Richard Silverstein, who authors what I consider the most authoritative blog on Israeli politics and policy, has a take on a shift in Israeli foreign relations that should interest those Americans who are following affairs in the Middle East. In an article titled “Israel Turning from U.S. to Russian-Arab Autocratic Alliance” (read the entire article here) Silverstein puts forward the case that cool relations between the current US administration and Netanyahu have pushed Israel’s right wing government to firm up old ties with Russia and the neighboring authoritarian Arab states. Few Americans who are big boosters of Israel realize that Russia (then the Soviet Union) is an old friend of Israel being the first international power to recognize the state of Israel in 1948.
A potential realignment of Israeli policies in concert with Russia sets up some interesting implications for America’s political acrobats. Since it is now a requirement for both political parties to demonize Russia for their Ukrainian intervention and to praise Israel for its controversial Gaza aggression, they will have to square that circle. The Republicans who generally cleave to authoritarians may be more willing to accept this little sidestep of Israel while the Democrats will gyrate and flip-flop on how to rationalize their hatred of Putin for messing up their neo-liberal coup in Ukraine and still hold the love of AIPAC, the powerful American Jewish lobby.
Quoting Richard Silverstein: “The reasons for the souring relationship with the U.S. are clear. From the beginning of the Obama administration when it failed in its push for settlement freeze, to the most recent failure of John Kerry’s Israel-Palestine peace talks, the handwriting is on the wall. Bibi and his ideological partners in government detest this administration and the feeling is mutual. The Israelis see the U.S. as weak and ineffectual. Unable to stand up to the west’s real enemies: Islamists, whether they be in Lebanon, Iran or Gaza.
So as Netanyahu and Obama have become mutually disenchanted, Israel naturally turned back to the Russians. It’s widely reported in the Israeli media that Avigdor Lieberman, a former Soviet émigré, has facilitated much of the warming of the relationship with Russia, including this particular spy deal. Those inside Israel most opposed to him and his Yisrael Beitenu party have regularly painted him as a Russian. Haaretz has also reported the Mossad has refused to brief Lieberman on certain sensitive subjects which might offer Russia access to Israeli secrets.”
Although it is difficult to see, at this point, how Israel could stop feeding at that $4 billion teat for armaments the US provides every year, the possibility of a shift by Israel is intriguing. If it were to take place it could have a profound effect on not only US foreign policy becoming independent of its dedication to Israeli foreign policy, right or wrong, but could also affect our energy policies. With a greater influence of Russia in not only Israel but the Arab states it could force the US finally to take a more serious view of investment in alternative fuels.
4 thoughts on “Israel, Russia, and the USA”
I have to believe any “bad vibes” between Israel and its chief sponsor would merely be a reflection of how extremely to the right “Bibi” has moved. b. traven himself has described US diplomatic maneuvers in the Middle East as a “kabuki dance.” It is thoroughly understood in Tel Aviv that any little criticism of human rights violations by Israel Obama might drop is meaningless, a going through motions, for the US tax dollars keep flowing from here to there. And Mr. Kerry has performed his portion of the dance especially brilliantly–no progress in peace talks, bravo!! Mission accomplished! From what I read, there is a movement afoot to wean the world away from dependence on the US dollar as THE international currency for exchange of goods, particularly energy resources. It will be most interesting if “our great friend and ally, Israel” signs on to this.
Even James Baker went through the motions of scolding Israel (wink, wink)…it’s immaterial what Bibi & Barack think of one another. Unless & until the United States speaks & works in truth and in good faith concerning Israel/Palestine, the disgusting occupation, oppression, and murder will surely deepen. There should be from the U.S. a DEMAND for the end of settlement expansion, a DEMAND to end the destruction of Palestinian lives & livelihood, and a DEMAND that Palestinians have a place to raise their children in peace, with opportunity for economic, agricultural, & cultural development.
Too bad the moral high ground isn’t there to stand on.
I’m sure the examples set in Central & South America, Vietnam & Iraq, etc….are not lost on the Israelites.
Outside the bubble of Fortress Amerika, world public opinion was overwhelmingly in condemnation of Israel’s destruction of human lives and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. As long as the US is the dominant military power on the planet–and its openly stated policy is, indeed, to forever maintain that status–it will continue to throw its weight around. Those accused of leadership of “The Islamic State” can certainly expect assassin drones heading their way soon. Obama has vowed “revenge” and that he will “bring these criminals to justice.” The latter is a quite perverse notion. Because, again, it is now official policy that he has the “right” to finger any individual, anywhere on Earth, for assassination. This is not a matter of “bringing” anything, but sending something: death via non-judicial execution. What a wretched mess Obama has made of a reign that brought hope to so many when he was first elected! Totally seduced by the Pentagon, and now willfully embracing the power to kill whomsoever he pleases, he has appointed himself as something of an Old Testament deity. And as if to try to outdo his superior, VP Biden today vowed to chase “The Islamic State” to “the Gates of Hell” in order to wreak this vengeance on the perpetrators of the broadcast beheadings. Of course I do not condone the tactics/methods of the individuals carrying out these executions, but I will pose this question, in light of the universal use by the media of the phrase “barbaric executions”: Does the US military dispatch its victims in a “kind and gentle” manner??? The US fertilized the ground for today’s developments by throwing Iraq into utter chaos. It cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again so it will just keep lobbing bombs, missiles and killer drones, earning this nation still more enemies. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth…” Very Old Testament stuff indeed!
What a wretched mess indeed! And all the while never missing an opportunity to sanctimoniously refer to “the rule of law”. Plenty of barbarism to go around…be it from a blade, bullet, or bomb. Should we mention white phosphorous, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, Fallujah, hospitals, power stations, weddings, mosques, torture, innocents detained, playgrounds, playing both sides, false flags, destabilization, double agents, Saddam’s CIA link, Osama’s CIA link, El Salvador, Chile anyone?
And so where does “revenge” (hardly a Christlike nodus operandi) begin or end? Truly a sickening statement.