Who will influence US policy in the Mideast?

David Forman, Jerusalem Post:

Although American Jews have long told themselves that their influence on US foreign policy far outweighs their numbers, they would be mistaken to believe that their sway is unlimited. That would be falling prey to anti-Semitic propaganda that posits that the Jewish lobby wields excessive control over foreign policy – and not just regarding the Middle East…

It is not possible (and it never was) for Zionists to depend on Jewish political influence to promote the interests of Israel in the US. The truth is that

Despite their numerical inferiority, Jews have been a force in the US because of the historical link between Judaism and Christianity, expressed in the Judeo-Christian tradition that forms the basis of Protestantism and Catholicism, the major religious denominations in the US. They have garnered respect because of their active participation in the political system. Indeed, Israel has benefited greatly from American Jews’ active involvement, and counts on the Jewish lobby to advance its causes both within the administration and among the populace.

This link is under attack — Jimmy Carter’s book is a volley in this war — and the growing Arab-American minority is learning how to participate in the system, and how to maximize their influence upon it. They are learning, to a large extent by studying the approaches taken by the Jews. However, they are more focused than Jews today:

It is no longer true that American Jews vote as a bloc regarding issues related to Israel. No longer does Israel dominate their thought processes when they enter the voting booth – primarily because concepts of nation, peoplehood, ethnicity and culture play only a peripheral role in their lives…

…this stands in sharp contrast to the American-Arab community’s voting patterns. Its loyalty to Arab and Islamic causes is unyielding. Simply put, within the American-Arab world there is no debate about Middle East politics as is the case within a very diverse Jewish world.

It seems to me that pro-Israel forces in the US have been myopic in looking primarily to the Jewish community for support. One doesn’t have to be Jewish to understand that Israel is the front line in the struggle between the Western ideals of individual freedom and an Islamic conception that is wholly different, and which is aggressively trying to promulgate itself throughout the world — and particularly in the Christian world.

Christian Zionism, even if it mobilizes only a tiny portion of its huge base, has far more potential to help Israel than the so-called Jewish lobby.

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One Response to “Who will influence US policy in the Mideast?”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    I found the Forman piece interesting precisely because it is Forman who is alarmed. He has done a lot of pro-Palestinian propaganda in his life, but is also a Zionist who lives in and supports the Jewish state. If he is worried, this suggests that there is something real to be worried about. Perhaps in his visits to America he met the ‘new Leftist kind of Jew’ who despises Israel without really understanding it.
    In any case the problem is a real one, though Forman’s treatment is superficial.
    The point made by Vic Rosenthal that non- Jewish support of Israel is critical and must be encouraged is a central one.