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The Right's handbook on American-Jewish loyalty

Jerusalem Post’s deputy editor wants Jews to put Israel before the interests of their own country, while Daily Beast’s Eli Lake demands that Israelis stay out of the debate on Israel

USA and Israel Flags at Pro-Israel Rally in Downtown Chicago (photo: Josh.ev9/flickr)

There is a heated debate going on in the US regarding the application of the term “Israeli Firster,” meaning a person who puts Israel’s interest before those of his own country. Some people argue that the term itself is anti-Semitic; the Israeli right, on the other hand, explicitly expects Jews to be loyal to Israel first and foremost, even if it means confronting their own society.

Caroline B. Glick, the Jerusalem Post’s deputy editor, has published what could only be described as a handbook for dual loyalty, appropriately titled “The Zionist imperative.” Money quote is at the end (my emphasis):

We must hope that world Jewry will recognize today that the fate of the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world is indivisible and rally to Israel’s side whatever the social cost of doing so.

It is worth reading the entire text; Glick’s basic argument is that any criticism of Zionism or of Israel is anti-Semitism and that the only legitimate political stance of Jews is unquestioning support of Israeli policies and actions, regardless of the nature of these actions, and no matter what the circumstances are. American born Glick, the editor of the US-funded satirical site Latma has good ties with the American right, so don’t be surprised to hear leading neo-cons and other republicans coming out with the same messages.

One of the best and most cool-headed pieces in this debate was published this weekend in Haaretz by +972’s Mairav Zonszein.

“Israel-firster” is admittedly a deliberately crude response, but use of the term should be understood within the context of decades of American Jewish right-wing rhetoric that has largely silenced dissent on Israeli policies by discrediting those who dare to criticize Israel. Calling rightists “Israel firsters” is not nearly as belligerent and certainly not as preposterous as labeling J Street “anti-Israel” and Thomas L. Friedman an anti-Semite.

Still, as if to show how irrational the entire conversation became, the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake responded to Mairav with this hyperbolic statement:

@EliLake The “Israel firster” debate has nothing to do with Israelis. They should stay out of it. This piece is an embarrassment bit.ly/xXGqt6

We have clearly reached a strange moment when the gatekeepers of the debate on Israel in the US don’t even allow Israelis themselves to take part. Makes one wonder what could possible be next.


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    1. kingfelix

      Don’t you Jews ever get bored of simply writing and commenting endlessly on what one or other of you said? Is it something to do with internet traffic flows and pay-per-click advertising?

      Reply to Comment
    2. aristeides

      The American right wing in general is not apt at discerning contradictions.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Philos

      With each passing day I become more convinced of the grim prognosis made by Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, and others beside him, including to my horror some rabbis from the Satmar sect, that Israel is bad for Jews everywhere and, specifically, bad for Jews in Israel….
      The Likud, the scions of the terrorists, murderers and genocidaires from the Irgun and Lehi, are our gollem come back to deliver us to hell…
      They’ll poison the American people against Jews and send us in Israel to clamber up to New Masada of Fortress Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Glick isn’t talking in generalities – she’s talking specifically about the “Zionist imperative” to support an Israeli attack on Iran. Opposition to such an attack is opposition to the Jewish right to survival, which is anti-Semitism, she argues. You either support an attack on Iran or you’re an anti-Semite. Nothing new here.

      Reply to Comment
    5. aristeides

      Today it’s Iran. Tomorrow, when Iran can’t be painted as a threat, it will be …

      Reply to Comment
    6. Sol

      “You either support an attack on Iran or you’re an anti-Semite. Nothing new here.”


      Bingo! Your two sentences above sum things up regarding Ms. Glick.

      As for He Lie Lake, everyone knows that boy will do whatever pays the best – offshore, of course. He Lie’s in it for the money. Always has been. Always will be.

      (No, not the Protocols money. Jeez Louise, holster the anti-Semitism hasbarah paranoia. He Lie’d sell crack to 3-year-olds for money. The kid’s a mercenary, and his G-d’s The Dollar, not The Deity.)

      Reply to Comment
    7. Siren

      Cmon Larry- you must have some insider dirt from those Jpost days on that crazy woman… throw us a bone!

      Reply to Comment
    8. “You either support an attack on Iran or you’re an anti-Semite. Nothing new here.” Nothing new, that is, from the Israel-firsters.

      As an American who has never heard a single argument why it would benefit the USA (say, black Americans, Hispanic Americans, farmers, labor-unions folks, or even bankers (for that matter) EXCEPT AS THEY ARE Israel-firsters, to RISK A DEVASTATING REDUCTION IN WORLD OIL SUPPLY, RISK sinking of USA war-ships, etc., just because Israel wants to predominate its “region”.

      Lebanon has been a lot safer for Lebanese since Hezbollah (with Iranian help it is said) stood up to Israel, so Lebanese-Americans may feel that a USA attack on Iran is actually anti-American in intent (apart from nasty-to-USA consequences) from their own point of view.

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      It’s certainly anti-American from MY point of view!

      Reply to Comment
    10. Segev

      @ KINGFELIX:

      “Don’t you Jews ever get bored of simply writing and commenting endlessly…”


      Also, thank you for the perfect demonstration of what an ACTUAL anti-Semite sounds like.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Alex

      Glick once again hits the nail on the head. American Jews have fought and died for the USA since the American Revolution. Those who question the loyalty of Americas Jews are anti-semites plain and simple. The current President has been a disaster for America both at home and abroad. No jobs at home and American interests shattered as Jihadis form all over the globe gain the upper hand. A strong Israel safeguards American as all Americans know. It is the Muslims of the world who are the greatest threat to world peace. Just ask any American.

      Reply to Comment
    12. J Miller

      Alex above shows us once again the deep dishonesty and delusional thinking of the Right. No, sir, the president who was a “disaster for America both at home and abroad” was George W. Bush. No jobs? More jobs have been added since June 2009 than were added in eight years under Bush. And Obama has waged ruthless, relentless war against the Islamic terrorists. But the Right ALWAYS lies–always. It’s the only way they can win. They know they can’t stand on the truth.

      Reply to Comment
    13. aristeides

      I’m an American, Alex. Ask me.

      Reply to Comment
    14. aristeides

      During WWII, US Jews did indeed serve the US in its armed forces. Not so much now. There are only about 4000 Jews serving now, well below the percentage of Jews in the population.

      The ethnic group with the best record is American Indians.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Philos

      I finally managed to get to the end of Glick’s article. Previous attempts at reading the whole thing thoroughly resulted in severe nausea.
      The woman, which isn’t a surprise, is totally deluded. She also demonstrates her own “perfidity” in criticizing the sanctions. They’re not instantaneous; switch a button and the Iranian central bank is sanctioned.
      She’s also demonstrated true “Israel-firster” backbone in criticizing G.W. Bush for being soft on Iran. What she mistakes is for “Diaspora ambivalence” is rather the Diaspora’s traditional siding with the downtrodden and the spirit of 1848 rather than the jingoism and racial supremacy of the Israeli Right.
      Alex, read a newspaper. Read the online news from today. The US economy grew by 2.9% in the last quarter. In the UK the economy grew by .1% and all the Right-wing press were singing the praises of the LibCon fascist government of David Cameron. Also, Obama has killed more terrorists (and civilians) than Bush managed in his entire two-terms as well as being the first US President of having the dubious honour of extra-judicially killing a US citizen in Yemen. You’re deluded, man.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Philos

      That is to say she’s deluded because she’s a Zionist extremist not because she’s a woman :/

      Reply to Comment
    17. Piotr Berman

      C. Glick allegedly claims that “the only legitimate political stance of Jews is unquestioning support of Israeli policies and actions, regardless of the nature of these actions, and no matter what the circumstances are.”

      I have no stomach right now to check it (and whoever sited her should warn that reading her prose may induce nausea, diarrhea and violent alergic reaction, so it should be done with some caution) because I already check the writing of NGO Monitor who deign to take note of 972+. NGO Monitor’s Gerald Steinberg stresses that there exists legitimate criticism of Israeli policies but folks like 972+ are beyond the pale of thereof. Alas, he gave no examples from his side (of the pale).

      Offhand, I can recall one. Some ministers tried to address the problem of pollution made be diesel generators of electricity that are used on Saturdays by very pius Israeli Jews who do not want to have any material gain (like electricity) from the work performed by other Jews on Saturday. It is a vexing problem, and not knowing the exact particulars of the situation, I could think about either (a) hiring some non-Jews by electric companies, which is so far avoided on security grounds (b) giving the ultras some really big batteries. But the solution found by the minister was much more ingenious: transfer the authority over the production of electricity to the Rabbinate. To me this was puzzling at best, because the ultras do not recognize the Rabbinate as a competent arbiters of kashrut rules. A vastly better solution would be to transfer that authority to Piotr Berman who at least could use some shekels.

      In any case, there were tens of thousands of letters written in protest and the GoI abandoned the above plans. Some comments in JPost.com were quite negative “Once again the leftist government of Israel betrayed its people”. I venture to guess that either the first criticism or the second was legitimate.

      Notably, potentially heretical ideas like hiring non-Jews to run Saturday shift at power stations were not voiced. You probably do not need that many, and if you cannot trust, say, the Druze, you could find some Jewish apostates (say, Reform Jews duly excommunicated by the Rabbinate) who could work part time. Really, I can see that my conceptual framework is all wrong — even if one CAN find non-Jews in the Jewish State, one SHOULD NOT think about non-Jews in the Jewish State as USEFUL.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Robert Briggs

      @Alex. Rewrite your text and substitute “American” and “Jews” with “Germans” and “Jihadists” and “Muslims” with “Jews”. Sound eerily familiar???

      Reply to Comment
    19. “We have clearly reached a strange moment when the gatekeepers of the debate on Israel in the US don’t even allow Israelis themselves to take part. Makes one wonder what could possible be next.”
      Again, people do not matter, only coporate entities, people only relevant in so far as they reflect such an entity. Thus, e.g., the Gaza blockade is against an “ideology,” or “political entity,” not actual one by one count them people. This logic is now seeping into mainstream discouse, excerting the same degree of control, or attempting to, that it exerts in talk of the West Bank or Gaza. The occupation is seeping home–and beyond, to America. Well, at least someday I will die and be released from this torture.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Dovlet

      For non-American,non-Jewish, residents of the world, the situation is absolutely clear.Our general understanding is that despite their relatively small numbers in the population, there are so many Americans who are either Jewish, or dual nationality Israelis,involved in Big Business,including banking,the media,government, (especially defence, including at the highest level) and foreign policy, that it has been possible to force American policy and the American people to continuously see the world as though through Zionist eyes. This especially as the Evangelical Christian vote, ridiculous though it may be to allow any group hellbent on bringing about “end time” scenarios, to wield power, has been marshalled and manipulated to vote for pro Zionist policies promoted by the afore mentioned pro-Israel groups. The joke is that the axis of evil,far from being wherever the astoundingly ignorant Mr Bush thought it was, is actually Washington and its pro-Zionist lobbies and networks. That is why America is despised and derided abroad.That is why we all live under the constant fear of terror attacks,not excepting false flag atrocities too!
      Israel-firsters is a gentle and benign term, despite protestations by those accused of being just that.Any other nation would call nationals who supported another country, to the social detriment of their homeland, fifth columnists. Think about it.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Daniel

      I am American and to watch all the chaos is just another sign that the only ones in power are those who profit the most from warfare. I do not support anyone running for the President because their simply for war profits. Philosophically I believe the USA as forgotten its humanuity along with Israel. It is not that I find either nation good or evil they are what they are, however I cannot support violence for violence sake it has to be in the Common good for all of Humanity or it is useless policy.

      Reply to Comment
    22. aristeides

      Some of us, Dovlet, think about it a whole lot. But we can’t effectively DO anything about it. Our hands are tied, our mouths are taped shut, our words go either unheard or vilified. We see the truth quashed and the lie triumphant.

      We also, I point out, see too many European nations voting with the axis of evil in the UN, in sanctioning Iran. When the fire comes, there will be a lot of blame to go around.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Timothy

      Alex, as an American I don’t see the threat to world peace being Muslims of the world at all. I see it stemming from my own country’s imperialistic overreach, thus an invasion of Iran being a further disaster of this. This isn’t a hubris enjoyed by my country alone though, seeing it rear its ugly head in other States under other guises (like the hubris of Germany’s demands upon the sovereignty of Greece for an off-topic example). What would you have us do; go on a grand adventure of continuous invasion, all the while implementing some camps and showers for those Muslims you loathe?

      Reply to Comment
    24. Jazzy

      Of course the entire controversy boils down to what is meant by “interests.” Does Glick prefer the security (i.e. physical existence) of Israeli Jews to lower gas prices in the US? Yes. Is this evidence of “dual loyalty” by a not-antisemitic standard. No. Why not? Well, when anti-War protesters chanted “No Blood for Oil!” there were no accusations of dual loyalty even though said protesters cleared preferred Arab lives to US energy interests. There’s that word “interests” again! Obviously, OBVIOUSLY, there is a double-standard applied to Jews – you want to save Jewish lives at the expense of US economic interests? Then you’re an “Israel-firster”! Let’s just generalize the actual trade off behind a vague word like “interests” so no one will understand how little the antisemitic left actually values Jewish lives. Its pretty simple – for the left, Jewish lives and worthless and Arab lives are precious. Get over your post-colonial BS guys…

      Reply to Comment
    25. aristeides

      The lives that are really in danger, contrary to Jazzy’s ravings, are Iranian lives. It is, in fact, “blood for oil” all over again, except that it is Israelis and their supporters baying for the shedding of Iranian blood.

      And American blood, too. But the US government doesn’t have many compunctions about shedding that, either, not for oil and not for Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Mordechai ben Yosefi

      Jazzy & Glick do the old sleight of hand(mind) trick equating Jews and Israel.When non Jews do this (use Israeli Gov’t actions to attack all Jews) it is called antisemitic. There are legitimate doubts about the long run existence of a State that protects privilege on the basis of birth or religion even with nuclear weapons and the 4th largest army. However, it is the Iranian and Palestinian people who have a legitimate present fear of assault and obliteration. There are risks for Jews in this world, but we have found good lives and good neighbors in most places. There are many Jews who prefer to move from the ghetto to the bunker, but many more who prefer to live as Jews not just in peace with, but in life with our non Jewish neighbors.The bunker is a artifact of failure, a hall of mirrors where fear reflects on itself endlessly.
      And Jazzy, maybe “no blood for oil” is as much or more about American as well as Arab blood.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Ilan

      Know your enemy: Caroline Glick is not The Jerusalem Post’s “deputy editor” but “Senior Contributing Editor.” An editor edits; Glick writes columns.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Jazzy

      Mordechai: You’ve mischaracterized my argument. Agreeing with me doesn’t require equating Jews with Zionism. It only requires understanding that Glick believes Iran poses a physical threat to Jews living in Israel/Palestine, or whatever you want to call it. Its possible to disagree with Zionism entirely and still agree with my argument about double standards being applied to American Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Mordechai ben Yosef

      Jazzy, “no blood for oil” in the American context means no Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Iranian or American Blood is worth spilling over the interests of the multinational oil companies who in fact, do not represent the interests of 99% of Americans. To repeat, it is Iranian lives which are currently endangered by the threats of the US and Israeli governments. The US government is protecting big oil, and the Israeli government is using the Iranian bogey man to deflect international human rights criticism and shore up their deteriorating domestic cohesion. You can join Glick in the bunker. I think I have a better chance above ground.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Jazzy

      Mordechai: You still don’t seem to get it – my point is entirely about what Glick THINKS, not whether she is right about who is really the bad guy. She clearly THINKS Israeli Jews are in danger. Maybe instead of having a knee-jerk reaction to a comment that sounds vaguely Pro-Israel and trotting out your anti-Israel talking points, you should try to UNDERSTAND what I’m actually saying…the “Israel Firster” issue isn’t about the actual geopolitics, its about what’s going on in the heads of American Jews. GET IT?

      Reply to Comment
    31. Mordecai ben Yosef

      What Glick and you think is the point. Her “thoughts” are bringing us closer to war.Yes, fear is in the heads of many Jews. Is it rational fear that protects them, or irrational fear that prevents a peaceful solution and leads to mass murder? My point is that Glick and others promote irrational fear that serves the interests of the 1%, and can lead to the deaths of millions. America’s 1% used the WMD hoax to intensify the fearful reactions after 9/11. The result was a million Iraqis and thousands of Americans dead and maimed. Now Glick and the crew are pushing the panic button over an nonexistent nuclear weapon. I understand Glick. She is using the age old fear mongering nationalist rhetoric to promote the policy and military schemes of her masters.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Jazzy

      that’s a different subject entirely…so…yeah whatever

      Reply to Comment
    33. Piotr Berman

      “” “You either support an attack on Iran or you’re an anti-Semite. Nothing new here.” Nothing new, that is, from the Israel-firsters. “”

      Actually, Glick provides some fresh thoughts. For example, G. W. Bush is anti-Semitic and/or foolish, because it was him who determined that attacking Iran with arms is counter to American interests. Obama is merely continuing.

      Another observation is that in the new, changed world anti-colonialism is anti-semitic.

      And that the support for Israel is ugly (not pretty anymore, but more necessary than ever).

      In short, Israel in Glick’s description is like a child that “only mother could love” which leads to a burst of motherly feelings in Glick. Reminds me this weak picture of moose cow defending her calf against wolves (and, compared with other topics of this discussion, what a handsome cow it was!).

      Reply to Comment
    34. Mel

      No more circumcision for the “independent” Israeli press: too much brain damage!

      Reply to Comment
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