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« The Time Warp Continues | Main | "Scoop" Lieberman »

American Jews & Israel: A Vicious Circle

Over at the American Thinker, Clarice Feldman has noticed a disturbing trend - the re-emergence of the so-called "dual loyalty" accusation, the myth that American Jews are appendages of the Israeli Foreign Ministry first, Americans second. (That this myth has been perpetrated by Citizens of the State Department and Citizens of the World, whose own loyalty might be questioned, is ironic if not surprising.)

At the same time, the Israel Project has commissioned a survey which finds that American Jews, while strongly supportive of Israel, don't spend a lot of time actually defending it in conversation.

No doubt, some of this reticence comes from wanting to avoid arguments with non-Jewish co-workers and friends, many of whom have been fed a on steady diet of the Crescent News Network. At the same time, I can remember growing up being confronted with the dual-loyalty question, and having to find an answer. So there's some reason to believe that many American Jews, even if they don't doubt their own loyalties, don't want to push the question for fear of having it doubted by others.

This silence lets hostile Muslim-American and Arab-American groups have it both ways. Their existential opposition to Israel is overwhelmingly more monolithic and intractable than is American Jewish support for Israel. But the repetition of the Bie Lie of Jewish Dual Loyalty makes it possible for the LA-area leader of CAIR - a group whose loyalty lies solely with Islam and not at all with America - to accuse Frank Gaffney of being in the pay of the Israeli government on the air. Gaffney's more than able to defend himself, but many more of us are not.

The problem is that by lying low, we don't reverse the problem but reinforce it. After all, if your opponent is silent on a question, the most natural thing in the world is to assume that they're hiding something. When Jews do support Israel, their arguments are immediately suspect because of who they are. In effect, failing to support Israel now makes it much harder to do so later, when that support may be even more critical. After all, what happens if a democratic Lebanon and a democratic Iraq still find themselves opposing Israel? You'd better have serious arguments ready, and you'd better have an audience willing to take them seriously.

Right now, evangelical Christians are among the most vocal and strongest supporters of Israel. In fact, this support, while welcome, may be allowing some Jews to duck their responsibilities to hone arguments and engage in debate. After all, the obvious answer to the dual-loyalty charge is twofold: 1) there are Jews who don't support Israel much, and 2) there are non-Jews who do. But ultimately this is not their fight. It saddens and perplexes the evangelicals I know when it turns out that Jews don't automatically rise to defend Israel. Americans will eventually tire of fighting for someone who won't take risks for themselves, no matter the eschatological consequences.

This is still a reversible problem. And the best way to reverse it is for American Jews to have confidence in the rightness of Israel's cause, and to be willing to defend it when necessary.


"Eschatological"...I must admit that I had to look that one up.

I would agree with your analysis to some extent. I attend a non-denominational church in Loveland that is very "Pro-Israel". I consider myself to be a Zionist Christian. I along with many many others would no sooner tire of fighting for Israel than we might tire from beleiving in Christ as the son of God. The Bible is clear on many things and perhaps none so clear as the birthright of Israel.

Well, I'm a Jew from Long Island and I couldn't disagree more. Until the likudnik scumbags of Israel are thrown out and the Neo-Con Zionists of America are brought to justice, there will be no peace. Zionism has co-opted Neoconservativism. Just ask Francis Fukuyama how well the Neo-Con Zionists are doing. For people like Libby, Feith, Perle, Ledeen, Kristol, Krauthammer, and Feldman, their being Jewish is incidental to them being Neo-Con Zionist traitors.

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