Middle East atemporal

martie 5, 2012

What is sacrosanct for the United States: Israel or Democracy?

Filed under: Uncategorized — mihaibeltechi @ 6:40 am

A quick look at two contradictory passages from Barack Obama’s speech to AIPAC:

In many ways, this award is a symbol of the broader ties that bind our nations. The United States and Israel share interests, but we also share those human values that Shimon spoke about: a commitment to human dignity. A belief that freedom is a right that is given to all of God’s children. An experience that shows us that democracy is the one and only form of government that can truly respond to the aspirations of citizens.


Four years ago, I stood before you and said that, „Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable.” That belief has guided my actions as president. The fact is my administration’s commitment to Israel’s security has been unprecedented. Our military and intelligence cooperation has never been closer. Our joint exercises and training have never been more robust. Despite a tough budget environment, our security assistance has increased every single year. We are investing in new capabilities. We’re providing Israel with more advanced technology the types of products and systems that only go to our closest friends and allies. And make no mistake: We will do what it takes to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge because Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.

The question this raises is could Israel preserve both its qualitative military edge and the ability to defend itself, by itself against any threat if, among others, Saudi Arabia was not ruled by a pro-US dictatorship?

If not, then Barack Obama as US President doing what it takes to preserve Israel’s advantage means working to ensure that Saudi Arabia continues to be ruled by what is effectively a colonial government subordinate to the US.

We’ve seen before that Saudi Arabia spends more than 2.5 times as much as Israel does on its military.

Military spending

Rank Country Spending ($) % of GDP Per capita ($)
8 Saudi Arabia 42,917,000,000 11.2% 1,524
18 Israel 13,001,000,000 6.3% 1,882

We’ve seen that the vast majority of Arab populations consider Israel one of the two primary threats to them. (With a majority considering the US itself the other.)

Name TWO countries that you think pose the biggest threat to you.

Israel 71%
United States 59%
Iran 18%

Westerners like the misleading poll result that Arab populations are „prepared for peace” if Israel returns ALL of the territory Israel captured in 1967. But let’s look at that result more closely. (Same poll as above.)

Which of the following statements is closer to your view?

24% – Prepared for peace if Israel is willing to return all 1967 territories including East Jerusalem, and Arab governments should put more effort into this

43% – Prepared for peace if Israel is willing to return all 1967 territories including East Jerusalem, but Israel will never give up these territories easily

23% – Even if Israel returns all 1967 territories, Arabs should continue to fight

Despite the contorted and indirect way this this question is posed, its result is that only 24% of Arab populations want their governments to put more effort into getting Israel to return all 1967 territories. Worded as it is, if this poll is correct, the official position of the pro-US colonial dictatorships may still only have the support of distinct minorities of their populations.

I’ll also note that it would not be inconsistent for a person to be „prepared for peace if Israel returns all 1967 territories and want his or her government to put more effort into this” while also believing Israel is not legitimate, should not exist, and that a peaceful transition to Arab/Muslim majority rule would still be preferable to Israel returning all 1967 territories.

43% of these populations would be „prepared for peace” if Israel was to return ALL of the land captured in 1967 without any additional effort from their governments. Barack Obama does not call for Israel returning all 1967 territories. No Israeli leader, left or right, has ever offered to do so.

Leaving aside the difference between to accept and to be „prepared for peace”, how many of these 43% would be prepared for peace if instead of returning all captured land, Israel was to offer a resolution along the outlines that Israel’s supporters discuss: Israel annexes territory where there are currently large settlements, offers a very limited right to return, if any, and the remaining Palestine is demilitarized and physically blocked by Israeli or US troops from Jordanian territory? Let’s just say the pollsters of Brookings would prefer you not to know the answer to that question. I’m sure for good reason from their points of view, as Western supporters of Zionism as a project.

We’ve seen a poll of the Iranian people that asks about acceptance of Israel without Brookings’ misdirection. Unlike that of Saudi Arabia Iran’s population is mostly non-Arab and mostly not Sunni. There is no reason to expect the opposition of the people of Saudi Arabia to Israel to be less than that of the Iranian people.

18. Level of agreement – The state of Israel is illegitimate and should not exist.

Strong Agreement: 51.9%
Mild Agreement: 14.6% (total agree, 66.5%)
Neutral: 21.1%
Mild Disagreement: 4.6%
Strong Disagreement: 3.9% (total disagree 8.5%)

Saudi Arabia does not have to cooperate with an explicit US pledge to be militarily inferior to a country that spends 60% less than it does on arms. It is absurd to think a government that represents the values, perceptions and sensibilities of the people of Saudi Arabia would do so. Democracy for Saudi Arabia would mean at least taking the risk that the US would be unable to maintain its commitment to Israel. Barack Obama stood before the audience at AIPAC and said that it is a risk he would not take.

The US’ founding value of democracy – as well as Obama’s poetic and dishonest statement that he believes freedom is a gift deserved by all of God’s children – is not quite as sacrosanct as the string of colonial dictatorships Obama maintains for the sake of Israel, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, UAE and others.




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