Three days ago in New York, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said that the Jewish Diaspora serves as a global intelligence asset to Israel. Max Blumenthal described the remarks as “a neocon pushing the trope of dual loyalty.”
The full video from the Jerusalem Post conference was published today. The exchange is 5 minutes in. The Post’s Herb Keinon asks the Republican senator about Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s belief that the world supports Israel because Washington and Europe need Israeli intelligence in the Middle East. Is this true?
I can’t go into all the details obviously, but I will say that the cooperation between the United States and Israel’s security services is among the very best that we have with any nation in the world, and both the technical skills of Israelis as well as the worldwide relationships because of the Jewish Diaspora gives Israel some advantages that virtually no other country or institution anywhere else in the world has as well.
So we operate hand in glove with Israel’s military and security services. I was just there a few weeks ago on a trip with the Intelligence Committee and it’s good as ever, maybe even better now that President Trump is in office, and it’s a close, almost symbiotic relationship between those organs of our two states.
Keinon says he’d never heard that the Jewish Diaspora has such a role. Cotton elaborates:
Well, it’s a lot easier to find Jews in every country around the world than it is to find Americans in those countries– in some countries– and the relationships that citizens of the nation of Israel have with that Diaspora, many of whom have come for example from the old Soviet republics once they declared their independence in the early 1990s, gives Israel some unique advantages that most countries don’t have when they’re trying to identify threats from overseas or develop the information that their elected leaders need to keep their countries safe. Oftentimes that has a secondary benefit for Israel’s allies as well.
I have no idea whether what Cotton says is true. Cotton is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He went to Harvard and then served as an Army lieutenant in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading combat patrols; it was then that he accused New York Times journalists of violating “espionage” laws by reporting on a secret US program monitoring the finances of US enemies (the paper did not publish his letter; it came out when Cotton gained prominence). Cotton has close ties to the Israel lobby. His fast-track elevation to the Senate from the House in 2014, after serving just one term in the House, was greased with nearly $1 million from Bill Kristol’s shop the Emergency Committee for Israel.
As for the “trope of dual loyalty,” it is inherent in Zionism: when you declare yourself the nation-state of the Jewish people, and your prime minister says that he represents all the Jews of the world, then Israel is acting to undermine the perceptions of Jews’ patriotism in other countries. So said Edwin Montagu, then a secretary in the British Cabinet, in a memo opposing the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago this year, because he said it would foster anti-Semitism in the world.
Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom. If a Jewish Englishman sets his eyes on the Mount of Olives and longs for the day when he will shake British soil from his shoes and go back to agricultural pursuits in Palestine, he has always seemed to me to have acknowledged aims inconsistent with British citizenship and to have admitted that he is unfit for a share in public life in Great Britain, or to be treated as an Englishman.
Brian Klug, the philosophy professor and scholar of Jewish identity, read much of Montagu’s memo at a conference on the Balfour Declaration at Princeton on Monday.