Friday, September 10, 2010

a mouse with a lion's power

Suppose a single mouse had the power of a lion.

Would the mouse, knowing he had such power, be content to remain living as just another mouse among his fellows?

I believe the power of the United States has been more of a liability than an asset, a view supported in the case of Vietnam by Gareth Porter's Perils of Dominance. Those who reach the top of the political ladder are proven lovers of power. It can be expected that such people will itch to use the greatest power on the planet, particularly since they are convinced it is for the good. The so-called Bush Doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive action was proof to me that the end of the USSR had unleashed a threat simply from lack of restraint. The Iraq and Afghanistan adventures have proven this out.

Now consider Israel, the mouse. It, like any other country, has power-seekers at the top. But what makes Israel unique in the world of international relations is that the power it wields is that of the United States - the lion's power is held by the mouse - while surrounding states are only other mice. How much more seductive could this be to the power hungry? To such people it is a pure win - all the power with little of the expense of wielding it.

That's why it is essential that we Americans take back our Congress from the Israel lobby.

Listen to the words of Gideon Levy, an Israeli and columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, from a recent interview by Jamie Stern-Weiner...

If activists in the US succeeded in changing American foreign policy significantly, could Israel continue the occupation without US support?

No way. Israel cannot carry on anything, including its existence, without the support of the United States. Israel was never so isolated and never so dependent on the United States as now. So the key is in Washington, no doubt. The problem is that I don’t see… I see a change in Washington, but a very minor one.

Do you see much change in how the Obama administration has approached the conflict, compared to its predecessors?

I’d be more than happy to hear any sign of change. There’s been nothing. When he was elected and gave that speech in Chicago, I had tears in my eyes. I really hoped and believed that it was going to be a new atmosphere, a new world and a new Middle East. Nothing, but nothing, out of this. It’s a deep, deep disappointment.

President Obama does so little because he is afraid of the power of Congress to undercut him. Congress can undercut him only because you and I and many other Americans stand by. But what about those in Israel? Where is the opposition? Again, from the interview...

Over the past decade Israeli public opinion seems to have gone over the cliff – the last elections produced the most right-wing and possibly, as your recent columns have suggested, the most racist Knesset in Israel’s history. What is behind this trend?

There were two things happening. One was the failure of the Camp David conference in 2000, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak comes back and claims there is no ‘Palestinian partner’. This lie was well spread and convinced Israelis from across the political spectrum. And then came the Second Intifada – the exploding buses, the suicide bombers – and the entire so-called ‘Israeli Left’ totally crashed—which makes me think, ‘how solid was it in the first place?’ Because if it was so easy to crash it, then I’m not sure it was very solid before. But in any case, nothing was left of the Israeli Left, except for some small, devoted, courageous groups which are still very active. Unfortunately, they are not very influential.
What this means is the settlers, a group of just over 300,000 people, living in a land not their own, have the power of the U.S. at their disposal. Why do we let them have it and how crazy is it to endanger the security of the United States by allowing this to continue?

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