WITHIN a few minutes after the start of the first presidential debate on Sept. 30, 2004, President Bush felt compelled to justify a war in Iraq.
He told the audience that one of the benefits of a free Iraq is the security of Israel. Sen. John Kerry matched that commitment for Israeli security.
In two debates, neither candidate uttered even one word about the concerns and miseries of Palestinians.
Before the 2000 presidential election, candidate George Bush said he would destroy the weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East if he was elected president.
In a Redwood City meeting with Bush, I asked him, "During your presidency, are you going to have an even-handed policy in the Middle East?" He became very upset and belligerent.
President Nixon wrote in his book Seizing The Moment, "Israel is the pillar of American foreign policy, and this pillar should never be shaken." The same Nixon, during a conversation with the Rev. Billy Graham about the American Jewish influence on the American media, said that he wanted to do something about it.
In the same book, Nixon writes, "The U.S. should have good relations with Muslim countries." But he also advocated keeping Iraq and Iran engaged with each other in conflicts.
In 1988, candidates Michael Dukakis and George H. Bush were competing zealously to prove their loyalty to Israel in a gathering of B'nai B'rith, an organization of Jewish Americans.
In a confrontation in 1991 between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and President George H. Bush over Israeli illegal settlements in the West Bank, Bush caved in and released $10 billion in aid to Israel — after 1,200 pro-Israeli supporters descended on Washington, D.C.
Since the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, no other American president has shown success in resisting pressure from the Israeli lobby.
In October 1956, just before the re-election of President Eisenhower, Israel made a secret deal with Britain and France to attack Egypt. This attack was in retaliation for President Gamal Abd al-Nasir of Egypt taking over the Suez Canal.
Right after the invasion of Egypt on Oct. 29, President Eisenhower canceled all economic and military aid to Israel. Under heavy U.S. pressure, Britain, France and Israel had to abandon their invasion.
When Eisenhower was re-elected, Israel had to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza because the president threatened to support a U.N. resolution to impose sanctions against Israel.
Eisenhower's Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, said, "We cannot have all our policies made in Jerusalem." Dulles made this statement to Henry Luce, a pro-Israeli owner of Time Inc. "I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy not approved by the Jews. But I am going to try to have one. This does not mean I am anti-Jewish."
Anti-semitic feelings are rising in the United States and the rest of the world. A large majority in Asia, Europe and in the Middle East see the United States and Israel as members of the same team.
The culture of violence from both sides is contributing more hatred. The American public is not going to wait indefinitely to risk their safety and security to safeguard Israeli security.
If Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would like to preserve his name in history, he should deal with the new Palestinian leadership of Hamas.
So-called democratic Israel should have respect for the democratically elected Palestinian government of Hamas.
The U.S president has to show courage and fairness of Dwight Eisenhower to bring peace in the Middle East.
Syed R. Mahmood, a resident of Fremont, is president of American Institute of International Studies (AIIS), www.aiis-website.org. In 2002, he was the Republican candidate for the 13th Congressional District, which includes the Tri-City area.