This is rich. In a Weekly Standard op-ed written by Elliot Abrams and trumpeted by Karl Rove and Bill Kristol, President Obama has been accused of promoting anti-Semitism for calling out the Israel Lobby’s influence and warmongering.

The logic behind this ugly, slanderous charge goes as follows:

  • 1) President Obama called out AIPAC and the Israel lobby as being a powerful force, backed by millions of dollars, hoping to topple the Iran deal.
  • 2) President Obama then identified this force, which was also behind the Iraq war, as advocating for a war which is against the United States’ best interest, arguing that he, as President, must do what’s right for the U.S., not Israel.
  • 3) Thus, President Obama has accused American Jews of placing Israel’s interests over America’s, which is to accuse American Jews of “dual loyalty,” the most nefarious and dangerous of anti-Semitic tropes.

Here is Abrams concluding this anti-Semitism charge in his own words:

Why would these people opposing the deal be [advocating for war]? It’s their “affinity for our friend and ally Israel.” But we have to resist their arguments: “as president of the United States it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally.” It is implicit, and very close to explicit, here that the other side wants the U.S. president to act not on our own country’s behalf but on Israel’s. This is an echo of the old “dual loyalty” charge that has been lodged against American Jews since the day the State of Israel was established.

The president is not ignorant (the accusation he lays against his opponents) and must know he is here feeding a deep line of anti-Semitism that accuses of American Jews of getting America into wars.

What chutzpah! No, I’m not talking about Abrams’ history with the Iran-Contra affair, which is a different matter all together. What’s incredible and maddening is that Abrams has, in accusing Obama of anti-Semitism, actually employed a REAL anti-Semitic trope in his accusation. For Abrams has conflated AIPAC and all Jews together, as if they are one and the same, something only the ugliest anti-Semite would dream of doing.

Allow me to explain: Abrams has smeared Obama as anti-Semitic for accusing AIPAC of warmongering. According to Abrams, by targeting AIPAC, Obama is accusing American Jews of warmongering, casting them as having “dual loyalty.”

However, unlike Abrams, President Obama distinguishes between American Jews, who overwhelmingly support the Iran deal, and the Israel Lobby, which does not represent the Jewish community. Rather than being anti-Semitic, Obama is explicitly distinguishing between American Jews and the Israel lobby as a way to combat anti-Semitic notions.

And why must he do this? Because Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has repeatedly claimed to represent “the entire Jewish people” in his opposition to the Iran deal. This conflation between Israel and all Jews which Netanyahu and many Jewish leaders employ is used to shield Israel and its policies from critique, including (now) opposition to the Iran deal. In reality, this conflation is an anti-Semitic trope which the most vile bigots use to justify attacking innocent Jews for the actions of Israel.

Abrams has gone one step further than Netanyahu, though: he has conflated the Israel LOBBY and all Jews together, casting Obama’s critique of AIPAC’s warmongering as an anti-Semitic volley being lobbed against all Jews.

Note to Abrams: here is President Obama, Mr. Anti-Semitism, during his watershed speech in Cairo:

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed — more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction — or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews — is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

No, Obama is not the anti-Semite here, nor the one pushing any anti-Semitic ideas about American Jews.

That would be Abrams himself, and those ‘pro-Israel’ hawks who similarly conflate the Israel Lobby and the Jewish community.

Shame on them.

-§-

What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, published recently by Oneworld Publications.

Follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.


Bookmark and Share