The attack launched by Hamas from Gaza on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023 was bestial, barbarous, and almost unimaginably bloodthirsty.
As horrific as the attack was, though, Israel has either outright occupied or blockaded Gaza since 1967. Israel routinely cuts off or constrains the flow of electricity, water, goods, and people entering and leaving Gaza, which has as much chance of becoming truly independent as does South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Israel has dominated Gaza for decades, and it should need zero additional assistance from the United States to deal with the actual threat posed by Hamas.
Nevertheless, the United States is committed “to help Israel preserve … its ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damages and casualties,” according to a State Department fact sheet.
To ensure Israel’s unquestioned military dominance over the entire Middle East—not just Gaza—the United States year in and year out guarantees to Israel billions of dollars in military and other aid, advanced weapons shared with no other U.S. ally, the open protection of America’s veto in the U.N., and the secret protection of Israel’s extensive covert nuclear arsenal, which Israel developed without the sanction of international law and in defiance of America’s stated policy.
In addition, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and deposed Saddam Hussein in part to help Israel. Our government has scattered American military personnel throughout the region for the same reason, and in November the U.S. Navy has deployed a second aircraft carrier to the Eastern Mediterranean to deter any Islamic nation from resisting Israel’s ongoing attempt to punish Hamas.
Indeed, America’s political class is far more zealous about defending Israel than it is about defending America. The ongoing invasion of America across its open southern border has so far produced little more than ineffectual bleats from Republican congressmen. Even Republicans elected as America First candidates proved to be “Israel First” once the 24-hour news cycle turned its attention entirely to Gaza.
Several of these “America First (But Later)” Republicans sought to decouple a vote for an additional $14 billion in military aid to Israel from an omnibus spending bill that also included $60 billion for Ukraine. They wanted to make sure Israel got its trawl of taxpayer money right away, without any delay caused by reluctance to fund the less popular Ukrainians. This group included Ohio Senator J. D. Vance, who argued that “holding support for Israel hostage to $60 billion more for Ukraine is a slap in the face of our Israeli friends in their hour of need.” Vance was silent as to what his eagerness to send billions to Israel meant for the residents of East Palestine, Ohio, an economically depressed Ohio town Vance had championed after a CSX train derailment there caused an economic and environmental disaster.
New Speaker of the House Mike Johnson made sure his first act was to oversee the passage of a resolution expressing American support for Israel’s fight against Hamas. Even more zealous Zionists within the Republican Party, such as South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, and Israel’s biggest cheerleader, the corpulent televangelist Reverend John Hagee—who decorates his office with the pictures of every prime minister in the history of Israel—also began pushing for military action against Iran.
It is as if we have learned nothing from our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The United States is certainly capable of conquering any country in the Middle East. But we are incapable of changing the political culture of any country we conquer there by occupying it.
America should not give Muslims additional reasons to hate us by ostentatiously supporting Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza, which so far has killed around 10,000 Palestinians, including Palestinian Christian relatives of former GOP Congressman Justin Amash. (They were killed when Israel bombed the grounds of Gaza’s Eastern Orthodox Church.) Nor should we offer Hamas easy targets by flooding the Middle East with American servicemen or by flooding America with Islamic immigrants.
Many argue that Israel deserves our support because it is a “special” ally. Indeed, it is special. No other American ally has received more tax dollars. No other ally has attacked an American naval vessel in broad daylight for two hours, killing 34 Americans (USS Liberty attack, 1967). And no other American ally has spied on us, given some of the information to the Soviets, and treated the spy (Jonathan Pollard) as a hero. Israel somehow managed to become America’s “greatest ally” without ever sending any troops to fight openly at our side. Another such ally may do us in. ◆