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.

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