Morton A. Klein, National President
Zionist Organization of America
Thanks to Wikileaks, the exposure of some 250,000 diplomatic cables, we now know that President Barack Obamas premise that Israel must be pressured into making concessions to the Palestinians or else Arab states will not support U.S. efforts to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons is false and groundless. More importantly, Obama himself has long known this to be nonsense since arriving in office.
Obama claimed in May 2009 regarding a linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that to the extent that we can make peace it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat. The Wikileaks documents decisively demonstrate that Obama has been dishonest.
Conversely, a host of pundits in recent years, such as Foreign Policys Marc Lynch, The Nations Robert Dreyfuss, and Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, authors of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, have continually argued that Israel alone was pushing for military action against Irans nuclear facilities. The Wikileaks show them now to be either ignoramuses or liars.
Because the Wikileaks documents provide abundant evidence that Arab leaders, especially in the Gulf states, far from demanding movement towards Arab-Israeli peace and a Palestinian state, have been insistently, stridently and even despairingly urging the Obama administration to stop Iran going nuclear by hook or by crook.
Saudi Arabias King Abdullah pleaded with Obama to cut off the head of the [Iranian] snake. The King of Bahrain told the U.S. the Iranian nuclear program must be stopped. He later added, The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it. The United Arab Emirates defense chief, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin-Zayed of Abu Dhabi, told U.S. General John Abizaid the U.S. needs to take action against Iran, this year or next Ahmadinejad is Hitler. Egypts President Hosni Mubarak said the Iranians are big fat liars. Qatars Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is said to have told the Israelis in October 2006 that he believed Iran was determined to develop a nuclear bomb no matter the cost. Israeli diplomats also told their U.S. counterparts Hamad complained at the time that he felt the U.S. would not listen to him and tended to believe what it heard from Iran.
The thrust of all these documents is clear: they prove that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew from the outset that the linkage paradigm was utterly false and that the lack of an Arab/Israeli peace, or even negotiations, was no obstacle to wide Arab support for the toughest possible measures up to and including military action against Iran. We now know that President Obama was repeatedly urged by many Arab leaders to destroy the Iranian nuclear program they fear that was their primary concern and priority, not strengthening Abbas and the PA or pressuring Israel.
Obamas preoccupation with Jewish construction and the Palestinians is therefore ideological. It bears no correspondence with reality. Whether Arab leaders hate or are merely indifferent to Israel is irrelevant: what is important is that, where Iran is concerned, they see it as strategically important. As Israels deputy director of Foreign Ministry Yaacov Hadas said in another Wikileaks document, The Gulf Arabs believe in Israels role because of their perception of Israels close relationship with the U.S., but also due to their sense that they can count on Israel against Iran.
Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz has it right when he says (Dec. 12) that Obama was not the prisoner of a misconception, convinced in absolute good faith that if he could deliver Israeli concessions at the negotiating table he might stand a greater chance of getting the Arabs on board for the battle with the mullahs. No, he had the diplomatic cables to prove that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was no obstacle to wide Arab backing, indeed wide Arab entreaties, for the toughest possible measures against Iran, emphatically including military action Obama had internalized full well that he didnt actually need the cover of a substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace process to generate Arab support for tackling Irans nuclear program, but chose to pressure Israel just the same.
The implications of this analysis should chill every friend of Israel, regardless of their political beliefs. The Congress and the American public should be asking Obama why have you recklessly wasted time and resources pretending that there is some semblance of linkage between the peace process and the Iranian nuclear threat? Why have you been cynically using the Iranian nuclear issue as a tool for hectoring and extracting concessions from Israel?