ADL: Petraeus testimony ‘counterproductive’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League said a top U.S. general’s analysis of the role of the Israeli-Arab conflict in frustrating the U.S. mission in the Middle East was "dangerous and counterproductive."

Gen. David Petraeus, in Senate testimony this week, outlined a number of areas that impeded U.S. interests in the Central Command, the area that he commands and that includes the Middle East.

Petraeus first outlined five "major threats," none of them directly related to the Israel-Arab conflict.

He then listed a second tier of a dozen "challenges," one of them being "insufficient progress toward a comprehensive peace in the Middle East."

Devoting a paragraph to the matter in 56 pages of prepared testimony, he said: "The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas." He did not offer recommendations.

In a statement Thursday, the ADL said: "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."

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