By Ben Cohen/JNS.org
Here are three disturbing memes about Jews and Israel that I’ve noticed in three separate-but-related news stories recently.
Meme Number One: “You’re Ungrateful”
Here’s State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf responding to reported remarks by the Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, attacking Secretary of State John Kerry. “We find the remarks of the defense minister to be offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the United States has done to support Israel’s security needs and will continue to do,” said Harf.
Now, one can certainly argue that Ya’alon’s description of Kerry as “obsessive” and “messianic” was injudicious–after all, he’s a government minister, not a newspaper columnist. Rightly, Ya’alon apologized. But what’s striking about Harf’s response is that she doesn’t defend Kerry’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which was what sparked Ya’alon’s overly candid criticism. Instead, she effectively accuses the Israelis of biting the hand that feeds them, a theme beloved of the extremists on left and right who argue that Israel is an unconscionable drain upon the U.S. Treasury.
As Israelis know well, the principal and most valued defender of Israel is not the United States, but the Israel Defense Forces. Additionally, the vital strategic relationship between Israel and the U.S. is much more balanced than Harf’s comments suggest. The United States doesn’t have to risk its troops by stationing them on Israeli soil, in marked contrast to other Middle Eastern countries. Meanwhile, Israel enhances American security by, among other things, exporting more than $1 billion worth of military technology to the U.S. every year.
Meme Number Two: “You’re Warmongers”
The Obama Administration’s trashing of anyone expressing doubts about the deal struck last November with the Iranian regime over its nuclear program contains, of course, an Israeli dimension. Objecting to the new Iran sanctions bill co-authored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), veteran California Senator Dianne Feinstein opined that the proposed legislation was bolstering a “march to war.” And who is directing this heinous agenda? Feinstein once more: “We cannot let Israel determine when and where the United States goes to war.”
What Feinstein’s statement insinuates is that Israel has, in the past, done just that. Those who supported the survival of Saddam Hussein’s barbaric regime in Iraq consistently argued that Israeli pressure was a key reason why the U.S. went to war there in 2003; hence the need …read more