Clifford Rieders

A Friend In Need

The United States does not have a great history in terms of its reliability as a friend.

In the early days of the Republic, John Adams suggested that the Ottoman Empire carve out a national homeland for the Jews, with the caveat that the Jews would then become Presbyterians and that would make them more acceptable to the world. John Adams had no comprehension of the fact that the Jews had existed for 5,000 years, overcoming every obstacle and heinous attempts at genocide to survive as a united people.

Ulysses S. Grant, as President, appointed the first Jew as Ambassador to Jerusalem.  Not only was the Ambassador a Jew, but he was a Sephardic Jew, a man of Spanish-Portuguese descent. Grant knew him from Army service. Some say Grant was merely atoning for the fact that, during the Civil War, he banned all Jews from the “Kentucky Territory”. Abraham Lincoln reversed that edict two weeks after it was promulgated. Nevertheless, Grant had a great deal of guilt about what he had done, and tried very hard to demonstrate that he was not an antisemite.

Grant even went to Israel, then Palestine under Turkish-Muslim rule, after he was President. The former President generously gave to charitable causes in Jewish Palestine. At the time, there was no Palestine other than Jewish Palestine. Only Jews lived there. The Arabs lived in Arabia. Jews lived in Palestine.

Unfortunately, Grant also never followed through with the idea of creating a national Jewish homeland where Jewish people would have autonomy in their own land.

After World War I, the San Mateo Treaty was signed. It was a product of the League of Nations. The United States was not a member of the League of Nations, but nevertheless signed on to the Treaty. It would have given Israel a homeland which would have included Gaza, the West Bank of the Jordan River, and, most importantly, modern Jordan. It did not take long for the United States and Britain to renege on that promise. The two great powers, the United States and England, were more interested in oil. They realized that the next world war would run on oil, and they needed to guarantee their supply. Therefore, Jordan went to the Hashemite Arab Tribe, which was a tiny minority among Arabs, and the Jews were to have the rest of the land.

Several times between the early 1920’s and 1948, there were attempts made to provide the Jews a national homeland. Each time, the Jews agreed; and each time, the Arabs waged war. Riots against the Jews took place throughout Israel several times prior to World War II.

When World War II broke out, the victorious allies were delighted to have Jewish soldiers fighting by their side against Rommel, the German Desert Fox, but that appreciation did not translate into an honorable promise for the Jewish people.

When 1948 arrived, the United Nations suggested a partition that would essentially have cut the tiny sliver of land along the Mediterranean in half. Half would go to the Jews, and half would go to the Arabs. The Jews accepted, and the Arabs waged war.

Harry Truman is still given a tremendous amount of credit by both Republicans and Democrats for recognizing the State of Israel in 1948. What is never mentioned is that Truman imposed an arms embargo. Israel did not have weapons to fight with.  Had Israel been able to acquire weapons in 1948, we would not have the present issue. Israel would have been able to prevail, since the Arabs were not really interested in a country between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, Syria and Lebanon to the North, and Egypt/Saudi Arabia to the South. The Jews in Israel, who had bravely fought for the allies, were double-crossed again.

Fast forward to 1956. The British, French and Israelis marched to the Suez Canal to keep the important waterway open when Egypt was threatening the Western World.  Dwight Eisenhower, who was widely recognized as having won the war for the allies, turned on his former friends, both England and France, and of course the Jews who had fought for him against the Germans in North Africa.  The Eisenhower Administration forced the Israelis, British and French back from the Suez Canal, setting up the 1967 war as inevitable.

The year 1967 rolled around, and the entire Arab World declared that it would destroy Israel, drive it into the sea, and complete the war that they half won in 1948. As one of the great warriors of 1967 commented: “We listened to our enemies then.” Israel struck first, and liberated Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, respectively.

Lyndon Johnson forced the Israelis to end their campaign and to accept a grossly one-sided United Nations resolution.

In 1973, Egypt lauded a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the year, and killed over 3,000 Israelis.  Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger quietly sought to restrain Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, when Israel beat back the invading Egyptians.

The years passed, and Gaza was given to the Arabs to begin their own nation, the West Bank was set up with the Palestinian Authority to rule that part of ancient Palestine, and Israel kept, as was required by military necessity, the Golan Heights.

The Arabs in Gaza turned it into a launching base for thousands of missiles, and used the incredible amounts of money they received to built the largest subterranean underground city that has existed on this planet. Hamas made clear in its charter that its goal was to destroy the State of Israel.

On the West Bank, no partner for peace could be found. Even though at least four deals were offered to the Palestinian Authority which would have given them more than 90% of the land they claimed that they wanted, they turned them down each time. The goal remained the destruction of the State of Israel.

In the North, Israel, thankfully, integrated the Golan Heights into the country.  Thanks to Iranian oil money, the proxy Hezbollah was established in occupied Syria and Lebanon. Iran ruthlessly occupies and has militarized Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

The Western World has stood impotent while Islamic Jihadism is taking over the Middle East. Where ISIS failed, Iran has succeeded.

It would not be incredibly difficult for the West to isolate Iran economically, to stop buying its oil, and to destroy the economy of the rogue nation. However, oil has always been as powerful as blood. Without blood, the human being cannot survive; and without oil, the industrial economies of the West would grind to a halt.

Never mind that the United States is a surplus oil and gas producer. Countries like Iran and Russia have little else to offer other than oil. If the West was energy independent from the totalitarian Arab and Russian rulers, those countries would have little to say, less power, and no ability to harm the interests of Western democracies.

Not only has the United States failed to be a reliable and consistent friend to its allies, but in trying to curry the favor of dictators, we have encouraged their exploits and expansionism.

President Trump and President Biden have each been partially correct. Trump is right about the need to economically isolate regimes like the Mullahs in Iran, and President Biden is correct that there needs to be diplomatic unanimity. However, both Presidents have not been consistent, reliable and honest in their efforts to cut off the supply of money through oil purchases which funds the Arab war machine seeking the destruction of the West.

Perhaps wiser options will emerge, and the United States will work cooperatively with its allies to end the dominion of the Jihadist movement which seeks to turn the Western World into a Sharia state.

About the Author
Cliff Rieders is a Board Certified Trial Advocate in Williamsport, is Past President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and a past member of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.
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