Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Despite relentless pressure from the president and their fellows, a few courageous lawmakers are standing up and speaking out against the Israeli offensive in Lebanon or the manner in which it is being conducted.
But before you pick up your telephone to report them to American Israel Public Affairs Committee, consider this:
These lawmakers are Israeli not American.
While U.S. congress continues to tow the line like loyal members of Likud, some members of Israel's Kineset are speaking out critically of Israel's decision to launch a full-scale invasion of Lebanon in retaliation for the capture of two Israeli soldiers by the Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon.
Criticism is also heard from newspapers and military analysts.
But again, you won't read it or hear it in the United States; these critics are Israeli.
"The war is leading us by the nose to sink deeper in the Lebanese mud. The Hezbollah wants to drag us into its territory. The moment the army will be in Lebanon for an extended period, it will be hell for us in there," said Ran Cohen, a dovish lawmaker and a colonel in the Israeli army reserves. "The deeper we get drawn in, the worse it will be."
"We should have begun moving troops on the ground right from the beginning, when the war started," said Moshe Arens, a former defense minister from the Likud Party. "It's difficult terrain, and we're up against some tough fighters who have dug in, who have prepared themselves for six years for this encounter."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert tried to quell the criticism Wednesday, warning of tougher times ahead and asking lawmakers to hold their tongues until the fighting ended.
Israel's Haaretz newspaper featured three front-page columns reflecting the frustration. Their headlines: "Was there a proper decision process?", "No goals attained," and "Has the army failed?"
Among the questions raised were whether the military operation included an exit strategy and took into consideration the scope of rocket fire at Israeli towns, and whether the army has the ability to crush Hezbollah. They also questioned whether the military was prepared for guerrilla warfare on enemy land.
Israeli military analyst Shlomo Brom said it was too early to say whether any strategic mistakes had been made in the offensive. He did, however, say there was something wrong in the way the political leadership was relaying its message to the people.
"They aren't telling the public where we are going, what are the realistic aims and how we are going about achieving them," he said.
All this makes one wonder what is wrong here in the United States that there is a virtual blackout of critical analysis on Israel's policies and actions. I am a supporter of Israel and find myself surprised at the muted response to Israel's invasion of Lebanon, a sovereign Nation.
A resolution by the House of Representatives supporting Israel in its assault in Lebanon passed with only 8 negative votes. The Democrats a few days later demanded an apology from the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister, for criticising Israel's invasion. Surely there is another point of view in America on Middle-Eastern Affairs. There is a diversity of opinions in Israel. Why not here?
The Power of AIPAC.
Could it be as Harvard Researchers John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt found--that the America Isreal Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC exerts an unprecedented influence on American foriegn policy? Could it be that this influence of AIPAC is so pervasive here that there is actually more dissent in the Kineset than there is in the American Congress?
It seems that, in the Age of Bush, we have become a nation where shibboleth trumps reason. Criticize the execution of the War in Iraq and you will find your patriotism question; dare to support an investigation of Representative McKinney's (D-GA) assault on a Capitol Hill police officer and find yourself labeled a racist; academically examine the redoubtable "Israeli lobby" and find your research characterized as "David Duke with Footnotes" by the likes of Alan Dershowitz.
The Harvard University study by Mearsheimer and Walt, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," has resulted in such a fury by the Lobby and its partisans that Walt has been forced to step down from his post as [academic] dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
So universal is the condemnation of the study in the media, by congress and by Harvard itself that I recommend a new title for the second printing: "QED".
As Isreal plays middle-eastern cowboy and the Bush administration remains effectively "disengaged" with it's absurd commitment to "sustainable cease-fires", other nations will step into the diplomatic vacuum. When they do, the United States will be forced to deconstruct its prime directive of Israel Uber Allis in order to become relevant to events as they unfold. When this happens, Congress--and the Kineset--will be forced to realize that both "neoconservatism" and the Zionist hegemony it breeds are relics of an older world view that has no place in the emerging community of nations.
Information for this post taken from By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer "Criticism of Isreal's Invasion Growing" 7.25.06