Comforts: Obama and Israel Not Headed for ‘Train Wreck’
Herb Keinon goes the distance with Democratic Congressman Rob Wexler at JPOST in a 2 page interview. Of course the topic of choice, the until now seemingly arctic winds blowing Israel’s way from the Obama administration. A lot of people whom I respect are cautious, or coming to the relationship’s defense so far which is certainly a positive read on the situation, but in most cases they are defending against what Wexler himself defines as a ‘Train Wreck’ in the American Israel relationship..
[...] “I can say unequivocally that the anxiety is not warranted,” said Wexler, who has spoken to the US president about Middle East issues, and speaks regularly with top White House staffers dealing with the matter, including National Security Adviser Gen. (ret.) James Jones.
He arrived in Israel on Friday for a series of meetings in Jerusalem and in the Palestinian Authority, and will return to Washington on Monday.
“I am in constant contact with those in the administration responsible for policy in this region, and nothing could be further from the truth,” he said, regarding reports that the US and Israel are on a collision course.
At least someone is in constant contact, too bad these are not bilateral contacts with Israel.. We have seen very few of those thus far from America here..
“As someone who was with Barack Obama from the very beginning of his campaign, I am not going to be surprised or fall prey to the too often false representation of now President Obama; and likewise I think the degree of angst also misrepresents Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies as well,” said Wexler, who spoke of Obama’s pro-Israeli credentials as one of the featured speakers at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last summer.
“These two men are not headed for a train wreck,” he said. “They are not. Both men want the relationship to be as strong, if not stronger – if that is possible – than it has been in the past.” [...]
All or Nothing?
What I will again say is that I find it somewhat amusing this notion of a train wreck, as if highlighting what are clearly major shifts in the new administration in Washington toward Israel, puts forth the notion that the two countries will be mortal enemies in the near term. This is somewhat of an absurd position, the USA & Israel were not mortal enemies when Bush SR. severely threatened Israel with 10 billion dollars in loan guarantees, nor were they mortal enemies when Clinton initiated the Oslo Accord ceremony leading to heavy concessions by Israel - But nothing remotely resembling peace.
We were certainly not mortal enemies or experiencing any train wrecks when we dismantled settlements & gave back Gaza in return for Hamas terrorists & rocket attacks. Nonetheless, these efforts brought little in return for a heavy price in Israel, including thousands of dead Israelis. Despite it all, we still seem to be targeted by the newest collection agency, and severely at that.
Israel is in a precarious position
Threats abound, peace is seemingly looking far off when one measures the realities of the area here. Despite those realities, there is a non stop effort currently to portray the exact opposite from the US, the EU, Russia & the UN, as if peace is only a small jump away. Pressures on Israel, which is already under duress including two wars in two years and possibly a large conflict on the horizon, when no resolution resulting from those pressures seems in any way imminent – These pressures are as damaging a policy as can currently be envisioned, and they are the core thrust of the Obama administration to date from what I can see.
Does that mean a train wreck?
No, but it does mean that lording assistance vs Iran for concessions is far from friendly, it is dangerous. Wexler maintains that is not the case, there is no Quid Pro Quo he says. But every single statement by top level US officials points in the exact opposite direction. These trains may not wreck, but they sure seem to be speeding farther & farther apart at alarming velocity..
Major shift in policy
Appeasing the Muslim street using Israeli concessions does not mean a train wreck has occurred in relations, but it does mean that Israel’s special & deserved status as a crucial strategic ally of the United States has seemingly softened severely at the expense of Muslim outreach. Frankly, representative Wexler is Obama’s number one outlet to the US Jewish community, his purpose has been to mollify American Jewish concerns with kind words both during the campaign and now.
His endorsement by the anti-Israel J-Street PAC gives little comfort, on the contrary it raises alarms and for good reason. J-Street puts all the onus & blame for lack of peace in the region on Israel, employs moral equivalency of the worst sort equating Israel’s vibrant morality led Democracy to Terrorists. If this is the line of the new American administration and to date something similar has been bubbling up out of Washington, then no train wrecks are needed..
Large questions remain
It is enough to tie Israel’s hands and derail us, to cause irreparable damage here. We don’t require any head on collisions..
As an aside, to date Obama’s amateurish crew seems to have little to no understanding of Israeli political realities. They seemingly live in a progressive bubble, SD touched on that a bit in the link above commenting on the excellent Jennifer Rubin. What if they collapse our coalition based government with their fanciful concepts or ineptitude? It won’t take all that much to accomplish that, and at what point does that constitute a train wreck if our brand new government is forced to topple under American pressure?