The Emergency Committee to Promote Bill Kristol

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.


Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

19 thoughts on “The Emergency Committee to Promote Bill Kristol”

  1. Warning to commenters: this is a post about the domestic politics of foreign policy, not about the crisis itself. Comments violating RBC’s policy on relevance and civility will be ruthlessly deleted.

  2. Bill Kristol. Smart, but sadly for him, his actually quite brilliant if somewhat paranoid parents, and us, regression to the mean is a real phenomenon.

    Does this count as relevant?

  3. Comments violating RBC’s policy on relevance and civility will be ruthlessly deleted.

    An AIPAC-style (domestic political group) preemptive slap down. Guess I’ll just put a sock in it.

    1. Good for you, working in your little paranoid AIPAC dig.

      Self-refuting, as these claims always are. You poor persecuted fellow! Pre-emptively slapped down!

  4. I disagree (civilly! relevantly!!) with two things Jonathan said.

    First, I don’t find 70% of the Jewish vote for Obama anything to be proud of. We didn’t do as well as black and Latino voters, and didn’t do as well as we did last time. I can understand a few alter kocker votes for Republicans. But 30%? A regular shonde for the goyim!

    Second, I think that many Republican elites care about Israel for reasons other than the Revelation vote and Sheldon Adelson’s megabucks. They view Israel as a role model for the United States: unashamed about both plutocracy and kicking wog butt.

    1. Fair on both counts. But as to the latter, they don’t even seem to care about it now!

    2. We didn’t even do as well on this score as Asian Americans, according to the stats that I saw, which put that collection of ethicn groups at higher support for Obama then Hispanics!

    3. I agree with this, but I wonder about the implications. I know people who probably voted for Romney, but, hey, I’m nothing if not tolerant of opposing views. But it’s beyond my comprehension that a Jew – other than Adelson, Eric Cantor (talk about a shonde!) and a handful of NRO/Weekly Standard writers – would do that.

      1. It’s equally beyond my comprehension that women would vote for Romney, but obviously they did. Some things just defy explanation.

        1. Why shouldn’t rich women (or rich fathers of daughters) vote for Romney? Rich Republican women can always leave the country for a short trip if they, uh, have to. Maybe a particularly benighted state might try the Nicaraguan solution. But not to worry! The Roberts Court would surely find that the right to travel without a pesky pregnancy test for those who can afford it is even more sacred than the Second Amendment.

          Of course, this wouldn’t work for about 80% of Americans.

    4. G-d in heaven. Yes, Israel is a plutocrat’s heaven, and finally the Jews have learned to kick some wog butt… and love it! Because, you know, what are our mothers and fathers dreaming of at our Bar and Bas Mitvahs? Medical school? The piano? Usury? No, kicking wog butt. That’s what our Israeli cousins dream of growing up to do.

      1. Note that he was explicating the Republican view of Israel, not the real Israel. Quite aside from the question of actual Israeli behavior, I think he has nailed GOP perceptions thereof perfectly.

  5. “The Right’s supposed love of Israel is really more about its own domestic goals.” There are probably many people– maybe even on the right– who see it the other way round: The neo-con (Kristol, Podhoretz, Krauthammer, et. al.) support for domestic right-wing politicians is really about the concern for Israel. They want the US to back the Israeli hawks, and if that means joining hands with Pat Robertson or Sarah Palin or whoever, so be it.

  6. The Israeli hawks must be really winning over American public opinion, indeed they must have won, if in a ‘so called´ reality-based progressive blog, on the only post on the conflict thus far, the other side is not mentioned once, while the poster refers obliquely to the crisis in Gaza,(from which no commentator, or Obama for that matter departs) as an “Israeli security issue”.

  7. 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. [Comment cross-posted at Washington Monthly]

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