“How to Save Israel in Spite of Herself”, the theme for this blog, comes from the title of an article written by the renowned diplomat, George W. Ball, in the April 1977 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, in which he criticized U.S. Middle East policy and recommended that the U.S. use its vast power and influence to force Israel to abandon the territories it conquered and occupied during the 1967 Six Day War, namely Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Syria’s Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza strip portions of Palestine, and enter into a permanent peace settlement with the Arab nations and allow the Palestinians to have the land and country of their own promised them in the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.
I am a semi-retired attorney whose interest in Israel and the Middle East peace process stems from hearing stories from and about my father who played a major part in Israel’s formation by flying Jews from all over the world to Israel in 1948-49. He was described by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, as Israel’s “Irish Moses”, hence the title of my blog. In 2004, just a year before his death, my father was awarded the Medal of Valor by the Simon Wiesenthal Center for “his heroic efforts that helped to rescue tens of thousands of Jews”.
Paradoxically, my father became very critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians in his later years, and refused an invitation to attend ceremonies in Israel celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence in 1997. His refusal and criticism of Israeli policies sparked my interest in the current Israeli-Arab conflict over Palestine.
While I clearly have a strong and critical view of Israel’s post-1967 Six Day War conduct and annexation and settlement policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, like my father I remain a strong supporter of Israel and firmly believe the U.S. has a moral obligation to protect Israel’s existence from any foreign threat.
However, I also agree with George Ball’s prescient article written some 33 years ago, that Israel’s illegal settlements and annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem are causing great harm to U.S. vital national security interests, and that the U.S. must use its vast power and influence to force Israel to abandon its illegal settlements and enter into a fair and reasonable settlement that both guarantees Israel’s security and provides the Palestinians with the homeland and state of their own promised to them by the United Nations in 1947.