Saturday, January 12, 2013

Israel lobby or Jewish lobby?

Criticism has been leveled at Chuck Hagel, the nominee for Secretary of Defense, for his use of the term "Jewish lobby" instead of "Israel lobby". The implication is that the term is anti-Semitic and therefor so it Chuck Hagel.

As you likely know, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu portrays Israel representing all Jews throughout the world, making the lobby for Israel in the United States by definition the Jewish lobby. This is one of the reasons many Jews are objecting to being lumped with Zionists (those who support Israel), because they want it to be clear that they are Jewish yet not in accord with Israel. But the attempt to smear anyone using the term continues.

Today, in the New York Times, was a letter to the editor that makes it clear the attempt to make the phrase "Jewish lobby" into anti-Semitism is absurd. Here it is...

To the Editor:

I served on one of Aipac’s committees for more than 20 years when I headed two national American Jewish organizations, the Synagogue Council of America and the American Jewish Congress.
Since the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s creation in 1951, when it was headed by Isaiah L. Kenen, the organization was referred to by everyone in the Jewish community as “the Jewish lobby for Israel.” And to this day, Jewish establishment organizations constitute virtually Aipac’s entire organizational membership. 

The suggestion by some senators and conservative groups opposed to former Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary that his reference to Aipac as “the Jewish lobby” is “hurtful to Jews,” as reported in a Jan. 8 news article, is not only untrue but also a cynical exploitation of the issue of anti-Semitism for the narrowest political purposes. 

That said, “the Jewish lobby” may indeed be the wrong name for Aipac and its satellites. Senator Hagel’s skepticism of military solutions to all problems resonates far more authentically prophetic Jewish values than the reflexive support offered by the Israel lobby to the most extreme militaristic policies of this Israeli government. 

President, U.S.-Middle East Project
New York, Jan. 8, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment