Richard Cohen is a hack, but given his lofty perch over at the WaPo, it’s important to call him out on his shameless need to put the interests of a foreign country over the interests of the United States:
Israel’s dilemma is that the Middle East, for all the talk of revolution, is slipping backward. Turkey is possibly evolving into an Islamic republic and even if this is not the case, it is reasserting its historical role as a regional power. Iran toppled its modernizing, Westernizing shah with his pro-Israel proclivities and in 1979 became a theocracy. And Egypt, long the leader of the Arab world, may find it cannot lead its own people. The peace with Israel has little support among the populace. It’s not just that Israel is not loved, it’s that Jews are hated.
But the United States has the moral obligation to stick by the sometimes obstreperous democracy it felt morally obligated to embrace. The Obama administration has to show no daylight between it and Israel — never mind that Benjamin Netanyahu is no Ben-Gurion.
Totally absent from Cohen’s piece is any acknowledgment of reality as it exists today. He wants us to believe that Israel is hated solely because the Arab world hates all Jews, not because of the decades-long military occupation and violation of Palestinian rights. No, that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it. Notice that Cohen places all responsibility for Bibi’s total lack of interest in diplomacy or a peace process on the shoulders of the Obama administration. Cohen doesn’t call on Netanyahu (or Israel in general) to do anything- in essence, Cohen relieves Israel of all responsibilities under international law and excepts it from all norms of behavior usually exhibited by a sovereign [democratic] state.
It’s also worth noting that the Israel Firsters and neoconservatives have finally been revealed as the hypocrites that they have always been. They have generally justified any and all wars in the region as a form of democracy promotion. However, they are not the slightest bit interested in democracy if that means that Arab citizens might hold views or enact policies which don’t step smartly to the dictates of the U.S. and Israel. It apparently has never occurred to these geniuses that part of the reason the Arab citizenry is so justifiably angry at the U.S. and Israel is because of the role we played in their oppression- by supporting dictators whom we knew were imprisoning and torturing them. It also is worth noting that people like Mubarak engaged in actions and promoted policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians that Egyptians loathed- rather than playing a constructive role in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Egypt largely served as a rubber stamp on U.S. and Israeli interests.
But all of this is lost on Cohen, who is content to simply claim that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East should revolve around one principle- unquestioning, blind support for Israel irrespective of U.S. policy or U.S. interests.