The Instigator
Infernai
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
JustCallMeTarzan
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

Israel should no longer be given special treatment by the U.S.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 729 times Debate No: 6686
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (5)

 

Infernai

Pro

Since its creation as a formal nation state in the 1948, the nation of Israel as been given special treatment by the United States. Such treatment has come in the form of nominally large blank checks written to the government of Israel, first rights to military defense contracts by U.S. contractors, and unequivocal backing in the Middle East. The reasoning for this preferred treatment varies but can generally by traced to the U.S.'s need for a Western ally in the Middle East, as well as the assured access for U.S. military forces in the area.
United States backing of Israel has been nothing but detrimental to its international image both as a spokesman for democracy and as a proponent for peace. The United States should formally end its "special" ties with the nation of Israel and begin to treat it as it would any other nation in the Middle East and World.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

My opponent makes only one contention:

"The United States should formally end its "special" ties with the nation of Israel and begin to treat it as it would any other nation in the Middle East and World."

However, he also sets up several of the valid arguments for the opposition without addressing them in any substantive way. These, among others, are the US' need for an ally in the middle east, ease of military access, intelligence information, military cooperation, and even human rights concerns. I'll address each of these in turn.

1) Need for a ME Ally

The United States is greatly served by having a close ally in the Middle East. This comes in the form of a stepping stone for any sort of military action in the region. The majority of the US' remaining enemy states or states that are likely to foster animosity towards the US are in this region, and an ally in this region serves as a first line of defense.

2) Ease of Military Access

This follows closely with the first point in that it gives the US a place to base operations in the middle east. Places like Israel and Kuwait provide a ground base for operations that may be necessary where a sea-based operations center won't do. Furthermore, one can store more airplanes on an Israeli air force base than on an aircraft carrier.

3) Intelligence Information

The Mossad (Israeli Intelligence) is one of the best services in the world. They are much closer to the actual locations of terrorist activities than the United States and have intelligence agents that can more easily pass as Arab. Thus, they are arguably more situated to procure better intelligence than the CIA. Our intelligence sharing agreements with the Mossad give us better information to guard the US more efficiently.

4) Military Cooperation

The Israeli army, but especially air force is one of the best trained in the world. Israeli pilots are trained to much higher standards than US pilots, and frequently, joint training exercises are used to enhance the combat effectiveness of both air forces. Another area that Israeli forces excel is helicopter mission execution - again, joint exercises in this area would obviously benefit US forces.

5) Human Rights Considerations

Israel is surrounded by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon (and Palestine). All are majority Muslim countries, and all would like to reclaim the land that Israel occupies. Without backing from the US, there could easily be another Holocaust in the Middle East.
Debate Round No. 1
Infernai

Pro

My opponent has obviously looked into the principle matters concerning both the United States, Israel, and to a greater extent, the Western world. He does make some key points concerning both the need for domestic security of both Israel and the U.S., as well as international security amongst contributing nations in the "War on Terror." His well organized argument also reveals a great deal about his position on this "War" and exemplifies the viewpoint that many Westerners have on the Middle East and its most dominant religion, Islam. I will attempt to demonstrate what I mean.

1. Before the United States began its full fledged support of Israel in the 1960's (after their astounding victory in 1967) many Middle Eastern countries were not only neutral towards us, they were actually in favor of our role as world leaders. This friendly understanding was a direct result of our roles in both World Wars, but particularly the first one, as we refused to play a major role in the claiming of the fallen Ottoman Empire and only took part in talks to ensure the rights of people in the region. (Wilson's 14 points anyone?) It was only after the United States abandoned its role as a isolationist community after the end of WWII did the people of the Middle East begin to sway in their view of the United States. Their impression of us only worsened through the tug of war games we played in the region throughout the Cold War as both the United States and the USSR jockied for position and claims over their abundant natural resources. This was also worsened as we began to give our unrelenting support for, you guessed it, Israel. Now whether or not Israel should even be, is another debate. One thing is for certain though. They are not our solution/ally in the amassing problem of the Middle East, they are reason for it. One of the most commonly cited reasons for Middle Eastern hatred/frustration towards the United States is its "special" relationship with Israel and that we continue to support its oppression of the Palestinian. In sum, the United States would not need a major ally, and therefor easier military access/intelligence/cooperation, if it were not for its steadfast support of 'the only Democracy in the region," as most Americans (my opponent included) would say.

2. To spend nearly 4 points out of 5 arguing that the Israeli armed forces are better than the United States in every way only to finish with the contention that Israel could not survive without support from the United States is ridiculous. While I do not agree with you on this idea, it must be said that Israel is not slouch when it comes to military might. They rank seventh in the world in military might and have the 4th highest number of nukes in the world. They are not just some defenseless wuss surrounded by vicious superpowers, looking for the first chance to demolish them (as it were circa 1967). To make matters worse for the United States, a great deal of their development in military power has come at the expense of the American taxpayer. Like I previously stated, the United States has been sinking a great deal of cash into the bolstering of the Israeli military. Since the 1970's when the US began officially funding the Israeli government, the amount of money sent to Israeli directly from the US has multiplied in sum by nearly 23 times. In 2005, the United States literally wrote the government of Israel a blank check worth 7 Billion dollars. To make things interesting, these payments are allowed to accrue US-paid interest for as long as it takes the Israelis to spend it. This money is allowed to be spent quite nearly unregulated and is often used to furnish the Israeli's lavish military (cluster-bombs, advanced pilot training, etc.) Basically, the United States has payed for the construction of a country's military and society (Israel ranks in the top 10 riches countries of the world, per capita).
3. Finally, in addressing an extremely apparent misunderstanding/prejudice my opponent has towards the Middle East most exemplified in his final point. Muslims are not pre-inclined to slaughter Jewish people. There are a great deal of Jewish communities throughout the Middle East, and there was even Jewish settlements in Palestine before the creation of the Jewish state. Many Americans automatically assume that the Muslim world seeks death upon Christians and Jews. Before World War I, the Ottoman Empire (with a predominately Muslim, although officially secular) was home to both Jews and Muslims, and there was never any hostility between the two. The reason for this: religious freedom. Much like in the United States today, people were allowed to practice whatever religion they chose and could not be murdered for it. While Muslims were given the upper hand in most cases, there were not any mass slaughters of Jews (unlike the barbaric Jewish massacres performed by roaming "Christian" armies on their way to the Holy Land circa 12th century). What infuriates the Islamic world is not the presence nor the proximity of Jewish people in the Middle East. What makes Middle Eastern Muslims mad is the way in which Israel was created and, in fact, that it was created without much regard for the people living there. Much like the Native Americans, the Palestinians were forcefully removed from their homes and relocated in "settlements". Now, Muslims in the Middle East are not mad about the removal of their fellow Muslims but are more focused on the idea that the Western World removed a Middle Eastern population of people already living in an area, and replaced it with a Western population. Whether you see this as forcing democracy into the region or getting a foot into the Middle East, it still sent the wrong message to the people of the Middle East. This message was: We (the Western world, particularly the US) can do whatever we want in the world, and if you don't like it, too bad. Argue all you want over the exact wording of the message but basic idea is fairly obvious. The countries of the Middle East have a right to be hostile. Israel was in essence the first step in what they viewed as the formal invasion of their territory. They are only doing what any country threatened by another would do, fighting back. Also, Israel is surrounded by predominantly Muslim countries, but 1.)Egypt is so wrapped up in US-produced treaties created during and after the Cold War that it does not dare attack Israel. Egypt is also technically a politically secular country and therefore would not back a Muslim-made attack on a foreign country. 2.) Saudi Arabia is so focused on its oil, which is its primary source of income, that it even forcefully removed the Wahhabi's (a militant and radical sect of Islam, of which Osama bin Laden was a member) in order to insure continued tranquility in its production of oil. 3.) The country of Jordan has been relatively neutral in its position on Israel. While there has been quite an uproar of the recent attacks on Palestinian camps, for the most part the Jordanians have done little to make Israel fearful of an attack. Jordan has actually helped the US in numerous ways in clearing out Islamic terrorists in the region. 4.) Syria, Lebanon, and Iran are all minor threats to both Israel and the US. Like I previously stated, both the US and Israel possess a large number of nuclear arms at their disposal. (The US has signed but not ratified the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and Israel has repeatedly refused to sign it, while other countries such as Iran and North Korea have come under tremendous pressure to do so) Neither of these countries, as nation states, pose a terrible threat to either Israel or the US as they understand the consequences of such actions, and not necessarily from them in a joint manner either.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

I thank my opponent for a well-researched and on-point response... However, as I shall attempt to illustrate, much of his response is historical and not concerned with the practical implications of presently cutting ties with Israel. Simply put, his argument could be considered: "Because of past circumstances and regardless of present circumstances, we should cut ties with Israel." Furthermore, I'd like to briefly mention that both our opinions on the War on Terrorism are immaterial to the debate - the WoT is happening, and the fact of the matter is that we need intelligence information just as much as we need gasoline to fight.

Before launching into argumentation, I'd also like to briefly address Islam - the "viewpoint" of most of the West on Islam is that it is a radical, terrorist organization with few redeeming qualities. This is simply not the case. Any danger in Islam comes from interpretations of the Quran that are inconsistent with other parts of the book. Many view Islam as an infidel-killing jihad-driven religion, even though the Quran clearly states, "Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities" (2:190a).

As far as this pertains to the resolution, Muslims in the area view the nation of Israel as an interloper and aggressor. Thus, one can easily consider Muslims in the area to have a religious duty towards the extermination of Israel as a function of their own texts - not any sort of Western opinion.

1. On the Past Relationship Between the US and Israel

Arguably, US support of Israel began in 1948 when it became the first country to recognize the state of Israel. The reason that many ME nations had been in in favor of the United States post-WWII was that we were arming them against the Soviet Union. Much of US foreign policy in this region post-WWII was centered around keeping more countries from falling to the Soviet Union. For example, the US did begin selling military hardware to Israel in the 1960's, but at the same time, the US was supporting anti-soviet proxy wars throughout much of the Middle East - a great example of this would be the Afghan resistance financed by the US. Throughout this time period, US foreign policy was pointed towards remaining neutral in Arab/Israeli conflicts, supporting emerging oil-producing countries, and preventing the spread of Soviet Influence.

This said, the United States had a legitimate interest in supporting Israeli interests for a couple reasons:

* Future conflict in the region (even Israeli/Arab) would inevitably involve the Soviet Union, and by proxy, the US.
* Israel at this point (1950-60's) was constantly under attack - essentially a proto-proxy war already under way.
* Coming out of the isolationist period, the United States was interested in spreading democracy as a way to combat communism. A fledgling democracy on what was basically one of the front lines of conflict was a "victory" in this regard.

One may ask: What caused the devolution of Arab-US relations?

US support of Israel DID play a part in this. However, a much greater reason is centered around the Six-Day-War. Arab countries thought it was great when the US was selling them SAM antiair and ant-helicopter missiles. However, they were pretty ticked when all the region's Arab nations invaded Israel and Israel handed them their heads with military hardware they had obtained from the US. If Israel had lost the Six-Day-War, the Arabs would probably still be happy. As it was set up, the loser of the conflict was bound to hate the US for essentially playing both sides. And the US played the two hands so Israel won.

A small point - if one delves into the history of US-Israeli relationships, one can see that the relationship (historically) is not so much a buddy-buddy one, but more a contract of necessity. There are definitely hiccups - take for example an incident in 1985 concerning the sale of intelligence documents to Israel - Israelis claimed it was a "rogue operation," but there is still suspicion in this matter...

2. On Military Concerns.

My opponent begins his dissertation here asserting that I hold Israeli armed forces to be superior to the United States. This is simply not correct - I hold Israeli AIR FORCES to be superior to the US. Israel arguably has the best air force in the world. Much of my opponent's argument on this point centers around how the US has constructed Israel's military. This is all well and good, but, as they say, let bygones be bygones. If we cut ties with Israel tomorrow, we would still have built their military. As such, most of his argument on this point is a red herring.

Furthermore, my opponent does not address the following - Extend my arguments on:

* Israel is a valuable "beachhead" in the Middle East for staging military operations.
* Israel provides valuable intelligence information.
* Israel provides valuable training experience to our own military.

3. On Human Rights Considerations.

I'm not sure where my opponent is going with the accusation that I am prejudiced towards Middle Easterners. It is a fact that the countries surrounding Israel want the territory back. Some still don't even recognize Israel as a state. However, he does attempt to address the issue - let's look at some contentions.

>> "Egypt is so wrapped up in US-produced treaties created during and after the Cold War that it does not dare attack Israel."

Except Egypt routinely smuggles weapons and soldiers into Palestine...

>> "Saudi Arabia is so focused on its oil, which is its primary source of income, that it even forcefully removed the Wahhabi's in order to insure continued tranquility in its production of oil.

Saudi Arabia only has a moderate interest in Israel. Furthermore, the Saudi Army CANNOT invade Israel - Why? - Because the United States for all intents and purposes IS the Saudi Army. There are a multitude of protectionist treaties that the US has with SA to guard our supply of oil. If the Saudis were left to their own devices, they would probably send troops just like they did in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

>> "The country of Jordan has been relatively neutral in its position on Israel."

Except that they invaded Israel in 1948 to prevent it from becoming a state...

>> "Syria, Lebanon, and Iran are all minor threats to both Israel and the US. Like I previously stated, both the US and Israel possess a large number of nuclear arms at their disposal."

Syria would like nothing more to reclaim the land Israel occupies. Lebanon routinely fails to curtail Hezbollah rocket attacks in Northern Israel. Iran... I don't recall mentioning Iran, but Iraq sent a bunch of troops to help out during the Six-Day-War. Furthermore, neither Israel or the United States would dare use nuclear weapons in the Middle East. It's simply a hammer they cannot swing. Iran has declared the intention to "wipe Israel off the map." Iran has nuclear programs. The conclusion is somewhat obvious. The use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East would probably start a thermonuclear World War III - neither the US nor Israel is willing to start that.

************************************

In brief conclusion, much of my opponent's argument is centered around the unusual circumstances of Israel's creation, not around current benefits the US obtains from its relationship with Israel. Much of my argumentation from the first round is still valid, as he only really addressed my point about human rights concerns in a substantive way.
Debate Round No. 2
Infernai

Pro

Infernai forfeited this round.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

Most disappointing - extend my arguments.

Vote Con.

NEGATED.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Ew, forfeit.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
InfernaiJustCallMeTarzanTied
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Vote Placed by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
InfernaiJustCallMeTarzanTied
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Vote Placed by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
InfernaiJustCallMeTarzanTied
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Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
InfernaiJustCallMeTarzanTied
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Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
InfernaiJustCallMeTarzanTied
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