Yesterday Robert Wright had a good column at the Atlantic arguing that Romney would be a war president because he would be more beholden to the lobby and Sheldon Adelson than Obama would be to the lobby in a second term. Wright’s piece reflects the developing understanding inside the mainstream that there’s a good lobby and a bad lobby. The bad lobby=Likudnik/neocon/Greater Israel. They’re the Israel firsters, to use the phrase that MJ Rosenberg used to such powerful effect in recent months. The good lobby=J Street/liberal Zionist/two-state solution.
The bad lobby has Romney wrapped up. The good lobby is Obama’s establishment base.
I want to agree, but I’m not so sure of it. The hard-core lobby is tying Obama up like Gulliver, and the New York Times is helping out! Last month it was Haim Saban who endorsed Obama for Israel in the New York Times and assured American Jews that Obama was way to the right of Romney on Israel, and Iran too:
He has blocked Palestinian attempts to bypass negotiations and achieve United Nations recognition as a member state, a move that would have opened the way to efforts by Israel’s foes to sanction and criminalize its policies. As a sign of its support, the Obama administration even vetoed a Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements, a resolution that mirrored the president’s position and that of every American administration since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war….
Mr. Romney has never explained how he would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons; Mr. Obama not only has declared that all options are on the table, but he has also taken the option of merely “containing” a nuclear-armed Iran off the table. He has directed the military to prepare options for confronting Iran and has positioned forces in the Persian Gulf to demonstrate his resolve.
Well then yesterday the Times ran a piece by Efraim Halevy, a former Mossad director, called “Who Threw Israel Under the Bus?” saying that Republicans are critical of Israel, say on settlements, but Democrats are nice to Israel.
I learned about the Halevy piece from the National Jewish Democratic Council, the pro-Israel body inside the Democratic Party that tries to position the party to the right of the Republicans on Israel. Notice the far right wing signals that the NJDC offers to its readers (boldfaced by me).
today, in the pages of The New York Times, Efraim Halevy — a former Mossad director and national security advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon — sets the record straight when he asks, “Who Threw Israel Under the Bus?” We can’t say it better than he does — you need to read it for yourself (see below). This piece by a highly-respected Israeli security insider is a must-read for every American supporter of Israel, period. The entire piece can be found below. Please help us by forwarding it to your friends and family, and sharing it through your social networks; it’s crucial that everyone sees what such a respected leader from Israel’s intelligence community has to say. Sincerely, David A. Harris David A. Harris President and CEO
Now here’s Halevy, saying that Republicans are anti-Israel. As you read this, remember: Bill Clinton ran to the right of George H.W. Bush on settlements in 1992, and defeated an incumbent. That’s the political lesson that Obama has absorbed today.
whenever the United States has put serious, sustained pressure on Israel’s leaders — from the 1950s on — it has come from Republican presidents, not Democratic ones. This was particularly true under Mr. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush…
Despite the Republican Party’s shrill campaign rhetoric on Israel, no Democratic president has ever strong-armed Israel on any key national security issue. In the 1956 Suez Crisis, it was a Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who joined the Soviet Union in forcing Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion, to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula after a joint Israeli-British-French attack on Egypt.
In 1991, when Iraqi Scud missiles rained down on Tel Aviv, the administration of the first President Bush urged Israel not to strike back so as to preserve the coalition of Arab states fighting Iraq. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir resisted his security chiefs’ recommendation to retaliate and bowed to American demands as his citizens reached for their gas masks.
After the war, Mr. Shamir agreed to go to Madrid for a Middle East peace conference set up by Secretary of State James A. Baker III. Fearful that Mr. Shamir would be intransigent at the negotiating table, the White House pressured him by withholding $10 billion in loan guarantees to Israel, causing us serious economic problems. The eventual result was Mr. Shamir’s political downfall. The man who had saved Mr. Bush’s grand coalition against Saddam Hussein in 1991 was “thrown under the bus.”
In all of these instances, a Republican White House acted in a cold and determined manner, with no regard for Israel’s national pride, strategic interests or sensitivities. That’s food for thought in October 2012.