Monday, November 22, 2010

James Zogby Brings Some Sanity

As Huffington Post bloggers go, James Zogby of the Arab American Institute is pretty balanced, even moreso than Daoud Kuttab. Though he is not pro-Israel in the least, he also is rooted in reality when discussing the Middle East situation. His latest article is about myths about America, which of course leads to myths about American Jews. Let's take a quick look:
"Next in line is the myth that the Israel lobby and, by extension, the Jewish community, control all the levers of power in America. It is true that many American Jews have become successful in many areas of U.S. corporate and cultural life. But it is also true that most wealth and power in the U.S. is still in the hands of good old-fashioned White Anglo Saxon Protestants."
I hope that some of the anti-Zionists are reading this article and seeing this. Maybe, just maybe, hearing this from a Palestinian supporter could change their minds. I'm not counting on it, though. Also, what do you mean by "good" old fashioned WASPs? I'm going to assume that that is just part of the expression, though. Anyway, he then talks about the myth of the all-powerful AIPAC:
 "But the reality is quite different. Many of those elected officials who claim that AIPAC beat them (for which, AIPAC gladly accepts the credit, since it fuels the myth of their power), lost for other quite unrelated reasons. And I know of too many instances where AIPAC has tried to defeat candidates and couldn't, and where they tried to defend friends in Congress who ended up losing their elections."
What Mr. Zogby probably won't want to mention here is that the reason why the pro-Israel lobby is so strong is not because they defeat candidates and help their friends but because the American people are pro-Israel and elect candidates accordingly.
"The bottom line: these lobbies are strong and they do exercise an undesirable influence on policy -- but it is the result of unwarranted fear, more than agreement -- and in many instances they lead to actions not supported by the majority of Americans (even Jewish and Christian Americans for whom these lobbies claim to speak)."
 Fear? I thought you just told us that the all-powerful AIPAC is just a myth? If so, what is there to be afraid of. All Zogby has told us at this point is that not all the pro-Israel voters agree with the lobby on every issue, but that is all. Perhaps the lobby can scare ordinary people who don't know how it works but politicians ought to know the truth. Perhaps what Zogby is meaning to say here is that intimidation is part of the way "the Israel lobby" works but that is also true of every lobby. The reason why the pro-Israel lobby is strong is because of agreement, that most Americans support Israel.

One last word of sanity:
"Another myth is that Americans are increasingly intolerant of Muslims and Arabs, and that America is a hostile and unwelcoming place. The reality is quite the opposite. It is true that we've had a spike in anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hate crimes, but official statistics establish that the numbers of these incidents still pale when compared, for example, to anti-Semetic acts directed against Jews and Jewish institutions."
What? I thought that anti-Semitism was only a myth used by Jews to play the victim? You mean that isn't true? If anything, this is a myth that Americans believe more than anyone else, at least the Americans on the HP.


  1. Zogby should be applauded for adding perspective to charges of American Islamophobia. I was pleased that he confirmed that anti-Muslin and Arab hate crimes pale in comparison to anti-Semitic acts.

  2. A pro-Palestinian supporter has admitted some truths. Will that penetrate good ol' MJ Rosenberg's thick skull? 'Fraid not. Its very hard to get people with an idee fixe to see reality. Confirmation bias is most evident in such people and that's why I expect James Zogby is not going to change a lot of minds on there.


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