How the State Department Shaped the Role of Jews in Arab-Israel Issues

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Valerie Plame, who is a former CIA officer found herself in a compromising situation after she decided to share an article known as “America’s Jews are driving America’s wars.” She shared the article on Twitter during Rosh Hashana’s first day. This is an article that had been written on a fringe website. For starters, the article described that war with Iran was being fueled by Jewish neoconservatives. However, this article seemed to contradict itself on a host of issues. For instance, what the writer of this article doesn’t seem to understand is that not all Jews are neoconservatives. At the same time, the writer can’t seem to grasp that most neoconservatives do not have Jewish roots. In fact, it’s important to state that for record purposes, the invasion of Iraq by the United States was influenced by two non-Jews namely Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney. These two managed to convince President Bush why an attack on Iraq was imminent. However, the writer of this article went on and on before she came back and mentioned that she had some Jewish descent after being criticized by a number of people. She managed to apologize at the end of the day.

This story brought us back to the memory lane where it reminded us of how people of Jewish descent were perceived on issues related to national security. During the presidency of Jimmy Carter, there was an assumption in Pentagon that people with Jewish descent could not be assigned roles in the Middle East as they would be biased. However, people who had background information about the Middle East were perceived as very knowledgeable. During Ronald Reagan’s administration, the Secretary of State back then George Shultz tried to change these perceptions opening opportunities for the Jews. Being a Jew didn’t act as a disqualification when it came to Arab-Israel issues. Rather than identity, the Secretary of State decided to emphasize on your knowledge on issues. This continued with James Baker, who replaced Mr. Shultz as Secretary of State in 1989. Back then, when being considered for a position in the Bush administration, people doing background checks were reported to have asked referees whether these people would prefer America to Israel if a need arose. This brought about a feeling of mistrust where the Jews were accused of dual loyalties. However, despite the trials and tribulations that the Jews face, they should be proud of their heritage.

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