Israel May 'Stand Alone' in Years to Come, Professor Says

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:18 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Despite America's current strong support for Israel, the Jewish State should be prepared to "go it alone" in the years ahead, an American professor warned.

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz mentioned several events as reasons to be concerned. They could create "the conditions for a perfect storm," he said, with Israel at the center.

The first event is the recent publication of former President Jimmy Carter's book on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dershowitz, addressing a recent national security conference in Herzliya, Israel, called Carter's book a "watershed event" in U.S.-Israeli and U.S.-Jewish relations.

Carter's book asserts the "old canard" that Jews control the media and because they do, it prevents fair coverage of the Palestinians' plight, said Dershowitz, who addressed the gathering by satellite.

Carter's book also promotes the idea that Jewish control of American politics makes it "suicidal" for any American politician to present a "balanced view" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Carter gave legitimacy to arguments that undermine Israel, Dershowitz said. Until now, such arguments have only been heard from the extreme right and left, he added.

The professor also mentioned college campuses where "junk academics" have created a debate on the proper role of "Jewish influence" on American foreign policy. This is instilling questions about Israel's right to exist in the next generation, he said.

Then there's the "media war" against Israel, where terror groups such as Hizballah and Hamas attack Israelis, using civilians as cover -- then reap public relations benefits when Israel retaliates and kills the civilians, Dershowitz said.

Finally, there are comments from prominent Americans such as retired General Wesley Clark, a former Democratic presidential hopeful and Supreme Allied NATO commander, who recently hinted that there is too much Jewish involvement in U.S. foreign policy. "New York 'money people' are pushing the U.S. into war with Iran," Dershowitz quoted Clark as saying.

"Israel must be prepared for the possibility of losing American support over the coming years, diplomatically, economically, militarily and morally," said Dershowitz. But Israel should not allow "these stereotypes to weaken its resolve but it must be prepared to go it alone."

Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that on a "popular level," Americans deeply support Israel. But on the "elite level," there is a "weakening" of that support.

Satloff said the only people who took Carter to task over his book were Jews. (Fourteen members of the Carter Center's advisory board resigned in protest on Jan. 11.) Twenty years ago, he said, Americans like Scoop Jackson, Jean Kirkpatrick and Dan Moynihan would have stood up against him.

"I am concerned about the weakness in support for Israel among the non-Jewish, non-Evangelical foreign policy elite that remained silent," Satloff said at the same Herzliya conference. "It is not a crisis, but in my view, it is a point of deep concern."

Calev Ben-David of The Israel Project, told Cybercast News Service there is a "troubling" trend in the U.S. of delegitimizing supporters of Israel. But he said that's because Israel's supporters have been successful in transmitting the truth about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Some of the people that are against Israel feel that they have "lost the argument," Ben-David said. So instead of attacking Israel, they have now focused their criticism on those who support Israel.

This is a "deliberate strategy," because according to polls conducted by The Israel Project, support for Israel is at an all-time high in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, said Ben-David.

Raising the idea of "dual loyalty" of Americans who support Israel is like saying that Spanish-speaking American citizens shouldn't participate in the debate on immigration laws, he said.

Israel has both Jewish and non-Jewish supporters, said Ben-David. It's a "smear tactic" to question their right to make an argument in favor of Israel, he said.

Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is considered America's closest ally in the region. The U.S. is Israel's closet ally by far in the international community.

Israel is considered to have strong bi-partisan support in Congress, and visiting U.S. diplomats and politicians always make it a point to emphasize the strong U.S.-Israel ties and American commitment to Israeli security.

On a religious level, American Jews and Evangelical Christians alike regard Israel's existence as having Biblical importance.

The U.S. also is the main broker in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating process and is leading the fight against terrorism worldwide -- a war that Israel has been waging for decades.

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