Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
Anyone who thinks Prime Minister Netanyahu, in order to improve relations with the U.S., should succumb to American pressure in return for a U.S. incentives package and extend the freeze of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria is either mistaken or misguided.
It is no secret that there were sharp disagreements in the early 1990s between then-President George H.W. Bush and my father, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. But my father succeeded in deflecting pressure from the White House thanks to his principle-driven positions and his astute approach in dealing with the U.S. Congress.
Thus, irrespective of President Bush’s objections, my father received $650 million in special assistance, $700 million worth of military systems, a considerable expansion of American ammunition pre-positioned in Israel, enhancement of Israel-U.S. counter-terrorism cooperation, upgrading the Haifa port for the use of the 6th Fleet (which yielded $1 million in daily revenues) and breakthrough access by Israel’s defense industries to Pentagon repair, maintenance and refurbishing bids – all in addition to annual foreign aid.
Nothing better illustrates my father’s success than Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s words in his dedication to the book Yitzhak Shamir: Firm as A Rock:
During President George Bush’s term in office, while I was serving as the IDF’s Chief-of-Staff, I was once summoned to the Prime Minister’s Office to meet with then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker who had been demanding that Israel make far-reaching concessions. Upon the request of Shamir, I briefed our prominent guest with the range of military threats facing Israel. Baker did not retract his demands. Instead, carrying the weight of the only superpower leading the free world today, he insisted that Israel concede. Shamir’s face became very tense and alert, it looked like a volcano about to explode. He banged on the table and told the secretary of state in a very blunt and undiplomatic manner, in a very sharp but self-controlled tone: “Mr. Secretary, you can demand what you choose to demand but this is our country and we will not agree to do anything that will harm its interests and future even if demanded by our best friend.”
My father’s refusal to budge from his principles may not have led to a round of applause and praise in the media, but it elicited respect for the man and improved Israel’s national security. His stance should serve as an example to Israeli prime ministers that it is possible to stand up to American pressure and refuse to relinquish both vision and strategic goals. In fact, such a surrender would only serve to erode Israel’s power of deterrence in the Middle East and its standing in the corridors of power in Washington.
Genuine leaders realize that saying “no” and withstanding pressure advance strategic goals – while retreat and submission undermine those goals and only increase international pressure.
Fending off pressure sometimes requires an alteration of tactics – but not the abandonment of strategic goals.
Defiance of American dictates may harm a prime minister’s personal popularity in the short run, but in the long run it will transform Israel into a stronger strategic ally of the U.S.
There are those who say we cannot compare the state of the world during the 1980s to the state of the world in 2010, and that an Israeli prime minister today faces tougher pressure.
True, the world has changed – but in Israel’s favor. Israel has undergone dramatic upgrades in the military, economic, demographic, technological and medical fields. Moreover, the Free World is much more aware of the threat of Islamic terrorism and Iran’s nuclear power and therefore comprehends better the security predicaments of the Jewish state.
Most important, the U.S. Congress has been a bastion of support of enhanced U.S.-Israel relations, displaying a more hawkish approach than even the Knesset when it comes to Israel’s national security and especially on the issue of Jerusalem. The Congress is equal in power to and independent of the president. The president executes but Congress initiates, legislates, authorizes – and possesses the Power of the Purse.
Washington’s respect for my father was eloquently expressed by then-Senate Majority and Minority Leaders George Mitchell and Bob Dole. At the end of a 1989 visit by my father to Washington, they told him: “You know why we respect you despite our disagreements with your policies? Because you’re tough!”
About the Author: Yair Shamir is chairman of the board of directors of Israel Aerospace Industries.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.
Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.
The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.
Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US
No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?
For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.
It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.
For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.
Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation
Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.
Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers
A Palestinian state would not only fail to bring peace and stability to the region, but would increase the tension and instability to the region.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/what-bibi-can-learn-from-my-father/2010/10/13/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: