YGGDRASIL

Uses of a Holocaust - Settlement Aid

In 1992 when the article below was written, Israel was in the process of resettling large numbers of Russian Immigrants to Israel in occupied Arab lands, thus angering the Arab world and frustrating U.S foreign policy while making Arab-Israeli peace more difficult.

The article below is important because it demonstrates how exceptional it is for Israel to have trouble getting its generous aid package from the U.S.

Sympathy for Israel must be maintained with U.S. voters:

Just imagine voter reaction if it became widely understood that the extent of the "Holocaust" was exaggerated?

The stakes in the Shoah game are high. That is why we have Holocaust museums and the like. There is a continuing need to inculcate in the minds of the young an image of a people wronged, of a people entitled to sympathy, if not outright reparations.

Yggdrasil-

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[01/28/92 WALL STREET JOURNAL (J), PAGE A16]

Politics & Policy:

U.S. Jewish Groups, Fearful of a Backlash, Adopt Low-Key Approach on Israeli Loan Guarantees

---- By Robert S. Greenberger Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON -- As the Bush administration again takes up the issue of whether to give Israel $10 billion in loan guarantees, the only sound coming from the powerful pro-Israel lobby is a deafening silence.

In the struggle over what remains Israel's largest single economic objective -- guarantees to help resettle Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union -- U.S. pro-Israel groups are for the most part sitting quietly on the sidelines. They are convinced that the politics of the situation are against them and that another full-court press for the guarantees would only further backfire.

So instead of trying to press Congress to steamroll administration opposition, the groups are adopting a low-key approach, publicly backing negotiations between the administration and Israel while privately advising the Israelis that they will have to agree to significant concessions.

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But this low-key approach stands in marked contrast to the situation last September when the loan guarantees first came up. Despite President Bush's contention that approving the guarantees at that point would harm the chances for Mideast peace, Israel's supporters brought thousands of loyalists to Washington to push for the guarantees immediately, and with no conditions concerning Israeli settlement policies attached. In Congress, lawmakers competed to make speeches supporting the humanitarian aid.

Mr. Bush, though, won a 120-day delay in the consideration of the guarantees -- and since then, the public mood has shifted markedly in his favor. Last week, when Sen. Patrick Leahy said the guarantees wouldn't pass without strings attached, none of Israel's friends in the Senate stood up to rebut him.

The issue returned to the front burner last week when Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Zalman Shoval, met with Secretary of State James Baker to discuss the guarantees. The U.S. wants Israel to greatly curtail its settlement-building activity in the occupied territories won in the 1967 war -- the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights -- in exchange for the guarantees, which would allow Israel to borrow money from private banks at preferential rates.

Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said he wouldn't agree to a settlements freeze, although he expressed optimism that terms could be worked out with the Bush administration.

The situation marks a stunning setback for Israel: Never before has a U.S. president successfully attached conditions to economic aid for the Jewish state. But given widespread public disapproval of Israel's settlements policy and opposition to the guarantees -- a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that U.S. voters oppose them by a 4-1 margin -- Mr. Bush is expected to prevail.

"The president has the support of the American people on this issue, and he's playing the leverage he has for all it's worth," says Republican pollster Linda DiVall.

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Complicating the issue are recent developments in Israeli politics: Prime Minister Shamir has lost his parliamentary majority and has become even more hard-line on the settlements issue. Last week, Mr. Shamir, defying President Bush, vowed that settlements expansion "will continue, and no power in the world will prevent this construction."

That attitude is driving a wedge not only between Israel and the administration but also between Israel and some pro-Israel groups in the U.S. "There is disagreement with the notion that settlements are so important that you have to endanger loan guarantees in order to get settlements," says Mr. Lifton of the American Jewish Congress.

James Reichley, a political scientist at the Brookings Institution, says the political dynamics of aid to Israel are unlike those of earlier years. In a presidential election year, "it usually becomes a bidding war among Democratic candidates to see who can go highest in expressing support for Israel," he says. While some of the traditional factors still exist, he says, "the liabilities are stronger now than they have been in most recent campaigns."


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