Israel shouldn’t drag us into unwinnable fight |

Israel shouldn’t drag us into unwinnable fight

Dear Editor:

The most important issue for the next president is, or ought to be, our open-ended warfare commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion.

In a very curious matter of timing, Congressman Gary Ackerman, who is the head of the house committee responsible for the Middle East, has quietly introduced and sponsored a most belligerent anti-Iran resolution. A number of co-sponsors in both houses have already signed up. It is scheduled to be voted on essentially without debate in the next few weeks.

AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) has shown strong interest in this measure, perhaps helped in drafting it, and urges its supporters to contact Congress specifically in support of this resolution. With this organization’s considerable political muscle, it is bound to “pass like a hot knife through butter.”

Sadly enough, a similar resolution was passed in 1996 called the “Iraq Liberation Act.” This gave President Bush considerable political cover for his egregiously harmful conduct to our country.

Lobbying is as American as apple pie. Major hot-button issues supported by powerful lobbies, such as “the right to bear arms” or the “sanctity of life” are subject to vigorous debate. If the power of the Israel lobby is a hot-button issue, so be it. In this case, however, the critics of the Israel lobby are invariably denied being heard or demonized as anti-Semitic.

Packer, in his book, who otherwise is an admirer of Israel, talks about the “existential” threat that Iran poses to Israel. It may be factually true (so I was recently informed by a knowledgeable congressperson) that the distance between Tehran and Tel Aviv is only an 11-minute nuclear-armed-missile flight.

Given that fact, the obverse must also be true, and Israel may well have its current nuclear missile arsenal already aimed at targets in Iran. Israel is likely the most heavily armed country in the Middle East and has the world superpower as its comrade in arms. There is zero evidence that Israelis’ existence is threatened. It is a prosperous country that won’t go away.

I have been told that the current bellicose draft language will be softened and that it does not call for military action. Not good enough. To propose chocking off a country’s livelihood through boycotts or by other means that we possess as the world’s only superpower is in effect a declaration of war or, at a minimum, a warning signal to the next president to stay with the program.

Global warming and the energy crisis pale compared to the harm our nation will accrue if Israeli policies are going to succeed in dragging us into this unwinnable fight.

Stefan Edlis


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