• Jeffrey Woolf

    Spot On! Yosher Koach!

  • samuel Johnston

    Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin,
    Thank you for your informative article. I do not fault Israel, or any nation, for looking out for its own interests. I have, however, been taken to task by those who are offended by my equating Israel as a nation state, to say, Ireland, or France, or England, or Germany, or any of the other places from which large numbers of American have immigrated. As it is not disloyal to put American interests before their interests, I get a bit aggravated with those who refuse to admit that our two country’s interests have not always be identical. That is normal. It is not anti anybody. We must always remember that we do not know as much about our fellow citizen’s history and their feelings, as we do about our own.

  • Jack

    Very interesting, but Occam’s Razor suggests at least the possibility of a simpler explanation. American liberalism, particularly of the more radical, post-1960s, culturally relativistic and universalistic variety, exists uneasily with the idea of a Jewish state — even though that same state was started largely by secular Zionists. Also its mania for equality for its own sake, leading to a penchant to support the underdog, right or wrong, leads it to see Israel as the bad guy and the Palestinians as the good guys.

    These tensions aren’t going away, and will lead to one of two results: Either American Jews will back away from the post-1960s Obama-like liberalism and embrace either a more conservative politics or at least an older and more compatible liberalism of FDR or JFK, or they will begin to back away from Israel. The hard left and Israel are ultimately incompatible.

  • Jack

    The point is that Netanyahu represents in clearest form the reality that the hard left and Israel go together like fire and water. It’s something that has become increasingly clear since the late 1960s and early 1970s, where even back then, the pro-Israel left found it hard to explain how it could support a strong Israel on the one hand and deep American defense cuts on the other.

    Netanyahu cuts through fantasies and forces people, Jews and Gentiles alike, to deal with hard-headed realities.

  • Jack

    Samuel, you’re correct that no one can assume that one country’s interests always overlaps with another’s. You have to look at it on a case-by-case basis.

    But when it comes to America and Israel, the overlap is nearly total. Picture a Venn diagram where it appears almost as one circle. And what is particularly striking is that when America and Israel periodically squabble over something, usually it’s when America is backing away from its own bedrock democratic values and is appeasing one or another tin-horn dictator, medieval potentate, or pro-terrorist underdog.

    Again, few things are 100%, but the identity between American and Israeli interests is quite high indeed.

  • matt mclaughlin
  • matt mclaughlin

    if you read Clark Clifford’s book ‘consul to the President’ CHURCHILL NEVER WANTED ISRAEL TO GET ATOMIC DEFENSE.

  • samuel Johnston

    As religion declines in influence, the unholy alliance between the religious right and Israel is fading in importance. The religious left is already on record as pro-Palestinian. Since I do not have a dog in this fight, I simply observe that more and more people are no longer interested in the perpetual tribal grudge fights in the Middle East, and ask why are we involved, especially since we can get oil from other sources. From Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Libya, we have wasted lives and treasure to no advantage to the the U.S.A. The God theory folks and the tribal folks should have to fight it out among themselves, and leave the rest of us in peace.

  • Steve Klein

    Great job.

  • Thank you for your writing — clear, interesting, humorous, well written, and always enjoyable and educational!

  • John McGrath

    This article about the real danger, not the personality or the cultural icon, of Netanhayu, is spot on.



    Not at all. Netanyahu represents how tenuous the hold the Israeli right wing has on the government there after so many years. This trip to the US is an election publicity stunt which is designed to garner more dividends in Israel than the US.

    Iran’s nuclear program has been mostly a bluff from the get-go*. Both Netanyahu and Obama are fully aware of this. Both of them have been using Iran’s bluster for their own ends. Iran’s greater danger is in the billions of dollars it funnels to proxy forces like Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Sadr Brigades.

    Given the relative calm in the West Bank, its probably the right time to start good faith negotiations with Fatah. The Palestinians are beginning to lose relevance to their outside backers thanks to the outright shooting war between proxies of Iran and Saudia Arabia in Syria and Iraq. There is not much fight left in that part of the world.

    *Nations actually interested in developing nuclear weapons do not trumpet their success in enrichment to the public. The procedure is too easy to hide and that step in the process is too vulnerable to international efforts.

  • Doc Anthony

    Netanyahu, a true Commander-In-Chief, is everything that Marshmallow-In-Chief Obama wishes he could be (but clearly ain’t) !!

  • John McGrath

    Speak plainly, come out with what you mean. You want war, just like Netanyahu. Obama wants to find a peaceful, diplomatic solution. And you ignore the fact that Israel’s intelligence service has stated that Iran’s nuclear program is not designed to produce nuclear weapons. Your snarkiness reveals your malice.