James Baker and US Foreign Policy towards Israel -- Part 4
Gurfinkiel writes that starting in the early 1960s with the Kennedy Administration, through the Johnson Administration, and into the Nixon Administration of the early 1970s,
Washington began a rapprochement with Jerusalem, . . . In the eyes of the oil men and their friends, the most powerful lobby in the country, this deviation could only be explained by the action of a "Jewish lobby" at least as powerful; a classic case of projection on the adversary of one's own behavior.This is an important insight. The extremely powerful oil lobby that was able to arrange vast tax advantages for itself and its Arab allies, like application of the Foreign Tax Credit to oil payments to Saudi Arabia, among other tax favors, accused the Jewish lobby of being all-powerful. In fact, the paranoid loathing of a Jewish or pro-Israel lobby interfering in the plans of empires came to the surface in remarks by certain influential Britishers around the time of the reestablishment of Israel and in later years. For instance, various prominent British personalities, such as Dennis Brogan, an influential British political scientist, complained about the Jewish lobby in the United States interfering with British designs for the Land of Israel.
[Michel Gurfinkiel, "Rapport sur Baker," France-Israel Information, Oct-Nov-Dec 2006]
Gurfinkiel believes that the Israel-American partnership of the sixties and seventies had much to do with the Soviet alignment of important Arab states, Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, and Libya. Furthermore, the OPEC states, the Arab members first and foremost, had greatly raised the price of crude oil. For this reason and on account of the hostile Arab attitude [including that of Saudi Arabia] in that 1973-74 period, some have claimed, the United States was contemplating seizing the Persian Gulf oil fields. Be that as it may, certainly many Americans were very angry at the Arab oil states for making life more expensive for Americans and the rest of the world. The greatest damage of the sharp rise in oil prices was no doubt to the world's very poorest countries which lacked valuable natural resources and were not exporting manufactured goods. Parenthetically, we should point out that apologists for the Arabs in that period, claimed that the sharp rise in oil prices was "good" for the Third World as a whole, that is, for the poor countries too. These apologists had no shame then just as today apologists for the Arabs are still shameless.
Gurfinkiel also points to the rise of fanatical Islam, as another factor encouraging an Israeli-American partnership. Nevertheless, the Pro-Arab lobby did not go away. The territorial situation created by the Six Day War gave new opportunities to pro-Arab propaganda.
The Pro-Arab Lobby Counter-AttacksIndeed, these are all important questions glossed over by the peace-mongers. The Arab states had refused to make peace with Israel when it was in its restricted frontiers of the 1949 armistice lines. Why would they make peace with Israel or keep a peace accord with Israel if Israel went back to those restricted, difficult to defend armistice lines? Why not consider Judea-Samaria or the West Bank area as a parallel --at least in military-strategic terms-- to the protective function of the Sudetenland for Czechoslovakia in 1938? As we know, the Czechs --under British and French pressure-- gave up the Sudetenland in late 1938, in the name of self-determination for the Sudeten Germans and of "peace." Just a few months later, in March 1939, the Germans took the rest of Czechoslovakia. Hence, the Munich Pact for peace had resulted in the total subjugation of Czechoslovakia to the German Nazis and an improved strategic situtation for Germany in its plans to attack Poland later in 1939. In short, the Munich Pact for peace had made war more certain by improving the German strategic situation against Poland, thus facilitating a future attack on Poland. Combining the terms used then and those used nowadays, we may say that the appeasement movement or peace process of the 1930s reached its peak with the inception of World War Two in September 1939. By the way, in accord with the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939, both the Nazis and Soviet Communists invaded Poland from the west, north and south [the Germans] and from the east [the Soviets]. In the fall of 1939, the Communist USSR and Nazi Germany officially declared a joint Struggle for Peace. Is something like this grim scenario the purpose of today's "peace process"?
The Six Day War furnished it [the pro-Arab lobby] with a less cynical argument than the interest in oil alone.
During this conflict, the Jewish state had taken control of [not "occupied"] territories situated outside of the demarcation line [armistice line] established in 1949 at the end of the first Israel-Arab war (the Green Line). . . It had also occupied territories situated beyond the international borders of former mandatory Palestine: the Golan, Sinai. The pro-Arab lobby stated that the Arab and Muslim countries --or at least "the more moderate ones"-- would make peace with Israel when Israel had returned these conquests: "Territory for peace." The slogan was striking in its simplicity and its seeming equity. In fact, it made it possible to avoid the true questions: Why had the Arab countries refused the partition of Palestine in 1947? Why did they subsequently refuse to recognize Israel? Why did they multiply attacks on Israel [political attacks in international bodies, attacks by terrorist infiltrators, the blockade of the Straits of Tiran, etc] before 1967, when it did not occupy any territory beyond the Green Line? Why did they refuse after 1967 [after the Six Day War] an Israeli offer for comprehensive negotiations [a refusal embodied in the Three Noes of Khartoum]? How can Israel ensure its security in the long term against repeated aggressions without the strategic depth provided by the conquests [of the Six Day War]? [Gurfinkiel, ibid.]
Note that Gurfinkiel avoids saying that Judea-Samaria were "occupied" by Israel in 1967. He is aware that these areas were part of the Jewish National Home set up by the San Remo Conference in 1920, endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922 and later by the United States in an accord with Britain. He knows that this status was not cancelled by the General Assembly partition recommendation of 29 November 1947.
- - - - - - - -
Coming: More on James Baker and US-Israel relations, Jews in Jerusalem & Hebron, peace follies, propaganda, etc.