In the early Cold War days, Israel was key to James Angleton's efforts when he headed counterintelligence at the CIA. Later, Prime Minister Shimon Peres, America's own Gunga Din, was always willing to carry water and was glad to help out in Iran-Contra when the call came. By the Clintons' first co-presidency, we were so proud of our prosperous and loyal friend so far away in the Middle East. Israel was to us then as India had been to Queen Victoria, the submissive jewel in the crown, only a smaller crown. Then came the Oslo Accords. Peres again, signing this time as foreign minister of Israel. By then American dominance of Israel was so pronounced and obvious — Barbra Streisand sang at Peres's 90th birthday and Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair attended — that the world saw us in cahoots, which we were, and it had the effect of fostering a low-grade global virus of anti-Semitism which still plagues the world today.
Then around 2010, they suddenly started doing things like telling Americans at the airport that they couldn't bring iPads into the country because it might mess with the electricity. Odd. But there was a certain subtle genius to it. Like McDonald's, like "Sesame Street," the iPad was the new marker of American territoriality. Suddenly Israel was resisting our symbolism and our initiatives. In the same year, they intentionally embarrassed Vice President Biden. As The New York Times reported: "Hours after Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. vowed unyielding American support for Israel's security here on Tuesday, Israel's Interior Ministry announced 1,600 new housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem." Masterful sub-diplomacy. Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, could not have staged a better moment.
As the Associated Press reports, "Sources familiar with conversations between [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say the Israeli leader advised the Obama administration 'not to ever second guess me again' on the [Gaza] matter."
Write that down. Israel is no longer ours to do with what we will. As India in time did the Raj, she has suddenly shed her submission.
And today she has new friends, better friends. Friends who could bring peace to the Middle East.
Josh Levs reports on CNNWorld: "The conflict raging in Gaza is different this time. While Hamas' rocket attacks and Israel's military actions may look familiar, they're taking place against a whole new backdrop."
He continues: "'This is unprecedented in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict,' says CNN's Ali Younes, an analyst who has covered the region for decades. 'Most Arab states are actively supporting Israel against the Palestinians — and not even shy about it or doing it discreetly.'"
Today Israel has reliable neighbors. And for the first time, the United States no longer has a say in its future.
Canada was first to turn away, in the rise to the Iraq War. Then Britain, when Parliament voted to oppose intervention in Syria. Today Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott openly cavorts with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper to commandeer the essence of the Commonwealth, including India's 1.2 billion, in opposition to America. Even California, Texas and Vermont threaten to go alone.
But here at the end of things, when Slender Man walks the earth again, when we sit and watch as the world begins again without us, Israel's turning away brings the greatest pain. She was our most precocious prodigy — our jewel in the crown.
Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.