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Outgoing Ambassador: U.S. Provided $200-Million for Iron Dome

james cunningham

Outgoing U.S. ambassador to Israel James Cunningham (Reuters)

The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, offers the Jerusalem Post a litany of ways in which we’ve been at Israel’s beck and call.  Problems with U.S.-Israel relations?  Nah.  Nothing that a few hundred million bucks and 20 F-16s can’t fix (that was the failed bribe price for the settlement freeze).

Cunningham says: “How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:”

…This administration has made a really concerted effort to support Israel in its needs across a spectrum of things, to support its security posture in the region and make sure that it has both the technology and equipment it needs to provide for itself.

Missile defense is a big one [example], where we have done both operational and developmental things.

Operationally there was a very large exercise a couple years ago, the echoes of which are still going through the system in terms of how the US and Israel would cooperate in various scenarios.

And technologically we have an array of programs we are working on together, from short-range to medium- and higher-range missile threats.

The extra money we contributed to Iron Dome – $205 million – to help top up that program, to get it fielded and deployed as rapidly as possible, and which recently proved its worth.

The italicized remarks are quite interesting because one of the most apparent ways in which the militaries of the two countries might cooperate is in an attack on Iran.  The question many are asking is that if Israel does attack Iran, how would the U.S. react.  Would it strenuously object as Eisenhower did during the 1956 Gaza crisis?  Or would it support the war as Bush did during the 2006 Lebanon war?

We’re going through a particularly dispiriting time in U.S.-Israel relations.  At the beginning of his term, peace activists had high hopes that Obama would develop a strategy that cajoled or pressured the parties into peace negotiations and a final settlement.  When that hope died, the administration went into recovery mode in which it seems to have done everything in its power on behalf of Israel, and backed away from anything the least bit contentious.  We are in a very dark time in the bilateral relationship as Cunningham’s fawning statement points out.  There is nowhere to go but down.  It seems it’s only a matter of time before the next war; and only a question of which front it will arise from (Syria, Iran, Gaza).

For Israel, like Sparta, war is the only language it understands.  And while Sparta was a great power of its day, it too eventually fell by the wayside.  Israel should take a lesson from this.  No matter how well the Iron Dome or Arrow works it cannot stop thousands of rockets fired simultaneously over a short period of time from multiple possible countries of origin.  It is no substitute for a genuine political or diplomatic engagement.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Daniel F. July 9, 2011, 4:48 AM

    ” It is no substitute for a genuine political or diplomatic engagement ”

    While no rational person would discount the importance of genuine diplomatic engagement,the question remains whether or not a genuine attempt at political or diplomatic engagement with our neighbors will be, or more importantly can be, genuinely reciprocated.
    In the interim a robust military deterrent is viewed as the best insurance policy.

  • free man July 9, 2011, 11:04 AM

    Out of the tens of bilions US spend a year to create weapons that kill people better, this is the only money spent on weapons that protect people.
    I guess, had the US bothered to create something that protect people from missile harm, Israel would have loved to buy it. Alas, the only country in the world that bothered to create it was Israel.
    This is the single moral investment the US is doing in arms.
    As some who claim to want make the world a better place, how can you not endorce such an effort to protect people from missile falling from the sky ?

    • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2011, 4:39 PM

      Yes, it’s true it would protect Israel fr Iranian counterattack after Israel’ s first strike launch against Iran. Making it more likely Bibi would be tempted to do so.

      • free man July 9, 2011, 10:41 PM

        No.
        It is true that you have no idea what you are talking about.
        Iron Dome, is not a system build to defend Vs balistic missiles, but to protect against short range missiles.
        It has absolutly nothing to do with missiles coming from Iran.
        Anyways, once this system is build, it will be sold to other countries. In addition the know how will spread and states around the world will learn how to defend themselves from one of the worse nightmares that plauges humanity every since the V2 started falling in London during WW2. This technology + the Arrow (which is an anti balistic missle system) are making the world a better place.
        But, you, the great warrior for making the world a better place wants to stop it.
        Shame on you, your politics is blinding you.

        • Mary Hughes Thompson July 9, 2011, 10:56 PM

          @free man

          “one of the worse nightmares that plauges humanity every since the V2 started falling in London during WW2″

          Considering what we have learned recently about the apparent control enjoyed hy the zionist empire, it would appear Israel has aspirations that will result in its being just that.

          • chorus July 9, 2011, 11:17 PM

            “Zionist empire”

            Delusional.

          • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2011, 11:46 PM

            I don’t know who you’re claiming is delusional, the Zionist empire or Mary. Mary’s comment may’ve been a bit sweeping in scope, but certainly nowhere near delusional. Certainly though the claims by many Zionists to vast tracts of land not their own could be considered a form of empire or at least colonialism.

          • Ami July 10, 2011, 3:23 AM

            Richard, you’re being obtuse. Mary is clearly referring (“recently”) to the Israeli diplomatic efforts in Greece/Europe which succeeded in preventing her flotilla from getting off the ground. Viz. also the flytilla protesters calling Charles de Gaulle “Israeli occupied”. These borderline protocols-of-zion remarks do nothing for her cause.

          • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2011, 9:31 PM

            These borderline protocols-of-zion remarks

            This is yr 2nd violation of a major comment rule. Read up. And don’t make this mistake again.

          • Bob Mann July 10, 2011, 4:08 AM

            @Mary Hughes Thompson

            Is this post saying what I think it’s saying?

            The “control enjoyed by the Zionist empire” leads you to believe that Israel has aspirations that will result in it being “one of the worst nightmares that plagues humanity” since World War 2?

            Do I understand your comment correctly?

          • free man July 10, 2011, 5:25 AM

            Please share with us.
            Not all know what is the “zionist empire” you talk about.
            Last time I checked Israel was about 8000 square miles.
            For comparison: Egypt is 400,000 square miles (about 50 times bigger), Iran is 640,000 square miles, New-Jersey is about 9000 square miles and California is 160,000.

          • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2011, 9:27 PM

            The Zionist Empire (though I’m not a fan of the term) is the territory which Jabotinsky & the nationalist movement arrogated for Israel from (depending on one’s interpretation) from the Mediterranean to the Jordan or from the Nile to the Jordan. That’s considerable territory. And even if you accept limitations on this vision, Israel occupies much territory belonging to Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, which is not Israel’s. If not an empire, it’s certainly a mini-empire.

          • Sam Smith July 10, 2011, 9:49 AM

            You criticize Israel for using “excessive force”, and then complain when it uses diplomacy and no force. Imagine that – nations actually have interests that go beyond a bunch of activists on a boat.
            But not only do you complain, you bring up Protocol-like claims of a “zionist empire”. Unbelievable.

          • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2011, 9:07 PM

            then complain when it uses diplomacy

            Is that what criminal sabotage is called nowadays among the hasbarist circle? Diplomacy. Gee, when I was a youngun’ comin’ up diplomacy meant sitting down & negotiating a settlement between opponents. I guess to hasbarists it means subterfuge, sabotage, violence, extortion & the like.

            you bring up Protocol-like claims of a “zionist empire”

            That’s an absolute no-no here. You read my comment rules & read ‘em good. She’s talking about Zionism, not Jews. If you don’t know the difference you better go right now & study up & don’t pull that s(^t again, hear?

          • free man July 10, 2011, 9:53 PM

            Zabotinski no less ?
            Last time I checked that man was dead before my father was born. You had to go so far back to support this ludicrous claim. BTW, you’re no Mary, so I was not interested to know what you think, but what she think.
            In addition, she talked about “learned recently”, this has nothing to do with an long dead europian Jew.

          • Richard Silverstein July 11, 2011, 11:02 PM

            an long dead europian Jew.

            That ‘long-dead European Jew’ has had more impact on contemporary Israeli politics than that even longer dead European Jew, Herzl. Jefferson & Washington were dead before MY father was born. Does that mean that their principles died with them?

          • Deïr Yassin July 11, 2011, 6:24 AM

            @ Ami
            Well, I was in Roissy-Charles de Gaulle on Thursday because I had acquaintances going on the ‘Bienvenue en Palestine’-Mission.
            When the Hungarian air company Malev refuses to let 9 activists board a plane Paris-Budapest, with a further flight Budapest-Tel Aviv the next day, when a Malev-employee shows a list with more than 300 black-listed names AND a letter from the Israeli Ministry of Interior stating that if any of these persons are on board the plane, il will not be allowed to land at Ben Gourion.

            When the same thing happens during the rest of the day and on Friday too with Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines etc. When a female employee from Air France says on camera that ‘in 38 years of job, I’ve never experienced anything like that’. When more than 200 activists AND ordinary families with children – who simply wanted to visit Palestine to show their solidarity – are refused boarding, and expelled from the airport on Friday night by the police and the CRS (state security police force), put on a bus and escorted back into town surrounded by the police – I think calling Charles de Gaulle ‘occupied Israeli territory’ is correct.

            And comparing saying that with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is just ridiculous. Israel is the one that does everything to revive that kind of conspiracy theories. By the way, the woman who talked about Charles de Gaulle as ‘Israeli occupied territory’, Olivia Zemor, is JEWISH and she doesn’t like that kind of accusations at all.
            And when dozens of people are arrested on Saturday in front of the Town Hall protesting against the airport-expulsion, then people are in their right to ask ‘who governs this country ?’ But then again: with the photo of Gilad Shalit, the binational French-Israeli, hanging inside and outside the Town Hall, ‘citizen of honor of the city’ though he has no attachment to Paris and his parents don’t speak French, Palestinian flags don’t fit into the picture.
            http://www.dailymotion.com/bienvenuepalestine#videoId=xjtkhk

        • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2011, 11:52 PM

          you have no idea what you are talking about.
          Iron Dome, is not a system build to defend Vs balistic missiles, but to protect against short range missiles.

          No, my friend, it is you who don’t know what YOU are talking about as Iran & its missiles will not be the only ones raining down on Israel in the event of an attack on Iran. Most serious analysts including Meir Dagan believe Hezbollah & Hamas will join in as well. So I guess there will be short range missiles falling on Israel in that eventuality (may it never come to pass).

          the know how will spread and states around the world will learn how to defend themselves from one of the worse nightmares that plauges humanity every since the V2 started falling in London during WW2

          I don’t know of too many countries suffering from V2 attacks these days. Or even short range missile attacks. So chances are your missile system will end up in the hands of groups or nations fighting some sort of dirty war somewhere & the system will only make matters worse as most advanced weapons system, whatever their original intent, do.

          Shame on you, your politics is blinding you.

          No, shame on you for applauding the building of weapons systems instead of lobbying for negotiations with Hamas and an end to the conflict on the basis of 1967 borders. Shame on YOU.

          • The Nudnik July 10, 2011, 3:49 PM

            Do you support a peace based on UN resolution 242 ?

          • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2011, 8:57 PM

            Is this a trick question? I’ve made clear on what I base my formula for a peace agreement. Crystal clear. I see no reason to resort to UN resolutions to get into a hasbara dance if that’s what you’re aiming for.

          • free man July 10, 2011, 9:42 PM

            Why did you delete my replay ?
            O great gag order fighter ?

  • The Nudnik July 9, 2011, 12:43 PM

    The us is not supporting Israel for the good of it’s hurt.
    In return the Israeli natives are giving the US access to their superior technology, something you will not be able to achieve on your own.

    “The italicized remarks are quite interesting because one of the most apparent ways in which the militaries of the two countries might cooperate is in an attack on Iran”

    Juniper Cobra, which has taken place first in 2001, is a defense oriented exercise that synchronize US anti missile systems with the Israeli one. Both practice being attacked by Iran (and previously Iraq) and not attacking anyone.

    • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2011, 4:37 PM

      So yr argument that an anti missile system designed to protect Israel after an attack on Iran is solely defensive in nature? That’s really yr claim?

      • Bob Mann July 9, 2011, 4:58 PM

        The system was designed to protect Israel after an attack on Iran?

        I thought it was designed to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells from Gaza.

        Hasn’t all of the testing thus far been for kassams and grads?

        • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2011, 11:59 PM

          What do you think will be happening after an Israeli attack on Iran? Who will be firing rockets and of what type? Think on that for a moment, would you?

          • free man July 10, 2011, 5:29 AM

            What do you think will happen after US attacks Iran ?
            Lets look back to the first US-Iraq war:
            US attacked Iraq and Iraq fired missiles at Israel.
            Think on that for a moment, would you ?

          • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2011, 9:24 PM

            What do you think will happen after US attacks Iran ?

            I hope the U.S. will NOT attack Iran. I’m not even sure why you’re raising this as an option.

          • free man July 10, 2011, 9:46 PM

            Because, last time I checked it was the US attacking Iraq twice. It was the US attacking Afganistan.
            And when the US attacked Iraq, Iraq fired missiles at Israel.
            That is why I it is not only an option, but the most likely one.
            This is the only time Israel was attacked by long range missiles. Those you reffered to.
            I find it sad, you don’t think about this.

      • The Nudnik July 9, 2011, 5:22 PM

        Aren’t you confusing between Iron Dome and Arrow ?

        • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2011, 11:59 PM

          Hard to tell all those Israeli weapons systems without a scorecard.

          • The Nudnik July 10, 2011, 3:47 PM

            Not hard at all, you are just a foreigner

          • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2011, 9:02 PM

            You cut to the quick. Now here I thought as a Diaspora Jew I was considered one of the elect, one of the Chosen who may return to Israel and based on the Law of Return become a citizen, just as any brother would do. But here you’ve labelled as just another foreign troublemaker. Not a very brotherly thing to do I’m afraid.

          • The Nudnik July 11, 2011, 1:41 AM

            I’m positive that after you’ll immigrate to israel – and you are more then welcome (if you’ll ever have the courage) – you would be able to distinguish between Arrow and Iron Dome, Between Juniper Cobra and Red Flag / Maple Flag / Anatolian Eagle.
            Until you will, you are a foreigner, who needs a scorecard to report accurately.

          • Richard Silverstein July 11, 2011, 10:55 PM

            And that is PRECISELY why I never have made aliyah & never will (as long as Israel is a militarist-state). I do not want to live in a place in which knowledge of weapons systems is minutely ingrained in the consciousness of every citizen. You may enjoy Sparta, but not I. I prefer Athens (not latter day btw).

  • Bob Mann July 9, 2011, 2:23 PM

    Is your objection to the Iron Dome simply that it isn’t effective or are you opposed to it for some other reason? I don’t think anyone is suggesting that it is a substitute for political or diplomatic engagement. Even countries that are at peace tend to have defensive capabilities in place. I would think the Iron Dome would be something you might support since it is designed to defend rather than to attack. As Israel is not going to stop spending money on its military, this seems like one of the least aggressive expenditures possible in that regard.

    • Zam July 9, 2011, 3:06 PM

      An effective anti rocket and anti missile shield can also make it much less risky for Israel to engage in military offensives in Lebanon, Gaza or Iran.

      • Bob Mann July 9, 2011, 4:23 PM

        Good point – but, still – better to spend on defensive than offensive capabilities, wouldn’t you agree?

        Short of reducing military spending to zero, this seems like a relatively positive way to allocate those funds.

        • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2011, 12:01 AM

          The best defense against rockets is to negotiate so that the other side has no interest in firing them. That is, a peace deal returning to 1967 borders & recognizing Palestine.

          • Bob Mann July 10, 2011, 4:16 AM

            It is possible that some groups might still want to fire rockets even after a peace deal is reached whereby Israel recognizes Palestine and returns to 1967 borders.

            Do you disagree?

            I don’t see how it could hurt to have a defensive capability against such an eventuality.

          • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2011, 9:30 PM

            It is possible that some groups might still want to fire rockets even after a peace deal is reached whereby Israel recognizes Palestine and returns to 1967 borders.

            Just as it is not only possible, but likely that some crazy Baruch Goldstein-Jack Teitel types will be looking to create homicidal mischief to derail any peace process that develops which offends their sense of Jewish manifest destiny. And your point is?

          • Sam Smith July 10, 2011, 9:53 AM

            These things do not exclude one another.
            If Israel had a better way of defending its citizens against the horrific Hamas suicide bombings of the 1990s, during the height of the Oslo years, maybe we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are now.

          • Richard Silverstein July 10, 2011, 9:04 PM

            Yeah, adherence to Oslo for starters. That would’ve been the best defense, instead of the path Israel (& the Palestinians) chose, which was to wink at the Oslo agreements all the while not carrying them out.

    • Mary Hughes Thompson July 9, 2011, 10:58 PM

      What we should be financing is an iron Dome to protect Gaza and all of Palestine from Israel.

  • TimothyL July 9, 2011, 2:52 PM

    First, Desert Storm. Then Afghanistan. Then Iraq. Then Libya and Yemen. A wrecked economy and 14 trillion in debt. Bluntly put, we Americans just can’t afford Israel anymore.

    • free man July 9, 2011, 10:47 PM

      Desert storm, Afgansitan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen are all American folly.
      Nothing to do with Israel.
      Desert storm was to protect the Sauds from Iraq. Afganstan and Iraq was to show americans that Your president is doning something after 9/11. Instead of going to the Sauds and telling them to pay the damage their man did in 9.11, both by financing those terrorists and on the acoubnt 15 out of the 19 were Sauds. Libya and Yemen has nothing to do with Israel either. Nor is the 70B$ American gave the Egyptians for the last years.

  • dickerson3870 July 9, 2011, 10:46 PM

    When it comes to Israel, Uncle Sam is “The Great Enabler™.”

  • Asaf July 9, 2011, 11:24 PM

    The only thing that you can take out of Cunningham’s statement is that the US helps Israel financially which is a pretty much known fact. suggesting from that statement that war is imminent, that’s quite a leap.

    • Richard Silverstein July 9, 2011, 11:44 PM

      I suggested that U.S. and Israeli military forces did missile training that might involve an Israeli or joint Israeli-U.S. attack on Iran. I used other sources and evidence to say in another post that a war may be imminent. Try to keep my blog posts straight.

      • Asaf July 10, 2011, 4:55 AM

        ” There is nowhere to go but down. It seems it’s only a matter of time before the next war”

        That is taken from this post.
        feel’s like everyone thinks there is a competition of who will make the most radical statement. let’s hope it doesn’t become a self fulfilled prophecy.