I recently wrote a review of a couple of books on global justice, one of which expended a great deal of effort in explaining how a liberal cosmopolitanism could be consistently combined with a reasonable patriotism. For some reason, the concern to combine these positions seems to especially concern liberal Americans who want be good patriots and think of themselves as endorsing universal values at one and the same time. Well I guess I agree about this far: that, within the limits justice allows, one both may feel an affection for one’s country and compatriots and promote the good of that nation and community, just as one can legitimately promote the good of one’s family and friends within the bounds set by justice. (I guess I think that promoting the interests of one’s family and friends is not merely permissible but also required, whereas promoting the interest of one’s country within the bounds allowed by justice is allowed but not obligatory.)
What I don’t agree with is the proposition that the citizens (or the government, for that matter) of a country are under any duty to promote the interests of that country in terms of its relative prosperity or military power, where their doing so is at the expense of the citizens of other countries. I’m mentioning this now partly because of some of the reactions I’ve read to the infamous Mearsheimer and Walt paper. Mearsheimer and Walt are neorealists, and, as such, they believe that governments (and their citizens) do have a duty to promote their country’s interests in the sense I indicated. So insofar as they claim that some group (the Israeli lobby) fails to do so, and promotes some other country’s interests, they are saying something bad about that group from their own perspective. 
But, of course, the left is not bound to endorse a neorealist perpective. The left can say, rightly, that justice takes priority over national interest and that where morality demands that some policy or other be promoted contrary to national interest, citizens ought to promote that policy. So if it is true of some policy promoted by AIPAC that it is the morally right policy, then that policy ought to be promoted by Americans even if contrary to the national interests of the United States as conceived of by neorealists. Similarly, if it is right to forgive poor countries their debts or to invade Iraq to overthrow a brutal dictator, or to intervene in Darfur, but contrary to US national interests (understood in terms of the wealth and power of the United States), then US citizens ought to promote debt forgiveness , the invasion of Iraq, or humanitarian intervention in Darfur. 
If someone claims that this or that position is contrary to the interests of a country and that it is unpatriotic for citizens of that country to promote such a policy, the right answer from the left is not to say “how dare you impugn our patriotism, we are just as patriotic as you!”. Rather, liberals and leftists should say, that perhaps such a policy is indeed contrary to the country’s interests so conceived, but that (a) no ordinary citizen is under an obligation to be patriotic and (b) a reasonable patriotism neither requires nor permits citizens to promote their country’s interests in that sense.
I think the following is also true: that the same considerations that make it permissible to promote the interests of the nation of which one is a citizen (providing one does so within the bounds of justice) also make it permissible for people to promote the interests of other communities or nations with which one identifies. Jewish Americans, like Irish Americans or Arab Americans may therefore reasonably promote the interests of the Jewish, Irish, or Arab nations more broadly conceived and this may legitimately involve promoting or defending the viability of other nation states that the one of which they happen to be citizens. What it does not permit is the promotion of the power-interests of those states as neorealists conceive of those interests.
fn1. One reading of M&W, call it the Dershowitz/paranoid reading for short, has them alleging this bad-thing-from-their-perspective not only against the Israeli lobby narrowly conceived (AIPAC and similar organizations) but against a very broad swathe of Jewish America. If the Dershowitz/paranoid reading were justified then their paper would be a very reprehensible document indeed.
fn2. Needless to say these examples are merely hypothetical and imply no endorsement by me.