The Israel Project is a neoconservative organization that threw itself into the fight against the Iran Deal, and lost. Maxwell Woolley is director of Digital Communications at the organization. He sent out a fundraising email the other day that described a meeting with soldiers recently in Israel.
[A] few IDF soldiers who served in Gaza last summer came to thank me and express how much it meant to know that people were working to tell the world the truth — that Israel wasn’t isolated as they had feared. I told them, they had no reason to thank me —they were the ones risking their lives; I was just doing what was right.I was fighting back tears when they told me: “You were fighting the same as us. You don’t have to risk your life to be a part of the fight. Moreover, they said they couldn’t win the fight without the kind of work we do at The Israel Project.
It was one of the most meaningful things any one had ever said to me. These soldiers put their lives at risk to defend Israel. I sit behind a computer desk in DC. But to them, I was fighting the war just as they were.
And if I was fighting so were you. Without your contributions, The Israel Project wouldn’t exist and I couldn’t do my job. We are fighting every day to tell Israel’s true story in the face of lies and hate that demonize the Middle East’s only democracy… [to] fight for Israel’s survival.
I am proud to be part of that fight. When you contribute to TIP, you become a part of that fight.
Thank you for supporting a country I love.
A couple of points. Woolley’s email expresses the core idea of the Israel lobby: Israeli soldiers could not fight without the support of American lobbyists (who corrupt US policymaking; we give that country more than $3 billion a year in military aid).
The American government throws Palestinian-Americans in jail when they give to charities that are said to have some kind of connection to Hamas, a Palestinians resistance group that arose because Palestinians were thrown out of their homes and villages, etc. But Woolley gets to raise money happily on behalf of a military force that killed 2300 Palestinians in Gaza, including 500 children, just a year ago (and that executed 18-year-old Hadeel al-Haslamoun at a checkpoint in illegally occupied territory last week). At the very least the U.S. ought to be neutral in this conflict. But we’re on one side.
Woolley’s comments are reminiscent of Harvard professor Ruth Wisse, who told the Center for Jewish History several years ago that young American Jews had to be in Israel’s army, serving in their schools against Israel’s attackers. The appeal was considered over the line by even Eric Alterman, who found it amazing, and wrote:
It reminded me of the time that Norman Podhoretz insisted, years ago, that “the role of Jews who write in both the Jewish and general press is to defend Israel,” period. Talk about your dual loyalties. Talk about your intellectual dishonesty. … Scary that these kids were hearing this stuff from a Harvard professor.
The American special relationship with Israel won’t end until American Jews split over this scary question, and actually call out such appeals as contributions to a foreign, militant racist state that only hurts the American interest in the Middle East. (I believe this confusion is built into Zionism; Alterman has himself said that he has “dual loyalty” to Israel.)