Daniel Pipes Raises the Issue of Dual Loyalty

In a recent column, neocon Daniel Pipes openly questions the loyalties of British Muslims.

Polling indicates that a majority of Muslims perceive a conflict between their British and Muslim identities. Two polls show that only a small proportion identifies itself first as a British (7% and 12%), but they differ widely on the number who identify first with their religion (81% and 46%).

Pipes concludes, “Britain’s potential terrorists live in a highly nurturing community.”

His point is well taken. Terrorism is a hearts-and-minds issue. Terrorists draw strength, both in finances and in morale, from law-abiding communities. One reason I am for Islamic reformers.

Pipes’s point also opens the door on my question: How important is Israel, politically/religiously, in the hearts and minds of the neoconservatives and other Jewish hawks? I think, very large. For instance, former Bush speechwriter David Frum describes America as “this new Israel,” while Elliott Abrams, Bush’s aide on Middle East matters, writes:

Outside the land of Israel, there can be no doubt that Jews, faithful to the covenant between God and Abraham, are to stand apart from the nation in which they live. It is the very nature of being Jewish to be apart–except in Israel–from the rest of the population….

The neocons, along with a lot of Democratic hawks, have thoroughly conflated American and Israeli interests, to the detriment of U.S. foreign policy. They honestly believe our interests and Israel’s are congruent. I think they’re wrong, and Americans should debate this. And if it’s legitimate to talk about how Muslims identify themselves, and I think it is, it is also fair to ask how important Israel is to rightwing Jewish-Americans who have pushed for war with Iraq, Syria and Iran.