By Philip Weiss
Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations has an article at Foreign Policy saying that the U.S. should phase out aid to Israel and “end the special relationship” because the peace process has attained its real objective: Israel is established as a secure country with a standard of living rivaling the UK and France, and no real military threat.
The piece is shocking because it strips the mask from the peace process, saying just what Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah said decades ago, it was intended to fail, never producing Palestinian sovereignty.
Cook says the U.S.’s “core interest” in the Middle East was always Israel’s “security,” so the peace process needed to spin its wheels forever.
U.S. policymakers have long believed that a two-state solution was the best way to ensure Israel’s security, and U.S. presidents from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama to Donald Trump himself have repeatedly pursued that goal. But the mostly unacknowledged fact about the two-state impasse—and perhaps the reason Washington hasn’t summoned the political will to overcome it—is that it has helped the United States achieve one [of] its core interests in the region: helping to ensure Israeli security….
The “tragedy” for Palestinians is that they trusted the U.S. and “misread” core U.S. interests, Cook explains; but now they have to live forever in Bantustans.
The tragedy in all this is the permanent dispossession of the Palestinians, who will no doubt be outraged at Washington’s washing its hands of the conflict, sealing their fate to live forever under the boot of the IDF or shoved into Bantustans. They would be justified in their anger. They have also misread core U.S. interests in the Middle East, which really are not concerned with the Palestinians, who, against all evidence, trusted the United States.
The next time anyone talks about Arabs not really meaning what they say or conducting foreign policy like a soukh, remind them that Even a Council on Foreign Relations pundit says the U.S. lied to Palestinians for 25 years of false promises.
The obvious question that arises is Why destroying Palestinian human rights is a core U.S. interest– indeed, why Zionism is a core U.S. interest — and yes the extent to which this reflects the power of the Israel lobby in our politics. For a generation we have had White House mediators who were labeled “Israel’s lawyer,” or who told synagogue audiences “We need to be advocates for Israel,” or who went right from their postings in the Obama White House to Israel advocacy jobs (both Dan Shapiro and Tamara Cofman Wittes).
None of these jokers ever had any real interest in giving Palestinians any sovereignty.
And how much of the instability of Israel’s neighbors has also served that “core” interest? Israel is sitting pretty, Cook says, because “Iraq and Syria are in a shambles.” Lebanon is crumbling.
We should be grateful to Cook for saying that the point of the peace process was to fail; and that failure was all for Israel’s interest.
The Israel Policy Forum issued a similar insight when Netanyahu began threatening to annex the West Bank last year.
To [annex] will exacerbate partisan divisions on Israel in the United States, ultimately erode Israel’s security, give an unnecessary and clear victory to the BDS movement, and upend decades of carefully calibrated policy on Israel.
“[D]ecades of carefully calibrated policy on Israel” means that Zionists liberal or otherwise give lip service to a Palestinian state but ultimately have no problem with the occupation because the status quo is good for Israel– It is a wealthy democracy-for-Jews– and apartheid for Palestinians is tragic but not worth losing sleep over.
And when a real effort arises to make Israel pay a price for its human rights violations, liberal Zionists will jump to label BDS as antisemitic.
Thanks to Scott Roth.