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Anti-Israel rhetoric? Americans can turn the page
Atlanta Journal Constitution ^ | 10/08/07 | JEFFREY K. SALKIN

Posted on 10/09/2007 8:31:04 AM PDT by SJackson

Anyone who spends as much time in bookstores as I do can smell an emerging literary fad. About 10 years ago, it was books about angels. Not to be undone, the rationalists and atheists have launched their own cottage industry of "God doesn't exist" and "He's mean" books — Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, among them.

We are witnessing the birth of another literary craze — the "Do we really need Israel, anyway?" book.

(ENLARGE) Jeffrey K. Salkin of Atlanta is an ordained rabbi and director of Kol Echad, an adult Jewish learning center. He is the author of 'A Dream of Zion: American Jews Reflect on Why Israel Matters to Them.'

It started with last year's "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid," by former president Jimmy Carter, and now it continues with "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. The authors, fresh from their devastating smear of Israel in "The London Review of Books," do more than simply expound upon the power and influence of Israel's lobbyists in Washington.

With their exaggerations and distortions, they do more than simply get it wrong. They have actually reversed the clock of American social and religious history. It's as if they are holding a séance and invoking the spirits of Henry Ford, Father Charles Coughlin and Charles Lindbergh. As a modern Hebrew poet once put it: "The Middle Ages are approaching."

You don't need to visit one of those medieval fairs, complete with jousting pseudo-knights and bawdy maidens. Mearsheimer and Walt bring us back to the Middle Ages without even getting into costume. Their rhetoric is resplendent with suspicions about Jewish conspiracies and hidden Jewish cabals (the word itself is related to "cabbala," with its mystical, hidden and sinister overtones). It's nothing less than "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," 2007 version — from czarist Russia right to the front table at your local chain bookstore. It's actually worse than "The Protocols" — everyone (sooner or later) knew that was a forgery. Mearsheimer and Walt, with their Judeophobic sniffing-out of the powerful Jews who control American foreign policy, have already bypassed nineteenth century Russia. They are taking us back on a magical mystery ride to allegations of Jews poisoning wells and kidnapping Christian children — or was that Christian politicians, who are forced into doing the bidding of the Jews?

Mearsheimer and Walt are wrong. Yes, there is a very effective pro-Israel lobby in Washington. They do their job very well. So, by the way, do the people who work for AARP and the NRA. Lobbies are part of the price that we pay for a democratic system with numerous, often discordant voices.

But besides being wrong, Mearsheimer and Walt have allies in interesting places. At an anti-war rally, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) suggested that it was nothing less than the massive support of the American Jewish community that kept the Iraq war going. Never mind the fact that all recent surveys show that American Jews are virtually univocal in their denunciation of the war, and never mind the fact that Israeli military experts counseled against the adventure. Leftists sniff about the neo-cons (read: Jewish intellectuals and policy wonks) who have been cheerleaders for current government policy in the Middle East. None of this is, as my grandmother would have said, good for the Jews.

And why should Americans care about what a few academics and their ilk are saying about Israel? In my numerous conversations about Israel and the Middle East with Atlantans of all walks of life, I have discovered that support for the state of Israel is long and deep. It pre-dates that historical moment when Eddie Jacobson, Harry Truman's former business partner, pleaded with the president to see Chaim Weitzman, who would become the nascent state's first president.

Americans respect Israel. They see Israel, even with its many imperfections, as a mirror of American values and struggles. A militarily and economically strong Israel may no longer be a David fighting the Arab Goliath. But Americans, especially in the six years since Sept. 11, wisely see another potential Goliath on the horizon of the Middle East — and it's a potential nuclear Goliath armed not only with bombs, but also with a very nasty radical Islamist ideology. Welcome to the Middle Ages, indeed.

Luckily, most Americans are smarter than Mearsheimer and Walt. They see Israel as America's best and most dependable ally. They will not willingly retreat into anti-semitic images and mythologies that are more appropriate to 1407 than 2007.

When it comes to the Middle Ages — been there, done that.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: jonathanpollard; secretthefts; sellingtochina; spying

1 posted on 10/09/2007 8:31:07 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.

High volume. Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking on the Topic or Keyword Israel, WOT


2 posted on 10/09/2007 8:31:37 AM PDT by SJackson (isolationism never was, never will be acceptable response to[expansionist] tyrannical governments)
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To: SJackson

Is it my imagination, or is there a rising tide of not just anti-Israel sentiment but antisemitism in this country? It seems most apparent in Hollywood, captial of the left coast.

3 posted on 10/09/2007 8:42:34 AM PDT by tennteacher (Duncan Hunter '08)
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To: SJackson

I’m not sure the Middle East truly wants an Israel that’s been disassociated by the U.S.

4 posted on 10/09/2007 8:53:49 AM PDT by Slapshot68
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To: tennteacher

When we abandon Israel,and we will, God will abandon us, then all Hell will break loose!

5 posted on 10/09/2007 8:59:50 AM PDT by mtnjimmi (“When you choose the lesser of two evils, always remember that it is still an evil.” Max Lerner)
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To: SJackson

I strongly suspected Israel’s influence regarding the launching of the first Gulf War against Saddam’s Iraq. If we did not degrade Saddam’s WMD program, the Israelis would have been forced to use nukes on him (my theory). However, it is clear that unless the U.S. supports Israel against the entire islamic world, then the Israelis will be forced to defend themselves in the only way left open to them. So do we want a nuclear genocide of muslims or do we police the region? The adults in charge of foreign policy have opted to support Israel. Its not only moral, its rational.

6 posted on 10/09/2007 10:43:24 AM PDT by darth
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