Get Over It! It is Not and Has Never Been a Special Relationship
They are both wrong. The so called special relationship is a chimera.
Let’s revisit some history.
In closing critical international shipping lanes, the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser in July, 1956, was a serious provocation to Great Britain, France and Israel. Furthermore after continual terrorism and threats Israel had credible intelligence that the Arabs were preparing for war. On Oct. 29, 1956, Israeli forces, directed by Moshe Dayan, launched a combined air and ground assault into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. Early Israeli successes were reinforced by an Anglo-French invasion along the canal. The November 6 cease fire, demanded by the United Nations and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles led to a total withdrawal by Israel, England and France in exchange for reassurances that the U.N. would monitor the Sinai and keep open the Straits of Tiran crucial for Israel’s shipping. That was special only in the thinly disguised animosity of John Foster Dulles.
Border incidents and terrorism continued against Israel for the next decade. Egypt’s President Nasser escalated his blood curdling threats to destroy Israel and in 1967 he requested the withdrawal of United Nations forces from the Sinai and closed the Gulf of Aqaba and Straits of Tiran.
When Israel complained of these flagrant violations of the 1956 agreement, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and President Lyndon Johnson declared that they could not find the agreement and therefore could not issue any warning to Egypt. Israel launched a pre-emptive lightning strike which crippled the forces of Syria, Egypt and Jordan arrayed against it. By the time Israel heard Dean Rusk’s demands for a cease fire it was all over, and the era of so called “occupation,” which has been flogged by every successive administration, began.
In October of 1973 it was clear to Israel and confirmed by international intelligence that Arab States were preparing a major strike on Israel. President Nixon, already beset by escalating scandal permitted his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to pressure Israel to avoid a preemptive strike. Israel bowed to the hard fisted demands and on Yom Kippur, the combined forces of Egypt and Syria with logistical support from all the Arab states attacked. Israel’s desperate pleas for re-supply of dwindling ordnance were ignored by the State and Defense Departments. Finally, Nixon ordered an immediate air-lift. While dispute continues as to whether it was Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger or Kissinger who held up the resupply, what is clear is that when Israel regrouped and began a counteroffensive, Kissinger demanded an immediate cease fire. Negotiations over Israel’s retreat from the Sinai continued into the administration of Gerald Ford in which Kissinger remained as Secretary of State. Largely as a result of Kissinger’s crude threats of a “reassessment of America’s relations with Israel” Israel withdrew back across the Suez Canal and several miles inland from the east bank. All territorial gains in Syria made during the war were given up.
Then there was President James Earl Carter who was surprised by Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem which heralded the Camp David Accords. His National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski was clearly partial to the Arabs, a stance he has never abandoned. Carter’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young met with the P.L.O. They all piled on Israel to accept Anwar Sadat’s terms not just for the return of the entire Sinai with thriving Jewish settlements and state of the art military bases, but also to accept his demands for withdrawal from the Golan and the West Bank. Begin described those meetings in the Camp David Retreat as “deluxe concentration camps.”
While there is deserved nostalgia for Ronald Reagan, it should be remembered that in the 1982 Lebanon War, when Israel, after continuing bombardment from PLO bases in Lebanon, launched a major offensive to destroy PLO strongholds, then Secretary of State George Schultz and the President sponsored a plan to save the PLO by evacuating it to Arab countries, with the leadership going to Tunisia where they remained until the Oslo accords brought them back to the West Bank.
The Reagan administration also produced the “Reagan Plan for Middle East Peace” which was nothing but a clone of the Rogers’ plan calling basically for a return to the 1967 lines.
The first President George Bush’s Secretary of State James Baker’s animus to Israel went back to his college years at Princeton where his thesis focused on Israel’s advent as a policy blunder. When Iraq launched SCUD missiles into Israel, a non combatant, the Bush/Baker/Cheney administration went into high gear to deny Israel the right to strike back by refusing to give them a “friendly craft” code for American aircraft. Israel was repaid for her acquiescence by Baker’s threats to cut off loan guarantees unless then Prime Minister Shamir acceded to a Madrid meeting. That was pretty special, was it not?
During the Clinton years, there was a special relationship, but not with Israel. It was with Yasser Arafat who was the most frequent foreign visitor to the White House during the Clinton years. Clinton hosted the Oslo accords which culminated with a handshake by Yasser Arafat and prime Minister Rabin, followed by an unprecedented escalation of terror against Israeli civilians. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright with the help of Dennis Ross pummeled Israel continually into accepting every single Arab demand. When Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu demurred at the Wye Plantation, and Arafat threatened to leave, we were treated to the vision of Albright running as fast as her heels would let her to block the gate so that most favored guest would not leave in a snit. Albright went on to greater money if not glory by shilling for Qatar as a paid lobbyist.
And then we had the second George Bush administration. George W. Bush was genuinely well disposed toward Israel, but he could not avoid the siren song of appeasement, and flogged the “Road Map,” yet another clone of the give-the-Arabs everything plans and pushed for the surrender of Gaza. His Secretaries of State, first Colin Powell and then Condoleeza Rice, barely masked their antipathy to Israel. What was special about this duo was their string of failed foreign policy initiatives while they were busy processing peace in the Middle East.
And now we have an administration where the President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, once political adversaries, think as one when it comes to hostility to Israel.
There are only two special relationships with respect to Israel. First is the relationship to Jews in every corner of the world to Israel and the miracle of its resurrection. Second is the special relationship with Christian Evangelicals, a number of legislators and those non Jewish columnists, writers and commentators – Glenn Beck, Pilar Rahola, Robin Shepherd, Andrew McCarthy, Frank Gaffney, John Bolton, Cal Thomas, Giulio Meotti, Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, Adrian Morgan, to name only a handful–who buck the prevailing insane vilification of the Jewish state and staunchly and bravely stand by Israel.
I have no doubt inadvertently omitted many names, but as we embark on a New Year 5773, may all their names be inscribed in the Book of Life