March 4, 2015

The motives for the attack on Netanyahu's speech - Moshe Arens

'The motives for the attack on Netanyahu's speech in Congress -
politicization and lack of understanding'

Professor Moshe Arens is convinced that even if Obama and his people
do not like Netanyahu's speech in Congress, this will not cause a
degradation of relations between the United States and Israel, a
relationship that is based on mutual interests, which the United
States also understands should not be given up.

A lack of understanding and political biases. These are the two
reasons that former foreign minister, Prof. Moshe Arens finds for the
frontal attack against the prime minister regarding his speech in the
American Congress and the claim that Israel's relations with the
government in Washington are being degraded.

Prof. Arens endured tremendous American stresses while he was a
minister in Yitzhak Shamir's government and the present stress on
Netanyahu's government appear in his eyes to be of totally different
proportions than how they are described in the Israeli media.

"Relations with the United States are very good", he states and
clarifies that even if it seems that in the fabric of Israeli-American
relations, that Israel is the receiver and the United States is the
giver, the reality is quite different. "The relationship is based on
the interests of both countries. The connection between the two
countries is advantageous to both countries. No country would harm
relations that it considers to be advantageous for it. Therefore I am
sure that Netanyahu's speech in Congress cannot harm these interests.
Everyone who is concerned can rest reassured".

Arens, perhaps because of his responsible political approach, finds it
difficult to understand why the prime minister's political opposition
must make use even of this speech in order to butt heads and fight
with him. He sees the speech as having importance of the first degree
for every Israeli whatever his political beliefs. "The agreement that
is being formulated between the United States and Iran is not good for
Israel and it is in the interest of every responsible Israeli citizen,
no matter whom he intends to vote for, that the prime minister's
speech before the two houses of Congress will be effective. Period".

Arens is not impressed by the fact that those who oppose Netanyahu's
speech are headed by the person who was foreign minister, MK Tzipi
Livni, and who should, supposedly, understand the true structure of
Israel's relations with the United States. In his opinion, as
mentioned, the reasons for the criticism of Netanyahu are clear. "The
unfortunate fact is that many Israelis speak on the subject of
relations with the United States without understanding the United
States and the way in which a position is formulated there and without
understanding the true essence of the relationship, or they prefer to
hide this in order to blame the prime minister. It is a mixture of
lack of understanding and political motives. There is a lack of
understanding here. People do not understand what these relations are
based on. The support for Israel comes from Republicans as well as
Democrats and nothing will change as a result of the speech, even if
the president of the United States is not enthusiastic about
Netanyahu's appearance there".

Arens also relates to Israel's degree of political freedom, especially
in light of the Israeli sense that the Israeli prime minister cannot
take a different political stance from that which is dictated to him
by the White House. Arens totally rejects this approach and states
that an Israeli leader must have only Israeli interests in mind. "We
must take care of our own interests and our interests and in Judea and
Samaria are essential and necessary for our security. We must state
our policies according to our interests and with all due respect to
former American president Bush and his letter, I am not sure that this
letter represents the epitome of the State of Israel's security

Arens reminds us that there have already been leaders who stood up for
Israel in the face of American dictates, and under much tougher
circumstances. "Begin did it and he told them that we are not a banana
republic. Why is it a problem to say this?" he says, and mentions that
this stance was taken with the Americans during the period when
Israel's economic dependence was far greater than that of today. "The
State of Israel has progressed in giant steps since then. Israel of
today is a relatively rich state showing impressive growth for years.
It is nice to get grants but we must remember that this support also
serves American interests. These are not gifts. But even during the
economic crisis, when there was no choice and they had to cut their
governmental budget, and also the support to Israel, it became clear
even then that we can even get by without this. Their support
represents perhaps one and a half percent of the Israel gross national
product and if this is decreased or eliminated it will not harm us,
and certainly not harm us critically. We do not need to change
direction because of some dependence or other on a friend like the
United States".

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