Editorial: The Israeli Question

Jonathan Choi, Co-News and Opinion Editor

On October 24th, approximately eighty or more rockets were fired into Israeli border. Hamas, an anti-Israeli terrorist group based in Syria claimed responsibility for the attack. According to The Bulletin, the attack was “the heaviest bombardment on the area in months.” At the same time, Israeli fighter jets roared over the skies of Sudan after bombing an ammunition manufacturing plant. According to The Atlantic, “this is the longest strike – the farthest strike – ever executed by the Israeli Air Force.” Israel stated that the attack was due to a recent arms-supply deal set up by the Sudanese and the Iranians. However, the Sudan story made the front page while the other slipped into the media abyss.

In recent months, the Middle East has been a juicy topic in the media and in politics. Obama and Romney exchanged punches on issues like containing Iran’s nuclear program and restraining Israeli forces from offensive attacks. Tension between Israel and Iran has been at an all time high over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and, because of our current foreign policy, the political relationship between Obama and Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has been strained. In an article by The Weekly Standard, “President Obama still has no intention of meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” Netanyahu had asked for the US to impose stricter restrictions against Iran that would be needed for a joint Israeli-American military strike to be “credible.” These tougher proposed sanctions also serve to stifle anti-war sentiments.

Of course, Obama should be very reluctant in getting involved in such a large conflict. He spent half his first term planning a withdrawal from Iraq, and many military analysts say that a war with Iran could be disastrous — leading to less support internationally. The Iranian military could prove to be stronger than projected, thus forcing the federal government to further unbalance our budget in an effort to fight another war. Despite low support for an Iranian war across the US, there is staunch support for Israel’s position in the US Congress. In a speech by Netanyahu to Congress in 2011, he hoped to gain support in his country’s efforts to combat Palestine’s aggression. Within the first four minutes of the speech, the Prime Minister received over four standing ovations. Strong support was evident throughout the meeting.

President Obama, however, has good reason to have a hardline stance against Israel’s call for war. Israel has, in the past, committed unconscionable crimes against humanity against the state of Palestine. However, concurrently, the Arabs, acting out of a commitment to jihad and religious zeal, have done the same to the Israelis. The region is stained with decades, if not centuries, of blood and violence. An American war with Iran is not going to be beneficial to either Israel or the US.

However, a biased position blaming or supporting one side over another exacerbates the situation. Almost all of Congress often supports Israel due to historic diplomatic ties and the country’s status as the region’s strongest US ally. But Congress also favors the Arabs, referring to the division of Palestine into the Gaza Strip and West Bank and the poverty in those regions. However, a balanced solution could be reached when both sides meet to resolve this unnecessary conflict. If the US sets aside decades of animosity, a truce can be reached.

But, until all this hawkish war crying is over and the blood fades away, question of whether the US should support Israel with military force will continue to haunt American politics.