Love thy country…and that one, and that one…no not that one!

‘President Obama does not love Israel’: Jon Voight attacks Obama in scathing new video as he voices his support for Netanyahu and desire to protect Israel from the ‘mad men of this world’  | Daily Mail Online.

There are a lot of angles that you can come at this video from, for sure. I don’t really want to address the aspect of the video that deals specifically with Israel, because I don’t know if I’m informed enough to make a good argument or open up a meaningful discussion. There is a lot of rhetoric out there, and unfortunately it seems like that rhetoric makes it very difficult to actually understand the issues at hand. They obfuscate and pervert the truth in a way which seems uniquely frustrating, even among other big political issues.

What I do want to talk about is whether President Obama is under an obligation to “Love” a country other than his own. Indeed, is it advisable for our commander in chief to love another country? I would say pretty confidently, no. In international relationships, it should be the President’s (and any elected representative of our country) primary job to defend American interests. This does not have to be at the expense of other countries, and I’m not advocating for an imperialistic, expansionist strategy. On the contrary, I would argue against becoming unnecessarily involved in the politics of other countries. No country is owed America’s love, just as America is owed no country’s love. I find Voight’s particular phrasing so interesting. It implies that he honestly thinks it’s some sort of scandalous accusation to say that our President doesn’t love Israel. This in turn implies that Israel deserves or is owed America’s love and the love of our leader. When you love someone you accept their flaws more readily than you would another person’s, you may share your assets without expecting anything in return, you may defend them even when they are clearly in the wrong, you have difficulty seeing them as equal to others. This is exactly the type of behavior I believe we should avoid in our international relations.

I think that this is one of those (rarer than people would have you believe) instances where class and racial privileges come into play. It is my experience that the supporters of Israel are primarily white, primarily middle to upper class, and primarily used to having their voices heard. If Jakaya Kikwete, the president of Tanzania, declared that he was going to come to America and demanded an audience with our legislative branch, I doubt he would be accommodated in the same way that Netanyahu was. Voight mentions that Obama is trying to control Israel, but it seems a lot more like the other way around. It seems as though supporters of Israel are trying to control American politics to engineer special treatment for a country which is no different than others. He mentions that making deals is a terrible solution to the middle east crises. This reflects an unyielding standpoint, demanding total and unquestioning support and loyalty to another nation. It’s remarkably arrogant.

Supporters of Israel are used to Israel getting special treatment by the United States government, and only now are they actually experiencing what it might be like to have a vested interest in pretty much any other country in the world. They don’t like it, either. They don’t like being treated like their favorite country isn’t special, and they’re making a big fuss out of it too.

I may not be the biggest fan of President Obama but I’m also not his biggest opponent either, and I think that his stance on Israel is finally a movement in the right direction for America’s relationship with the country. As I said, I don’t know enough about the situation in specific to say if we should or shouldn’t be allies with Israel. I don’t have any issue with the US having allies but I do have an issue with the US having lovers.


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