American Jews and dual loyalty

Boston Globe, MA
Aug 27 2004

American Jews and dual loyalty
By H.D.S. Greenway

CONSERVATIVE WRITERS David Frum and Richard Perle, in their book “An
End To Evil, How To Win The War On Terror,” spend the better part of
four pages confronting the charges that their agenda seems to many
like a “Zionist cabal.” They say that in interviews around the world
this question always comes up — “with beguiling directness” in the
Far East, “with excruciating awkwardness among Germans,” and with
“elegant sinuosity” from the British. Is there among neoconservatives,
many of whom are Jewish, a hidden motivation to make sure that
American foreign policy is good for Israel? The authors find such
suggestions insulting and anti-Semitic. But Tom Powers, in The New
York Review of Books, suggested: Why not admit openly that of course
the fate of Israel is much on their minds? “Anglophiles of yesteryear
did not apologize for arguing that it was in America’s best interest
to come to the aid of Britain in 1940, and Polish Americans did not
worry in silence about the fate of Lech Walesa. Complex loyalties are
a big part of the American style.”

Powers has a point. “Bundles for Britain” drives were big in American
East Coast cities in the early ’40s, while some Irish-Americans —
one remembers Colonel Robert McCormick’s Chicago Tribune — felt just
as strongly that the British did not deserve our bundles. No one
questions that Polish-Americans feel strongly about the old country,
and none complain about Irish-Americans today involving themselves in
the fate of Northern Ireland. Cuban-American passion for what happens
on their island is legendary, and could dramatically affect yet
another presidential election.

Lawrence Lowenthal of the American Jewish Committee told me that for
“decades and decades American Jews have been apprehensive about
charges of dual loyalty. The Pollard case made us very nervous.”
Jonathan Pollard was an American Jew caught spying for Israel and is
now serving a life sentence. “Pollard stepped over the line,”
Lowenthal said, but then so did Americans who ran guns for Irish
Republican Army.

When his family first came to America from Europe, Lowenthal said,
they wanted to put their past behind them. “Good riddance.” But all
that has changed; today’s Americans are no longer ashamed of ethnic
ties. Many Mexican-Americans are insisting on keeping their language
and culture. French-Canadians in the United States who once turned
their back on their French heritage are picking it up again.

Greek-Americans have a strong political lobby, so do Armenians,
although neither is as powerful as the pro-Israel lobby. The
congressional black caucus made its influence felt in sending the
Marines to Haiti in 1994, and black-Americans had a role in the
anti-apartheid cause in South Africa.

Duel citizenship is on the rise. Israel allows anyone Jewish to
become an Israeli. Ireland allows anyone who can prove he has an
Irish grandparent to apply for Irish citizenship, and “we certainly
experienced an enormous increase in applications over the last 10
years or so, ” says Isolde Moylan, the Irish consul in Boston.

In Perle’s case, much has been made of a paper that he and others,
including the Pentagon’s Douglas Feith, wrote some years ago for
Israel’s right-wing politician, Benjamin Netanyahu, calling for a
“New Strategy For Securing The Realm.” Their advice included getting
the United States to overthrow Saddam Hussein as well as other moves
in the Middle East to increase Israel’s strategic position. But
Americans have written constitutions for foreign countries, soldiered
in foreign armies, and even served in foreign governments. Americans
who identify with a foreign country are not, and should not, be held
suspect. There is nothing un-American about wanting to link this
country’s foreign policy to that of Israel. Nor is it anti-Semitic to

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress