Monday, November 20, 2006

How to Stop Talk About Israel

There is an embarrassingly superficial article in the NYT Magazine this weekend that attempts to explain "How to Talk About Israel."

The article should really be called “How to Stop Talk About Israel,” but what else would you expect.

Just to pick out two huge problems with the article:

There is no doubt that Israeli lobby groups are well organized and well financed and have considerable clout in Washington. But then so do other lobbies. [Your point?] That is how the game is played. There was a time not so long ago when hefty books were written about the United States government falling into the hands of scheming Japanese lobbies.

Nice attempt at misdirection. So what if there are other strong lobbies? Others do it too is no "excuse". It is not a refutation that we should try to stop or resist this particular lobby, that their policies are bad for the US, or that they are amazing successful.

Fact is, the Israel lobby warps US policy towards the Middle East beyond anything that approaches rationality or US interests.

Moreover, however, you can freely criticize other lobbies such as the NRA or NARP without fear of being labeled an Anti-Semite. This article has no shortage of Anti-semite smears.

This is a fundamental difference between the Israeli lobby and all other lobbies. The smear tactic is employed over and over again to great success. This prevents the effective formation of a counter lobby that might be able to ameliorate some of the more negative effects of the Israel lobby.

Second, the article make the point:

It is true that some people in the Pentagon, as well as influential organizations like the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century, have close relations with the Likud Party, and especially with Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is much more in tune with American neoconservatism than Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is. Douglas Feith and Richard Perle advised Netanyahu, who was prime minister in 1996, to make ''a clean break'' from the Oslo accords with the Palestinians. They also argued that Israeli security would be served best by regime change in surrounding countries [and expressly Iraq!]. Despite the current mess in Iraq, this is still a commonplace in Washington. In Paul Wolfowitz's words, ''The road to peace in the Middle East goes through Baghdad.'' It has indeed become an article of faith (literally in some cases) in Washington that American and Israeli interests are identical, but this was not always so, and ''Jewish interests'' are not the main reason for it now. [Christian conservative are.]

After listing all the power brokers and their connection, people directly involved with the decision to attack Iraq including the bogus information presented in support thereof, the article goes on to blame Christian conservatives for America's hard line pro-Israel stance.

What a joke.

Again, the article provide no "evidence" that Christian conservative are “the” cause. Even if there are a cause, are they just a sideline player or the primary force?

And any difference between Sharon and the neo-conservatives on policy does not a dispute make. It is a questions of how far, not which direction, and never is US policy towards Israel questioned. US interests are not taken into account.

It is simplistic and overtly misleading articles like this, along with the smearing it contains, that do little to further the debate on US policy towards Israel and the Middle East.


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