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Monday, January 14, 2008

Support for Israel has nothing to do with the 'Israel Lobby'

There's a beautiful op-ed by two Congressmen - Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.) - in Saturday's Los Angeles Times that puts the lie to the claim that members of the US Congress support Israel only due to the efforts of the mysterious 'Israel Lobby.'
Mearsheimer and Walt accuse all of us who support Israel in its struggle to live in peace and security of being Israel's "false friends." The accusation is remarkably disingenuous since it implies that Walt and Mearsheimer are Israel's true friends. These so-called true friends put the entirety of the blame for the failure of the peace process on the Israelis.

What kind of true friends write volumes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and gloss over the thousands of rockets Palestinian terror groups in Gaza launch into Israel? What kind of friend refuses to acknowledge the vicious propaganda machine in the West Bank and Gaza that stokes anti-Semitism and glorifies suicide bombers? Friends do not ask friends to dig their own graves.

But it is the moral flaw and not the stunningly bad research behind Mearsheimer and Walt's arguments that has impelled the two of us, a Black Democrat and a Jewish Republican who disagree on a long trail of international issues, to speak out rather than ignore their toxic contribution.

The pro-Israel lobby is not responsible for congressional support for a strong alliance with Israel. Like the vast majority of Americans, we support Israel for a very basic and obvious reason: America is at its best when we align ourselves with allies that share our values of tolerance, freedom and democracy -- whether those allies are Zionist, European, Asian or African. It is these shared notions of human worth that win Israel bipartisan support in a climate in which ideological common ground is rare.
Read it all.


At 7:07 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

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At 7:08 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

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At 8:55 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

John Mearsheimer and Steve Walt gloss over the fact the Saudi Lobby - in particular the petrodollars lobby is far more influential on American politics than the much maligned Israel Lobby.

That being said, there is nothing anti-semitic about criticism of specific Israeli policies. Israelis and true friends of Israel think certain policies are injurious or harmful to the Jewish State. What is anti-semitic is the imputation Israel is wrong in general and criticizing Israel through the use of a double standard by which only Israel is uniquely held accountable. And of course, the ultimate anti-semitic trope is the denial of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State.


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