Foundation Blog
Foreign Policy Politicians

What I Have Told Americans

To radically change Israel’s dysfunctional system of government, which is leading to Israel’s demise, one has to know a little bit about Clausewitz’s concept of ‘the center of gravity.’

As I wrote thirty years ago in Sadat’s Strategy, an enemy’s ‘center of gravity’ is the necessary but vulnerable precondition of its strength. With respect to Israel, Clausewitz’s dictum that in “small states dependent on greater ones, it lies generally in the army of their allies would seem to apply. However, since the army or military power of Israel’s ally, the United States, cannot itself be directly attacked, it must be outflanked by an assault on public opinion”—in a democracy, a force more powerful than armies.

Clausewitz’s dictum prompted Anwar Sadat to shift his allegiance from Moscow to Washington in 1975. This enabled him to regain the Sinai without firing a shot after he won over American public opinion by his historic visit to Israel in November 1977, when, in a speech from the Knesset broadcast around the world, he intoned the word “peace” (salaam) almost one hundred times in 50 minutes!

Yes, Israel’s ‘center of gravity’ is public opinion in the United States. Hence we need to ask: What is there about American public opinion regarding Israel that endows Israeli government with legitimacy and its ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—with respectability? The answer: Israel’s reputation as “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Indeed, it is precisely Israel’s reputation as a democracy that has sustained the corrupt government of Ehud Olmert despite its dismal failure in the Second Lebanon War, a failure that strengthened Iran, today America’s most dangerous enemy.

Suppose it was shown throughout the United States that Israel is not a democracy? And suppose that, contrary to 1977, when Israel was very much dependent on American military aid, the $2.28 billion Israel now receives from the U.S. in military aid is less than 1.3% of its $170.3 billion Gross Domestic Product. In fact, I have shown that the U.S receives far more in dollar value from Israel than Israel receives from the U.S.

Think of this and its potential consequences.

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