American foreign policy Barack Obama Bush Administration Israel Israel lobby Israeli settlements

Will Obama reduce loan guarantees to Israel?

It seems that the U.S. is considering a plan to reduce $1 billion worth of loan guarantees to Israel, according to Ha’aretz. The decision will be left to Obama, and perhaps it will be part of a larger diplomatic package:

The assessment now is that the Obama administration will weigh the political situation carefully before deciding on a cut to the guarantees and may try to link it with Israeli measures beyond the Green Line.

Will the mainstream pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. rise up in protest? Let them try! It won’t work. Contrary to popular belief, it didn’t work in 1991 either, when the conventional lobby famously confronted Bush pere in his stand-off with Shamir over loan guarantees and settlement activity. There was a lot of noise. But Congress caved. Bush and Baker got what they wanted. This new Congress is not going to want to mess with Obama over an issue like this, especially not during his honeymoon period. The larger question is, would Obama and Hillary Clinton get support from the rest of the American Jewish community that is not represented by the conventional lobby, if the new administration decided to get serious about the settlements or lean on Israel in other ways? Would the rest of America support the Obama administration? There is no doubt in my mind.

31 thoughts on “Will Obama reduce loan guarantees to Israel?

  1. If the Obama administration formed a POSITIVE strategy, that committed to confident results of permanent peace or at least permanent quiet, then Israel and Israeli advocates would sign on.

    A simple punitive measure (a large change in policy) against Israel would NOT accomplish that.

    The incoming Obama administration has NOT, to date, criticized the military involvement of Israel in Gaza (on the contrary) or US communications to Israel.

    It has stated that it seeks peace in the region, a positive statement, and in the form of enhancing the security, welfare and degree of stakeholder investment of each community.

    If a conditional clause were included into a peace agreement document, that the US signed on as enforcing third party, then a loan condition might apply.

    If initiated unilaterally, it would be perceived as punitive, and enhance the electoral and public support prospects for Likud.

    There are MANY in Likud and in Israel that already conclude that the US will consider wiping its hands of Israel, and particularly from the Obama administration (although Obama’s senior staff would never consent to a radical approach).

    They respect him, and relatively trust his campaign and subsequent commitments and clarifications. But, they are prepared to go it alone (more than currently), as bad judgement as that might be.

  2. I just read in the Haaretz article that the loan reductions are already part of the written agreement between Israel and the US.

    It shouldn’t therefore be taken as unilateral or punitive.

  3. How about a moratorium on all aid payments until there is proof of a halt on all settlement activities?

    $1 billion less? In light of Olmert’s directive to Bush the other day, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t even look like a slap on the wrist. It looks like a PR move. What David Axelrod might call, Change we can deceive in. If he were more honest.

    Obama will not change anything, as long as the irrational feelings of a blindly devoted American tribal defender of Israel outweigh the security and prosperity of the rest of the United States, all Palestinians, most Israelis, and the world at large.

    It appears Israel just shelled (with white phosphorus) a UN Headquarters in Gaza. Some of us who care about more than our tribe think punitive measures just might be in order, Richard.

    Let’s have a plebiscite shall we?

    I thought not.

  4. Let’s see:

    Rationalizing expansionism as self-defense … check
    Fire-bombing and gassing civilians … check
    Ignoring international agreements … check
    Separating of citizenry by race … check
    Confiscation of property by race … check
    Vile racist propaganda … check
    Summary executions of dissidents … check

    Gosh, maybe FDR was wrong to go to war against Nazi Germany — maybe he should’ve just offered them $10 billion in loan guarantees and $3 billion per year in foreign aid!

  5. “MM”! You’ve come back! Good.

    I had wanted to follow up on a comment you made in an earlier thread which suggested that you had certain Nazi sympathies.

    How convenient that you made my point for me by writing in this thread: “””Gosh, maybe FDR was wrong to go to war against Nazi Germany”””

    Most people believe that Japan attacked the US at Pearl Harbor, after which Germany declared war on the US. You flip it and have FDR declaring war on Germany.

    People who hold your views about blood libel and the origins of the Second World War often dispute that the Holocaust occurred.

    So, “MM,” I want to ask you. Did the Nazis murder millions of Jews during World War II, some of them in gas chambers?

  6. “””Orde”””, I responded to your question in the last thread but apparently it’s been held up for moderation.

  7. MM, it has been sucked into the WordPress spam filter because you used a cuss word. I am sure there is an easy way to retrieve it and edit it but I can’t figure it out. If you want it to appear, please resend without the f-word. That said, a word to Richard, MM, Jonathan Mark and his aliases and everyone else: I set up this blog because I wanted a place for constructive conversation. Anger and passion at a time like this are understandable and welcome, but I don’t want this to turn into a mini-version of Ha’aretz on-line, where people treat their ideological adversaries as if they were monsters and resort to ad hominem attacks. Please help. Thanks.

  8. Dan, that is great.

    However, “MM” has endorsed blood libel in a previous thread. He wrote:

    “””And speaking of nourishment and something to chew on, I just want to congratulate The Jewish Peopleâ„¢ on another very well-cooked Arab infant.
    The great thing about White Phosphorus is that it cooks infants so thoroughly that there is literally NO risk of salmonella or tapeworm when the baby is consumed. So bon appetit!”””

    There is simply no other way to interpret the “MM”s statement other than as blood libel. “The baby is consumed” by “The Jewish People.”

  9. Dan,
    Congradulations! Your blog has now been taken over by an anti-Semite posing as an anti-imperialist and someone suffering from multiple personality disorder.

  10. I think yoou are being a bit too harsh, Tom, but maybe it would help to get back to the post itself. I can’t believe Israel would want to make a aeasly billion dollars worth of credit an issue when America and the rest of the world is in the worsr recession in decades. Especially if foreign aid money goes to rebuilding Gaza after the Israelis destroy it in a war half of Americans and most Dems think is wrong.

  11. I meant a “measly” billion dollars. All we’re talking about here is reducing what is essentially a line of credit. I think Israel would still have a huge amount of “guarantees” on loans if the reported reduction is made. I don’t remember what the total is but it’s way more than a billion. Come to think of it, that in itself is outrageous, isnt it?

  12. There is one sure-fire way to get rid of the settlements in Judea/Samaria….that is for the Arabs to make peace with Israel. Were the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and the Palestinians to come to the Knesset, Sadat-style, say they were willing to make peace with Israel on condition that Israel withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, and if the Arab leaders were to give up the demand for the Palestinian “Right of Return”, then ANY Israeli gov’t, even one of the Likud would have no choice but to agree. So why doesn’t this happen?…this is the famous “agreement everyone knows the outlines of”.
    Because the Arab leaders who made such a move would be denounced as traitors, as was Sadat. Because the Arab world can NOT accept the existence of any dhimmi Jewish state of any size within the Dar-Al-Islam (Realm of Islam). The Arabs would rather have the continuation of the current situation than actually make peace. The Egyptians and Palestinian Authority are being lavished with American and EU money as it is, and the Americans and EU have no leverage to pressure the Arabs, particularly the Palestinians to make concessions. Why is this? Because Abbas and the FATAH-led Palestinian Authority would say that cutting the aid would simply bring HAMAS to power in Judea/Samaria. Same with Mubarak in Egypt…the US has tried to force Mubarak to stop the smuggling into Gaza from Sinai, but he has made only a half-hearted effort to do so. He tells the Americans “if you cut the aid to Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood will come to power”. So you see, the Arab side has the West over a barrel and can not be pressured to make the concessions needed. So the current situation will continue indefinitely, no matter even if Obama decides to use up his political capital in a fruitless “activist” attempt to force peace in the Middle East.

  13. No sweat, Dan. I don’t have a copy of the post on hand, but I don’t think I used the F word. Maybe I did.

    Interesting though to see that the old “blood libel” still draws the same (Pavlovian?) response. I should’ve known, I guess.

    I posted a picture of a charbroiled baby and challenged the Jewish and Zionist frequenters of this blog to separate themselves from it–not unlike Tom Friedman and other Zionist commentators in the U.S. media regularly demand of ordinary Muslims vis-a-vis Islamic fanatics and their tactics.

    So while I’d love to talk about the Holocaust and blood libel, and other ethnocentric narratives that rally the tribe to circle the wagons, I just wanted to know who here likes Israel barbecuing babies in their name. That’s all.

  14. And to Teddy’s point, about a measly billion in credit–I agree, small potatoes, all things considered.

    What do you think about suspending all American aid until there is proof of a freeze on all new settlements and home demolitions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank?

    Would that be tough love, or anti-Semitism? Or something in between?

  15. Teddy, I believe Israel was given a 10 billion USD line of credit back in 2003 if I’m not mistaken. Then there’s the 3 bil USD in annual aid. Then there’s the billions in taxpayer-subsidized Jewish philanthropy. Then there’s the tens of millions from Germany in Holocaust reparations flowing in since 1952.

    Maybe if Israel gets off of international welfare one day, it will be forced to develop a sustainable posture vis-a-vis its neighbors?

    Maybe it will then prioritize the actual security and well-being of its citizens over the purchase of new F-16s, Apaches, bunker busters, cluster bombs, M4 tanks, etc. and the subsidization of territorial expansion?

    Is there an Israeli or Jewish leader with the courage to say “I have a dream”?

    Or will it continue being the Arabs’ fault, forevermore?

  16. At this point it is looking very much as if our friend MM is a Holocaust-denier. Tom Mitchell wisely calls MM “an anti-Semite posing as an anti-imperialist.”

    MM, did the Nazis murder millions of Jews during World War II, some of them in gas chambers?

    Our friend MM provides a revealing response:

    “””So while I’d love to talk about the Holocaust and blood libel, and other ethnocentric narratives that rally the tribe to circle the wagons,”””

    A narrative can be true or false. An account which is ONLY a narrative is false.

    Why would MM, who already asserts blood libel, refuse to answer the question of whether the Nazis murdered millions of Jews during World War II, some of them in gas chambers?

    Because MM knows that if he answers this question then he will look very bad in the eyes of RealisticDove readers.

    I urge people to refrain from replying substantively to MMs complaints until this matter of Holocaust denial on MMs part is cleared up. It is rare to isolate a Holocaust denier, but now that we apparently have one here we should use this opportunity to probe its mind.

    MM, did the Nazis murder millions of Jews during World War II, some of them in gas chambers?

  17. Oh, you’ve outed me, man of many hats!

    I DO deny the Holocaust …the importance that it has in 21st century American political life.

    It is an insult, and ought to be an outrage, to the MILLIONS of others in history who have suffered persecution and genocidal violence, not the least of whom are African-Americans, Native Americans, even my own ancestors.

    None of whom have museums dedicated to them. Or presidential candidates invoking their current-day relevance.

    Frankly, I wasn’t aware this blog’s comments area was meant to be an online Holocaust Museum. It appears though that “””Jonathan Mark””” cherishes such a notion.

    What a transparent statement, too, this one: “I urge people to refrain from replying substantively to MMs complaints until this matter of Holocaust denial on MMs part is cleared up.”

    So allow me to call your bluff, “””Jonathan”””: Hitler killed millions of Jews. I don’t have any doubts about that. Norman Finkelstein says it’s true in The Holocaust Industry, and I trust him.

    Now: Will we still have to hear about the Holocaust when there isn’t a single Palestinian left in Palestine?

    That’s the question.

  18. We still have the problem of MMs blood libel.

    MM probably doesn’t know what “blood libel” is. It is the claim that Jews eat children in religious rituals. While it sounds absurd, many Jews lost their lives over the centuries because of this accusation.

    My mother once met an Englishman who believed in it.

    Here is MMs account. Note MMs assertion that it is “The Jewish People” who eat the child. That is significant:

    “””And speaking of nourishment and something to chew on, I just want to congratulate The Jewish Peopleâ„¢ on another very well-cooked Arab infant.

    The great thing about White Phosphorus is that it cooks infants so thoroughly that there is literally NO risk of salmonella or tapeworm when the baby is consumed. So bon appetit!”””

    MMs blood libel is in this thread:

  19. MM acknowledged an important point regarding holocaust denial.

    There are two forms of it:

    1. That it occurred at all
    2. That it bears any significance, current or long-term

    In public discourse I’ve accused individuals of denying the significance of the holocaust, to be misrepresented as if I was accusing the individuals of denying the holocaust occurred (which has been described as well, mostly in degree – “its likely that only 4.5 million were strategically exterminated”.)

    The holocaust is a CRITICAL event in world history, and in Jewish history. It remains a fundamental era that REQUIRES to be remembered to avoid repitition, to Jews and to anyone.

    To deny its relevance (“others were ommitted, why should you “JEWS” get to invoke it?”) is cruel, racist, ignorant.

    It is a rational question of whether one is invoking the memory of the holocaust to advocate for some right outside of its actual significance. The left IMPOSES its description of that, its exageration “the holocaust is not that important to me, to my political weighing of things. I’m right. Your experience is of not merit, no importance. You are dust.”

    Anger does NOT replace thought in politics, in policy formation, in JUSTICE.

  20. Actually, what you are saying, Richard is that MY experience, my ancestors’ experience, our fellow African-American citizens’ historical experience, our fellow Native American citizens’ historical experience, the entire collective experience of humanity experiencing barbarism and inhumanity, is NOT THAT IMPORTANT, not AS IMPORTANT as WWII’s particular effect on European Jews.

    It is a travesty that the Holocaust is fixated upon and given top billing among human suffering, as a uniquely Jewish event, when FORTY-SEVEN (not six) million CIVILIANS died during WWII, and another TEN million in WWI, not to mention all the soldiers, not to mention the frequently unmentioned Ukranian Holodomor (3 million), not to mention several other genocides occurred even more recently in the 20th century, and more closely related to the actions of the United States of America.

    The fact is that in modern-day America the Holocaust is being used to justify MORE GENOCIDE.

    So I will take this admittedly feeble and rather pathetic attempt to defame me (I’m a nobody to begin with!) as an opportunity to voice my total opposition to the way this particular narrative is holding our country (no not Israel! but it, as well) HOSTAGE, while so much barbarism continues against Arabs and other Muslims, rationalized and explained away with–of all things–the Holocaust.

    It is grotesque and shows that hypocrisy and favoritism know no bounds in our contemporary Zionist-status-quo society.

    So if you don’t mind, now that I’ve shared my thoughts on the Holocaust-obsession-cult on display by several here, why don’t you give me the answer I’m after?

    Will I still need to listen to all this crap about the Holocaust after Zionists have completely extinguished the entire Palestinian civilization in Palestine?

    And what makes you think the world (which HAS shown so much compassion and sympathy for that particular experience) will even care anymore?

  21. Note MMs assertion that it is “The Jewish People”

    Incorrect. I asserted it was The Jewish Peopleâ„¢.

    It is my understanding that the concept of The Jewish Peopleâ„¢ is the intellectual property of the Zionist state of Israel.

    See I don’t care that much about cannibalistic myths per se; I just don’t wanna get sued!

  22. I’m not saying that anyone’s experience is not important. I’m saying that the experience of the holocaust IS important and requires to be remembered.

    I will remember it. My children will remember it. Anyone that pretends to be my personal friend or respectful of Jewish life will remember it.

    And, remember it as significant, permanently.

    One significance of remembrance of the holocaust IS to oppose future and current ones, whether parallel or different.

    And, to do so in a way that is minimally a pendulum swing of hostilities, instead an actual quieting of hostilities.

    BOTH the residues of the holocaust AND the nakba continue. It is the task of compassionate, imaginative, respectful people to realize peace.

    The insistence that Jews NOT regard attempted and largely realized genocide as important, is frankly racist, equivalent to Hitler’s story about the Armenians (who remembers them, who considers them important).

    Find another way to assert Palestinian dignity than to insult Jewish.

  23. What insults “Jewish dignity” is someone like Henry Kissinger trotting around the globe, still a free man, advising our presidential candidates, talking about the need to prevent a “second Holocaust.”

    To hear that from a war criminal is absolutely repulsive. And par for the course in the U.S.A.

    Thanks, Holocaust industry.

  24. The insistence that Jews NOT regard attempted and largely realized genocide as important

    And I never insisted that, so you’re arguing with yourself, Richard, as usual.

    I said I don’t want a Holocaust fixation justifying current-day war crimes and attempted genocide against the Palestinians or Iraqis.

    See the difference?

  25. Dan says that a purpose of this blog is “to convince American Jews to support Israel’s peace camp.”

    Yet frequent RealisticDove contributor MM has another agenda entirely. MM wrote on a previous thread:

    “””And speaking of nourishment and something to chew on, I just want to congratulate The Jewish Peopleâ„¢ on another very well-cooked Arab infant.

    The great thing about White Phosphorus is that it cooks infants so thoroughly that there is literally NO risk of salmonella or tapeworm when the baby is consumed. So bon appetit!”””

    MM disputes that the above constitutes blood libel:

    “””Incorrect. I asserted it was The Jewish Peopleâ„¢.”””

    Dan, your blog cannot convince Jews to support anything at all if your blog is riddled with MMs accusations of blood libel.

    Richard Witty wisely calls MMs writings on this blog a form of Holocaust denial. Thomas Mitchell calls MM “an anti-Semite posing as an anti-imperialist.”

  26. MM,
    You used the term “fixation” in the context of a dialog with me, so I presumed that you were describing my comments as a “fixation”.

    I don’t believe that is an accurate description of my attitude in the slightest.

    The holocaust never rationally justifies “anything goes”.

    On the contrary, the completed slogan of “Never Again” includes, “to anybody” and then “and not by my hand”.

    If you are questioning where the dividing line between rational defense of Israeli civilians and aggression on Gazan Palestinians lies, that is an excellent question.

    If you dismiss Hamas shelling as aggression at all, requiring or deserving defense, then the question doesn’t ever arise.

    From your earlier statements, I infer that that is an attitude of yours, that Hamas is conducting resistance to oppression and resistance to oppression can ONLY be supported, never questioned.

    I obviously disagree.

    The best outcome that I can see is that Hamas changes, and actually applies a cease-fire (for its own interests even) over an extended period.

  27. Thanks, Richard. I see your point of view.

    There’s simply one little piece of information that is missing from your analysis:

    The Holocaust is over. The Nakba isn’t.

  28. I understand your anger at the continuation of the nakba, which I agree is occurring.

    It is more difficult for the Palestinians, which don’t have the option to remove themselves from their former abusers (however the scale of the abuse relates to each other).

    I think your assessment of Jewish consciousness is flawed though. That is I disagree with you that the holocaust’s consequences/process are over. It takes a long time for traumas to recede, and to wish them to do so from political ideology is a form of self-deception.

    But, I do agree that most Palestinians are NOT the perpetrators of the holocaust, and smart and kind people should distinguish. And, that it is more than useful for political leaders to have the personal responsibility to be smart and kind.

    I don’t know what heals the multiple and mutual wounds.

    In a fight between dogs (my metaphor for the consciousness of all warring), ONLY when there is an out, can an opponent choose it. Few dogs will fight to the death, unless cornered.

    Hamas feels cornered. The left and Hamas and the Islamic militancy ignore that Israel similarly feels cornered.

    Even Iran feels cornered.

    An advocate for peace (rather than selective justice), will attempt to consider that the opponent needs a path to pursue.

    Once someone is defined as “enemy” (which Hamas has done not only Bush or Israel), that eliminates the process of consideration, even paying any attention to the need of the other for an out.

    Its a tragedy that it had to get to military logic.

    It would help if EACH stated, “we understand you are human beings, and will treat you accordingly.”

    Shelling civilians does NOT state that.

  29. It is also a great tragedy that the Arab world did not absorb the Palestinian refugees as peers, and instead compelled them (even if they agreed), to a life of endless war.

    Absorption of the refugees would have given an out, even if functionally admitted “defeat”.

    Israelis in 1948 didn’t have that option, so while the tragedy for Palestinians does continue, to imagine that current realities are the same as then, is a malicious fantasy.

    BOTH Israel and the left are seeking ASSERTIVE imposition on the other. Its important to see that when one is proposing a boycott, as good as it can be made to appear, it is also an effort to control from outside, to impose (and without full investment in the outcome and follow up, and also without full knowledge).

    I’m reluctant to sign on to that in any way.

  30. Well said Buber Zionist.

    Gaza burns but the victims are, of course, the Jews.

    It is quite simple, isn’t it?

  31. In Gaza alone, Israel has destroyed water tanks, electricity plants, bridges, airports, train stations, and other civilian infrastructure vital to economic growth.

    So when you support Israel blindly, Richard, you are in effect boycotting the advancement of a Palestinian society and the possibility of a sustainable, sovereign Palestinian state.

    That is worse than an ASSERTIVE imposition, it is something that myself and MANY OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD consider nothing less than genocide.

    You can argue semantics, but your actions are louder than any of your words.

    The U.S. needs to stop all foreign aid to Israel until the totality of actions hindering the creation of a Palestinian state have provably ceased.

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