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Wind turbines generate electricity on the Golan Heights. This wind farm powers the 25,000 Israelis living in the Golan region. (Stephen Asbel, 2005).

Special Dossier: Presidential Primaries

To help Israel in this election, don't look for the 'pro-Israel' candidate
Look to break oil dependence..

-- Stephen Asbel

I have been reading in the pro-Israel blogosphere some panic over the rapid ascendance of Barack Obama, related to the anti-Israel rantings of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright; associations with Al Sharpton; endorsement by Moveon.org and so on. Let us assume that all of these critics of Obama are correct and that Obama is surrounded with Israel haters and anti-Semites. As Jonathan Tobin of the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia put it, by making certain statements on the importance of Israel to the U.S., Obama has earned his "pro-Israel merit badge." However, even if he has not, my first question then is "So what?"

Israel has had a succession of governments that have decided to be supine to American administrations that act all friendly to Israel but really are not too interested in what is good for Israel. What Israel perhaps needs is a kick in the butt to force it to act like a sovereign nation instead of some pathetic third-rate vassal groveling at the feet of America. American administrations that have been perceived as very friendly to Israel have been used as a crutch. Israeli leaders crow that George W. Bush is the friendliest President to Israel ever, yet Bush was the first to openly endorse creation of a new Arab state run by the terrorist-infested Palestinian Authority regime. This is a friend of Israel?

I will confess that I "drank the Kool-Aid," and voted for Bush in 2004 because of a perception that he would be better for Israel. What a mistake! Israel's supporters were rewarded with Bush's proconsul Condoleezius Ricius making pronouncements about where Jews could and could not live in the Land of Israel; that Israel had to make gestures of support for the terrorist-infested Fatah Palestinian Authority Regime that endangered Israeli citizens; and imposition of a double standard under which America can send armies across the world to combat terror threats both real and imagined, but Israel must restrain itself from acting against very real threats that are less than ten miles away. So much for Georgius Bushus, the so-called best friend Israel ever had.

Remember when Israel stood the tallest? June 1967, when abandoned by all the major powers and surrounded by bloodthirsty enemies, Israel relied on its own strength, struck at its enemies and won a great victory. It was after Israel started becoming dependent on America that its government began to lose its resolve -- such as when it refrained from striking first in 1973, despite warning signs of attack because America would not like it. In 1982, Begin had Arafat on his knees in Beirut and could have destroyed him but let him escape because of American insistence.

Energy independence would permit the next president to take a stronger stand when dealing with our "friends" in Saudi Arabia.

Assuming that Obama would be hostile to Israel (and I do not know if he would be) and would start applying pressure, maybe that would be a good thing to wake up Israeli politicians that they cannot expect America to protect them and maybe that would lead to a breaking of the dependence on American aid. Israel has an economy of over $120 billion GDP. With some determination, sensible economic policies and with continued support from Diaspora Jews, Israel should, over, say, 10 years, be able to wean itself off of dependence on American military financial aid so it can relate to America as an ally instead of as a dependent. Then maybe Israel can start making policy decisions based on its own self-interest rather than Washington’s.

How many lucrative military and high technology deals has Israel been forced by Washington to abandon all because of Israel's dependence on American military aid subsidies? How many times has Israel's government failed to follow advice of its military leaders regarding terrorist threats because to do so would displease Washington, the great dispenser of financial aid? Is this military aid really helping Israel or is it a tool used by Washington to force Israel to conform to America's wishes which, in turn, are greatly driven by the wishes of the Saudis and other oil producers upon whom America is dependent?

Beyond that, is Obama really any worse than the other candidates? Look at Clinton -- she who kissed Suha Arafat. It was her husband who, after all, enabled and shoved Israel into embarking upon the Oslo process debacle that left more than 1,000 Israelis dead. If we believe Hillary Clinton's campaign, she was deeply involved in all of her husband's policies, so the Oslo debacle and Israel's dead can also be laid at her feet. Then look at McCain: he favors giving the Arab Palestinians a state, too, and he thinks it would be a swell idea to put James Baker or Brent Scowcroft in charge of Middle East peace negotiations -- both of whom would sell out Israel in a heartbeat.

Even if there were a super pro-Israel candidate running, what good would that do? Olmert and his Village of Idiots Regime are determined to make concessions even if the US is not demanding them. There was an article in Arutz Sheva about how United States Senators wanted to remove the waiver provision that has blocked moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem and it was Israeli officials who said don’t do it.

In this election, on security for Israel, the question of who has the usual pro-Israel credentials really does not matter because how Israel fares will depend on who is in charge in Jerusalem, not in Washington. The best thing that American voters can do for Israel is to elect a President who will be willing to take serious action to get us on the path to ending our dependence on foreign oil. The United States may give $3 billion per year to Israel in military aid, but the American economy is paying billions and billions upon billions that is going to Arab oil states who are using that money to bankroll Hezbollah, Hamas and every other murderous terrorist organization.

If we really want to do something to help Israel, as well as to help America, we have to choke off that flow of money to OPEC. (By the way, I have taken my own personal step in this regard by signing up for 100 percent renewable-generated electricity from the Philadelphia Energy Cooperative and for next heating season, I will be switching to a supplier selling heating oil with 20 percent biofuel.)

I don’t know yet which of these candidates would be best and I am not thrilled with any of them. However, anyone who thinks that they will be guaranteeing Israel’s safety simply by not electing Obama ought to think again.

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