The story in the NYT and other media about Congresswoman Jane Harmon’s involvement with AIPAC, Haim Saban, and perhaps an “Israeli agent,” raises questions about the loyalty of American Jews. Harmon, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, is Jewish and apparently put Israel’s interests ahead of America’s. From the hazy reporting on the matter, the “Israeli agent” may simply be someone from AIPAC, not a Mossad spook. On the other hand, NSA is not supposed to wiretap conversations between Americans. If a conversation does not involve somebody overseas, then an agency other than NSA should be doing it.
In any case, the report does raise questions about the loyalty of American Jews vis-a-vis Israel, starting with Harmon, including billionaire Saban (a dual US-Israeli national), and certainly AIPAC, which claims it is not an Israeli lobby, despite the fact that the case that Harmon was talking about involved the transfer of classified information to Israel by employees of AIPAC.
I don’t think all Jews are disloyal Americans. One of the most loyal Americans we have at the moment is Jon Stewart (nee Jonathan Liebowitz), along with Tom Friedman, and many others like Ben Bernanke and Paul Volker. But on the other hand, you’ve got Joe Lieberman, who represents Israel much more forcefully than he represents Connecticut.
Meanwhile, today you have the furor over criticism of Israel by the UN Human Rights Commission. No doubt Ahmadinejad’s criticism of Israel was way off the mark, but you would think that a country founded as a result of the suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust would be more concerned about the suffering of the Arabs displaced by the creation of Israel. Palestine may have been a Jewish country 2,000 years ago, but it wasn’t Jewish in 1945. The US has become an apologist for Israeli acts that many Westerners find horrifying. It’s a shame that so many decent Jews are tarred by what Israel does. The crushing embrace in which many American Jews hold Israel does a disservice to more conscientious, moral, thinking Jews.
This episode with Jane Harmon is only the most recent. The US Congress marches in lockstep with AIPAC, just as it does with the NRA, now the defender of supplying Mexican drug gangs with powerful guns used to kill everyone from children to law enforcement officers. To look at the US Congress is to see cowards on parade. They are following in the footsteps of the Roman senate, described as follows by Wikipedia: “… [U]nlike the senate of the republic, the senate of the empire was not politically independent. With the loss of its independence to the emperor, it lost its prestige and eventually much of its power.”