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Israel First or America First

Donald Trump has a new best friend.

“President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support of Israel,” gushed Bibi Netanyahu, after he berated John Kerry in a fashion that would once have resulted in a rupture of diplomatic relations.

Netanyahu accused Kerry of “colluding” in and “orchestrating” an anti-Israel, stab-in-the-back resolution in the Security Council, then lying about it. He offered to provide evidence of Kerry’s complicity and mendacity to President Trump.

Bibi then called in the U.S. ambassador and read him the riot act for 40 minutes. Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer charged that not only did the U.S. not “stand up to and oppose the gang-up” at the U.N., “the United States was actually behind that gang-up.”

When Ben Rhodes of the National Security Council called the charges false, Dermer dismissed President Obama’s man as a “master of fiction.”

Query: Why is Dermer not on a plane back to Tel Aviv?

Some of us can recall how Eisenhower ordered David Ben-Gurion to get his army out of Sinai in 1957, or face sanctions.

Ben-Gurion did as told. Had he and his ambassador castigated Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, as the Israelis dissed John Kerry, Ike would have called the U.S. ambassador home.

Indeed, Ike’s threat of sanctions against Prime Minister Anthony Eden’s government, which had also invaded Egypt, brought Eden down.

But then Dwight Eisenhower was not Barack Obama, and the America of 1956 was a more self-respecting nation.

Still, this week of rancorous exchanges between two nations that endlessly express their love for each other certainly clears the air.

While Kerry has been denounced for abstaining on the U.N. resolution calling Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem illegal and an impediment to peace, this has been U.S. policy for years.

And Kerry’s warning in his Wednesday speech that at the end of this road of continuous settlement-building lies an Israel that is either a non-Jewish or a non-democratic state is scarcely anti-Semitic.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the most decorated soldier in Israel’s history, has warned his countrymen, “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel, it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-Democratic.”

“If the bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote” added Barak, “this will be an apartheid state.” Of John Kerry’s speech, Barak said, “Powerful, lucid … World & majority in Israel think the same.”

Defense Secretary-designate Gen. James Mattis warned in 2013 that Israeli settlements were leading to an “apartheid” state.

After Joe Biden visited Israel in 2010, to learn that Netanyahu just approved 1,600 new units in East Jerusalem, Gen. David Petraeus warned: “Arab anger on the Palestine question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnership with governments and people in the region.”

Yet facts and reality, however unpleasant, cannot be denied.

The two-state solution is almost surely dead. Netanyahu is not going to remove scores of thousands of Jewish settlers from Judea and Samaria to cede the land to a Palestinian state. After all, Bibi opposed Ariel Sharon’s removal of 8,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza.

How will all this impact the new Trump administration?

Having tweeted, “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching,” and having named a militant Zionist as his ambassador, Trump is certain to tilt U.S. policy heavily toward Israel.

Politically, this will bring rewards in the U.S. Jewish community.

The Republican Party will become the “pro-Israel” party, while the Democrats can be portrayed as divided and conflicted, with a left wing that is pro-Palestine and sympathetic to sanctions on Israel.

And the problem for Trump in a full embrace of Bibi?

Britain and France, which voted for the resolution where the U.S. abstained, are going to go their separate way on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as is the world.

Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf Arabs will be pressured by their peoples and by the militant states of the region like Iran, to distance themselves from the Americans or face internal troubles.

And once U.S. pressure ends and settlement building in the West Bank proceeds, Netanyahu, his hawkish Cabinet, the Israeli lobby, the neocons and the congressional Republicans will start beating the drums for Trump to terminate what he himself has called that “horrible Iran deal.”

Calls are already coming for the cancellation of the sale of 80 Boeing jets to Iran. Yet, any U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, or reimposition of sanctions on Iran, will further split us off from our European allies. Not only did Britain and France vote for the Security Council resolution, both are party, as is Germany, to the Iran deal.

Having America publicly reassert herself as Israel’s best friend, with “no daylight” between us, could have us ending up as Israel’s only friend — and Israel as our only friend in the Middle East.

Bibi’s Israel First policy must one day collide with America First.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.” To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at


Last Updated: Thursday, Dec 29, 2016 14:19:21 -0800

Patrick Buchanan
Patrick Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.
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  • JoinOly

    Sounds like this article was written by Kerry, not Buchanan. Citing “this has been the US policy for years” without stating the obvious fact that is is the wrong policy for the continued existence of Israel is shortsighted at best. And who cares if the arab states support our positions? Are we not at war with at least two of them right now…and do they not vow to destroy us? Even our ally, “Suadia”, only supports us “off camara” and only as long as we buy their oil. Wake up America, we have spent over 6 trillion dollars trying to manufacture peace in the middle east over the past 16 years without much to show for it except a strong, democratic Israel (by the way, all the arab citizens of Israel can vote and have their representatives in the knesset, so no “apartheid” is in the offing. Shame on you, Patrtick.

  • yoBro

    Now Mr Buchanan is worried about us losing our European allies. He should see Ms. May’s remarks today. We must project power and others will follow.
    Buchanan is convinced that the US should not value Israel as a strategic buffer in a hostile region and he is blind to the hypocrisy of those pushing for a Palestinian state whose sole national purpose would be to destroy Israel.

  • Justa Gypsy

    The UN vote indicates the entire world wearies (is disgusted, is just damn tired) of the holocaust the Israelis carry out against the Palestinians. This has gone on for 68 years with NO end in sight. As a Trump supporter, I feel disturbed by his reaction to all this. He (Trump) acts as if both sides have Humvees, tanks, attack helicopters, super-sonic aircraft, a standing Army, a Navy; and they face off equally. The side making a stand, with stones as their weapons, have only “right” on their side.

  • RobfromVA

    Buchanan should stop to think for a moment! Israel wants to live in peace, every Muslim nation in the world, wants Israel wiped off the face of the earth. If this were not the case, there would be no fight over such a small parcel of land!

    So then Buchanan, should we support Israel’s want of living amicably , or Islam’s hatred of all infidels?