By Vic Rosenthal
The current issue of the New York Review of Books contains an article entitled “On Israel, America and AIPAC”. It’s notable not for its contents, which are a rehash of popular pro-Arab positions, attacks on AIPAC, and a swipe at Alvin Rosenfeld’s article on left-wing antisemitism, but for its author: billionaire George Soros.
Without going into too much detail – there is nothing new in the article – here are some of the high points:
- Soros criticizes the US and Israel for refusing to deal with Hamas or transfer tax money to it, an organization whose very charter states in highly antisemitic terms that it intends to destroy Israel.
- He lauds the Arab League ‘peace’ initiative while failing to mention that it includes a right of return for Palestinian ‘refugees’, and that the Arabs refuse to negotiate one word of it until Israel accepts it in toto. He says that the “underlying concepts are not materially different from what they were during President Clinton’s time”, which is completely false.
- He blames Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza for the Hamas victory in Palestinian elections.
- He makes it sound as though the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit and Hezbollah’s cross-border attack last summer were Israel’s fault – had she only strengthened Hamas’ ‘political wing’ by granting it recognition, these events might not have occurred!
- He says that “movement toward a settlement in Palestine [sic] would be helpful in confronting [the Iranian] threat”, which is a complete non-sequitur – indeed, the kind of ‘settlement’ that he proposes would leave no Israel at all to oppose Iran.
- He claims that “criticism of our policies toward Israel in the United States is muted indeed”, and blames AIPAC for this non-fact.
- He says that AIPAC was “an enthusiastic supporter of the invasion of Iraq”. AIPAC did not take an official position on Iraq, although pro-Administration people associated with it may have supported it – as did most Republicans and many democrats. The view that the US went into Iraq for the sake of Israel is now very popular in antisemitic circles, despite the fact that majorities in Israel and among American Jews did not think the invasion of Iraq was a good idea. Soros lends support to this accusation.
- He repeats the long discredited statement that Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount set off the second intifada.
- He accuses Alvin Rosenfeld of equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism, a distinction which Rosenfeld carefully draws.
- He misstates Rosenfeld’s position as “Israel’s actions have to be justified, right or wrong”.
- He repeats the claims that ‘dissent’ from the pro-Israel line is punished severely by the pro-Israel lobby. Even Jimmy Carter’s center has lost support, he says – but I bet that any lost Jewish support has been more than compensated for by Saudi money!
- He says that does not blame Jews for antisemitism, but he blames AIPAC for the popularity of the view that “there is an all-powerful Zionist conspiracy”. Last November Soros told a Jewish audience that “There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that”.
Although he claims that the implementation of his ideas would be best for Israel, certainly few Israelis would agree. Israel can’t possibly deal with a Hamas-led Palestinian government which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, will not give up ‘armed resistance’, and does not fully accept prior understandings with Israel. There is no question that the Arab League initiative, if accepted as it stands, would be the end of Israel.
Same old stuff, but Soros is not just anybody.
“Soros is famously known for “breaking the Bank of England” on Black Wednesday in 1992. With an estimated current net worth of around $8.5 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 80th-richest person in the world.” Soros has made very large contributions to political causes, such as $5 million to MoveOn.org. He is said to have contributed almost $24 million to various anti-bush groups in 2004 (Wikipedia).
Although Soros (born György Schwartz in Hungary) is of Jewish extraction, he does not practice Judaism. Nevertheless, his Jewishness perversely lends authority to his anti-Israel positions.
But not as much as his wealth. Last fall, there was talk of a Soros-financed left-wing Jewish lobbying organization being created to challenge AIPAC as the voice of American Jews. Discussions included such groups as the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, etc. While these organizations claim to be ‘pro-Israel’, they espouse views like Soros’.
If such an anti-AIPAC were to be created, it could nullify the influence of American Jews over our nation’s policy toward Israel. With the recent weakening of AIPAC in the face of the continuing assaults on the “Jewish Lobby” by Mearsheimer/Walt and Carter, as well as the FBI prosecutions of AIPAC staffers Rosen and Weissman for espionage (!), one could imagine the reversal of traditional American support for Israel, with Jews leading the charge.