Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Foxman pens op-ed

ADL director Abraham Foxman penned an op-ed that was published in the Jerusalem Post.
I worry about the US decision to support a resolution at the UN Nonproliferation conference which specifically calls on Israel to open up its nuclear facilities and join the NPT treaty. What does this decision say about the Obama administration’s assumptions and directions regarding Israel?

The administration is reportedly trying to reassure Israel that if any similar resolution comes to the Security Council, it will veto it. Still, another element in the historic relationship between the two countries has been eviscerated. What is becoming a pattern is that when the administration looks at America’s broader interests, it too often chooses to see the Israeli position as undermining those interests. Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s not as if other administrations didn’t have differences with Israel. Even during the notably pro-Israel Bush administration, there was a major brouhaha over Israel’s decision to sell hi-tech defense material to China.

Never in recent memory, however, has there been such a pattern of decision-making that indicates a questioning of Israel. We have seen it on the focus on settlements, in comments by administration officials asserting that Israeli behavior is affecting relations, in comments suggesting that America’s success in Iraq and Afghanistan is dependent on a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And we have now seen it at the NPT forum, where the US justified support for a resolution it admitted it wasn’t happy with on the grounds that it would help rally support against Iran as well as general efforts against proliferation.

It is this pattern that raises fears about the future, despite a series of statements and actions by the administration to assure Israel that nothing fundamental has changed. Those include standing up against the Goldstone Report, official statements at the highest level reiterating the moral and strategic relationship, and major arms deals with Israel.[...]

Second – and this cannot be stressed enough – the Arab world (despite the rhetoric about its fearsome enemy) made clear by its actions that it really had little to fear from Israel. After all, if it were truly the aggressive, expansionist power they claim, which also had a nuclear arsenal, one would have thought they would be urgently building their own nuclear arsenals. But with the exception of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, nothing of the sort occurred. In other words, the Arabs voted with their feet; Israel’s possible nuclear capacity was not a priority.

Now the Obama administration, by breaking with past American policy of keeping Israel’s alleged arsenal off the international agenda, has made it a priority. And the Arabs, not able to look less determined than the White House, will be running with the issue.

So we have another example of the administration misreading history and following the trail of rhetoric rather than experience. This isn’t good for American interests, it’s not good for peace in the region and it’s not good for Israel.

That is why I worry.

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