Behind all the photo ops and making nice speeches from US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House today, a hard reality lurks. The blank check Israel has enjoyed from the US all these years is about to be torn up. After over 60 years of friendship, Israel – of its own volition and through its own actions – has become an economic and security liability to the US.
Here’s what POTUS needs to say to the PM . . .
“Sorry, dude, it’s out of my hands. You have from two and a half to four and a half years before a congress is elected that is, at best, indifferent to Israel, and at worst, actively hostile. As the Holocaust generation and their children die off, the allegiance and priorities of American Jews are shifting. More are now in support of social justice and repairing the world (tikkun olam) than an overseas ‘homeland’ that is increasingly seen as both incompetent and immoral.
“You have been blessed by an American media that is largely Jewish or sympathetic to Jewish causes. That model is dead. The new media is a 16 year old with an iPhone and a Facebook account, and he / she will take great delight in exposing your perfidies to the world. This will only get worse as technologies advance.
“AIPAC, AJD and JDL are the past. They are newspapers in a digital age. The new forces are entities like J Street and Another Jewish Voice, plus passionate individuals with strong networks. With the exception of evangelicals, the American public is mostly indifferent to Israel. Leon Uris is dead, and the myth he and you helped perpetuate of a plucky David against an ugly, evil, Arab Goliath is dying, too. The Gaza invasion and the flotilla fiasco were your Waterloo – you just haven’t tallied the butcher’s bill.
“America is broke. We will soon have to give up a significant chunk of our defense budget, raise taxes and reduce services. No one is going to be able to stand up in Congress and explain why our money should go to build illegal settlements for a fundamentalist, apartheid regime. Especially when high visibility people whom Americans believe in, like David Petraeus, explain how Israeli intransigence threatens our security. We may be able to shield you from condemnation in the UN, but on the ground and in the voting booth, it’s just about over.
“If you truly want Israel to continue to exist, then figure out how to make peace within the 1967 borders AND with compensation for those who were displaced in the 1948 nakba. We can help you with that and I’ll lead the charge if you’re truly willing to play.
“If you don’t, demographic forces will compel a one state outcome, and you will not be its ruler. If that happens, your best case scenario will be a secular, democratic state in which Jews will be a minority. Your worst case is that it will be an Islamic state, and the oppressions and proscriptions you have inflicted on others will come back to you like karmic whiplash.
“The simple fact is, it’s probably too late for a two state ending. You have done too good a job in erasing those old boundaries. The Occupied Territories are a tar baby, and you’re stuck fast.
“Nor can you hope to hunker in the bunker of ‘Fortress Israel’. The ‘evolution of lethality’ means that your model of deterrence – massive conventional and even nuclear force – is obsolete. We live in an era of ‘open source’ warfare, where small groups and even individuals can fight states and have a reasonable chance of winning. Consider the implications for your economy when you have to buy F-35’s for hundreds of millions a copy, while your opponents can build increasingly sophisticated rockets and even cruise missiles in a garage-based ‘fab lab’ for thousands. To say nothing of the implications of DNA sequencers being sold on EBay for a few thousand dollars, and biogenetic precursors available by mail order.
“In an open source world, you cannot expect your opponents to remain incompetent. (Which of your former leaders was it who said, ‘Thank God our enemies are Arabs, and not Germans’?) Just as Iraqi and Afghani insurgents have begun to master the tactics and technologies of open source warfare, so will the Palestinians if you force them to.
“Even worse, the ability of your enemies to attack your systems will only increase. And they may not even need to do it themselves. Expect not only boycotts and disinvestment drives, but also focused attacks from contractors, such as the Russian Business Network and Chinese hackers. Your information, financial and governance systems, along with physical infrastructure, will be attacked relentlessly. The point is to make return on investment so lousy that investors and supporters will go away.
“Israel is incredibly vulnerable. Your economy is reasonably diversified, but it’s heavily dependent on imports and a few export markets. The vast majority of your oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment come from abroad, and 80 percent of your GDP results from foreign trade. Most of that trade is with the US and the European Union, and that’s where public opinion is shifting from pro-Israel to actively anti-Israel.
“There’s an old saying, ‘If you’re in a hole, stop digging.’ You’re in a serious hole, but you keep buying new shovels. If you don’t change course dramatically and almost immediately, our own actions – tied to demographic shifts and economic realities, multiplied by open source media and networked information flows – will lead to Israel’s implosion in the foreseeable future. Some of my advisors have put a 20 year window on this, but the pace of history keeps accelerating, and I suspect it will really be less than that. Maybe even less than 10 years.
“In short, Bibi, the fat lady is singing her final stanza. You have a very brief window to make nice and try to salvage a Jewish state. I’ve already bet Hillary $100 that Israel is toast – and I gave her 8 – 5 odds. It’s probably the only profit I’ll make on this deal.”