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November 19, 2012 9:59 AM The Emergency Committee to Promote Bill Kristol

By Jonathan Zasloff

For the last 20 years, the Right has worked hard to convert support for Israel from an area of bipartisan consensus into a topic for Republicans to beat Democrats with. Even Washington’s most tepid disagreement with the Israeli government will be lept upon by right-wingers as an indication that the US is selling out the Jewish state — even though in most of those circumstances, the American position arguably helps Israeli democracy more than Jerusalem’s own.

No organization has played a more prominent role in this effort than the Emergency Committee for Israel, yet another fake think tank cooked up by conservative welfare recipient Bill Kristol. Kristol’s foreign policy credentials comprise a series of embarrassingly wrong and ill-informed predictions about future events. But his real talent seems to be inventing think tanks that he can get gullible GOP billionaires to spend money on.

Still, one might think that in the past week and a half, with Israel in the midst of a genuine security crisis (whatever you think of it on the merits), that an “Emergency Committee” might have something to say. Statements of support? Lobbying efforts? Op-eds? Something?

Well, no. A check of the Emergency Committee’s website has nothing on the current crisis. Indeed, its Twitter feed has nothing on it in the last 87 days. All that the front page contains is a series of stale tweets, advertisments, and statements criticizing Democratic candidates for not standing with Israel. ECI has produced a lots of anti-Obama propaganda, including an infamous and deceitful audio mash-up where Obama is supposedly debating Netanyahu, which now must be somewhat embarrassing given the President’s support for Israel in the current crisis. The Emergency Committee for Israel has a lot to say during domestic elections, but what about when an Israeli public relations effort would really need it? Sorry. Must be on vacation.

None of this should be surprising, of course. The Right’s supposed love of Israel is really more about its own domestic goals. American Jews get this, which is why 70% of us voted for President Obama. But Israelis should understand this as well: Republicans will make a lot of noises, but unless it serves their own political interests, they don’t really give a goddam.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Jonathan Zasloff is a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Comments

  • RepublicanPointOfView on November 20, 2012 12:54 PM:

    Even when it fits our political interests, we still don't give a damn about Israel. Except for its role in the upcoming 'end of times' or for our religious right to convert to Christianity.

  • Andrew J. Lazarus on November 20, 2012 1:48 PM:

    Kristol is just being true to his Trotskyite heritage! The original "Emergency" Committee was the Emergency Civil Liberties Union, founded as breakaway from the ACLU when the latter was too accommodating to anti-Communist regulations. As a matter of our understanding of the First Amendment, the ECLU was probably "right", but its leadership was indeed composed of Communists and genuine fellow travelers.