Field Studies in Zionism vs. Messianism

The key sentences from the Open Letter to President Barack Obama by Middle East/Foreign Policy academics could be the following:

There is another lesson from this crisis, a lesson not for the Egyptian government but for our own. In order for the United States to stand with the Egyptian people it must approach Egypt through a framework of shared values and hopes, not the prism of geostrategy.

I think this “lesson” puts forward one of those once-famous Obamian “false choices.”  The academics may be right to stress idealism in order to balance against too much false realism, but clearly the most desirable, the morally necessary path for any president is to align “geostrategy” with “shared values and hopes,” to seek them simultaneously. 

For Philip Weiss, realization of this greater balance or fusion must entail the end of “hard Zionism”:

Egypt will liberate the U.S. It will have a huge effect on our political culture, exposing the Israel lobby. The lobby will increasingly be seen as a rightwing movement in American life. Schumer will be forced to reconcile his support for the Egyptian people, which his base demands, with his opposition to democracy in Israel. I am saying that the Democratic Party must abandon the hard Zionism that it is attached to if it wants to retain a progressive base. It means that the special relationship will finally be discussed in the mainstream media. When, please?

I don’t know the answer to Weiss’ question, unless it’s that the Egypt discussion is already serving as a proxy – highlighting the contradiction between “geostrategy” and “values and hopes.”  So, too, does the inevitable news that the Netanyahu government is “urg[-ing] the world’s governments to curb criticism of Mubarak.”


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3 comments on “Field Studies in Zionism vs. Messianism

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  1. Schumer can tap dance with the best of them, Feinstein, less so, where has she been lately. A regime of a more liberal cast, like that favored by Ayman Nour’s Tomorrow Party, is different than one where
    the IM forms a significant element

  2. Yes, I found out that Nour has signed onto the 10 person committee, so I’m more reassured, then again after the way, Mubarak rather brutally stole the election, last time, might have something to do with it,

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