Once again The New York Times defers to supporters of Israel. It gives the pro-Israel peace processor Dennis Ross a platform on the op-ed page to talk about anti-Semitism in the State Department back in the 80s and 90s.
“Memories of an Anti-Semitic State Department” is a clever dodge on Ross’s part. It is supposedly a response to the controversy over Phil Giraldi’s piece at Unz Review on American Jews running the “war engine” in U.S. foreign policy — a piece that former CIA agent/hero Valerie Plame retweeted and was shamed for doing so, and over which Giraldi lost his job at the American Conservative.
Ross argues that Jews shouldn’t be questioned about dual loyalty:
Rather than be worried about being mistrusted and accused of dual loyalties, Jewish American should feel proud. In uncertain times, identity can provide a source of security and comfort….
Indeed, to live a Jewish life one must be committed to the Jewish community, but also to others. Jews have an obligation to promote justice, mercy, compassion, tolerance and peace.
This is a dodge because Dennis Ross never mentions Zionism, just Jews. But Ross is a committed Zionist who told a synagogue audience last spring–supposedly off the record– about their Zionist marching orders: Jews should not advocate for Palestinians because we don’t live in Israel, and we won’t suffer the consequences of our criticism.
Because we don’t live there, we don’t bear the consequences of the decision… Plenty of others are advocates for the Palestinians. We don’t need to be advocates for Palestinians. We need to be advocates for Israel.
So much for justice and compassion.
I disapprove of Giraldi’s broadbrush prejudicial attack, but the Times is still evading the criticism that Walt and Mearsheimer issued 11 years ago, thanks to the internet, and that continues to haunt the organized Jewish community: To what extent was the Iraq war pushed by neoconservative Jews who were concerned about Israel’s security. Joe Klein raised the Jewish neoconservative issue years ago and was pilloried for doing so:
The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives–people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary–plumped for this war, and now for an even more foolish
assault on Iran, raised the question of pided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.
And yes: American Jews were overwhelmingly against that war. But: a, the community deferred to the neocons as it traditionally has done, because they are the self-appointed guardians of Israel’s security; so even the Reform Jews signed off on the Iraq war (and my brother informed me that his Jewish newspaper said this war could be “good for Israel”); b, Thanks to Sheldon Adelson and others, neoconservative Jews who were opposed to the peace process got policy-making positions in the Bush administration, including Douglas Feith at the infamous Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon, which distilled a lot of the lies needed to justify the invasion of Iraq. Colin Powell later blamed the war on the “JINSA crowd” — the neoconservative Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Philip Zelikow, a Bush aide who chaired the 9/11 Commission, said in 2002 that the war was being planned because of “the threat that dare not speak its name”– Iraq’s “threat to Israel.”
Ross is chair of a Zionist organization, the Jewish People Policy Institute, and was part of the White House negotiating team that Aaron David Miller admitted later, “acted as Israel’s lawyer.” Ross needs to be challenged: How many open non-Zionists or anti-Zionists have ever had high ranking positions involved with policy on the Palestinians?
On a related note, Democratic senators lately questioned a Catholic nominee to the federal court about her religious beliefs as they bear on abortion law:
“The dogma lives loudly within you,” [Senator Dianne] Feinstein said. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”
Two law professors writing in the Times justified the line of inquiry as an effort to “explore” a complex legal and moral question. By the same standard, Zionists who are appointed to Mideast policy positions ought to be questioned about the depth of their commitment to a Jewish state. As Irving Kristol, a neocon patriarch, laid out the understanding many years ago,
[I]t is now an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States… American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we don’t want to cut the military budget, it is important to keep that military budget big, so that we can defend Israel.
Thanks to Donald Johnson and Scott Roth.