Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jews of America: CIA does not have always have your best interests at heart.

America's a great place -- really!

I grew up there, played Little League baseball (and it wasn't even a frum league), learned about democracy and the melting pot of immigration (or the salad bowl theory), ate hot dogs and watched fireworks on the Fourth of July...visited Washington DC for my yeshiva elementary school's 8th grade class trip, participated in demonstrations for Soviet Jewry (and got arrested once or twice with my YU shiur)...and of course, it's the land of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and amazing economic opportunity.

Unfotunately, the United State of America does not always have the best interests of World Jewry at the top of its agenda. I recall the fateful voyage of the St. Louis, overflowing with Jewish refugees escaping Nazi Germany that was refused entry to the US (or anywhere else for that matter), and were forced to return to Germany where they all met their death in the gas chambers.

It could be the occasional State Department Foreign Policy which heavily leans in favor of Arab oil at the expense of Israel's security.

Or, it could be the CIA's refusal to let Israel know about the whereabouts of Nazi War Criminals.

The CIA organized Cold War spy networks that included former Nazis and failed to act on a 1958 report that fugitive Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was living in Argentina, newly released CIA records show.

"The CIA based its decisions about using former SS men or unreconstructed Nazis solely on operational considerations. . . . Hiring these tainted individuals brought little other than operational problems and moral confusion to our government's intelligence community"

The CIA knew where they were but didn't want to harm their own interests with Germany, expose their contacts, etc. -- bottom line, alot of them got away, and it took the Israeli Mossad an additional 2 years to track down Adolph Eichmann and bring him to justice in Israel. (The same Truth, Justice, and the American Way?)

This is not an across-the-boards condemnation of the United States in any way -- I still think it's a great country, and probably a great place for the Jewish people to have revived themselves after the devestation of the Holocaust, and it can still be a friend of Israel. Sometimes.

Yet when push-comes-to-shove, America will always look out for number one (as it should).

Israel on the other hand, is supposed to look out for Jews everywhere.
That doesn't mean Israel is perfect either. Israel's doesn't always have the best interests of Jews at heart all the cutting off the peyot of Yeminite Jews, callous integration of Ethiopians -- intent on their secularization, incitement and apathetic treatment towards the Gush Katif deportees...and the list goes on.

The difference is...Israel is supposed to have the best interests of World Jewry at the top of their agenda. Living here gives you the opportunity to help watchdog Israel -- and keep it looking out for #1 -- you and me.

As it should.

And it still does, alot of the time.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Shtender said...

Of course they don't have the best interest of Jews at heart. Why should they? It's not a Jewish country. They have the best interests of the US at heart, as they should.

Foreign policy by nature is hypocritical, because the best interests of the US changes. As someone once said, countries do not have friends, they have common interests. Once those interests are at odds, each country will do what is deemed best for it's own interests. Israel is no friend of the US either, it's just in it's best interest at this time.

Irina Tsukerman said...

And that's where I feel really torn. I find myself being really angry and bitter at the policies of both countries much of the time. I don't feel like Israel puts the interests of all the Jews at the top of its agenda much of the time. In fact, I sometiems get this sense theat there's a huge gap in the mentality of an "Israeli" and a mentality of a "Jew". : ( Same goes for the United States. I *don't* feel it always has its OWN best interests in mind much of the time, much less that of the Jews. In short, there's a lot of work to be done in both places, and the good thing is, I feel like these problems can be resolved and I have something to contribute towards fixing them whether here or in Israel.

kasamba said...

Rabbi Berel Wein says that a Jew has to constantly test which way the political wind changes in any land that is not Israel.

Sometimes the US foreign policy helps remind us that we are actually Jewish Americans and not American Jews.

FrumGirl said...

I suppose Israel had all jews best interest in mind when Hagana sank the Altalena, a ship carrying orthodox jewish refugees including arms... to ensure a secular state?

Lets face it, Gov't is Govt, mo matter where it is located.

westbankmama said...

Excellent post Jameel. I agree with you 100%.

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