Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Why the "Jewish Lobby" comment isn't a bad thing to say

Well, the reason is this: every group out there, ethnic, political, labor, religious, has a right to lobby the U.S. and present its concerns and interests to it. Every member of these groups are citizens, and this is the functioning of representative democracy. We have the NAACP, which lobbies on the behalf of African Americans, and that's perfectly appropriate. The Israel Lobby does what it does because most of the members are Jewish Americans who have a strong connection with Israel itself, and wants to see those concerns reflected in U.S. policy. In that it's a foreign country, this isn't that out of the norm, if, for instance, you compare the lobbying efforts of Irish Americans for specific consideration of the problems going on there. The "Irish Lobby", so to speak, is also responsible for immigration to the U.S. from Ireland having a much larger cap on it than other countries have. They too are connected to the country that their members are originally from, and they communicate their concerns to the U.S. government in hopes that the policy of the U.S. will reflect that concern.

I personally think that denying that there's a "Jewish Lobby" in the sense that I'm talking about, not as some sort of conspiratorial entity but as a very specific and real series of groups, is about as logical as asserting that the NAACP represents African Americans is a racist statement. Calling the NAACP the "Black Lobby" would be kind of rude, but still somewhat accurate.

Instead, it would be great if people involved would just come out and say: "We're folks who have a strong connection to Israel because of religious and cultural reasons, as well as relatives living there, and we as Americans want to see our government reflect that concern", with the proviso that after saying that they outline just what the government does as a reflection of that concern---i.e. outlining in detail all the military aid that goes to Israel, and all of the other financial support that Israel receives from the U.S. government.

It would be basic transparency: folks lobby for a cause, the U.S. government grants it, the American people then have a right to know just what is being given. Then, when folks actually know how, diplomatically, militarily, and financially, the U.S. is supporting Israel, they can decide if these actions are in the interest of the United States as a whole, taken as representing the total of American citizens, and not just one interest group.

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