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Bad News Rahm

Rahm Emanuel has been serious trouble from the start. Although adored by his hometown Jewish community, and of strongly Zionist lineage, he seems to be working overtime to dispell any potential rumors of dual loyalty.

As Obama’s right-hand man, the White House Chief of Staff is arguably the second most powerful in America. It is no secret that the U.S. enjoys an enormous amount of power in Israel, for which it continues to pay in the form of large annual bribes.

It is also no secret that Emanuel dislikes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and would prefer to deal with a left-wing government in Israel. Rumors over personal disagreements between the two have been surfacing for some time, leading some to question whether Obama would even Netanyahu if the Israeli premier visited Washington (that specific rumor was dispelled, when they actually did meet). On the other hand, today, Obama surprised Defense Minister, and Labor Party chairman, Ehud Barak, at a meeting with National Security Advisor Jim Jones.

Just last month Emanuel tried to push his way further into Israeli affairs by promoting a link between Iranian threat and the “Palestinian issue” saying movement on Iran “depended on the ability to make progress on the Palestinian front.” The picture becomes clearer when one taking into consideration the American administration’s anger at Avigdor Lieberman’s statement that Israel is not obligated to follow a non-agreement, all the while declining to even state its position on a binding commitment to Israel.

Meddling in internal affairs on any level is bad enough, but there are now rumors of deliberate intransigence on the part of Rahm Emanuel, with the intent of preventing cooperation between Obama and Netanyahu. If this is indeed intended to cause Netanyahu’s government to fail, then Emanuel is not only representing a White House whose attitude towards Israel is questionable, but a clearly negative influence in his own right.

To paraphrase Lord Palmerston, states do not have friends, but only interests. It appears the United States is behaving in light of its interests, without considering any so-called “friends.” Israel, on the other hand, seems to still be operating under the misconception that is such a thing as a U.S.-Israel friendship.

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  1. lena says:

    So that’s the tack now, to describe U.S. aid as “bribes.” Sorry , but that’s not going to wash, at least as long as Israel gladly accepts the aid. If they think they are being bribed, it’s up to them to refuse such aid. If they continue to show indifference to what effect their actions, specifically settlement expansions, have had on their supporters, they don’t deserve to have their 100% support.

  2. LB says:

    If the Israeli government gladly accepts the money, all that means is that the bribes are working. And “tack”? I’m just expressing my own opinion the topic, as I have before here, here, here, here, and here.

    “If they continue to show indifference to what effect their actions, specifically settlement expansions, have had on their supporters, they don’t deserve to have their 100% support.”

    So basically, if Israel refuses to do as it’s told it doesn’t deserve American support? Sounds a lot more like a patron-client relationship than an alliance to me.

  3. Gert says:

    Where though are the signs that the US will stop the bribing? There are no such signs. Israel would of course survive without the money, it’s only a miniscule fraction of Israel’s GDP. Interrupting the payments would have symbolic value and possible the first step towards real pressure. Can’t see it happening though…

  4. LB says:

    “Where though are the signs that the US will stop the bribing?”

    Unfortunately, there aren’t many. Back in 2005, Netanyahu (as Finance Minister) called for eliminating most American aid within 3-4 years. But you’re right, I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I still support it wholeheartedly. There is also this guy from TAU (who includes the figure of aid being only 4% of Israel’s budget).

    I don’t see the aid being stopped unilaterally by the U.S. at all. If it does happen, it will be most likely initiated by Israel, so I don’t think it would be “the first step towards real pressure,” but the other way around.

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