Now that the dust has settled in the spat between
Klein and the ideologues at Commentary, it is time to regret the
ink spilled over the non-issue of "dual loyalties." The idea that
there are U.S. citizens who have equal loyalties to the United States and Israel
is passé. American Israel-firsters have long since dropped any pretense
of loyalty to the United States and its genuine national interests. They have
moved brazenly into the Israel first, last, and always camp. Sen. Joseph Lieberman,
Norman Podhoretz, Victor Davis Hanson, the Rev. Franklin Graham, Alan Dershowitz,
Rudy Giuliani, Douglas Feith, the Rev. Rod Parsley, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey,
Bill Kristol, the Rev. John Hagee, and the thousands of wealthy supporters
of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) appear to care about
the United States only so far as Washington is willing to provide immense,
unending funding and the lives of young U.S. service personnel to protect Israel.
These individuals and their all-for-Israel journals – Commentary, National
Review, the Weekly Standard, and the Wall Street Journal
– amount to nothing less than a fifth column intent on involving 300 million
Americans in other peoples' religious wars, making them pay and bleed to protect
a nation in which the United States has no genuine national security interest
The Israel-firsters' success is, of course, the stuff of which legends are
made. Most recently, for example, we heard President Bush echo Sen. Lieberman's
insane and subversive contention that the United States has a "duty"
to ensure the fulfilling of God's millennia-old promise to Abraham regarding
the creation and survival of Israel. Bush told the Knesset all Americans are
ready to endlessly bleed and pay to ensure Israel's security. And where does
the president derive authority to make such a commitment in the name of his
countrymen? From the Constitution? On the basis of America's dominant religion?
From – heaven forbid – a thoughtful, hardheaded analysis of U.S. interests?
No, Bush's pledge was based on none of these. Bush's decision to more deeply
involve America in the eternal Arab-Israeli war was based on nothing less than
the corruption wrought on the American political system by the Israel-firsters,
AIPAC's enormous treasury, and the lamentable but growing influence of America's
leading evangelical Protestant preachers.
The Israel-firsters started the Iraq war and now have the United States locked
into an occupation of that country that may not end in any of our lifetimes.
Unless Americans ignore the likes of Hanson, Podhoretz, Lieberman, Woolsey,
and Wolfowitz, the cost in blood and treasure will ultimately bankrupt America.
AIPAC is a perfectly legal organization, and the wealth of its members is
channeled into reliable campaign contributions for any candidate from either
party who will put Israel's interests above America's. From McCain to Obama,
from Pelosi to Giuliani, from Hillary Clinton to Vice President Cheney, AIPAC
pumps money to any and every American politician who is willing to adopt an
Leading American Protestant evangelical preachers – men like Hagee, Parsley,
and Graham – are the newest and perhaps most anti-American members of this
fifth column. They serve two purposes: (1) to reinforce in the minds of their
flocks the Bush-Lieberman absurdity that the United States has a "duty"
to ensure Israel's survival; and (2) to use religious rhetoric to steadily
convince the Muslim world that U.S. leaders are interested only in taming –
and if need be, destroying – Islam.
The reality and power of this anti-American, pro-Israel triangle – Israel-first
politicians, civil servants, and pundits; AIPAC's corrupting influence; and
the warmongering of major evangelical Protestant preachers – is so obvious
and palpable that the only way its members can blur reality is to deny the
triangle's existence and identify their critics as anti-Semites. Well, the
time has come to simply ignore these folks' knee-jerk hurling of that epithet.
Indeed, the slur ought to understood for what it is: a sure sign that the Israel-firsters
know that their fifth column would be destroyed in a minute if their fellow
Americans come to recognize that their sons and daughters are dying in Iraq
and soon elsewhere to protect an Israeli state whose existence is just as important
to U.S. interests as the creation of a Palestinian state – that is, of no importance
American voters must start using the democratic process to begin removing
themselves from the religious war known as the Arab-Israeli conflict. Disengagement
will take time, hard work, and a steadfast commitment to the rule of law. Three
actions are well within the voters' capability, and their use would bring pressure
on federal officials to stop killing America's children in wars between Arabs
- Voters should press federal representatives to end taxpayer funding for
the National Endowment for Democracy and other such organizations. These
organizations' main function is to promote the fallacy that U.S. interests
are served by making sure that Israel – "the embattled island of democracy
in the Middle East" – is protected, and that the lives of American children
should be joyfully spent to bring democracy to foreigners in Iraq, Iran,
Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
- Voters should not vote for any candidate for federal office who accepts
contributions from AIPAC or any other Israel-first organization. This decision
would be an important step in beginning to sweep clean the Augean stable
that is American politics.
- Voters of all faiths must press their religious leaders to regularly, publicly,
and specifically denounce the evangelical Protestant preachers whose fire-and-brimstone
support for Israel involves Americans in religious wars in which U.S. interests
are not threatened.
Neutralizing the Israel-first fifth column must be done, but it must be accomplished
using legitimate democratic tools: voting, lobbying, free speech, and support
for candidates pledged to keep America out of other peoples' religious wars.
The invocation of the anti-Semite epithet by the Israel-firsters should be
ignored. To be silenced by the slurs of the Israel-firsters is to ignominiously
invite the end of American independence by subordinating U.S. interests to
those of a foreign nation, as well as to forget the warning of the greatest
American. "If men are precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter
which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite
the consideration of mankind," George Washington said in March 1783, "reason
is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and, dumb and
silent, we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter." As long as the Israel-firsters
can define the limits of acceptable public discourse, Americans are on their
way to the slaughter.