Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Next 18 Months in Pro-Israel Activism

Responding to a friend's request, I believe the American pro-Israel community has three main challenges in the next 18 months prior to the US elections. The first is preventing President Obama from seriously pursuing any well intentioned but atrociously reasoned and even more disastrously executed "grand peace initiatives", which are all premised on forcing unilateral Israeli concessions in order to appease, "moderate" and contain Arab Islamists. It remains to be seen whether Netanyahu will provide leadership in this regards with his anticipated speech before the US Congress later in May.

The second item on the agenda is cutting the Palestinians off at the knees when it comes to their adventurist unilateralism in seeking a statehood recognition at the UN in September. The Palestinians must be disabused of the tempting illusion that diplomatic militarism and cowardice at negotiating peace with the Jews of Israel will earn them anything but another, bitter defeat.

The third and final challenge for pro-Israel advocacy is working to reestablish the Israel-centric, pro-American alliance system in the Eastern Mediterranean. This means reasserting the original conditions for American foreign aid and access to American markets for Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinians, Turks and others, based on the quality of their security relationship and constructive political engagement with Israel.

Confronting the Iranian nuclear program is no longer on the radar, swept to the back burner by two years of American blundering on the peace process, the need to deal with the consequences of Arab upheavals, and utter policy confusion over the proper way to proceed.

It will be a difficult time, requiring strength, resolve, and creative problem solving on the part of Israel's supporters. Which is the way it always has been. Presidential and congressional elections will help us frame the debate, rally support and demonstrate our electoral strength, such as it is. Permeating the internal pro-Israel debate will be an ongoing disagreement over the value, justness and future of Jewish settlements - a discussion that is of particular interest to me.

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