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So Let’s Have Some Real Change

14 November 2006

Americans voted for change this year, so let’s think big.  Let’s think the “unthinkable” for either major political party in the US: abandoning Israel.

Now I like Israel.  I want Israel to succeed.  Israel constitutes a fraction of 1% of the land area of the Arab states.  The Arabs, who sided with Hitler in World War II, just need to get over that.  Israel is democratic, open and 15% Muslim.  Saudi Arabia, for example, is non-democratic, closed and 100% Muslim.  If I follow my heart, as liberals always want me to do, I would support Israel with my dying breath.

But why?  My head, as opposed to my heart, can’t seem to come up with many good reasons.  OK, it is the only democracy in the Middle East.  And … that’s about as far as it goes.  (I’m leaving the Bible out of this.)

On the other hand, Arab states constantly cite our support for Israel as reason to be hostile to the US.  That goes for “friendly” Arab states as well as the hostile ones.  It was cited in Osama bin Laden’s fatwa against us.  That hatred of Israel is held not only by Arab leaders, but by the Arab “street” and virtually every Arab and Muslim in the world.  And Europe could not seem to care less about that “shitty little country.

So it’s the US and Israel itself on Israel’s side, against 1.2 billion Muslims in the Middle East and around the world -- with the rest of the world either on the sidelines or favoring the Muslims.  Can you even count the number of times a UN vote was everyone else against Israel and the US?

Is even Israel on Israel’s side?  I give you three data points: the Oslo Accords, the recent “war” with Hezbollah, and the defeat of Bibi Netanyahu in every Israeli election in the last decade.  Israel’s last true victory was over 30 years ago.

And Jews in the US are more aligned with the UN than with current US policy.  This past election, 87% of the Jewish vote went Democrat.  In recent polling, 65% of US Jews think the US did not do the “right thing in taking military action against Iraq”, compared to 54% of the overall electorate.

For whom, then, are we doing this?

The American electorate, including a vast majority of Jews, just voted for “change”.  Let’s give it to them.  Let’s call the bluff of Islamo-fascists and just drop our support of Israel and get out of the Middle East.  Let’s get back to our isolationist roots.  Free trade with all, entangling alliances with none.  Let’s just see if President Bush’s enemies have been right all along?  Can the rest of the world, the majority of Americans, and the vast majority of Jews all be wrong?

Passive-aggressive?  Maybe.  But also cold-bloodedly rational.  Let’s list the good and the bad effects, or potential effects, of abandoning Israel and getting entirely out of the Middle East.

Good:

  1. saving about $3B per year in foreign aid, capping US assistance given to Israel since its inception at about $100B and saving even more if we stop giving to Egypt as well;
  2. saving untold $billions in defense spending, as we no longer need to prepare for battles in sandstorms or nation building;
  3. eliminating the stated reasons for the Muslim world hating us so much, which, if such reasons are true, would eliminate Islamo-fascist terrorist attacks against the US;
  4. if such reasons are not true, exposing the true causes of terrorism against the US, thereby waking up even the most Pollyannaish peaceniks and getting the “sleeping giant” geared up for the action it needs to take;
  5. winning the love of world opinion that even signing the Kyoto treaty would not win, thereby making real gains in things like trade agreements -- maybe they won’t even prosecute Donald Rumsfeld;
  6. winning the love of the oil-rich Muslim countries from Nigeria to Iran, thereby obtaining more reliable, and fairly priced, oil, without having to open ANWR;
  7. eliminating the unifying thread among Arab and Muslim countries, thereby increasing the probability that they will fight each other instead of us.

Bad:

  1. witnessing a volley of nukes throughout the Middle East annihilating millions of Jews, Arabs and Muslims, and if there are any misses, they would likely fall on Europe or Africa (no jokes, please – yes, this should be on the “bad” list);
  2. losing the Israeli check, such as it is, on Arab-Muslim aggression, if there is indeed a movement to restore the Caliphate and impose global Sharia law.

I’d like to see anyone else’s good-bad list on this subject, in case I overlooked something.  But unless I overlooked an awful lot, the rational choice seems obvious.

Anyone else ready for some real change?

Randall Hoven lives in the state of future Vice-President Obama.