Commentary Magazine


Contentions

The Left On Israel

The Left blogosphere has gone bonkers once again on the issue of “dual loyalty”– this time claiming that my piece in the Jerusalem Post explaining why many Jews concerned about Israel aren’t buying Barack Obama’s candidacy is an example of such “dual loyalty.” Well, that would be true only if you assume that the interests of the U.S. and Israel are antithetical. But leaders of both political parties have recognized for 6o years that support for Israel in no way requires sacrificing one’s concerns for America’s interests. The opposite is true of course: Israel’s survival is indisputably in the interest of the U.S. The example which is the basis for my piece in the Post — Richard Nixon’s support for Israel at a crucial time in the 1973 Yom Kippur War — illustrates that very point. Nixon was not a traitor to America — he was defending our vital national interests — when he stood with Israel and prevented her destruction. It is entirely fair to ask if similar circumstances arose in the future which candidate would most likely do the same.

I do think it is interesting that the Left has become so invested in diminishing and questioning support for Israel and the motives of those — from me to Richard Nixon, I suppose — who understand that Israel’s fate is linked to ours. It was after all Barack Obama who explained:

Our job is to renew the United States’ efforts to help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share this vision. . . That effort begins with a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel: our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That will always be my starting point. And when we see all of the growing threats in the region: from Iran to Iraq to the resurgence of al-Qaeda to the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah, that loyalty and that friendship will guide me as we begin to lay the stones that will build the road that takes us from the current instability to lasting peace and security.

It is then only appropriate to assess both candidates’ credibility and past records of resoluteness in determining who can best achieve that goal. (Presumably that is why both John McCain and Barack Obama showed up at AIPAC, but perhaps the Left thinks that act is also an unacceptable appeal to “dual loyalty.”) But rather than examine the relative records of the candidates’ and the implications of their past relationships, statements and policy positions, it is far easier to bellow that the effort to identify the candidate most resolute and most capable of defending Israel is itself improper or disloyal.

The vast majority of leaders in both political parties understand that there is nothing untoward in the least in evaluating candidates’ determination to defend Israel. That the Left blogosphere seems befuddled and enraged on this point is not surprising, but nevertheless disappointing.



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