In the Arena

Dual Loyalties

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Even though I agree with him about the rancid nature of Elliott Abrams’ Commentary commentary, Matt Yglesias is slightly off when he “accuses” Abrams of dual loyalties. The dual loyalties charge has to do with putting Israel’s interests over those of the United States. Abrams is merely scolding those American Jews who consider other priorities–political beliefs on issues like abortion–more important than the fate of Israel.

(By the way, it’s remarkable in a really sick way, how Abrams et al accuse President Obama of being anti-Israel simply because he is actually following stated U.S. policy of the past 40 years, in opposition to Israeli settlement policy. I’d argue that Obama’s insistence on policies that could lead more quickly to a two-state solution is about as pro-Israel as you can get.)

As for the dual loyalties issue, there’s been plenty of evidence of that from the Commentary crowd in recent months. There has been the demand that the U.S. choose between Turkey and Israel, which is not remotely in the best interests of this country. (Our best interests are served by maintaining strong relations with both countries and trying to ease a rapprochment between the two). There is also the demand that we use military force to take out the Iranian nuclear program, which is universally opposed by U.S. military leaders because it is so profoundly not in our national interests. (A policy of containment and deterrence is far preferable.)

In sum, there are more than a few Jewish neoconservatives–abetted by useful idiots in the evangelical community (who actually believe in literal nature of their interpretation of the fever-poetry of the Book of Revelation) and half-crazed hard-boys like John Bolton–who seem to be putting their extreme and questionable version of Israel’s national security above that of the United States. They may not think that’s what they’re doing, but they are.