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"The Right and the Duty to Criticize Israel's Inept Government"

Reader comment on item: May an American Comment on Israel?

Submitted by Prof. Paul Eidelberg (Israel), Jul 28, 2008 at 03:47

As an American-born political scientist as well as a citizen of Israel, I heartily agree with Daniel Pipes' response to the Lilliputian attack directed against him by Yoram Schweitzer, a reputed counterterrorism expert at Tel Aviv University. Schweitzer takes issue with Pipes' criticism of the prisoner swap between the Israel's government and Hezbollah.

I have often heard of some arrogant and parochial Israeli officials who tell Jewish American critics of Israel's government: "If you want to criticize us, come and live here." Here is my response.

First, Jews living in America have parents and children living in Israel. They see, as any well-informed observer can see, that the lives of their loved ones in Israel are endangered by the flawed character of Israel's ruling elites, as well as by the flawed character Israel's system of government — a system that entrenches these elites in power. (Allow me to say I have written several books and countless articles about this deplorable state of affairs.)

Second, Israel is not only the recipient of American largesse, hence of America taxpayer money. The ineptitude of Israel's government — exemplified in the Second Lebanon War of 2006 — was a serious blow to American national interests. That war marked a victory for Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran, whose development of nuclear weapons constitutes a serious threat not only to Israel and the Middle East, but also to Europe, hence to the economic viability the United States.

Third, the prisoner swap Dr, Pipes rightly criticized — the criticism that prompted the smug and narrow-minded response of Yoram Schweitzer mentioned above — was another victory for Hezbollah and Iran, America's mortal enemy.

Dr, Pipes has been one of America's foremost educators about the Islamic threat to Western civilization.. This, to me, is counterterrorism of a high order, which Mr. Schweitzer would do well to emulate, for example, by revealing the counterterrorism failings of the United States, even though he is not, as far as I know, an American citizen. On the other hand, the U.S. would do well to ignore this "expert" on counterterrorism: he favors negotiations with Hamas, another proxy of Iran.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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