September 10, 2007

The "Israel Lobby" Myth

Written by George Shultz who was secretary of state from 1982 to 1989, this is excerpted from his introduction to The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control by Abraham Foxman. Via DailyAlert from The "Israel Lobby" Myth:

Israel is a free, democratic, open, and relentlessly self-analytical place. To hear harsh criticism of Israel's policies and leaders, listen to the Israelis. So questioning Israel for its actions is legitimate, but lies are something else.

The catalog of lies about Jews is long and astonishingly crude, matched only by the suffering that has followed their promulgation. Defaming the Jews by disputing their rightful place among the peoples of the world has been a long-running, well-documented, and disgraceful series of episodes across history. Again and again a time has come when legitimate criticism slips across an invisible line into what might be called the "badlands," a place where those who should be regarded as worthy adversaries in debate are turned into scapegoats, targets, all-purpose objects of blame.

In America, thousands of groups vie for influence. Among these are Jewish groups that have come under renewed criticism for being part of an all-powerful "Israel lobby," most notably in a book published last week by Profs. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. Jewish groups also largely agree that the United States should support Israel. But the notion that they have anything like a uniform agenda and that U.S. policy in Israel and the Middle East is the result of this influence is simply wrong.

Another tried and true method for damaging the well-being and security of the Jewish people and the State of Israel is a dangerously false analogy. Witness former President Jimmy Carter's book Palestine-Peace Not Apartheid. Here the association on the one hand is between Israel's existentially threatened position and the measures it has taken to protect its population from terrorist attacks, driven by an ideology bent on the complete eradication of the State of Israel, and, on the other, the racist oppression of South Africa's black population by the white Boer regime.

The United States supports Israel not because of favoritism based on political pressure or influence but because the American people, and their leaders, say that supporting Israel is politically sound and morally just.

Those who blame Israel and its Jewish supporters for U.S. policies they do not support are wrong. They are wrong because support for Israel is in our best interests. They are wrong because Israel and its supporters have the right to try to influence U.S. policy. And they are wrong because the U.S. government is responsible for the policies it adopts, not any other state or any of the myriad lobbies and groups that battle daily to win America's support.