Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ha'aretz says U.S. officials face 'pro-Israel' background check

Jews represent only 2% of the US population.

Do officials have to pass a pro-Black screening to serve in the government?

Do officials have to pass a pro-German screening to serve in the government?

Do officials have to pass a pro-French screening to serve in the government?

Do officials have to pass a pro-China screening to serve in the government?

Do officials have to pass a pro-Swedish screening to serve in the government?

How did Israel get veto over the US Government?

Posted By Stephen M. Walt  

There is an amazing story in Ha'aretz today on the "pro-Israel" litmus test that determines who is permitted to serve in the United States government. Here's the sort of lede you're not likely to read in the New York Times or Washington Post:
Every appointee to the American government must endure a thorough background check by the American Jewish community.
In the case of Obama's government in particular, every criticism against Israel made by a potential government appointee has become a catalyst for debate about whether appointing "another leftist" offers proof that Obama does not truly support Israel."
The story goes on to rehearse what happened to Chas Freeman (whose appointment was derailed by the Israel lobby because he voiced a few mild criticisms of Israel's behavior) and reports that  similar complaints are now being raised against the appointment of former Senator Chuck Hagel. Even more bizarrely, the Zionist Organization of America and other rightwing Jewish groups are complaining about the appointment of Hannah Rosenthal to direct the Office to Combat and Monitor Anti-Semitism. Why? Apparently she's been involved with J Street and other "leftwing" organizations that ZOA et al deem insufficiently ardent in their support for the Jewish state, and has suggested that progressive forces need to be more vocal in advancing the peace process.
One has to feel a certain sympathy for Ms. Rosenthal, who is forced to defend her own appointment by telling an interviewer:
I love Israel. I have lived in Israel. I go back and visit every chance I can. I consider it part of my heart. And because I love it so much, I want to see it safe and secure and free and democratic and living safely."
These are fine sentiments, but isn't it odd that she has to defend her qualifications for a position in the U.S. government by saying how much she "loves" a foreign country? For an American official in her position, what matters is that she loves America, and that she believes anti-semitism is a hateful philosophy that should be opposed vigorously. Whether she loves Israel or France or Thailand or Namibia, etc., is irrelevant. (And yes, it's entirely possible to loathe anti-Semitism and not love Israel).
But the real lesson of all these episodes is the effect of this litmus test on the foreign policy community more broadly. Groups in the lobby target public servants like Freeman, Hagel, and Rosenthal because they want to make sure that no one with even a mildly independent view on Middle East affairs gets appointed. By making an example of them, they seek to discourage independent-minded people from expressing their views openly, lest doing so derail their own career prospects later on. And it works. Even if the lobby doesn't manage to block every single appointment, they can make any administration think twice about a potentially "controversial" choice and use the threat to stifle open discourse among virtually all members of the mainstream foreign policy community (and certainly anyone who aspires to public service in Washington).
The result, of course, is the U.S. Middle East policy (and U.S. foreign policy more generally) is reserved for those who are either steadfastly devoted to the "special relationship" or who have been intimidated into silence. The result? U.S. policy remains in the hands of the same set of "experts" whose policies for the past seventeen years (or more) have been a steady recipe for failure. If a few more Americans read Ha'aretz, they might start to figure this out.



  1. I cant believe we have an Office to Combat and Monitor Anti-Semitism and that Israel is involved in selecting the proper Jew to run it. If we must have such an office, couldnt it be manned by more impartial parties? How about an office to combat foreign involvement in domestic affairs?

  2. Hmmm

    Time to dust off that definition of a "traitor". Clearly any person who allows any entity working either directly or indrectly for a foriegn power to influence them in any way is a TRAITOR. No ifs, ands or buts; a traitor pure and simple. And as such they should at the very least face life in prison without chance for parole.

  3. One Amazing thing happened to me lately. I have been comenting on various topics on CNN, but lately as I put my 2 cents with regard to the Israeli Mayhem, I found my slef removed by the AIPAC censors on CNN. no matter what email I have used, they still manage to reognize me. The Zionist are in control and America is sold in the black market.
    Avi Shlomo

  4. Two or more can play that game. Start compelling all candidates endorsed by American Jewish groups to declare their positions on abortion rights, gay rights, the Armenian Genocide, the Helms-Burton Act embargo of Cuba, immigration reform, pornography, minority rights,bans on smoking, medical liability limits and any other hot button issue you can find.

  5. Yes, and we Americans are getting pretty sick and tired of this happening.

  6. @ Anon banned from CNN - Its your IP address, you can thank Bush for that one.

    What cracks me up is all of the "your party is destroying America, my party is better" numb skulls. The whole time theyre getting played by the infiltrators and "the bought and paid for" politicians. The back ground check is a redundancy as US politicians are proven lap dogs for the j00s before they are allowed to run for office. This is yet another ploy for the j00 to squeeze another "fee" out of someone.

    Come on WW3! Israel and US want war mongering fanatics! I say bring it on, the rest if us want to play too.

  7. We should all be able to just get along. What is really sad is that we have to be so detailed on any people decisions we make. This would include hiring decisions such as background screening for positions as low as a package clerk.

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