Monday, May 14, 2018

America Opens Its Embassy in Jerusalem

Today, the United States is opening its new Embassy in Jerusalem. It is a momentous event for the people of Israel, and it shows that President Trump has discarded the consensus view of the foreign policy elites. Coupled with his discarding the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, this gesture shows clearly that we have a new policy toward the Middle East.

Strangely enough, Caroline Glick points out, Trump is the first American president to be unabashedly pro-Israeli. He is the first to reject the notion that America must be even-handed, must play the honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Glick analyzes:

From moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, to walking away from the nuclear deal which guaranteed Iran’s eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons and financed its regional aggression and terrorism sponsorship, to unconditionally supporting Israel’s military operations against Iranian positions in Syria, Trump has demonstrated that he is the most pro-Israel president in US history. No other president comes close.

The difference between Trump and his predecessors is that Trump accepts Israel on its own terms. He doesn’t expect Israel to do anything to “earn” American support. So long as Israel is in America’s corner, he respects the Jewish state as America’s ally.

And Trump has also modified the American political calculus. Admittedly, American Jews are not the largest voting bloc. And yet, with the Obama administration’s contempt for Israel, its insistence that Israel is the problem, not the solution in the Middle East, the Republican Party has been able to pick up the mantle as the pro-Israeli party. 

Add to that the fact that the Democratic Party has been led by Jeremiah Wright’s protégé, that its current vice chairman is Louis Farrakhan’s protégé, that the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, beyond boycotting Netanyahu’s speech in Congress, have refused to repudiate Farrakhan, and you should be seeing a shift in the loyalty of American Jews.

Of course, we do not want to get ahead of ourselves. Many Jewish Democrats, led by Sen. Chuck Schumer, were willing to denounce the Iran nuclear deal when it was signed, but are  complaining about Trump’s withdrawal from same. We will see how long the cognitive dissonance can last.

For her part, as an Israeli, Glick also showers Prime Minister Netanyahu with much of the credit for Israel’s current diplomatic ascendance.  

She opens by praising him:

For many Republicans, Netanyahu is the most important foreign leader of our times. In the ranks of their esteem he ranks a close second to Winston Churchill. Netanyahu’s high standing is all the more remarkable given that Israel has no British Empire behind it. In the vast scope of things, Israel is a tiny country with no coattails.

Republicans aren’t the only ones who admire him. World leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Chinese Premier Xi Jinping welcome him to their capitals like a visiting monarch. Sandwiched between two major Israeli air assaults on Iranian military assets in Syria Tuesday and Wednesday night, Netanyahu flew to Moscow. He stood next to Putin in Red Square as the Red Army Band played “Hativka” during the parade marking the 73rd anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.

Netanyahu is not a citizen of the world. He represents Israeli national interests, just as Trump defends America’s national interests:

Netanyahu identifies Israel’s national interests. Then he scans the international community for actors with aligned interests. He uses his considerable power of persuasion to convince those actors to achieve common goals.

Both Trump and Netanyahu are pursuing policies that fly in the face of the European consensus, represented recently by the weak-kneed whiner, Federica Mogherini, European lead diplomat. Of late, Mogherini has declared herself ready to rescue the Iran nuclear deal.

Glick summarizes the European view:

The EU views the Arab world as a monolithic presence moved only by Israel’s willingness to give Jerusalem to the PLO. So long as Israel refuses to give up Jerusalem, the Arabs will reject the Jewish state. Once Israel has conceded its eternal capital – and Judea and Samaria along with Gaza – the Arabs will be placated in one fell swoop and immediately embrace Israel as a neighbor and friend.

Netanyahu had the good sense to advance Israel’s interests during the Obama years. And he helped Americans, especially Republicans, see where America’s true interests lay:

During the Obama years, Netanyahu realized that Obama’s policies toward Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood imperiled Sunni Arab states no less, and perhaps even more, than they imperiled Israel.

And he developed important and ground-breaking alliances with his Arab neighbors:

Netanyahu developed relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the basis of these shared concerns and shared interests in diminishing the deleterious consequences of Obama’s policies. Although Netanyahu’s moves are unlikely to generate extravagant signing ceremonies with doves and balloons, they did bring about a situation where the Saudis, Egyptians and the UAE sided with Israel against Hamas, Qatar and Turkey during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

The result:

That united front [with his Arab neighbors] prevented Obama from coercing Israel into accepting Hamas’s cease-fire terms in the war.

So too, the relationships Netanyahu built formed the basis of a united Israeli-Arab front opposing Obama’s deal with Iran.

in 2017, Trump reframed the US’s alliance structure to one based on the common Israeli-Sunni front against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Netanyahu recognized that the Obama administration was hostile to Israel, so he raised his voice to provide a counterpoint:

Netanyahu did understand America though. He understood the Obama administration was incurably hostile to Israel and that Obama viewed Israel as the main obstacle to achieving his goals in the Middle East. Netanyahu understood that under those circumstances, he had to find partners inside the US – in Congress and among the general public – to lessen the damage Obama was causing Israel.

It culminated in a March, 2015 address to Congress:

Netanyahu’s approach to the US during the Obama years, and indeed, during the Clinton administration as well, was to recognize that the administration, while a key actor, is just one actor in a much wider American society, which is by and large deeply supportive of Israel. This insight informed Netanyahu’s decision to bring his opposition to Obama’s nuclear diplomacy with Tehran to the American people directly, through his address before a joint session of Congress in March 2015.

Netanyahu was reviled and attacked brutally by the Israeli and American Left for his move. Both groups insisted that he was undermining and even destroying US ties with Israel.

As for US/Israeli ties they have never been stronger than they are today:

Netanyahu recognized that the White House’s propaganda campaign on behalf of Obama’s nuclear deal was even more dangerous to Israel than the deal itself. Obama’s campaign centered on delegitimizing all of the deal’s critics, by castigating them as Israeli agents and warmongers. If Obama’s efforts had succeeded, US support for Israel would have crashed, as that support would have been effectively rendered toxic and somehow treasonous.

Netanyahu stood before Congress and offered his support to those who opposed the Iran nuclear deal:

By coming to Washington and preserving the legitimacy of Obama’s opponents, Netanyahu blocked Obama from securing the support of either a majority of US lawmakers or a majority of the US public for his nuclear accord. His speech was the foundation of the Republican Party’s rejection of Obama’s deal. It created the political space for Democratic lawmakers to oppose their president’s most important foreign policy initiative.

As America recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Glick wants us to note the important and skillful diplomacy practiced by Prime Minister Netanhahu:

Israel is now reaping the rewards of Netanyahu’s visionary statesmanship. For his efforts, over the course of 30 years, Netanyahu has roundly earned the ever growing acknowledgment at home and abroad that he is the greatest statesman in Israel’s history.


Sam L. said...

Trump can't be an honest broker between the Israelis and Palis, because the Palis are dishonest.

Kansas Scout said...

Well said. Remarkable man. Historic.

Anonymous said...

It is hard to feel sorry for the Palestinians whose only real desire is to kill all Jews. Further it seems interesting that much of the left in this country are amazed that the Jews don't want to be killed.

Ares Olympus said...
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