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Would you support suspending aid to Israel and Palestine?

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 05:39 am
@Robert Gentel,
My point was about presidential electoral politics, and the source i cited agrees with other sources, such as Wikipedia (who provided bibliographical citations) on the influence of American Jewish voters in presidential elections. The significant points are that voting patterns for president do not alter significantly among American Jews, and that the entire vote of American Jews is not sufficient to sway a presidential election. I've already noted that the reactions of evangelical voters would likely be more significant.

References to the influence of AIPAC in individual districts is relevant only to the campaigns of those who run in those districts, and not to presidential elections. The perception that the Israel lobby is a powerful force is not evidence that it is, in fact, powerful. Therefore, i am not swayed in the opinions which i have already expressed--that the Jewish American vote runs along political ideological and party lines, without significant shifts due to policies toward Israel; and that neither this administration nor any other really has anything to fear from an organization such as AIPAC if they were to put pressure on Israel.

The influence of evangelical voters is also overrated, and their disillusionment with their own political effect combined with their now demonstrated inability to significantly influence presidential elections suggests to me that the same holds true with regard to their vote. AIPAC is like the NRA--their bark is much worse than their bite, but they put the money and the effort into supporting their agenda against a background of almost no significant political effort from those holding opposing views. The influence of a group like AIPAC (or the NRA, for that matter) within Congress is definitely a fine exposition of the squeaky wheel principle.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 10:26 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
My point was about presidential electoral politics, and the source i cited agrees with other sources, such as Wikipedia (who provided bibliographical citations) on the influence of American Jewish voters in presidential elections.


I understood your point but my point was that the influence of this lobby is certainly not restricted to presidential elections and Jewish voters (which I was never talking about) and that focusing on that portrays the lobby as much less significant than it actually is.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 10:31 am
Would you support suspending aid to Israel and Palestine?
Yes I would support that.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 11:19 am
I believe suspending aid to both sides would be entirely justifiable. However there are many complications. We also give substantial aid to Egypt as a continuing legacy of the Jimmy Carter deal. Our interest is to assist the Mubarak government of Egypt in finding a way to transfer power to a successor without destabilizing an already fragile balance of political power there.

I would not oppose merely the establishment of "normal" political and economic relations with Israel. Right now Israel gets more favorable access to U.S. capital and export markets than any nation in the world - this in addition to all the economic and military aid, which we can no longer afford.

Isarael gets more from us than it really needs and than we can really affford. We could start by unilaterally correcting that situation.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 12:24 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

yeah I don't think jews are expendable either.


Spread the message; too few people lament their being gone from a good part of Europe, and there are some in the U.S.A. that would like a nice plain vanilla Gentile nation.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 12:34 pm
@aidan,
aidan wrote:


I would support suspending aid to Israel and Palestine to put pressure on them to work out their differences and I would be able to say that almost unequivocally and without hesitation if it hadn't been for last year's Israeli bombing of Palestine. That sort of thing gives me pause in advocating forcing a settlement between the two nation/states - because I don't think it's possible without barebones hate and violence being employed on either side- and I'd hate to have to watch what unfolds when the involvement of other outside governmental entities and agencies is withdrawn and they're left to fight it out in their own way with their own devices without outside influence of any kind.



If Israel was perceived as being abandoned by the U.S.A., by not getting the aid now given, then it would only be a matter of time, in my opinion, that the Arab nations get the idea that the wars they lost in the past (1948, 1957, 1967, 1973) can be vindicated with an all out war to annihilate Israel. So, if one does not care for the existence of Israel, then withdrawing the U.S.A. aid could be the catalyst for the Arab nations to decide to have one more effort at driving the Jews into the Mediterranean.

Perhaps, that should be part of this thread's question: "Would you support suspending aid to Israel and Palestine, if it resulted in the demise of Israel?"
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 12:41 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Given that i was responding to your quote of Pappy Bush complaining that the antipathy of the Israel lobby lost the 1992 election for him, and that i was not responding to any other "points," this remark of yours is a non sequitur. My only points were that that was not why Bush lost the '92 election, and that in presidential politics, the Israel lobby is not that influential.

In view of the title of the thread, and my response that i would support such a move, presidential electoral politics is the only real consideration. Congress may have more to lose by antagonizing the Israel lobby, but one of the powers of the executive branch is that no administration is compelled to disburse monies appropriated by the Congress if the President does not wish to do so. Both Clinton and the younger Bush used this technique, and Clinton used it to great effect in his battle with a Republican Congress to force a reduction in spending in order to achieve budget surpluses.

So, insofar as it concerns a decision by any administration to suspend foreign aid to Israel and Palestine, i don't believe that any such administration need fear electoral repercussions.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 12:49 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
Our interest is to assist the Mubarak government of Egypt in finding a way to transfer power to a successor without destabilizing an already fragile balance of political power there.


This is a very important consideration about which i suspect that many and perhaps most Americans are unaware. Mubarek was one of the coterie of young officers who backed Najeeb's overthrow of King Farouk. Nasser took over from a brief and failed civilian government, and Sadat and Mubarek were his closest associates in the military dominated government. Mubarek is the last survivor, and is doubtful that there would be much popular support for the continuance of secular government. This is a huge "fly in the ointment," as Mubarek is now more than 80 years of age, and it remains unclear who would succeed him, and whether or not a military dominated, secular government can be maintained after his death.

But i also think it is questionable whether or not any government of Egypt in our times would be overtly hostile toward Israel, for whatever rhetoric they might adopt. It is certainly a crucial situation, and one in which western nations will have no influence, foreign aid notwithstanding.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 01:01 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Given that i was responding to your quote of Pappy Bush complaining that the antipathy of the Israel lobby lost the 1992 election for him, and that i was not responding to any other "points," this remark of yours is a non sequitur. My only points were that that was not why Bush lost the '92 election, and that in presidential politics, the Israel lobby is not that influential.


And you are wrong about that, the voting of the American Jews in presidential elections is simply not a representative measure of the influence that the Israel lobby has on the executive branch.

But we've already been over this, so if you want to simply dismiss it a "non sequitur" then I'll just leave you to that kind of tactic. This is a powerful lobby that has deep influence on the executive branch and whether or not you think it is matters a lot less than whether the presidents do.

If they think it harms them politically then it does has influence over the executive branch whether or not Setanta thinks it does.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 01:25 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I think you and Setanta are stuck on secondary issues, but agree on the essential points. I don't think you can make a persuasive case that Bush I lost to Clinton because of lukewarm support for Israel. That may well have been a factor influencing some, but it was by no means the most important influence on the outcome. There were many others, including the economic issues already cited and as well the likelihood that, following the collapse of the USSR, the public turned to more immediate and self involved concerns - to which Clinton very effectively appealed.

I believe the rather exaggerated and largely unwarranted U.S. political and economic support for Israel has perversely put us in the crosshairs for Arab/Moslem rage previously directed at their long-term European oppressors, and has enabled our European "friends" to escape their historically deserved strategic repurcussions and enabled them to drift into some very self-righteous and hypocritical forgetfulness.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 03:27 pm
I know this sounds cruel and insensitive, but it distills down to body-count. Public outrage would be predicated on the number of dead and wounded more than how they were killed or injured.

Have either side kill one hundred with bombs, or bullets, but have them kill one thousand and the moral calculus changes.

these are issues i am not smart enough to figure....

is it moral to kill one person to save 100?

is it moral to kill 99 to save 100?

is it just about the numbers?

i don't know and i hope that i am never placed in a position to decide such a question.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 06:35 pm
@Robert Gentel,
It's not a tactic, and y0u have produced no evidence of this alleged "powerful" influence on the executive branch. Given that you have not, i have every reason to dismiss what appears to me to be your snotty reaction to being contradicted. I agreed with you that we should end this aid, as a salutary measure for a variety of reasons. Now, however, having been contradicted--something it appears irks you inordinately--you want to argue that the measure you called for yourself would have an appreciably adverse affect on any administration implementing the measure. Nonsense.

Of course their power is relative to the extent that they are considered powerful, saying that was pointless. Any executive administration with the courage to ignore the lobby, by the evidence available to anyone who cares to take even a cursory look, will not suffer for having done it.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 09:47 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

I believe suspending aid to both sides would be entirely justifiable. However there are many complications. We also give substantial aid to Egypt as a continuing legacy of the Jimmy Carter deal. Our interest is to assist the Mubarak government of Egypt in finding a way to transfer power to a successor without destabilizing an already fragile balance of political power there.

I would not oppose merely the establishment of "normal" political and economic relations with Israel. Right now Israel gets more favorable access to U.S. capital and export markets than any nation in the world - this in addition to all the economic and military aid, which we can no longer afford.

Isarael gets more from us than it really needs and than we can really affford. We could start by unilaterally correcting that situation.


It is possible that that aid allows the U.S. to add its two cents to their policy decisions on this or that. No aid, no two cents, I would think. The long term result of an Israel not beholden to the U.S. might be more problematic? But, the A2K brain trust seems to have made up its collective mind.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 11:31 pm
@Foofie,
It is certainly a risk that an Israel not beholden to US aid would behave worse.

But I guess the crux is, is giving aid to both sides allowing the situation to continue forever?
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2009 08:00 am
@Foofie,
Foofie wrote:

It is possible that that aid allows the U.S. to add its two cents to their policy decisions on this or that. No aid, no two cents, I would think. The long term result of an Israel not beholden to the U.S. might be more problematic? But, the A2K brain trust seems to have made up its collective mind.


Are you suggesting that Israel has been a useful adjunct to U.S. Foreign policy ? I believe there has been some benefit there, however it all falls in the category of a little help addressing problems we wouldn't have at all if it were not for Israaeli expansionism. The net effect of our excessive and unquestioning support for Israel has been very detrimental to this country. In addition I believe it hasn't helped Israel either. We have in Israel a rather petulant and aggressive client state that has perfected the technique of using our power to bully its neighbors. Not a good prospect for the futures of any of the participants.
jjorge
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2009 09:37 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
'The Israel lobby is changing, with newcomers like J Street challenging the right-wing representation and there is talk of resentment in Congress of AIPAC these days but this is no slouch of a lobby by any stretch of the imagination, and taking them on directly will cost any politician significant political capital right now.' --Robert Gentel

Robert, I attended J Street's first annual Conference in D.C. October 25-28 and was very encouraged by it.

1500 progressive Jews and a few others [I'm a Boston Irish other :-) ] filled the meeting rooms and plenary sessions with standing room only crowds and many sitting on the floor. The loudest applause lines were those that spoke of:

"opening up the band of 'acceptable' debate re Israel/Palestine",

a fair and just settlement for Palestinians,

strong support for Obama's efforts for a two-state settlement including PRESSURING Israel and the Palestinians.
[ the AIPAC position of course is to never push Israel on anything but merely to endorse whatever they do and give them whatever they ask for!]

A panel of congressmen discussing their resistance to pressure and threats by the Israel Lobby (to vote a certain way ) drew several standing ovations.
One, Rep, Bob Filner told of losing, " ...$250,000 in campaign contributions per election cycle" for a position, he once took that defied the Lobby.
The lone Republican, on that panel (Rep. Charles Boustany, R-LA) was introduced as the only republican who had not withdrawn from the J Street Conference and received a thunderous standing ovation. In the final weeks leading up to the conference, AIPAC and its minions initiated a blistering , defamatory attack on J Street distorting its positions as anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. Twelve members of Congress who were to be 'Honorary Hosts' of the 10-27 'Gala Dinner' withdrew at the last minute under this pressure.
The good news is that ONE HUNDRED FORTY-EIGHT DIDN'T WITHDRAW.

The president's National Security Advisor, also received a standing O when, after being introduced and welcomed, he said that The Obama Administration intended to be at all of J Streets future conferences,

10-28 was 'Lobby Day' in which 700 J Street members (myself included) descended on Capitol Hill to meet with Members and/or staff to ask them to take a public stand endorsing President Obama's Peace initiative and the precept that it was ok to push both sides to reach a settlement.



InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2009 10:30 am
@jjorge,
It's encouraging to see that attitudes concerning this conflict are beginning to change in Washington.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2009 11:23 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

Foofie wrote:

It is possible that that aid allows the U.S. to add its two cents to their policy decisions on this or that. No aid, no two cents, I would think. The long term result of an Israel not beholden to the U.S. might be more problematic? But, the A2K brain trust seems to have made up its collective mind.


Are you suggesting that Israel has been a useful adjunct to U.S. Foreign policy ? I believe there has been some benefit there, however it all falls in the category of a little help addressing problems we wouldn't have at all if it were not for Israaeli expansionism. The net effect of our excessive and unquestioning support for Israel has been very detrimental to this country. In addition I believe it hasn't helped Israel either. We have in Israel a rather petulant and aggressive client state that has perfected the technique of using our power to bully its neighbors. Not a good prospect for the futures of any of the participants.


The surprise to the U.S. might be that even after any cutting of the diplomatic/economic tether to the U.S., the Arab states still might equate the U.S. to being a "fellow-traveller" with Israel, since we still have much in common with that little state. Democracy, modernity, women's rights, gay rights, religious rights to name a few. I will make the analogy of an atheist still possibly being seen by many as a person that still aligns oneself with Christianity, since family can still be Christian, to one degree or another.

And, I would not be surprised if after any cutting of diplomatic/economic tethers, the Arab states collectively send the message that if the U.S. has truly changed its thinking, in regards to Israel, then the U.S. must participate in its eventual dissolution as a Zionist state. That could be a bigger dilemma than the present situation. (We could then have the NIMBY attitude, if Israelis wanted to emigrate to Europe/U.S.)

I think part of the problem is impatience, since both the Arabs and Israel may feel they have time on their side to be obstinate in each respective position. We, being Americans that are extremely time conscious, would like to "wrap up" this situation in our own lifetimes. That might not be possible in the ways of countries eventually becoming peaceful neighbors.

Plus, there could be a solution that can offer peace, but has not been developed yet. The U.S. could offer residency to Palestineans that would have preferred to go back to Israel, on the proviso that they eventually become U.S. citizens. I would think there are creative solutions that have not been thought of, or offered, since, I believe, many people think that the situation is a zero sum game (or they would like it to be?).
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2009 01:26 pm
@Foofie,
Quote:
And, I would not be surprised if after any cutting of diplomatic/economic tethers, the Arab states collectively send the message that if the U.S. has truly changed its thinking, in regards to Israel, then the U.S. must participate in its eventual dissolution as a Zionist state.


What are you smoking?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2009 08:11 pm
@panzade,
I'll bet it's the true skunk . . .
0 Replies
 
 

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