´Loss of US clout in ME will deeply impact Israel´ (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL SHEFLER 06/20/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
The waning influence of the US in the Middle East and around the
world will have far-reaching consequences for the Jewish people and
Israel, a former US diplomat told a Knesset committee on Tuesday.
Stuart Eizenstat, the former US ambassador to the UN and a Jewish
policy expert, said Washington is having to come to terms with its
shrinking economic might and the rise of Islamists in countries like
Egypt, drastically changing its diplomatic capabilities in the region.
“The US has always been an ascendent power – not always a dominant
one... but after the Second World War it become a dominant one,” he
said. “We remain and will remain the dominant power but others are
closing the gap military, economical and politically.”
The ex-diplomat, who recently released a book called The Future of
the Jews, said his nation is now competing for power with the BRICs,
an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and others. These
countries, he said, will have more of a say in world politics
commensurate with their new economic status.
At the same time, Eizenstat said the US would continue to play an
important part in international politics in the future.
“We’ve dug ourselves a deep hole but continue to produce 25 percent
of world GDP and of particular importance to Israel we continue to be
the only power to project air, land and sea power globally,” he said.
Eizenstat, who is a well-connected Democratic party lobbyist, also
commented on Iran’s nuclear program. He praised US President Barack
Obama for putting together an “unprecedented” set of sanctions
against Tehran, which Israel has accused of trying to obtain nuclear
“On the broadest level, the US and Europe share a common goal with
Israel, that is to deny Iran a weapon,” said Eizenstat. “Obama has
got together an unprecedented set of sanctions – including those
against South Africa and North Korea.”
Eizenstat then turned his attention to ties between Israel and the
Jewish Diaspora. The balance of power in the Jewish world has
shifted, he said.
Since 2007, the largest single Jewish community in the world lives in
Israel, surpassing the US. This trend, which he said he expects to
continue, mirrors global politics.
“Just as there has been a profound shift of power from the US
elsewhere there has been a shift of power from the Diaspora to
Israel,” he said.
For that reason he expected Israel to become increasingly responsible
for setting up and funding programs fostering Jewish ties. He cited
Taglit- Birthright, which brings young Jewish adults on free trips to
Israel, as an example.
Eizenstat called on the Israeli government to increase its funding of
the program assuming responsibility from private donors like US
businessmen Michael Steinhardt and Charles Bronfman.
He said Birthright and other programs were the best way to reduce
intermarriage and assimilation in Jewish America.
“When my wife and I get an invitation to a Jewish wedding that’s not
the rule,” he said, “that’s the exception.” (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 06/20/12)
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