In light of Turkey’s reaction to the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla last week, media pundits and policy wonks are already underlining the demise of the US-Turkish special relationship. The growing chorus of critics miss one vital point. Turkey was criticizing Tel Aviv’s military overkill off the Gaza coastline, not Washington’s.
So closely aligned have we become to Israel since the Reagan era, we now find ourselves reacting on behalf of the government of Israel. Instead of basing our policy determinations and official statements on the US’s national security interests, we find ourselves uniquely defending the indefensible over and over again — expending precious global political capital on Israel and attracting the whispered derision of even our allies.
In their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt claim that “since 1982, the US has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel more than the total number of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members.”
By another count, between 1984 and 2006, the US has used its UN Security Council veto privilege 27 times on resolutions criticizing illegal Israeli actions or demanding Israel’s adherence to international law – even when the resolutions were consistent with our own official policy. In all 27 instances, we were the solitary veto in the Security Council.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the last time a permanent member cast a lone veto was France, which refused in 1976 to recognize its former colony Mayotte as part of newly-independent Comoros. (more…)