Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Israel-firsters vs. American interests and the U.S. military: who are the anti-Americans?

U.S.-Israel rift undermining some long-standing taboos
(Salon.com) -- By Glenn Greenwald --

The rather extraordinary dust-up between the U.S. and Israel has, among other benefits, shined a light on two of the most taboo yet self-evidently true propositions: (1) our joined-at-the-hip relationship with Israel is a significant cause of anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world, fuels attacks on Americans, and entails a very high price for the U.S. on multiple levels; and (2) many American neoconservatives have their political beliefs shaped by allegiance to Israel.

As for the first: not only did Joe Biden tell Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel's actions are endangering U.S. troops in the region, but -- more important -- as Foreign Policy's Mark Perry reports, both Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. David Petraeus within the last couple of months stressed the same causal connection to Obama officials: "Israel's intransigence could cost American lives." It's rather difficult to maintain the fiction that only fringe Israel-haters see the connection between our support for Israel and Muslim hatred toward the U.S. when two of America's most respected military officials (responsible for U.S. troops in the region) are making that case explicitly. Moreover, the Mullen/Petraeus alarm is almost certainly what accounts for the Obama administration's sudden (and commendable) willingness to so publicly oppose Israel. As Perry says: "There are important and powerful lobbies in America: the NRA, the American Medical Association, the lawyers -- and the Israeli lobby. But no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the U.S. military."

As for the second point: I've previously noted the glaring contradiction among neoconservatives, whereby they simultaneously (a) tell American Jewish voters to vote Republican because (they claim) the GOP is better for Israel and (b) insist that it's anti-Semitic to point out that some are guided by their allegiance to Israel when forming their political beliefs about U.S. policy. Obviously, anyone who does (a) is, by logical necessity, endorsing the very premise in (b) which they want (when it suits them) to label anti-Semitic. Neoconservatives constantly make political appeals to Jewish voters expressly grounded in the premise that American Jews are guided by allegiance to Israel (vote Republican because it's better for Israel), yet then scream "anti-Semite" at anyone who points this out. When faced with this glaring contradiction, their typical response -- as illustratively voiced by Commentary's Jennifer Rubin, after she argued in a 2008 Jerusalem Post column that American Jews should vote against Obama because he'd be bad for Israel -- is to deny that "that the interests of the U.S. and Israel are antithetical" and insist that "support for Israel in no way requires sacrificing one’s concerns for America’s interests." In other words: to advocate for Israel is to advocate for the U.S. because their interests are wholly indistinguishable, even synonymous.

Yet here we have a major split between the U.S. and Israel, with key American military and political leaders explaining that the opposite is true: that Israeli actions are directly harming U.S. interests and jeopardizing American lives. And what is the reflexive, unambiguous response of virtually every American Israel-centric neocon? To side with Israel over the U.S. AIPAC, the ADL, Elliott Abrams, AIPAC-loyal Democrats in the House, Marty Peretz, Commentary, etc. etc. all quickly castigated the U.S. Government and defended Israel, notwithstanding the dangers to Americans posed by Israeli conduct and the massive price paid by the U.S. in so many ways for this...MORE...LINK

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