Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Big Israel Lie

By Daniel Greenfield

There are two interconnected lies that reside at the heart of any American discussion about Israel. The first lie is that the road to peace in the Middle East lies through Israel.

The second lie is that Israel controls American policy toward itself. Those lies are not the product of ignorance or misunderstanding, they are the product of an effective propaganda campaign by the unofficial suit and tie spokesmen of the Saudi lobby who dominate American policy in the Middle East.

The goal of that campaign has been to make Israel seem like the axis on which the Middle East and America turn, in order to put Israel on the firing line. And it is a campaign that has been wickedly successful up until now.

Let's take a moment to examine those lies now.

Within the Middle East, Israel is physically insignificant. At 8500 square miles, Israel could not just fit comfortably into Pennsylvania, it is 1/5th the size of Jordan, 1/8th the size of Syria and 1/12th the size of Egypt. Simply put, Israel is smaller in land and population than every country that borders it. If you looked at the Middle East from space, you could easily put a fingernail across all of Israel.

Israel has beaten all of these countries in wars and has the best military in the region, but that is because if it didn't, it wouldn't exist.

Israel's military is not the product of a will to conquer, but of an attempt to maintain its own territorial integrity and protect its citizens from attack. Israel's neighbors have never needed to work as hard or spend as much to maintain their own armed forces, because they don't truly need them. For them a strong army is not a survival strategy, it is optional.

All those who rant endlessly about Israel's settlements in the West Bank and Gaza as proof of Israel's desire to seize land, forget that Jordan annexed the West Bank only two years after its forces captured it in the 1948 War of Independence.

Israel has not annexed the West Bank even after more than 40 years, and has continued to offer it in peace negotiations year after year. That is not the policy of an aggressive land hungry regime. It is not the behavior of a country that keeps its neighbors up late at night. While Israel's leaders have spent over half a century staying up late at night worrying about a war, Israel's neighbors know that war is their choice.

But what this means in practice is that Israel has very little influence beyond its own borders. With a small size, no expansionist program beyond its own territory, and as one of only two non-Arab states and the only non-Muslim state in the region... Israel's impact on the rest of the Middle East is surprisingly limited.

To get a proper picture of Israel's role in the Middle East, imagine plopping Singapore in the middle of a wartorn part of Africa. It can be attacked, it can fight back, but it cannot have any real local influence.

That is why Israel remains an outsider in the political trends and turmoil of the region. Read more here ...

Source: CFP

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