Last week Mark Parry wrote a great piece that created quite a storm in the (less mainstream) press. The story was about how General Petraeus– the 5 star general that some believe to be eying a 2012 trip to the White House – is concerned that the unequivocal American support for Israel is endangering American interests in the region and perhaps endangering US soldiers lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the story broke, Petraeus gave a testimony to Congress and back pedaled on his original claim.
Then today, Perry wrote another article about Petraeus and how he was not the first American general to see how basing Israeli policy on politics would endanger American interests. The article was about George Marshall (yeah, name sounds familiar right? Well it should be) and how the general opposed recognizing Israel in 1948 because he perceived the state as potentially destabilizing. While the article is a good read and brings Marshall back into the historical limelight (where he should be), it concerns me.
[tweetmeme] Marshall was painted as an anti-Semite because he opposed the recognition of Israel. Certainly sounds anti-Semitic, but it is difficult (impossible?) to know whether he was truly anti-Semitic or simply viewed the recognition of Israel as something that would threaten the US: Perry uses the word ‘prescient.’
What concerns me is that Perry is connecting Petraeus and his comments with a perceived anti-Semite. Although Perry convincingly focuses on how Marshall saw how Israel and its Arab neighbors would mix like oil and water, he has done the research for Petraeus detractors to call Petraeus’ comments anti-Semitic.
The moment has seemed to have passed and the national focus seems to be on other people and other comments, which is good. I think it is good for Perry to be writing the articles about Petraeus because his view on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is correct: we are not making friends by continuously supporting Israel. Furthermore, as a five-star general and the man who is credited for turning around the American war effort in Iraq, he seems to have the political cover to make such statements.
Let’s just hope that Perry’s articles are not setting the stage for Petraeus to be tarnished like Marshall was.
Photo from The Hot Joints