Saul Singer at PostGlobal

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer, a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post, is co-author of the forthcoming book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, Moment, the New Leader, and bitterlemons.org (an Israeli/Palestinian e-zine). Before moving to Israel in 1994, he served as an adviser in the United States Congress to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Banking Committees. He is also on Twitter. Close.

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer is a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post. more »

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Israel Lobby Not Powerful Enough

Jerusalem - The idea that Jews are too powerful is, of course, a staple of anti-Semites throughout history. Regarding this tinge in the question and the recent book that inspired it, there is really nothing to add to Jeffrey Goldberg's devastating review in the New Republic. As he puts it, "[The Israel Lobby authors John] Mearsheimer and [Stephen] Walt are the sort of scholars who think that if you wish to understand racism, study blacks, and if you wish to understand anti-Semitism, study Jews. They are chillingly unaware that such views are complicit with the prejudice that they claim to abhor."

For those who do want to study Jews, I will save them the trouble by mentioning that my wife works for AIPAC. Yes, I am pro-Israel. I even live here and write for the Jerusalem Post!

But let us set aside conspiracy theories for the moment, rephrase the original question slightly, and address its substance. The legitimate underlying question is: Is U.S. policy too pro-Israel? The fact that the U.S. is significantly more pro-Israel than other major democracies only accentuates this suspicion.

The surprising truth, however, is that from the point of view of both the peace process and even more fundamental American interests, the U.S. should be more "pro-Israel," not less. The basic reason for this is that the Arab war to destroy Israel is a subset of Islamo-fascist jihad against the West. It makes little sense for the U.S. to be neutral in such a struggle, just as the U.S. could not be neutral as Nazi Germany proceeded to gobble up Europe.

The more strongly the U.S., and the West generally, support Israel, the sooner the Arab world, including the Palestinians, will conclude it is time to make peace with Israel. Therefore, the less "even-handed" and more "pro-Israel" the U.S. is, the better it will be for peace and, ironically, for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Similarly, the unmistakable defeat of the jihad against Israel (which is the prerequisite for real Arab-Israeli peace to exist) would be a major defeat for the wider jihad against the West. Indeed, it impossible to conceive of a comprehensive Western victory against Islamo-fascism (like the victories against Nazism and Communism) without dashing the Arab dream of destroying Israel.

This observation should not be confused with the Bush Administration's current nod to the Baker-Hamilton concept of pushing for Arab-Israeli peace as a means of isolating Iran and the jihadi front. There is a big difference between thinking that pressing "both sides" hard for concessions will produce peace, and pressing the Arab/Palestinian side to end its war and accept Israel's desperate desire to help create a peaceful Palestinian state.

That the U.S. is not pro-Israel enough can be demonstrated by the fact that, aside from diplomatically-hedged hints, the U.S. has never said flatly: "There is no Palestinian 'right of return' to Israel, just like there will be no right for Jews or Israelis to move to a future Palestinian state. Just as Israelis are ready to accept the existence and national rights of the Palestinian people, the Arab world must recognize the national rights of the Jewish people in the land of Israel."

Though such a statement would be a truly symmetrical and "even-handed" position, not to mention the embodiment of the two-state vision, the U.S. will not yet say this on a routine basis. The U.S. refusal to take such a position outright is enormously detrimental to Israeli interests, biased toward the Palestinians, and harmful to the cause of peace and to U.S. interests. We can only conclude that, however powerful the "Israel lobby" is, they are not powerful enough.

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