From Resistance to Accommodation

The Origins of the Policy Intellectual’s Alignment with the State


The US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the disastrous results of the ensuing occupation placed American Jewry in a difficult and undeserving position. As the US occupation seemed to descend into increasingly more chaos, and as the original justifications for the war emerged as untenable, an unfortunate caricature emerged of American Jews’ political perspectives, which are presumably as diverse as those of any ethnoreligious group might be.1 Such caricaturing enabled reactionaries to resurrect, and to deploy with great effectiveness, the nasty “dual loyalty” charge against prominent American Jewish neoconservatives who served in the Bush administration, which unfairly suggested that— within the context of formulating Middle East policy as US officials— these figures will always place Israel’s interests ahead of those of the United States.2 While “Richard Perle,” “Paul Wolfowitz,” “Douglas Feith,” “Scooter Libby,” “Eliot Abrams,” “Dov Zakheim,” and “Eliot Cohen” are the names offered up as examples of high-standing American Jewish neo-conservatives in the Bush administration who were eager to see the United States invade Iraq, they very well may have believed that US and Israeli interests coincided with respect to toppling Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.


Middle East Bush Administration Israel Defense Force Palestine Liberation Organization Palestinian Population 
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  1. 1.
    This presumption, given the notion of Jewish tribalism, should be backed by meaningful polls or other information. See Israel Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years (London: Pluto Books, 1994).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (London: Farrar and Strauss, 2007) and Shlomo Brom’s “An Intelligence Failure,” Strategic Assessment 6.3 (Nov. 2003).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See Grant F. Smith’s Deadly Dogma: How Neoconservatives Broke the Law to Deceive America (Washington, DC: Middle East Policy, 2006) and his Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal (Washington, DC: Middle Eastern Policy, 2007)Google Scholar
  4. and William A. Cook’s Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy (Tempe: Dandelion Books, 2006).Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    See Israel Shahak’s Open Secrets: Israel’s Foreign and Nuclear Policies (London: Pluto, 1997)Google Scholar
  6. and Avner Yaniv’s Dilemmas of Security: Politics, Strategy, and the Israeli Experience in Lebanon (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    See Yehuda Lukac’s edited collection The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, a Documentary Record (1967–1990) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Livia Rokach’s Israel’s Sacred Terrorism (Washington, DC: The Association of Arab-American University Graduates, Inc., 1980).Google Scholar
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    See Seymour Hersh’s The Sampson Option (New York: Vintage Books, 1993) and Noam Chomsky’s “The Road to Armageddon,” in The Fateful Triangle, pp. 441–69.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    On October 3, 2000, just four days after the second Palestinian Intifada began, the Clinton administration approved the sale to Israel of Blackhawk helicopters and spare parts for Apache Longbow helicopters. Noam Chomsky writes about this issue in his introduction to Roane Carey’s The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid (London: Verso, 2000).Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    See Murray Friedman’s The Neoconservative Revolution: Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping of Public Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 22.
    See Benjamin Ginsberg’s The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  13. 33.
    See Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Yari’s Israel’s Lebanon War (New York: Touchstone, 1985)Google Scholar
  14. and Robert Fisk’s Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon (New York: Nation Books, 2002).Google Scholar
  15. 36.
    See Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), p. 229.Google Scholar

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© Matthew Abraham 2014

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