Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Plain and Simple #1 - The "Israel Lobby"

This stunning statement appears on the website the Coop members who are promoting BDS: 
The “Israel Lobby” has the power to punish any U.S. politician who gives less than full-throated support to Israeli policy.
It is on a  page titled “Why Israel?”  The reference is to an article “The Israel Lobby,” by Professors John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt published 5 years ago in the London Review of Books. Never mind that the authors’ subsequent book of the same title was criticized by numerous reviewers for sloppy scholarship, faulty logic and omission of important context and information. Walter Russel Mead wrote the book will give “aid and comfort to anti-Semites wherever they are found.” And never mind that Mearsheimer recently provided a book jacket blurb and endorsement for a vicious, anti-Semitic book. Never mind all that.

Their website reasons that Israel is worthy of being singled out for boycott because it receives aid from the United States.  This aid is provided because "the Israel Lobby" has a "stranglehold" of  on our politicians.  In other words, in their advocacy for the Coop to join BDS, our fellow Park Slope Food Coop members, are suggesting that a Jewish cabal an "Israel Lobby" controls the United States Government. (Does this sound a little like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?)

It is true that American aid to Israel is generous.  It is also true that the United States has historically provided aid to countries or people who were at risk or victims of military aggression.  Interventions have included Somalia, Kuwait, Kosovo, Bosnia, and most recently, Libya.   Israel is at continuous risk from the neighboring countries, although you would never know it by reading a BDS website.  In Lebanon, to Israel's north,  Hizballah has over 40,000 rockets pointed at Israel.  Syria is still in a state of war with Israel, as is Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  To the west, Gaza is controlled by Hamas, which is committed to the destruction of Israel.  Terrorist organizations still operate within the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.  Iran is developing nuclear weapons and constantly boasts an intention to destroy Israel.

Furthermore, the United States reaps many, many benefits from Israel.  The US Sixth Fleet is serviced there. Israel hosts a US radar station and provides storage for US weapons.  Israel provides our country with intelligence, shared weapons development and tactical training.  World civilization has benefited from Israel in technology, medicine, science and the arts.  Israel provides rescue and humanitarian relief around the world, notably the rapid deployment of a field hospital in Haiti following the earthquake.

Polls consistently show that Americans support Israel.  In a May CNN poll, 67% responded their sympathies are more with Israel than with the Palestinians.  In an April Pew Center poll, 76% considered it important for the US to help protect Israel.  US Aid to Israel appears to be consistent with public opinion.

Pro-Israel groups have been very effective in presenting Israel's cause to the American public and to Congress. Special interests groups of all natures are part of the American political landscape. Compared to the insurance industry, pharmaceuticals, banks and lawyers, the so-called "Israel Lobby" is not nearly as well funded nor effective. If it were as powerful as our BDS friends would have us believe then all of the following would be true:
  • Jerusalem would be recognized as Israel's capital.
  • There would be no arms sales to Arab countries.
  • Congressmen who vote against Israel would not be re-elected.
  • There would never be any question of loan guarantees.
None of this is of any interest to the folks who want the Coop to join BDS.  They only know what they hear from their sources.  Plain and simple, they don't know what they are talking about.


    1. Dear Barb:
      thank you so much for your posts.
      My first inclination is to add some snarky, facetious remark about not getting my "Jewish Cabal" phone call. But your post is absolutely on the mark.
      Keep them coming

    2. Nice first entry in the Plain and Simple Series. Way to go.


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