Mr. Paul Jeser’s letter offers an interesting postulate: that one cannot criticize the policies of a democratically elected government without being a citizen of that government. If carried to its logical conclusion, this proposition would have precluded world Jewry from openly deploring the discriminatory practices of Britain during the Palestine Mandate period or for criticizing the decision of France unilaterally to cancel a contract to sell fighter aircraft to Israel: that is to say, only Britons or Frenchmen could be heard to protest.
If this were not a slippery-enough slope already, then how would one conjure with the fact that even the odious government of Hamas in Gaza has been freely elected?
What is overlooked here is the distinction between Israel’s interests and those of the United States. Israel is a regional power living in a hostile neighborhood and must expend every waking hour trying to survive. The United States, on the other hand, is a global power, with more than one client in the Middle East, and often needs to balance competing interests. On those occasions when the policies pursued by Israel impinge on those competing interests of the United States, it is well within the rights and duties of American citizens of all stripes to speak out against those policies.