Requisites for a Real Friend of Israel: Understanding the Realities of the Middle East
by Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker
International Analyst Network, 12 March 2008
The 2008 Presidential campaign has brought forth statements from all the major candidates, both Democrat and Republican, of the depth of their support for the State of Israel, and their commitment to maintaining the close relationship that exists between the United States and the only real democracy in that area of the world. On the face of it, there would appear to be very little difference between the Democrats and the Republicans regarding support for Israel. The politically naive would be able to look at all the candidates and seeing their near equal “support” for Israel, come to the conclusion that a choice for one’s candidate could be made upon other criteria, since all major candidates support Israel.
Rarely has the statement “a little knowledge can be dangerous” had more applicability. Based on their respective records as well as their campaign statements, we know that all the major candidates believe that Israel has the right to maintain itself as a “Jewish State”. But the fact that all these candidates support Israel’s right to be Jewish, doesn’t translate to each one turning out to be equally helpful to Israel to maintain her existence in a very hostile neighborhood. With the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) issuing daily threats to Israel, and Iran’s proxies—whether Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the PFLP in Gaza—attacking Israel and Israelis with relative impunity, it is crucial for the next president of the United States to understand that what occurs in Iraq has direct consequences to Israel’s security just as surely as events in Ciudad Juarez effect conditions in Texas, or those in Toronto effect New York.
It is the big picture of the Middle East that serves to divide real friends of Israel from “wannabies”. A real friend of Israel understands that an Iraq dominated by Iran, or one in which the jihadist forces of al-Qaeda are relatively free to operate, poses a very real threat to Israel. Allowing Iraq to fall apart, to fall under the sway of Iran, or to return to the chaos that reigned before the successful surge strategy instituted by General David Petraeus by removing American forces too quickly, as both Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama advocate, would not be beneficial to Israel. Indeed it would bring tremendous additional pressures upon Israel as Iran would have the ability to greatly extend its influence in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank, as well as to begin the subversion of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the one Arab country with which Israel does maintain cordial relations.
By labeling the war in Iraq as “Bush’s War”, the opponents of the war have attempted to make us forget that the “War on Terror” really is a war against Islamist fundamentalism. And by this diversion they would have us forget that the heart of the Islamist (Islamic fundamentalist) terrorism network is located in Tehran. Whereas the Iranians have been very successful in employing proxies to do their bidding, we should not be fooled into thinking that the IRI is not behind much of the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, or Lebanon, Gaza, and the Sudan[6 , or Kosovo and Chechnya for that matter. Nor should we be fooled into thinking that Shiite Iran hasn’t been supporting and aiding Sunni al-Qaeda; it has been doing exactly such for at least a decade.
The importance of helping Iraq to become a stable, non-fundamentalist democracy that can act as a counter-weight to Iran cannot be emphasized enough. Although the Iranian Islamist regime appears very strong and in control of Iran, its vast unpopularity with the Iranian people actually makes its hold on power fragile. The establishment of a stable non-fundamentalist democracy next door in Iraq strikes terror in the heart of the mullahs of Tehran; it is one of their worst nightmares. That is one of the principal reasons Iran has invested so much in the destabilization of Iraq these past five years.
The Iranian mullahs’ fears are not unfounded; there exists in Iraq today an organization of anti-fundamentalist Iraqis that is quietly transforming the country. It is made up of Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians that have joined together to oppose the Iranian regime’s attempts to impose an Iranian-style theocracy upon their country. Helped to organize, starting in 2004, by the anti-fundamentalist Iranian resistance organization—the Mojahedin-e Khalq, at the MEK base in Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala Province—the Iraqi anti-fundamentalist coalition has grown to over 5.2 million members, or roughly 50% of the eligible Iraqi electorate. The Iraqi anti-fundamentalists are organized as “the Solidarity Congress of Iraqi Peoples”, and are led by Dr. Abdul Rashid Hassan al-Jabouri, former governor of Diyala Province.
As stated previously, all the major presidential candidates support Israel. But not all of the candidates appear to understand the importance of an Iraq that is united and strong enough to resist the attempts of the Islamic Republic of Iran to turn it into a clone of Iran. Not all of the candidates realize that an independent anti-fundamentalist democratic Iraq not only helps protect American interests in the Persian Gulf, but also serves to protect Israel from all those that would promote an Islamic jihad hell-bent on destroying Israel, and ultimately, the West. So far, only one candidate seems to understand greater Middle East politics so as to be able to serve responsibly as president. Not surprisingly, this candidate has the longest track record of dealing with foreign policy. This year, experience is truly crucial. Only one candidate seems to understand the importance of supporting Iraq to become a real democracy.
In this year’s presidential campaign, all of the candidates have declared themselves to be the “candidate of change”, an understandable slogan given the fact that President George W. Bush’s popularity has, from the start of his presidency, been less than stellar. However, the proper “change” this year would be for the American electorate to choose the candidate not with the prettiest face or most “politically correct” race or gender, but rather with the best understanding of the challenges we face in the on-going war on the terror of Islamic fundamentalism. Were Americans to do that, the long term defense prospects of the United States and its allies would definitely see a change for the better.
Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker is founder and Chairman of the Board of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East, a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching government officials and the public of the dangers posed by Islamic fundamentalism and the need to establish genuine democratic institutions in the Middle-East as an antidote to the venom of such fundamentalism. The organization’s web site is www.adme.ws. Additional articles by Rabbi Zucker can be found at http://middle-eastanalysis-commentary.blogspot.com.
 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3512018.ece . For more details, also see: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3512014.ece, and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/08/wisrael108.xml.
 http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080227/wl_mideast_afp/iraqunrestiran . See also: http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/1386780111.html?dids=1386780111:1386780111&FMT=A , http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=13269, and more recently: http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=14455, http://www.asharqalawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=11987 ,http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,335388,00.html, and http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-iraq10mar10,1,4361352.story.
 http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/geopolitical_diary_hezbollah_iranian_israeli_flash_point , and http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/961107.html.
 http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/06/news/mideast.php, and http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/04/2179936.htm.
 Kathleen Ridolfo, “Iraq/Iran: Has Tehran Crossed the Line?”, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, March 13, 2006, http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/03/ea014483-48dc-495f-9bad-ebfa1f3b392d.html . See also: Matthew Levitt, “Iranian State Sponsorship of Terror: Threatening U.S. Security, Global Stability, and Regional Peace”, (Policy Watch #964), The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, February 23, 2005, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2263, (and his full report at http://www.internationalrelations.house.gov/archives/109/Lev021605.pdf ). For recent connections, see: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/958731.html.
 George Friedman, “The U.S.-Iranian Negotiations: Beyond the Rhetoric”, Statfor Strategic Forecasting, Inc., February 12, 2008, http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/u_s_iranian_negotiations_beyond_rhetoric#1 . See also: http://www.ncr-iran.org/content/view/4886/152/, http://www.ncriran.org/content/view/4896/152/, http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=14357, and http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=14457.
 This is the same Camp Ashraf (aka Ashraf City) that recently suffered the loss of its water supply due to the bombing of its water pumping station by agents of the Iranian Sepah-e Qods of the Pasdaran (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force) early on the morning of 8 February 2008. This illegal Iranian act of terror also affected 20,000 Iraqi villagers from the vicinity who are dependent on the water system of Camp Ashraf. For more information, see: http://www.ncr-iran.org/content/view/4761/127/.