AEI’s Rubin Calls for Unconditional Support for Israel …or Else

You really have to hand it to Michael Rubin. His post on “The Corner” in the National Review Online today regarding the Flotilla “Incident” leaves little doubt as to his core worldview. The post speaks for itself:

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Gaza Crisis: Decision Time for Obama [Michael Rubin]

As we near the first anniversary of President Obama’s Cairo speech, the Middle East is heading to hell in a handbag. The core of the Obama doctrine is that “if we say what our enemies want to hear and if they like us, then our strategic objectives will naturally fall in line.” This of course is naïve in the extreme, but it has been at the core of the Obama administration’s foreign policy for the past year.

In the Middle East, of course, Iran has dismissed Obama’s call to unclench its fist, and Obama may have been surprised that Hamas’s and Hezbollah’s commitment to radical Islamism had less to do with their feelings toward the United States than with their own atavistic ideology.

The idea that we need to be neutral in the Arab-Israeli situation is silly: We should support Israel because it is in U.S. national interest to do so. What’s the alternative? Basing our regional national security on Syria? On Libya? On Hamas and Hezbollah? On Egypt? Indeed, while the Walt and Mearsheimer camp often suggest that it is not in our interest to support Israel and that instead it is some communal bribe, the fact of the matter is that the United States gets just as much if not more from our relationship with Israel. A look at the U.N. voting record shows that. We need allies that support us unconditionally, and we need to reciprocate.

So why is it decision time for Obama? Israel feels itself increasingly in an existential crisis. Not only is Iran nearing a nuclear-weapons capability, but it has become increasingly vogue to delegitimize Israel. In the wake of the Gaza ship incident, Israel is going to see whether it has any allies left who will recognize its dilemma, recognize its security concerns, and support it as the crisis grows. Israel knows it can’t trust Europe. Indeed, Europe finances many of the groups which, if they don’t seek Israel’s destruction directly, nevertheless indirectly support terrorism.

If Obama decides it is in America’s interest to make an example of Israel after the Gaza flotilla incident in order to win goodwill in Cairo, Beirut, Tehran, and Ankara, then he must also recognize that the leadership in Jerusalem is going to conclude that it cannot trust the United States to safeguard its security, and that therefore it must take matters into its own hands on any number of issues, not the least of which is Iran’s nuclear program. In effect, if the White House decides to come down hard on Israel now, it is the same as giving a green light for Israel to strike Iran. That is not advocacy; it is just the realism about which President Obama is so fond.

05/31 01:25 PMShare

For that matter, look at all The Corner’s posts on the subject. You’d never think that Israel flew commandos 70 miles from its shores to forcibly commandeer a Turkish civilian vessel in international waters.

(Remember, it was Rubin’s mentor, Richard Perle, who did as much as anyone to cement strategic ties between Turkey and Israel over many years. It must be a difficult moment for these guys.)

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. Its going to get exceedingly painful ‘for these guys,’ not just “difficult” as the I/P crises internationalizes beyond the scope, power and influence of the US and Israeli governments to contain it. “Blind US support for Israel” is rapidly undermining the US posture in the most vitally strategic region in the world. Either the US makes a major foreign policy U turn, or its condemned to becoming virtually irrelevant and suffering geopolitical and economic consequences far worse than refusing to be Israel’s block punt.

  2. I happened to watch a bit of CNN yesterday — that Rick somebody who has a program in the afternoon. I thought I was viewing Israeli TV. Or read the Times on the ship massacre. The U.S. media continues to be overwhelmingly pro-Israel, no matter what the Israelis do. I wonder if major media outlets will echo Rubin’s warning (or rather, threat) that Israel will “do” Iran if Obama doesn’t hew to the Israeli line.

    Some people I know insist public opinion (real public opinion that is, not the media) in the U.S. is turning more and more against Israel. I tend to share that view. But I remain unconvinced that public opinion has (or will have) any real effect on U.S. policy. The pro-Israeli groups are larger and more active than the antis. The silent majority in between is largely passive.

    Be that as it may, Israel does indeed face an “existential crisis.” This crisis is entirely of its own making. The Israelis, most of them, and their supporters here are so blind. It’s hard to resist a superstitious interpretation of events — that unseen, malevolent forces are leading the Israelis down a path of doom.

  3. This flotilla incident does introduce the ability of the US and Israel to demonstrate some space between them and in the ensuing rift, Israel throws a tantrum against Iran. Makes sense for these Machiavellian bastards.

    It seems we’ve seen this dynamic before, though my memory’s clouded. Poor rogue little Israel, she’s a special country don’t you know. Much like a rescued cur, their snarling and snapping has to be understood, tolerated don’t you know.

    Dumb Israelis, the Arabs will get to play the same card too. The few, rich and powerful shouldn’t proclaim too loudly their exceptionalism doctrine, or their “might makes right” policies; the many and the lowly might embrace their premises and the rich don’t really have that many guns. So long as they keep us divided along sectarian lines, we do the work for them…

  4. RE: “he [Obama] must also recognize that the leadership in Jerusalem is going to conclude that it cannot trust the United States to safeguard its security, and that therefore it must take matters into its own hands on any number of issues, not the least of which is Iran’s nuclear program.” – Rubin

    SEE: Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran – Times Online, 05/30/10
    (excerpts) Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline…Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal…
    ..The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. “The 1,500km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran,” said a navy officer…

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