Next Page: 10000

          'Our inspiration is Afghanistan' - East Timorese hope to copy cricket rise - Business Standard      Cache   Translate Page      
'Our inspiration is Afghanistan' - East Timorese hope to copy cricket rise  Business Standard

Navigating pigs and goats as they practise on a dusty paddock, a group of young East Timorese are hoping to copy the fairy-tale rise of Afghanistan by making it ...

          The U.S.-Israel Alliance Must Be Questioned       Cache   Translate Page      

On Wednesday, October 8, 1975, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger held a staff meeting. During this meeting, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Habib announced that “It looks like the Indonesians have begun the attack on Timor.” That was true in only a preliminary sense. The full invasion of East Timor wouldn’t come until December 7th. When it did come, the Indonesians slaughtered everyone in sight, including women, children, foreign journalists and every Chinese merchant they could find. The fact that the State Department was discussing the invasion two months prior to its commencement shows that they had time to react and formulate a policy.

At the time, the United States was reeling from the collapse of the South Vietnamese government, and in no mood to see a leftist-driven independence movement take hold somewhere else in Southeast Asia. For the same reason, they were also not inclined to get actively involved or commit U.S. troops or resources to a new cause. The Indonesian army was equipped with our weapons, but they were prohibited by law from using them in anything other than a defensive manner, which meant that we had some leverage over their political leaders if we chose to use it. We chose not to.

The immediate cause of the conflict was the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal which led to a near-abandonment of its Asian colonial interests. East Timor unilaterally declared independence on November 29, 1975 and the invasion began in earnest a week later. U.S. policy was more focused on maintaining good relations and contractual obligations with the fervently anti-Communist Indonesia government. At the meeting, there was some back and forth, but Kissinger summed up the American position when he turned to Assistant Secretary Habib and said, “I’m assuming you’re really going to keep your mouth shut on this subject.”

Habib, who was simultaneously discussing a South Vietnam passport question, asked for clarification: “On what?”, he said.

Kissinger responded, “On this subject. On Indonesia.”

Two months later, when Indonesia moved into East Timor in force, they acted with the tacit acceptance of the U.S. government. The next step was to convince Congress not to react by enforcing the ban on the use of American weapons in offensive operations.

When I saw the furor over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s remarks about Israel, I thought about this history with East Timor. During a panel conversation, Rep. Omar stated, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

A lot of the debate has been over the meaning of the word “allegiance.” In the case of Indonesia, it was more of an alliance than an allegiance. Yet, when an alliance comes under pressure and people are told not to speak out, that can seem more coercive than voluntarily. When military or humanitarian aid is not a choice but a compulsion, it takes on more of the character of an oath or pledge than a policy.

On the subject of aid, Andrew Sullivan made the following observations last Friday for New York magazine:

Take foreign aid. The U.S. provides the Jewish state with $3.8 billion a year in aid, and has committed to doing so for each of the next ten years. Compare that with what the U.S. gives other allies who are as wealthy as Israel: The U.K. got $150,000 in 2017; South Korea got $775,000. The average aid for high-income countries like Israel, according to USAID, is $79 million a year. Israel gets 48 times more.

Per capita, the disparity is close to absurd. Israel gets $436 in U.S. aid a year; dirt-poor Afghanistan $154; post-war Iraq $91; Egypt $14. By any measure, this is extreme exceptionalism. Yes, Israel faces military threats. But so does South Korea.

We have a political and military alliance with Israel just as we had a political and military alliance with Indonesia. In both cases, this gives (or gave) us theoretical leverage over their political leaders. Perhaps it reflects a bit of a colonial mindset on my part, but I believe a major motivation for giving aid to other countries is to create or enhance our leverage. But if we refuse to use that leverage because we believe the alliance or the contracts are the primary advantage, then much of the point is lost.

Based strictly on the size of our aid package with Israel, we should have more leverage with them than any other nation on Earth, but we’ve been asking them to curtail or cease settlement policies in the occupied territories for decades now to no avail. To get an idea of why this is possible, it’s not necessary to blame the influence of Israeli or Jewish-American lobbying efforts. Criticism of Israel is policed by politicians of both parties and people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Look, for example, at the latter half of this reaction to Rep. Omar’s “allegiance” quote by Democratic and Latino Rep. Juan Vargas of California:

Rep. Vargas criticized Omar for perpetuating “hurtful anti-Semitic stereotypes that misrepresent our Jewish community.” Given the freighted history of the word “allegiance,” this was a defensible (if ultimately unfair) characterization of her remarks. But by saying, “Additionally, questioning support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable,” Rep. Vargas came very close to arguing that nothing Israel could do can possibly call into legitimate question the terms of our bilateral relationship.  That sounds like asking for a pledge of allegiance to me.  That seems like he’s saying, “our alliance, right or wrong.”

When Russia, North Korea, or Iran do things we don’t like, we have no problem imposing sanctions. Our military alliance with Saudi Arabia didn’t prevent Congress from recently attempting “to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen.”

What’s going on in Israel today should be unacceptable to U.S. foreign policy-makers, and it should call into question our ongoing commitment to our $3.8 billion aid package.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing legitimate corruption charges and seeking to survive politically by aligning himself with a political movement that even many Israelis have compared to the Nazis. The alliance is disturbing enough that both AIPAC and the American Jewish Congress have condemned it. The AJC issued a statement, declaring that the “views of Otzma Yehudit are reprehensible. They do not reflect the core values that are the very foundation of the State of Israel.”

The president of Israel apparently agrees, and he made the following statement on Monday in response to Netanyahu declaring that Israel “is the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people.”

Slamming a “completely unacceptable conversation regarding Israeli Arabs” taking place during the “dizzying” election campaign, President Reuven Rivlin said Monday there are neither second-class citizens or second-class voters in Israel.

Speaking at a conference at Hebrew University’s Truman Institute marking 40 years since the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement, Rivlin said,  “I refuse to believe that there that there are parties that have given up on the idea that Israel is a Jewish Democratic state, a democratic and Jewish state in the same phrase.”

Yet, the party that has given up on that idea is Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party. Most observers believe that Netanyahu’s coalition will prevail in the coming elections and that he will use his victory to beat back the corruption charges and remain in power.

What that would mean for the Arab citizens of Israel is anyone’s guess, but I think it’s safe to say that things will not go well for them. This is a frontal assault to Israel’s democracy, and there is plenty of criticism about it both in Israel and among Jewish-American people and organizations here at home.

But Congress is more interested in figuring out how to silence Rep. Omar than they are about using our leverage and influence to persuade Israel to go in a better direction. The administration seems to have nothing negative to say about Netanyahu at all.

Now, the reasons we have this strange and unhealthy relationship with Israel right now are complicated, and they certainly cannot be reduced to the power of American Jewish lobbyists. It’s not “all about the Benjamins,” and it’s not explained by dual loyalties of Jewish-Americans. Rep. Omar seems to have an unfortunate proclivity for stepping on rakes and she’d do herself and her party and everyone else a big favor if she’d be more mindful of how she speaks about these matters.

Having said that, we do not seem to have the capacity as a nation to exercise our leverage over Israel. I believe the result is harmful to everyone involved. Looking back and putting everything in context, I understand why our government was silent about Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor and the atrocities that predictably ensued. But I can understand something without approving of it.

Maybe we could not have prevented what happened in East Timor, but we didn’t have to continue to provide the weapons that were used to massacre people. We may not be able to convince Israel to get off the path they’re now marching down, but we don’t have to unquestioningly fund them with no conditions.

I cannot agree that “questioning support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable.” That support is bound up in our $3.8 billion aid package, and if we’re not allowed to question it then it seems to me like less of an alliance based on shared interests and values than an allegiance based on sworn loyalty.

When people who question Israel’s actions are bullied into submission, that doesn’t strengthen the relationship. More than that, though, when we fail to defend human rights or protect the vulnerable, and we buy the weapons and tools that are used to oppress people, then we become complicit.

What Benjamin Netanyahu is doing right now is not okay. We should not be assuming that people are “really going to keep [their] mouth shut on this subject.”


Next Page: 10000

Site Map 2018_01_14
Site Map 2018_01_15
Site Map 2018_01_16
Site Map 2018_01_17
Site Map 2018_01_18
Site Map 2018_01_19
Site Map 2018_01_20
Site Map 2018_01_21
Site Map 2018_01_22
Site Map 2018_01_23
Site Map 2018_01_24
Site Map 2018_01_25
Site Map 2018_01_26
Site Map 2018_01_27
Site Map 2018_01_28
Site Map 2018_01_29
Site Map 2018_01_30
Site Map 2018_01_31
Site Map 2018_02_01
Site Map 2018_02_02
Site Map 2018_02_03
Site Map 2018_02_04
Site Map 2018_02_05
Site Map 2018_02_06
Site Map 2018_02_07
Site Map 2018_02_08
Site Map 2018_02_09
Site Map 2018_02_10
Site Map 2018_02_11
Site Map 2018_02_12
Site Map 2018_02_13
Site Map 2018_02_14
Site Map 2018_02_15
Site Map 2018_02_15
Site Map 2018_02_16
Site Map 2018_02_17
Site Map 2018_02_18
Site Map 2018_02_19
Site Map 2018_02_20
Site Map 2018_02_21
Site Map 2018_02_22
Site Map 2018_02_23
Site Map 2018_02_24
Site Map 2018_02_25
Site Map 2018_02_26
Site Map 2018_02_27
Site Map 2018_02_28
Site Map 2018_03_01
Site Map 2018_03_02
Site Map 2018_03_03
Site Map 2018_03_04
Site Map 2018_03_05
Site Map 2018_03_06
Site Map 2018_03_07
Site Map 2018_03_08
Site Map 2018_03_09
Site Map 2018_03_10
Site Map 2018_03_11
Site Map 2018_03_12
Site Map 2018_03_13
Site Map 2018_03_14
Site Map 2018_03_15
Site Map 2018_03_16
Site Map 2018_03_17
Site Map 2018_03_18
Site Map 2018_03_19
Site Map 2018_03_20
Site Map 2018_03_21
Site Map 2018_03_22
Site Map 2018_03_23
Site Map 2018_03_24
Site Map 2018_03_25
Site Map 2018_03_26
Site Map 2018_03_27
Site Map 2018_03_28
Site Map 2018_03_29
Site Map 2018_03_30
Site Map 2018_03_31
Site Map 2018_04_01
Site Map 2018_04_02
Site Map 2018_04_03
Site Map 2018_04_04
Site Map 2018_04_05
Site Map 2018_04_06
Site Map 2018_04_07
Site Map 2018_04_08
Site Map 2018_04_09
Site Map 2018_04_10
Site Map 2018_04_11
Site Map 2018_04_12
Site Map 2018_04_13
Site Map 2018_04_14
Site Map 2018_04_15
Site Map 2018_04_16
Site Map 2018_04_17
Site Map 2018_04_18
Site Map 2018_04_19
Site Map 2018_04_20
Site Map 2018_04_21
Site Map 2018_04_22
Site Map 2018_04_23
Site Map 2018_04_24
Site Map 2018_04_25
Site Map 2018_04_26
Site Map 2018_04_27
Site Map 2018_04_28
Site Map 2018_04_29
Site Map 2018_04_30
Site Map 2018_05_01
Site Map 2018_05_02
Site Map 2018_05_03
Site Map 2018_05_04
Site Map 2018_05_05
Site Map 2018_05_06
Site Map 2018_05_07
Site Map 2018_05_08
Site Map 2018_05_09
Site Map 2018_05_15
Site Map 2018_05_16
Site Map 2018_05_17
Site Map 2018_05_18
Site Map 2018_05_19
Site Map 2018_05_20
Site Map 2018_05_21
Site Map 2018_05_22
Site Map 2018_05_23
Site Map 2018_05_24
Site Map 2018_05_25
Site Map 2018_05_26
Site Map 2018_05_27
Site Map 2018_05_28
Site Map 2018_05_29
Site Map 2018_05_30
Site Map 2018_05_31
Site Map 2018_06_01
Site Map 2018_06_02
Site Map 2018_06_03
Site Map 2018_06_04
Site Map 2018_06_05
Site Map 2018_06_06
Site Map 2018_06_07
Site Map 2018_06_08
Site Map 2018_06_09
Site Map 2018_06_10
Site Map 2018_06_11
Site Map 2018_06_12
Site Map 2018_06_13
Site Map 2018_06_14
Site Map 2018_06_15
Site Map 2018_06_16
Site Map 2018_06_17
Site Map 2018_06_18
Site Map 2018_06_19
Site Map 2018_06_20
Site Map 2018_06_21
Site Map 2018_06_22
Site Map 2018_06_23
Site Map 2018_06_24
Site Map 2018_06_25
Site Map 2018_06_26
Site Map 2018_06_27
Site Map 2018_06_28
Site Map 2018_06_29
Site Map 2018_06_30
Site Map 2018_07_01
Site Map 2018_07_02
Site Map 2018_07_03
Site Map 2018_07_04
Site Map 2018_07_05
Site Map 2018_07_06
Site Map 2018_07_07
Site Map 2018_07_08
Site Map 2018_07_09
Site Map 2018_07_10
Site Map 2018_07_11
Site Map 2018_07_12
Site Map 2018_07_13
Site Map 2018_07_14
Site Map 2018_07_15
Site Map 2018_07_16
Site Map 2018_07_17
Site Map 2018_07_18
Site Map 2018_07_19
Site Map 2018_07_20
Site Map 2018_07_21
Site Map 2018_07_22
Site Map 2018_07_23
Site Map 2018_07_24
Site Map 2018_07_25
Site Map 2018_07_26
Site Map 2018_07_27
Site Map 2018_07_28
Site Map 2018_07_29
Site Map 2018_07_30
Site Map 2018_07_31
Site Map 2018_08_01
Site Map 2018_08_02
Site Map 2018_08_03
Site Map 2018_08_04
Site Map 2018_08_05
Site Map 2018_08_06
Site Map 2018_08_07
Site Map 2018_08_08
Site Map 2018_08_09
Site Map 2018_08_10
Site Map 2018_08_11
Site Map 2018_08_12
Site Map 2018_08_13
Site Map 2018_08_15
Site Map 2018_08_16
Site Map 2018_08_17
Site Map 2018_08_18
Site Map 2018_08_19
Site Map 2018_08_20
Site Map 2018_08_21
Site Map 2018_08_22
Site Map 2018_08_23
Site Map 2018_08_24
Site Map 2018_08_25
Site Map 2018_08_26
Site Map 2018_08_27
Site Map 2018_08_28
Site Map 2018_08_29
Site Map 2018_08_30
Site Map 2018_08_31
Site Map 2018_09_01
Site Map 2018_09_02
Site Map 2018_09_03
Site Map 2018_09_04
Site Map 2018_09_05
Site Map 2018_09_06
Site Map 2018_09_07
Site Map 2018_09_08
Site Map 2018_09_09
Site Map 2018_09_10
Site Map 2018_09_11
Site Map 2018_09_12
Site Map 2018_09_13
Site Map 2018_09_14
Site Map 2018_09_15
Site Map 2018_09_16
Site Map 2018_09_17
Site Map 2018_09_18
Site Map 2018_09_19
Site Map 2018_09_20
Site Map 2018_09_21
Site Map 2018_09_23
Site Map 2018_09_24
Site Map 2018_09_25
Site Map 2018_09_26
Site Map 2018_09_27
Site Map 2018_09_28
Site Map 2018_09_29
Site Map 2018_09_30
Site Map 2018_10_01
Site Map 2018_10_02
Site Map 2018_10_03
Site Map 2018_10_04
Site Map 2018_10_05
Site Map 2018_10_06
Site Map 2018_10_07
Site Map 2018_10_08
Site Map 2018_10_09
Site Map 2018_10_10
Site Map 2018_10_11
Site Map 2018_10_12
Site Map 2018_10_13
Site Map 2018_10_14
Site Map 2018_10_15
Site Map 2018_10_16
Site Map 2018_10_17
Site Map 2018_10_18
Site Map 2018_10_19
Site Map 2018_10_20
Site Map 2018_10_21
Site Map 2018_10_22
Site Map 2018_10_23
Site Map 2018_10_24
Site Map 2018_10_25
Site Map 2018_10_26
Site Map 2018_10_27
Site Map 2018_10_28
Site Map 2018_10_29
Site Map 2018_10_30
Site Map 2018_10_31
Site Map 2018_11_01
Site Map 2018_11_02
Site Map 2018_11_03
Site Map 2018_11_04
Site Map 2018_11_05
Site Map 2018_11_06
Site Map 2018_11_07
Site Map 2018_11_08
Site Map 2018_11_09
Site Map 2018_11_10
Site Map 2018_11_11
Site Map 2018_11_12
Site Map 2018_11_13
Site Map 2018_11_14
Site Map 2018_11_15
Site Map 2018_11_16
Site Map 2018_11_17
Site Map 2018_11_18
Site Map 2018_11_19
Site Map 2018_11_20
Site Map 2018_11_21
Site Map 2018_11_22
Site Map 2018_11_23
Site Map 2018_11_24
Site Map 2018_11_25
Site Map 2018_11_26
Site Map 2018_11_27
Site Map 2018_11_28
Site Map 2018_11_29
Site Map 2018_11_30
Site Map 2018_12_01
Site Map 2018_12_02
Site Map 2018_12_03
Site Map 2018_12_04
Site Map 2018_12_05
Site Map 2018_12_06
Site Map 2018_12_07
Site Map 2018_12_08
Site Map 2018_12_09
Site Map 2018_12_10
Site Map 2018_12_11
Site Map 2018_12_12
Site Map 2018_12_13
Site Map 2018_12_14
Site Map 2018_12_15
Site Map 2018_12_16
Site Map 2018_12_17
Site Map 2018_12_18
Site Map 2018_12_19
Site Map 2018_12_20
Site Map 2018_12_21
Site Map 2018_12_22
Site Map 2018_12_23
Site Map 2018_12_24
Site Map 2018_12_25
Site Map 2018_12_26
Site Map 2018_12_27
Site Map 2018_12_28
Site Map 2018_12_29
Site Map 2018_12_30
Site Map 2018_12_31
Site Map 2019_01_01
Site Map 2019_01_02
Site Map 2019_01_03
Site Map 2019_01_04
Site Map 2019_01_06
Site Map 2019_01_07
Site Map 2019_01_08
Site Map 2019_01_09
Site Map 2019_01_11
Site Map 2019_01_12
Site Map 2019_01_13
Site Map 2019_01_14
Site Map 2019_01_15
Site Map 2019_01_16
Site Map 2019_01_17
Site Map 2019_01_18
Site Map 2019_01_19
Site Map 2019_01_20
Site Map 2019_01_21
Site Map 2019_01_22
Site Map 2019_01_23
Site Map 2019_01_24
Site Map 2019_01_25
Site Map 2019_01_26
Site Map 2019_01_27
Site Map 2019_01_28
Site Map 2019_01_29
Site Map 2019_01_30
Site Map 2019_01_31
Site Map 2019_02_01
Site Map 2019_02_02
Site Map 2019_02_03
Site Map 2019_02_04
Site Map 2019_02_05
Site Map 2019_02_06
Site Map 2019_02_07
Site Map 2019_02_08
Site Map 2019_02_09
Site Map 2019_02_10
Site Map 2019_02_11
Site Map 2019_02_12
Site Map 2019_02_13
Site Map 2019_02_14
Site Map 2019_02_15
Site Map 2019_02_16
Site Map 2019_02_17
Site Map 2019_02_18
Site Map 2019_02_19
Site Map 2019_02_20
Site Map 2019_02_21
Site Map 2019_02_22
Site Map 2019_02_23
Site Map 2019_02_24
Site Map 2019_02_25
Site Map 2019_02_26
Site Map 2019_02_27
Site Map 2019_02_28
Site Map 2019_03_01
Site Map 2019_03_02
Site Map 2019_03_03
Site Map 2019_03_04
Site Map 2019_03_05
Site Map 2019_03_06
Site Map 2019_03_07
Site Map 2019_03_08
Site Map 2019_03_09
Site Map 2019_03_10
Site Map 2019_03_11
Site Map 2019_03_12
Site Map 2019_03_13