By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
August 31, 2012
Foreign Policy magazine has compiled a list of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy. “Politics is mostly about people — and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to foreign policy,” explains Foreign Policy in its introduction. With the U.S. presidential election looming, the magazine offers “to peel back the curtain on this rarefied part of the Establishment” to better inform American voters about “the advisers who will determine the country’s course in the world” in the event that they elect Mitt Romney. The FP 50, it says, are “all GOP partisans” from the different “ideological traditions” — namely, realism, neoconservatism, and “even” isolationism — that are “currently fighting for the soul of their party’s foreign policy.” A cursory look at the list, however, shows that a far more influential ideological tradition — Zionism — holds sway over the Republican Party.
Although only about 20% of American Jews supported the GOP in 2008, the FP 50 features as many as 20 Jewish partisans of Israel, including Weekly Standard editor William Kristol (#2), Brookings Institution senior fellow Robert Kagan (#4), and casino mogul and mega-donor Sheldon Adelson (#9) who make its top 10 most powerful Republicans on foreign policy. Also at number 8 is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the stridently pro-Israel chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, whose maternal grandfather was a “pillar” of Cuba’s Jewish community who helped found several synagogues there. More importantly, several of the most passionate Israel partisans are close advisors to the Romney team, including Kagan, Dan Senor (#13), Dov Zakheim (#27), Eliot Cohen (#29), and Elliott Abrams (#35).
Moreover, the careers of many of the non-Jewish individuals on Foreign Policy’s list have been inextricably linked to their staunch support of the Jewish state. Topping the FP 50 is Senator John McCain who not only continues the family tradition of covering up Israel’s deliberate June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty but invariably leads the call — in unison with Senator Joe Lieberman — for U.S. intervention in countries surrounding the Jewish state. At number 26 is Senator Mark Kirk, “the Israel lobby’s favorite senator” whose office this year served as a conduit for an Israeli initiative to redefine Palestinian refugees out of existence. And coming in in 46th place is John Hagee, the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, which, as FP points out, “has done more than just about any other organization to make Israel a defining foreign-policy issue for evangelical Christians in the United States.”
Indeed, out of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy, Congressman Ron Paul — who, along with his son, Senator Rand Paul, is ranked #25 — appears to be one of the very few who could be relied upon to put U.S. interests ahead of Israel’s. Yet Foreign Policy, a division of the pro-Israel Washington Post, never explicitly refers to the decisive — and potentially catastrophic — influence Tel Aviv would have over a Romney administration. However, those familiar with the operations of the Israel lobby know that, as the magazine puts it, “the relentless lobbying and insider machinations of surprisingly few people can often end up defining the foreign policy of entire administrations.”