General David Petraeus has come under fire from the Anti-Defamation League for comments he made before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week in which he suggested that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict foments anti-American sentiment due to the perception that the US favors Israel.
"Enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the area of responsibility," Petraeus said Wednesday. "Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples [in the region]."
In a statement released Thursday, the ADL labeled Petraeus' views on the issue "dangerous and counterproductive."
"Gen. Petraeus has simply erred in linking the challenges faced by the U.S. and coalition forces in the region to a solution of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and blaming extremist activities on the absence of peace and the perceived U.S. favoritism for Israel," the statement said.
Here's the full statement via the Washington Independent.
The assumptions Gen. Petraeus presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee wrongly attribute "insufficient progress" in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and "a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel" as significantly impeding the U.S. military mission in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and in dealing with the Iranian influences in the region. It is that much more of a concern to hear this coming from such a great American patriot and hero.
The General's assertions lead to the illusory conclusion that if only there was a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. could successfully complete its mission in the region.
Gen. Petraeus has simply erred in linking the challenges faced by the U.S. and coalition forces in the region to a solution of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and blaming extremist activities on the absence of peace and the perceived U.S. favoritism for Israel. This linkage is dangerous and counterproductive.
Whenever the Israeli-Arab conflict is made a focal point, Israel comes to be seen as the problem. If only Israel would stop settlements, if only Israel would talk with Hamas, if only Israel would make concessions on refugees, if only it would share Jerusalem, everything in the region would then fall into line.