"America, stop sucking up to Israel "

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Gideon Levy pulls no punches:

Israel of 2009 is a spoiled country, arrogant and condescending, convinced that it deserves everything and that it has the power to make a fool of America and the world. The United States has engendered this situation, which endangers the entire Mideast and Israel itself. That is why there needs to be a turning point in the coming year – Washington needs to finally say no to Israel and the occupation. An unambiguous, presidential no.

One question that should always be asked of an ally: what is that ally doing for the US? Since the end of the Cold War, that question has been increasingly hard to answer with respect to Israel.

Strategically, Israel is obviously a huge burden for the US, making relations with Muslim or Arab nations much harder, and undermining any attempt to portray American intervention in, say, Iraq or Afghanistan, as beneficent rather than predatory. It's a big drain on the Treasury, as Israel consumes a vast amount of military and non-military aid.

It's a big blow to any attempt by the US to restrain nuclear weaponry, since Israel has 150 nuclear weapons and threatens regional and global war if its monopoly is in any way challenged. And it means that American money is directly connected to the mass killings of civilians in Gaza last January. Despite all this, an American president's primary concern is maintaining the support of Israel! And secretary of state Clinton can actually applaud Netanyahu for telling her own president to go pull a Cheney.

Moreover, any attempt to chart a foreign policy for the region that is not subject to Jerusalem's veto is subjected to the kind of hysterical smear-mongering that the neocons have applied to AIPAC J-Street and even the NIAC head, Trita Parsi. Greenwald applauds:

I have almost nothing but good things to say about J Street -- they are fighting a difficult and largely noble battle -- but the fact that not even this group, devoted to orthodoxy-busting, is willing to get anywhere near what Gideon Levy advocates illustrates how constricted American debates over Israel continue to be compared to Israel's.

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