Antisemitism accusations against Dr Douglas MacGregor are deeply upsetting.
By Doron Almog, Gershon Hacohen and Efraim Inbar
It is upsetting to discover that former US colonel Dr. Douglas MacGregor has been accused of antisemitism. This, to prevent his appointment as US ambassador to Germany. Some American Jewish groups echoed these accusations, but they are misinformed and are being exploited for partisan political purposes. (See “Jewish groups take aim at Trump’s pick for ambassador to Germany,” The Jerusalem Post/JTA, August 8, 2020.)
We are Israelis citizens with no intention to interfere in the process of appointing a foreign ambassador. However, we are committed to the truth, and we know Col. MacGregor as a philo-Semite and a friend of the Jewish state. Each of us has professionally interacted with MacGregor, and some of us were close to him personally. There are many other Israelis in academia, the military and government who also know him as a strong pro-Israel voice.
Doug MacGregor is war veteran who led troops in battle and served his country’s military for many years with distinction. Since his retirement, MacGregor has become known as a highly esteemed military analyst and defense intellectual, as well as a prolific writer on military strategy. His advice and ideas are sought by the US armed forces and other militaries around the world. It is no surprise that he caught the attention of the White House.
In fact, one of his books on military strategy has become required reading for IDF officers. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi even invited him earlier this year to share his insights with the IDF senior command. Out of sincere friendship, MacGregor did not ask for any remuneration.
Macgregor’s first visit to Israel was in 1999, when he came on his own initiative while serving as director of the Joint Operations Center at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). During that visit he established close relations with his Israeli counterparts. Since then he has visited Israel many times, participating in academic conferences and speaking to a variety of Israeli military audiences.
He has an excellent grasp of strategic realities in the Middle East, and acute sensitivity to the security needs of Israel alongside the United States. He has toured the country with Israeli security experts, leading to an excellent chapter on the 1973 Yom Kippur War in an academic volume.
Macgregor believes that Israel must have defensible borders; that the Golan Heights is vital to Israeli security; and that President Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem was long overdue. He supports direct US military intervention to assist Israel in time of need. He has warned of Iranian and Turkish hegemony and ambitions to take control of the region.
Some of Macgregor’s statements are considered controversial by American standards of political correctness, although some of them seem to have been pulled out of context. But nothing justifies the attempt to label MacGregor an antisemite or anti-Israeli.
When a friend and longtime supporter is wrongfully accused, we have a moral obligation step forward and voice our opinion in his defense.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog was OC IDF Southern Command, and an Israel Prize recipient. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen was commander of the IDF Military Colleges. Prof. Efraim Inbar is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security.
Published in The Jerusalem Post 19.08.2020
JISS Policy Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons