Steven Rosen-The whole world is an automatic ally of the other side. Israel has one reliable ally. It's the United States. And when you erode the alliance between the United States and Israel, you're undermining Israel's security. It's not just about the policy you don't like. It's about the whole country, the stuff you do like and don't like, equally. So it's the wrong approach. It's like sacrificing your child because they're drinking too much... Perhaps you haven't paid attention that in the last 25 years, since this older generation has faded, you've seen the growth of Islamic extremism on a global scale, much of it aimed at Israel. And they are not so much interested in the territories, as such. They are interested in the very existence of Israel, as they openly state. So I don't see how you can dismiss the sea of hostility. It's in front of your face every day. It's not the professors at the Sorbonne and it's not The New York Review of Books that we're talking about. It's Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran and Syria and Islamic extremists from one end of the globe to the other.
So you're talking about a very deeply threatened country. It's not threatened because of one policy or another or the personality of Bibi Netanyahu or any other single thing. The pro-Israel organizations – I worked for one, AIPAC, for 23 years, I ought to know – see themselves as part of an activist effort to fight against that tidal wave...Well, it is true that when you write an article like Peter's, which just piles on criticism and barely mentions the threats to Israel – it hardly mentions Hamas, Iran. The world consists, as he tells it, of Israeli sins, which he recites very passionately – he's extremely eloquent. May there be intellectual merit in point number 7 or point number 11? Probably, here and there, yeah. But you're not building Zionism, as he says in his article. You're eroding it.
Does it mean that you don't have the right in a democracy to say these things? No. But you don't have the right to call it pro-Israel activity. That, it is not.
The last two weeks, Peter, Israel's been under assault, and you've been on the radio reciting what's wrong with Israel. The last two weeks were the acid test, the rainy day, a day in which, yes, there are questions about whether Israel handled the boarding of this ship properly. And people who say they're friends have to be there on a rainy day, not just on a sunny day, not just if Israel does everything perfectly and lives up to your golden, shining Israel on the hill, in your imagination. But on days when Israel's imperfect, you have to be there. And if you're not going to be there when the going gets rough, then don't call yourself a friend.
I don't hear you talking about Israel facing a security dilemma, the dilemma of 3,000 rockets and the danger that far more potent and more accurate and larger warheads will get there that will threaten Israel's major cities. I don't think just filling the airwaves with more criticism of Israel contributes one thing.
By the way, a point that I didn't make earlier, you talk about people whose voices are silenced. At the typical American university a friend of Israel will find it very difficult to get tenure in the political science department. A friend of Israel is looked at as someone suspect, outside the community of values. And in anyplace where the intellectual elites congregate, friendship toward Israel is not well regarded. I doubt that there are very many staff members at National Public Radio who are standup friends of Israel, because it's not popular in these environments.
The real imbalance is an unwillingness to hear the pro-Israel voice. That's the real problem.Well, we're going around in circles. I, I don't see how you, you devote 90 percent of your time to what's wrong with Israel, you minimize the threat to Israel, you describe Israel's leaders as, as nearly demonic people, and then at the end of it, you say, I'm a great friend of Israel.