Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Support for Israel

Published as a letter to the editor May 16, 2008 in The Stamford Advocate and The Greenwich Time

Support for Israel

The arguments of Steven Walt, detailed in the article "Lecture tackles U.S.-Israel relations" (Greenwich Time news story, May 15), the letter from congressional candidate Lee Whitnum (The Advocate, May 11) and the column by William Collins (Advocate Norwalk edition, May 11) all promote the conspiracy theory that Jews stifle dissent and compel our nation's leaders to violate their oaths of office by putting the interests of Israel above our own.

Their conspiracy theory is patently absurd. Indeed, were their arguments valid, we wouldn't have even heard them; they would have been stifled, with neither Walt and co-author John J. Mearsheimer nor Jimmy Carter having been able to publish their best-selling books and go on their lucrative speaking tours.

Conspiracy theory aside, Walt's assertion "If the lobby were less influential, we would have been much less likely to have invaded Iran" is the opposite of the truth.

From the beginning of the war in Iraq, the Jewish community was far less supportive than the rest of the country, and Jews have been disproportionately involved in the anti-war movement. We also now know that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister at the time, was cautioning President Bush not to get bogged down with Iraq.

Ergo, Walt's assertion would have been true if he had changed one word to instead say, "If the lobby were more influential, we would have been much less likely to have invaded Iraq."

Certainly supporters of the only true democracy in the Middle East and our only reliable ally in that region try to strengthen the strong bond between America and Israel; that's the American way. However, it is not their lobbying but our shared values and the basic fact that our relationship with Israel is in America's best interests that keeps that friendship strong.

Fortunately, most Americans do know that.

Alan H. Stein

The writer is president of Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting - Connecticut.

1 comment:

There is NO Santa Claus said...

Support for Israel makes sense. The American investment in Israel is substantial. IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Motorola, Berkshire-Hathaway, Cisco, Microsoft etc.

Israel is 1/4 the population of Saudi Arabia and has no substantial deposits of discovered petroleum. Yet it has roughly 1/2 the GDP of Saudi Arabia. The notion that America has no strategic interest in Israel is false. Beyond the global strategic interests, there is a strong economic interest in supporting Israel.

Israel's detractors have a funny way of not mentioning that.