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JINSA Report #: 

February 4, 2011

Several months ago, a blogger penned, "There was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel; that CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises; that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region." The report went viral and the jackals called for American disengagement from Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state to encourage the Saudis and others to engage with us on halting the Iranian nuclear program. We wrote:

What the Arab countries... often call "the Israel problem" is a foil for their unwillingness to risk their internal stability by being seen as an overt U.S. ally or by confronting Iran. True is the notion that, according to the Arab states, "America (is) not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region (is) eroding." (But) Israel is not the object of their concern; Iran is. To the extent that U.S. power is eroding in the region, it is because the Obama administration spent more than a year "engaging" Iran while the mullahs spent the same year increasing their nuclear weapons development program and brutally suppressing election protesters.

WikiLeaks and the Egyptian revolution proved us right. This is not to gloat, but to understand that the jackals are out again. This time, instead of putting the anti-Israel sentiment in the mouths of the Arab leaders, these Americans say outright that our relationship with Israel costs American lives.

George Soros opined in The Washington Post, "The main stumbling block is Israel... But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests... And some U.S. supporters of Israel are more rigid and ideological than Israelis themselves." His fear is that the administration "will not adjust its policies quickly enough to the suddenly changed reality." Ex-CIA intel officer Michael Scheuer, told Fox News, "Israel is an enormous detriment to the United States... it's going to become clear to Americans it's going to cost us blood and lives the longer we pursue this relationship with the Israelis."

Their prescription for the ills of the Arab and Muslim world is for the United States to abandon Israel and befriend Arab/Muslim governments regardless of their policies. How foolish they are.

As a practical matter, the last thing Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States want is the American abandonment of Israel, for two reasons. First, they know the American public and Congress support Israel as a democratic friend of the United States with which we share political, cultural and religious values and national security goals. If we would throw Israel over, how much faith could the Saudis have in our willingness to stand by them in their hour of trouble? After all, they share none of the fundamental values of the United States and few national security goals other than preventing Iranian hegemony - a goal they share with Israel above all. Second, Saudi Arabia - a fundamentalist Islamic state - faces its chief threat from those who are no less fundamentalist, but who seek the overthrow of the Saudi kings for their relationship with the United States and the West.

As a philosophical matter, the United States has to stand for something. We choose democracy or consensual government, human rights, economic freedom, limited government, liberty and tolerance. If that is us, Israel is our friend, partner and ally. In order for most of the Islamic/Muslim countries to be our friend and partner, they have to be more like us, not we more like them. If they can't change or don't want to, they may be clients, they may be trading partners, they may be there and we may notice them, but they won't be allies.

Israel didn't create the region's problems, although many of them have Israel as their focus because for more than 60 years Arab governments have hung their legitimacy on political and military opposition to Israel and can't acknowledge that both are losing causes. Emergency decrees, military rule, single-party states, censorship, economic regulation, failure to reach political maturity are blamed by Arab leaders on the "threat" posed by Israel. Today, the blame-Israel mantra is increasingly irrelevant to people in the streets or Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Jordan and elsewhere.

The United States might do better in the region if the Administration concentrates on bringing Arab and Muslim countries to the realization that there are two paths - American-supported economic and social advancement (not to be confused with the imposition of American-style democracy), which requires losing the baggage of Israel-centrism; or Islamism in some form, which will guarantee years or decades of bloody intolerance and the further beggaring of their people.

It is a different choice, and a better choice, than Soros, Scheuer and the like offer them.

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