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“Israel did not grow strong because it had an American alliance. It acquired an American alliance because it had grown strong” (Prof. Walter Russell Mead, a leading historian of US foreign policy).

In 1948, Israel was misconstrued by the State Department as a burden upon the US, too feeble to withstand an all-out Arab military offensive, jeopardizing US ties with the Arab World and potentially pro-Soviet.

However, since 1967, Israel has emerged as the most effective, reliable and democratic ally of the US, and a formidable force-multiplier for the US.

For example:

*The June 1967 Israeli military victory devastated the pro-Soviet Egyptian military, while Egypt was on its way to become the pan-Arab leader, aiming to topple the pro-US regimes of the Arab oil-producing countries, at a time when the US was heavily dependent upon the Persian Gulf oil.  The resounding Israeli victory spared the US a huge economic and national security setback, and denied the USSR a dramatic geo-strategic gold mine.

*25 US military experts went to Israel to study the lessons of the 1967 Six Day War, and to examine the captured Soviet military systems.  Their findings upgraded the performance of the US armed forces and defense industries.

*As a result of the benefits derived by the US, a team of 50 experts arrived in Israel following the 1973 War, collecting information, which benefited the US militarily and industrially, bolstering the US defense of Europe in the face of Soviet threats.

*The December 1969 “Operation Rooster 53” highlighted Israel’s unique intelligence and battle tactic capabilities, which were shared with the US.  An Israeli commando unit snatched from Egypt an advanced Soviet P-12 radar system, which was stationed throughout the world. The Soviet radar was studied by Israel and transferred to the US, as were additional Soviet military systems, enhancing the capabilities of the US intelligence, special operations forces and the US defense industries.

According to the late Senator Daniel Inouye, who was the Chairman of the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees, the value of the Soviet radar to the US defense industries and armed forces was around $3bn.  He added that the scope of intelligence shared with the US, by Israel, exceeded the intelligence shared with the US by all NATO countries combined.

*In 1966 and 1989 Israel acquired MIG-21 and MIG-23 Soviet combat planes through defecting Iraqi and Syrian pilots. The planes were shared with the US, impacting the global balance of power, and enhancing the performance of the US Air Force and the aerospace industries.

*In 1970, Israel manifested its pro-US posture of deterrence by forcing – through its military presence on the Golan Heights – a pull-back of the pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of pro-US Jordan.  Israel spared the US either a loss of an Arab ally, or the need to get involved militarily in an intra-Arab war, while it was bogged down in Southeast Asia. Moreover, the toppling of the pro-US Jordanian regime would have threatened the existence of the pro-US oil-producing regimes in the neighboring Persian Gulf, while the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil. Thus, Israel spared the US a major economic and national security blow, and denied the USSR a geo-strategic bonanza.

*The lessons of the July 4, 1976 Entebbe Rescue Operation – which underscored Israel as a role model of pro-active, daring and innovative counter-terrorism – were shared with the US intelligence and special operations forces.

*The 1981 Israeli destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor – in defiance of fierce US opposition – spared the US the potential devastation of a nuclear confrontation during the 1991 Gulf War. It saved the pro-US oil-producing Arab regimes from the jaws of Saddam Hussein.

*In the October 1982 “Operation Mole Cricket 19,” Israel’s Air Force destroyed 29 Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries operated by Syria, perceived to be impregnable. It was the first time that a Western-equipped air force destroyed a Soviet-built surface-to-air missile network.  In the process, in the biggest air battle since the Korean War, the Israeli Air Force downed 82 Soviet MIG combat planes without a single loss to Israel’s Air Force. The game-changing Israeli battle tactics, including jamming technologies, were shared with the US armed forces, bolstering the US military edge over the USSR.

*The 2007 Israeli destruction of the Syria-North Korea-Iran nuclear reactor, spared the region and the globe a potential nuclearized civil war in Syria.

*In 2022, against the backdrop of the highly-vulnerable pro-US Arab regimes, the growing vacillation of Europe, and the intensifying threat of the anti-US Sunni and Shiite terrorism, Israel stands out as “the largest US aircraft carrier,” which does not require a single American soldier on board, sparing the US the need to deploy to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean additional aircraft carriers and ground divisions.

*In 2022, Israel’s posture of deterrence plays a key role in preventing the collapse of the pro-US Arab regimes and the dominance of the anti-US Iran’s Shiite Ayatollahs and the anti-US Sunni Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, which is crucial to global trade, the war on anti-US terrorism and the US-Russia-China balance of power.

*To paraphrase Prof. Walter Russell Mead’s observation: Israel’s posture of deterrence is not growing stronger due to the recent peace accords with Arab countries. Arab countries concluded peace accords with Israel due to the fact that Israel’s posture of deterrence is growing stronger.

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*A major goal of President Biden’s July, 2022 visit to the Middle East – in addition to increasing the Saudi and Emirati oil production – is the restoration of the US stature as a reliable strategic ally of the pro-US Arab regimes, and stop their drift toward Russia and China.

*At the same time, Biden pursues a JCPOA-like agreement with Iran’s Ayatollahs and embraces the Muslim Brotherhood.

*However, the attempt to restore the US’ strategic reliability, while aiming for a JCPOA-like accord with Iran’s Ayatollahs and embracing the Muslim Brotherhood, constitutes a contradiction in terms, since all pro-US Arab regimes view Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood as lethal threats. Moreover, they are convinced that a JCPOA-like accord would bolster (as did the 2015 JCPOA) the Ayatollahs’ regional and global subversion, terrorism, fueling of civil wars, drug trafficking, money laundering and the proliferation of advanced military systems to rogue entities in the Middle East and beyond. They are also frustrated by the State Department’s underestimation of the fanatic vision of the Muslim Brotherhood, and taking lightly its terror network throughout the Middle East and beyond (e.g., India and Thailand).

*Contrary to President Biden and the State Department establishment, the pro-US Arab regimes are fully aware that Iran’s Ayatollahs are not amenable to peaceful coexistence with their Arab Sunni neighbors; neither to abandoning their fanatic, religious, imperialistic vision in return for a financial and diplomatic bonanza; nor to compliance with agreements.  They have concluded that the rogue 43-year-old track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs – since rising to power in February 1979 – is irreconcilable with good-faith negotiation.

*The visit may awaken Biden and Secretary of State Blinken – who have prodded Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt on account of human rights and their involvement in the Iran-fueled civil war in Yemen – to Middle East reality.  The visit may alert them to the fact that the choice facing the US is not between Arab countries, which respect or violate human rights, but between pro-US and anti-US Arab countries, which violate human rights.

*President Biden’s visit will reaffirm the return of the State Department – since January 2021 – to the center stage of US foreign policy-making, as it was until January 2017, notwithstanding Foggy Bottom’s systematic blunders in the Middle East.

*For example, the State Department opposed the Abraham Accords, which were forged in defiance of its (Palestinian-centered) Middle East perspective. Thus, the Abraham Accords were concluded because their architects recognized the secondary role of the Palestinian issue in the Middle East. Therefore, they did not focus on the Palestinian issue, but on Arab national security and economic interests, in the face of lethal Iranian and Muslim Brotherhood threats, and the need to diversify/modernize the economy of the oil-producing countries.

*The Abraham Accords – similar to Israel’s prior peace accords with Egypt and Jordan and consistent with intra-Arab priorities – bypassed the Palestinian issue, and therefore, avoided a Palestinian veto. On the other hand, the State Department establishment has ignored the wide gap between the Arab (supportive) talk and (harsh) walk on the Palestinian issue.  Therefore, it has misconstrued the Palestinian issue as the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a core cause of Middle East turbulence and a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers. Therefore, all State Department Israel-Arab peace proposals have failed, wrecked on the rocks of Middle East reality.

*Hence, the attempt to expand the scope of the Israel-Arab peace process, on the one hand, and the State Department’s preoccupation with the Palestinian issue, on the other hand, constitute a thundering oxymoron.

*When assessing the validity of State Department proposals, which may be submitted during President Biden’s visit, Israel should study additional examples of critical State Department blunders, such as its early embrace of Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and Bashar Assad, as well as Foggy Bottom’s reference to the eruption of the 2010-2011 turbulence/Tsunami on the Arab Street (which is still raging) as “Youth and Facebook Revolution” and “the Arab Spring.”  In addition, in 1948, the State Department ferociously opposed the establishment of the Jewish State, which it expected to be pro-Soviet, too weak to withstand Arab military offensive, undermining US national security interests and a burden for the US.  In 1981 and 2007 the State Department brutally attempted to stop, and then condemned, Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors, which spared the US, the Middle East and the world at-large much devastation.

*President Biden may attempt to impose upon Israel a quid-pro-quo – consistent with the State Department’s “Palestine Firsters” – requiring Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, in return for enhanced strategic cooperation with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries (which regard Palestinians as a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and ingratitude).

*President Biden and Secretary Blinken should be reminded that concessions to rogue entities whet their appetite and intensifies terrorism, as documented by the unprecedented waves of Palestinian terrorism following Israel’s dramatic concessions in 1993 (Oslo Accord) and 2005 (disengagement from the Gaza Strip). Furthermore, Egypt (1950s), Syria (1966), Jordan (1970), Lebanon (1970s) and Kuwait (1990) made major civic and financial concessions to the Palestinians, which resulted in Palestinian terrorism against their Arab hosts, including civil wars in Jordan and Lebanon and Palestinian participation in Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

*President Biden will try to convince Israel to concede the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.  President Biden should be advised that based on the Palestinian rogue track record, a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River. It would be replaced by a radical, anti-US regime, triggering an anti-US ripple effect into the Arabian Peninsula, toppling pro-US Arab regimes, transferring the supply of Persian Gulf oil to anti-US entities, and bolstering the geo-strategic stature of Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China at the expense of dire US interests.

Israeli control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria deters rogue entities and advances US interests; the proposed Palestinian state would radicalize the region, undermining US interests.

*Israel will be asked to authorize a US Consulate in Jerusalem, acting as the US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority. Such a demand would be in violation of the US 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which defines Jerusalem as the undivided and exclusive capital of Israel. It would be interpreted – regionally and globally – as succumbing to Arab/Muslim pressure, thus further eroding the US posture of deterrence.

*When considering President Biden’s demands for Israeli concessions, Israel’s Prime Minister Lapid should study the conduct of previous Israeli Prime Ministers, who fended off US Presidential pressure, experienced a short-term setback in the US-Israel relationship, but gained in long-term US strategic respect for defiance of odds and adherence to a principle-driven stance.

*While expressing much respect to President Biden and Secretary Blinken and their demands, Israeli leaders should realize that the US democracy features Congress as a co-equal, co-determining branch of government, the most authentic representative of the American people, the most powerful legislature in the world, which has the power to both propose and dispose in the areas of foreign and defense policies, and has expressed its deep reservations with regard to US policy on Iran (e.g., Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez’ February 2022 floor speech). While most US Presidents have pressured Israel, Congress has been a systematic supporter of enhancing the mutually-beneficial US-Israel strategic and commercial cooperation.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 13, 2023

US pressure

*The extended delay of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation to the White House, the threat to reassess US-Israel relations and the ostensible White House’s concern for the future of Israeli democracy, constitute means to intensify pressure on Israel to refrain from any independent military action against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalm (while inducing Arab construction there), to redivide Jerusalem, to retreat to the pre-1967 lines (which were defined as “Auschwitz Lines” by the late very dovish Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban) and to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state.  

*Intensifying pressure on Israel also aims to deter Israel from sharing with the co-equal, co-determining Congress its concerns about the adverse impact of the Administration’s policy toward Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Palestinian issue on vital US interests.

*The methodical presidential pressure on Israel, which is mostly generated by the State Department, reflects Foggy Bottom’s worldview and policy, which has been systematically wrong on the Middle East. For example, it brutally opposed the establishment of the Jewish State (contending that Israel would join the Soviet Bloc….). It embraced Arafat and the PLO, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. And, it has played a dominant role in anxiously courting the anti-US Iran’s Ayatollahs, while pressuring pro-US Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Israeli response to US pressure

*Israel’s Prime Minister is advised to follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Fathers – from Prime Minister David Ben Gurion through Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir – who realized that defiance of US pressure is critical to Israel’s national security policy. While it triggered short term confrontations with the White House, it yielded long term US strategic respect for Israel.  In addition, these Prime Ministers recognized that the US prefers allies driven by vision and historic and national security principles, who do not sacrifice their cradle of history, religion and culture (the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) on the altar of diplomatic and economic convenience, even when it entails defiance of US pressure.  

*In 1948/49, the US, Britain and the UN threatened Israel with severe economic and diplomatic sanctions, to coerce the newly born Jewish State to end “occupation” of areas in the Galilee, coastal plain, the Negev and West Jerusalem; and to absorb Arab refugees, who joined in the failed Arab military attempt to annihilate the newly born Jewish State. Prime Minister Ben Gurion fended off that overwhelming pressure even though Israel only had a population of 650,000 Jews with hardly any military and economic infrastructure.

*Ben Gurion’s steadfastness earned him and Israel long term strategic respect, as evidenced by James McDonald, the first US Ambassador to Israel, who wrote in his book, My Mission in Israel, 1948-1951, page 241: “The more I studied and observed the manner in which he [Ben Gurion] met the burdens placed upon him, the more convinced I became that he was one of the few great statesmen of our day…. The comparison [to Winston Churchill] did not exaggerate the Israeli Prime Minister’s natural qualities of leadership…. Small in stature [5 feet], he was big in spirit…. He had unfaltering faith in the future of Israel…. The Prime Minister had no fear….”

*Notwithstanding the systematic US pressure in 1948-2017 and 2021-2023, US-Israel strategic cooperation was enhanced dramatically during that period, due to the volcanic Middle East and its threats, which are mutual to the US and Israel (e.g., Shiite and Sunni Islamic terrorism), as well as the principle-driven pro-US conduct of Israel’s Prime Ministers and Israel’s unique technological and military capabilities. US strategic cooperation with Israel has also been a derivative of Israel’s growing contribution to the US economy and national security, which exceeds – in dollar terms – the US “foreign aid” to Israel.

*Most Israeli Prime Ministers demonstrated that historic and national security concerns superseded diplomatic convenience.  They realized the difference between short-term popularity and long-term strategic respect. The latter requires defiance of the odds and pressure.

*They recognized the fact that repelling US pressure was an integral part of US-Israel relations, which attested to Israel’s effectiveness and reliability as a strategic partner.

*They knew that there are no free lunches; that a failure to fend off the State Department’s pressure would yield more pressure, coupled with eroded strategic respect and reduced posture of deterrence, which would embolden enemies. 

*These Israeli Prime Ministers were aware that simultaneously with pressure by the Executive, Israel has enjoyed – since 1948 – the support of most of the US constituency, and therefore most of the co-equal and co-determining US Legislature. They concluded that succumbing to pressure would injure Israel’s stature among its allies on Capitol Hill and the US population.

Milestones of US pressure

*During 1948-1955, Ben Gurion declared independence in defiance of brutal pressure by the State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA, the New York Times and the Washington Post, and rebuffed US and global pressure to withdraw to the suicidal 1947 lines of the “Partition Plan.”

*During 1967-1974, the Labor Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir repulsed US pressure to desist from construction of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.

*In 1981, Begin ordered the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor and applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights in defiance of ferocious US pressure, followed by a suspension of delivery of critical military systems and joint defense agreements.

*In 1982, Begin forthrightly rejected the “Reagan Plan,” which stipulated Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 ceasefire lines.

*During 1983-1992, irrespective of the outrageous smear campaign conducted by the State Department, Shamir expanded the construction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria in defiance of the State Department and the White House.

Shamir was not liked, but he was highly respected by most of his US critics.

The bottom line

*The aforementioned documented facts illustrate that defiance of pressure has enhanced Israel’s posture of deterrence, and has therefore minimized regional instability, reducing the prospects of war, advancing US interests and bolstering US strategic appreciation of Israel.

*Regardless of the systematic State Department pressure, the US is well-aware that on a rainy day it can rely on the performance of Israel – its principle-driven, backboned ally, which refuses to sacrifice long-term historic and national security assets on the altar of short-term diplomatic and economic convenience.

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“Israel did not grow strong because it had an American alliance. It acquired an American alliance because it had grown strong” (Prof. Walter Russell Mead, a leading historian of US foreign policy).

In 1948, Israel was misconstrued by the State Department as a burden upon the US, too feeble to withstand an all-out Arab military offensive, jeopardizing US ties with the Arab World and potentially pro-Soviet.

However, since 1967, Israel has emerged as the most effective, reliable and democratic ally of the US, and a formidable force-multiplier for the US.

For example:

*The June 1967 Israeli military victory devastated the pro-Soviet Egyptian military, while Egypt was on its way to become the pan-Arab leader, aiming to topple the pro-US regimes of the Arab oil-producing countries, at a time when the US was heavily dependent upon the Persian Gulf oil.  The resounding Israeli victory spared the US a huge economic and national security setback, and denied the USSR a dramatic geo-strategic gold mine.

*25 US military experts went to Israel to study the lessons of the 1967 Six Day War, and to examine the captured Soviet military systems.  Their findings upgraded the performance of the US armed forces and defense industries.

*As a result of the benefits derived by the US, a team of 50 experts arrived in Israel following the 1973 War, collecting information, which benefited the US militarily and industrially, bolstering the US defense of Europe in the face of Soviet threats.

*The December 1969 “Operation Rooster 53” highlighted Israel’s unique intelligence and battle tactic capabilities, which were shared with the US.  An Israeli commando unit snatched from Egypt an advanced Soviet P-12 radar system, which was stationed throughout the world. The Soviet radar was studied by Israel and transferred to the US, as were additional Soviet military systems, enhancing the capabilities of the US intelligence, special operations forces and the US defense industries.

According to the late Senator Daniel Inouye, who was the Chairman of the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees, the value of the Soviet radar to the US defense industries and armed forces was around $3bn.  He added that the scope of intelligence shared with the US, by Israel, exceeded the intelligence shared with the US by all NATO countries combined.

*In 1966 and 1989 Israel acquired MIG-21 and MIG-23 Soviet combat planes through defecting Iraqi and Syrian pilots. The planes were shared with the US, impacting the global balance of power, and enhancing the performance of the US Air Force and the aerospace industries.

*In 1970, Israel manifested its pro-US posture of deterrence by forcing – through its military presence on the Golan Heights – a pull-back of the pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of pro-US Jordan.  Israel spared the US either a loss of an Arab ally, or the need to get involved militarily in an intra-Arab war, while it was bogged down in Southeast Asia. Moreover, the toppling of the pro-US Jordanian regime would have threatened the existence of the pro-US oil-producing regimes in the neighboring Persian Gulf, while the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil. Thus, Israel spared the US a major economic and national security blow, and denied the USSR a geo-strategic bonanza.

*The lessons of the July 4, 1976 Entebbe Rescue Operation – which underscored Israel as a role model of pro-active, daring and innovative counter-terrorism – were shared with the US intelligence and special operations forces.

*The 1981 Israeli destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor – in defiance of fierce US opposition – spared the US the potential devastation of a nuclear confrontation during the 1991 Gulf War. It saved the pro-US oil-producing Arab regimes from the jaws of Saddam Hussein.

*In the October 1982 “Operation Mole Cricket 19,” Israel’s Air Force destroyed 29 Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries operated by Syria, perceived to be impregnable. It was the first time that a Western-equipped air force destroyed a Soviet-built surface-to-air missile network.  In the process, in the biggest air battle since the Korean War, the Israeli Air Force downed 82 Soviet MIG combat planes without a single loss to Israel’s Air Force. The game-changing Israeli battle tactics, including jamming technologies, were shared with the US armed forces, bolstering the US military edge over the USSR.

*The 2007 Israeli destruction of the Syria-North Korea-Iran nuclear reactor, spared the region and the globe a potential nuclearized civil war in Syria.

*In 2022, against the backdrop of the highly-vulnerable pro-US Arab regimes, the growing vacillation of Europe, and the intensifying threat of the anti-US Sunni and Shiite terrorism, Israel stands out as “the largest US aircraft carrier,” which does not require a single American soldier on board, sparing the US the need to deploy to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean additional aircraft carriers and ground divisions.

*In 2022, Israel’s posture of deterrence plays a key role in preventing the collapse of the pro-US Arab regimes and the dominance of the anti-US Iran’s Shiite Ayatollahs and the anti-US Sunni Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, which is crucial to global trade, the war on anti-US terrorism and the US-Russia-China balance of power.

*To paraphrase Prof. Walter Russell Mead’s observation: Israel’s posture of deterrence is not growing stronger due to the recent peace accords with Arab countries. Arab countries concluded peace accords with Israel due to the fact that Israel’s posture of deterrence is growing stronger.

Support Appreciated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A major goal of President Biden’s July, 2022 visit to the Middle East – in addition to increasing the Saudi and Emirati oil production – is the restoration of the US stature as a reliable strategic ally of the pro-US Arab regimes, and stop their drift toward Russia and China.

*At the same time, Biden pursues a JCPOA-like agreement with Iran’s Ayatollahs and embraces the Muslim Brotherhood.

*However, the attempt to restore the US’ strategic reliability, while aiming for a JCPOA-like accord with Iran’s Ayatollahs and embracing the Muslim Brotherhood, constitutes a contradiction in terms, since all pro-US Arab regimes view Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood as lethal threats. Moreover, they are convinced that a JCPOA-like accord would bolster (as did the 2015 JCPOA) the Ayatollahs’ regional and global subversion, terrorism, fueling of civil wars, drug trafficking, money laundering and the proliferation of advanced military systems to rogue entities in the Middle East and beyond. They are also frustrated by the State Department’s underestimation of the fanatic vision of the Muslim Brotherhood, and taking lightly its terror network throughout the Middle East and beyond (e.g., India and Thailand).

*Contrary to President Biden and the State Department establishment, the pro-US Arab regimes are fully aware that Iran’s Ayatollahs are not amenable to peaceful coexistence with their Arab Sunni neighbors; neither to abandoning their fanatic, religious, imperialistic vision in return for a financial and diplomatic bonanza; nor to compliance with agreements.  They have concluded that the rogue 43-year-old track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs – since rising to power in February 1979 – is irreconcilable with good-faith negotiation.

*The visit may awaken Biden and Secretary of State Blinken – who have prodded Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt on account of human rights and their involvement in the Iran-fueled civil war in Yemen – to Middle East reality.  The visit may alert them to the fact that the choice facing the US is not between Arab countries, which respect or violate human rights, but between pro-US and anti-US Arab countries, which violate human rights.

*President Biden’s visit will reaffirm the return of the State Department – since January 2021 – to the center stage of US foreign policy-making, as it was until January 2017, notwithstanding Foggy Bottom’s systematic blunders in the Middle East.

*For example, the State Department opposed the Abraham Accords, which were forged in defiance of its (Palestinian-centered) Middle East perspective. Thus, the Abraham Accords were concluded because their architects recognized the secondary role of the Palestinian issue in the Middle East. Therefore, they did not focus on the Palestinian issue, but on Arab national security and economic interests, in the face of lethal Iranian and Muslim Brotherhood threats, and the need to diversify/modernize the economy of the oil-producing countries.

*The Abraham Accords – similar to Israel’s prior peace accords with Egypt and Jordan and consistent with intra-Arab priorities – bypassed the Palestinian issue, and therefore, avoided a Palestinian veto. On the other hand, the State Department establishment has ignored the wide gap between the Arab (supportive) talk and (harsh) walk on the Palestinian issue.  Therefore, it has misconstrued the Palestinian issue as the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a core cause of Middle East turbulence and a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers. Therefore, all State Department Israel-Arab peace proposals have failed, wrecked on the rocks of Middle East reality.

*Hence, the attempt to expand the scope of the Israel-Arab peace process, on the one hand, and the State Department’s preoccupation with the Palestinian issue, on the other hand, constitute a thundering oxymoron.

*When assessing the validity of State Department proposals, which may be submitted during President Biden’s visit, Israel should study additional examples of critical State Department blunders, such as its early embrace of Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and Bashar Assad, as well as Foggy Bottom’s reference to the eruption of the 2010-2011 turbulence/Tsunami on the Arab Street (which is still raging) as “Youth and Facebook Revolution” and “the Arab Spring.”  In addition, in 1948, the State Department ferociously opposed the establishment of the Jewish State, which it expected to be pro-Soviet, too weak to withstand Arab military offensive, undermining US national security interests and a burden for the US.  In 1981 and 2007 the State Department brutally attempted to stop, and then condemned, Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors, which spared the US, the Middle East and the world at-large much devastation.

*President Biden may attempt to impose upon Israel a quid-pro-quo – consistent with the State Department’s “Palestine Firsters” – requiring Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, in return for enhanced strategic cooperation with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries (which regard Palestinians as a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and ingratitude).

*President Biden and Secretary Blinken should be reminded that concessions to rogue entities whet their appetite and intensifies terrorism, as documented by the unprecedented waves of Palestinian terrorism following Israel’s dramatic concessions in 1993 (Oslo Accord) and 2005 (disengagement from the Gaza Strip). Furthermore, Egypt (1950s), Syria (1966), Jordan (1970), Lebanon (1970s) and Kuwait (1990) made major civic and financial concessions to the Palestinians, which resulted in Palestinian terrorism against their Arab hosts, including civil wars in Jordan and Lebanon and Palestinian participation in Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

*President Biden will try to convince Israel to concede the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.  President Biden should be advised that based on the Palestinian rogue track record, a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River. It would be replaced by a radical, anti-US regime, triggering an anti-US ripple effect into the Arabian Peninsula, toppling pro-US Arab regimes, transferring the supply of Persian Gulf oil to anti-US entities, and bolstering the geo-strategic stature of Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China at the expense of dire US interests.

Israeli control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria deters rogue entities and advances US interests; the proposed Palestinian state would radicalize the region, undermining US interests.

*Israel will be asked to authorize a US Consulate in Jerusalem, acting as the US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority. Such a demand would be in violation of the US 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which defines Jerusalem as the undivided and exclusive capital of Israel. It would be interpreted – regionally and globally – as succumbing to Arab/Muslim pressure, thus further eroding the US posture of deterrence.

*When considering President Biden’s demands for Israeli concessions, Israel’s Prime Minister Lapid should study the conduct of previous Israeli Prime Ministers, who fended off US Presidential pressure, experienced a short-term setback in the US-Israel relationship, but gained in long-term US strategic respect for defiance of odds and adherence to a principle-driven stance.

*While expressing much respect to President Biden and Secretary Blinken and their demands, Israeli leaders should realize that the US democracy features Congress as a co-equal, co-determining branch of government, the most authentic representative of the American people, the most powerful legislature in the world, which has the power to both propose and dispose in the areas of foreign and defense policies, and has expressed its deep reservations with regard to US policy on Iran (e.g., Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez’ February 2022 floor speech). While most US Presidents have pressured Israel, Congress has been a systematic supporter of enhancing the mutually-beneficial US-Israel strategic and commercial cooperation.

Support Appreciated

 

.

Presidents propose and Congress disposes

On September 23, 2021, the US House of Representatives voted 420:9 to replenish the Israeli-developed defensive “Iron Dome” missiles, which are increasingly manufactured – and eventually exported – by the US defense company Raytheon, that benefits from the battle-tested “Israeli laboratory.”

The overwhelming vote reflects Congressional realization that the “Iron Dome”:

*Enhances Israel’s posture of deterrence, which is critical to the survival of all pro-US Arab regimes and minimization of regional instability;
*Reduces the need for full-scale Israeli wars on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism;
*Provides an alternative to Israeli military ground-operations against Palestinian terrorists, which would entail substantial Israeli and Palestinian fatalities;
*Represents joint US-Israel interests, militarily and technologically, in the face of mutual threats (e.g., Islamic terrorism) and mutual challenges (e.g., developing world-class, game-changing technologies).

*Constitutes another example of the systematic support by Congress of enhanced US-Israel cooperation.

The decisive role played by Congress in the replenishment of the “Iron Dome” underscores the cardinal rule of the US political system: The President proposes, but Congress disposes.

The involvement of Senators and House Representatives in foreign policy and national security-related issues has surged since the Vietnam War, Watergate and Iran Gate scandals, the dismantling of the USSR (which transformed the world from a bi-polar to a multi-polar) and rapidly-expanding globalization.

In fact, former Secretary of State, Jim Baker, complained about the growing congressional assertiveness in the area of foreign policy: “You can’t conduct foreign policy with 535 Secretaries of State….”  Former Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, criticized Congress for micromanaging the defense budget: dictating how much to spend on particular weapons, imposing detailed requirements and programmatic restrictions, venturing into policy-setting and requesting that the Department of Defense submits mountains of reports.

Congressional muscles 

The US Congress is the most powerful legislature in the world, and it has demonstrated its co-equal, co-determining muscle in the areas of foreign and defense policies on many occasions, such as:

*Imposing sanctions against foreign countries in defiance of Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump (e.g., Egypt – 2012, Iran – 1996-97 and 2013, Russia – 2017);
*Non-ratification of the 2015 JCPOA, which enabled withdrawal by the US;
*The 2009 non-closure of the Guantanamo Detention Camp was led by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (NV-D), in defiance of President Obama.
*The 2009 non-confirmation of Charles Freeman to the Director of National Intelligence was led by Senator Chuck Schumer (NY-D);
*The 1999 non-ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in defiance of President Clinton and the international community;
*The unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation took place despite stiff opposition by President Bush and Secretary of State Baker;
*The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act overrode President Reagan’s veto;
*The 1984 Boland Amendment aborted President Reagan’s financial and military aid to anti-Communist elements in Nicaragua;
*The 1983 blocking of President Reagan’s attempted coup against the Surinam pro-Soviet regime;
*The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act mandated congressional authorization of surveillance of persons and organizations, which may threaten national security;
*The 1975/76 Tunney (CA-D) and Clark Amendments stopped financial and military covert support of the opposition to the pro-Soviet regime in Angola;
*The 1973 Church-Case Amendment ended funding of military involvement in Southeast Asia;
*The 1973 War Powers Act overrode President Nixon’s veto;
*The Jackson-Vanik Amendment preconditioned aid to Moscow upon free immigration.

Congress empowered by the Constitution

As documented in the aforementioned paragraphs, one is advised to note that while Congress is preoccupied with District and State issues, it has the power to both propose and dispose in the areas of foreign and defense policies.

The US Constitution aspires for a limited government and a non-monarchical president, and therefore does not limit Congress to overseeing the budget. It provides the Senate and the House of Representatives with the power to act on strategic issues and policy-setting.

The Constitution accords Congress ”the power of the purse,” oversight of government operations, ratification of treaties, confirmation of key appointments, declaration of war, funding of military operations and cooperation with foreign entities, creation and elimination of government agencies, imposing sanctions on foreign governments, etc.

In other words, the President is the “commander in-chief” within constraints, which are set by Congress.

According to the annual February 2021 Gallup’s country favorability rating, Israel is the 7th most favorable country among Americans, enjoying a 75% very/mostly favorability rating.

Israel’s favorability of 75% – compared to 66% in 2013, 69% in 2019 and 74% in 2020 – is above its 65% average since 2001, and just shy of its exceptional 79% favorability recorded during the 1991 Gulf War, when the US public was exposed to Iraqi missiles hitting Israel.

According to Gallup, “In the latest poll, 85% of Republicans view it favorably, compared with 77% of independents and 64% of Democrats.”

Iran (13%) and the Palestinian Authority (30%) trail Cuba (45%), and are among the least favorable countries, along with North Korea (11%), China (20%), Iraq (21%), Afghanistan (21%) and Russia (22%).

Israel trails Canada (92% favorability), Great Britain (91%), France (87%), Japan (84%), Germany (84%) and India (77%).

However, unlike these countries, Israel’s 75% favorability is in defiance of systematic criticism (of Israel) by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other key members of the US media establishment, as well as by State Department spokespersons and the United Nations.

Israel’s high favorability rating occurs despite the spike in anti-Israel activities on US campuses, as well as the recent erosion of Israel’s stature on Capitol Hill (especially on the House side), which has been Israel’s consistent ally since 1948.

For example, the incoming chairwomen of the two most critical House Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense (funding US-Israel defense cooperation projects) and Foreign Operations (funding foreign aid and multinational cooperation projects) are two of the most anti-Israel legislators, Congresswoman Betty McCullum (D-MN) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) respectively. Both have repeatedly ignored Palestinian hate-education, the 70-year-old Palestinian inter-Arab terrorism (e.g., the murder of Jordan’s King Abdullah in 1951) and the 100-year-old anti-Jewish terrorism (e.g., the 1920 and 1929 pogroms), and the systematic association of the Palestinians with rivals and enemies of the US (e.g., Nazi Germany, the USSR, North Korea and Iran’s Ayatollahs). They have urged the Administration to precondition foreign aid to Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians.

Moreover, the incoming chairman of the Senate Full Appropriations Committee is the very powerful Senator (“Cardinal”) Pat Leahy (D-VT), an habitual, moderate critic of Israel.

Furthermore, the Democratic Congressional Progressive Caucus is chaired by the radical anti-Israel Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and its whip is the vehemently anti-Israel Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN). The Caucus consists of 90 House Members – among them Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the chairwoman of the Full Appropriations Committee and Adam Smith (D-WA), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee – compared to 68 in 2012 and 96 Members in 2018.

Still, consistent with the worldview of most Americans, 331 House Members signed an April 22, 2021 letter to the chairwoman and lead Republican of the Full Appropriations Committee, urging a fully-funded foreign aid package to Israel.  The letter was sponsored by Congressman Ted Deutsch (D-FL), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee, and Congressman Mike McCaul (R-FL), the lead Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The letter reads: “We urge you to support foreign assistance funding, including full funding for Israel’s security needs…. Our aid to Israel is vital and cost-effective expenditure, which advances important US national security interests in a highly challenging region. For decades, presidents of both parties have understood the strategic importance of providing Israel with security assistance.  As America’s closest Mideast ally, Israel regularly provides the US with unique intelligence information and advanced defensive weapons systems.  Israel is also actively engaged in supporting security partners like Jordan and Egypt, and its recent normalization agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco will help promote regional stability and deal with common challenges from Iran and its terrorist proxies…. Just as foreign assistance is an investment in advancing our values and furthering our global interests, security aid to Israel is a specific investment in the peace and prosperity of the entire Middle East.”

On February 4, 2021, the Senate reaffirmed the intrinsic identification, by most Americans, with Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, when voting 97:3 in favor of an amendment to the COVID-19 budget resolution, which underscored the intention to keep the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

The amendment was introduced by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and was opposed by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tom Carper (D-Del). In 1995 and 2017, the Senate voted 93:5 and 90:0 to place the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Intel’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, reflects the overall appreciation of Israel, by most constituents and legislators, as a most effective, reliable, democratic and innovative force-multiplier, benefitting the US, militarily and commercially: “I have been visiting Israel for 40 years and every time it excites me anew to see how Intel Israel has grown from 4 employees in 1974 to more than 14,000 today. I see in Intel Israel a microcosm of Intel worldwide, leading in innovation, research, development and production on an extensive scale, and we are investing accordingly. Our continued investment in expanding our existing research and development centers and enlarging production capacity in Israel, as well as the acquisitions we have conducted with (Israel’s) Mobileye, which leads the world in solutions to assist autonomous driving, (Israel’s) Moovit and (Israel’s) Habana Labs, which leads the world in Artificial Intelligence, promise an exciting future for Intel and Israel for decades to come.”

Support Appreciated

 

 

The Israeli challenge

Since 1948, the US Legislature has systematically supported the US-Israel relationship, and pro-actively promoted enhanced US-Israel cooperation: militarily, industrially, technologically, scientifically, agriculturally, irrigation, space, etc. This Congressional position has been consistent with the worldview of most voters; and, sometimes inconsistent with the Executive Branch.

Congressional affinity toward Israel was demonstrated in February 2021, when the Senate voted 97:3 to fund and maintain the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel.

Moreover, in July 2019, the House of Representatives voted 398:17 to condemn the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement.

However, the 17 House Representatives, who supported the anti-Israel BDS, included Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Betty McCollum (D-MN). The former is the new chairperson of the most critical Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, which overseas foreign aid and international commercial cooperation. The latter is the chairperson of the equally critical Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which oversees the defense budget, including global defense cooperation.  These two prominent Congresswomen have been among Israel’s roughest critics on Capitol Hill.

In 2021, they represent an expanding minority among American voters, in general, and on Capitol Hill, in particular, constituting a major challenge for American and Israeli allies of the highly productive US-Israel collaboration.

They represent a growing segment of the US population, as well as legislators and staffers, who are estranged from the 400-year-old historical, cultural, moral and civic foundations of the US-Israel kinship; unfamiliar with Israel’s role as a unique force-multiplier for the US, and its contribution to the US defense industries, high tech sector, armed forces, counterterrorism and intelligence. They overlook the US-Israel mutual threats and challenges, which transcend the Palestinian issue; inattentive of the adverse effect on US interests of the proposed Palestinian state, and are oblivious to the Arab view of the Palestinians as a role model for intra-Arab terrorism, subversion and treachery. They are indifferent to Palestinian hate-education, which mirrors the Palestinian vision and breeds terrorists. They are uninformed about the enhancement of US interests by Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights. And, they are unaware of the deep incompatibility between Western values and norms, on the one hand, and the unpredictable, violent, treacherous Middle East reality, on the other hand.

American and Israeli supporters of US-Israel cooperation, should present their case on Capitol Hill and throughout the US, by focusing on “What’s in it for the USA in its ties with Israel?!” rather than on “What’s in it for Israel?”

The clout of Congress  

The US President is the Commander-in-Chief, but only as authorized and appropriated by Congress. According to the Constitution, the President proposes, but Congress disposes.

US Senators and House Members serve in the most powerful legislature in the world – which is the most authentic representative of the American people – playing a critical role in the shaping of US policy, domestically and internationally.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the US Constitution established the Legislature as a co-equal and co-determining branch of government on domestic and foreign policy. Unlike other democracies, US legislators derive their potency from the constituent, not from party bosses.  They are, mostly, accountable to the constituent, not to their party leadership and/or the President.

In order to avoid a monarch-like, excessive Executive the framers of the Constitution limited presidential indiscretion, diffused the power of government, and encouraged arm-wrestling, constructive tension, collective decision-making and shared-responsibility between the decentralized 535-member Legislature and the highly-centralized one-man Executive.

Thus, the Constitution limits the power and the term of the President, while establishing a uniquely powerful Legislature, which can serve unlimited terms, regulate, amend, suspend, overrule and effectively supervise and check the Executive. Furthermore, Congress is empowered to initiate programs/policies in the areas of national security and foreign policy through the “power of the purse,” authorization and termination of military involvement, ratification or rejection of treaties, confirmation and rejection of senior appointments, establishing and abolishing Executive departments and agencies, veto-override, impeachment, etc.

While House Representatives (especially) and Senators are preoccupied with district and state matters, which are the top concern of their constituents, they possess effective muscle in the area of international relations, which is flexed whenever they deem it necessary.

For example, in 2017 and 2012, Congress legislated sanctions on Russia and Egypt, in defiance of Presidents Trump and Obama. Most sanctions against foreign countries were initiated by Congress. In 2015, the Senate refused to ratify the Iran nuclear accord (JCPOA), thus, enabling the US to withdraw from the agreement in 2018. On July 15, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, chaired by Senator Durbin (D-IL), appropriated for the Iron Dome missile defense US-Israel program twice as much as requested by President Obama.  On August 1, 2014, during Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists, Democratic Senators forced President Obama to de-link a $225mn funding of additional Iron Dome batteries to Israel from the $2.7bn Immigration and Border Security Bill. In 2012, Congress cut foreign aid to the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, and imposed additional sanctions on Iran, despite presidential opposition. On February 17, 2011, Democratic Senators forced President Obama to veto a UN Security Council condemnation of Israel’s settlements policy. In May, 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) foiled President Obama’s attempts to close down the Guantanamo detention camp. In 2009, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected Obama’s appointment of Chas Freeman to head the National Intelligence Council. Since 1999, the Senate has not ratified President Clinton’s Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. In 1990-1992, Congress significantly expanded US-Israel defense cooperation in spite of President Bush’s and Secretary Baker’s opposition. In 1986, Congress imposed severe sanctions on South Africa, overruling President Reagan’s veto. In 1984, 1976 and 1973, notwithstanding opposition by Presidents Reagan, Ford and Nixon, Congressional legislation led to the termination of US military involvement in Nicaragua (the Boland Amendment), Angola (the Clark Amendment) and Southeast Asia (the Church-Case Amendment) respectively. In 1973, Congress overrode President Nixon’s veto of the War Powers Act, which limits presidential authority to commit US forces abroad without Congressional consent. In 1974, Congress passed the pivotal Jackson-Vanik Amendment, despite fierce opposition by President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger.

The bottom line

While American and Israeli supporters of the win-win US-Israel cooperation should cultivate lines of communications with President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State Sherman, National Security Advisor Sullivan and other prominent foreign policy and national security Executive players, there should very frequent communications with US legislators and staffers.

The latter have demonstrated their effective impact in the areas of foreign policy and national security as a co-equal and co-determining branch of government.

While all Presidents, during 1948-2017, pressured Israel, Congress has systematically supported Israel and bolstered US-Israel military and commercial cooperation, expressing the worldview of most US constituents, even when it conflicted with presidential policy.

Will supporters of the US-Israel strategic cooperation upgrade communications with the US Legislature, and rise to the challenge presented by the recent erosion of support on Capitol Hill?

Support Appreciated

 

Bipartisan support track record

According to the March 2020 annual Gallup poll of country favorability, Israel benefits from a 74% favorability (90% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats), compared to a 23% favorability of the Palestinian Authority (9% of Republicans and 34% of Democrats).

With the dawn of the Biden Administration, Israel enjoys bipartisan support among most US voters and, therefore, among members of the US House of Representatives and Senate.  However, one should not ignore the gradual – and recently accelerated – erosion of this support.

Conventional wisdom suggests that Israel’s national security policy – and especially its confrontational opposition to the 2015 Iran accord (JCPOA) – is responsible for the erosion of the bipartisan support.

However, US-Israel relations have experienced a number of raucous confrontations between US presidents and Israeli prime ministers – some of them harsher than the Obama-Netanyahu “Iran showdown” – but that did not fracture bipartisan support of Israel.

For example, in 1948-49, during and following Israel’s War of Independence against a military invasion by five Arab countries, Prime Minister Ben Gurion confronted a most brutal pressure by the White House, State Department, Pentagon and CIA to refrain from the application of Israel’s law to “occupied” West Jerusalem and parts of the Galilee, the coastal plain and the Negev. The US Administration claimed that Israel’s “intransigence” would severely undermine US-Arab relations, threaten the supply of Arab oil, serve Soviet interests and further destabilize the Middle East (all of which were resoundingly repudiated by reality).

Yet, in defiance of the Truman Administration, Ben Gurion expanded the area of the Jewish State by 35%. He was aware of bipartisan support for the renewed Jewish Commonwealth in the Land of Israel, which reflected the worldview of US voters and their representatives on Capitol Hill. This worldview was consistent with the legacy of the Early Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers – the framers of the Federalist Papers, the Federalist system, the US Constitution and Bill of Rights – and the abolitionist movement, all inspired by the Biblical Exodus and Mosaic values.

For example, in 1891, over 400 prominent Americans, including House and Senate leaders, the Chief Justice and other Supreme Court Justices, governors, mayors and leading businessmen signed the Blackstone Memorial, which called for the restoration of the Jewish State in the Jewish Homeland.

Also, in 1922, the Henry Cabot Lodge (Senate) and Hamilton Fish (House) bicameral and bipartisan Joint Resolution was unanimously approved and signed by President Harding – despite the harsh opposition by the State Department and the New York Times – endorsing the reestablishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

Furthermore, 1981 featured the major rift between President Reagan and Prime Minister Begin over the Israeli destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, the application of Israeli law to the Golan Heights and Israel’s war on PLO terror headquarters in Lebanon. These confrontations triggered a suspension of the delivery of F-16 aircraft to Israel and the suspension of a major US-Israel strategic pact and arms deals.  Yet, bipartisan support persisted and the mutually-beneficial defense relations were renewed, reflecting US awareness of the historical and cultural common denominator between the US and the Jewish State, which has emerged – since 1967 – as the most effective, reliable and democratic force-multiplier for the US.

1989-1992 featured a ruthless campaign conducted by President Bush and Secretary of State Baker to discredit Prime Minister Shamir, who was more hawkish and steadfast than Prime Minister Netanyahu.  However, US national security and technological challenges in the increasingly stormy world and Middle East – against the backdrop of a vacillating Europe and vulnerable pro-US Arab regimes – highlighted Israel’s unique military and technological capabilities and its contribution to the national security and economy of the US.  This reality overshadowed the bitter Bush-Shamir friction, generating bipartisan congressional initiatives, which uniquely expanded US-Israel defense and commercial cooperation.

Bipartisan support threatened  

As indicated, bipartisan support of Israel has been a derivative of US history, values and civic experience, which are shared and cherished by most Americans (Democrats and Republicans alike), dating back to the 1620 ten-week Mayflower’s “modern-day parting of the sea,” followed by the legacy of the Founding Fathers. The latter catapulted the US to the leadership of the Free World, economically, educationally, scientifically, technologically, agriculturally, militarily and democratically – a global role model of liberty.

The stronger the affinity of the American people to the legacy of the Founding Fathers, the more enduring is their identification with – and support of – the Jewish State.

This bipartisan support of Israel was buttressed following the Holocaust of WW2.

Bipartisan support gained further momentum with the emergence of Israel as the largest US aircraft carrier,” which requires not a single American on board, deployed in the most critical junction between Europe, Asia and Africa, the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.

However, the time factor (245 years since the American Revolutionary War) has scaled down the overall attachment to the legacy of the Founding Fathers. This trend has been intensified by the dramatic demographic and ideological changes of the last few decades, which have been accompanied by bitter and growing political and social polarization. The latter has also infected bipartisan support of Israel.

These developments have provided a tailwind to those who have attempted to belittle, and even discredit, the legacy of the Founding Fathers, as well as the special US-Israel ties.

The more tenuous the connection of Americans to US history, in general, and the legacy of the Founding Fathers, in particular, the more uncertain their historical and geo-strategic support of the Jewish State.

Moreover, the diminished stature of the legacy of the Founding Fathers has reduced the common-denominator between Democrats and Republicans; thus, eroding bipartisan collaboration, in general, and bipartisan support of Israel, in particular.

Stopping the erosion of – and reinforcing – bipartisan support requires addressing US concerns, in general, and the major cause of the erosion, in particular: the changing US society, culture and order of priorities.

Thus, Israel and Israel’s friends in the US should shift the focus from “What’s in it for Israel” to “What’s in it for the USA” – from Israeli to US concerns.

For instance:

*The annual $3.8bn is not foreign aid to – but investment in – Israel, yielding the US taxpayer a few hundred percent annual rate-of-return;
*1620-2021: The 400 year old American roots of the US-Israel bond;
*Iran’s Ayatollahs are a mutual threat to both the US and Israel;
*Israel in the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria advances US interests;
*The impact of the proposed Palestinian state on US interests;
*Etc.

Notwithstanding the progressive erosion of bipartisan support of Israel, support for Israel still epitomizes the majority of the US constituency and members of the House and the Senate, who are aware of the shared values, history, threats and challenges, which bind the US and its unabashed, unconditional, effective, reliable and democratic ally, Israel.

Just like the unique giant Sequoia redwood tree, the unique tree of bipartisan support of Israel is 400 years old, reveals deep roots, a strong trunk and a fire-resisting bark, which have made it possible to grow impressively, while fending off a multitude of assaults, including the recent erosion.

Support Appreciated

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Mida Magazinehttps://bit.ly/2Z8TtZo

Israel and the November 2020 Congressional election

The outcome of the November 2020 election to the US House of Representatives and Senate will greatly impact US national security policy, in general, and US-Israel relations, in particular.

This impact will be intensified by more “Progressive Democrats” in the House of Representatives – currently, 95 out of 233 Democrats – who share the following worldview (which is a prime-challenge for Israel’s public diplomacy):

*A drastic cut in the defense budget;
*Multinational – rather than unilateral – military actions;
*Embracing the UN and disavowing peace-through-strength in favor of pliability;
*Cosmopolitan, rather than national, worldview, dismissing Biblical roots of the US Constitution, civil rights, governance and culture.
*Embracing Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood, and devaluing pro-US Arab regimes, which are threatened by the Ayatollahs and the Brotherhood;
*Islamic terrorism is driven by despair, not by anti-US Islamic fanaticism, and should be addressed diplomatically and legally, rather than militarily;
*Underestimating Iran’s threat to the Middle East and the world at-large;
*Ignoring Israel’s unique role as a force-multiplier in face of mutual threats;
*Overlooking the fact that the US-Israel mutual threats and challenges transcend disagreements over the Palestinian issue;
*Disregarding the intra-Arab Palestinian track record and its impact on the US;
*Considering Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines as a prerequisite to peace;
*Ignoring the benefits to regional stability and US interest derived from Israel’s control of the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria;
*Subordinating harsh Middle East reality to well-intentioned oversimplification;

Thus, the moderate Democrat and steadfast pro-Israel Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the powerful Chairwoman of the House Full Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, who opposed the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, is retiring from Congress. She will be succeeded in Congress by Mondaire Jones who is supported by the leadership of “Progressive Democrats.” The three leading candidates to chair the most powerful Appropriations Committee (Marci Kaptur, Rosa DeLauro and Debbie Wasserman Schultz) – assuming that the Democrats will retain the House majority – are closer to the “Progressive Democrats” than to Nita Lowey, when it comes to Israel. Two of the leading candidates to chair the Foreign Operations Subcommittee are Congresswoman Betty McCullum (who may chair the Defense Subcommittee, which appropriates much of the US-Israel defense cooperation) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who are among the fiercest critics of Israel in the House of Representatives.

The moderate Democrat and staunchly pro-Israel Congressman Eliot Engel, the veteran Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, was defeated in the Democratic primary by Jamaal Bowman, a Progressive Democrat, supported by anti-Israel individuals and organizations. Should the next Chairman be pro-Israel (e.g., Congressman Brad Sherman, who opposed the Iran agreement), his – and the Committee’s – position on Iran, the Middle East and Israel will be heavily impacted by the growing weight of the “Progressive Democrats.”

Similar – but more moderate – changes may take place in the Senate, should the Democrats become the majority party, replacing the slate of pro-Israel Republican Committee and Subcommittee Chairmen (Republicans and Democrats defend 23 and 12 seats respectively, with 8 vulnerable Republican seats and only  2 vulnerable Democratic seats).

Hence, the most veteran, effective, liberal Democratic Senator, Pat Leahy, a supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, opponent of the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and a consistent (low key) critic of Israel, would be the next President Pro-Tempore and a leading candidate to be the next Chairman of the most powerful Appropriations Committee (unless he prefers the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee), and certainly the next Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, which oversees foreign aid and various cooperation initiatives with Israel.

The veteran, moderate Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, a supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, and a moderate supporter/critic of Israel, opposing the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, would be the leading candidate to the chairmanship of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

The long-serving, moderate, Democratic Senator Jack Reed, a supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, opponent of the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and – like most Democrats in both Chambers – calling for Israel’s withdrawal from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, would be a leading candidate to become the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, which is involved in all US-Israel military aspects.

Senator Bob Menendez, the veteran, moderate and systematic supporter of Israel (in defiance of President Obama, opposing the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement!) would become the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, but would be subjected to heavy pressure by the “Progressive Democrats.”

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The co-equal and co-determining Legislature

Contrary to conventional wisdom, both Chambers of Congress – which constitute the most powerful Legislature in the world and the most authentic representative of the constituents – are not a second-class branch of government.  They are co-equal to the Executive, possessing the muscle to check, defy, oversee, overrule, direct, investigate, suspend, fund and defund the Executive on domestic, foreign and national security issues.

For example, Congress initiates most sanctions against foreign countries, and on many occasions in defiance of the President. In 2017, Congress legislated sanctions on Russia despite President Trump. In 2015, the Senate refused to ratify the nuclear agreement with Iran, thus enabling Trump to withdraw from the agreement in 2018. In 2014, Congress foiled President Obama’s attempts to delay the funding of additional Iron Dome missile defense systems during Israel’s war (“Protective Edge”) against Hamas terrorists. In 2012, despite Obama’s opposition, Congress cut foreign aid to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government by $450MN and imposed additional sanctions on Iran. In 2002, Congress forced President Bush to transform the Office of Homeland Security into a Department of Homeland Security. Since 1999, the Senate has refrained from ratifying President Clinton’s Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. In 1990-1992, Congress substantially expanded US-Israel strategic cooperation in defiance of President Bush and Secretary Baker. In 1986, Congress overruled President Reagan’s veto and imposed sanctions, which led to the downfall of South Africa’s Apartheid regime. In 1984, 1976 and 1973, in spite of opposition by Reagan, Ford and Nixon, congressional legislation led to the end of US military involvement in Nicaragua (the Boland Amendment), Angola (the Clark Amendment) and Southeast Asia (the Church-Case Amendment) respectively. In 1973, Congress overrode President Nixon’s veto of the War Powers Act, limiting presidential powers to commit US forces abroad without congressional approval. In 1974, Congress passed the Jackson-Vanik Amendment – over President Nixon’s opposition – which led to over a million Jewish immigrants to Israel.

The power of Congress is stipulated by the US Constitution, which aims at securing civil liberties by highlighting the centrality of the constituents, while precluding excessive Executive power.  Thus, US presidents are constrained by checks and balances, limited government and a strict separation of powers among the Legislature (which is accorded the first article in the Constitution), Executive and Judiciary. Therefore, unlike European and Israeli leaders, US presidents are not super-legislators, nor do they determine the congressional agenda or congressional leadership.

Moreover, Congress possesses the Power of the Purse, the authority to impeach, establish and abolish Executive departments, confirm Supreme Court Justices and ambassadors, etc.

The President proposes, but Congress disposes.

The President is the commander-in-chief, but only as authorized and appropriated by Congress, which has been a systematic supporter of the mutually-beneficial US-Israel cooperation.

The 2020 annual Gallup poll of country-favorability documents a 74% favorability for Israel, compared to a 23% favorability for the Palestinian Authority. This fact highlights the significant potential/challenge of enhanced ties between the American people and their representatives on Capitol Hill and the Israel.

Will Israel’s public diplomacy rise to the challenge posed by the current ideological trends in the US?

Donations appreciated

Israel Hayom

Israel Ambassador to the USA, Ron Dermer, is correct to recommend welcoming a visit to Israel by House Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) – the first two US Muslim Congresswomen – “out of respect for the US Congress and the great US-Israel alliance.”

Israel’s high respect of both chambers and both parties in the US Congress supersedes Israel’s deep reservations about the two legislators’ support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel; their identification with Palestinian and Islamic terror organizations (e.g., Muslim Brotherhood); their embrace of themes perpetrated by Palestinian hate-education, which have denied Israel’s right to exist; and their determination to weaken the 400-year-old bonds between the American people and the Jewish State, and undermine the mutually-beneficial US-Israel strategic cooperation.

In fact, the worldview of these two legislators departs sharply from the vast majority of the legislators on Capitol Hill, as well as in the US State Legislatures, 27 of which have already adopted anti-BDS legislation. It was evident on July 23, 2019, when the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly (398:17) passed the anti-BDS House Resolution 246.

Thus, Israel displays tolerance of criticism and respect towards Congress, which has systematically enhanced the unique US ties with the Jewish State and the two-way-street US-Israel cooperation – sometimes in defiance of US Presidents – long before the 1948 establishment of Israel and the 1951 establishment of AIPAC.  For example, in 1891 – six years before the first Zionist Congress and 57 years before the establishment of the Jewish State – the bipartisan House and Senate leadership joined some 400 Supreme Court Justices, Governors, mayors, university presidents, newspaper editors, clergy, and leading businessmen, signing the Blackstone Memorial, which called for the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel.

In addition, Israel is aware of the co-equal, co-determining muscle of the US Legislature, as displayed by coercing the Executive to end US military involvement in Southeast Asia, Angola and Nicaragua, overriding the Administration when forcing the USSR/Russia to allow free emigration, end the support for South Africa’s Apartheid Regime, etc.

Israel realizes that tolerating criticism does not reflect vacillation, but open-mindedness and an opportunity to highlight critical data, as was the case in prior visits of US legislators known for their criticism of Israel.

For example, Senator William Fulbright (AK-D, 1945-1975), the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee (a heavy-weight compared to these two freshmen Congresswomen), stated on June 9, 1967: “They [Israel] know they have control of the Senate politically, and therefore whatever the Secretary [of State] tells them, they can laugh at him….”  Senator Fulbright advocated economic pressure on Israel as a means to force a retreat to the pre-1967 lines.

Senator Chuck Percy (IL-R, 1967-1985), as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, supported President Ford’s and Secretary of State Kissinger’s reassessment of their Middle East policy (opposed by 76 Senators), including the use of foreign aid and withheld arms sales as a means to force an Israeli withdrawal from parts of the Sinai Peninsula.  Senator Percy considered Yasser Arafat “a moderate leader” (during the early 1980s), while criticizing Israel’s supposed “intransigence,” contending that close US-Israel ties undermine US-Arab relations.

At the same time, leading US legislators known for their criticism of Israel have demonstrated open-mindedness, always welcoming visits – to their Capitol Hill office – by Israeli leaders and diplomats, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who paid frequent visits to many Capitol Hill offices before becoming Israel’s top Executive (e.g., 8th term Senator Pat Leahy from Vermont, the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee).

Moreover, Senator Bob Dole (KS-R, 1961-1997) and his top staffers held many meetings with Israelis, irrespective of the Senator’s full identification with Secretary of State Jim Baker’s tough criticism and pressure of Israel; his call for a 5% cut in foreign aid to Israel; his close ties with Saddam Hussein, whom he considered an ally of the US (until the day of the August, 1990 invasion of Kuwait); and contending that Israel was partly responsible for the 1990 murder of Colonel Higgins by Hezbollah terrorists.

Obviously, a respectful attitude, by Israel, toward the US public and its representatives on Capitol Hill requires Israel to provide a well-documented profile of the two Congresswomen’s Palestinian interlocutors (the Palestinian Authority): hate-educators in K-12 and in the mosques; subversion and terrorism against Arab regimes; long-lasting ties with anti-US elements in the Middle East and beyond; posing a clear and present threat to every pro-US Arab regime and the US itself.

 

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Palestinian state – is it consistent with US interests?

A Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would cause the demise of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a platform of anti-US Islamic terrorism with ripple effects into the Arabian Peninsula, threatening all pro-US, oil producing Arab regimes, a bonanza to US enemies and rivals and a setback to the US.

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Demography

2024 artificially inflated Palestinian demography

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
March 25, 2024

Palestinian demographic numbers are highly-inflated, as documented by a study, which has audited the Palestinian data since 2004.  For example:

*500,000 Arabs, who have been away for over a year, are included in the census, contrary to international regulations. 325,000 were included in the 1997 census, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and 400,000 in 2005, according to the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows steadily due to births.

*350,000 East Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted – by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number grows steadily due to births.

*Over 150,000 Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly counted. The number expands steadily due to births.   

*A 413,000 net-emigration (since the 1997 first Palestinian census) is ignored by the Palestinian census, overlooking the annual net-emigration since 1950. A 23,445 net-emigration in 2022 and a 20,000 annual average in recent years have been documented by Israel’s Population and Migration Authority in all international passages.  

*A 32% artificial inflation of Palestinian births was documented by the World Bank (page 8, item 6) in a 2006 audit.

*The Judea & Samaria Arab fertility rate has been westernized: from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 2.9 births in 2022 (In Jordan – similar to Judea & Samaria), reflecting the sweeping urbanization, a growing female enrollment in higher education, rising marriage age and the rising use of contraceptives.

*The number of deaths is under-reported for political and financial reasons.

*The aforementioned artificial inflation of 1.7 million documents a population of 1.55 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, not the official 3.25 million. In 2024: a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefitting from a tailwind of fertility and net-immigration, while Arab demography is westernized. In 1947 and 1897: a 39% and 9% Jewish minority.
No Arab demographic time bomb; but, a Jewish demographic momentum. More data in these articles and this short video.

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Iran

FBI Director Chris Wray defies the State Department on Iran

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative”
June 17, 2024

FBI Director Chris Wray’s position on Islamic terrorism/Iran

FBI Director, Chris Wray reiterated – during his June 4, 2024 Senate testimony and April 11, 2024 House testimony – his warning of an October 7-like terrorism on the US soil:

“We have seen the threat from foreign terrorists rise to a whole another level after the October 7 [Hamas terrorism]….Increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the [US] homeland, akin to the ISIS attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall in March, 2024 [137 murdered, 180 wounded]…. Nations such as the PRC, Russia and Iran are becoming more aggressive and more capable than ever before.  These nations seek to undermine our core democratic, economic and scientific institutions….

“We are in an environment where the threats from international terrorism, domestic terrorism and state sponsored terrorism are all simultaneously elevated…. We are paying heightened attention to how the events abroad could directly affect and inspire people to commit violence here in the homeland….

“Our top concern stems from lone offenders inspired by the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, as they pose the most likely threat to Americans.  In recent years, there have been several events in the US that were purportedly motivated, at least in part, by the Israel-Hamas conflict….

Iran and its global proxies and partners, including Iraqi Shia militant groups, attack and plot against the US and our allies throughout the Middle East.  Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force has also provided support to terrorist organizations. And, Iran has supported Lebanese Hezbollah and other terrorist groups. Hezbollah has sent operatives to build terrorist infrastructure worldwide [including in Latin America all the way to the US-Mexico border]. The arrests of individuals in the US allegedly linked to Hezbollah’s main overseas terrorist arm, and their intelligence-collection and procurement efforts, demonstrate Hezbollah’s interest in long-term contingency planning activities here in the homeland….

“We continue to see the drug cartels [which intensely collaborate with Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah, that supply them predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment] push fentanyl and other dangerous drugs into every corner of the country, claiming countless American lives….

“Since October 7, we have seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies…. Our most immediate concern has been that [terrorists] will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home….”

The FBI Director Wray’s April 11 and June 4 testimonies followed his alarming testimonies on October 31, 2023 and on November 15, 2023, in the Senate and House Homeland Security Committees.

FBI Director Wray vs. Secretary of State Blinken

*FBI Director Chris Wray recognizes that the October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorism is relevant to the US homeland security, and that Israel’s war on Hamas supports the US’ war on Islamic terrorism. Unlike Director Wray, Secretary of State Blinken has assumed the role of an “honest broker,” ignoring the US-allied role of Israel and the US-enemy role of Hamas, a proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs and a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, the largest anti-US Sunni terrorist organization.

*FBI Director Wray considers Iran’s Ayatollahs and their Islamic terror proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, as a clear and present threat to the US homeland security. He is aware of their intensified collaboration with the drug cartels in Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, as well as with Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and all other anti-US governments in Latin America, the US’ soft underbelly. In contrast, Secretary of State Blinken – true to his multilateralist UN-oriented worldview – has approached Iran’s Ayatollahs as a diplomatic challenge, opposing the options of regime change, and refraining from establishing a potent military threat hovering above the head of the Ayatollahs.

*FBI Director Wray realizes that Iran’s Ayatollahs are the chief epicenter of Hamas, Hezbollah and other components of the global anti-US Islamic terrorism, in addition to the Ayatollahs’ role as the main anti-US drug trafficker, money launderer and proliferator of advanced military systems. However, irrespective of the Ayatollahs’ rogue anti-US track record, Secretary Blinken refrains from defining Iran as a terrorist-state, viewing the Ayatollahs as partners in good-faith negotiations.

*FBI Director Chris Wray is aware that Iran’s Ayatollahs, and other anti-US Islamic terrorists, are driven by a 1,400-year-old fanatical and imperialistic ideology, which aims to bring the “infidel US” to submission. He is convinced that Islamic terrorism should be addressed by national security means, and not via gestures and concessions, which are perceived by terrorists as terror-inducing weakness. On the other hand, Secretary Blinken believes that Islamic terrorism is despair-driven, and therefore, should be addressed via substantial diplomatic and financial gestures, notwithstanding the fact that terrorists bite the hands that feed them (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs terrorize the US, which facilitated their rise to power; the Mujahideen’s terrorize the US, which helped them expel the Soviet military from Afghanistan; Libyan Islamic terrorists lynched US diplomats, notwithstanding the US-led NATO military offensive, which helped them topple Gadhafi; etc.).   

*Will the mounting threat of anti-US Islamic terrorism, and the volcanic Middle East reality, cause Secretary Blinken to reassess his position on Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hamas and other forms of Islamic terrorism, by avoiding rather than continuing to repeat critical mistakes, which have undermined the national security and homeland security of the US?

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 27, 2024

Secretary of State Antony Blinken represents conventional wisdom when claiming that “It’s been longstanding US policy… that new settlements are… inconsistent with international law.”

However, conventional wisdom is frequently demolished by the march of facts

For instance:

*According to Prof. Eugene Rostow, who was the co-author of the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242, served as Undersecretary of State and was the Dean of Yale University Law School: “Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa.”

*According to UN Resolution 242, Israel is required to withdraw from territories, not the territories, nor from all the territories, but some of the territories, which included Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.  Moreover, according to Prof. Rostow, “resolutions calling for withdrawal from all the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly…. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable [9-15 mile-wide] lines… but to secure and recognized boundaries, agreed to by the parties…. In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai… [which amounts to] more than 90% of the territories occupied in 1967….”

*Former President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, stated: “Between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967 (according to Article 52 of the UN Charter), on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has better title in the territory of what was [British Mandate] Palestine…. It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful…. [The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive… [as] indicated by Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the amassing of [Egyptian] troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of the UN Emergency Force…[and] Jordan’s initiated hostilities against Israel…. The 1948 Arab invasion of the nascent State of Israel further demonstrated that Egypt’s seizure of the Gaza Strip, and Jordan’s seizure and subsequent annexation of the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem, were unlawful….” 

*The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following 4 authoritative, binding, internationally-ratified documents, which recognize the area for what it has been: the cradle of Jewish history, culture, language, aspirations and religion.

(I) The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, calling for “the establishment in Palestine (a synonym to the Land of Israel) of a national home for the Jewish people….”
(II) The April 24, 1920 resolution, by the post-First World War San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, entrusted both sides of the Jordan River to the British Mandate for Palestine, for the reestablishment of the Jewish Commonwealth: “the Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was one of over 20 Mandates (trusteeships) established following WW1, responsible for the boundaries of most Arab countries.
(III) The July 24, 1922 Mandate for Palestine was ratified by the Council of the League of Nations, entrusted Britain to establish a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River, as demonstrated by its 6th article: “[to] encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands….” The Mandate was dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights, while guaranteeing the civic rights of all other religious and ethnic groups. On July 23, 1923, the Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Lausanne, which included the Mandate for Palestine.  
(IV) The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine into the UN Charter.  Accordingly, the UN or any other entity cannot transfer Jewish rights in Palestine – including immigration and settlement – to any other party. According to Article 80 of the UN Charter and the Mandate for Palestine, the 1967 war of self-defense returned Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to its legal owner, the Jewish state.  Legally and geo-strategically the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, since they are not “foreign territory,” and Jordan did not have a legitimate title over the West Bank.  Moreover, the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply in view of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. The 1950-67 Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria violated international law and was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan.

*The 1949 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the forced transfer of populations to areas previously occupied by a legitimate sovereign power. However, Israel has not forced Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, and Jordan’s sovereignty there was never legal.

*The November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 was a recommendation, lacking legal stature, superseded by the Mandate for Palestine. The 1949 Armistice (non-peace) Agreements between Israel and its neighbors delineated “non-territorial boundaries.”   

*The term “Palestine” was a Greek and then a Roman attempt (following the 135 CE Jewish rebellion) to eradicate Jews and Judaism from human memory. It substituted “Israel, Judea and Samaria” with “Palaestina,” a derivative of the Philistines, an arch enemy of the Jewish people, whose origin was not in Arabia, but in the Greek Aegian islands.    

*The aforementioned march of facts demonstrates that Secretary Blinken’s conventional wisdom on the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria is based on gross misperceptions and misrepresentations, which fuels infidelity to law, undermining the pursuit of peace.

*More on the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria in this article by George Mason University Law School Prof. Eugene Kontrovich.

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Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

US departure from the recognition of a United Jerusalem as the exclusive capital of the Jewish State, and the site of the US Embassy to Israel, would be consistent with the track record of the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, such as its opposition to the establishment of the Jewish State; stabbing the back of the pro-US Shah of Iran and Mubarak of Egypt, and pressuring the pro-US Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while courting the anti-US Ayatollahs of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Arafat, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Houthis of Yemen; transforming Libya into a platform of global Islamic terrorism and civil wars; etc..

However, such departure would violate US law, defy a 3,000 year old reality – documented by a litany of archeological sites and a multitude of documents from Biblical time until today – spurn US history and geography, and undermine US national and homeland security.

United Jerusalem and the US law

Establishing a US Consulate General in Jerusalem – which would be a de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority – would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which became US law on November 8, 1995 with substantially more than a veto-override majority on Capitol Hill.

According to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which enjoys massive support among the US population and, therefore, in both chambers of Congress:

“Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….

“Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the state of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem….

“In 1990, Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress ‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….’

“In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113… to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming Congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city….

“In 1996, the state of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry….

“The term ‘United States Embassy’ means the offices of the United States diplomatic mission and the residence of the United States chief of mission.”

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

The US Early Pilgrims and Founding Fathers were inspired – in their unification of the 13 colonies – by King David’s unification of the 12 Jewish tribes into a united political entity, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital city, which did not belong to any of the tribes (hence, Washington, DC does not belong to any state). King David entered Jerusalem 3,000 years before modern day US presidents entered the White House and 2,755 years before the US gained its independence.

The impact of Jerusalem on the US founders of the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist system and overall civic life is reflected by the existence, in the US, of 18 Jerusalems (4 in Maryland; 2 in Vermont, Georgia and New York; and 1 in Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Utah, Rhode Island and Tennessee), 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) and many Zions (a Biblical synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel).  Moreover, in the US there are thousands of cities, towns, mountains, cliffs, deserts, national parks and streets bearing Biblical names.

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

Recognizing the Jerusalem reality and adherence to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – and the subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the site of the US Embassy to Israel – bolstered the US posture of deterrence in defiance of Arab/Islamic pressure and threats.

Contrary to the doomsday assessments by the State Department and the “elite” US media – which have been wrong on most Middle East issues – the May 2018 implementation of the 1995 law did not intensify Palestinian, Arab and Islamic terrorism. State Department “wise men” were equally wrong when they warned that Israel’s 1967 reunification of Jerusalem would ignite a worldwide anti-Israel and anti-US Islamic volcanic eruption.

Adherence to the 1995 law distinguishes the US President, Congress and most Americans from the state of mind of rogue regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US UN, the vacillating Europe, and the cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department, which has systematically played-down the US’ unilateral, independent and (sometimes) defiant national security action.

On the other hand, US procrastination on the implementation of the 1995 law – by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama – eroded the US posture of deterrence, since it was rightly perceived by the world as appeasement in the face of pressure and threats from Arab/Muslim regimes and terrorists.  As expected, it radicalized Arab expectations and demands, failed to advance the cause of Israel-Arab peace, fueled Islamic terrorism, and severely undermined US national and homeland security. For example, blowing up the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and murdering 224 persons in August 1998; blowing up the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden and murdering 17 US sailors in October 2000; the 9/11 Twin Towers massacre, etc.

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

In 1949, President Truman followed Secretary of State Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing West Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people.

in 1950, in defiance of brutal US and global pressure to internationalize Jerusalem, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reacted constructively by proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish State, relocating government agencies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and settling tens of thousands of Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) in Jerusalem. He upgraded the transportation infrastructure to Jerusalem, erected new Jewish neighborhoods along the 1949 cease fire lines in Jerusalem, and provided the city land reserves for long-term growth.

In 1953, Ben Gurion rebuffed President Eisenhower’s pressure – inspired by Secretary of State Dulles – to refrain from relocating Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In 1967, President Johnson followed the advice of Secretary of State Rusk – who opposed Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence – highlighting the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the reunification of Jerusalem and construction in its eastern section. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol adopted Ben Gurion’s statesmanship, fended off the US pressure, reunited Jerusalem, built the first Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, Ramat Eshkol, in addition to the first wave of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.

In 1970, President Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State Rogers, attempting to repartition Jerusalem, pressuring Israel to relinquish control of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.  However, Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to rescind the reunification of Jerusalem, and proceeded to lay the foundation for additional Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines: Gilo, Ramot Alon, French Hill and Neve’ Yaakov, currently home to 150,000 people.

In 1977-1992, Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir defied US and global pressure, expanding construction in Jerusalem, sending a clear message: “Jerusalem is the exclusive and non-negotiable capital of Israel!”

“[In 1978], at the very end of [Prime Minister Begin’s] successful Camp David talks with President Jimmy Carter and President Anwar Sadat, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with ‘Just one final formal item.’ Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord.  ‘I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it,’ rumbled Begin. ‘If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,’ said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America, ‘and may my tongue cleave to my mouth’ (The Prime Ministers – An Intimate Portrait of Leaders of Israel, 2010)”

In 2021, Prime Minister Bennett should follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, who stated: “Jerusalem is equal to the whole of the Land of Israel. Jerusalem is not just a central Jewish settlement. Jerusalem is an invaluable global historical symbol. The Jewish People and the entire world shall judge us in accordance with our steadfastness on Jerusalem (“We and Our Neighbors,” p. 175. 1929).”

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Jewish Holidays

Shavou’ot (Pentecost) guide for the perplexed, 2024

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
June 9, 2024

More on Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon

1. Shavou’ot (June 11-12, 2024) and the Land of Israel

*Shavou’ot commemorates the receipt of the Torah (the Five Books of Moses). It is one of the three liberty-driven Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem:  Passover, Shavou’ot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Tabernacles). It documents the critical linkage between Judaism, the Land of Israel and the Jewish people. These pilgrimages constitute central milestones in the formation of Jewish history and the 4,000-year-old Jewish roots in the Land of Israel.

*Shavou’ot is an historical, national, agricultural and a spiritual extension of Passover. Passover highlights the physical liberty from slavery in Egypt; Shavou’ot highlights spiritual liberty, embracing the values of the Five Books of Moses, the Ten Commandments and The Ethics of our Fathers (Pirkey Avot). Therefore, the eve of Shavou’ot is dedicated to an all-night study of Jewish values.

*Shavou’ot is also called the Holiday of the Harvest (Bikoorim in Hebrew), since it concludes the harvesting season, which starts during Passover.

*Shavou’ot commemorates the 40 years of the Exodus, which entailed tough challenges on the road to the Land of Israel, forging the state-of-mind of the Jewish people and the Jewish State. 

*Shavou’ot means “weeks” in Hebrew and its root is identical to the root of the Hebrew word for “vows” (שבע), which is the same word for “seven.” It documents the seven weeks between Passover (the Exodus) and Shavou’ot.

*Shavou’ot highlights the prerequisites for a secure Land of Israel: the willingness to sustain blood, sweat and tears; faith and principle-driven tenacity in the face of severe odds; the steeper the hurdle, the more critical is the mission; crises are opportunities in disguise.

2. Shavou’ot’s impact on the formation of the US

*The holiday of Shavou’ot commemorates the legacy of Moses, which had a significant impact on the Early Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers, and the formation of the US culture, civic life, the federal system (e.g., the Separation of Powers), the US Revolution, The Federalist Papers, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

  • *The Liberty Bell and the Abolitionist Movement were inspired by the Biblical concept of Jubilee – the role model of Biblical liberty – which is a cardinal component of the Mosaic legacy. The essence of the Jubilee is engraved on the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof (Leviticus 25:10).”
  • *The Liberty Bell was installed in Philadelphia in 1752, 50years following William Penn’s Charter of Privileges, and eventually inspiring the 50 States in the union. According to the Biblical Jubilee, all slaves must be released, and land must be returned to the original proprietors every 50 years. Shavou’ot is celebrated 50 days following Passover, and Pentecost – a derivative of the Greek word for 50 – is celebrated 50 days following Easter.  According to Judaism, there are 50 gates of wisdom, studied during the 50 days between Passover and Shavou’ot.
  • 3. The Scroll of Ruth (Honor thy mother in-law…)
  • Shavou’ot spotlights the Scroll of Ruth, the first of the five Biblical scrolls, which are studied during five Jewish holidays: Ruth (Shavou’ot), Song of Songs (Passover), Ecclesiastes (Sukkot/Tabernacles), Book of Lamentations (the Ninth day of Av), Esther (Purim).
  • *Ruth was a Moabite Princess, who joined the Jewish people, and became the great grandmother of King David. She was a role model of loyalty to her Jewish mother in-law. Ruth is exemplary of humility, gratitude, responsibility, reliability, faith, optimism and respect of fellow human beings. Ruth stuck by her mother-in-law, Naomi, during Naomi’s roughest time, when she lost her husband, Elimelech (a President of the Tribe of Judah), two sons and property.
  • *The stature of Ruth reflects the centrality of Biblical women: the four Matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel; Yocheved, Miriam and Tziporah, the mother, older sister and the wife of Moses; Deborah the Prophetess, Judge and military leader; Hannah, the mother of Samuel the Prophet; Queen Esther and Yael, who delivered the Jewish people from potential oblivion; etc.  
  • The Scroll of Ruth took place in the Judean Desert (in Judea and Samaria), the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture, language and ethnicity.

4. The Ethics of the Fathers  (Pirkey Avot in Hebrew)

It is customary to study – from Passover through Shavou’ot – the six brief chapters of The Ethics of the Fathers, one of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah (the Oral Torah) – a compilation of common-sense values, ethical and moral teachings, which underline key inter-personal relationships. For example:

“Who is respected? He who respects other persons!”
“Who is a wise person? He who learns from all other persons!”
“Who is wealthy? He who is satisfied with his own share!”
“Who is a hero? He who controls his urge!”
“Talk sparsely and walk plenty;”
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”
“Don’t be consumed with the flask, but with its content.”
“Conditional love is tenuous; unconditional love is eternal.”
“Treat every person politely.”
“Jealousy, lust and the obsession with fame warp one’s mind.”

5. Jubilee/Constitution. Shavou’ot has seven names: The holiday of the Jubilee; the holiday of the harvest; the holiday of the giving of the Torah; Shavou’ot; the holiday of offerings; the Rally and the Assembly (Constitution).

More on Shavou’ot and additional Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon

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Golan

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Islamic Terrorism

FBI Director Chris Wray defies the State Department on Iran