"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Analysis / 'Dual loyalty' slur returns to haunt American Jews

By Nathan Guttman

WASHINGTON - If the case of a "mole" in the U.S. Department of Defense turns out to be true, it would be the most grievous blow to the American Jewish community in years. As depicted Friday evening on the CBS television network, the story managed to touch all the most sensitive aspects of the status of Jews in America and Israel's role in the machinery of American foreign policy considerations.

It breathes new life into the assertion that Israeli and not American interests led to the war in Iraq. It revives the old charge that Israel is not an ally but a treacherous country, and the old saw that American Jews have a "divided loyalty" problem in their preference for Israeli over American interests.

A major Jewish figure yesterday said he felt positively relieved when he learned that Larry Franklin, the suspect in the case, is not actually Jewish. At least the charge that Jews in key positions are not sufficiently loyal won't stand up in this case.

The dramatic report by CBS said "the case raises further concern among investigators - did Israel use the analyst [Franklin] to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq." That simple statement points to one of the biggest difficulties the Jewish community has been contending with in the past two years.

When legislators such as Congressman Jim Moran, Senator Fritz Hollings, or the conservative politician Pat Buchanan stood up and charged that Israel is leading the U.S. to war and that Israel's henchmen in Washington are the ones dictating policy, the Jewish community cried foul and condemned the claims as a serious display of anti-Semitism. That struggle is now at risk, with the FBI conducting an investigation, so reports say, into precisely these accusations.

Another Jewish figure said over the weekend that the manner in which the affair was brought to light and the contexts added to it, particularly regarding Israel's involvement in policy on Iraq, show a mindset similar to that of politicians who tried to present the war as a Jewish-Israeli conspiracy.

Up to now it hasn't been hard to condemn and isolate those who espoused the conspiracy theory about Israel's role in sending American troops into battle, but the FBI investigation now makes matters much more difficult. Even if the case ultimately boils down to an administrative matter of unauthorized transfer of classified information culminating in a reprimand, the public damage has been done.

When the next person gets up and tries to claim that Israeli interests are dictating American foreign policy, American Jewish community leaders won't be able to settle for charging groundless anti-Semitism. They will instead be called on to provide an explanation as to what representatives of the pro-Israel lobby were doing in Franklin's office, an office that dealt, among other things, with formulating the plans for the war in Iraq.

Although all of the information currently available shows that this isn't a new Pollard affair, in certain respects "the Franklin affair" could prove more dangerous for the organized Jewish community. When the case of Jonathan Pollard erupted 19 years ago, it was easier for Jews to distance themselves from him and to claim that the man was a lone operative, not someone who could tarnish the entire community with the "dual loyalty" brush.

Now the situation is more problematic, not because of Larry Franklin, but because of AIPAC's role. AIPAC is not just another Washington lobbying firm - it is a nationwide organization, built on the support and contributions of hundreds of thousands of American Jews across the country.

AIPAC has succeeded in establishing itself as a power broker in America's capital, a source of pride for the Jewish community and one of the leading organizations in policy, fund raising, and community action. If Jonathan Pollard was a lone operative who was easy to eschew, nobody can, nor wants to shun AIPAC.

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Milton Frihetsson, 16:59


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