What should have israel done instead?


#3921

Quite.

(And I don’t support decriminalisation, I support the proven system in Portugal of harm minimisation - because it’s NOT legalisation, it has broad support and is politically feasible)


#3922

Leaving aside the issues of right, wrong and morality in the dispute, here’s what I’m wondering now: Why is it in America’s interest to support Israel?

I’ve always assumed that we should. But viewing this from a realpolitik perspective, is America better off by virtue of this alliance? I’m not trying to be incendiary here, and this is not an issue on which I have much expertise. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately, admittedly sparked by a strong dislike of their current leader. I wonder how many other folks are now questioning this.


#3923

Same allies, same enemies, in the region. For instance, Israel is an ally of India, the PKK/Kurds, Jordan, etc.
It’s a democracy, even though there are issues with Israeli government policy.
Lots of joint research programs and some seriously valuable tech has come from Israel - for example, a working anti-rocket defence (Iron Dome), which America has full access to (including being sent hardware).
A strong Jewish lobby in America (you did say RealPolitik!)
The benefits of being seen to stick by allies, which is something America needs quite badly right now
Etc.


#3924

Realistically, we wouldn’t gain anything by abandoning relations with them except saving a bunch of money. I don’t believe for one second it would have any effect on our relations with other countries in the area.

Benjamin Netanyahu might be a dick (for lack of a better way to put it), but that is only in comparison to leaders of other friendly countries. Once you start comparing him to leaders of hostile countries, rogue nation or pretty much any other leader in the middle east, he starts looking a lot better.

And yes, Israel itself has a TON of power in American politics as we all know. A republican who was an active serial rapist would have a higher chance of getting elected than one who was publicly against continued support for Israel. A democrat would have a bit of an easier time, but I’d be very surprised if the Democrat president nominee comes down on Israel as hard as Obama is. I think he is only able to do that because he doesn’t have to worry about reelection.

For me, Netanyahu’s attempt to influence American politics is yet another example of Israel having too much power in American politics. I don’t think we should cut them off, but i’m personally very unhappy with it.


#3925

No, I think that’s good.


#3926

Without the vast revenues drugs provide, they’d be weaker, less violent, and smaller. That’s more than good enough for me. Organized crime in the US after Prohibition ended transferred its efforts to racketeering, gambling, and so on. The murder rate dropped precipitously as a result of their involvement in these more “respectable” criminal fronts. It wasn’t until drugs hit the scene in a big way in the 60’s that crime got that violent again, and for the same reasons.

Check out this murder rate graph, for example, and realize that Prohibition began in 1920 and ended in 1933:

But we’re straying far afield from Israel with this, so I don’t plan to post much more on the drug topic here.


#3927

Oh, you’re preaching to the choir when it comes to one of the major problems of drug criminalization.

But my point, which i think is relevant to the discussion regarding Israel, is that the criminalization of drugs is not the sole cause of the criminal organizations that make up drug cartels.

It certainly empowers them by feeding them large sums of money. But those criminals are not made into criminals by the criminalization of drugs. They are bad dudes, who simply use the illicit drug trade to actualize their criminal nature. Take away drugs, and they will still run guns, and participate in human trafficking, and kidnapping for ransom.

The fact that drugs are illegal gives them an easy source of revenue, but drug laws didn’t make them into the monsters they are.


#3928

I see both your point and its relevance, but I hope you also see mine. Achieving complete victories is difficult or impossible. Weakening that which is wrong is often the best possible result, and one well worth the effort. There’s also the fact that large sums of money attract those who might not fall into criminality otherwise. Less lucrative crime leads to fewer criminals. They aren’t all fated to take that path.


#3929

Of course it was. So was the analogy about Mexico. There isn’t any remote relations to Israel/Palestine with established states.

Because one is a state and one is basically a refugee camp. If Palestine was an actual state, it would be one thing. As it is, they aren’t. They’re basically occupied territory that likes to pretend it’s a state. They have basically no control over much of anything and no power to do anything about any situation that comes up either. The reason Palestine can’t deal with it is because Israel wont allow them to have enough power to do so (and not without good reason really). But to then use that as the REASON Israel wont negotiate is a Catch 22. Palestine doesn’t have to power to control things, so we can’t give them power because they can’t control things. Well no shit.

As long as the entire peace process can be automatically negated by a one person doing something, it will never end. It would be like telling us we all get one million dollars as long as no one breaks the law. Then Ted runs a stop sign and fucks it up for everyone. We couldn’t stop him, so we’re all to blame somehow.


#3930

And the party continues:

Negotiations with Iran to curtail its nuclear program were just getting underway when senior White House officials learned Israeli spies were eavesdropping on the closed-door talks as part of an effort by Israel President Benjamin Netanyahu to build opposition to any deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The spying, however, was not the main source of consternation for the Obama administration. The U.S. learned about the Israel espionage through American spies who intercepted Israeli communications, The Journal reported late Monday in a story on its website, citing unnamed White House officials.

It was the sharing of the details acquired through espionage with U.S. lawmakers in order to undermine support for the negotiations that really upset U.S. officials, according to the report.

“It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” an unnamed senior White House official said in the story.

It’s no surprise at all that Israel spied on the talks. I would have been amazed if they didn’t. But if the leaks to members of Congress in an attempt to derail them really happened, that’s a heinous act.


#3931

Honestly, I’m sick of Israel and this nation’s need to kiss their ass.


#3932

Ok, so Israel passed US Intelligence onto US lawmakers. Not exactly the greatest crime in the world.

and I say this as someone who is no fan of the Israeli government.


#3933

I suspect they passed particular PARTS of US negotiations on to the US lawmakers.

[I]“I heard that Suzie gave Debbie all the ribbons!”[/I] With no mention that Debbie traded her prized Malibu Barbie for the fabric.


#3934

Greatest? No. But undermining secret negotiations by passing details to those most likely to be hostile to them is a subversive act. Handing intelligence like this to legislators of an enemy government would be understandable; doing so to the nation that’s been Israel’s closest ally since it was founded is not.

And it’s not the job of Congress to negotiate with foreign powers, but to give “advise and consent” once treaties are written. They aren’t involved in the nuts and bolts of the process, and shouldn’t be.


#3935

It’s no surprise at all that Israel spied on the talks. I would have been amazed if they didn’t. But if the leaks to members of Congress in an attempt to derail them really happened, that’s a heinous act.

I’m not really sure I’d consider it “heinous”.

I mean, I’d be wary of giving in to a foreign power trying to manipulate our government like that, but leaking intel of a meeting to our OWN government isn’t really the worst thing int he world.

Greatest? No. But undermining secret negotiations by passing details to those most likely to be hostile to them is a subversive act.

Well, subversive to whom?
I mean, the party you’re talking about leaking them to… is also the US government.

It seems like part of the problem here is that you have two branches of our government engaged in a slapfight with each other, and not behaving like a single government in their dealings with the world community. To the extent that a foreign nation is leaking intelligence about one branch TO ANOTHER BRANCH OF OUR OWN GOVERNMENT. The reality is, they should probably already be made aware of that, by our own government.


#3936

Subversive to the executive in that Congress isn’t supposed to be involved in the daily back and forth of treaty negotiations, but these moves were designed to (literally) subvert that process.


#3937

Well, while the President is the voice in treaty negotiations, REAL treaties need to be ratified by Congress… which is kind of why the President isn’t going for an actual treaty with Iran, and is instead going with some kind of “unofficial agreement” or whatever they’re calling it.

And frankly, this is kind of bullshit and an embarrassment for all of the parties involved.

When it comes to foreign policy, our government should be presenting a unified front to those we negotiate with. Not the bullshit we’re doing now.


#3938

No argument there from me.


#3939

Israel’s issued a denial, of course. The first part is bog standard for any nation with its hand caught in the espionage cookie jar:

“These allegations are utterly false,” the senior official in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office told CNN.

But the second part displays a truly Orwellian level of historical revisionism:

“The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies.”

I guess Jonathan Pollard, Richard Kelly Smyth, and many other incidents* never actually occurred.

*Here’s a few just from 1996:

A General Accounting Office report “Defense Industrial Security: Weaknesses in US Security Arrangements With Foreign-Owned Defense Contractors” found that according to intelligence sources “Country A” (identified by intelligence sources as Israel, Washington Times, 2/22/96) “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally.” The Jerusalem Post (8/30/96) quoted the report, “Classified military information and sensitive military technologies are high-priority targets for the intelligence agencies of this country.”

An Office of Naval Intelligence document, “Worldwide Challenges to Naval Strike Warfare” reported that “US technology has been acquired [by China] through Israel in the form of the Lavi fighter and possibly SAM [surface-to-air] missile technology.” Jane’s Defense Weekly (2/28/96) noted that “until now, the intelligence community has not openly confirmed the transfer of US technology [via Israel] to China.” The report noted that this “represents a dramatic step forward for Chinese military aviation.” (Flight International, 3/13/96)

The Defense Investigative Service circulated a memo in late 1995 warning US military contractors that “Israel aggressively collects [US] military and industrial technology.” The report stated that Israel obtains information using “ethnic targeting, financial aggrandizement, and identification and exploitation of individual frailties” of US citizens. (Washington Post, 1/30/96)

And it’s continued into the present decade:

Jerusalem’s efforts to steal U.S. secrets under the cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts have “crossed red lines.”

Israel’s espionage activities in America are unrivaled and unseemly, counterspies have told members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, going far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan. A congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony “very sobering…alarming…even terrifying.” Another staffer called it “damaging.”


#3940

Getting upset about allies spying on each other is right up there with warm beer.
Heck, the British didn’t admit HAVING intelligence services until 1994, for flip sake.