Every week or so in Haaretz, Shmuel Rosner rates American presidential candidates on Who is best for Israel? Giuliani is usually first, what with all the neocons in his braintrust, and Hillary is not that far behind. Ron Paul is way down. This is the way that Israel happily messes in our politics. Rosner is addressing American Jews and telling them to support Giuliani and Hillary because Israel thinks they won’t support the division of Jerusalem. It’s a score-card for donors or voters.
Mearsheimer and Walt are playing the same card but the opposite way in the LA Times, where they write that Hillary and Obama and every other presidential candidate are "false friends" to Israel because they are not calling it on the occupation and its behavior toward the Palestinians. "If the Democratic and Republican contenders were true friends of
Israel, they would be warning it about the danger of becoming an
apartheid state, just as Carter did."
Any reader of this blog knows that I love Walt and Mearsheimer, but it seems to me they are not being realists about this. Maybe this is Israel: Maybe–per Rosner–it’s a country that loves to occupy Arab lands. Certainly it’s been doing so for 40 years without interruption and without serious demurral. Do we say that the caste system is not in India’s best interests? Or that agricultural subsidies are bad for France? Or that nukes are not in Iran’s best interest? Things are too confused here. Why don’t we let Israel be Israel and the U.S. be the U.S.? As W&M say elsewhere, let’s figure out the American interest here-which is not to support the oppression of Arabs, whether in Palestine or Syria–and stick with it. Part of the dual-loyalty problem is insisting that America and Israel share interests, so we have to look out for Israel. We don’t. We’re different countries.
P.S. Bury the lead: Congrats to the LA Times for giving prominence to W&M’s ideas, with a giant op-ed on a Sunday. Perestroika.