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Feeling the wrath of the Israel lobby, ‘WSJ’ neocon virtually accuses some advocates of dual loyalty

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Many people have sent me this Bret Stephens column in the Wall Street Journal five days back in which Stephens, a neoconservative and ardent supporter of Israel, reports that he was disinvited that day from a speaking gig at an unnamed pro-Israel organization because he wrote that Jonathan Pollard should not be freed.

I was abruptly disinvited from delivering a keynote to a charitable pro-Israel organization for the sin of opposing, in my last column, the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

And that was just the icing on the blizzard of opprobrium—”scurrilous,” “unbelievable,” “arrogant and callous,” “it is anti-Semitic not to free him,” and so on—that piled into my inbox from people whose most fervent political identity is their support for Israel.

Stephen says this rage is a symptom of a “diseased politics.” He evidently means a component of the Israel lobby that doesn’t understand that we’re Americans first. These advocates are damaging their own cause by fulfilling an anti-Semitic canard– Stephens means that they are supplying evidence of dual loyalty. He says it this way:

the best his defenders could do is acknowledge the damage he and his Israeli handlers did—not only to U.S. intelligence, but to Israel’s reputation as an ally and to the honor of the American-Jewish community as a whole.

That so many of Pollard’s defenders have yet to do so is probably the single greatest impediment to his release…

If they cannot admit that what Pollard did was damaging and despicable, they are lending a patina of credibility to some of the worst anti-Semitic canards. It’s one thing for a rogue agent to betray U.S. secrets; it’s another for a legion of defenders to rise up to justify his espionage.

The case for Israel in the U.S. has always rested on the fact that the values and interests of the two countries are compatible even if they are not identical. But that is true only so long as Israel and its advocates labor to maintain that compatibility. It is harder to think of a more efficient way to undo those labors than to defend the likes of Jonathan Pollard, the man who betrayed both his country and his people.

So Stephens is suggesting that some pro-Israel advocates really are suffering from dual loyalty: they can’t distinguish between their country and their people, as he says at the end. He seems to think that distinction is an easy one. But anti-Zionists long said this confusion was a problem built into Zionism: If you say Jews are a people who will be unsafe in western countries without a Jewish state, then some American Jews will be confused about where they are represented nationally, especially if they are continually informed that they must support Israel or it will disappear. And the confusion has come to pass: the late Myra Kraft said that her boys could go into the Israeli army but not the American one, and Sheldon Adelson regretted serving in the American army not the Israeli one.

Michael Desch has previously written about Pollard for us as an itch that the lobby can’t help scratching. He says now: 

Of course, what Stephens omits, but is crucial to understanding why the Pollard case was so damaging, is that our good buds the Israelis traded some of the intell he gave them to the Soviets for their own ends. People like Stephens want us to believe that the Pollard affair is an aberration in an otherwise seamless relationship between two countries joined in common values. The reality is that our ideological soul-mates are ruthlessly self-interested.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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65 Responses

  1. chet on March 30, 2013, 12:37 pm

    How about a trade – Pollard for the release of Barghouti

    • William Burns on March 30, 2013, 1:35 pm

      If they don’t like that trade, how about Pollard for letting Vanunu out of Israel?

    • Avi_G. on March 30, 2013, 2:49 pm

      The suggestion implies that there is parity between the two. But there isn’t.

      (Side note: If I didn’t know you and had to evaluate your stance based on this one particular statement, I wouldn’t hesitate to harshly criticize you for making an absurd suggestion.)

    • W.Jones on March 30, 2013, 7:23 pm

      Not worth it so long as policies of absolute dominating impunity continue. Within a few weeks of the last mass prisoner exchange for Shalit the Isr. government easily rearrested many of the prisoners it had just released as well as many more new prisoners, including kids.

    • American on March 30, 2013, 9:05 pm

      I’d give them Pollard in exchange for getting all Israelis and settlements out of Palestine and going back to 1948 boundaries.
      Obama should make that offer public.
      We’ll forgive Pollard’s treason and criminal offense and even talk Palestine out of taking Israel to the ICC on it’s international crimes if they just vacate Palestine immediately.

      • mondonut on March 30, 2013, 11:58 pm

        American says: I’d give them Pollard in exchange for getting all Israelis and settlements out of Palestine and going back to 1948 boundaries.
        So now Palestine is everything up to the 1948 boundaries? When did that happen?

      • EUR1069 on March 31, 2013, 10:26 pm

        “So now Palestine is everything up to the 1948 boundaries? When did that happen?”

        In 1948 it was Palestine, remember? It still is, by the way. You’re only temporary guests there.

      • pjdude on April 1, 2013, 2:00 am

        um its all palestine. staling stuff doesn’t mean it stops belong to the legal owners

      • mondonut on April 1, 2013, 9:07 am

        EUR1069 says: In 1948 it was Palestine, remember? It still is, by the way. You’re only temporary guests there.
        I see. So you are part of the “peaceful” eliminate Israel and throw out the Jews crowd.

      • EUR1069 on April 1, 2013, 2:02 pm

        “So you are part of the “peaceful” eliminate Israel and throw out the Jews crowd.”

        No need to. Zionism will self destruct & in 2-3 generations & Israel will be a bi-national single state incorporating Gaza & the WB. Eventually you will become the same people you used to be 2000 years ago & at long last will leave the rest of the world alone.

      • chrisrushlau on April 1, 2013, 3:53 pm

        Your interlocutor says there are a couple of generations left for the Jewish state in Palestine. I think the trajectory indicates a scale of weeks, although there are many projectiles in the air to track.
        I propose Jews in Israel provide ninety percent of their assets in restitution to Palestinians, along with brigadier-and-above public officials for war crimes charges. That would “clear the air” legally.
        The point is to eliminate “exceptionalism” as a legal defense, perhaps formerly known by the term “special pleading”. When every plea is an exception to a rule, there are no rules and no legal procedure left.
        Indeed, one of the projectiles in the air seems to be that high courts in Israel sometimes issue decisions that are simply ignored. That joyous polity is merely a sedate lynch mob, the one thing they agreeing on, “f**k the haji” (to use the US military vernacular), as the new settler government reveals lividly.
        Why would a Jew want to live under such a regime? The answer must be, she really does not. She is not happy there. This presses the theory of law to its apogee, but the orbit is preserved: people fight for what they like, naturally would prefer to not have it damaged in the process, but would rather destroy it than have it stolen. So Solomon’s verdict to the contrary, for we are talking about land, not babies. But perhaps many Jews have grown to love the land and will pay the price of normalizing relations with the local people. The main price is recognizing the local people.

      • James Canning on April 1, 2013, 5:53 pm

        A lot depends upon who determines whether restitution is possible.

      • chrisrushlau on April 2, 2013, 1:37 am

        The law would seem to assume that a person knows what she likes–until we get to insanity. For that not to become a limbo, a convenient wastebasket for political loose-ends, and to do justice to freedom where it must operate–in the freedom of thought (Die Gedanken sind frei)–the law looks at the person claiming to like the thing, and sometimes says, “No, you don’t: it’s a hateful thing, and, anyway, when you say you like it, you almost have a look of frenzy on your face–so I think you’re just trying to talk yourself into liking it, for whatever perverse reason.”
        As to the Jews of the Jewish state being more or less willing to blow the whole thing up than the indigenous people (realizing that a few thousand Jews are/were indigenous people there)–what is it called, the Samson plan, to blow up the whole region if someone attacks–it would be part of insanity to destroy things out of envy or spite, but my goal is to sketch the negotiations, in which the colonists have the bombs and the assets but the indigenous people have the honest desire to be there (where it is a real homeland and not a symbolic one) (I wonder if any Israeli Jews make a living herding animals or growing olives, out in the open air, up hill and down, like in “A Bedouin Boyhood”). An effective negotiation would be one where delusions are revealed to be such to both parties and where the honest desires are allowed to have precedence: “well, you obviously want it more than I do.”
        How do you talk to a mad man? First thing is to make sure you want to, and then make sure you are making intelligible noises. Then find out what language he speaks. And so on.
        If you start with the assumption that someone can lose his liberty and forget where he put it, you have foreclosed yourself from the path of the law. Whose book title was that?
        Perhaps that is the crowning irony of the Jewish state in Palestine, God’s little joke by it: this Vast Arsenal of Law and Procedure, from Tel Aviv to Hollywood, can’t fathom the irony of its violation of the first principle of law as I see it: that people are not stupid. That is, Israel starts with the assumption that, if you don’t like Israel, the Jewish state in Palestine, there is something so wrong with you that you can’t be talked with. I believe the original meaning of “irony” is “dissimulation”. “Dissembly”, says Merriam-Webster’s Eleventh Collegiate. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. Irony is what we call it when someone wants us to believe that God is doing something perverse: they are accusing God of dissembling when God promised to be competent and careful–“it’s ironic that God would call his people to eliminate the Palestinians because someone else tried to eliminate his people, but that’s what he’s evidently doing”–while we accuse them of dissembling in allowing God to be ungodly–“what are you, kidding me?”
        I wonder if that’s how Israeli democracy works: people freely reject talking with each other with the thought, “You just can’t talk to that settler/secular/religious/Druze/etc.” So the whole polity is a huge mass of unfinished conversations.
        The proper point to ask Mr. Stephens, as the comments approach asking, is, “What were you thinking when you were the enforcer–what were you defending?”

      • chrisrushlau on April 2, 2013, 1:00 pm

        I’m glad you, the editor, the moderator, are reading my comments. That’s my main objective. You seem to be proving my point by not publishing them. You have un-personed me here. Perhaps when I click “post comment” I will find I am permanently un-personed (“othered”?) from this site. Still, I feel heard. I have diagnosed part of the problem and shared that diagnosis with the appropriate chain of command, like Bradley Manning. Still, again, I mourn, if not dread, the consequences of the un-personing, the implications: that Israel still has not got a friend in the sense (what other?) of someone who tells it the truth–except for me. As I was saying to someone the other day, everybody gets the chance to be a hero–it wouldn’t be fair if you didn’t. But you could well reply, it is not for me to mathematically define what heroism entails.
        No, I am not irrevocably un-personed by you.

      • chrisrushlau on April 3, 2013, 2:20 pm

        If the “Jews” (who determines who’s a Jew in Palestine?) can’t pay, they have to leave. This is a lot simpler process to envision than the present project of determining the rights of “the Jewish people” on one side, “the Palestinian people” on the other, a whole lot of coercion directed from the former “side” to the latter “side”, and the whole thing such a deliberate fog of vague notions that it is guaranteed to only develop more instability over time. It combines two roles for Israel, a negotiating side and the supervisor of the whole landscape and process. That in turn locates Israel somewhere “in the air” between Palestine and, say, Hollywood. The only force that forces people to reconcile with neighbors is good sense, which gets more and more sensible in prospect, the more dire the conflict gets. So I’m led to expect Jews in Israel to call a halt to the genocide long before their US country cousins are, despite those Israeli Jews being the architects and so on of that genocide as a matter of national self-definition. A bad idea is most reliably spotted as bad by the guy who had it and is trying to make it work, not his cousin up for the weekend, perhaps concerned or perhaps elated by the adventure.

      • chrisrushlau on April 4, 2013, 2:58 am

        Cheaters never win.

  2. Citizen on March 30, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Obama’s speech in Israel to the selected Israeli students clearly supports Israel’s tribalistic blood-and-soil imperative over America’s universalism; the fact the US congress and mainstream media said nothing about this is most revealing:

    Obama, declared as fact that no jew is free or safe in the world, not even in the USA, but only in Israel. If that’s not a bugle call for Israel First loyalty from all American jews, what is?

    • Avi_G. on March 30, 2013, 2:57 pm

      Excellent point, Citizen.

      In addition, if Jews in today’s America still have to be concerned about anti-Semitism, then (a) What does that say about America? (b) Does that mean that the Lobby is non-existent and is powerless, despite evidence to the contrary?

      • Citizen on March 31, 2013, 11:09 am

        @ Avi_G.

        I don’t know precisely what it says about America except Obama trusts his speech-writers (who are they?), and neither Obama nor those speech-writers think these through, or, they do, but they count on the Establishment media and the US Congress to go along with whatever they put in Obama’s mouth, and so does he–it’s essentially bipartisan on anything Israel. That is to say, they count on the continued manipulated ignorance of Dick and Jane, so to speak. They have good reason to, it seems to me. Virtually none of the above actors even addressed The Lobby’s existence except as was done when those picked congress critters
        asked Hagel about his insinuations wrt the Lobby. “Can you name one congress person you think is intimidated by…” As you know.

      • James Canning on March 31, 2013, 2:33 pm

        Support of Israel “right or wrong” has become an integral part of the ethic of the US Congress.

      • yourstruly on March 31, 2013, 11:41 pm

        there is a way to bring down these israel loving congresspersons


        exposing them for the traitors they are

        many americans already sense this

        some even know it

        getting the word out to everyone else?

        no problema

        once the issue of israel firster treachery gets the attention it deserves

        justice for palestine

        right on time

      • yourstruly on April 1, 2013, 12:34 am

        the israel lobby knows where it’s most vulnerable

        that’s why it goes beserk any time its patriotism is questioned

        except when there’s a serious challenge they lie low

        as during the reign of president george the elder

        who took on the zionist entity for its refusal to suspend construction in its west bank settlements

        so when it’s only a matter of going after israel firsters again

        what’s holding us back?

      • James Canning on April 1, 2013, 2:40 pm

        Israel lobby exerted itself to achieve defeat of George H. W. Bush.
        Illegal colonies in occupied territories was indeed a factor.

      • EUR1069 on March 31, 2013, 2:16 pm

        @ Avi_G: The MO here is to play the persecuted underdog while being in power position pulling all kinds of strings – an especially crafty & hideous ploy.

  3. EUR1069 on March 30, 2013, 1:52 pm

    “Jonathan Pollard, the man who betrayed both his country and his people.”

    But he did not! He acted on the belief that he served his TRUE country – Israel, while posing as an American – thus the real problem at hand is not the so-called “dual loyalty”, but the “single” one.

    • Hostage on March 30, 2013, 10:34 pm

      But he did not! He acted on the belief that he served his TRUE country – Israel, while posing as an American . . .

      Correction. Pollard was born in Galveston, Texas. He and his parents were American citizens by virtue of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. He started posing as an Israeli long after he began serving his prison sentence. During his trial there was ample evidence presented to establish that he was driven to spy by his chronic need for money.

      • EUR1069 on March 31, 2013, 9:59 am

        I know. But therein lies the monstrosity of the affair. It DOES NOT MATTER to a Zionist where he was born, the U.S., Russia, Poland, Austria or Yemen & neither should it to us. What matters is his SOLE allegiance to the Zionist cause. The same goes for Kristol, Perle, Abrams, Wolfowitz, Frum, Feith, Indyk, Ross, Lieberman, and the rest of the evil gang, who, in any other self-respecting power that took its national interests seriously by now would be in leg irons, chained to the wall for grand treason.

        As for Stephens/WSJ – the lobby can ill afford to alienate the mainstream media. Wondering if they are overconfident or panicking. Or both.

      • Citizen on March 31, 2013, 11:13 am

        @ Hostage
        Yep. Pollard did his best to have his cake and eat it too. He earned mucho extra pretty dollars, and he was enhancing his heartfelt homeland’s defense. I’d say he never thought at all about the USA as something distinct from Israel, that is, that their interests were not always the same–the extra cash was nice.

  4. yourstruly on March 30, 2013, 2:39 pm

    & the world without israel?

    more just & peaceful

    for jews?

    for all living beings

  5. rensanceman on March 30, 2013, 2:45 pm

    I cancelled my subscription years ago because of the stridency of their attacks on Clinton (e.g. Whitewater, their cause célèbre: the WSJ even offered its numerous editorials in bound volumes for sale) and because of columnist like Stephens who sees the I/P conflict through the eyes if a former editor of the Jerusalem Post, which he was.
    The info Pollard gave to Israel was used to bargain with Russia to allow the immigration of many thousands of Russian Jews into Israel. It also passed along classified advanced tech info to China.
    And the gullible U.S. ” has Israel’s back”?

    • Citizen on March 31, 2013, 11:18 am

      @ rensanceman
      And the kicker was that the US Congress gave Israel tons of US taxpayer money to fund the immigration of Russian Jews to Israel. Nothing like turning inside out the guts of America. Bleeding it for all its worth, it seems, endlessly.

  6. DICKERSON3870 on March 30, 2013, 2:51 pm

    RE: “I was abruptly disinvited from delivering a keynote to a charitable pro-Israel organization for the sin of opposing, in my last column, the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. And that was just the icing on the blizzard of opprobrium—”scurrilous,” “unbelievable,” “arrogant and callous,” “it is anti-Semitic not to free him,” and so on—that piled into my inbox from people whose most fervent political identity is their support for Israel. ~ Bret Stephens

    I AM REMINDED OF: “Schoolboy’s campaign to besmirch an eminent professor smacks of totalitarian society”, by Philip Weiss Mondoweiss 3/17/03

    [EXCERPTS] Earlier this week, I posted a piece about a Jewish senior at Croton-Harmon High School in New York who by accusing John Mearsheimer of anti-Semitism in letters to school authorities was able to postpone for a year a distinguished alumnus award that had been announced for Mearsheimer, an eminent professor of international relations at the University of Chicago. My tone was ironical; but two other responses have appeared that are smarter than mine. First, Jerry Haber reflects on his own Zionist indoctrination, followed by Scott McConnell’s savage reflection, contained in my headline.
    First Haber, writing in the comments section at the Jewish Week site, where young Josh Blumberg’s account appeared:

    Around forty years ago, I was in a similar situation. My high school had invited a former alumnus, a retired State Department diplomat, to speak to the students, mostly non-Jewish, on the Middle East. At the time, I had been indoctrinated with the classic Zionist narrative that nowadays very few thinking Israelis would accept. I protested to the school, which as a result decided to invite a pro-Israeli speaker for balance.
    It took me around thirty years of reading and thinking to be weaned away from the hasbara (It wasn’t called that at the time) that I had been fed at my afternoon Hebrew school. . .

    McConnell at the American Conservative site:

    I’m struck also by the young accuser’s enormous sense of ideological entitlement. I can recall being eighteen, and twenty-two, and getting involved in various campaigns and protests. But I can’t imagine thinking that I could write some letters leveling false and defamatory accusations against an eminent, highly scrutinized professor, with the more or less complete expectation that I would get what I wanted. Granted, American society has changed a lot since 1970, but still.
    I too would commend the school board for courage in resisting a neo-McCarthyite smear attempt. Nevertheless, the entire story gives off a faint whiff of totalitarianism, of those societies in which responsible middle-aged people tiptoe around in fear of accusations from self-righteous and highly indoctrinated young people. . .

    SOURCE –

    • DICKERSON3870 on March 30, 2013, 3:20 pm

      P.S. RE: “I’m struck also by the young accuser’s enormous sense of ideological entitlement. . . I can’t imagine thinking that I could [at his age] write some letters leveling false and defamatory accusations against an eminent, highly scrutinized professor, with the more or less complete expectation that I would get what I wanted.” ~ McConnell (from above)

      ● MY COMMENT: Cults often have that effect. Not to mention that grandiosity, narcissism, and overwhelming feelings of entitlement (accompanied by unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance) are common side effects of original Ziocaine®, Ziocaine Xtreme®, Ziocaine Über-Xtreme® and especially new Über-Xtreme Ziocaine Ultra®.

      ● CHARLES DARWIN: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge…” – from the Introduction to Darwin’s The Descent Of Man, first published in 1871

      ● FROM CHRIS HEDGES, 07/26/11:

      [EXCERPTS] The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. . .
      . . . Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. . .
      . . . All fundamentalists worship the same gods—themselves. . .
      . . . Fundamentalists have no interest in real debate, real dialogue, real intellectual thought. Fundamentalism, at its core, is about self-worship. It is about feeling holier, smarter and more powerful than everyone else. And this comes directly out of the sickness of our advertising age and its exaltation of the cult of the self. It is a product of our deep and unreflective cultural narcissism. . .

      SOURCE –

      ● FROM WIKIPEDIA [Narcissism]:

      [EXCERPTS] Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait. . .
      Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism.[6]
      • Shamelessness: Shame is . . .
      • Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking . . .
      • Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
      • Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
      • Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person [or perhaps an “anti-Semite” ~ J.L.D.]. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
      • Exploitation: Can take many forms . . .
      • Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. . .

      SOURCE –

      “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, by 2Cellos (Sulic & Hauser), on the CD ‘2Cellos’ (2011) [VIDEO, 03:19] –
      2Cellos: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Live) [VIDEO, 02:51] –

  7. Scott on March 30, 2013, 3:48 pm

    You have a wrong link up for the Desch piece, which I will look up.

  8. American on March 30, 2013, 4:25 pm

    “Stephen says this rage is a symptom of a “diseased politics.” He evidently means a component of the Israel lobby that doesn’t understand that we’re Americans first. These advocates are damaging their own cause by fulfilling an anti-Semitic canard– Stephens means that they are supplying evidence of dual loyalty. ”

    This has been my burning 100 million dollar question I have asked a hundred times….doesn’t the wider Jewish community see that their Zionist have indeed fulfilled that anti semitic canard? …..with this world wide ‘nation’ of Jews in all nations united for Israel?
    Why can’t they see this……particularly as Jews are even more concerned/sensitive to the anti canards about themselves, how can they not see this right in front of their face and not understand the danger of this?
    I can’t fathom, in light of the holocaust and the in light of the long history of Jewish travails, why they would risk letting this canard used against them become an observable fact in political US Zionism.
    I absolutely cannot figure it out. The only thing I can guess at about this disconnect or blindness among whatever segment of Israeli supporters is that they somehow feel that the holocaust has exempted them forever from any criticism or accusations–even when their leadership, or those that claim Jewish leadership, are doing/encouraging exactly what the old canard accuses them of, or perhaps that the holocaust some how ‘justifies’ or entitles them to the practice of the nation within the nations concept for Israel in spite of the old canard.
    But as I said somewhere on here before, trying to point out the craziness of this to Zionist Jews or sympathizers is like rushing into a burning barn to get the horses out only to see them run right back home into the burning barn. All you get for your efforts is singed hair.

  9. on March 30, 2013, 4:29 pm

    This article shows the ‘beauty’ of Zionism which is that they gladly eat their own if/when they’re no longer convenient to their agenda.

  10. Blownaway on March 30, 2013, 4:43 pm

    When Congress has dual loyalties why cant citizens? From Times of Israel
    Govtrack, a website that ranks the ideological positions and influence of members of Congress through Google-like algorithms of each member’s bill sponsorships, testifies to Roskam’s influence – and his notable capacity to reach across the aisle. It has ranked Roskam a “moderate Republican leader,” not far on the graph from Majority leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. It is an appellation that confirms both his influence on bills and his penchant for working with the other side to get things done.

    It doesn’t hurt that he had a good working relationship with President Barack Obama back when both served in the Illinois Senate.

    Yet one of the least-noticed elements of Roskam’s long political career – he has been a state and federal elected official for some 20 years, after serving as a House legislative assistant in the 1980s – is his increasingly pivotal role when it comes to Israel and the Middle East.

    Now starting his fourth term in the House, Roskam co-chairs the House Republican Israel Caucus and is a member of both the bipartisan Israel Allies Caucus and the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance, which supports efforts to strengthen the relationship between Israel and Greece.

    He has pushed for several key AIPAC-supported proposals in Congress, including the Iron Dome Act, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act and the United States-Israel Strategic Alliance and Security Act. When 100 members of Congress sent President Obama a letter ahead of his trip to Israel urging him to make the US-Israel security relationship the centerpiece of the visit, that letter was co-authored by Roskam and a pro-Israel (and Jewish) Democrat, Henry Waxman of California. When another recent bipartisan letter made news for calling on the administration to tighten efforts on Iranian sanction-dodging through reflagging of vessels – it, too, was coauthored by Roskam and a Jewish Democrat, Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida.

    • MRW on March 31, 2013, 6:11 pm

      House Republican Israel Caucus?
      Israel Allies Caucus?
      Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance?

      What the hell are these? How many other foreign alliances are there like these in Congress? Does anyone know?

  11. yourstruly on March 30, 2013, 4:54 pm

    israel firsters can’t distinguish between their country & their people

    so they end up hurting both

    their country because there’s a lot of daylight between the interests of israel & the interests of the u.s. of a.

    their people because by insisting that israel speaks for all jews

    beware the backlash

    once the public realizes that our nation’s unconditional support of the zionist entity is why the arab/islamic world hates america

    • yourstruly on March 31, 2013, 1:42 am

      for all living beings


      ours for the taking


      justice for the palestinian people

      with this the present belongs to all of us

      as equals

      & since those who control the present control the past

      with those who control the past controlling the future

      for all time to come

      all those aboard?

    • Citizen on March 31, 2013, 11:25 am

      @ yourstruly
      What do you think would be the catalyst for the American public to realize that the USA’s unconditional support for Israel is why the arab/islaic world hates America?

      An Israeli/US attack on Iran that did not pan out as expected, and causes glaring-in-your-face-harm to many Americans at home? Anything else?

      • yourstruly on March 31, 2013, 10:35 pm

        i agree that an attack on israel that misfires (pun not intended) would do it, but believe that by hammering away at israel firster treason we can reach the public without the loss of lives that war entails.

      • yourstruly on April 2, 2013, 2:38 am


        …attack on iran…

  12. James Canning on March 30, 2013, 7:52 pm

    How very interesting, for an ardent supporter of Israel like Bret Stephens to come under attack from fanatical Zionists.

  13. southernobserver on March 30, 2013, 8:10 pm

    This is plain dysloyalty, not dual loyalty.

  14. RoHa on March 30, 2013, 10:49 pm

    “they can’t distinguish between their country and their people”

    Why do they think these are different things?

  15. giladg on March 31, 2013, 1:25 am

    Bret Stephens will continue to support Israel because he knows and understands why this is the right thing to do. It is unfortunate about his comment on Pollard. But what every decent person on this planet should ask about, in connection with the 28 years Pollard has now been sitting in prison, is why a still secret letter given by the deceased Caspar Weinberger to the now deceased judge in the case, is not made public? What could possibly be in that letter that cannot be released about events 30 years ago? I believe that this letter will expose individuals as being anti Semitic and this is what is preventing Pollards release. Decent folks need to call for this letter to be released, including Bret Stephens, and so should you. The judge was about to sentence Pollard to 3 years in jail. And then this letter arrived.

    • EUR1069 on March 31, 2013, 10:30 pm

      Pollard is lucky that he was busted in the U.S. In Russia he would have been executed by a firing squad.

    • RoHa on March 31, 2013, 11:43 pm

      “I believe that this letter will expose individuals as being anti Semitic”

      Of course you do.

    • Sumud on April 1, 2013, 2:08 am

      Bret Stephens will continue to support Israel because he knows and understands why this is the right thing to do.

      I don’t – so please enlighten me. Please not the boilerplate spiel about Israel being America’s most important ally. It’s garbage. Allies have treaty agreements and there is no US-Israel treaty. There are a LOT of other treaties but none with Israel:

      List of United States treaties

      As I see it Israel is the US’ greatest strategic liability, and an economic parasite as well. I’m desperate to learn what exactly Israel has done for the US, ever.

    • Ellen on April 1, 2013, 4:37 am

      gilad, the Weinberger letter revealed to the Judge extensive classified information that did not/could not come out at trial. Information on the extent of damage to US security and lives lost as a result of Pollard’s treason.

      With Pollard facing just a three year sentence for crimes that resulted in extreme damage, Weinberger was compelled to present the classified information to the sentencing Judge.

      Pollard will probably be dead before that letter is revealed, which it will be.

      Meanwhile the “anti-Semitic” conspiracy cult / victim industry grows around Pollard.

      That the current Israeli PM found him worhy of a personal visit to his jail cell instead of a disgrace to Israel is beyond words.

    • eljay on April 1, 2013, 7:59 am

      >> Bret Stephens will continue to support Israel because he knows and understands why this is the right thing to do.

      Supporting a secular, democratic and egalitarian Israel is the right thing to do.

      Supporting a supremacist “Jewish State” is the wrong thing to do.

    • lysias on April 1, 2013, 5:36 pm

      why a still secret letter given by the deceased Caspar Weinberger to the now deceased judge in the case, is not made public?

      The letter no doubt discussed at length the NSA’s RASIN Manual, which is one of them most important things Pollard handed over to the Israelis. The NSA is allergic to having anything revealed about its sources and methods, and, even if Israel and the Soviet Union became aware of everything in that manual, thanks to Pollard’s betrayal, there are plenty of other countries that have not gained that knowledge.

  16. Clif Brown on March 31, 2013, 2:57 am

    You quote Michael Desch – “The reality is that our ideological soul-mates are ruthlessly self-interested.”

    This is nationalism at work. See 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th century Europe. Israel and the United States are subject to the same disease, but I believe it will ultimately sever Israel from Judaism as a whole as it become blatant (if it isn’t already) that love of nation subverts the historic humanist strain in the religion. Strutting uniformed armed Jews barking orders and treating unarmed Arabs as cattle. What would Hillel (the man, not the organization) say? The sturdy supporting columns of the diaspora will turn to sand. Israel will ultimately be seen an embarrassment, a mistake, the creation of a nation making a mockery of the very thing it was supposedly created to insure.

    Herzl, unfortunately, could not see the abyss into which nationalism would fall in the 20th century and thought of it as a preservative. Europeans look back with horror at the carnage. Their former colonies look back at the oppression and injustice. But Israel pushes the nationalism accelerator to the floor, heedless of predecessors who chest-beat, bellowed ultimatums and marched to destruction carrying high the national banner.

    • piotr on March 31, 2013, 12:57 pm

      Actually, I am not sure if nationalism was an ideological force in Europe before 19th century. At most, it was an additional factor in some conflict. All larger states were multinational, allegiance of nobility defined by personal loyalty to a respective monarchy (or territory, but it was quite complex), allegiance of the commoners was not an issue.

      17th century was as horrible as 20th if you count the decreases in the population of European countries caused by wars, if not more. At that time religion was more important than nationalism. Combining religion and nationalism has a sinister potential (but the Japanese seem to cope pretty well, so potential is not destiny).

      Nevertheless, in Israel the combination is rather disturbing. Today Ynetnews reports on the convention of young religious Zionists, Bnei Akiva, with three resolutions: (a) demand that the Chief Rabbi should be Zionist, and the creation of Israel recognized as the beginning of the “national redemption”, (b) demand to abolish commemorations of Rabin, slain PM, (c) making Pollard an honorary member of Bnei Akiva.

      Pollard is kind of a saint for those people. Hm.

      • RoHa on March 31, 2013, 11:46 pm

        “Combining religion and nationalism has a sinister potential (but the Japanese seem to cope pretty well, so potential is not destiny).”

        And we saw the Japanese potential turn to the actual in the horrors Japan inflicted on the rest of Asia.

  17. jack dresser on March 31, 2013, 3:56 am

    45 years after the USS Liberty attack, the myth of Israel as stalwart US ally still persists? Why is anyone surprised? Anyone who does Palestinian human rights advocacy in any US community certainly finds this entirely predictable and depressingly familiar.

    • Citizen on March 31, 2013, 11:29 am

      @ jack dresser
      Don’t look for a change during the rest of Obama’s tenure; nor in whoever follows him into being POTUS. I think the best bet for (eventual) change would be the US attacking Iran. What the US is doing in Syria know helps this along, as of course, does the economic sanctions on Iran.

  18. Les on March 31, 2013, 9:13 am

    Pollard’s loyalty can be ascertained by determining if his pay for spying was in dollars or in shekels.

  19. pabelmont on March 31, 2013, 10:54 am

    “only so long as Israel and its advocates labor to maintain that compatibility.”

    Israel and its allies no longer labor to maintain a compatibility between USA’s and Israel’s values. Instead they labor to reiterate the rather obvious lie that these two sets of national values are identical, no daylight, etc., and to use totalitarian-style “thought police” and “speech police” (as they do against Bret Stephens, here) to punish folks for crimes of non-orthodoxy [breach of party line] in relation to Israel, here in relation to Pollard.

  20. irmep on March 31, 2013, 12:50 pm

    It was hard not to take Bret Stephen’s piece as driven by the loss of a speaking honorarium that will not likely be easily replaceable in the near future. Poor Bret.

    A recently (but only partially) declassified CIA damage assessment reveals Pollard thought of himself as a spy for Israel very early. Given the Weizmann Institute’s clandestine activities in the U.S., it is possible that Pollard started doing work for Israel by the early 1970s. As is normally the case, however, the American people are deemed still not ready by the declassifiers-that-be for the full CIA damage assessment, and the still-classified Weinberger memorandum in aid of sentencing.


    • Rizla on April 1, 2013, 5:13 pm

      Fascinating de-classified DIA instructional video at that link, thanks. One wonders how many go-along-to-get-along folks who work in such institutions would have taken the risk of reporting him. That woman who did so had a lot of guts. One also wonders how many Pollards are currently still anonymously at work. Knowing the mores of institutional culture, probably many.

  21. chrisrushlau on March 31, 2013, 7:39 pm

    I’ve been tracing back the evident irony (?) of a Jewish state in a liberal world, generally by paralleling racism as an Israeli and a US constitutional trait (that’s a “small-c” constitution–what actually predicts a group’s behavior, as in the case of the “basic laws” of Israel or of the “unwritten constitution” of the UK). Racism seems part of arbitrary government, along with suicidalism and millennialism: all of which drink deeply of the sickly whimsy suggested by the term “arbitrary”.
    Your column today forces me to be less academic, more practical. We need not just a literary critic but a psychiatrist–for escapism seems a major component here in today’s Israel and today’s US (maybe grown from the seeds, at least that old, of Reaganism–the first era I heard (albeit as a twenty-year-old) fantasy identified as a US character, was it by Jacob Bronowsky on public tv?, and William Safire referring to a Reagan staffer–to his face–as looking like a robot or mannequin). Is such caricature a feature of European history as well? For all the mocking of non-European cultures by bearers of the “white man’s burden” as non-rational, superstitious, if not downright demoniacal, it seems the rule stringing together a thousand or two years of “western” civilization that you are supposed to switch suddenly from non-fiction to fiction and back again at the drop of a hint if you are an honorable member. Use of non-sequiturs is the defining national trait.
    Is that the case of any bureaucratic society, where the difference between what “is supposed to happen” and what actually happens always threatens to embarass Authority? Or is it more characteristic of a society built on another western trait, what I might call, being a quarter Swedish, the Viking thing–whereby you are democratic with your fellow Vikings (“raiders”), but merciless to your slaves and enemies–we might almost call them “prey”. Norsemen set up both the current English and Russian states, not to forget. William the Conqueror displaced his cousin from the English throne. The Danelaw.
    So Israel would merely be the latest case of the irony whereby democracy is for “us” and not for “them”, who ain’t hardly human: them damn hajis.
    But is this irony even in the tradition of Abraham? Whose name seems to mean “father of mercy”? Is there something about monotheism that is arbitrary, as if “we” know God personally, the Big Guy, Whom “you” (never mind “they”) might not have met?

  22. chrisrushlau on March 31, 2013, 7:48 pm

    Since you’re evidently “moderating” still, maybe you can edit my comment here to add one more point. If we are to escape the suicidal intentions of the millenialist-racist regime–a concept which embraces most US persons as much as it does most Israelis–since membership is known by what you say and so, regardless of the incentives aimed at you, up until the point that you can point to the gun at your head and say, “I would have, e.g., asked what ‘Jewish state’ means if not ‘anti-non-Jew state’ if that gun hadn’t been there”–it is going to take a major mobilization of public opinion by those in a position to do so.
    There does seem an alternative national salvation on tap. We can take this seeming slip of the military shift to the western Pacific as the signal for our own Operation Barbarossa (if OIF was the invasion of Poland, as a retired CIA guy commented in 2002) whereby we conquer China only to be conquered by it thereafter like several barbarian invasions before us. If there is a “sub specie bonum” element at work in the most arbitrary mentality, in our case it might be the dim recognition that the Chinese seem to grasp the essence of government, and we’re going to get some of it if it kills most of them and most of us. Bullies maybe are generally motivated by such an intuition. If so we ought to be able to work out a less violent means to the same end. It might be nice if China said to Israel, like the girl in the David Bowie song, “Just you shut your mouth.”

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