Sweeping Republican victory proves America indeed Center-to-Right nation.
by Yoram Ettinger
The November 2010 mid-term election produced a seismic political effect: The most rapid and wide-in-scope Congressional and Gubernatorial victory since 1948.
The outcome of the election repudiates Obama's policies and dramatically erodes his political clout. It feeds the confrontational nature of a systematically pro-Israel Congress and increases the number of pro-Israel legislators. It highlights the centrality of the historically pro-Israel American people in the shaping of the American political scene. The outcome of the mid-term election has reconfirmed that the US is indeed The Center-to-Right Nation, which has always been pro-Israel.
The outcome of the November 2010 election behooves a reassessment of Jerusalem's policy toward Washington that has erroneously assumed that US presidents are omnipotent in foreign and national security matters, while Congress is supposedly a "support actor." In fact, Jerusalem's policy toward Washington should reflect the policy co-determining power of Congress - the most authentic representative of the American people, and therefore a bastion of support of the Jewish State.
Contrary to the "Jerusalem Misperception," Congress can force presidents to follow the will of the people in domestic as well as in foreign and national security areas.
In two years, President Obama has been transformed from an electoral asset to a lethal electoral liability, threatening Democrats on Capitol Hill. From a consensus, moderate Democratic president in 2008, he is perceived in 2010 as a president of political polarization, representing the radical Left of the Democratic Party. Never have Americans been so insecure - personally and nationally - and so indecisive about the future of the US.
As high as were the expectations from Obama, so devastating is the perception of his performance domestically (unemployment, foreclosures, taxes, regulations, big government, deficit, controversial health reform, etc.) and internationally (eroded US stature, threat of Islamic terrorism, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, etc.) The Obama Cloud has cost Democrats the support of many independents, women, youth and the elderly, who were responsible for the sweeping Democratic victory in 2008.
The new 112th Congress will be more confrontational within a political system which constrains the power of the president through an elaborate system of Checks & Balances, an effective Separation of Powers, a Congressional Power of the Purse, a Congressional role in policy-making, an exclusive Congressional legislative role and the preconditioning of policy-implementation upon Congressional approval.
For example, it was Congress – and not the president – which terminated US military involvement in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola and Nicaragua and severed US ties with the white regime in South Africa. Congress has the power – which is not always exercised - to initiate, rescind and curtail arms sales, to award, cut and suspend foreign aid, to expand, limit and suspend US funding of the UN and other international organizations and to direct the President to implement a policy toward other countries and the UN.
Will Israel learn from its errors?
Obama cannot count on a solid Democratic support in the 112th Congress. A substantial number of Democratic legislators distanced themselves from the president during the 2010 campaign in order to survive the wrath of the constituent. Additional legislators may refrain from cooperating with the president, in order to avoid the list of "Obama Casualties" in 2012. For instance, first-term West Virginia Senator, Democrat Joe Manchin won largely on the coattail of a TV commercial featuring him spraying Obama's initiatives with shotgun bullets and calling for the repeal of Obama's healthcare reform.
At a time when "800 pounder gorillas," such as 17 and 14 terms Representatives Ike Skelton and John Spratt – Chairmen of the House Armed Services and Budget Committees – are defeated, hardly any Democrat feels safe toward the 2012 election.
A few Democratic legislators, known for their critical/negative attitude toward Israel – such as 21 terms David Obey, the powerful Chairman of the Appropriations Committee – announced retirement in view of Obama-driven electoral rage. At the same time, scores of newly-elected legislators joining Congress in January, 2011 share a worldview that is usually consistent with pro-Israel sentiments: patriotism, tradition, Judeo-Christian Values, national security, 2nd Amendment, anti-UN, Europe-skeptics, anti-terror and associating Arabs and Muslims with terrorism.
The freshmen legislators were elected by the real winner in the 2010 election: The American constituent, who is cognizant of his/her crucial role in shaping US democracy (e.g. bi-annual district election). The constituent is aware of his/her ability to challenge the Washington establishment and elect legislators in defiance of party headquarters. The constituent believes in the potency of the electoral battle cry: "We Shall Remember in November," which haunts legislators who renege on their commitment to voters.
Moreover, the number of Americans who identify themselves as Independent has reached an all-time high, twice as many Americans identify themselves as Conservative than Liberal and the number of Democrats exceed the number of Liberal folks.
Most Americans are indeed Center-to-Right. They respect the Jewish State as a moral and a strategic ally, which is not a classic foreign policy issue, but largely a domestic issue, whose values are part of the moral foundation of the USA.
Will Jerusalem leverage the post-election bolstered platforms of support in the US in general and on Capitol Hill in particular? Will Jerusalem learn from current errors and refrain from subordinating its policy toward Washington to presidential state-of-mind? Will Jerusalem accord the US democracy and its representatives in Congress their due high-respect and due decisive-role, thus advancing critical joint American and Israel values and interests?
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -