Wednesday, February 09, 2011

End of an era?

If I was a patriotic Israeli, I would be anxious. The financial might of the country's biggest patron - the United States - is waning; its political and military might is likely to follow suit. Three of Israel's neighboring countries, where the U.S. enthusiastically promoted democracy, elected governments that are unfriendly, if not hostile, to Israel.

At what point will it become unfeasible, politically and financially, for the United States to continue its unconditional support for Israel? When push comes to shove, how hard will Israel's promoters in Washington shove?

For American legislators across the political spectrum, whose campaigns are boosted by Israel-backers, questioning their country's support of Israel is not only unfashionable, it is suicidal.

Maybe that is not completely true. Senator Rand Paul (yes, the same one who, during his campaign, created a ruckus by saying that he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act) positioned money flowing to Israel in the context of America's fiscal position:
"I want to be known as a friend of Israel, but not with money you don’t have. We can’t just borrow from our kids’ future and give it to countries, even if they are our friends.”
It is semi-amusing to read the logic of the outcry over Paul's comments - if dogma can be called logic. Most opponents of his stance make a case for continuing aid simply because that is what has been traditionally done, or repeat the banal argument that propping up Israel promotes peace and America's interests in the Middle East. There is no evidence of the latter; on the contrary, America's illogical support of Israel has severely weakened its interests in the Middle East and the world.

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