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Trump’s Syria withdrawal is ‘disaster’ for Israel, leaving it on its own against Iran, supporters say

Media Analysis
on 25 Comments

Donald Trump’s decision to abandon former Kurdish allies in Syria last week has been a shock to Israel and its US lobby. Israel thought it had a very special place in Trump’s worldview, but the withdrawal appears to gives Iran far more leeway in the Middle East. We are on our own against Iran, several Israeli officials and Israel supporters have concluded fearfully.

Not surprisingly, Israel’s interest in U.S. Syria policy was on display in American politics this week. For the first time Congressional Republicans broke with Trump over the move; and 129 Republicans voted to condemn the decision when the House voted by 354-60 on that resolution Wednesday.

Israel featured in Congressional debate of Trump’s move. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Majority leader Steny Hoyer said Trump’s move endangers Israel.

Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida said the decision forces the Kurds into the Iranian camp, and Israel is the loser:

Our Kurdish friends were betrayed and slaughtered and are now forced to align with Syrian forces backed by Iran creating an even bigger threat to our friend Israel.

Israel came up for the first time in four Democratic debates this week because of the Syria decision, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar saying, “This is an outrageous thing that happened here….  Think about our other allies, Israel. How do they feel right now? Donald Trump is not true to his word when they are a beacon of democracy in the Mideast.”

Israel lobby groups have also bemoaned the decision. Democratic Majority 4 Israel is retweeting a Democratic congressman’s charge that Trump’s decision was “weak.”

While the liberal Zionist organization Peace Now has published Yossi Alpher’s view that Israel is on its own now and civilians are at risk from a possible Iranian attack:

If Iranian-backed attacks against Israel escalate, the Israeli civilian rear and infrastructure could suffer truly serious casualties. Israel’s anti-missile defense systems could be overwhelmed. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Israel would respond immediately and powerfully. Would Trump join a military campaign against Iran? Would the Gulf Arab states? Israeli Intelligence has persuasive reasons for skepticism.

Another liberal Zionist organization, the Israel Policy Forum, calls the decision a “disaster” for Israel. The country has been cast “diplomatically adrift.” Guy Frenkel writes, “A United States that appears less and less engaged in international affairs is a dangerous prospect for the future.”

The long-to-medium-term costs of Trump’s decision—the emboldening of Iran, ceding of sensitive areas to the Assad regime and its allies, the dangerous precedent the U.S. administration has created for future partnerships, the risk of new ISIS-supported attacks—are disastrous.

Michael Koplow of Israel Policy Forum echoes that view, saying “Israel is the clear loser” of the decision. Israel thought it could count on Trump, even to make war on Iran. But he’s unreliable, and the possibility of a war with Iran is higher than ever.

In Israel’s case, this makes the prospect of conflict with Iran more likely. Leaving aside Netanyahu’s Iran deal miscalculation stemming from his misreading of Trump, where he assumed that lobbying Trump to exit the JCPOA would also result in eventual U.S. military action to contain Iran, it seems to now be clear to the Israeli government that it cannot and should not rely on the U.S. to deter Iranian aggression in any sphere. An Israeli preemptive attack on Iran is now likelier than at any point in the past..

On the Iranian side, the lesson that it will take from the Kurdish turnaround and from Trump’s dithering over whether and how to respond to the Iranian cruise missile attack on Saudi oil facilities is that it can be even more aggressively adventurous in targeting American allies and partners, including Israel…

Koplow notes that the grand bargain Trump forged between Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and Israel will also end because of the decision. The Arab states only bought in because they saw the U.S. taking a leading role in the Middle East. But the U.S. is getting out. The supposed benefits of an American presence were the theme of Sen. Chris Murphy’s liberal interventionist manifesto on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Israeli politicians have been outspoken on the Kurdish side. Netanyahu condemned Turkey’s attack and offered humanitarian assistance to the Kurds. He also warned about the “ethnic cleansing” of the Kurds by Turkey.

Trump’s decision was widely condemned by Israeli politicians, per the Times of Israel. Yair Lapid, a leader of Netanyahu’s chief rival party, said he joined Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen in “their call to impose sanctions on Turkey and suspend it from NATO in response to any attack on the Kurds in northern Syria.”

Former Netanyahu cabinet minister Naftali Bennett emphasized the We’re on our own theme: “The lesson for Israel is simple: Israel will ALWAYS defend itself by itself. The Jewish State will never put its fate in the hands of others, including our great friend, the USA.”


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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25 Responses

  1. wondering jew on October 18, 2019, 4:55 pm

    Mutually Assured Destruction is the message here and it is scarier when the distances are next door rather than on the other side of the world like the Moscow Washington global clash. If hezbollah attacks israel in a serious way, iran will be hit. period. questions?

    • eljay on October 18, 2019, 5:45 pm

      || wondering jew: … If hezbollah attacks israel in a serious way, iran will be hit. period. questions? ||

      if america attacks iran in a serious way, israel will be hit. period. no need for questions.

    • Mooser on October 18, 2019, 6:44 pm

      ” If hezbollah attacks israel in a serious way, iran will be hit. period. questions?”

      Shorter “wj”: ‘Iran, Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool. I will call you later.’

    • RoHa on October 19, 2019, 1:45 am

      Question 1.

      Why would Hezbollah attack Israel in a serious way?

      Question 2.

      M.A.D. implies destruction of both parties. Hezbollah has the weaponry needed to inflict serious damage on Israel, but is it enough for destruction?

      Israel might have enough nuclear weapons to destroy Iran, but does it have the means to deliver them all?

      • Rob Roy on October 22, 2019, 2:03 am

        Odd, isn’t it? The topic is Syria here and Trump deserting the Kurds. Yes, Israel thought it could lure Trump into attacking Iran for Israel, the goal for a long time. God knows why. Iran has never attacked Israel or anyone for that matter, and no, Iran did not attack Saudi Arabia’s oil fields…that was probably Israel to create a little false flag to force someone else to attack Iran.
        Why aren’t people talking about Israel attacking (bombing) Syria “thousands of times,” according to the Israelis themselves. If Iran or Syria of ANYONE attacked Israel, even once, it would be spread across the globe, headlined on every newspaper and shouted in the streets..
        Why does Israel have carte blanche to do whatever terrible things it wants to any land in their area, and beyond, and get away with it?
        Iran is like Russia, neither will attack anyone else, but if attacked will respond. I think that’s too simple for the convoluted minds of the US and Israel.
        Soooo, if now Israel is “left on its own,” so what? No one is going to attack it. As Gideon Levy said, Israelis are three things: 1) superior, you know, god’s chosen children, 2) the eternal victims, the ONLY victims having survived the ONLY holocaust ever, and 3) absolutely know the Palestinians as worthless bugs under the feet of Jews and can be stomped to death every day without fear of repercussions until the genocide is complete.

    • Misterioso on October 19, 2019, 10:22 am


      “Israel’s” strategy for years has been to convince the U.S. to attack Iran on its behalf. For a multitude of reasons, it ain’t gonna happen. Indeed, there is increasing evidence that the “special relationship” between the U.S. and “Israel” is in decline, especially within the all important American public. In short, as predicted, the Zionist party will inevitably end.

      Henry Morgenthau Sr., former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, nailed it in 1919: “Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history…. The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is… a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light.” (Quoted by Frank Epp, Whose Land is Palestine? p. 261)

  2. Citizen on October 19, 2019, 1:23 am

    I wonder what Ivanka thinks about her daddy now….

  3. RoHa on October 19, 2019, 1:49 am

    “On the Iranian side, the lesson that it will take from the Kurdish turnaround and from Trump’s dithering over whether and how to respond to the Iranian cruise missile attack on Saudi oil facilities…”

    I still have no reason to doubt that it was a Houthi drone attack.

    “… is that it can be even more aggressively adventurous in targeting American allies and partners, including Israel…”

    Perhaps it can be, but will it? What would Iran gain?

  4. RoHa on October 19, 2019, 1:52 am

    “An Israeli preemptive attack on Iran is now likelier than at any point in the past.”

    No, that would be a preventative attack, and thus contrary to international law.

    Though we know how much Israel cares about international law.

    • JWalters on October 20, 2019, 7:30 pm

      Thanks for those links to moonofalabama.

      Consistent with that analysis, here’s a non-partisan explanation of the historical conflict between the Kurds and their various neighbors, including the different factions of Kurds. Very good background for understanding what’s going on there.
      “Turkey Kurd Conflict in Syria Explained”
      bit # chute. # com/video/SQ0WJ0EWR_A/

      This comment was instantly rejected in its original form. Modifying the link allowed it to go through the spam filter to human moderation. To follow the link, remove the two hash signs.

      • JWalters on October 20, 2019, 7:55 pm

        Here is a simple, clean way to modify a link, if necessary, to get a comment past “spam” censorship, and on to the human moderator.

        1. Remove the “https” and “www” parts. These alert the spam software to a link for checking. The browser does not need these parts to use the rest of the link, as it will add them automatically.

        2. Disguise the “.com” (or “.net”) part, which is another indicator of a link. Place an extraneous character between the period and the word (“. # com”).

        3. In case the website name alone is on the spam list (censoring all pages at that site), disguise the website name with an extraneous character, e.g. “mondo # weis”.

        4. Alert the reader to these extraneous characters that need removing, and flank the extra characters with spaces so they are easy to find.

        To make it really difficult for the censors to modify their software to catch these alternations, use different extraneous characters at different times. Use * one time, and #, $, etc another. You could even use two (or more) character combinations. Just be sure to clearly identify the insertions to your human reader.

      • JWalters on October 20, 2019, 8:25 pm

        A note on spam censorship

        Most websites that have reader comments have a subcontractor handle the software that manages the reader comments. Major such subcontractors are Akismet and Disqus. These subcontractors handle the spam list for the website, as well as the software that compares a post with entries on the spam list. On the spam list are text strings that, if found in a comment, cause an automatic rejection of that comment. Originally these were used to catch obscenities and extravagantly rude insults.

        However, they can also be used to reject comments that link to offensive or “dangerous” web pages. The possibility then arises for such a subcontractor to secretly put links on the spam list without authorization by the contracting website. Many instances have been observed wherein links to high quality research and reporting have been “spam banned” at Disqus and Akismet, at multiple sites each.

        In the above case of the link to “Turkey Kurd Conflict in Syria Explained”, I suspect that banning this innocuous, purely historical video is part of a larger effort to ban the research of Jake Morphonios. Morphonios is a careful, thorough researcher with experience in financial investigations. He has been driven off YouTube and onto Bitchute, I believe, because of his sometimes devastating research into Israel.

      • Tuyzentfloot on October 21, 2019, 5:40 am

        Akismet and other spam filters do not necessarily have an agenda. They rely on multiple sources and algorithms for listing something as spam. They accept requests. They rely on other sources. They use reputation mechanisms which combine multiple factors.
        All these mechanisms can be manipulated by others .

      • JWalters on October 21, 2019, 8:48 pm

        Tuyzentfloot, true, BUT …

        It would be trivial for Akismet to search their spam list to determine if it contained specific links. When asked about a particular comment being deleted due to containing specific links, they denied that, saying it was merely the number of links in the comment (6) that triggered the “spam” designation. A subsequent experiment proved the specific links were indeed on the spam list. Thus, it sure looks like Akismet was covering up that fact with a bogus explanation.

        Further, the entire mainstream media in all the Western democracies is currently suppressing unflattering information about Israel. This widespread operation is obviously highly coordinated and expensive. So it would be logical that the people behind this vast effort would want to include reader comments at political websites.

      • eljay on October 22, 2019, 10:00 am

        || Rob Roy: … Why does Israel have carte blanche to do whatever terrible things it wants to any land in their area, and beyond, and get away with it? … ||

        Because Zionists – ever the hypocrites – believe that people who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality (a.k.a. “necessary evil”) they would not have others do unto them and, so, they anti-Semitically “single out” the “world’s only ‘Jewish State'” for special treatment.

  5. Qualtrough on October 19, 2019, 2:15 am

    Israel left on its own against Iran? Cue world’s tiniest violin.

  6. rws450 on October 19, 2019, 11:47 am

    Israel has promoted and sought to benefit from the destruction of Syria from the start. It’s spelled out the “Clean Break” strategy and confirmed by former Amb Oren. They WANTED Syria (like Iraq and Libya) weakened , fractured and in chaos. That is how cynical and amoral the West and Israel are. Now that their ‘regime change’ (or societal destruction) plan has failed, and the resistance is emerging stronger, they are alarmed. One important question is whether they will accept the loss of domination and adapt, or whether they will take the world to the brink by escalating.

  7. Vera Gottlieb on October 19, 2019, 2:09 pm

    Never mind the israelis…it is the Kurds that are being persecuted and killed…again.

  8. John Douglas on October 19, 2019, 2:51 pm

    Michael Koplow of Israel Policy Forum writes:

    “Leaving aside Netanyahu’s Iran deal miscalculation stemming from his misreading of Trump, where he assumed that lobbying Trump to exit the JCPOA would also result in eventual U.S. military action to contain Iran. . .

    Koplow is reporting that Netanyahu (1) pushed Trump to end US’s commitment to JCPOA and (2) assumed war with Iran would follow and (3) assumed the US would be Israel’s partner in that war.

    If that is the case, it follows directly that, with Israel as its friend, the US already has a sufficient share of enemies.

  9. Kay24 on October 19, 2019, 6:01 pm

    Netanyahu is a fool if he thinks a self centered man like Trump is going to continue to support Israel, when Trump does not personally benefit from that association. Israel is the “needy” ally and Trump right now is not thrilled about spending US dollars on the “needy”. We have heard plenty of defiance and arrogance from Israelis, bragging what a great nation Israel is, making the desert bloom, now let them prove it by fighting their own battles. Hope they remember they are not dealing with occupied, helpless, unarmed people.

    It certainly looks like the madness of King Donny will affect them too. Maybe Adelson might re-think pouring in those millions of dollars for King Donny’s re-election, and realize getting Jerusalem symbolically was not worth it.

  10. James Canning on October 19, 2019, 7:47 pm

    I think we should remember that the catastrophic civil war in Syria in part arose from sanctions imposed on Syria at the behest of Israel and the Israel lobby.

    Iran is not seeking war with Israel, and Iran accepted Syria’s efforts to achieve a peace deal with Israel in 2008.

    How many trillions of dollars is it costing the US to protect Israel?

  11. ahadhaadam on October 19, 2019, 10:37 pm

    >”An Israeli preemptive attack on Iran is now likelier than at any point in the past..”

    No, an Israeli false flag attack on US assets in the Middle East is more likely than ever.

  12. brent on October 20, 2019, 5:39 pm

    Trump seems to have reversed the dismantling of Syria. He says he wants to make a deal with Iran. It is a new game underway. Trump long ago said he wanted to first put together an Israeli Palestinian deal (be that one state or two) and in his second term bring peace to the Middle East. Perhaps he still has those intentions. The saboteurs are many.

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