Does the Reform Movement care about Israel?


One aspect of the recent resolution passed by the American Reform movement calling upon President Bush and Congress “to set a time table for phased and expeditious withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq” should be of particular concern to Israelis: Israel is virtually unmentioned in the long Reform statement supporting the resolution, and the impact of withdrawal on Israel appears to have played no role in the deliberations. One meaningless statement that the phased withdrawal should be done in a manner that “best enhances stabity in Iraq – and we would add … Israel” is the only substantive mention of Israel.

Of all the reasons adduced for American withdrawal only one – the high level of American and Iraqi casualties – has any relevance. The others – the failure to find Saddam Hussein’s arsenals of WMD’s; the humiliation of prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison; President Bush’s failure to secure U.N. Security Council support for a military invasion – look to the past, but have nothing to do with the consequences of withdrawal now that America is in Iraq. (The Reform movement supported the invasion in a 2002 resolution.)

Even the high level of civilian casualties is only an argument for withdrawal if one believes that those casualties will decline after withdrawal. But the Reform statement does not and could not make that claim. According to the most recent National Intelligence Estimate an American withdrawal in the near future “almost certainly would lead to a significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict in Iraq. . . . Massive civilian casualties and forced population displacement would be probable.”

Nowhere does the Reform statement mention the threat of Islamofascism to the West, including the United States and Israel. Yet what we are seeing in Iraq today is the playing out of the strategy enunciated by the late Abu Musab al Zarqawi in an intercepted letter to Osama bin Laden in 2004. To prevent the evil principle of democracy from taking hold in Iraq, Zarqawi proposed to trigger a civil war by terrorist attacks on Shiites, which would lead to Shiite retaliation against Sunnis, which would then force all Sunnis to join the battle.

If that murderous strategy succeeds, the jihadi historical narrative of Islam ascendant, ever since the expulsion of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan by Islamist mujhadeens, and the West in flight would gain further corroboration and draw more to the banner of worldwide jihad.

The implications for Israel are immense. As Vice-President Cheney told the recent AIPAC Convention, “It is simply not consistent for anyone to demand aggressive action against the menace posed by the Iranian regime while at the same time acquiescing in a retreat from Iraq that would leave our worst enemies dramatically emboldened and Israel’s best friend, the United States, dangerously weakened.” Prime Minister Olmert echoed those sentiments two days later, and they are shared almost unanimously by Israeli policymakers. Yet the Reform statement has nothing to say about the Iranian threat to Israel or the West, or the implications of a withdrawal from Iraq on that threat.

Amazingly, the principal source cited by Reform statement was the report of the Iraqi Study group headed by former secretary of state James Baker III. Yes, the same Baker who as secretary of state directed harsh epithets at Israel and publicly offered Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir his phone number to call when he became “serious about peace.”

The Study Group made almost no concrete recommendations about how America might achieve its policy goals in Iraq. But it did put its imprimatur on the single most dangerous idea from Israel’s point of view: that the Israel-Arab conflict is the source of all the other conflicts in the Middle East.

The Study Group proposed to convene an international conference to which dozens of states would be invited, with the notable exception of Israel, even though only Israel’s concessions were specified in advance: “Israel should return the Golan Heights.”

Finally, the Reform statement makes the U.N. Security Council the final arbiter of the legitimacy of military force. Yet President Bush’s failure was the result of French determination to prevent any U.S. military action, just as China and Russia use the Security Council today to prevent any serious sanctions against Iran.

The U.N. has become a debating society for the passage of anti-Israel resolutions, and its Human Rights Commission has even gone so far as to sanction terrorism against Israeli civilians. Yet the Reform statement turns the U.N. into the sole source of international legitimacy.

It’s time to ask: When did the American Reform movement stop caring about Jews in Israel?

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Bob Miller
8 years 5 months ago

I’m less optimistic than Jacob Haller that the American public today can be compared to the American public in 1972. Decades of politically slanted education at all levels have taken their toll.

Jacob Haller
8 years 5 months ago

Will Choose wrote

“Nazism had many sources. Not one of those was Islam in any form”

However, it’s defensible to state that Radical Islamism has many forms and Nazism is arguably one of them.

Are they paying homage since there were Croatian and Crimean Tartar SS units replete with their own Imams? We’re not talking just German/Axis platoons; SS Units.

Steve’s argument about detente is that the U.S. was willing to take on Soviet expansion whether the Vietnam engagement was successful or not. Not a contradiction.

That said, the Vietnam analogy is not completely without its merits. However, 20/20 hindsight can kick in nowadays being that the USSR collapsed because they didn’t have the resources to keep things together. Is there any evidence of opposition to the war back then because someone exhibited the practical foresight that American involvement was pointless because of Soviet collapse in the near future? Not likely.

I’m under the impression that Democrats are more likely to downplay the threat of radical Islamism (Harry Reid) than they are to state that the threat is for certain real but the approach has to be sensible and not get caught up in battles that aren’t ours, like in Iraq.

One reason that Nixon won by a landslide in ’72 over the anti-war McGovern is that the American public, although dissatisfied with the war, reserved even greater contempt for the war protesters with their flag-burning, slogans of support for Ho Chi Minh and overall decadent attitudes. The Silent Majority prevailed.

The Democrats might want to learn that lesson from history before allowing their talking heads from the radical-left faction of the majority upstage the rest. That’s arguably one reason they lost in ’04.

8 years 5 months ago

The Communists won in Vietnam, but lost the Cold War. That much is easy. But to express the question better, the period of “Detente” is generally seen as beginning in the late 1960’s, and the U.S. didn’t pull out of Vietnam until the early 1970’s. So Detente continued right when the US was doing the opposite of demonstrating the willingness to fight Communism in all spheres.

Vietnam and Iraq, however, are not parallel. The difference is that in Vietnam, it’s not clear that the population preferred the US to the USSR. Robert McNamara wrote in 1999 that “The Nixon administration, like the Johnson administration before it, could not give the South Vietnamese the essential ingredient for success: genuine indigenous political legitimacy.”

In Iraq, the populace wants peace, but the terrorists are trying to spark a Civil War. For the US to pack and run would lead to disaster.

Will Choose
8 years 5 months ago

Which is it Steve?

“One of the reasons that led to detente was the realization of the Communist world that the US was willing to fight and defeat Communism in all spheres.”

“The Communists won.”

You don’t make any sense.

Steve Brizel
8 years 5 months ago

Will Choose-We fought the Vietnam War to stop communism. Despite what the news media reported, the Tet offensive was a Communist defeat and the only way that the Communists won was when the Democratic controlled Congress pulled the plug. That led to the debacle of 1975 and the “reducation camps” and the installation of a Communist dictatorship.

FWIW, IIRC, more Americans died in the Civil War between 1861 and 1865 than during the Vietnam War.There is no dount as George Will has stated that the US would still have slavery today if that war was fought under today’s liberal-left media scrutiny.

The next time that you see someone who arrived in the US after fleeing Vietnam either via one of our helicopters, transports or as a ‘boat person”, ask them why the US fought that war. While the US does lots of business with Vietnam, China and the FSU, one of the reasons that led to detente was the realization of the Communist world that the US was willing to fight and defeat Communism in all spheres. China and Vietnam today can be fairly analogized to the USSR under Gorbachev-trying to have both economic openness and political repression. All of human history has shown that free markets and minds are the best combination of economics and politics, as opposed to either a totally laisseze faire or overly regulated system.