Monday, July 27, 2015

Letter to NYT-- (really the great basket in the basement) on Iran Nuclear Deal

The following was sent in mid-July, and of course, not published.

To the Editor,

Re “Campaign for Congressional Backing of Iran Accord Begins” July 23.  The real emotional intensity of the debate on the Iran deal comes not from its very positive non-proliferation aspect, but from its asserted weakening of the security of Israel, as raised insistently by Prime Minister Netanyahu.  But, an important foundational element has been obscured.

The American public, and many in the press and the Congress, give no sign of realizing that over the years Israel’s Likud leadership has silently expanded the meaning of protecting Israel to become “protecting Israel with the West Bank and Israeli settlements.”  Mr Netanyahu maintains his claim for U.S. protection while refusing American entreaties to negotiate the future of the West Bank and a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Using his support on the domestic American scene, the Israeli Prime Minister works to impose on us unilaterally an obligation to defend the greater Israel, far beyond Israel proper.  He hopes the Congress will accept this enlarged commitment, or ignore the difference, as he maneuvers for a rejection of the Iran nuclear deal.

It is the safer course for us, for Israel, and the entire Middle East for the Iran deal to be approved and for Israel to increase its long-term security by entering into serious peace discussions with the Palestinians.

Peter Lydon

1584 Le Roy Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94708  

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Obama and Kerry's predicament

This is a letter to the NYT--had to be squeezed a good deal to get toward the word limit.   I thought actually that it wasn't bad (although not published) and that the problem that Likudist Israel has become for the Administration, and for the U.S. in general, is a very real one.

January 31, 2015

To the Editor,

The News Analysis of January 31, “A Strained Alliance, Obama-Netanyahu Rift Grew Over Years” misinterprets a consequential matter.  Our rift with Israel is not personal, but a structural, political one.  

The governing Israeli Right, trading on American guarantees of support, is maintaining an aggressive position in relation to the Palestinians.  Mr. Netanyahu ignores U.S. signals that his policies are far out beyond U.S. guarantees.  

This is a fragile ticking-bomb contradiction, with two possible resolutions: either Israel reverses field, stopping West Bank construction and negotiating with the Palestinians, or the U.S. clarifies that it does not guarantee Israeli policies which it cannot influence, and cuts military supply and diplomatic support to Israel.  

Pulling back from Israel would be extraordinarily painful and difficult for us, but is necessary unless Israel changes its stance.       

In March, this is before the Israeli electorate. The brouhaha about Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to the Congress is illustrative, and may help the Israeli public understand the stakes of the election.

Peter Lydon
1584 Le Roy Avenue,
Berkeley, CA  94708