Tuesday, July 5, 2011

pressure on Israel from past Presidents

We hear about pressure on Israel so often that we've forgotten what real pressure is. George W. Bush pressured Israel to allow Hamas to participate in Gaza elections despite the objections of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, thus granting Hamas a diplomatic coup and a legitimacy it otherwise could never have attained. That's what happens when you have a President who might feel it in his kishkes but doesn't have it in his head.

Pressure is Bush 41 opposing loan guarantees as long as Israel continues settlement in the West Bank and Gaza and opposing new "settlements" in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. (Bush complained that he was "one lonely little guy" up against thousands of lobbyists on the Hill.)

You want to talk about pressure? Ronald Reagan faced down AIPAC and sold AWACs to Saudi Arabia despite intense opposition from the pro-Israel community. Reagan supported a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel after Israel saved countless lives by bombing Iraq's nuclear reactor. Reagan suspended delivery to Israel of F-16's after Israel bombed Iraq. After Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, Reagan suspended the strategic cooperation agreement between the U.S. and Israel, prompting Prime Minister Begin to accuse Reagan of treating Israel like a "banana republic." Reagan called for a settlement freeze in 1982. In 1988, Reagan reversed long-standing U.S. policy and authorized the State Department to negotiate with the PLO, then considered by the U.S. to be a terrorist organization. Reagan never visited Israel in his entire life, but he did visit Bitburg and its SS cemetery in 1985, despite pleas from Elie Weisel and many others not to. If that's feeling it in your kishkes, I'll take a pass.

Pressure is Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger in 1975 announcing their intention to "reassess" relations with Israel to coerce Israel into signing an agreement with Israel that at the time was heavily tilted toward Egypt.

Pressure is Eisenhower forcing Israel to withdraw from the Sinai in 1956.

No comments: