Unconditional love: US support of Israel likely to continue with Kerry at helm

John Kerry’s nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (January 24, 2013)

Nominee for Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t address US-Israeli foreign policy in today’s hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but if he follows in Clinton’s footsteps, he will implement an Obama policy that essentially gives Israel everything it wants and more.

In November, Rep Gerry Connolly (D-Va) called “U.S.-Israeli relations…at an all-time high”:

President Obama has provided every penny and more in foreign assistance requested by Israel. Moreover, the president has agreed to sell Israel our most advanced jet fighter, the F-35. And unlike the previous administration, President Obama has authorized the sale of advanced “bunker buster” weapons to Israel that are now part of its arsenal.
 
Bottom line, in the words of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the U.S.-Israel relationship is as strong as it’s ever been….
 
But we cannot be fooled. The president’s actions prove that he has Israel’s back. When the Palestinians threatened to obtain statehood at the United Nations Security Council, President Obama pledged a veto. When the notoriously biased Goldstone Report attacked Israel’s self defense efforts in Gaza, President Obama fought against it. When Israeli diplomats’ lives were threatened in their Cairo Embassy, President Obama intervened to save them. And when forest fires ravaged northern Israel, President Obama committed US assistance to extinguish them.

(At face value, Connolly’s article on Congressional blog The Hill would seemingly indict Obama’s Israeli policy. Instead, it’s a full-throated defense against critics who accuse him of being anti-Israel.)

 

The US view that Israel is a strategic asset in the Middle East plus the rabid pro-Israel lobby underlies the remarkable level of American support for Israel over the years. Glenn Greenwald contends that “Israeli aggression is possible only due to the unstinting financial, military and diplomatic support of the US.” And Middle East expert William Quandt negatively assesses Obama’s achievements in the region, based as it is on a continuation of past policy, saying, “There is no evidence of a fundamental rethinking by the president; his Middle East policy is the product of his view of America and the world.”

Kerry is expected to pass the nomination hearings with flying colors with little opposition from Republicans, even if they gave him a hard time on a few issues today, such as the attack on the Benghazi consulate. (Yesterday, current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton put Republicans in their place when they tried to rake her over the coals for the attack, which led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.)

Ultra-right pro-Israel media predictably whine that Senator Kerry is no friend of Israel. But there is little indication that Kerry would change the course of US policy regarding Israel. During the DNC convention, he defended President Obama’s Israel cred, portraying him and Netanyahu as best of buddies. Unconditional support of Israel, no matter how destructive to Palestinians and the stability of the region, will continue.

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