Russia (no); Israel (yes)?

Whether one agrees with the Iran deal or not, President Obama concluded the agreement with the backing of most of the Washington establishment, even former Secretary of State Clinton, who would later run for president supporting the deal. There were plenty of critics, especially those like Senator Schumer, whose primary interest is supporting Israel before the security interests of his own country. In the next Congress, he will be the incoming Senate Minority Leader.

The Prime Minister of Israel was an outspoken critic of the Iran deal. To what extent did he display his opposition? The Christian Science Monitor opined that he was meddling in the US election by favoring Romney over Obama because of the Iran deal. He was pushing Obama for ‘red lines’ in any negotiations with the Iranians. Obama was expected to win his re-election race against Romney but it was Netanyahu’s desire to sow a rift between Obama and his Jewish and Zionist supporters and enjoin those supporters in an unholy alliance with Mitt Romney. Yet more and more Jewish voters, especially younger ones, are not as committed to Israel as their elders. That bond is no longer as strong as it was as the fears of another Jewish genocide are far from their memories. Younger Jewish voters are trending towards seeing Israel as undemocratic and oppressive towards its indigenous Palestinian and other populations. The holocaust card just doesn’t have the pull it once had.

Although his candidate Romney lost big to Obama, Netanyahu continued his relentless attacks on US foreign policy. At the invitation of Republican senators, and without consulting the White House, on March 3, 2015 he spoke before an open session of Congress blasting the US’s foreign policy. He received 23 standing ovations.

In spite of the overwhelming support he got from his Congress, there were notable dissenters coming from the hard right in the US and Israel: Fox News’s Chris Wallace, Jeffrey Goldberg, Dan Margalit of the Israeli tabloid Israel Hayom, among others. They correctly saw that the speech could, and did, backfire, and support for the Iranian deal actually grew to the point where a veto of the agreement was unlikely.

Just imagine if someone like Russian President Vladimir Putin would openly support Donald Trump before a presidential election. Imagine him going to the United Nations and blasting Hillary Clinton for her war mongering and open threats against the Russian people, or would speak to a joint session of Congress blasting the extension of NATO forces on the very edge of Russian territory? Sure, that would never happen as it would have the overwhelming support of most in Congress and the acquiescence of the American people, who don’t even have a clue what’s going on with NATO or even what NATO is.

So why the double standard we’re seeing today? Why is Russia, and Putin in particular, the center of a McCarthy-like hysteria seeing ‘Reds’ in every closet and under everyone’s bed? Why didn’t we see hook-nosed caricatures of leery eyed Jews around corners plotting a one-world Zionist government like we are seeing parodied cartoons showing Boris and Natasha.

Unlike the case with Israel, there is no evidence presented to the public regarding Russian interference in our recent election. There was no hack of voting machines. There was no hack of people’s emails. John Podesta lost his cell phone with all his emails. UK Ambassador Craig Murray claims he knows where the leaks came from, and it wasn’t the Russians. A reliable theory is that it was a disgruntled Democratic operative who supported Sanders and saw what was happening inside the Clinton Foundation. Julian Assange, whose WikiLeaks has a 10-year record of reliability, vehemently denies the Russians being the source of the leak.

The US and Russia (Soviet and later Federation) have long been adversaries. Being an agrarian nation, it quickly industrialized, becoming an economic rival to the European west and the US. After the Bolshevik Revolution the US contributed troops to fight the Red Army to overthrow the new Soviet Republic. After WW2 McCarthyism took hold of the American conscience and has been with us ever since. Russia was the Evil Empire under President Reagan. Even after Gorbachev took Reagan’s suggestion and tore down that wall, Russia remained an adversary. Not during Yeltsin’s tenure of course. The US likes drunken Russian presidents. They’re easily manipulated. But here comes Putin, who plays chess while American heads and future heads of state play checkers.

Myles Hoenig is a veteran of the Prince George's County Public School system in Maryland, USA. He's a long time activist for social justice. He lives in Baltimore. Read other articles by Myles.