Saturday, August 02, 2014

A letter I just sent to Representative Steve Israel

[Steve Israel is the congressman of my pied a terre in NY.]

Dear Representative Israel,

I agree with your stance on supporting Israel against Hamas.  I have the strong impression, though, that the Obama Administration is pursuing a policy unlikely to advance American interests.  The turn towards Qatar and Turkey (and away from Egypt now that the Muslim Brotherhood has been ousted); the unnecessary and frankly immoral insistence that Israel "do more" to minimize civilian casualties, when it should be obvious to any unbiased observer that it's already doing more than any other nation, including our own, and would happily call the operation off entirely were its own civilians' safety ensured; the FAA ban that, while it may have been a purely professional decision, still warrants full disclosure rather than what seems to be stonewalling.  All these and more make me very leery of the Administration's grasp of foreign affairs and of the proper way to prosecute American interests.

I don't expect us to police the world; our resources aren't limitless, and there are righteous fights that we must regretfully decline to get drawn into.  But we should at least speak the moral truth, show friendship to those who share our values and at best indifference to those who do not.  I don't agree with Henry Kissinger that "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests," but with Thomas Jefferson that "The interests of a nation, when well understood, will be found to coincide with their moral duties."

I can't prove that my way will serve us better, but I shouldn't have to.  The burden of proof should devolve on those who want us to behave venally.

I therefore ask of you that, beyond your own personal duties as a representative, you work within your party (which has distanced itself from your stance on Israel) to promote this attitude and its particular application to the Middle East.

Thank you.

Michael Berkowitz