A Grain of Sand

"I will multiply you as the stars in heaven and as the sand upon the shore." - Genesis 22:17

"I can see the master's hand in every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand." - Dylan, Every Grain of Sand (on Shot of Love)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Economic Pressure on Israel....from the US

Interesting. George Mitchell (administration envoy for mideast peace) indicated in an interview (transcript is here) that one of the tools in the administration's belt in dealing with Israel is preventing loan guarantees.

As I've written before, I think that Israel's long-term security can only come from peace and stability - something that in my opinion its government is moving away from. Nonetheless, the administration must not use Israel's economic vulnerability against it - not good policy, not good for Israel.

If you are pro-Peace, and pro-Israel, as I am, and you think this is a good option for the US to wield, just think about how it could be used. If we go down the road of the US putting serious economic pressure on Israel, one can imagine Israel being put in a totally untenable position one day. Having to act against its security interests in order to avoid the danger of the loss of US aid.

The Administration is trying to walk it back by saying that he was taken out of context; that clearly, Mitchell was simply talking descriptively, not proscriptively, about the mechanisms that the US could use as leverage. That is, he was just saying that this was technically possible, and nothing more, in response to Rose asking him about possible options.

The transcript itself makes that pretty hard, if not impossible, to defend. My read is that he threw out there, in very careful terms, a very mild and vague warning. He even suggests – depending on how you understand his subsequent remarks – that this is something that the Administration is “discussing.” Obviously it’s not to be understood as a suggestion he’s making for US policy, but a subtle message to the Israelis, “we’re not screwing around.” I just think a guy as diplomatically experienced as Mitchell – which is to say, very – doesn’t throw around such things by accident.

What's strange is how little play this is getting in various media. I can't find anything on it from NYT or CNN. It is very big news in Israel. Reuters has a good read on the Israeli reaction here. The article notes that Israel doesn't intend to use guarantees at least for the next two years.


  1. Comment on America Threatening to not give Israel Loan Guarantees
    This could be an attempt by the present American administration to wake Israel up to the fact that they cannot rely on police action or military and intelligence strength supported by American loans to guarantee their security. This might bring Israel into the reality that they should not rely on the ways of the nations, but return to the laws and decrees that God gave them in order for His mighty hand to protect them and grant their needs.
    Rather than give credit to the American administration for this posible harsh discipline of Israel, it should be acknowledged as part of His Divine plan in its final stages.

  2. Anonymous -

    I completely and utterly reject these comments. The notion that Israel must conduct itself according to religious law flies in the face of the history of Zionism itself. I have no patience for theocracy or for the advocacy of it. Israel's secular law and secular Zionism have saved it from the fate of some of its neighbors and is a source of pride.

    I'm not interested in comments that argue for a simplistic return to a "Divine plan" and will erase them in the future. Such comments cannot be interrogated and therefore have no place in rational argument. I also find them dangerous and unhelpful.

  3. Gratitude for Rabbi Josh allowing my views to be expressed on his blog
    MFK previously known as Anonymous
    Rabbi Josh may be right about what I said previously as being too simplistic, speculative, and all inclusive. But I think he will agree that if what the Lord says through his imperfect Torah and Tenackh is true then what I said should be considered as at least a back-up plan for the security of Israel, and thus the world.