National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
It was sad to see scurrilous and harmful personal attacks launched by some American Jews and even a few Israelis at US National Security Adviser Gen. (ret.) H.R. McMaster. A recent column in The Jerusalem Post even called for his dismissal.
But such an attack is not mere opinion; it is an offense against the truth, against basic decency and against the best interests of Israel as we see them. In the opinion of many in the professional Israeli defense establishment who have come to know Gen. McMaster over the years, directly and indirectly, the general is a friend.
Israeli officers and scholars who have worked with McMaster say that he was always highly appreciative of Israel and of its contributions to the security of the US. They attest to his broad support for and admiration of the IDF. It is absurd to assert that all these years, hidden underneath McMaster’s friendliness was a grudge against Israel that the general is now free to act on. We reject this churlish insinuation. And whatever the reasons may have been for his decision to relieve certain senior National Security Council officials
of their duties, antisemitic or anti-Israeli sentiments were certainly not part of the calculus.
Israelis and friends of Israel in the US do not need to agree with every position McMaster has taken, nor should the general be immune to specific policy criticism, such as the Trump administration’s failure to put forward coherent policies on Syria or Iran. But McMaster is not an enemy. It is wrong to assault his personal reputation, especially when the attack is based on hearsay and driven by parties with an axe to grind.
To be drawn so blatantly and aggressively into a personal personnel feud, inside an administration which is still (regrettably) in its formative stages, is both morally and professionally wrong.
McMaster, and the other generals who now form the backbone of the Trump administration, should be treated as representatives of an American defense establishment whose positive views of Israel are by now an important aspect of the special relationship, and whose importance within the American system has grown steadily since 9/11.
The days of anti-Israel attitudes in the Pentagon are long gone. So are the days in which Americans reviled their own soldiers for the entanglement in Vietnam. Men in uniform are now America’s heroes, and Trump’s vital assistants. Therefore, to invent or endorse baseless allegations against one of their best is morally reprehensible and politically irresponsible.
***Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror was National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of the research division in IDF Military Intelligence.
Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman was deputy director for foreign policy and international affairs at the National Security Council and held senior posts in IDF Military Intelligence for over 20 years.