America: Strengthened by Its Support of Israel

David Meir-Levi writes and lectures on Middle East topics, until recently in the History Department of San Jose State University.


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In the first in the series of articles analyzing US foreign aid to Israel, the present writer posed five questions:

1.) Why is there an Israel-USA “special relationship,” an alliance which includes generous American aid and political support at the UN and other international venues?

2.) What is the real number of US dollars in US aid to Israel?

3.) How do we know that the critics offer galactic exaggerations of the dollar amount and spurious claims regarding its political valence and liabilities?

4.) What is the value to the USA of its generous financial support to Israel, compared to the value of similar aid to those countries which are Israel’s avowed enemies?

5.) What is the real impact of the USA’s “special relationship” with Israel upon America’s position in the Middle East and in the broader Muslim world?

The first article addressed question #1 and the first half of question #4 (Israel’s value to the USA).  The second article addressed the second half of question #4 (USA aid to Israel’s enemies hurts the USA). The third article addressed questions #2 and #3.

This article, last in the series, will address question #5.

In order to assess accurately and objectively the real impact of the US-Israel “special relationship” upon America’s position in the Middle East and in the broader Muslim world, one must consider three principles which may be alien to the thinking of some western analysts and commentators regarding Israel and the Middle East.

The first involves adherence to the belief system that requires utmost fidelity to the data.

In his ground-breaking book Thinking Fast and Slow, reviewed recently in the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Kahneman examines why otherwise clear minded and intelligent people sometimes make drastically wrong decisions.  He shows that even when analysts have all the information needed to arrive at correct decisions, and even when the logic is simple, they still all too often arrive at incorrect or even disastrously erroneous conclusions. The problem, according to Kahneman, seems to be related to “belief systems.”  It seems that humans tend to be of two minds—one deliberative and rational, the other quick and intuitive. The quick and intuitive one, influenced by emotion and ideology, is all too often too willing to abandon, disregard, or even manipulate data in order to achieve conclusions that are consistent with the emotion or the ideology.  Such conclusions, inconsistent with, or contradictory to, the data, may be erroneous at best and mendaciously misleading at worst. Kahneman warns that

“All scientists, not least social scientists, should be wary of adhering to any belief system in their professional lives other than the one that requires fidelity to their data.”

If the analyst or commentator has a cause, then there could be a conflict of interest between the cause and the data. Analysts who, due to an ideological pre-disposition, belief system, or emotional commitment to a cause, fall prey to such a conflict of interest, may offer conclusions about whatever issue is under discussion that are grossly divergent from the data, and hence from reality.

In light of Kahneman’s insights, and given the enormous divergence between the reality of the amounts of US foreign aid to Israel and the astronomically exaggerated numbers proffered by those using the “kitchen sink” methodology, it seems logical to conclude that the latter are possessed of a predisposition motivated by some belief system, some emotional commitment to a cause, which drives them to inflate, distort, decontextualize, cherry pick, misrepresent and even falsify data in order to arrive at conclusions that are congruent with the predisposition.  This being the case, with fidelity to the data utterly abandoned, their conclusions are worthless at best.

The second is the principle of the “strong horse.”

Osama bin Laden stated this principle several times in his public speeches:  “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.”  The role of this “strong horse” principle in Arab society and politics has been explored and analyzed by author Lee Smith in his book The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations (Anchor Books, January 2011).  Smith concludes that in Arab politics from at least the onset of the era of the Caliphs following Mohammed’s death, political transfer of power has always been either through violence or dynasty.  Thus violence and the struggle between “strong horses” (the dynastic inheritor vs. his competitors for the throne) has predominated.  Mohammed himself and the Caliphs after him all ruled by violence and coercion, and most were assassinated.  In short, “…the strong horse is the person, tribe, country, or nation that is best able to impose its will upon others, the weaker horses, through the use of force.” This rather dark view of Arab political history was promulgated first by none other than the famous Arab historian and philosopher, ibn-Khaldun in the 14th century.

This “strong horse” principle, active for more than a millennium in Arab politics, plays out today in the international arena as well.  The strong horse on the international scene is a deterrent to aggression; and, conversely, a weak horse invites attack: hence the stronger the horse, the greater the deterrence.

The significance of this principle for the US-Israel “special relationship” is immediately obvious.  As long as America is perceived as a global “strong horse” by the leaders in the Arab world, and the American strong horse is closely aligned with its proxy strong horse in the Middle East, Israel, then there is a strong deterrent to Arab leadership initiating war.  If a strong America abdicates its role as the strong horse, then its proxy, Israel, is weakened; and this weakness is likely to invite aggression.  Conversely, a strong Israel is a stabilizing force in the Middle East, and a strong relationship with the global strong horse, America, strengthens Israel.  Moreover, American leadership that abandons Israel is likely to be seen as an untrustworthy ally, or a weak horse unable to uphold its side of the alliance.

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  • Yra Pris

    Excuse me for changing the subject for a moment, but I think this is a little bit funny: In the middle of this article, an advertisement appears. The text of the advertisement says "Do you know Islam? Click here."

    Upon clicking the icon, a screen appears where you can chat with a respresentative of "www.edialogue.org". I didn't start any conversation, but everything suggests that it's an Islamic missionary organization.

    Advertising is part of the free market system. It's just ironic that this particular advertisement is matched to FrontPageMag.com.

    I also see a lot of Russian Bride ads on the site, which is ironic in its own way.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    • Herman Caintonette

      If you're in the market for Russian brides, you are going to get ads for them. Just how the system works — targeted marketing. Haven't seen a one, personally.

      • Jaden Duda

        was up my G

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    It is not America’s fault, as the author contends, that Israel has gambled another Holocaust against subduing the Middle East.

    • Herman Caintonette

      We're just not having the right conversation. David Ben-Gurion explains the controversy:

      "Everybody sees a difficulty in the question of relations between Arabs and Jews. But not everybody sees that there is no solution to this question. No solution! There is a gulf, and nothing can bridge it… We, as a nation, want this country to be ours; the Arabs, as a nation, want this country to be theirs."

      "In our political argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us. But let us not ignore the truth among ourselves. I insist on the truth, not out of respect for scientific but political realities. The acknowledgement of this truth leads to inevitable and serious conclusions regarding our work in Palestine . . let us not build on the hope the terrorist gangs will get tired. If some get tired, others will replace them.
      A people which fights against the usurpation of its land will not tire so easily… it is easier for them to continue the war and not get tired than it is for us … The Palestinian Arabs are not alone. The Syrians are coming to help. From our point of view, they are strangers; in the point of law they are foreigners; but to the Arabs, they are not foreigners at all … The centre of the war is in Palestine, but its dimensions are much wider."

      "Militarily, it is we who are on the defensive who have the upper hand but in the political sphere they are superior. The land, the villages, the mountains, the roads are in their hands. The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country, while we are still outside."

      "Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?"

      When even Jews admit that the Zionists are thieves, why should anyone else see them as anything else? No one cries for tyrants, or mourns the death of thieves.

      • mah29001

        Hey Nazis….go back to Stormfront.org.

        • Herman Caintonette

          You can't respond on the merits, so you have to call me names. Why am I not surprised?

  • StephenD

    Man, reading the "stuff" that flows from Flipedupside just boggles the mind. Yeah, Israel is attempting to "subdue" the M.E. Everyone knows that! Just look at how much land it has since 1948! Those evil Zionists will do it every time. Why, if this keeps up, in another 1000 years they may actually have their original lands back! What F**king planet are you on?!?
    This was a great article. You have to wonder what it would take to have it presented in our schools and as importantly, to our Congress. Of course, as was articulated, those with a bent toward an ideology with which they have an emotional bond don't always make rational decisions.

    • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

      Yeah. Israel is attempting to subdue the Middle East. They are only meddling in the affairs of approximately 15 countries.

      • mah29001

        The former Klansman David Duke salutes you with his Roman Nazi salute….that's who agrees with you….

        • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

          There is no major distinction between a David Duke and a Robert Spencer.

      • KarshiKhanabad

        Yeah, Flippy, it's just so unfair that a mere six million Jews can hold at bay three hundred fifty million Arab Muslims howling for Jewish blood. And it's twenty two, not fifteen, member nations of the Arab League which are being bedeviled by those fiendishly clever Jews. No fairness in the ME, that's for sure.

        "When the Arabs love their children more than they hate the Jews, then there will be peace."

  • Herman Caintonette

    DML: "Those who argue, therefore, that America should distance itself from Israel are actually encouraging the de-stabilization of the Middle East. This is a dynamic that is not in the interests of the USA, nor of Israel, nor of the Middle East."

    We should always be on the side with the moral high ground — which, as Ben-Gurion admits, is the Palestinians. Furthermore, our natural national interests lie with the 1.6 billion Muslims — and some of them have oil. "Israel" is a festering wound, a parasite that saps our strength. Just how it is, people.

  • Abdul Ameer

    David Meir Levi is correct to say that Moslems hate us, not for what we do, but for what we are. However, his is not correct when he says that they hate us because we are rich, powerful and attract immigrants. The Moslems hate us because we are non-Moslems. It is as simple as that. The Koran teaches Moslems to hate non-Moslems and make war against them.

  • Ghostwriter

    Great,more anti-Jewish sludge from Herman Caintonette and Flipside. When are they ever going to get a brain or a heart?

    • Herman Caintonette

      Persuade me that the Jews have superior title to the land. Even David Ben-Gurion agrees with me; why is he not denounced as anti-Semitic?

      • TALIA

        I dont have to convince you of anything. Ben Gurion was a leftist. Plain and simple.
        In Israel we have many opinions from the whole spectrum of the political views .
        You can find more then double writings to the contrary.
        And i can assure you- the leftists are the minor ones and shrinking every year until they will very soon dwindle into nothingness.
        You know why?
        Because it is very natural for jews to identify with the weak. People-who were mostly refugees themselves- looked at the arab population even before this population had any thoughts of "nationality" (which was not invented until the 60') and started to think-what about them? what is the moral ground for our actions? how can we be fair?
        Thats the jewish way. The arabs instead of understanding and respecting that see that as a weakness and every attempt of us to reach a fair and moral way for both ppl to live peacefully is ridiculed and met with even stronger hate.
        Because the arabs are not looking for peace they want us dead. period.
        Which is why that while every person in Israel wants peace every year the understanding of The difference between us drive the Israelis further to the right.
        The next elections i will be very surprised if the left will have any power at all.
        As you are soooo interested in the truth then that is the truth .
        do with it as you will. or not……
        I am not trying to convince you.I couldn't care less.
        This is my country and i dont care for or need your approval . Thats ridiculous. Just like you dont need mine in yours.

    • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

      Just as soon as we melt the Wicked Witch of Zionism.

  • http://www.jochnowitz.net George Jochnowitz

    It is certainly true that a strong Israel is a stabilizing force in the Middle East. Most Arab leaders, even moderates like Abbas, do not want stability, since instability will bring back Islam to the days when it existed in all its rigidity everywhere in the Arab world. That is why Abbas won't ever recognize Israel as a Jewish state. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/palestinian