With Friends Like These …

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May 20, 2008 1:32 a.m.

In case you missed it, I want to commend to your attention Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in the Sunday Times: “Israel’s ‘American Problem“. The premise will be a familiar one to anyone who’s thought seriously and sanely about Israel’s future and America’s relationship with Israel. The breadth of acceptable opinion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vastly greater in Israel than it is in the United States. Indeed, as Goldberg suggests, if Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Barak were running for president in the US, they might not be deemed sufficiently pro-Israel to be acceptable in the American mainstream.

Here’s one memorable passage in which Goldberg quotes Joshua Katzen of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which one might fairly describe as a think tank which advocates on behalf extremist American Jews, a good number of whom found their way into the Bush administration (here’s a good article on the group by Jason Vest who’s reported on them extensively).

From Goldberg’s article …

One leader, Joshua Katzen, of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, told me, “I think that Israelis don’t have the big view of global jihad that American Jews do, because Israelis are caught up in their daily emergencies.” When I asked him how his Israeli friends responded to this, he answered: “They say, ‘When your son has to fight, you can have an opinion.’ But I tell them that it is precisely because your son has to fight that you have a harder time seeing the larger picture.”

I won’t take the time to recapitulate the whole article. But you should read it because it covers a basic reality — by conflating being pro-Israel with supporting the continued colonization of the West Bank, many of Israel’s ‘friends’ in the US are placing Israel in great danger and doing no favor to the United States either.

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