Democratic Neocons: Party of Liberals Aligns With Extremists on the Israeli Right
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NJDC not only cites a neoconservative writer, not only considers comparing discrimination, albeit quite oppressive, to a military occupation to be somehow unfair to the occupiers, but also completely misrepresents Rice's actions at the end of the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon. As Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf points out: "Secretary Rice did not pressure Israel to have a peace treaty with Hezbollah, but actually rescued the government from a disastrous campaign that ultimately cost the defense minister and (indirectly) the prime minister their jobs. As every Israeli knows, the Bush administration allowed Israel all the time it wanted 'to complete the military operation,' but the army simply failed, and after more than 30 days the government was desperate to find a way to end the war." In fact, Rice followed Israel's script in that event to a T.
One might well believe that this is much ado about nothing, that all of this pandering to the extreme-right wing government in Israel is simply par for the course in an election year. After all, in the United States, we have grown accustomed to watching, as every four years, presidential candidates and their party loyalists scramble to gather as much pro-Israel financing as they can get. Whatever point the peace process or any other Israeli-Arab issue might be at, diplomacy is shelved as politics and fundraising take center stage. So this could well be more of the same.
But there is reason to believe a more profound shift is occurring here. In January, the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution that clearly stated Israel was not occupying any lands not its own, and called for "…a united Israel governed under one law for all people." At the very least, this stands in stark contrast to long-held US policies, which have held that resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict over land issues be resolved between the parties. More than that, it seems to be calling for a single state under Israeli rule, with no mention of Palestinian rights, which certainly raises fears of institutionalized apartheid.
Republican Representative Joe Walsh clearly stated his opposition to a two-state solution, and drew no opprobrium from within his own party. Nor did Representative Allen West draw a rebuke when he took a similar stance, and blasted the centrist Jewish group J Street for supporting a two-state solution.
While Walsh and West are marginal figures in the House of Representatives on this issue, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, is much more prominent. Despite complete consensus that US funding of the Palestinian Authority has been wildly successful in ensuring the PA would work to maintain security for Israeli civilians, Ros-Lehtinen has led efforts to stop that funding from getting to the Palestinians. The PA faced collapse as a result, and Israel, no less, applied for an International Monetary Fund loan on the PA's behalf to keep it afloat.
All of this suggests that the GOP shift to a much more radical stance on the Israel-Palestine issue is more than mere election year jockeying. And, if so, the response from Democrats would indicate that, their protests about Republicans politicizing the Israel issue notwithstanding, the entire political debate on Capitol Hill is shifting even further to the right.
There are several factors that might be causing that shift. The most obvious is that the GOP, in the wake of the Tea Party's ballooning influence, has moved to more radically right-wing positions on many issues. There is also the fact that Israel itself has been steadily drifting rightward and now has a government in power that is not only the most right-wing in its history, but also the most stable.