US Ambassador: Support for Israel Drives All US Mideast Policies

Alison Weir, September 14, 2011

While many Americans may believe that US policies are designed to address American needs, America’s new Ambassador to Israel explains that this is far from the case.

In a recent speech before the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), Ambassador Daniel Shapiro clarified what drives US policies: "The test of every policy the Administration develops in the Middle East is whether it is consistent with the goal of ensuring Israel’s future as a secure, Jewish, democratic state. That is a commitment that runs as a common thread through our entire government."

Shapiro went on to say: "This test explains our extraordinary security cooperation, our stand against the delegitimization of Israel, our efforts on Iran, our response to the Arab Spring, and our efforts on Israeli-Palestinian peace."

It also explains a factor in the downward slide in American prosperity and standing in the world.

US funding of Israel and its weapons industry

Shapiro elaborated: ‘Israel will receive over $3 billion in U.S. funding for training and equipment in the coming fiscal year. This assistance allows Israel to purchase the sophisticated defense equipment it needs to protect itself, by itself, including the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Our assistance has also helped boost Israel’s domestic defense industry."

On top of this, Shapiro pointed out, "Congress, at the request of President Obama, provided $205 million to accelerate production and deployment of the Iron Dome short-range missile system, a project to which I devoted particular attention during my tenure at the White House."

Shapiro failed to note that this system competes with American defense firms, causing still further job loss for Americans, who have a higher unemployment rate than Israel.

Shapiro said that one of his first visits as Ambassador to Israel was to see an Iron Dome battery deployed near Ashkelon, where he "had very moving visits with the victims of rocket attacks in Ashdod." Palestinian rocket attacks have killed approximately 20 Israelis. There is no report that Shapiro has visited the victims of Israeli shelling attacks on Gaza, where over 1,400 have been killed.

Opposing international initiatives, undermining US needs

Shapiro continued: "The test of our policy – that it advances Israel’s status as a secure, Jewish, democratic state – also explains our commitment to vigorously battle against those who would attempt to isolate or delegitimize Israel in the international community."

As a result, Shapiro said, the US withdrew from the South African conference on racism in Durban and vetoed UN efforts on Israel (which otherwise would have passed).

Currently, he said, the administration is "doing everything we can" to oppose the Palestinian bid for UN membership to come later this month. "We are taking our opposition to capitals around the world."

This campaign is reminiscent of previous pro-Israel campaigns, including the original pressure brought by Israel partisans in 1947 on the UN General Assembly to pass a recommendation to give over half of Palestine to a Jewish state.

It could also be a major blow to the US.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, a member of the Saudi Royal Family who headed up its intelligence service for many years, has just published Veto a State, Lose an Ally, in which he warns that if the US vetoes Palestinian UN membership, "Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to cooperate with America in the same way it historically has."

He writes that it would "provoke uproar among Muslims worldwide," further undermining American relations with the Muslim world (over 1.2 billion people), "threaten regional stability," and increase "the chances of another war in the region."

In 1973 Saudi Arabia, which has been an extremely important US ally, issued a warning based on a similarly reasonable request that Israel obey international law (see discussion below). When Henry Kissinger ignored this, the US was thrown into a major recession and thousands of Americans lost their jobs and homes.

Author and international attorney John Whitbeck writes: "The adverse consequences for the United States of blocking Palestine’s membership are dazzlingly obvious. An American veto would constitute a shotgun blast in both of its own feet, further isolating the United States from the rest of mankind and outraging the already agitated and unstable Arab and Muslim worlds (notably including Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey).

Since 120 nations have already recognized Palestine, such a veto would outrage countries all over the globe.

Policies on Iran based on Israeli concerns

Shapiro went on to say:

"The test of our policy – to advance Israel’s status as a secure, Jewish democratic state – explains our persistent efforts and the President’s determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

"Since 2009, the United States has led the world in imposing the toughest sanctions ever against Iran, through U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, through the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act, and through additional sanctions imposed by European and other partners beyond those mandated by the U.N. Security Council… We are working to increase pressure on Iran through additional means, and have taken no option off the table.

Twenty years ago similar pressure on Iraq created a humanitarian catastrophe in which, according to the World Health Organization, over 5,000 children under the age of five died each month from "embargo-related causes."

Arab Spring actions predicated on Israeli interests

Shapiro explained that concerns for Israel also drive the Administration’s actions regarding the Arab Spring:

"The test of our policy explains President Obama’s original outreach to the Muslim world, and his response to the Arab Spring.

"Israel’s interests were not served by the deep anger felt toward the United States in many Muslim communities, and the President made clear that those who would accept his outstretched hand must do so knowing that the United States will remain a fierce defender of Israel’s legitimacy and call on others to build their own connections with Israel.

"As the unprecedented events of the Arab Spring have unfolded, we have recognized the opportunity presented by the possible emergence of more open, transparent, peaceful, and democratic governments, who will make better neighbors, while remaining vigilant about the risks these changes could present. We know the stakes for Israel are high, and in a situation where neither of us can control outcomes, we are working closely together to chart a common strategy."

Shapiro said that US support for a "two-state solution" is also based on Israeli desires, explaining that he and the Administration are "convinced that a two-state solution is the only way to guarantee Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state." Therefore, he said, the administration’s "vigorous pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace" also meets the pro-Israel test.

Need to bolster pro-Israel ties among Jewish Americans

Shapiro spoke of the close allegiance that most Jewish Americans feel for Israel, but expressed concern that "much research has shown that growing numbers of younger American Jews feel disconnected, or at best ambivalent, toward Israel. Valuable programs like Birthright have exposed many to this connection, but many more have not been reached."

He said that "a stronger commitment to Zionist education for American Jewish youth could do much to strengthen bonds that we want to be even stronger in the next generation, but may not be if left untended."

Helping Israeli finances even further

Shapiro said that "one of the most fruitful opportunities for deepening ties" between Americans and Israelis is in the economic sphere:

"There are approximately one dozen American-Israel Chambers of Commerce throughout the United States, based in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. These organizations are run and organized by Americans who care deeply about the U.S.- Israel relationship and strive to facilitate U.S.-Israel business connections."

Shapiro pointed out:

"In 2010 alone the U.S. imported $21 billion of Israeli goods and services; that’s 10 percent of Israel’s GDP. American companies and their representatives here directly employ about 60,000 Israelis; that’s fully 2 percent of Israel’s entire workforce. This figure does not include the many thousands more that are supported by American companies here as subcontractors or in downstream businesses.

"American companies have opened two-thirds of all foreign R&D facilities in Israel and brought in nearly 60 percent of all foreign direct investment. In 2011, American companies have acquired ten Israeli startups to the tune of $1.5 billion dollars, not just for their products, but to establish leading international R&D centers tapping into the greatest asset of Israel’s people, their brainpower. American-sourced venture capitalism provides more than half of all money for nascent technology companies to get off the ground.

"Just as other Diaspora communities are often in the lead in promoting economic ties with their countries of origin, many of these projects began because of Jewish-American ‘champions’ of corporate interaction with Israel."

Ambassador Shapiro failed to mention that Israel’s current account balance is 29th in the world; the U.S. comes in at 196th.

1973 War and Shapiro’s personal ties to Israel

In his speech, Ambassador Shapiro recounted his personal history "for the insights it can give us about the connection of the American Jewish community to the U.S.-Israel relationship." He stated:

“I am a proud member of our Jewish community in Washington, DC, active in a Conservative synagogue and the Jewish day school that my children attend and where my wife, Julie, worked for many years. And my profound respect for the State of Israel and its remarkable achievements stems from a lifetime of exposure to the extraordinary people who brought Theodore Herzl’s Zionist dream to life.”

Shapiro explained that his close attachment to Israel began in 1973 when he was four years old and his family spent a fall semester in Israel. They were there during the war in which Egypt and Syria tried to retrieve land that had been taken by Israel seven years before.

While Ambassador Shapiro didn’t go into this, there is a close US connection to the 1973 war, called by Israel and US media the "Yom Kippur War."

Before and during this war, Saudi Arabia called on the US to pressure Israel to return the lands that it had taken and held since 1967, in violation of international law. Instead, Henry Kissinger arranged a massive airlift of US weaponry to Israel, saving Israel from losing the war. This support led to the oil embargo against the US that caused a deep depression and cost thousands of Americans their jobs.

As historian Donald Neff later wrote, this boycott, induced by Kissinger’s weapons to Israel, left "economies around the world shattered and many individuals living poorer lives." Neff wrote that while "Kissinger admitted, ‘I made a mistake,’ skeptics might wonder whether it was a mistake, or wanton disregard of U.S. interests during a passionate effort to help Israel."

Shapiro explained that the 1973 war had a major impact on his family:

"By the end of the war, and even more so, by the end of our stay, our family’s relationship with Israel had been utterly transformed, from a solid but light connection to the deepest of bonds. Throughout the remainder of my childhood, family dinner conversations turned easily to events in Israel, from the thrill of the peace with Egypt to the anguish of the Lebanon War [initiated by Israel; fatalities were approximately 25:1 Lebanese to Israelis]. The ample bookshelves in my parents’ home grew laden with studies in Zionism, Jewish history, and Israeli literature.

"A product of the Reform Movement, I nurtured my own connection to Israel primarily through summer camp experiences at the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, an unlikely setting for some of the most innovative Jewish and Zionist education to be found anywhere.

"These experiences led me to spend half a year after high school in Israel on a Reform Movement program, living with an Israeli family in Jerusalem, studying at Hebrew Union College, traveling widely throughout the country, and volunteering on Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava.

"I returned for my sophomore year of college at Hebrew University, supplementing my studies with work as a waiter at the wedding hall in the Beit Knesset HaGadol and long walks in Rehavia, where my girlfriend – who is now my wife of 19 years – took an apartment.

"In the years since, I have made Israel, its history and people, its quest for peace and security in the Middle East, and its relationship with the United States, the centerpiece of my academic studies at Brandeis and Harvard, my work on Capitol Hill, and my service in the Clinton and Obama Administrations."

Shapiro emphasized that in many ways his story is not unique, stating that "it is impossible to deny the special connection that most in the American Jewish community feel for Israel…. wherever they fall on the political spectrum, and whatever their views on American policy, Israeli policy or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the vast majority of American Jews care deeply about Israel…"

Shapiro said that he is “deeply honored” that President Obama has entrusted him with the "task and responsibility of strengthening and deepening" US ties to Israel.

Shapiro concluded: "… as a committed Jewish American, with deep roots in the American Jewish community and warm bonds of affection with Israel, I will have an opportunity to draw on those associations to help make the U.S.-Israel relationship, strong as it is, even stronger in the years ahead."

Alison Weir is Executive Director of If Americans Knew and President of the Council for the National Interest. She can be reached at contact@CNIonline.org.




42 Responses to “US Ambassador: Support for Israel Drives All US Mideast Policies”

  1. What's (amazing and utterly disgusting) is that our nation has a crypto-Israeli serving as America''s 'ambassador' to Israel. Who's interests will Shapiro consider first–America's or Israel's?

    This is an insult and an outrage. America lives under Israeli occupation.

  2. Am Israel Chai!

  3. That Israel is a nation of specious legitimacy, Shapiro would do well to STFU. The US Congress and whomever is ensconced in our White House would do well to serve America first and Israel can go pound sand.

  4. That will never happen. AIPAC is funding congressional/presidential candidates and once elected they serve their master, not the voter who is considered a sheep!
    When Russia spies on the US it's a big deal but when the MOSSAD uses moving companies, civil servants etc… to spy on the US it's OK!!!

  5. [...] Alison Weir Antiwar September 14, [...]

  6. The more I think about it, the less I blame the usual suspects. The vast majority of Americans are content to live in servitude to Israel. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that they are stubbornly determined to live in ignorance. Nothing short of a total economic collapse will change that. So… perhaps change actually is on the horizon.

  7. Hi Alex:I know and I agree. Damn sad isn't it?

  8. No doubt, Amerika is the United States of Israel.

  9. US has always been supportive of Israel, and this has increased recently.

  10. [...] [...]

  11. Israel is destroying the US.

  12. Were there a whiff of patriotism in Washington this Israeli Only would be hounded from office. Americans have no government., only an occupying hostile elite.

  13. Bonjour! I would just like to offer my thanks for the excellent information contained in this post. I will be exploring more of your website for some more awesome info in the near future.

  14. Please join our email lists to help us change this and tell other people about us!!! Go to this page and scroll down – at the top of the grey box click "join our email list." http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org/

    Also our sister organization:
    Go to http://ifamericansknew.org/about_us/contact.html and to

  15. I still don't get it. Why should we be paying obscene Congressional salaries and benefits when they are working for "Israel, Inc" and AIPAC. http://bit.ly/OurNextWar

  16. When the USA is bankrupt, what will happen to Israel?

  17. [...] Alison Weir: US Ambassador: Support for Israel Drives All US Mideast Policies [...]

  18. As if most Americans give a crap about Israel. If they were not so ignorant and oblivious to what goes on in their own country…

    The real solution is to taker all money out of politics. Make 'lobbying' illegal. Death penalty for any elected official guilty of taking a bribe and the persons giving the bribe.

  19. [...] US Ambassador: Support for Israel Drives All US Mideast Policies [...]

  20. "Supportive"? That's a mild statement. The the Federal Reserve was established, the hook was set to drain our country of all assets. It took almost a hundred yrs. but we're almost done.

  21. Actually, it's who controls the money

  22. The state of Isreal and it's sponcers are Destroying the whole world.

  23. IS America a great nation, when its Govt cares only about another country than itself? This country has been hijacked by Israel-firsters.

  24. The interests of Zionism and (a minority of mostly foreign) Jews have gotten the US into several wars, including the largest it ever fought.

    The danger of this happening again is great.

  25. USA and Israel like sugar and sweet taste. They will never be apart. US government understands very well that Israel security is the number one priority.

  26. Israel is the boardgame. American debt to the central bank coerces the American military to be used as mercenaries to do the evil work of the Grand patron and the Rothschild alliance or used for the preservation of the European lard ass royalty and their bling. Another use of this board game is to establish a heavily armed population of abused people who can be talked into doing the work of the devil without the devil or the Grand Patron of free masonry and that devilment getting their white gloves soiled.
    Meanwhile, their 'Global Warming' officer, Al 'D' in natural history' Gore, just came out in a speech about his conviction that carbon dioxide is not a naturally occuring substance.

    The royals seem a bit desperate.ay?

  27. it's been this way for a long time.

    We have one person running for president who would end the aid to Israel as well as all foreign aid and he gets called anti-semitic. Go figure.

    Ron Paul 2012, the only man with enough guts to stand up for our best interests.

  28. LOL and CO2 can kill you if you put your head in a bag with it and no oxygen. I could say the same for a bag full of topsoil. We need to declare war on topsoil, it's dangerous.

  29. Unfortunetely He does not have a chance. The grip of sionist lobby is too tight.

  30. Ambassador: I bow to you Master

  31. do not support israel on any way

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  32. [...] confirmation that the US government's foreign policy puts Israel before justice and liberation: US Ambassador: Support for Israel Drives All US Mideast Policies. Reply With Quote + Reply to [...]

  33. Come on JR, if what you propose is applied now there will be only 5% of congress alive and almost no corporate CEO breathing along with most Zionists in the US.
    We can dream can't we?

  34. The only thing to "get" is for Americans to quickly realize that they have been taken over by a hostile parasite which will ultimately destroy the US. Unless Americans wake up and kick every single dual citizen out of the US that is connected with running our gov't, we're doomed. Israel is a sick, sociopathic, socialist country…even when admitted by kosher tools like Glen Beck….and it will be those like Beck who will help Israel rape and pillage us until there is nothing left. OUr survival depends on the abolishment of AIPAC and other "trojan horse" Israel lobbies.

  35. Alison, you do good work in getting the word out on the Israel Lobby. Thanks for publishing Shapiro's repugnant remarks.

  36. The tail wags the dog and everybody in Washington thinks it is OK.
    What was the name of the French diplomat who properly named Israel a small poopy country?

  37. http://www.youtube.com/user/Snordelhans#p/u/0/HVw

  38. USA is the textbook example of the "kidnapped nation". It acts as a powerful tool in the hands of sionists on behalf and to the benefit of Israel. Interests and wellfare of its own citizens does not count at all. Things are so bad in that matter that it is highly probable that some sort of revolution is needed to change the political elite in the USA and the course of events.

  39. America never wanted a 2 state solution.They want what Israel wants,and that to steel the land and commite slow genicide.When America finaly falls and it will people will treat the Americans lower than life.And they deserve it they now millions have died in illegal wars conducted by America and do and say nothing.There are Americans that do but countrys that America one day may get attacked from will not know the difference.I'n Canadian and feel we need to speek up also are PM said an attack on Israel is an attack on us.I feel Israel deserves whatever it gets and are PM don't speak for us.He never says bo about the palistinians or the millions that have died in Americas illegal wars that are PM draged us into.We are only 1 tenth the population of America and we really need to start speaking against the crimes America commits and are government does in are name with are money.We are no better than the people being killed in these illegal wars in fact by not speeking loudly we are worse.Israel is no different than any other country except for how evil they are.America protects them when they have done more harm there than any country in history.Like Jesus said they are children of their father the devil.Sounds about right to me.We have not seen evil like this since Hitler.

  40. [...] [...]

  41. Palestinian rocket attacks have killed approximately 20 Israelis. There is no report that Shapiro has visited the victims of Israeli shelling attacks on Gaza, where over 1,400 have been killed.

  42. ok if my comments really are being approved by the site admins then i apologize for posting half a dozen times. i assumed its part of the comment section problem